It looks like the wife and I will need to get a second vehicle soon. Meepster is great, but I hit 17k this morning and we’ve had the car eight months. A large part of that is the fact that we have a 37-mile commute every day.

My wife loves European wagons, and my experiences with old Volvos has taught me that “Durable,” and “reliable” are two different things.

For what it’s worth, both of us find the E39 5 touring is about the best looking wagon we know of. In the spring we’ll start looking. The only requirements, I think, are good maintenance records, sunroof, and dark interior. I’d love to find a blue or black 540iT with style 5s or M-parallels but that’s just a plus. Also sub-20 mpg in a vehicle that requires premium can get expensive if we don’t end up moving close to work and school soon.

In the spring, we’re looking at a budget around $5000-7500. This is still several months away, of course, but we’re aiming for no car payment after taxes come back. (We don’t have kids, but this year has been brutal with education and medical expenses so we’re itemizing deductions this year.)

So, Oppo, what questions should I ask, and what should I look for when we’re shopping? I’m about to dive into forums, too, but I trust y’all more at this point.

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Thanks!