The continued search for my new daily.

As you may (or very well may not) recall, I’ve been on the hunt for a new daily driver. In case you want to get caught up, here’s the Oppo post for where my search began in earnest almost two weeks ago.

Of the cars I listed there, I managed to test drive several of them. Here are my impressions...

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2018 Jaguar XE Premium: This was the first car I drove. It felt nice. Pleasant in almost every regard. However, the interior didn’t do much for me. It was this washed-out, almost grey-like beige. The seats were supportive, but a little stiff. I loved the red paint on the exterior though. I could see myself driving one every day, but you’ll have to keep reading below for the cars I test drove that weren’t on my initial list to see why I didn’t go this route.

2017 Subaru WRX: This car was actually in the process of being sold as I drove up. I got to take a look at it, but sadly didn’t get behind the wheel. The same dealer had an ‘18 model in the Lapis Blue exterior though, so I drove that one. Drove nicely. The interior was, as expected, not quite up to par with the other cars I drove. But again, this was not a surprise. But, the car I drove clearly had a history of modifications that ultimately steered me well away. It had the S209 CF wing, red Rally Armor mudflaps, and a giant Cobb Tuning sticker on the dashboard. The salesman assured me mostly everything was put back to stock. I took that as my cue to leave. I’ll probably test drive another stock example to see how I feel, as I couldn’t see myself driving something with a huge aftermarket wing on the back.

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2016 BMW 328ix Wagon: Again, a nice driving experience. But ultimately not an incredibly fun one. It’s a shame, because I really want to love this car. I love wagons, and there really aren’t many good ones out there these days. But this one was already near the tippy-top of what I wanted to spend. If I’m going all out for a new daily, I want it to inspire more than just, “Hm, this is fine.”

2016 Mercedes CLA 250: I felt too cramped, but I loved the Cocoa Brown Metallic paint. The car was smooth on the road, with what seemed like a decent suspension, although the steering felt a little vague. But something about the layout left me feeling a little claustrophobic, which weirdly not even the C5 does at all.

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2018 Mazda 6: This is a car that left me feeling very similar to the BMW wagon. No complaints about the drive or the build quality. It just didn’t excite me at all. I could definitely see myself getting bored of it after a year or two, which isn’t what I’m looking for these days.

Now, about the other cars...

Never made it out to see the G80, although if another good deal pops up locally, I do want to check it out. The Q50, TLX, and 3-series sedans all got written off due to feedback form here and from friends, or just a general feeling of disinterest on my part. The XF-S I liked was sold. Haven’t found another one at that price point around here yet.

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Miscellaneous other test drives.

BMW 535i: Really liked it. But I knew this already, as I’ve driven my F-i-L’s 535 with the M package a few times. It’s silly, but I feel like if I’m going to go this route, I’ll blame myself for not getting the 550. And then if I do get the 550, I’ll spend all day lamenting about fuel consumption.

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Mazda 3: Pretty much the same feeling as the 6, only smaller.

Kia K900: I know I’ve kicked this idea around a few times. Gotta say, I really enjoyed it. The V8 has plenty of oomph, and it’s smooth as silk on the road. The two big issues for me are fuel mileage and size. It’s a big beast, no doubt about that. Probably way more space than I need.

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Jeep Gladiator: Another one I talked about awhile ago. This was a new one, and I gotta say, no way I could justify the price they want for these.

One I hadn’t specifically planned, but drove anyway and now want.

There was a car that stood out above all others. It combined an aesthetic appeal to me, along with great driving dynamics, a cozy and supportive interior, and enough power to keep a smile on my face. At the Jaguar dealer that had the ‘18 XE, they also had a ‘17 XE R-Sport. It honestly felt like a different car than the base. The supercharged V6 is a wonderful motor. The seats cradle you in a way that the base model definitely did not. This one was a white pearl with black leather, and nearly every option except for AWD.

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And here’s the kicker, it was only $2,500 more than the base model (albeit, with 12,000 more miles). Having driven the R-Sport, there’s definitely no going back to base.

So here’s where I’m at. I’m going to test drive a few other cars, just to get the best possible feeling from everything out there. And if nothing else blows my skirt up, I’m going to start looking for one with British Racing Green and black/tan leather. I figure it’ll turn up at some point. There’s already two within 2 hour drive, albeit at a dealer that looks a tiny bit sketchy.

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Basically, this:

Illustration for article titled The continued search for my new daily.

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