Looks like Team Munchkin Wrangler is going to go south for a family visit again. That means a 1,000-mile drive, which in turn means getting the Grand Marnier’s AC fixed. Right now, it’s not AC-ing due to a leak in the system somewhere. I am NOT going south of the Mason-Dixon in early May without some freon-cooled air at my disposal.
One of our friends is going to house-sit for us while we are gone, so the doggies have company, the chicks will be fed, and the Intertube spigot won’t rust shut from disuse. (Did I mention we’re getting chickens in April? Fresh eggs for all the Castle residents!) We are going to be gone for a week and a half, with a few days scheduled to recover from the vacation.
Anyhow, I have two items for you today, Internets. The first is for the east TN/western NC crowd: I’m thinking about getting a table at some eatery down in Knoxville for a little get-together. Anyone up for a meet-up of sorts? It would be in the first week of May. We will also be in the western NC area where Robin’s family lives, and I might be able to meet up in Asheville.
Second item: I know that there are quite a few car nuts among you. I need suggestions for a replacement for the Grand Marnier. It’s still doing fine, and will probably serve its function as kid hauler for a good while longer, but I want to get a few ideas for its eventual successor.
- AWD or 4WD drivetrain.
- Sufficient amount of cargo space (doesn’t have to beat the minivan, but should have ample space for five people plus luggage without feeling packed.) That means crossover, SUV, or really spacious wagon.
- Decent gas mileage. The Grand Marnier gets 21 city/27 highway, and I’d like something that does as well or better, which may be a tall order to fill when coupled with AWD.
- Price tag of under $30,000.
For reference, my current short list includes the Subaru Tribeca, VW Tiguan, and Jeep Compass. The Subie gets lousy gas mileage and is expensive, the Tiguan looks a bit small, and I am not sure about the build quality of current Jeep models. I love the Mazda5 concept, but that one isn’t available as an AWD. I’d like to get an AWD minivan, but the only option there is the Toyota Sienna AWD, which is north of thirty grand. in the end, I may just say “fuck it” and get a Subie Outback, but I wanted to make sure I don’t overlook any viable contenders.
So, anyone have any ideas for a new AWD family hauler that fits the bill?