I’ve been an unabashed fan of BMWs for more than 40 years, however the last two years of owning an E70 X5 have cured me of much enthusiasm. While the black SUV has been supremely comfortable, it has proven to be an expensive investment for every day driving. In 20,000 miles of ownership, I’ve replaced the tailgate latch ($1500), front axle half-shaft ($1500), rear brakes ($1000), battery ($440), emergency brake switch, outside air temperature sensor…some of this is normal maintenance for sure, but the cost of standard items like brakes and battery is really painful. Things are failing that should never be a problem in the first 60,000 miles of a vehicle’s life.
So I sold her to another enthusiast, and never intend to buy a BMW newer than about 2007 ever again. Jen’s 2007 328xi has been a trooper, quick, reliable and comfortable with more than 200K miles, and my 1997 528i has been the same. The older cars are fairly easy to work on, parts are not expensive, and most of all, they just work. Every time I was in my mechanic’s shop for X5 work, I heard another story about X5 issues as he talked to customers on the phone. Control module failures, astronomical costs for things wearing out or breaking early (Ignition coils at 70K miles, catalytic converter at 120K miles!?!) I got the message.
I need a pickup truck again, as I prepare for work on the cabin up near Lassen. My last truck (Roy, a dear 1994 Ford that always felt like a pile of parts heading in the same direction) has been gone for many years, and the state of the art has definitely moved forward. Having owned a 2001 Honda CRV once upon a time, I’m drawn to another Honda, and after a lot of research, I find a low-miles 2017 Ridgeline for sale in southern California.
This truck is a revelation. It has all the comfort and features of the X5, all-wheel drive with more cargo space and better mileage. It has plenty of power yet runs on regular gas, which will save me hundreds of dollars a year. It’s fully integrated with my iPhone. It’s a Honda, I expect superb reliability.
Now I’ve left the army of people driving black SUVs, and joined the endless ranks of white pickup truck owners. It’s a different kind of anonymity on the road. But I can throw a pile of firewood in the back without worrying about it, it’s easy to see why the USA is full of pickup trucks.
By the way, it’s time for our annual fire-safety land clearing in the neighborhood, and the goat herd is back, happily munching away at everything they can reach. The photo of the truck captures some of the charm of living in a temporary barnyard.