The lease on my BMW X5 runs out in a few months and so I’ve been thinking about what’s next. I really love the X5; the quality is superb — one needn’t even rotate tires; no discernible adverse wear — and the engineering, while seemingly simple, is quite masterful. I need something that can tow one of the pop-up trailers, but on the heavy end (like 3,000 pounds). Large V6s or small V8s just aren’t going to do it very well, even though my Beemer has a small V8 (4.3L). That’s different. It has huge horsepower. I used to have a vehicle with the Chrysler "high output" 4.7 V8 and it was a complete dog towing a pop-up trailer of half the weight. The X5 tows this much heavier trailer as though there’s nothing back there.
I’ve owned a number of Jeeps and have always liked ’em OK, so I’m thinking about the new Grand Cherokee with the 3.0L turbo diesel. I still have profoundly fond memories of that Mercedes turbo diesel I drove for 6,000 kilometers in Europe. It was superb, and that’s a Mercedes diesel in that Jeep. It would cost less new than purchasing my 2006 X5 (35,000 miles) at the end of lease. Plus, there’s another thing. The X5, for all its virtue, simply isn’t an SUV from my point of view. It’s got large rims and low profile tires, designed for handling and high speed; it’s just not the sort of car you put good hefty all-season tires on of the sort I’ve always run on my SUVs and which uniformly keeps me running very well in snow or mud without chaining up. As it is, the X5 tires are 100% street and I’ve had to chain up a few times now. Four wheel drive is still no wheel drive or stop when you don’t have effective traction at the surface layer.
Of course, I can’t buy one here in California, this being "The Land of the Free" ‘n all. So I’ll have to jump through hoops in order to let California fuck off, like everyone should. I’ll just go buy it in Reno, register it at my aunt’s address, and then register it in CA once it has enough miles that it’s allowed in by the authorities.