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  • Cars, SUVs - brand benefits

    I'm going to be shopping for another vehicle and in the end will probably get another SUV. Just wondering what people's views are towards the various brands. SUVs like Audi Q7, VW Touraeg, Mazda CX7, Mercedes GL (diesel), Ford Explorer, BMW X5, etc. Basically the mid-sized SUVs.

    Since all can be loaded with all kinds of features and reliability isn't as much of an issue as in the past, I'm wondering what people use to differentiate between them all (besides the obvious - price). Even on the safety front it seems like splitting hairs a lot of the time.

  • #2
    You're right, it is getting harder to differentiate the brands these day. Even things like smooth ride comfort and quiet cabins that use to be restricted to the luxury brands are pretty standard on all cars these days. The build and material quality will still be a bit better on brands like BMW, but overall most brands do very well at that these days as well.

    If you're really pressed to find differences between the cars I would consider resale value and the carrying costs of each vehicle. If I remember right, the Q7 won some awards for best resale value of crossovers last year. Whereas the Ford Explorer has historically been miserable at retaining its value. Just look at the Kelly bluebook / other sources online.

    For carrying costs there's many factors. Obviously fuel efficiency is a big one, and any modern diesel will generally whoop a gas engine at that. You do loose some performance to the diesel torque curve, but modern blutech / TDI engines minimize that somewhat. You also get amazing range on them on the highway. All the suvs you listed except for the Mazda and Ford come in diesel variants. That's probably a major choice to make. Especially as the gas variants of most of those suvs will want premium gas. Also maintenance to consider. Although all of those are good, reliable cars, you will generally always pay more to maintain a European brand car over an American or Asian car (pricier parts, pricier labour). Finally, differences in insurance costs to consider. Over the lifetime of a car, all those difference can add up to a considerable amount. Worth pricing out.

    A few personal notes on the car you've listed:
    - (I'm assuming you're talking about buying new) the CX-7 I believe was discontinued after the 2012 model year, so you might get a deal on any left in the dealerships. However also consider that you'll need to buy top models of the Mazda and Ford to get all wheel drive (the greatest thing you can get for Edmonton winters in my personal opinion, regardless if you're looking at cars or suvs). The European SUVs come with it standard.
    -As Audi is just a division of VW, the Q7 and Touraeg are very similarly designed vehicles (almost the same engine, etc). So you will largely be paying a premium for the Audi badge. That said, one of my best friends just got a Q7 and she loves it.
    -Be aware that the X5, as with all BMWs, come with run flat tires. Which I can tell you from personal experience (unless you really, really never want to touch your car for any reason) do nothing but to line your BMW dealer's pockets if you get a flat. Some of the other cars may come with them, I'm not aware, but they are about 5x the price of a normal tire to replace. Unlikely to happen, but something to be aware of.
    Last edited by halocore; 04-01-2013, 03:11 AM.

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    • #3
      There's also intangible costs and benefits. I bought a CR-v and a friend told me to "put some pants on", because it was a chick's car. I heard the same thing from someone else when I said I might pick up a used Beetle for the fun of it. "But that's a chick's car." My view is that if I like the looks of it, I like the qualities, what do I care what other's perceive it to be.

      However, I know that if I went out and bought a Range Rover (I won't. though I like the looks, the reliability and the new owner corp. scares me.) there are costs that could affect me in the job. People's perceptions of you can hurt you - when they employ you, work with you or deal with you. (Just as with sex, there's an expectation that you'll buy within your socio-economic 'class'.) On that issue I haven't figured out how to "use" that brand perception to my benefit rather than to my detriment. I'm not even sure what those perceptions are.


      What sort of person (perceptually from the outside) buys a Porsche Cayenne, a Range Rover Sport, Mercedes GL450...



      .
      Last edited by KC; 04-01-2013, 07:11 AM.

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      • #4
        Something to note with the BMW is the once yearly (free) oil change as well. Also you'll have to run premium in it (if you don't, it knows and will tattle on you to the dealer mechanic when you take it in for service).

