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After recommending the Impreza earlier, I had a couple of otherthoughts regarding the Honda HR-V vs Sub Impreza:These are both good cars.

You expressed concerned that the HR-V would be underpowered iwth a load. You also said that you had just 1-2 passengers most of the time. I think you would find ether one fine as you daily driver. Likewise I think that you would find both struggle a bit with a full load - overall probably very little differnce in that regard.That said, the Honda is available in 2WD and in that form it would probably be a bit friskier than the AWD Subiie Yet both would probably due as well or better than your Sentra in similar circumstances.

Additionally the Honda has significantly more passenger and cargo space. While the Subie has better EPA ratings my experience with muliple cars of both brands is that it is really I've been hard pressed to match the EPA in Sub but have always been able to surpass it in my Hondas. Last but not least the Honda is likely costI less to maintain. Subies require oil changes every 6,000 miles or every 6 months. Honda monitor engine use and usually go 8-10K between oil changes. Honda overall reliablity iis also likely to be better.

The plus for the Imprezas is that theiir passengers get a smoother quieter ride.

Again both good cars but I loved the flexibiilty of my 2011 Fit and think you would find it a better all around car especially when you need to load your car up.

Reliable hatchback for a early-30s guy

Toyota and Lexus stay reliable as they use six sigma very well and don't keep up with the latest technology (still don't have Apple carplay and Andirod Auto on nearly all the models of both Lexus and Toyota, although a couple do have it now). With your three choices (reliablity, smooth ride, quiet ride) are Lexus strengths. So that on those grounds make it your best choice.

The Subaru Outback lasts a long time - Subaru brags in recent ads that 98% of them are on the road after 10 years. What they don't tell you is they need a lot of maintenance to keep some running - about 10% of them burn oil. I own a 2013 Legacy that does exactly that - burn oil. It did afte 41,000 miles and now has about 70,000 miles. It has not gotten worse, it burns about 0.5 quarts every 1000 miles, or a quart every 2000 miles. Half of the limit of what is acceptable. If it burns a quart or more every 1000 miles then will fix (replace) the engine. I don't do that, so they won't. It has not gotten worse 30,000 miles later so I just keep oil handy in the garage and top it off as needed.

Subarus keep up better with technology so it does have Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto as of 2018. They are also slow to adopt newer technology but better than Toyota. They are like a loaded Toyota more than Lexus.

Best of luck.

Replacing my 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL (NAVI model)

No bad advice above, and your analysis is quite detailed. All I can add is Subaru brags about 98% of all ten year old Outbacks are still on the road. Subarus are still quite reliable, but for about 10% of the cars burn oil and in the 10% other engine problems do develop. Most deal with and fix the issues. I have a 4.5 year old Subaru with nearly 70,000 that started burning oil at 41,000.

Thing is - Subaru knows it is a problem and if consumes less than a quart every 2000 miles you are out of luck. I know as every 5000 miles of driving I add about two quarts. Not enough to fix the engine, but enough that I have to moniitor it constantly. Still, our Legacy never has had any other issues. If you are okay checking the oil every 1000 miles like I have since I bought it new, it will last you a long time.

We test drove the Impreza - my wife hated the CVT so I have to disclose when we bought our Legacy we bought the older 5 speed automatic that came with the H6 engine in 2013. She has liked it much better.

Hyundais are much better than they used to be. They still offer an industry best 10 year powertrain warranty on the first owner of their cars (new in other words). Overall is five years and 60,000 miles. Only brands that come close to this are Buick (7 years, 70,000 on powertrain, 4 years 50,000 on everything) and Cadillac which has the Buick offer. Hyundais work much better than they used to - you can easily get ten years and 100,000 out of them and if you take care of them, 150,000 should be fairly easy as well.

So get what you like better and know you are getting a fairly reliable car with the two choices you listed. Best of luck.

Reliable hatchback for a early-30s guy

It's clear that you're doing research and giving your car search serious thought. Despite having a slightly different set of requirements than you have, I looked at most of the same cars you're considering in the winter of 2016. I finally bought a certified pre owned 2014 Subaru Impreza Sport Wagon with a manual transmission. This car had been recalled for oil leakage and that issue had been successfully addressed, all at no expense to me. In the nearly 16 months of owning this Subaru it's been a trouble free, solid and reliable car. It's been used both for commuting and for long distance solo trips between Albuquerque and Seattle. While I agree with you that the interior is basic, I spend most of my time looking out the windows while I'm driving the car, so that's not an issue for me. While it's not as refined or fun to drive as a VW, having the manual transmission gives me a higher level of engagement with the driving process and keeps me better focused on driving.

