Best AWD used car advice?

My Audi A6 Avant has 195,000 miles on it so I want a replacement before it needs a new timing belt. Here are my requirements:
Roomy rear seat
NOT a van or SUV (but a wagon is OK)
Under $30,000
and the wife’s requirement: Not another Audi because of repair costs (may as well also veto BMW and Mercedes)

Shopping results:
2010 Buick LaCrosse AWD looks good but none available used yet
Ford Taurus/Lincoln MKS are just “OK”. Too high, drive like big cars, seem frumpy. Fusion/MKZ too cramped in back seat.
Volvo S80 has cramped back seat. Same goes for XC70.
Infinity M35 seems very nice, but would have to get a 2007 to be affordable (and they recommend premium gas. And even with premium the gas mileage is pretty unimpressive. Bummer).
Toyota Venza and Honda Crosstour may not “really” be SUVs but they’re too ugly and impractical.
Cadillac CTS: Back seat is for children
Subaru Legacy/Outback “may” be practical, but the Audi is a tough act to follow–I’m spoiled by the luxury. And the Subaru’s back seat is cramped.

So the front-runners seem to be Buick Lacrosse, Infiniti M35x, Lincoln MKS (but all have “issues”)

Any suggestions?

I’d guess you are going to pick apart any suggestions. Just keep shopping. Go to and find all the AWD cars you can to compare. I’ve had AWD and it is nice but I don’t see it as important as you. You are knocking out a lot of nice cars because your most important criteria is AWD.

Any car with AWD will be costly to own, maintain, and repair due the extra complexity of the AWD system. One tire blows out and you need to 4 new tires so they all match on an AWD car. More differentials and transfer cases to change fluids, etc. Audi has about as reliable an AWD system as anyone. Too bad the wife has ruled out Audi, because many of the other AWD cars are small and don’t meet your other needs.

You must have been looking at Outbacks and Legacies made prior to 2010.
As of the 2010 model year, a total redesign resulted in an incredible increase in passenger room, comfort, and luxury.

If you drive a 2010-11 Outback Limited model with the 3.6 liter six cylinder engine, I predict that you will be very impressed by the ride comfort, the interior room, the seating quality, the low interior noise levels, and…perhaps most of all…the power of that engine.

Uncle Turbo: Yes, I’ll pick apart your suggestions. I could not have made myself clearer. AWD is an absolute 100% requirement. Period. My last car was a Volvo 960. Beautiful car, but even with 4 studded snow tires it was not as sure-footed on the steep, twisty, ice-covered roads here as my Audi. And I’m not willing to buck the wife on another Audi.
VDCdriver: I did hear the 2010 Subaru was bigger, better and got better gas mileage than previous years. Lots of people in my hilly, icy neighborhood have Subarus. But when I went to the dealer and tried out the back seat (of a 2011), it was too cramped for my 6’1" 250 lb frame. But thanks for the suggestion.

How often do you sit in the back seat of your own car?

A 2010 Infiniti G37x sedan is about $28,500 from a dealer. Have you looked at it? The 2009 is about $750 less if no 2010s are available.

Where do you live?

AL5000: I expected/hoped for helpful advice, but let me spell it out for you: I have friends my size and age.
JTsanders: Thanks. I did look at the G but again–back seat too small (btw–the used 2010 G37x’s I saw were over $32,000. 2009s were just under 30K. Maybe with a LOT of haggling…)

JKent - one sure way to stop people giving ideas is to criticize those given.

well, let’s see… VDCdriver and jtsanders offered ideas. I did not criticize–just thanked them and said I had already looked at those cars but the rear seat legroom did not suit me. What I criticized was the guy who said I should look at non-AWD cars or buy an Audi–2 things I ruled out in the OP. “How often do you sit in the back seat of your own car?” and “Where do you live?” were NOT "ideas."
So… I would truly appreciate suggestions regarding cars I may have overlooked. Although I would love a nice '59 Corvette, that does not meet my lifestyle right now. All I really want is AWD and a comfortable back seat in a 4-door sedan. I did not think it would be so hard to find that! Maybe I should not comment at all, but car shopping is a frustrating experience that is only made MORE frustrating when people offer “help” that is contrary to the very basic criteria I set: Sedan with AWD and roomy back seat.

