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Old 05-20-2014, 11:21 AM   #1
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Default Family car to go with our SQ5?

We are expecting our first child in October, so that's why we decided to sell my wife's BMW 128i and get an SUV last year. Our plan is to have one more child in the next couple of years. So based on our plans at most, we are looking at a family of 4 down the road.

I currently drive my 2005 Lexus IS300 as our daily commuter and our SQ5 is our weekend car. At some point, we will replace my IS300 with a different commuter car. My wife and I carpool to work; our daily commute is around 30-40 miles roundtrip, so it's not bad. Since my SQ5 can be a gas guzzler, I would like something that gets better gas mileage for my daily commute. Based on the potential size of our family, I'm probably looking for a mid-sized sedan as a replacement.

The boring option would be getting something like a Prius to get 40+ MPG. In a perfect world, I would be able to drive something fun with great fuel economy. With the US obsession with hybrid engines, my initial instincts were to look at hybrid options. However I was only recently introduced to diesel engines as an alternative. We've never purchased a diesel engine before, but last year when we dropped off my wife's 128i for maintenance they gave us a loaner BMW 335d. I'm not a huge BMW fan, because I hate their plasticy minimalist interiors, but I'll have to admit that car was FUN to drive, with it's 400+ torque. With that kind of power and potentially 30+MPG on mixed driving have me definitely intrigued. I loved that combination, except they dropped it after the 2012 model year. Is there anything comparable in Audi's lineup or in the market in general? The only TDI I have driven was an Audi A8 TDI, and that was to get an idea of what the TDI engine felt like when we were deciding on our Q5. While it drove very smoothly and comfortably, it definitely didn't have that same instant low-end torque I enjoyed in the 335d. I know in the US, Audi doesn't make an S model with a TDI engine, are there any plans for ones? Do they even currently have any Audi S models in Europe with a TDI engine (besides the SQ5)?

What options would you guys suggest? I know the Tesla has been getting raving reviews. But that may be a little pricey as a Prius alternative, but I'm open to all suggestions while I weigh my options. At the earliest, I'm probably looking at 1-2 years from now, so I'm still in the very early stages of my research. Thanks for any opinions and input you guys may have.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:47 AM   #2
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Default How about straight electric?

If you live in the Pacific Gouge and Electric rate area like me, you are probably in tiered electric pricing. Maybe you have Sacto Municipal though? If you look into it, you may find you get a cheap rate in setting up an electric vehicle charger at home, including if the use bleeds over to other power you consume. A hidden benefit that can go beyond just the car depending on exactly your rate structure and options.

If I went that way, rather than the big bucks Tesla (similar to an A8 once you load it up) that are oh so the current fashion du jour mobile here in the SF Peninsula--where fashion rides change every 12-18 months--what about the Leaf or a variety of others at much cheaper price points? You say it's just a commuter car, so why pay way, way up to a luxury class big boat as long as you are w/in range comfortably for errands and work round trip recharging? Plus, as you likely know in CA, pure electrics give you access to the white carpool lane stickers for years still to come for solo driving too, and those aren't capped. Finally, a variety of public do gooder charging stations are around handing out free power to help save the planet, so why not take advantage of free or subsidized juice. Here in the Bay Area people now fight over them with more electrics being sold, especially ones like the Leaf in more volume. Often the spaces are very close in too, another source of increasing friction at ballparks and such, especially when folks don't even bother to connect the cord!

