No. It’s not a very Jalop/Opponaut-worthy search. But we’re looking for.... an AWD crossover.

My wife and I are expecting our first child in November. We want to replace her semi-reliable-but-fussy-and-expensive-to-repair 2000 Mercedes ML320 (aside - it’s a horrible car to drive. Awful gearbox, numb steering, wobbly suspension, lots of electrical issues). She got into some accidents in some low-slung cars when she was in her teens, so she has an aversion to driving sedan-style vehicles. She prefers sitting up higher with better visibility.

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Our requirements....

  • < $20,000 preferably (but would go up to $24k if the right deal)
  • AWD/4WD
  • Sits higher than a sedan
  • 5+ passenger
  • Not German, not GM, not FCA
  • Better than decent reliability
  • Good or better safety ratings - Gotta protect that baby!

I’m not too concerned about mileage on the vehicle, as my wife’s commute is less than 3 miles. Nor am I concerned about fuel economy, as we make more of the longer-trips in our Mazda5... which I’m considering punting for a newer Mazda 6 in the next year or so.

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We have our eye on....

  • 2008-2012 Acura MDX - - I’ve read great things about these, except they are subject to transmission issues (like lots of Honda vehicles) and occasional electrical/AC issues.
  • 2008-2013 Toyota Highlander - - Impeccable reliability record, seem to last for a long time, good capabilities, but lack of character and kind of boring to drive.

My questions....

  • Do you have any feedback on the MDX or Highlander?
  • Anything else we should be considering?
  • Why won’t my boss give me a promotion? Because I really just want a new Volvo V90.