Mother’s Day is almost here. If you recall, you still aren’t forgiven for spray painting racing stripes on your first hand-me-down Honda Accord. And let’s be honest, you went downhill from there. A card is just not going to cut it this year. What Mom needs is a new whip. Even if you can’t swing a single payment on her behalf, what you can do is the research. Here are ten great cars for dear old Mom.
1. Buick Enclave
In addition to the Enclave, GM’s new lambda architecture has spawned multiple variants including the Outlook, Traverse and Acadia. Sales have been very good, so it’s no wonder that Cadillac is considering using the platform to underpin the next Escalade. Until then, Buick takes the title of luxury lambda. With its thin seats, sliding second row and underfloor storage, the Enclave makes full use of every cubic inch of space. Leg room in the third row is even better than full-size Tahoes and Yukons. Couple that with a high J.D. Power ranking and curvaceous styling and Mom will swoon.
2. Lexus RX 350 / RX 450h
The quintessential luxury jellybean returns to exert its house frau dominance. The Audi commercials are right, these things are everywhere. Since the RX was introduced in 2000 over 850,000 have been sold in the U.S. alone. With a refresh for the 2009 model year, cargo room was slightly increased and visibility greatly improved with a larger, more squared rear window. Taking the next step in L-Finesse design language, the front end now resembles the IS sedan. Mom will no doubt completely overlook all the technology upgrades, but for what it’s worth there is a new HDD based navigation system and a “Remote Touch” controller in place of a touch screen. On a side note, why are PCs moving toward touch screens and car companies moving away?
3. Mini Cooper S
Mom loves things that are cute and cuddly. And since you had to get all big, hairy and smelly in comes the Mini Cooper S. Mom’s paid her dues with SUVs and wagons, so it’s time to have some fun. She doesn’t actually need the turbocharger and the additional 54 horses, but mention something about getting on the highway and she’ll cave. You know you’ll want to borrow it anyway. She’ll appreciate the size after one weekend of frantic errand-running. And if she’s a total hippie, there’s always the electric version.
4. Toyota Camry Hybrid
It truly hurts me to my core to suggest this car, but moms eat them up. My own mother-in-law has had three in a row. Sick and tired of mistaking someone else’s car for her own in the parking lot, each time she swears up and down that it’s time for a change. Then she rolls up in the new C, head hung low, knowing full well she is powerless to escape its clutches. But fret not, Jan. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing the value in a Camry. It has just enough technology to keep it current without getting ahead of the pack. It’s very efficient (even before getting to the hybrid). It’s quite comfortable, holds value well and requires little in the way of maintenance. If they would just add a few creases in the bodywork, I’d probably be on board myself.
5. Chevy Suburban
If the Chevy Suburban is not enough car for you, then just buy a bus and be done with it. With seating for Mom and up to 7 Hellraisers, this behemoth has eclipsed the station wagon as the favorite for long road trips. Just make sure you’ve filled the center console with gas cards. In either the 2WD or 4WD version a new Eaton locking rear differential will keep Mom from getting stuck during mudding expeditions. And much like Mom, the Suburban seems more comfortable with lots of accessories. I’m not sure why the supposedly more upscale Yukon got stuck with those bug-eyed headlamps though, because the ‘Burb actually looks better.
6. Maserati Quattroporte
Is your mom a classy lady? Does she know what a Birkin bag is? If so, she not only needs a nice car, but needs to make a statement. The Maserati Quattroporte is understated elegance incarnate. For slightly more than a well-equipped S550, Mom can have a true Pininfarina masterpiece to lord over her girlfriends. That is what girlfriends are for, right? A quick trip to the Maserati configurator reveals the true depth of the Quattroporte’s customization. You choose the paint, wheels, calipers, seats, dash, headliner, piping, stitching, and on, and on, and on. C’mon, you know she’s worth it. Plus, I’m guessing there’s an inheritance to consider.
7. Infiniti G37 Convertible
The G37 Convertible is the new kid on the block, but already making a splash. Germany’s Karmann does it again with another exquisitely folding hard top. In order to retain cargo capacity, most retractable hard tops often result in large rear overhangs and a “bustle-butt” of sorts (see 3-series, Sebring). Instead, Infiniti has decided that if Mom wants to haul more than a pair of pumps she’d better put the top up. It sucks in a way, but the design and proportion of the coupe is well retained. And thanks to some generous back seats, what she won’t have to leave behind are the whippersnappers. Power is more than sufficient with 325 bhp from the 3.7L V-6. She’ll need all those horses too, because the mechanical top adds 400 pounds over the coupe.
8. Honda Odyssey
When I was little, more than anything I wanted my parents to buy a Toyota Previa minivan. All the more room for my brother and me to throw things at each other, I guess. It was only later in life that I realized the stigma that coincides with minivan ownership. As a minivan owner, you are a slave to the comfort and convenience of your passengers. Strangely enough, this is also what it’s like to be a mom. So if she must sacrifice her pride and sense of style, it might as well be in the finest minivan available. The Honda Odyssey comes with loads of standard features and one of the most potent engines out there. Bless you Mom.
9. Volkswagen Passat CC
Since I’m not big on putting “Mom” and “sexy” in the same sentence, let’s try this out. Mom needs a new car. Her car should be sexy. That works, and the new CC is possibly the sexiest VW ever. With its tapered roofline and taut rear end this “comfort coupe” is like a budget minded CLS, which is certainly not a bad thing. Prices start as low as $27,850 but can easily crest $40K once the options kick in. It is a true four-seater though, so sacrifices will have to be made. Throw on some cool wheels and Mom will be able to garner all the prestige of a Phaeton without the cataclysmic depreciation.
10. Mercedes-Benz SL600
What happens when the nest is empty and Mom wants to reward herself for not raising a prisoner? Easy, the V12 SL600 happens. For a scant $140,000 Mom will will have 510 hp to usher her from mall to mall. You see, the SL550 is too common and the AMG versions are too loud. Like Goldilocks and that third bowl of porridge, this one’s just right. The unique air scarf feature blows warm air over the neck and shoulders, so keeping the top down during colder termperatures is no problem. Hopefully Mom’s not that big a music fan, though. According to Mercedes, the on board hard drive stores a “stunning” 4GB of music. But like most moms, any mention of hard drive storage capacity will be met with a loving smile and a “That’s nice, sweetie.”