Look at the 2011 Ford Taurus SHO. Full sized car should have good back seat, big enough for 6’1". Lots of luxury, power, and handling. And its not an Audi.

Used Mercedes Benz 4-Matic.

2007 BMW 525xi or 530xi or 2008 528xi.

Maybe a 2007/2008 Lexus GS350

“Look at the 2011 Ford Taurus SHO. Full sized car should have good back seat, big enough for 6’1”.

Actually, the Taurus has less head room and less leg room than the Outback.
Since the OP apparently felt that the Outback was not roomy enough…I don’t think he would find a Taurus acceptable.

NOT a van or SUV (but a wagon is OK)

Few people really get that most car based SUVs are nothing more than yesterdays station wagon with more practical room, upright seating, better usable ground clearance for that awd, better handling when loaded, payload and ride and great rear seat room and you’ve just eliminated your best options performance wise.

The new Ford explorer is based upon the Taurus, the new Durango is car based and in reality, there are just a few true SUVs. A couple of the Jeeps, 4Runner, Expedition and other truck based or heavily reinforced unibody.

Maybe SAAB will have something in another year when it comes back selling other cars again under their name. Otherwise, with a more open mind, the Morano and other models from Lexus, Volvo, Mazda and Infinity in their car based SUVs is really where you’re headed. They are the only thing that give you room greater than a Subaru or other makes you have nixed.

All the negative stuff you hear about truck based SUVs just doesn’t apply to car based…except the unfortunate prejudice of being called an SUV. I would recommend a V6 Rav but they aren’t as cool as a Volvo, Audi or other Euro brand, but they haul a$$, have very good rear seat room and handle with and are as economical to run as most comparable sedans.

more leg room = larger vehicle = SUV-type vehicle with AWD you’re wanting.

Chrysler made a 300 with a longer wheel base than normal, but I’m not sure if it was offered in AWD configuration

Cars are on a continuum, especially the ones called SUVs and we use the term so loosely, we omit cars based upon our prejudice. The Venza and Flex were specifically designed to address this prejudice. Automobile manufacturers have just found away to take advantage of our willingness to label everything. Just like we label our selves as liberals and conservatives will omit all those who are in between…like everyone. Just list your requirements w/o using labels like sedan, station wagon or suv and match them to the appropriate vehicle. Even some regulars, self included, sometimes forget this.


I surmise you are either a rally driver or a very insecure driver. We live near the mountains and we have severe weather 5 months of the year. We have 2 wheel drive vehicles with Michelin X-ICE winter tires and never miss an opportunity to go skiing or snowshoeing. Driving through snow storms here is a fact of life.

In our ski club of 85 members, there ar 5 Subarus, one Lexus SUV, a GM SUV, no pickup trucks and all the rest are 2 wheel drive vehicles.

Many posters here will agree with the above, that a good set of winter tires and a course in winter driving from the AAA will give you the confidence you need.

In any case, avoid any Volvo, unless you like spending $2500 minimum per year on maintenance.

If I HAD to buy an AWD vehicle, it would be a Subaru Outback; it has the most user-friendly and capable AWD system, and is affordable to maintain. It’s not a true SUV, and handles like a sedan. Also quite durable. Subaru WRXs are used extensively for rallying.

As mentioned, we can’t really advise you based on our personal experience, since it is very different from your needs.

I’m also puzzled why after being spoiled by the Audi handling you are even looking at a Buick or a Lincoln, which will feel like waterbeds on wheels by comparison.

From the original post and his subsequent comments it seems this is a case of DDWBP (Domestic Dispute Waged By Proxy) I think this requires asking WWCCD (What Would Click ‘n Clack Do)

JKent, The only car for you is a used Audi A6 Avant. The money you will lose selling your beloved Audi and buying another used car you really don’t want will more than pay for the timing belt replacement and a week at a spa for your wife. Good luck and let us know what happens.


If the imperfect advice you’re getting here is so frustrating you can always demand a refund…oops!..I forgot it’s free advice people are taking time out to give you!

Never mind.