Pick my next car!

I like the Mazda 6 but the low profile tires ( posted earlier this week) concern me b/c potential for pothole/other damage.

So I looked at the CX-5 (2016 or 2017) and while it is AWD (meaning tire replacement woes if one tire goes) the system seems to be only part time - the computer activates the rear wheels only when needed, so (and I need to look into this) maybe it is more like a part-time 4WD than a full time AWD in tire respects.

What I want (impossible): something engaging to drive - I spend at least 2.5 hours commuting each day, half on two lane curving roads. But also something that can go onto unpaved fire roads ocassionally for a little fun - no rock crawling. Even better if it has a full size spare.

Would (as I always do) appreciate the expert insight that is always found here.

What is the budget? Prices vary wildly between models that you are suggesting.

For that much commuting I would not even consider a used vehicle . I would look for the lowest price high mileage vehicle that I felt comfortable in . Off road , then a second vehicle with ground clearance used that you don’t have to depend on for daily service.



Get what you like. I’ve been driving vehicles with low-profile tires since 2007. I’ve never done any pothole damage. That’s probably 90% because I pay attention and avoid potholes, but sometimes circumstances just don’t let you avoid them. Never bent a rim or wrecked suspension parts on one.

The real downside to low-pro tires is that they’re more expensive to replace. I spend maybe $400 for tires on my non-lowpro truck, and that’s putting really good tires on it. If I get out of the tire shop for less than $850 on my daily drivers that have the lowpro tires, I’m ecstatic. Often it’s closer to a grand. Some of that is tire choice - I simply don’t require Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus tires on a yard-supply hauler that almost never even leaves my city. But part of it is that lowpro tires are more expensive because they have to put more engineering into that thin sidewall.

But if that truck were 4wd/awd, some of those savings would be negated by having to replace all of the tires any time I replaced any of them, and if I were driving that 4wd truck down unmaintained fire roads, I might be replacing tires more frequently than I usually do (I’ve had 1 flat in the last 15 years due to unavoidable road debris).

What it boils down to is what’s gonna make you happiest. If you like the 6 better than the CX-5 and you have to spend 12+ hours a week in the thing staring at the windshield, you should get the 6.

From your description the CX-5 would be #1 on my list.

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Actually you might consider a low mileage 2 or 3 year old vehicle that is just coming off a lease. You can save a lot that way. My next door neighbor bought a loaded 3 year old MDX and it was less than a new MDX in the lowest trim class. You can use this to buy a more engaging and luxurious car for the same money as a different new vehicle.

As an example, a 2017 Cadillac CT6 Luxury model with the 3L turbo cost sell over $70,000 new, yet you can buy one in great condition for about $35,000 today. The MSRP on a Touring CX-5 is about $31,000. There are other items like maintenance and repairs, but I’m just trying to show how a very expensive new car can turn into a bargain after 3 years. Consider used cars as an option, and always have a mechanic you trust do a prepurchase inspection for about $125 before you buy it, even on off-lease dealer cars.

The Acura MDX and RDX might be worth a look.

The Acura MDX has been consistently ranked as MUCH worse than average for reliability, from 2016 to 2019. The problem areas have included transmission problems, “noises and leaks”, and issues relating to both in-car electronics (the Infotainment system) and power equipment.

The Acura RDX only sank to the level of much worse than average reliability for the 2019 model year, and it was better to much-better than average for 2016-2018. The only persistent problem area over that time span for the RDX has been the braking system, and–in 2019–the Infotainment system was highly problematic.

I agree with JT!

Until @Donutman corrects me, I am considering that 2.5 hours translates into quite a few miles of driving (unless it’s sitting, stuck in bumper-to-bumper) traffic much of the time, with few miles accumulated.

It would certainly be helpful to know how many miles are driven in a certain period of time and if this is a solo (driver only in vehicle) commute, or how many people are onboard.

What a total waste of money buying a newer vehicle, just grinding it up in solo commutes!

Get a lower mileage, few/several year-old vehicle that has lost a lot of value to depreciation, but little of its potential longevity, miles-wise.

My daughter bought a 2017 CX-5 (but hers was brand new) and she has been very happy with it. I’ve ridden in it and it hit me as quite comfortable, although I don’t care for SUV type vehicles.

I’d buy used, possibly a nice, comfortable, like-new CPO vehicle, and not spend a ton of money on it, saving the money for more important things in life, rather than on an expendable capsule to haul my butt to work and back.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

Great questions: (1) I am looking at only at used vehicles, three or four years old - factory certified or owner-sale with service records. Actually, I’ve never purchased new. (2) Commute is about 14 miles each way with some bottlenecks on the two-lane road in the evening. Morning is about 45 minutes, but no traffic; evening can run to 1.25 hours with some sloooow traffic for the middle 6 miles. (3) Solo commuter. Cheaper to drive than to take public transportation.

Why not ? Your past experience with a Jeep should make you leery of used vehicles . Do some build your own on different manufacture web sites . You may see something you had not even thought about.
CPO ( Certified Pre Owned ) , all that means to me is that it is certified to be a used vehicle. And this site has plenty of stories where some COP vehicles have been big disappointments.

In college we had to give short impromptu speeches with no warning. One given by a girl went something like this: “You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose” and she sat down, speech over. You can substitute cars. You have to pick your own car. No one can do it for you. It’s like someone else deciding what you should eat or wear or what TV show to watch.


That Jeep abused me . . . did I ever share that I sold it after the engine company sent out a third remanufactured engine? But I don’t think the original issue was a function of it being poorly maintained. It was dealer maintained by the original owner and I had it for two flawless years before a rocker arm detached, blew a hole through the valve cover and caught fire. By contrast, I’ve had vehicles from either rental agencies or private owners (with all service records) that each delivered a decade of service without complaint. It seems that a streak of good luck ran out with the Jeep.

Sounds good, but totally bogus, sorry.
How do I know? I’ve owned several manufacturer CPO vehicles. All have been outstanding with outstanding warranty protection at outstanding purchase prices!
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

It depends on who does the certification. The type to look at are manufacturer certified. The selling dealer is supposed to do a couple hundred or so checks and pass all of them. How do you know? Ask the dealer for a copy of the list. Trust them! Then verify the list. Take the car to a mechanic you trust for a prepurchase inspection. Give him a copy of your CPO checklist and pay him to verify it and look for any other areas of concern. If the dealer was 100% straight with you and you like the car, then negotiate a price. Motorweek had a segment on this last weekend on the Mototrend network. It was a repeat, and should be available on line at the Motorweek web site.