To your other theme about diesel, if you want more interesting, how about the new A3 once it hits in TDI form? Or various of the TDI VW products perhaps?
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:06 PM   #3
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The first and currently the only model S with TDI engine on offer of the Audi is SQ5
There are no announcements there will be more an S model with a TDI engine
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:28 PM   #4
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I also drove an A8 TDI prior to ordering and taking delivery of my 2014 A6 TDI prestige. The A6 has much more lower end grunt (more torque plus less weight to move around). In 18k miles of a 50/50 mix of in town bumper to bumper and hwy (at about 78-80 mph), my calculated fuel economy is 30.95 mpg. I was at Quattro de Mayo 2 weeks ago and between the TDI and the 20' sport package, I had no difficulty staying with both an S7 and a new Corvette in the twisties and straights. I'd suggest test driving an A6 or A7 TDI rather than the A8.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MP4.2+6.0 View Post
To your other theme about diesel, if you want more interesting, how about the new A3 once it hits in TDI form? Or various of the TDI VW products perhaps?
The only problem there is that the A3 (and Golf/Jetta on the VW side of the fence) uses the 2.0 TDI which isn't comparable to a 35d. As it currently stands, the closest you'd be able to get to a 335d would be... a Q5 TDI. When the A4 TDIs hit the US, they'll be 2.0s as well, so I hear, so the Q5 is the smallest vehicle from VAG with the 3.0 TDI.

However, while the 2.0 TDIs aren't particularly fast, they should still have plenty of "scoot" -- and compared to the similar hybrid options, none of those will break records either. My wife still loves her 2004 Golf TDI (100hp 1.9L) and she's had insecure people in sporty cars feel the need to "beat her" to feel better about themselves after seeing how quick she moves off the line at lights. She'll lose to 60, but for getting up to typical traveling speeds it's more than sufficient and the torque can help make you feel like you're accelerating faster than you are.

Certainly worth a look, I'd say. Not sure how the current VW offerings are, especially with respect to transmission behavior (D on the Q5 will hesitate on giving you full power right away, but S has no problems with it), but TDI is a tried and true (and popular!) platform and should be easy to find models to try out. A3 of course will be hard to try out before it finally shows up next year, but the VW relatives should be a reasonable enough stand-in to see if there's any chance it'd work (or whether a VW would suffice).
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:48 PM   #6
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Default Relevant ones to try in V6 TDI are A6, A7 and Q5...

it's not really the weight of the A8 vs. the A6. A6's are relative porkers in general just like Q5's, and the bigger A8 all aluminum body pulls the weight back down. Rather, there are two states of tune on existing VW/Audi/Porsche 3.0TDI's. The older one soldiers on in the Q7 and the A8 (and the Cayenne+Touareg), while the newer one with more torque and a wider curve is in the Q5, A6 and A7.

Per other threads, these in turn are on the verge of being superseded by the next generation/update of the 3.0TDI, in both a lesser and greater tune variant, Euro SQ5 TDI variant aside.
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by NOLAessate View Post
I also drove an A8 TDI prior to ordering and taking delivery of my 2014 A6 TDI prestige. The A6 has much more lower end grunt (more torque plus less weight to move around). In 18k miles of a 50/50 mix of in town bumper to bumper and hwy (at about 78-80 mph), my calculated fuel economy is 30.95 mpg. I was at Quattro de Mayo 2 weeks ago and between the TDI and the 20' sport package, I had no difficulty staying with both an S7 and a new Corvette in the twisties and straights. I'd suggest test driving an A6 or A7 TDI rather than the A8.
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:42 PM   #8
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I'm in almost the exact situation as the OP. We have a 2-yr old with one along the way. We have the Q5 which fits our needs, and both me and my wife have commuter cars, mine is an '06 A3, my wife has an '04 IS300.

This is working for now, but if we ever need to have the Q5 in the shop, we would be hard pressed using one of our current cars. I've been toying with selling both, and like the OP getting an mid-size sedan.

here are my choices(in priority, and will probably buy used)

Audi A7: love the styling, but pricing is higher. I would need to get a 2013+ model as those came with the option for 3 row seating in the rear.

BMW 535(diesel or petrol): same diesel as the 335d mentioned by OP, but in a larger sedan. again pricing is high, so I would probably have to settle for the 528i or 535i used.

Audi A6: Looks very understated, maybe even a little boring but it's a solid choice. Would opt for the C7 version. price is probably the most in line, when considering what I need/want realistically.

