I Need A Big American Family Car! What Car Should I Buy?

Table of Contents Quick Facts:Expert 1: Tom McParland – American LuxuryExpert 2: David Tracy – You Know What The Modern Family Hauler IsExpert 3: Lawrence Hodge – Luxurious And Fuel EfficientExpert 4: Adam Ismail — Minivans Are American, Too Image: Lincoln Darrell is relocating from Australia to Portland, Oregon. He […]

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Image: Lincoln

Darrell is relocating from Australia to Portland, Oregon. He wants a big, comfortable, and most importantly American family car. This is his opportunity to buy a vehicle that was not available in the Land Down Under. What car should he buy?

(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars.)

Here is the scenario:

I am relocating with my family (wife, two kids 10 and 12), from sunny Australia to the Pacific Northwest and I am looking for a great American family car. That’s right, if I am moving to U.S.A. I want something American. In the ‘90s I would have chosen a Roadmaster, 10 years ago probably a Flex. I don’t want anything I can already buy in Australia because what would be the point of that? So while you are about to tell me that I need an Outback or an Alltrack or something, I really don’t want one because if I did, I would have one now. It doesn’t need to be sporty, I will probably get something else for fun drives and track days.

I just want things to be easy, I want a vehicle I can throw things into without thinking about how to tetris pack the trunk, and I want some luxury, I want something that we can roadtrip in. Bring me the American (car) Dream.

My budget is up to $70,000

Quick Facts:

Budget: Up to $70,000

Daily Driver: Yes

Location: Portland, OR

Wants: Big, Comfortable, American

Doesn’t want: Anything that is already sold in Australia.

Expert 1: Tom McParland – American Luxury

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Image: Larson Cadillac

Darrell, welcome to America! I think you will like it here since the food is a bit better and you don’t have a deadly animal around every corner. If you are looking for the quintessential modern American luxury car that would be the Cadillac Escalade. No other vehicle combines flash, comfort, and big ol’ V8 power quite like the Caddy’s flagship. This is almost the perfect road-trip machine except for the fact that you will be lucky to see north of 20 MPG on the highway. But what it lacks in fuel economy it makes up for in features and comfort. The kids have captain’s chairs in the middle, and there is plenty of space in the rear for luggage or whatever else you are hauling around.

Now you are entering a car market with seriously inflated prices so finding a new Escalade at this price point is probably not in the cards. However, here is a Cadillac certified 2018 model with reasonable miles and an extended warranty.

Expert 2: David Tracy – You Know What The Modern Family Hauler Is

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Photo: David Tracy

How exciting; you’re moving to America! This means you can buy a gun, unironically wear a cowboy hat and boots (this probably works in Australia, too), listen to George Strait, and tow a BIG ASS BOAT.

In the U.S., all of these things can and should be done in only one type of vehicle: a pickup truck. And there’s no more American pickup than a Ford F-150, especially a King Ranch edition, and especially one with a fuel-sucking 5.0-liter V8 motor.

Do you realize how perfectly you are describing the Ford F-150 in this paragraph?:

I just want things to be easy, I want a vehicle I can throw things into without thinking about how to tetris pack the trunk, and I want some luxury, I want something that we can roadtrip in. Bring me the American (car) Dream.

To so many people, the American Dream is 2.2 kids in a small house, a bit of property, and a brand spankin’ new Ford F-150 in the driveway. The formula hasn’t changed in decades, so just go with it. Don’t fight the current, swim with it as it takes you to the salvation that is the American Dream.

Expert 3: Lawrence Hodge – Luxurious And Fuel Efficient

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Image: Bloomington Normal Automall

It’s too bad you weren’t here to experience the huge land yachts from 30 to 40 years ago. Big plush cars that could seat six (or seven in a pinch) people with plush seating and huge engines upfront. That was what set the standard for American luxury. Today the closest you’ll find to something like that is a nice luxurious SUV or crossover. Way more luxurious, tech-laden, and more fuel-efficient. This brings me to my suggestion: the Lincoln Aviator.

The Aviator is one of my favorite vehicles right now. You could go two ways with your budget, better or best. The example pictured is a 2020 Reserve trim. You get seven-passenger seating, a 400 horsepower twin-turbo V6, a beautiful interior, two rows of captain’s chairs, a pano roof, etc. Everything you need to be comfortable. If you want to go to new, you could go the efficient route and get the Aviator Grand Touring, which is a plug-in hybrid and gets a combined 23 mpg. It can also go up to 21 miles on electric power alone.

Expert 4: Adam Ismail — Minivans Are American, Too

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Image: Stellantis

Greetings Darrell! I hope you and your family enjoy it here. We don’t have the sick utes y’all do, but Americans do have a knack for combining overindulgent luxury with the “throw it in the back” mentality you’re aspiring for. Full-size SUVs and pickups are great for that, but so too is another staple of American roads: the humble minivan.

Yes, few people like to admit they own or are shopping for a van, but I reckon that a van would serve you well if you’re angling for something a little more comfortable, especially for long trips. You say this vehicle doesn’t need to be sporty, after all.

The Chrysler Pacifica might serve you well. Plus, with your healthy budget of $70K, you can get a nice one. Like, the nicest one: the hybrid Pinnacle model. You get diamond-quilted leather seats that even come with little pillows for rear passengers. There’s also a lot of cargo room inside, thanks to Stow ’n Go seating that allows the power-folding seats to tuck away neatly and flatly into the van’s floor. With quantities low as they are in this market, I’m finding it difficult to track down a Pinnacle model in your area. However, there are loads of new Limited-trim examples viewable through Chrysler’s site and on Autotrader.

Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.

Maude Faigley

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