I grew up driving VW's and recently owned an older VW that nickel and dimed me to death. Because I keep my cars for a very long time, and since I'm not able to perform simple maintenance tasks on my car, I won't buy another VW in the foreseeable future. The Subaru fit my criteria better than the other cars and has been a pleasure to drive and own.

Reliable hatchback for a early-30s guy

With $60K to spend you have lots of options and definite should go new for the advanced safety features and warranty. I'd say a Lexus would be your best bet.

The current Outback also meet your criteria althought the Lexus is likely to be more reliable. It is a small car like rig when compared to the others which results in much better fuel economy and an easier car to drive, especially in the city. I own a current generation Outback (2015) and we really like it. You could get a fully loaded new one with the 6 cylinder for under $40K (4 cylinder seems underpowered to some but also costs $3K less). There is a small risk in the reliablity realm with an OB but with the $20K you save, that should not be an issue.

Replacing my 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL (NAVI model)

You certainly have done your homework well! Lots of good choices there and as you have discovered, all have an Achielle's Heel or two!Automotim has great suggestions, I'll add my two cents worth:

The Mazda3 or Hyundia Elantra are probably your best bets since you mention that you don't like CVTs (I love 'em), don't need AWD, and reliablitiy is a high priority.

The Hyundia reputation for poor liablility is past history. They have made giant strides the last decade and now are among the most reliable. If you can find a CPO one, you get the 10 yr/100K warranty. I had an early Elantra GT and as did a friend (2002 & 2004). They were good cars. Mine had no issues but I only had it for 40K. My friends had a few issues and at over 100K the tranny started to act up but it remained drivable. As you noted their MPG is a little less than some but you could consider that a trade off for reliablity.

As an owner of 3 Subies, I can say I really like the brand and have not had major issues. My 2004 Forester had almost 100K trouble free miles, even though I towed a 2,000 boat with it at times. Since then Subie reliablity has suffered a bit with a small number having oil use issues. To hedge any Subaru reliabity concerns, a CPO one would get you a 7 yr/100K (I think) warranty. My 2015 Outback has a CVT & Subie recently extended the warranty on mine to 100K - I suspect they may have done the same on their other models -- would be a great question to ask a dealer. Sorry to say that my 015 did need a a cam follower gasket replaced at 27K (under warranty).

I also ow a 2017 Golf Wolfsburg which drives as nice as Automotim makes it sound. You will be very hard put to find a nice driving / riding hatchback. Golf's have a rising reliablity star, but it is too soon to tell how they current model will do in the long run.

Reliable hatchback for a early-30s guy

I've had a 2013 Mazda 3 I bought used for about 2 years now. I have the 2.0L i touring with a Sunroof, Bose Stereo, and Keyless Start. I have to say I love driving this car, it's extremely nimble and fun to drive to it's limits. It's no 0-60 champ but it handles like a dream and it's been very trouble free, requiring only Tires and Oil changes from 44000-67000 miles. The 2014 and newer have more limited visibility although they look very sharp. I'd suggest looking at the 2013 hatchback with the 2.5L in a higher trim. You'll get a good deal on it, being the last year of the model cycle it will have most the bugs worked out of it and it should meet all your needs at a lower cost.

As much as I like the Mazda, I regularly rent cars on work trips and have rented a Golf on several occasions. The Golf is FUN. The turbo gives it a real zingy feeling and its so tidy to park, comfortable for longer legs, has a nice adjustable armrest, and carries a nice amount of people/cargo in a tidy package. Aggressively slipping through traffic is pretty satisfying in this car, especially in Sport mode. Reliability is generally more questionable so if that's important to you, look into leasing. The 2017 Wolfsburg Edition is very well equiped for the price so maybe you can find a leftover on a dealer lot somewhere with your name on it, if you like risking some extra maitenance bucks for a truly fun time. It's also a remarkably comfortable and quiet vehicle aside from being a pleasure to drive. A GTI would be even better with a lot higher cool factor.