Like MP4.2+6.0 mentioned, i also considered an electric, but I can't think of a mid-size electric that would fit my needs except the Tesla S, which would be out of my price range.

Oh, one other car that I am waiting to take a look at, is the Audi Q3. That may be an option since it will come out in a year or 2.

Last edited by dnt12q5; 05-20-2014 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:48 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the replies.

Let's start from the top, "MP4.2+6.0", I love your Ingolstadt picture of your Q5. I have a similar picture of my SQ5. Yup I have SMUD and I am definitely considering some of these electric options as well. California is definitely making things easier for electric car owners. While I could convince myself getting an electric car, I can't really see myself driving something like a Leaf. I guess that's where Tesla became so popular especially in the Silicon Valley. It jumped into a market that had no real competitors in an area with people with plenty of money. You ask why would spend so much and care so much about my daily commuter car, cuz in the end I'm probably going to be driving this car more than my SQ5. So wouldn't it make sense for your daily car to be something more comfortable? While my Tesla option was only an idea and probably way too pricey for me to justify for some of the same reasons you mentioned as my commuter car, I still want something I will enjoy driving. I guess that's my logic when looking at this commuter car. I'll probably go in the opposite direction when I'm hitting my midlife crisis, I'll probably get some sports car which gets 10MPG. Hahah.

As you have mentioned, the A3 TDI might be an option, plus I've also read there is also supposed to be an e-tron version of the A3 as well coming in 2015. I love how Audi gives you plenty of different engine options. Speaking of A3 TDI, I recently stumbled into our local Audi dealership and they had a 2011 Audi A3 TDI Wagon which was basically brand new. It was a model car Audi used for presentations and car shows, so it had less than 500 miles on it even though it was 3-4 years old. They said it was one-of-a-kind, which might be true for those kind of miles. The only problem was they were asking for basically brand new car prices ($32k+) for it. If I was seriously looking for a car today, I might have considered talking to them about it.

Not bad at all "NOLAessate", I didn't realize the A6 TDI gets you around 30MPG. That is a decent comparison with the 335d. I'll definitely have to take a closer look at the A6 TDI. I know I got an A6 3.0T loaner once and I definitely enjoyed that more than the A8 TDI, so I'm sure it's just the setup of the A6 versus the A8, since the A8 is more of a luxury cruising car aiming for a different market. The A7 TDI will probably be a little too expensive, but since I threw in the Tesla idea I guess that would be in the same ballpark if not cheaper.

"idale", yeah unfortunately the A3 TDI and potentially A4 TDI would be the 2.0 TDI. I guess first I'll have to determine if those cars are big enough for our needs, then at that point we'll see if that 2.0 TDI engine is enough power for my needs. I'm thinking for a daily commuter, that should be more than enough power. And if we go on road trips, we always have our SQ5 to load up. Plus like you were saying with your wife's car, it's that low-end torque that gets you accelerating for your normal daily driving. I've only heard great things about the TDI engine, so I definitely wanted to check it out at some point on an actual car I might actually consider buying (unlike the A8 TDI I test drove).
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dnt12q5 View Post
Audi A7: love the styling, but pricing is higher. I would need to get a 2013+ model as those came with the option for 3 row seating in the rear.

BMW 535(diesel or petrol): same diesel as the 335d mentioned by OP, but in a larger sedan. again pricing is high, so I would probably have to settle for the 528i or 535i used.
Audi A7: Three row seating? Are you talking about the Q7?
BMW 535d: Oh right, I forgot about this option. But if I go that route, then I'm looking at close to $60k which would be comparable to the A6 TDI. I'm not sure I want to spend that much.

If I'm being more realistic, I'm probably looking at something probably closer in the $40-50k range since I spent close to $60k already on the SQ5. I guess if I expand my options to used, then I have even more cars to consider. Hahah. Let's stick with the brand new car options first, otherwise we have too many cars to consider.
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:58 PM
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