The holiday season is a time when many of us travel (sometimes by plane, sometimes by car – I highly recommend by car!) to see our families. If you’re in the market for a new (or used) car to see your family in, here are my recommendations of 2014. Some of these cars are new, and some of them are old.
- 2014 Chevrolet Suburban: Chevy’s biggest SUV offering has been redesigned for 2014. It’s got handsome styling, more space, more efficient engines, and it’s just a very good choice if you need the space. Just one engine/transmission choice is available – GM’s 5.3-liter EcoTec V-8 and the antiqued 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission. The engine itself is a solid engine, but the transmission favors high gears for better fuel economy. It’s got four (yes, four) USB ports up front alone, power-folding second AND third row seats, and enough legroom for tall people. The Suburban can tow up to 8,500 pounds, which is probably more than most people will ever need.
- 2014 Ford Expedition: Ford’s gigantic competitor to the Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, and GMC Yukon/XL/Denali twins is a solid choice. It’s got a torque-filled 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, lots of space for whatever you should find to throw into it, and good value. However, nothing about it is cutting-edge. The styling is essentially a warmed-over version of the ugly previous generation, and one can make a good point that it’s a styling regression. The continuously variable dampers in the suspension likely gives amazing ride quality. It can tow a lot – up to 9,000 pounds if properly equipped. That should be enough to take the snowmobiles and off-road machines.
- Tesla Model S P85D: This is the real performance car for the family that you want to buy. Forget the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic. The P85D’s benchmark was the McLaren F1. Yes, the first supercar out of England that can still beat a Ferrari. Twenty-two years ago, the McLaren F1’s 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds was out of this world. Launching the F1 was an exercise in possible death. The Model S is as well, but the only noise you’ll hear is your own screams. While the P85D weighs a substantial 197 pounds more, it’s really not that burdened by the extra weight. One could say that the P85D was the car that was a long time in the making. The P85D gets to 60 in an astonishing 3.1 seconds. The Model S will hold it’s ground through the 1/4 mile, where it’s lack of a second gear will show up. Because of the extra motor in the front of the car, the Tesla Model S can now be AWD. That’s a good thing for those of you in the snow belt. You can laugh at your friends who have to keep their Hellcats inside all winter…and pick them up.