Finally, the Focus. I've never been a Ford fan but I've rented one of these before and with the dual clutch transmission, it's also surprisingly fun to drive. Parts are generally cheaper as well as the entry price, especially given it's at the end of the model cycle. A good option if you're on a budget and want the newest car possible with good discounts.

I've heard that Subaru dealers and VW dealers make a pretty penny off their customers. I too am wary of the CVT transmissions both for longevity the overall dull rubber band like driving experience they offer. Despite recent offerings including CVTs, I still think Toyota offers the most reliable vehicles as they spearheaded the adoption of six sigma statistical process control in the automotive industry. However, I can not see driving one since they are incredibly boring.

I hope these ramblings help!

Reliable hatchback for a early-30s guy

Great comment--you probably have enough here to post your own review.

Lovely to look at, and fun to drive, but with some major issues.

I actually just drove my dad's loaner car today, a 2018 Macan. It was a base model and the only options were a pano sunroof, lane keep assist, parking assist, $200 upgrade wheels, and beige suede/leather interior. Final MSRP was $55k.

It had the 2.0T. Acceleration was very good from a stop, but on the freeway I actually considered it slow (and I drive a Prius). The turbo makes a big difference going 0-40 mph, but going 70 MPH and passing someone takes a while. I didn't expect it to be a rocket because it is a 4 cylinder, but my son's Mazda3 feels quicker when passing on the freeway. Shifts were almost imperceptible with the 7 speed PDK. MPG numbers were 20/25, not great, but just bad for a 4 cylinder. Overall, I would get the Macan S for the more powerful engine. The 2.0T gives you the less appealing sound of a 4 cylinder, too. All the other German brands are going with 4 banger turbos, so I guess this one is not much different.

It handles very well for an SUV as expected and didn't feel tall and narrow. There is no way a Buick handles as well or better than this, sorry to disappoint everyone. In fact, there is probably no SUV in the class that handles better. At the end of your CR article Norm it says, "The takeaway? The Macan is the most agile SUV we've tested, albeit one with a quirk in our avoidance-maneuver test." I like cars that handle well, and I don't diss the handling on cars because they act weird or have a lower speed in an avoidance maneuver. I don't steer like that on my commute to work or when I turn into a mall parking lot. I steer like that for maybe 5 seconds in my entire life when I am avoiding an accident.

The thing that shocked me most about the car was the ride comfort. The Macan was agile and still provided a very comfortable ride. I would consider it on par with my Prius for ride comfort and the handling close to a Mazda3, which are both high praises. This was riding on 18"s, not the 21"s. The cabin was quiet, too.

The interior is very high quality. Leather covers almost everything and feels on par or above the others in the segment. The infotainment system had a quick response time. The seats were pretty comfortable, though other Porsche seats I have sat in were better. The backseat was shockingly roomy and has it's own auto climate control and 2 USB ports. The trunk is very small for an SUV, but they give you a power trunk standard. Not standard is push button start!

I have not driven many SUVs, but I felt the driving position was lower than a RAV4 and ease of access and exit was harder IMO than a RAV4 because of the side seat bolsters. This should be expected before buying.

I didn't think I was going to like it, but I liked it more than my brother in law's Cayenne GTS because it is much more fun to drive. I'd give it a 9/10. You feel special when you own a Porsche as opposed to a Mercedes or BMW, so I think the $47k starting price is well worth it.

SUC decision?

We purchased a 2012 AWD Enclave "Leather Edition" in May 2017; it had around 53,000 miles at the time. When we test drove it the onboard info system showed the MPG to be 18.8. I figured that maybe it's low because it had been doing short trips around the dealership parking lot and/or maybe some brutal test drives. I thought with some normal driving it would easily jump up into the 20's. WRONG. We put about 20 miles/day with approx six miles of the round trip at 55 MPH, the rest is stop/start city, drop kids off at school type driving. We rarely use the remote start option except for on the frostiest or snowiest days. Weeks that we've used the remote start a handful of times we'll average around 14 MPG; weeks without using remote start we'll get mid 15 MPG. On extended (200 + miles) highway trips we're lucky to get 21 MPG using the cruise control set at 70 MPH. If I had known the mileage was going to be this abysmal, I'd have purchased a higher mileage 3/4 ton truck for what we paid for the Enclave.

