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Dan Wink
Dan Wink GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/12/22 10:07 p.m.

Hi all- 

 

An upcoming job change is going to require weekly trips from Reno to Sacramento or Oakland. For those unfamiliar with the west- that's 120-180 miles each way and includes a winter Sierra pass over donner summit (yes... donner party). 
 

I have been driving a 987.2 cayman, but it's a horrible highway car. I will need to be in the car and able to take calls, etc for a large part of the week and be comfortable on the trip. 
 

I'm planning to stay under 40k or so. My mind goes evil places like A8 TDI or V8, 5 or 7 series, Volvo s90, possibly an E or S class, but the logical me keeps saying LS460. 


reliability is obviously important and I am skilled at owing european cars, but do I really just need a perfect appliance in the LS?
 

 

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Dork
6/12/22 10:18 p.m.

So, clearly NOT an S-class or a Lexus, but – back when they were new – I saw person after person say the last-generation Impala was the best highway car they had ever driven. (Some of those comments were from people on here, who may chime in.) Forty grand should be, um, adequate to locate a nice one. And I think I would rather face the Donner Pass in one of those than in an Audi or BMW of comparable age.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/12/22 10:23 p.m.

I wouldn't want to stop and chain up the tires so all wheel drive seems prudent. Stopping for fuel sucks. Big and comfortable... Porsche Cayenne Diesel?

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
6/12/22 10:27 p.m.

I've spend many hours driving through Donner Pass and surrounding areas. It's really only impassible for short periods. They do a pretty good job of keeping that road going. So comfort and economy and important? Just buy a nice Acura Accord and be done with it?

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
6/12/22 10:33 p.m.

An LS would be nice, but unless you need the space, how about an AWD Lexus GS?  Should be a bit less boring.  
 

I have had an Impala as a rental car a few years back, and it does make a good road couch if you want to save money.  I seem to recall it got surprisingly good economy while bombing along the highway in Montana, too.

Dan Wink
Dan Wink GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/12/22 11:26 p.m.
OHSCrifle said:

I wouldn't want to stop and chain up the tires so all wheel drive seems prudent. Stopping for fuel sucks. Big and comfortable... Porsche Cayenne Diesel?

 

I thought about the Cayenne/touraeg options, but I really just dislike SUV's generally. 
 

A good friend taught me a great trick- buy an AWD emblem from the same manufacturer (or model if it's a option) and affix. You pass the chain checks every time. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/12/22 11:34 p.m.

I'll put in a vote for a C7/C7.5 S6.  4.0L V8, twin turbo, fast, comfy, great on the highway and AWD.  Only you can judge how you feel about reliability, but the biggest concern with them seems to have been the turbo oil drain, and there's a recall/extended warranty out on them now so perhaps that helps?

 

grover
grover GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/12/22 11:58 p.m.

Sounds like an LS to me. 

jay8s
jay8s New Reader
6/13/22 12:00 a.m.

Diesel BMW Xdrive.  3,5,X3/5 options.  Pick the size and flavor.  Winter tires will get you over any pass.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
6/13/22 12:58 a.m.

Having borrowed a few for longer distances the Totyta Avalon Hybrid is really nice. 

 

My money would be on a GS Lexus though the best you can find in budget with decent miles and records 

dps214
dps214 Dork
6/13/22 1:16 a.m.
Dan Wink said:
OHSCrifle said:

I wouldn't want to stop and chain up the tires so all wheel drive seems prudent. Stopping for fuel sucks. Big and comfortable... Porsche Cayenne Diesel?

 

I thought about the Cayenne/touraeg options, but I really just dislike SUV's generally. 
 

A good friend taught me a great trick- buy an AWD emblem from the same manufacturer (or model if it's a option) and affix. You pass the chain checks every time. 

Sounds like it's time to "badge engineer" the world's first cayman 4 or 4S.

But seriously, other than not being the quietest place in the world my cayman is probably the best highway car I've been in. It'll approach 30mpg if I can manage to drive it responsibly at reasonable speeds as well. What's so lacking about it for you?

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
6/13/22 6:49 a.m.

Go to a Lexus dealer and talk to the mechanics, go with their recommendation.  LS or GS AWD would be my bet, just change oil and bring it in every 150k and have them change the belts and hoses.

How often will you make this commute?  I'm assuming you will put some miles on it.

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
6/13/22 7:04 a.m.

Lexus flavor of your choice. Lexus ES350 is one of the better highway qships I've ever driven. 30 mpg on the highway no issue.

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/13/22 7:14 a.m.

I have spent my last 8 years working on the road and drive 30k per year just for work.  I've had several travel cars in that span of time and my favorite was a true surprise to me:  Impala.