        I'd say just go drive the ones you're interested in and hear each pitch. Just make sure that you know how to say no if you're going to do it that way.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KC View Post
          I'm going to be shopping for another vehicle and in the end will probably get another SUV. Just wondering what people's views are towards the various brands. SUVs like Audi Q7, VW Touraeg, Mazda CX7, Mercedes GL (diesel), Ford Explorer, BMW X5, etc. Basically the mid-sized SUVs.

          Since all can be loaded with all kinds of features and reliability isn't as much of an issue as in the past, I'm wondering what people use to differentiate between them all (besides the obvious - price). Even on the safety front it seems like splitting hairs a lot of the time.
          Not to stereotype but in my experience, consumers usually fall into three categories that usually overlap. You can think of it more in terms of a ternary diagram, if you know what I mean. Categories are:

          1) Spec-buyers. These consumers look for quantitative measurements such as cargo space, fuel economy, etc to compare vehicles. These consumers will also usually prioritize features based on personal needs - ie driving alot for work, or require cargo space for kids' sport equipment. These consumers in general are more detail oriented when it comes to pricing and are more logic-driven than emotion-driven.

          2) Brand-buyers. These consumers buy based on perceived brand quality. Ie - will not buy Kia/Hyundai/Ford, etc. despite recent improvements in car quality. Will buy an Audi/BMW/Benz because it's an Audi/BMW/Benz. These consumers will usually willing to pay a premium for the brand.

          3) Impulse-buyers. These consumers usually buy based off aesthetics, color, styling, or overall "feel", including the overall enjoyment of driving. Emotion and qualitative observation plays a large part of this purchase. Within reason, these consumers will spend more on a vehicle that they are attracted to, as opposed to a similarly spec'd vehicle that they don't. Car enthusiasts tend to fall into this category.
          Last edited by tsumetai; 04-01-2013, 08:45 AM.

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          • #6
            I personally like:

            - Hyundai Veracruz
            - New Nissan Pathfinder
            - Ford Edge
            The world is full of kings and queens, who blind your eyes then steal your dreams.
            It's heaven and hell!

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            • #7
              The diesel version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee might be worth waiting for. The new Grand Cherokee's are built on a Mercedes ML platform and will be available with 8 speed transmissions.

              Leaps and bounds ahead of what Jeep used to offer.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bill View Post
                I personally like:

                - Hyundai Veracruz
                The Santa Fe is also great... I write a lot of insurance for them both and they have very good rates with the companies I deal with.
                "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by halocore
                  Some of the other cars may come with them, I'm not aware, but they are about 5x the price of a normal tire to replace.
                  That's a ridiculous exaggeration. For the same size and spec, run flats might be 20-30% more expensive. BMW doesn't have run flats to line dealer's pockets (why the hell would you be buying tires from a dealer anyways, unless you like paying a massive premium?). They have run flats because they've eliminated spares to save weight and space.

                  And there's nothing stopping you from switching to regular tires after the run flats wear out. However if you do get a flat, you'll need a tow of course.

                  Overall I agree though that just about every manufacturer is making pretty good vehicles these days, and that's there not a lot of justification for buying higher end vehicles other than your own preferences and taste. I'm not a big fan of Audi or Mercedes though. Their quality/reliability do not match up against most of the other major manufacturers. And as mentioned, VW's are pretty much identical to Audis and don't carry nearly the premium, but still have reliability issues. Or at least they did in the recent past. VW's reputation for quality hasn't been earned for the better part of a decade.

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                  • #10
                    The way I see it, buy something you LOVE... not like and be done with it.


                    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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                    • #11
                      I've been an import guy my whole driving life but lately have taken an interest in Ford. Huh? who knew?
                      Currently own a second generation Ford Sport Trac (and yes had to tolerate the 'get a real truck' comments). Debated between this and a Honda Ridgeline (always liked Honda products). Feature to feature, option to option, similar everything, the Ford won out by being $10,000 cheaper for similar Honda unit.
                      Back to SUV. The 2013 Ford Escape is the replacement for GF's Mitsu Outlander. Loaded with features and Eco-boost engine is pretty neat. For what she uses it for, it's perfect.
                      Bottom line is, buy the vehicle based on your specific criteria. that's really the only one that matters.
                      He who posteth too much, should moveth out of his parents basement and get a life.