As noted by the original poster, the headrests are awfull. Other dislikes include unuseable cup holders in the door trim panels, unless you only drink from 12 oz. cans; the middle seats do not recline far enough for the kids to be comfortable (probably a safety mandated design) and those seat bottoms are too low/close to the floor which makes hip and knee angles uncomfortable for a long trip.

We bought the Enclave to replace our '98 Pontiac Transport Ext. that had a little over 205,000 miles on it. In my opinion, the Transport was much more "user friendly" vehicle. The only thing the Enclave has over the Transport is the quiet and smooth ride. Had the Transport not been sooooo rusty (where'd my rocker panels go?) I'd have stuck money into it to keep it on the road. Michigan's salty winter roads really take their toll on vehicles.

Our buyer's remorse is lessening the longer we own it, we love the quiet, smooth ride and the sure-footedness of the AWD and in the looks department it really is appealing to the eye. However, I really feel the shortcomings outweigh the glam factor. I like the vehicle, I just feel that for the money we spent, we could have found something more likeable.

Lovely to look at, and fun to drive, but with some major issues.

My response is late, but maybe helpful to someone in the future.

I currently lease a 2015 Genesis 3.8 RWD, and I would not recommend this car as a commuter car based on the terrible gas mileage (19 mpg, mostly highway miles) and the lack of performance.

The car weights as much as a whale, and the transmission is programmed to mask the weight penalty - there is nothing even remotely sporty about the way it works, even in "Sport" mode. It's programmed to get gas mileage, and I have found myself wanting for power on numerous occasions. This car has 311 HP, but feels a lot more sluggish than a 2010 Passat I owned, which was a 2.0 turbo four cylinder with FWD. I also have several reliability issues that have been acknowledged by three different Hyundai dealers, with 8 attempts to fix these issues ? over 8 weeks in different shops ? and no resolution on any of them. This is the worst car I have driven, short of the Nissan Versa I got as a rental car from Hyundai while they spent 10 days trying to fix an issue (unsuccessfully I should add).

Performance Commuter Sedan

The Edge and MKX are exactly the same car. Like everyone else has said so far, the 2007-2008 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX were very unreliable. The engine was known for stalling, the $3,200 transmission is prone to failing, and the funniest issue is that the tailights and turn signal bulbs are known to melt and some have caught fire. Many people buy this car because it had cool styling for the time. Don't fall for it for these years.

However, the 2009-2010 Edge and MKX were reliable. 2011-2013 had door sensor malfunctions, which is very annoying, but not a safety problem.

My top alternative would be a Toyota Highlander, though it may be hard to find one in your price range. They are the most reliable. Every year.

The Mazda CX-9s were reliable during 2008-2015. The CX-9 is based on the Edge, but as Consumer Reports says, "Overall, it is a bit of a hidden gem. Based on a stretched version of the platform of the Ford Edge, the Mazda is quieter, more agile, and has a nicer interior with attractive trim." In 2007, Mazda used the engine and powertrain from the Ford and instantly had problems. The next year, Mazda used their own V6 powertrain and the problems vanished. The #1 problem is a brake booster failure, but it only costs $500 and Mazda extended the warranty coverage for it.

All Honda Pilots 2006 and newer are reliable, too. Don't go earlier or you'll have a failing transmission.

family car

Agree with Dnslater. Some more details about 2008 - the Ford Edge that year was not paricularly reliable. Consumer Reports notes many transmission and drivetrain issues that model year. 2010 was a much better model year for that car with fewer problems overall everywhere.

For the Lincoln MKX it is one of the worst cars as far as reliablity goes. For that car they compare models, and the Lincoln takes fourth from last with a score of 19% (just above the Tesla Model X which took dead last at 7%). Best in this catagory was the Audi Q7 at 78%.

So neither car is particularly reliable according to CU, but if you get two years younger with a 2010 Edge you might get a decent one that does not give you too much trouble.

family car

I believe these cars are mechanically identical. Same drivetrain. Same interior/exterior dimensions, etc.... The main difference was that the MKX had a nicer interior, more luxury features, and more sound deadening. Will all of these bells and whistles, there is also possibly more that could go wrong, so pay attention to condition with either option.

family car

Our 2017 CR-V AWD Touring replaced a 2015 AWD CR-V that was totaled in July 2016 accident (no injuries, fortunately - Honda's ACE isn't just hype, it REALLY works).

Because we owned the last gen, also a Touring AWD with the 2.4l engine and, now, the current generation with the 1.5l turbo, so I'll do a brief comparison of the two.

