Riley_88 New Reader
2/16/16 10:43 p.m.

I'm starting the search for a replacement to my current car, an '03 RSX-S. I've been looking at '05 and newer Acura TSX's and maybe TL's (though I have it in my head they're for older guys for some reason), Accords, Volvo S40's, Lexus IS 250's (these seem to be stretching the budget a bit too far), Mazda 3's (not totally sold on them but they are more budget friendly) and BMW 3 series. This list isn't written in stone. I kind of feel like the TSX is probably a good mix of nice to drive, maintenance free, good fuel mileage, etc. but it does seem like it might be a tad boring.

I've always really liked the look of X3's but I've never thought of myself as being in the market for a crossover/CUV though at this point in life being able to carry 4 or 5 people and some stuff in the trunk is a priority. I'm not entirely convinced they would necessarily do anything better than the other cars listed but like I said, I think I like them. My concern is maintenance costs and reliability versus the other cars on the list. I suspect they are all AWD and generally I stay away from that as it just seems more prone to issues and costly to repair. You can tell me I'm wrong though. Does anyone have any experience X3's from say '05-'09. I don't think my budget will allow me to go any newer than that. Any thoughts?

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
2/16/16 10:46 p.m.

Get a Rav-4 or a Highlander.

The X3 will be a money pit and it isn't worth the money.

cwh PowerDork
2/17/16 7:41 a.m.

A former partner of mine had one and absolutely HATED it. Severe maintenance grief. Not a car guy at all, so don't know if his problems were owner related, but he swore off BMW's after that.

Duke MegaDork
2/17/16 7:53 a.m.

The TSX is all those things except boring. It's... innocuous, maybe? But it's not boring, especially with a stick.

I used to think X3s were really stupid until I realized they were targeted directly at selling 3-year leases to young-middle-aged urbanites. Outside of that brief, I don't think they make a lot of sense.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
2/17/16 9:21 a.m.

I know a couple people who have X3's and they like them a lot. My BMW mechanic told me they are really pretty good as far as maintenance goes, the X5 is the one that can have a lot of issues.

cwh PowerDork
2/17/16 9:23 a.m.

Ooops, my bad. My friend had an X5. Leased.

pinchvalve MegaDork
2/17/16 9:31 a.m.

Depending on your space requirements, the X1 might be the better option. The X1 isn't that much smaller than the X3, but it is much more carlike in the way it drives. It has less off-road chops, (as if an X3 ever went off-roading) but it is available with AWD for use in the snow.

I drove a diesel X1 in Germany for a few days and was very impressed. It handled twisty back roads and autobahn stretches very nicely, without the tippy feeling of most SUVs.

The 28i models with AWD can be found in the low $20k, and the 35i are higher $20k. IF you can find the MSport version, you'd have a real do-it-all vehicle!

92dxman SuperDork
2/17/16 10:36 a.m.

Rav 4 or something with a Subaru badge on it.

racerdave600 SuperDork
2/17/16 11:09 a.m.

My parents had an '09 X3, recently traded for a new X5. They are long time BMW owners the X3 was by FAR the best one they've ever owned. I don't recall it ever needing anything, which is very rare in BMW-land. As a bonus, it drove nice too. Don't know if that is across the board or not, but its one of the few BMWs I would recommend to normal people.

WOW Really Paul?
WOW Really Paul? MegaDork
2/17/16 11:49 a.m.

X3 is just as reliable as the subsequent 3 series its derived from. I always hated them until I got to drive one....they're actually pretty good places to be. I'm also intrigued by the X1 in a weird way.

Riley_88 New Reader
2/17/16 5:32 p.m.

Ok, that's some pretty positive feedback, thanks for all your input. I think I'm going to have to go for a test drive and see for myself.

The X1 would be very nice but is definitely outside of my budget. I'm looking at fairly old X3's so the X1 isn't an alternative at this point.

That's good to hear about the TSX and yes, I would definitely be getting a manual.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
2/17/16 9:34 p.m.

I was the proud owner of a 04 X3 3.0i 6 speed manual with premium pack and full leather non-S. I added the BMW factory hitch with integrated sway control myself.

24~26 mpg on the highway was normal depending on speed 20 in town. You could milk it and do right at 60 mph and get over 30, but who wants to do that.

Normal BMW M52 stuff with the motor and cooling system. There is an actuator that goes out on the AWD system on occasion that isn't difficult to fix. The sunroof is a special case. NEVER EVER USE THE POP UP VENT FUNCTION. Either open it or close it.

Other than that keep matched tires (because of X drive) and embarrass the E36 M3 out of most people on the turns. As long as you understand the known issues of the M52, you should be good to go.

I had mine to 140 on the speedo and it was a blast to run through the corners.

kilgoretrout Reader
4/23/18 10:15 a.m.

I've been looking at one of these too. They have over 8" of ground clearance, you can get them with a 6spd, and they are cheap - plus I'm a BMW fan. I don't think these will be a money pit by any means; they aren't THAT complicated and the N52 is a fine engine (get an '06 or better). 

However, if you don't need the ground clearance (I want it for the forest roads in Oregon), I would get an '06 or newer 3 series wagon. Same space (maybe more), and they look way better.

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