People ask me my opinion about what kind of car to buy all the time. But never does that put pressure on me like it did when my mother-in-law to-be was looking for a new SUV. She wanted something not too big, but that could still carry everything from pets to antiques. Plus she wouldn't mind something on the luxury side of things either. That's how my boxer Roxy and I ended up spending a few hours Saturday in a newly leased BMW X3, a vehicle that I had recommended. Gulp.
The better half and I drove out to the Chicago suburbs in the 2005 Audi A4 Avant that is in the Autoblog Garage, but we had to run a bunch of errands with the dog out of her cage. Roxy, at seven months, is very good in the car, but I didn?t quite trust her in the Audi A4 without the kennel.
Plus, I figured she wouldn?t mind the wonderful weather with the X3?s giant sunroof. And I admit that I really wanted to try out the new vehicle in the family. The baby seat in the back is due to visiting nephews, and as you can see the 60/40 seats still gave Roxy plenty of room, even if we had a rugrat in tow. And believe it or not, many people buy their vehicles these days with both pets and children in mind.
I really love the X3?s cargo layout. Some people say it?s small but the real virtue is in how tall it is. Very awkward sized objects can easily fit in the back and the loading floor is nice and low. That allows people, like my fianc?e?s petite mother, to hoist grocery bags, luggage etc. without worry. There is also netting smartly placed in doors. This makes it much easier stuffing of junk without scraping the hands on plastic surfaces every time you reach for a snack or map.
The X3 was definitely a break from the Avant. There was no turbo, no stick and no easy steering. However, it was surprising to be reminded of how heavy the feel of the wheel was during turning maneuvers. I reviewed the X3 almost a year ago (before Autoblog came into existence) and didn?t remember this being the case in the test vehicle. Although it was a long time ago. After a few miles logged, it wasn?t so bad, but the resistance was still noticeable.
Color me impressed that my mother-in-law went with black on black leather for her new lease. That?s my favorite combination too. The leather is a bit nicer than the Audi A4?s , including the thick material on the seats and even the baseball-like stitching on the shifter. But the quality and layout of the controls aren?t quite as well-done as the Audi?s. But complaining about those things at this level is pretty much splitting hairs and wouldn?t cause me to change my mind if I was in the market for an SUV.
I know this isn?t the everyday review but I thought it would be a fun departure from the
norm. It also offers a look into a vehicle we haven?t covered on Autoblog before. And for anyone that cares, Roxy had a
great time even if it doesn?t look like it.