New Car


I’m in the market for a new car. I have an Audi A6 that I love. I think it’s the best car I’ve ever driven in inclement weather and I’ve driven quite a few 4 WD vehicles. I now have 3 grandchildren and we like to go on car trips. Would you recommend the Q7 as a good vehicle or some other 7 passenger car that handles as well as the Audi Quattro drive? Is there a comparable VW that is less pricey? Is there some sort of hybrid that is more economical?


Ann Cooling


You should go buy the Consumer Reports car guide, lots of info. Do you want 3 rows of seats?


If you regularly carry seven passengers and need AWD you may want to consider a mini-van or smaller car-based SUV. I have owned Audis – they are great, but expensive to buy and maintain. Go out to Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, Nissan, Hyundai, etc. dealers, drive them all and get what fits you best. Cars are like shoes – what fits me may not fit you. When you find what you like, look for a 2 - 3 year-old one, original owner, clean car fax and all the service records.



One 3-row CUV that keeps getting great reviews is the Ford Flex, and the corresponding Licoln model (MKT, I think).


VW does not offer a 7 passenger SUV. You can get better fuel economy with the diesel version at an up front cost of about $4000 vs. the base model. I don’t think that the diesel is worth the extra cost. Even if diesel fuel is the same cost as premium, it will take over 11 years to make up the difference. Diesel would have to cost 85 cents less per gallon to pay off the difference in 5 years. This assume that you drive 10,000 miles per year. The BMW X5 diesel averages 10% better MPG and is priced comparably to the Q7, but the payoff over the base Q7 is still around 10 years. The Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe is over $50,000 MSRP and averages 21 MPG - same problem as the others. I think that you are better off with the Q7 3.6 Premium Quattro if that’s what you like.




Mazda 5


The very best AWD system for the money is a Subaru. The next best buy for a 7 passenger car that will give you as good performance as you can expect are in order…v6 Rav 4, Toyota Hylander and Honda Pilot…you do want room for 7. You can’t expect an Audi a6 handling. The v6 RAV4 will nearly keep up in most respect and get as good if not better mileage.