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Thread: Another "What Car?" thread - Family Load Lugger

  1. #1
    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    Another "What Car?" thread - Family Load Lugger

    I'm currently exploring options for a "new" family load lugger - the most basic requirement being the ability to carry 5 adults and luggage in relative comfort (so an MX5 unfortunately doesn't make the cut), budget is approx £5-6k and an annual mileage of 20k. I would prefer an auto but not a must and some of the auto choices below seem to have some reliability question marks (i.e. VAG's DSG etc), so was open to manual options in those cases. The shortlisted choices are ;

    BMW 5 Series Touring (E61) 2007 onwards LCI (520d, 530d or 535d, M-Sport/SE spec, Auto)
    Audi A6 Avant (C6) 2008 onwards facelift (2.0TDI, 2.7TDI or 3.0TDI, S-Line/Le Man spec preferred, Manual or Auto/S-tronic??)
    Mercedes E Class Estate (W211) 2006 onwards facelift (E220cdi, E280cdi or E320cdi, Sport or Avantgarde Spec, Auto/G-Tronic)
    Skoda Superb Estate (B6/3T) 2009 onwards (2.0TDI, Elegance or L&K spec, Manual or DSG??)

    Into this mix I have also addedÖ.
    Honda CRV 2007 onwards (2.2 CDTI, EX spec preferred, manual option only within budget)
    Hyundai Santa Fe 2008 onwards (2.2TD, Premium spec, Auto - though this maybe slightly over budget)

    At the budget, there are high mileage Merc W212s, BMW F11s and Audi C7s available but I'm not sure I want to go there......

    I'm willing to sacrifice some fuel efficiency for performance (i.e. 520d vs 530d or E220d vs E320d etc.), However in this range and budget, ultimately it's probably going to boil down to availability and an individual car's spec and condition.
    It will be replacing an elderly 8 seater Toyota Landcruiser, so whilst I am used to a large vehicle, would like a bit more comfort and refinement (must be getting old!), and don't really need the 7/8 seat option any longer.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Master
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    Until recently I had a W211 E55 AMG & it was a great car.
    It was very stereo typically Mercedes and all the good & bad that brings, well built, very refined in my case huge torque, but hilarious handling & expensive parts & servicing costs.
    I picked this over the equivalent M5, RS6 estates because it was cheaper to buy, more reliable/less weak points & also significantly bigger load carrying.
    I can't remember the exact numbers but I seem to recall that the Merc & Volvo are 40-50% bigger load carrying space than the 5 series & A6.

    However, based on what you've said I would choose a 530i.
    I had one of these for a month back in 2009 & remember thinking it was the perfect mix of everything, fast yet still 30mpg, fun yet still refined, enough space, etc....

  3. #3
    Master
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    Well I have both the Skoda Superb 2.0L 150bhp SEL-Exec(hatch not estate though) and E Class Merc 220 blutec and hands down, running costs, the Skoda wipes the floor with the Mercedes. I get about 32mpg around town out of the Mercedes while the Skoda returns about 44mpg. Both are autos. Itís the same again on a motorway run. I did a run to Heathrow yesterday and after the 320 mile round trip I averaged 57mpg (indicated) in the Mercedes. The same run in the Skoda would see me getting 65+ mpg.
    The rear legroom in the Skoda is simply amazing. Much more legroom than in the Mercedes. Boot wise they are very similar in size although the Mercedes wins in that the seats fold down flat. They donít in the Skoda.
    I think personally the Merc is the nicer car to drive. I much prefer the driving position in the Mercedes, although in fairness neither is a bad place to be on a long run.

  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    Red face

    For that sort of money you could get a LR Discovery 3 such as this;

    https://www.disco3.co.uk/forum/sale-...ue-181007.html

    I'll get my coat.

  5. #5
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    I think a Ford S-Max fits the bill, 5 full seats and a massive boot.

    I've had one for the last couple of years and would buy another without hesitation.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses, so far.

    Yes, I did think that the Skoda would have the lowest running costs out of those choices. However the "feel-good" factor would be higher with the Audi/BMW/Merc options, they look better and the cabins seem a nicer place to spend time - all IMHO of course.

    The SMAX was originally on the short list but the auto option (Powershift) seems to be a bit of a minefield - so, yes, probably should have stayed on the shortlist in manual form.