First, and most importantly - the 2017 CR-V has been absolutely troublefree for 16700 miles; absolutely no problems, rattles, squeeks, just 2 normal oil/filter services.

Engine: The 1.5l turbo, though just slightly more powerful than the 2.4l, is significantly more powerful, thanks to a much lower peak torque RPM. This really makes a difference, especially off idle and when passing at speed. I've also towed a trailer at just about the maximum tow rating of 1750 pounds several times up into the Sierra foothills with no performance issues.

Transmission: I'm still not a big fan of CVTs, but the CR-V transmission is probably the best of its type. It rarely drones and is generally unobtrusive. I have noticed very occassional "interesting" behavior when slowing almost to a stop and then accellerating. It's similar to the jerkiness that occurs with a conventional transmission when they get "caught" between gears but it happens so rarely that it's not a big concern.

Handling: A bit bettet than the last gen. I can't call handling "sporty" but it is solid, predictable and confidence-inspiring. Steering weight and feel is much improved over the 2015.

Interior & Infotainment: I've read reviews that say the interior doesn't have the look and feel of a vehicle of around $35000 (for the touring model) but, it's so much better than the 2015 interior that there's really no comparison. The ivory and black intetior looks and feels great and front and back seats are comfortable on long drives.

Android auto works so well (w/Samsung S8) that I rarely use Honda's navigation or voice recognition systems. That said, the display is responsive and most features are easiiy accessed but Honda's voice recognition system really needs work.

Honda Sensing: Honda's suite of driver assistance systems works well and is so much better than that in the 2015 that it's hard to believe there's only 2 years between the systems. Adaptive cruise control now takes the car from speed down to a dead stop, starting up again with a tap of the accelerator or steering wheel control. It makes SoCal's traffic miserable traffic almost fun, or at least tolerable. Emergency braking is more effective and less intrusive. Lane centering is better, too, but still not really ready for prime time.

Complaints: Not many, really. The Hankook tires are a perplexing combination of poor traction in dry, wet, and on gravel and they're not even all that quiet. Perhaps Hankook pays Honda for their use? The engine sound is odd - it sounds constricted, like the engine exhaust is pushing past a restriction. It is less noticeable now than when the car was new... or perhaps I'm just getting used to it! And, as noted earlier. Honda's voice recognition system is not all that accurate and takes too many vommands to pergorm basic functions. Too bad Android Auto can't control vehicle systems because it's a far superior interface.

How do you like it?

You should really start at MSRP and work your way down. This applies for main stream cars and trucks and not special edition or limited run vehicles.

Anything less than $2,000 discount is what you can see as lease loyalty bonus to a returning customer. It is really chump change when most cars are $3,000-14,000 off MSRP.

Priority Miss - Need More Cargo; Loved my Jetta Sportwagen...VW or Subaru?

I almost forgot... go through the Costco Auto Program if you don't have another secret method of buying a car. I built a 2018 Golf Alltrack 1.8L SE with the DSG and the price comes out to $30,480, which is $1400 off the MSRP. A Regal TourX will save you the same amount regardless of trim. The 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring FWD (fully loaded not AWD) will come in at $29,478 or $1,200 off MSRP.

I've also heard TrueCar is helpful, though I've never used it.

Priority Miss - Need More Cargo; Loved my Jetta Sportwagen...VW or Subaru?


I really liked reading your review. To get it more visibility I hope you can post a comparison review of the two cars in the Review section of the site.

Priority Miss - Need More Cargo; Loved my Jetta Sportwagen...VW or Subaru?

Best time to buy a car is the end of a model year, to answer that new question you asked. For most cars the new model year starts in September. So if there is last year's model in October, that is when the best deals are. There are exceptions to this rule, however.

For example, the Buick Envision is being launched now in May 2018. That means right now you can get about $10,000 off on a 2018 Envision. I did. I sold my 12 year old Saab with 170,000 miles and got a fully loaded 2018 Envision about 25% off which is a huge bargin. I get a six speed automatic instead of a nine speed but that six speed has been in use for at least 9 years now and is very reliable. The engine dates back to 2012 so after six years the mildly redeisgned Saab engine (direct injection was added in 2012) is also very reliable. The Envision comes across as a reliable car and is pretty sporty (surprising me), and I needed the space so I bought it this past week at the huge discounts being offered.

