Editor’s note: So you need a car. But not just any car – the perfect new car for your specific lifestyle. Whatever your needs, interests or budget, you are in the right place. Welcome to Find Your Ride, a limited series of car selection tips for real people.
Let’s start with a reality check. No one car can do it all. If you get a big car, sometimes you will need a small one; Get a coupe and sometimes you want a buggy. In fact, if you can only swing one car for your house, the camper is probably as close to perfection as the car can get. Due to its size and shape, a wagon (or alternatively, a sleek, mid-size crossover) can accommodate a lot of people, carry a lot of equipment, remain easy to maneuver and control on the road, don’t threaten to demolish everything in its path, and can achieve great fuel economy To be commended – the list goes on. With a few exceptions, you won’t be running a quarter mile by a quarter mile, crossing rivers three feet deep, or sailing from top to bottom, but these three vehicles offer the space, comfort, safety, capability, technology and look you’ll definitely be able to live with.
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Budget buy: Subaru Outback Wilderness ($37,000)
To some extent, Subaru was late in the game in making a truly off-road focused wagon. The standard Subaru Outback has always been capable, but other brands have offered “durable” trim levels to similar vehicles for years and years. The Subaru Outback Wilderness has been worth the wait. For less than $40K, it’s a very durable, power-intensive version of our most recommended car…maybe ever? It’s such an important vehicle, in fact, that there really isn’t a direct competitor unless you shop with a small SUV.
Subaru’s signature Symmetrical all-wheel drive system and EyeSight safety package are standard, but Wilderness trim adds additional ground clearance for a total of 9.5 inches Redesigned fenders to improve off-road approach/departure angles An upgraded version of Subaru’s X-Mode 4WD management technology, wheels and tires Designed for rough terrain, roof rails designed to pull gears, and plenty of design details specific to the WIlderness. Of course, there are plenty of branded accessories to wear as well. One note: The Wilderness returns a worse fuel economy than its less rugged relative. If you need a family-sized car that can go anywhere but don’t want to buy a bulky SUV, look no further.
Also considered: Toyota Rav4 TRD Off-Road Vehicle, Ford Bronco Sport Badlands
In-depth reading: The Subaru Outback Wilderness doubles as an Outback formula
The Sweet Spot: Genesis GV70 ($41,500+)
Sure, we said buggies are close to perfect, but the sweet spot in this category is..not a buggy. Genesis has been rolling out new models lately, all of which are very beautiful, competitively priced, and more affordable than their direct competitors. The all-new Genesis GV70 2022 is the best of the bunch. In fact, it’s the best across the board – in our review of the GV70, we said “the GV70 not only offers better value than competitors like the BMW X3 or Audi Q5. It’s not only better, it’s even more important – timely and considerate recommendations for grand prizes.” So, ah, it’s really cool.
The GV70 is handsome and gorgeous inside and delivers a lively driving experience, whether you choose the standard 300-horsepower inline engine or the optional 375-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged, both with all-wheel drive. Everything inside looks and feels absolutely excellent, from the upholstery to the control knobs. Genesis may be a “newbie” automaker, but it’s capitalizing on its youth, having learned from (and outperformed) its competition.
Also considered: BMW X3, Audi Q5
In-depth reading: The 2022 Genesis GV70 throws a gauntlet over other luxury crossovers
Upgrade Option: Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo ($110,000)
There are a lot of electric cars available these days, and some of them are pretty cool. Most of them are fast, and some are very excellent. But maybe none of them take every element — style, performance, technology, comfort, heritage, etc. — and call each one up to 11. Leave it to Porsche to go get the gold and pick it up in one fell swoop. The Taycan 4S Cross Turismo (the “4” stands for how many wheels are being driven, you see?) is as fast as it is sleek. Its 482 horsepower and 477 pound-feet are complemented by an overboost, which can temporarily go as high as 562 horsepower. And it’s powerful enough to launch this slippery sled to 60 in under four seconds. silently!
There are some downsides to the Taycan 4S Cross Turismo; That is, at just 215 miles, its range isn’t that amazing, and it features a 2+2 seating configuration. We feel its all-electric driveline negates those criticisms, though, given that fuel isn’t getting cheaper and electric cars are fast becoming the road. (And frankly, if you were spending $100,000 on an electric Porsche station wagon, you might actually be able to swing a second car with more range.)
Also considered: Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon, Audi RS6 Avant
In-depth reading: The Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo is an everyday killer electric wagon
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