    To add: My head says Skoda Superb/Ford SMAX/Honda CRV, whilst my heart says Merc E320cdi/BMW 535d/Audi 3.0TDi

  7. #7
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    My S-Max isn't powershift, it's the 2.2D 200bhp model which uses the torque converter auto box I believe. The powershift one couldn't handle the torque - that's what I read anyway.
    I also heard bad things about the powershift boxes.

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  8. #8
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    Of what the OP listed, I'd go for the Skoda Superb, it really is a cavernous, practical, refined, comfortable do it all car at good value for money.

    My slightly left-field offering would be a Subaru Legacy Tourer, which should add a little more fun into the equation and 4WD in case that is of use since you are coming from a Landcruiser, but saying that, the Skoda offer a 4WD version too.

    We also had a Honda Civic Tourer, for a class below size of car it was massive, the back seat space wasn't quite Audi A6 size but the boot was every bit as big. That ticked most boxes too.

    But picking one, I'd go Skoda.

  9. #9
    Craftsman
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    I would also throw the Ford Mondeo Estate into the mix.

    I have been running a 2012 Titanium X Estate for the last 6 years and 120,000 miles. It is a fabulous load lugger, being a similar size to the Skoda. Mine has been an extremely reliable, comfortable friend, taking family, bikes and luggage from Scotland to the French alps on a number of occasions - and will do so again this year. Of all the big diesel estates, I think the Mondeo (surprisingly) one of the most handsome, and is good fun to drive for such a big car. Cheap as chips to run too.

  10. #10
    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    You're quite right - the Mondeo is a worthy choice. However I'm trying to whittle down the choice rather than expand. So if I was to add the Mondeo, then I should probably add the Honda Accord, Toyota Avensis, VW Passat, Mazda 6 and so on.....

    I've tried to limit the choices to the ones I "like" or standout in some way or other. IYKWIM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
    For that sort of money you could get a LR Discovery 3 such as this;

    https://www.disco3.co.uk/forum/sale-...ue-181007.html

    I'll get my coat.

    What he said

  12. #12
    Honda CR-V every time. Bullit-proof and more loading capacity than a Volvo V70 (we had one before the Honda, talking from experience here).

    4x4 system is nice, but adds nothing to normal road use. Donít bother. We have the 2.2 diesel manual. Doing 7 ltrs/100 km (40 mpg if my maths are correct).

  13. #13
    Craftsman
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    In fairness, my suggestion was a bit tongue in cheek and probably not really for the OP. To run an older landy you need a certain mindset and unless you are lucky, a good indy and potentially deep pockets.

  14. #14
    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
    In fairness, my suggestion was a bit tongue in cheek and probably not really for the OP. To run an older landy you need a certain mindset and unless you are lucky, a good indy and potentially deep pockets.
    Thanks. As a long term Landcruiser enthusiast and owner (16+ years), I have a slight allergy to Land Rover products....

  15. #15
    Craftsman
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    similar requirements and budget i bought a Ph3 volvo v70 diesel. 2008, D5 se lux 64k miles 6k private. Had it a month ad 4500 miles and there is a lot to like, 43mpg cheap ford share parts very comfy and a proper estate type boot.


    of your short list A6 but the all road, better type of private Seller.
    Last edited by MCFastybloke; 22nd May 2019 at 17:28.

  16. #16
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    Former 04 E Class Estate 270D owner, now 61 F11 520D
    The comfort of the Merc is unsurpassed.
    In contrast, the Beemer feels rough, not helped with run flat.
    However the BMW is much nicer to drive as soon as the road starts to twist and turn. Itís actually impressive how fast it will corner without any body roll or tyre screaming.
    Volume is smaller but still quite generous.
    If I had found one I would have gone for the 530 D but I privileged lower mileage.
    Donít bother with Merc dealers services, find an independent you can trust, except for the fact that you benefit from Merc assistance across Europe and itís excellent. Not tried Bmw yet, not sure I will bother.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  17. #17
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    VW Touran/Sharan? Easier to park compared with estate vehicles, driving position is more natural to human body, especially on the long runs, DSG is an option, 7 seats if needed....

