I’ve always had an affinity for Mercedes — not for the badge, but for the build quality (electronics excepted). I also feel like VW/Audi have prepared me for disappointment in some sort of weird Automotive Stockholm Syndrome.

Long story short, my car is getting long in the tooth and I’m thinking of something to replace it. Keep in mind that “reliability” to me is “better than a loaded 2001 VW Passat” so it’s not a particularly high bar. But I need something bigger, something that the wife might like to “borrow” (quotes because she might end up driving it 90% of the time) and something that drives better than a minivan, but still has about 80% of the same usefulness.

The R-Class has always been underappreciated, but is a really damned practical alternative to other luxury wagons or SUVs. It’s rare enough to be interesting, but nice enough to avoid boringness. I’m not cross-shopping other luxury cars...if not this, then likely a newer Durango or Ford Flex, both of which meet the above criteria, albeit with less panache (and cost). The one below is at my local CarMax for $18k with just 57k miles. I’d probably wait on a better one with no accidents on file (or I’ll research the severity).