I am returning from an international work assignment with a new baby, and we need to buy a used car. I prefer something sporty. It must have AWD to get up and down our snowy street in the Midwest, and I must be able to fit a baby seat in the back seat. I prefer year 2007 or newer. So far, I am considering the BMW 328x, Infiniti G37, and the Audi TT coupe. Any thoughts on these models? Any other models I should consider? I plan to start test driving soon. Thanks for any recommendations - much appreciated!
Subaru Legacy 3.6R. As good bang for the buck as any previously mentioned. As roomy as any mid size car. Might be able to find one off lease.
Of the 3 the G37 would be a good choice - the TT has next to no rear seat. The 328xi or an Audi A4 would be ok, but a bit more expensive to repair, a bit less reliable. Which do you like?
You don’t need AWD in the very flat Midwest. Front drive or even rear drive will be just fine. If you want it, that’s different. I’ll guess that you have up to $25,000 to spend. I’d go for a sedan, not a coupe, and with a back seat. You can save $1000 and up to $3000 by avoiding AWD. You will even save on maintenance and repairs. If you still insist on AWD, the G37 will have lower maintenance and repair costs than the other 2.
Consider that you’ll want rear doors, too. A 4 door sedan will make life so much easier when you’re loading the child, and other stuff, in the car. You’ll thank me later on that. In my state, anyway, children under 12 and a certain weight aren’t allowed to sit in the front seat.
Of the 3 you list, the BMW (sedan version) and the G37 (also sedan version) are the only ones that you’d be happy with after a couple months of climbing over seats. If you get a coupe, you’ll hate it in short order.
Consider trying out a newer fwd car with tires rated decently in snow and traction control. You may find it to be plenty good enough. Unless hills are real steep, you may not need awd. You be the judge but you owe it to yourself to drive the other options first. Btw, awd should never be considered a replacement for winter tires. Those you need for winter snow travel regardless of the terrain. Only Texas has no corners.
Of the vehicles you listed, I’d pick the G37. More reliable, and just as nice as the other two. Jtsanders is right, btw. You don’t need AWD, and that just adds complexity and repair costs, not to mention being required to replace all the tires if one of them gets damaged.
I have an '03 Honda Civic 4 dr sedan that I consider “sporty” because it has a 5 spd stick trans. It can be fun when you run up the rpms into the higher numbers. “Sporty” can be just about anything, it really boils down to what you consider sporty. Prioritize your concept of sporty, the space for the car seat, and the ease and access of getting the child into and out of the seat. As kids grow the ease of access is important.
I didn’t include AWD in the priority list. Substitute some money in your budget to put winter tires on the car. With modern winter tires on all 4 wheels you can drive anywhere in the midwest with no issues. AWD limits your choices, adds the cost to buy and maintain the car, and AWD with the standard or all season tires on the car isn’t as safe as a FWD or RWD car fitted with winter tires.
BMW, Audi, VW, and Volvo are all money pits as used cars. If you buy one figure in some hefty budget money for repairs. Volvo repair bills under $1,000 are rare and $2,000 per trip to a repair shop is common. A check engine light becomes a nightmare. If you want one of these cars consider leasing a new one and that way you have lower payments and are covered with a warranty. Buying one is just a bad risk.
A friendly reminder that both my 4runner and Rav owners manual say I can replace tires on just one axle if one is bad… That you should do on ANY car. Fronts should be the same across on fwd for front diff and steering and rear for equal traction when cornering.
I echo UNcle Turbo that awd without winter tires can be unsafe if you use the traction to drive too fast. I feel awd is usually for those who have travel demands that require bad weather travel or must travel over snow covered roads frequently where there are hills. If that’s the case, nothing beats them. Otherwise, winter tires and traction control are a close enough second for normal driving.
Just read reviews of VW’s brand new Passat. About $7,000 less than old model but still has good size, interior, and nicely tuned suspension for good “sporty” handling. Might be worth a look at buying a new (or leasing) one. Perhaps something to consider as you do some test driving.
VW is adjusting it pricing strategy to increase the sales volume to challenge Toyota and GM for being #1 world car manufacturer. Selling more Jetta’s and Passat’s in US is a big part of the strategy and lower prices to buyers is the result.
A brand new Passat is a pretty dull car compared to a brand new Golf R.
Subaru Imprezza WRX and Mitsubitshi Lancer Evolutions are also sports cars with AWD and useable backseat.
You would be surprised at how crumby an AWD sports car can handle snow as opposed to a FWD car with better ground clearance. And remember, AWD only helps you go. It doesn’t help you stop. It provides a little better handling on slippery roads in some situations, but not all.
Subaru Legacy, hands down.
They may not look as sporty as some but you can’t beat the price for the performance you get.
Based on my own experiances in driving in crappy weather, I found that front wheel drive handles better on slippery roads. If you’re looking for a good, sporty car…I’d suggest the Nissan Maxima.
Nosedansus…I agree about the awd sports car…but that’s apples and oranges.
Any awd 4wd user will tell you that they supply better ENGINE braking control in slippery conditions spread over the 4 wheels. So in that respect, awd does help braking. And, a "little better handling in snow " is an understatement.
With the same tires they have vastly superior handling Compared to fwd in snow, any time you need to keep foot on the go pedal…like climbing hills, merging into traffic, passing etc…all a very big part of the driving experience.