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  18. #18
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    Keep the LC! One of the comfiest cars Iíve owned, loved mine and with 187,000 miles just nicely run in


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  19. #19
    I ran a Volvo V70, followed by a 1.9tdi Touran - and the Touran was so good I replaced it with another. Loads of room inside, shorter than the V70 but had 7 seats (rarely used but stowed flat), removable seats so it could be a proper van - and all 3 in the middle row all separately removable too. Looks a bit an like and thatís why itís so roomy. Also drove like a golf, sipped diesel and was well equipped. Iíd have another in an instant but I donít need the space any more


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  20. #20
    We have a Superb and an A6, but both in saloon shape. For pure value and size the Superb can't be beaten. We use it as our main family car with crisps and sweets all over it and it has been good. We have the 4x4 model and it performs great in the winter, especially with winter tyres. However if it was up to me and running costs weren't a big factor I'd go for the A6. It's just a nicer place to be and has that touch of quality on the dials/buttons. I've heard some stories about the 2.7tdi engines having tapet issues, so would go for the 3.0 TDI, which will give you 4x4 and be plenty quick enough. Find a good local specialist to reduce costs.

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    Last edited by sjdavies47; 22nd May 2019 at 21:31.

  21. #21
    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    Thanks again for the responses and in answer to some comments;

    The current front runners are Audi A6 Avant/Allroad and E Class Estate. However the sensible side of me keeps saying that a Skoda Superb or Honda CRV would be a better bet. Being sensible doesn't always make you happy though, does it?

    Few years back, I used to be a fan of MPVs and genuinely would have preferred an S-Max or Touran over an estate car, however recently I have gone the other way - must be a age thing.

    I'll be keeping the LC, though it will be semi-retired from family load-lugging duties.

  22. #22
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    I did consider the Superb, but it was struck off by Mrs SJ on the grounds of aesthetics.
    Comfort wise the space is vast but the seats and ride are rather firm, too.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  23. #23
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adversary View Post
    VW Touran/Sharan? Easier to park compared with estate vehicles,

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    How so? Most vehicles come with parking sensors these days so I donít see how an MPV would be easier to park than an estate.

  24. #24
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    For example, äkoda Superb estate lenght is 4856mm, Touran lenght is 4527mm. That's what I had in mind, if one should even consider that.

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  25. #25
    Master amnesia's Avatar
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    I've had two versions of the W211 E Class... My curent V6 version with the 7 speed box is night and day more refined than the older straight 6 and 5 speed slushbox.

    The optional rear facing seats in the estate are very practical.
    I doubt you'll beat the E Class legroom in the back.

  26. #26
    Master
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    One of your requirements is comfort and yet the four estates in your list are all German which in my experience normal means a fairly harsh ride. (And yes I know one of them is nominally Czech but is it really that different mechanically from a Passat or an A6?)

  27. #27
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    We have a 2009 Honda CRV which is reliable and adaptable for different loads it's just about perfect.

  28. #28
    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    Fair point. However I don't want to (potentially) sacrifice reliability for comfort - hence there are no Citroen C5s or Peugeot 508s etc. (Not sure whether that is true today, as it was a few years back).

    I think the S-Line (Audi) and M-Sport (BMW) and Sport (Merc) specifications provide firmer suspension with larger wheels and usually results in a harsher ride*. I do like the aesthetics of these though - so willing to compromise somewhat.

    * My LC currently has upgraded suspension with a 50mm lift and light truck (LT) rated All-Terrain (AT) tyres, so I'm used to what most would consider as a very harsh ride - on the plus side; speed bumps - what speed bumps? Potholes - what potholes?

  29. #29
    Iím on my second Skoda Superb. Iíve currently got a 2.0TDi DSG Elegance saloon which Iíve had for 5 years now (itís a 13 plate I bought when it was 1 year old). I couldnít be happier with it. The only issue Iíve had was a faulty battery which was replaced under warranty. There is loads of room in the back for the kids and plenty of luggage space. The ride is very good too.

  30. #30
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    Fair point. However I don't want to (potentially) sacrifice reliability for comfort - hence there are no Citroen C5s or Peugeot 508s etc. (Not sure whether that is true today, as it was a few years back).

    I think the S-Line (Audi) and M-Sport (BMW) and Sport (Merc) specifications provide firmer suspension with larger wheels and usually results in a harsher ride*. I do like the aesthetics of these though - so willing to compromise somewhat.