Mine had the 3.6 which has over 300 hp and delivered far better performance than I expected.  It was comfortable and driven judiciously delivered nearly 30 mpg.

While it might not be the sexy choice you may well find yourself surprised at just how good it is relative to the cost.

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
6/13/22 7:26 a.m.

The 2014+ Impala surprised a lot of people. It's available with a 200 hp 4 cylinder,  the 300+ hp 3.6 and it's great value.

It would be my first choice.

fusion66
fusion66 Reader
6/13/22 7:46 a.m.

2017-2018 Cadillac ATS 3.6 AWD  19 City, 27 Highway, 335 Hp. Under 50k miles in the $25k-$30k range. If fuel economy is important, the 2.0 turbo bumps it up to 30 mpg highway with a still respectable 272 hp.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/13/22 7:52 a.m.

BMW 335d, great highway car and with a tune get great power and mileage

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
6/13/22 8:22 a.m.

My own $.02 is the right answer is the car YOU feel most comfortable and happy in.  The reason I say that is that with your criteria, there are literally dozens of cars that will be a good match.  So you're likely going to get a huge variety of answers.  None of them are wrong.  Pick one that you will be able to live with, as you'll be doing a lot of windshield time.  I just got home from a weekend trip and we had a 2021 Toyota Prius for a rental.  I was left with the impression that it would be a fantastic car to pile up mile upon mile.  I drive 35k+ miles per year, so I'm in a similar boat as you.  The Prius was comfortable, not a miserable driving experience like the previous generation was, is stupid reliable and I averaged 60mpg.  Kinda hard to beat.  However, every answer given here so far has been a good one.  Shop and pick what you like best.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/13/22 8:24 a.m.

Lots of great recommendations so far.  I agree, hard to go wrong with a big Lexus.  I think the big Volvos are beautiful but not sure how they are in the reliability category. 

I agree with the Toyota Avalon Hybrid suggestion.  This is the last year for the Toyota Avalon Hybrid too.  Same could be said for Lexus ES Hybrid.
Rated 44 mpg average

Lux and mpg are not a very common combination but I think the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is an outlier too.  Heated and cooled seats.  
Rated 41 mpg average 

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
6/13/22 8:30 a.m.

If you like the way the previously mentioned C7 chassis Audis drive, skip the S6 and find an A6 or A7 TDI.  The 3.0 V6 TDI seems to have a good reputation (as does the ZF 8 speed behind it) and they get shockingly good fuel economy for such a big car on the highway.  EPA lists highway mileage as 38, but I've heard reports of 40+, even at speeds as high as 80. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
6/13/22 8:30 a.m.

I've had several Lexus LS and GS models but no LS as new as a 460. They're both very comfortable for long rides but the LS is more adept at just eating up miles. It doesn't try to be anything but a luxury sedan. By the 460 vintage of either one you are able to get cooled seats which I would recommend. My biggest concern in todays economy would be gas mileage. It's not as bad as some of the competition but $5/gallon gas sucks at 20mpg. 
 

They will of course require maintenance and parts are not cheap but they reward you for using Toyota parts. In many tens of thousands of miles on them I never did the same repair twice. I ponied up for the oem parts whenever I could and wasn't disappointed. 
 

An LS on snow tires is really good. The crude traction control in some of the earlier ones was terrible in deep snow and ice but a good set of tires made it not a problem. 
 

If trunk space is important neither one is great as the fuel tank is vertical behind the back seat. The trunk is still big but not cavernous. The FWD lexuses are much bigger in the trunk department.

Dan Wink
Dan Wink GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/13/22 10:01 a.m.

In reply to jay8s :

Couple of good BMW Diesel recommendations here! I had a 335d some years back and it was an excellent car. My buddy is currently without his as it ate the timing chain and he had to source a new long block...  Apparently a fair number of them have this issue.  

The crazy thing about the big diesel is that the timing chain is on the rear of the engine, so chain service is engine out...

 

Dan Wink
Dan Wink GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/13/22 10:02 a.m.

In reply to wearymicrobe :

I like the Avalon, it seems to price equal or a bit higher than the ES, also another option.  Thanks!

Dan Wink
Dan Wink GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/13/22 10:05 a.m.

In reply to dps214 :

Well- everyone has different realities for sure!  Don't get me wrong- I love my Cayman but primarily on a curvy road.  On long drives, it is loud, cramped, and expensive to run (tires, service, etc). I am 6'1" and can't get enough leg room for long travel.  I sort of look at the Cayman as a enjoy when you want to car and save the miles for good days.

Also- snow and cayman is not the answer. 

Dan Wink
Dan Wink GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/13/22 10:06 a.m.

In reply to Loweguy5 :

Hmmm.  I'll try to get ahold of an impala for my next rental trip over to San Jose! Thanks @Peabody too!

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