Searching for a new car can be a daunting task. car detailing Melbourne There are so many factors that go into choosing the right vehicle, and given my love of cars, I’m always searching for the perfect one. So, this time around, I decided that functionality, safety, interior appointments, and overall enjoyment while driving would be the deciding factors.
After all, I live in suburbia and spend practically 1/3 of my day driving, so an enjoyable ride experience is important to me.
After spending 7 years in small sedans (Audi A4, VW Jetta), I decided that I wanted an SUV. I know, I know. SUVs consume way too much gas and contribute to global warming. I saw An Inconvenient Truth and even have a copy of the book on my nightstand. I really wanted to consider a hybrid SUV, but the Ford Escape has poor rollover ratings, and the Lexus RX400 is out of my price range. I probably should have considered the Toyota Highlander, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy a $40,000 crossover with such a hideous exterior. (Note: the 2008 Toyota Highlander, due out this summer, is much better-looking than its predecessor).
With much attention on SUV rollover safety, I was adamant that my future SUV receive at least a 4 star rollover rating (The NHTSA gives a 1 to 5 star rating to cars and SUVs). Four stars means a car or SUV has a 10 to 20% chance of rolling over in a single-vehicle crash. Many conventional, body-on-frame SUVs (Ford Explorer, Chevy Tahoe) receive 3 stars or less. These days, car manufacturers are coming out with more stable crossover SUVs that are much less likely to roll.
I spent five days driving a 2007 BMW X3 and enjoyed its decent gas mileage and agility. I truly felt like I was driving a sports car, and was able to maneuver in and out of city traffic with ease. Disappointingly, on a few highway trips going approximately 75 MPH, the X3 was noisy and didn’t feel completely stable. The interior, while functional, is rather bleak for a $42,000 SUV (or SAV, as BMW calls it). There are no current rollover statistics for the BMW X3 either, so the X3 was pretty much out of question.
Then, a few weeks later, I went to check out the Audi Q7, Audi’s first SUV that came out in 2006 as a 2007 model. I already had an Audi A4 1.8T, and was happy with Audi’s service and my A4’s reliability, so I went to the dealership to see the Q7. The salesman gave me the keys to a 3.6 Premium and let me take it out on my own. The first thing I noticed was its massive size. Coming from the A4, I felt like I was driving a bus. The interior cabin is very similar to the Audi A6 and features a driver-centered cockpit. All the controls face the driver. The Q7 is a pleasure to drive and unlike my Audi A4 1.8T, has loose steering, which I prefer. Because of its massive size and poor rear-view visibility, I would be hesitant to recommend getting this SUV without the $3,000 technology package that includes a backup camera. Although I wasn’t in love with the Q7, I wanted to see what kind of deals Audi had on it. The completely apathetic salesman took off $1500 from the invoice, and said that was Audi’s final offer. I didn’t love the Q7 or Audi’s boring, unenthusiastic salesmen, so I decided to go to a Volkswagen dealership a few miles away.
The Volkswagen dealership was a complete 180 from the Audi dealership. The Volkswagen salesmen were excited about their vehicles (yes, I do realize they are salesmen, but the uninterested and aloof ones at the Audi dealership were a huge turnoff). And then I saw her, a shiny black Touareg. It was smaller than the bus-like Q7, and in my opinion, has more attractive rear lights. The Touareg interior exudes luxury. I didn’t feel like I was in the same 2000 Jetta I used to have; I felt like I was in a miniature Range Rover. The Touareg interior is flawless, and the front cabin actually felt more comfortable than the Q7. I took a V6 out on the road and was sold. The Touareg filled all my requirements. It is functional (I have an 85 pound Golden Retriever and a bicycle), safe (the Touareg consistently receives 5 star safety ratings, as well as a 4 star roll over rating), enjoyable to drive, and has a gorgeous interior. I ended up with a 2007 black Touareg with beige interior, and premium package 1, which includes leather and back-up sensors. I also got her for under invoice because the dealership was moving out the last of the 2007 models. While I have no complains about reliability to date, I’ve only logged 1800 miles on her so far. I have read worrying complaints about reliability, but hopefully will not have to deal with those in the future. I will make sure to let our readers know if I do.
As much as I love driving the Touareg, I can’t help but feel guilty about her impact on the environment. In city driving, I consistently get around 15 MPG. Sadly, I don’t think SUVs are our main problem. For us to ultimately be able to reverse our dependence on oil and the effects of global warming, we need to completely overhaul our way of life and the technology we use. Hopefully, solar power SUVs made out of recycled materials (made in an eco-friendly plant, too!) are in our future.