A Kinder, Gentler SUV


I am looking for a mid-size SUV that is comfortable for long trips. I have a VW Tiguan and love it, but it really beats me up after a few hours. If there is no such animal, what car is good for long trips, (8-9 hours)? Up to $40,000.



I, too love the Tiguan for its performance and style. But it has a European personality. You might prefer the softer ride of an American or Asian SUV. You might look at the 2012 Lexus RX, which starts at exactly $40,000. It’s fuel economy is 18 mpg city and 25 mpg hwy. A hybrid model, the Lexus 450h, sells for about $5,000 more. Since the RX rides on a car platform instead of a truck platform, it behaves every bit like a smooth-riding Lexus. In my opinion, it’s the Gold Standard for this type of crossover/SUV.

If you want to go American, check out the Cadillac SRX, which sells for about $37,000. It gets 17 mpg city and 24 hwy. This crossover is pretty, super comfortable and well priced. One downside: a pronounced blind spot due to the wide C-pillar (that large side pillar separating the rear window and the rear side door panel. But if you are meticulous about using the car’s mirrors (or opt for the added cost of the back-up camera) then you’ll be fine.

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