Reluctantly going luxury for the first time

07-13-2014, 11:51 AM
I need a new car, and, unfortunately, I have to buy something befitting a senior exec. I'm currently driving a Grand Cherokee 5.7L, which kinda-sorta fits the need only because an old, dirty Jeep with a big engine is socially acceptable/desirable in this part of the world (west central FL).

I use the cargo space regularly, but the Jeep is my first SUV and I can live without the space. I do want something that won't look absurd with a roof rack (and 12' paddleboards on top occasionally). I have a short commute, so MPG isn't a huge concern. Just me and my wife, so backseat space/comfort isn't important (beyond cargo space), and the old Jeep is about as large a ride as I'm willing to deal with (I parallel park sometimes, and my spot at work is fairly tight). Here in FL, roads are flat and straight so "fun to drive" doesn't matter, though I do want enough power to blow past poor-driving elders on the roads here if need be (my wife's Prius fails miserably at this, though my hemi is way overkill). I can go to around 35k without being ticked off I spent so much every time I see the car. I always buy used, and I'd be looking 2011 or newer this time.

In the perfect world, I'd get a Mazda 3 or Focus hatchback and call it a day. I'm trying to find something that's a step up in "status symbol," which is taking me entirely out of my comfort zone. I've looked online at some smaller SUVs (BMW X1, Audi Q5, etc.), but I'm not wedded to SUVs, and I'm having a hard time getting started -- these aren't the brands I'm used to...

Any help/recommendations appreciated.

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