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                      • #12
                        KC, my choice of the cars you listed would be the VW Touareg TDI followed by the Audi Q7 and Mercedes GL. I generally try to stay away from prestige nameplates because of their connotation in the workplace (I work for the public sector, so this is totally different for those that work for a private firm). Anyhow I ordered a Touareg TDI a week ago after driving and X5, Q5 (I didn't want the extra row of seats in the Q7) and Mercedes GLK (The GLK BlueTec Diesel variant should be available next month).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mediabug View Post
                          KC, my choice of the cars you listed would be the VW Touareg TDI followed by the Audi Q7 and Mercedes GL. I generally try to stay away from prestige nameplates because of their connotation in the workplace (I work for the public sector, so this is totally different for those that work for a private firm). Anyhow I ordered a Touareg TDI a week ago after driving and X5, Q5 (I didn't want the extra row of seats in the Q7) and Mercedes GLK (The GLK BlueTec Diesel variant should be available next month).
                          Yeah if you're public sector, whatever you say or do WILL be used against you. The contractor or businessman that takes cash under the table, over expenses, etc. though...

                          Anyway it's those connotations that go with different brands that fascinates me. Eg. Some cars get keyed while others don't. Things like that. I have an Excursion as a tow vehicle. It got crucified in the media yet it's essentially just a 3/4 ton ford pickup with a cap. One flies under the radar despite massive sales volumes while the other gets attacked by the environmentalists as the anti-Christ and production gets cancelled despite demand and utility.

                          So if someone buys a BMW or a Kia, or Mercedes, or whatever, what kind of typecasting do they set themselves up for?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KC View Post
                            Originally posted by mediabug View Post
                            KC, my choice of the cars you listed would be the VW Touareg TDI followed by the Audi Q7 and Mercedes GL. I generally try to stay away from prestige nameplates because of their connotation in the workplace (I work for the public sector, so this is totally different for those that work for a private firm). Anyhow I ordered a Touareg TDI a week ago after driving and X5, Q5 (I didn't want the extra row of seats in the Q7) and Mercedes GLK (The GLK BlueTec Diesel variant should be available next month).
                            Yeah if you're public sector, whatever you say or do WILL be used against you. The contractor or businessman that takes cash under the table, over expenses, etc. though...

                            Anyway it's those connotations that go with different brands that fascinates me. Eg. Some cars get keyed while others don't. Things like that. I have an Excursion as a tow vehicle. It got crucified in the media yet it's essentially just a 3/4 ton ford pickup with a cap. One flies under the radar despite massive sales volumes while the other gets attacked by the environmentalists as the anti-Christ and production gets cancelled despite demand and utility.

                            So if someone buys a BMW or a Kia, or Mercedes, or whatever, what kind of typecasting do they set themselves up for?
                            Doesn't matter whether you work in the private sector or public sector - if your vehicle is better than your boss's vehicle, you can bet it could affect your salary increases, bonus, and your long-term career.

                            When times get tough, who will the organization get rid of? Imagine two employees with the same productivity - one drives an Audi to work, and the other drives a Kia. They will get rid of the Audi driver, since there is a 'perception' that he/she has money, and can survive without a job.

                            Many years ago, I had a mentor who was a Divisional Controller for a Fortune 500 corporation. He taught me this lesson early on.

                            I've seen this same mistake occur for so many years, so many times, by so many naive employees.

                            Seasoned employees know this by experience or perceiving. They will drive the beater to work, and drive the high end Jaguar in the evenings and weekends.
                            The world is full of kings and queens, who blind your eyes then steal your dreams.
                            It's heaven and hell!

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                            • #15
                              Toyota recalls 2 million cars.. they are too boring

                              TOKYO, JAPAN (The Global Edition) – Toyota Motor Corp is recalling about 2.77 million vehicles worldwide because they are way too boring, Japanese media reports.

                              http://www.theglobaledition.com/toyo...ay-too-boring/
                              Noah's ark was built by volunteers...... The Titanic was built by professionals.

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