    * My LC currently has upgraded suspension with a 50mm lift and light truck (LT) rated All-Terrain (AT) tyres, so I'm used to what most would consider as a very harsh ride - on the plus side; speed bumps - what speed bumps? Potholes - what potholes?
    So are external aesthetics more important than comfort? Number 1 priority for a successful project or procurement, make sure you understand your requirements and their relative priorities fully.

    Surely comfortable load lugger screams Volvo, and they are pretty good looking too.

    You are right about the wheels though. I dropped our Saab 9-5 Estate (great car and you can take your pick and some for your budget) from 16s to 15s and not only is the ride fantastic but the tyres are less than half the price like for like. (And as a classic car fan I have no problem with seeing some sidewall).

  31. #31
    Friend of mine has a Honda Accord Tourer.

    Itís a 62 plate and he bought it when it was a year old.

    Itís a diesel (not sure of the engine size) but it seems to me to have plenty of power.

    Heís not the kindest of drivers but it hasnít missed a beat.

    The boot is on the large size.

    Might be worth a look.....

  32. #32
    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    Thanks - the Honda Accord Tourer 2.2. CDTi was also originally on the list, however diesel auto ones are relatively rare (compared to others on the list) and the boot isn't that big in comparison either (>500l). I'm not that keen on the over-styled exterior - though the interior is fine.

  33. #33
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    ... I'm not that keen on it having been given a good hard beating with the ugly stick - though the interior is fine.
    Fixed.

  34. #34
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    Avoid Japanese diesels they all seem to have issues.
    Look at a Lexus RX400H, spacious, decent economy, reliable as hell and prices are in your ballpark. Also things like Prius+ or avens is hybrid might be options.
    If you want a diesel then Iíd go for a merc as they seem to have less issues than bmw or vw engines / gearboxes.
    Mondeo is ok but powershift box is apparently a dog.



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  35. #35
    Master
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    I'm a CRV fan boy so that's where my money would be going.

    Or failing that, an XC90.

  36. #36
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by amnesia View Post
    I doubt you'll beat the E Class legroom in the back.
    You have to go to an S Class Merc to match the legroom of the Skoda Superb. I have both the E Class and the Superb and my dad has a 2007 S Class. Itís much closer between the S Class and the Skoda than it is between the E Class and Skoda.

  37. #37
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy67 View Post
    One of your requirements is comfort and yet the four estates in your list are all German which in my experience normal means a fairly harsh ride. (And yes I know one of them is nominally Czech but is it really that different mechanically from a Passat or an A6?)
    It depends on what model you spec. When I was buying my Merc the dealer was really pushing the AMG night edition on me but I was buying the car as a taxi so I wanted comfort over looks and chose the SE instead. Itís a really comfortable car. 3 years and 110,000 miles later and people are still commenting on how smooth and comfortable it is.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by julian2002 View Post
    Avoid Japanese diesels they all seem to have issues.
    Look at a Lexus RX400H, spacious, decent economy, reliable as hell and prices are in your ballpark. Also things like Prius+ or avens is hybrid might be options.
    If you want a diesel then Iíd go for a merc as they seem to have less issues than bmw or vw engines / gearboxes.
    Mondeo is ok but powershift box is apparently a dog.



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    My CR-V diesel's been fine, never heard of issues either.

    Ford diesels always sound like tractors in comparison.

  39. #39
    Master
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    E320 would be just dandy for that. I love our e55 estate but for 20k miles pa that would be alot of money on fuel. Lots of mb forumites do huge miles in these 211 and I wold be very happy to as well.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    My CR-V diesel's been fine, never heard of issues either.

    Ford diesels always sound like tractors in comparison.
    Indeed. The local Honda dealer had an Accord diesel in the shop for (simple) maintenance. 325K miles on the clock! Items replaced in its life: water pump twice and a radiator (first one got holed), and a lot of rubbers and linkages on the suspension. The interior looked as if it could do with a spruce-up though.

  41. #41
    Master amnesia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaytip View Post
    You have to go to an S Class Merc to match the legroom of the Skoda Superb. I have both the E Class and the Superb and my dad has a 2007 S Class. Itís much closer between the S Class and the Skoda than it is between the E Class and Skoda.

    Well, that is... indeed... er... Superb !

    Not sure I'd want to own a £5k S Class though... too much potential for HUGE bills.

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