Just look at when cars are launching and when it launches, by the last model year - dealers are trying to get rid of them as fast as possible. I did this with our Subaru (October 2013) and now with our Buick (April 2018) - saved about $8000 to $10,000 on each car.

Priority Miss - Need More Cargo; Loved my Jetta Sportwagen...VW or Subaru?

Mazda dashboards and interior are MUCH better than they were before 2014. I didn't like the interior of older Mazdas. Car thefts can happen in the safest of neighborhoods, so I have bought retractable cargo covers with both of my Prii. They work very well. I can never understand how people live with the cheap liftable cargo covers that eliminate half of the trunk. They are just something to bang your head into. If your car does have this, you can either remove the liftable cover by detaching or cutting the wires and then installing a retractable one, so you can choose which one you want after buying the car.

For the best time to buy, it seems like VW always has a "sales event." Like Norm said, July is a great time to buy as well as Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday weekend, and Christmas. Dealers start the push to move their 2018 models off to make room for the 2019s at around October. Mondays are the best time to buy a car because nobody buys cars on Mondays. Salesmen struggle to get sales on Mondays.

I can't stress this enough: Sell your car through a private party. The dealer gives you much less for your car than it is worth, almost always. Selling yourself means you set the price. To be safe, just don't meet up at your own home; go to a parking lot.

The CX-5 is 1.5" wider than the Golf.

Priority Miss - Need More Cargo; Loved my Jetta Sportwagen...VW or Subaru?

Since the Buick TourX is new on the block and since NormT keeps bring up all things Buick, I thought I would share my recent driving impressions here.I drove a TourX for about 15 minutes on freeway and city streets. IMO it is a very nice car! Here are my impressions compared to my 2015 Outback Limited 2.5i with 20 mm RSB Comfort:

TourX ride is significantly smoother, less wind noise, tire noise about same. Seats have better bolstering then OB and fit me better. OB seats are very comfortable, perhaps better for a large person, but also somewhat flat.

Handling: TourX corners flatter and is more responsive. Even though car is bigger, it drives small than OB whhich seems somewhat ponderous in comparison.

Engine transmission: I have never driven the OB H6. TourX's engine & tranny were very responsive, engine is quite strong up to 85 mph and transmission quite seemless. OB's CVT is also very smooth & seemless except when you floor it.

Interior: I feel that the OB interior (2015) is nicer by small margin, I didn't care for TourX chrome / piano black treatment and suspect sunlight reflection/glare could be an issue plus I thinik it will be a magnify dust and fingerprints thus making it fussy to keep looking nice. Back seat is spacious and comfortable in both, back footwell space is huge in Buick.

Cargo area: TourX it has significantly longer cargo area - about 10-12" longer - looks huge with seats down, seats fold flat. Width is similar, but OB height is about 6" taller in center. TourX will accomodate long items better than OB, but OB will swallow tall items better.

Exterior: TourX looks larger on outside than dimensions suggest, it is a BIG Wagon! Given its length, low ground clearance and somewhat low roof ling it is pretty handsome rig overall. But personally I don't care for all the chrome trim around foglights, tailpipes.... Despite it's size it drives relatively small.

Amenities: The OB Limited and the TourX Essence are both loaded with all the amenities you would hope for in this price range. However, the very desirable driver safety aids such as Adaptable Cruise, Cross Traffic Warning are standard on top of line OBs where as they are a option that adds almost $3K to the price of the top line Buick. Definite demerit for the TourX.

Pricing: To get similar features to the OB 3..6R Limited the TourX it's about MSPR is about $2,700 more than 6 cyl OB. However, at this price the TourX has a few additional features including panoramic sunroof, remote start, auto dimming mirror and better warranty (4 yr/50,000 mi basic, 6 yr/70,000 mi powertrain vs OB's 3/36 - 5/60). IMO the OB offers more bang for the buck

Overall: I have never owned or desired a GM car. Volvo, Honda, Subaru, & VW/Audi have been my go to brands.
But, IF I were in the market for large AWD wagon such as a 6 cyl OB, IF ground clearance was not a concern, and IF I had $40K to spend, the TourX would be a tough real competitor for this 3 time Subaru owner.
But, since I am content with the OB 4 cyl engine the TourX pricing makes in much less competitive; definitely less tempting for me, especially considering fully equipped TourX about $10K more than a similarly equipped 4 cyl Outback.

Priority Miss - Need More Cargo; Loved my Jetta Sportwagen...VW or Subaru?

VW is trying to put people in their car seats so anytime might be good. Most manufacturers are trying to make sales right through December before years end and seems like one of the best times. Expect sames on July 4th weekend too.

But an older, out going model can yield disconuts any time of the year.

Priority Miss - Need More Cargo; Loved my Jetta Sportwagen...VW or Subaru?

I really appreciate all your thoughtful and detail insights!
I will definitely test drive the CX-5 and the Buick TourX, if only to compensate for my approach last time. The extra 3 " for the Buick is probably a deal breaker..as well as the fact that it (sorry) I just don't feel warm about the brand.

I have to say that during the period (2009) that I found my jetta sportwagen, the Mazda dashboard was too video-gamey for me. I'm curious to see how it is now, as that does also play in...
I'm lucky in that I love my ride now, except that it just does not offer enough cargo space for my real life.

One other thing that is important to me is that the cargo area have a retractible cover. Not an annoyingly stiff plastic cover like the Golf but a pull over one, like my old Jetta.
In Balti, every night it seems someone checks your car out to see if there is anything of interest. The best line of defense is to leave nothing exposed.and when you do have a big load, with a retractable, you don't need to worry about where the cover goes.With the current hard plastic Golf cover almost anything bumps it out of place and there's the annoyance of where to put it:-)

Time is on my side, right?
Does anyone know which months are best for buying?
Does it matter that VW just changed their lead? (Will the stock improve?) I have tried googling what the 2019s will look like, and so far I've been repulsed!

Priority Miss - Need More Cargo; Loved my Jetta Sportwagen...VW or Subaru?

The early Macan had a unusal result in CR Emergency Lane change test locking up the tires and leading to a 51.5 mph top speed where Buick Envision Prem went through at 55.5 mph.

Porsche Macan Behaves Strangely in Consumer Reports' Accident-Avoidance Maneuver Test - Consumer Reports News

The 2019 RDX would be my first choice since it looks to be the first competitive Acura in a while. I've never loved any Acura even though I love Hondas, but this one seems like it will be great and it is something different from the common Mercedes or BMW. First year reliability will be poor I'm guessing since they have changed everything. Or you could get a 2017/18 RDX, but it is transitioning from "old" to "ancient." On the bright side, the current ancient model will be more reliable than any other option in the segment aside from the Lexus NX300 and you'll get some big discounts. Dealers will want to move these off the lots.

My second pick would be a CPO used GLC300 because it is has a nice balance of handling and luxury like most Mercedes' do. It's Motor Trend's SUV of the year and Consumer Reports really likes it. Much better than the old GLK. The interior is very nice.

The MKC is a glorified Ford Escape. Reliability has been bad since it debuted and there are so many better options.

I like the new 2019 QX50, though the interior is already sort of dated. The engine technology is very interesting though. Reliability will probably be even worse than the MKC.

The used Porsche Macan is a good choice if you want an engaging driving experience. My dad has a 2014 Panamera and hasn't had any problems since he bought it. It's a very solid car and is lots of fun. The Macan is just an upright version of a 911 and is the sporties option on the list. It isn't the one you should buy if you want the most comfort or utility. Since it doesn't provide much utility and it is an SUV, it defeats the purpose of owning an SUV in the first place. Because of this I'd get a Cayenne which has a similar starting price. My brother in law used to own a 2015 Cayenne GTS, which is more like a track car. He loved the car before it got rear ended and bent the frame.

I doubt you'll be able to find a 2019 RDX because I don't think they are on sale. I'd pick up a used CPO GLC300. Another one you should add to the list is the 2017+ Audi Q5. It is the perfect balance of sportiness and comfort. Audi is the most reliable of the German brands along with Porsche (VW brands), but they will still be expensive to fix. If you don't want to pay for many (expensive) repairs, the current Lexus NX300 F Sport or Acura RDX are worth a shot. The Envision will not provide any steering feedback or sense of fun. It doesn't ever seem like NormT reads what the OP wants, and his response was no different. The Lexus is a little more responsive, but still numb. A great budget alternative is the 2018 Mazda CX-5. It offers a very nice interior and is quiet, but also is more fun to drive than the GLC300, NX, Envision, and MKC.

SUC decision?