Sleepers (Looks normal, goes fast)

 

There’s not much cooler in the world of cars than the sleeper. A car that has the ability to wipe the floor with even the fastest supercars yet looks totally normal and completely understated. And there have been a host of awesome sleepers available over the years, but which do we think are the best? Here’s the ReDriven Top 5.

5. VW Golf R Wagon (Mk7 and 7.5)

In fifth, we had to have a wagon in this list, but will it be the only wagon? It’s the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf R wagon.

 

It may be able to hit 100 km/h from a standstill in just a touch under 5 seconds in standard form, but tweak the engine just a small amount and the Golf R Wagon will be embarrassing all but the very fastest cars out there.

 

Add to that its immense traction with a very intelligent all-wheel system, lightning-fast gear changes via its DSG transmission, and superb handling, and this brutally fast practical wagon will still fly under the radar as it looks nearly identical to a standard Golf wagon.

4. Audi RS6 Sedan (C6 2008-2010)

Still dabbling in the Volkswagen family tree, our 4th place winner is already well known for being a fast wagon, but it’s the sedan version that really nails the sleeper criteria. It’s the 2008 to 2010 C6 Audi RS6 sedan.

 

The recipe was insane but brilliant. Take the V10 engine from a Lamborghini Gallardo, bolt two turbos on it to make it the most powerful Audi engine to date, and then stick it in what essentially looked like a slightly lowered A6 fitted with some nice wheels.

 

But, Audi actually left some of the engine’s potential on the table, with a simple software tune, the standard 571 hp can be increased to around 650 hp, it is a weapon. Plus, only 1500 C6 RS6 sedans were ever produced, compared to the almost common, 14,000 Gallardos.

3. BMW M550i xDrive (2018-2021)

In third place, and like 5th and 4th, it’s another German, it’s the BMW M550i xDrive. The M550i recently received a boost in power, like it even needed it, going from 456 hp to 523 hp.

 

This propels the classy BMW from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds. To put that into perspective, the iconic and ballistic McLaren F1 does the same 0 – 100 km/h sprint in 3.2 seconds, so this thing, with its 5 seats, multi-zone climate control, enormous boot, and lovely stereo, is just a smidge over half a second slower to 100 km/h than a multi-million dollar hypercar, incredible.

 

And then there are the looks, or lack of looks, as while it is undeniably a very attractive car, it looks almost identical to a base spec 5 series. And because 5 series BMWs are commonly driven by people that are, well, old, no one is going to expect it to have “rip your face off” levels of performance.

2. Volvo V70R (2000 – 2007)

No one is expecting these to be fast, it’s another wagon, it’s from Sweden, it’s the second-gen 2000 to 2007 Volvo V70R.

 

Ok, compared to the power levels the previous 3 cars had, the 300 hp V70R may seem a little on the weak side but where the Volvo beats the Germans is in its under the radar appeal.

 

Short of those in the know, hardly anyone is expecting a Volvo station wagon to be bloody fast and like the Golf R Wagon, with a few tasty tuning mods, these things can be seriously capable.

 

Add to it all wheel drive traction and sports tuned suspension but a massive boot, leather interior and that very cool Swedish design aesthetic and this is one awesome sleeper.

 

Plus, if you want one, they’re now really affordable, if you can find one for sale.

 

1. Ford Falcon G6E Turbo (2008 – 2014)

First, and look yes we’re getting a bit patriotic here but these things are seriously quick and bloody boring to look at, making them the perfect sleeper. In first place, it’s the Ford Falcon G6E Turbo.

 

If you’re into cars at all you’ll most likely know that Ford’s turbo charged 6 cylinder Barra engine, even when completely standard, is a weapon of a power plant.

 

But, with only minimal mods, these things can produce deep into the 500hp range and with some more serious modifications, they’ll easily top 1000hp.

 

Now, here in Australia, the Falcon was commonly associated with being a taxi or a hire car, and many Falcons were sold as part of fleet car packages for local businesses and governments and councils.

 

The G6E added some leather and chrome touches to make them feel a little classier but to have a car that looks so plain and unassuming yet is powered by this monster of an engine, surely must be one of the all time great sleepers.

 

Check out our review of the Golf R Wagon.

 

In the market for a used car? Check out all our ReDriven Cheat Sheets.

 

Find all our video reviews over on YouTube.

Worst family SUVs Under $35,000

 

So you need an SUV to lug your kids, their friends and all their stuff around. If your priorities are that this SUV needs to be safe, reliable and dependable, then it sounds like you’re an excellent parent making responsible decisions.

But, if those priorities take a back seat to say, having a European badge, projecting a sense of superiority or having the ability to distract you from your immense lack of self esteem, steering you towards onlu a luxury SUV, then it sounds like you’re potentially a bad parent and you’re probably not going to like this list. Here are the Top 5 worst family SUVs under $35,000

 

5. Audi Q7

In fifth place, it’s the Audi Q7. While it might share its platform with the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne, don’t be fooled into thinking that premium badge translates into premium quality.

 

For under 35 grand you’ll be looking at first-gen 2005 to 2015 Q7s. Unfortunately, we have read and heard countless reports of these Q7s suffering various electronic issues from just not starting to randomly going into limp home mode, to screens and infotainment systems just turning off to drive system errors, to start stop systems failing, even to parking sensors being faulty from new.

 

Then there are the multiple reports of diesel particulate filter faults, various oil and coolant leaks and ECU gremlins.

 

Also, don’t be fooled by the whole ‘made in Germany’ quality thing because Q7 was made in Slovakia, Russia or India.

 

4. Mercedes Benz ML350

In fourth place, another luxury German SUV that isn’t made in Germany, actually it’s not even made in Europe, it’s made in India, Indonesia, Thailand or the US, it’s the Mercedes Benz ML350

 

For 35 grand you’ll be looking at 2012 to 2015 ML350s and according to multiple consumer reports, the ML350 is one of the most complained about and problem riddled Mercedes Benzs of all time.

 

Oil leaks, electronic issues, transmission failures, melted motor mounts, stretched timing chains, and reports of these things just randomly giving up and stopping are common.

 

Then you have the cost of labour which is huge.

 

See, because Mercedes fits all the engine stuff into this beautifully engineered tight little unit to make it super efficient to manufacture, the problem is, getting into that tight little unit to fix all the stuff that goes wrong is incredibly difficult and takes loads of time and time is money, so repairing these, it generally costs a fortune.

 

3. BMW X5 

In third place, it’s yet another German Luxury SUV that, isn’t made in Germany. This one is from Mexico, Russia or the US, it’s the BMW X5… and… X6, but unless your eyesight is at Stevie Wonder levels of accuracy, you’ll obviously avoid the X6 because it’s as ugly as F….

 

For 35 grand you’ll be looking at the second-generation E70 series X5 but which exact variant and configuration of X5 should you avoid, well, all of them.

 

Engine failures, transmission failures, water pumps fail, oil leaks, coolant leaks, ECU, computer and electronic problems, injectors fail, timing chains fail, valve stem seals leak. The issues just go on and on.

 

Plus parts cost a fortune and like the Mercedes in fourth place, the labour costs will be horrific.

 

Also did I mention the X6 is ugly as F…

 

2. Range Rover Sport

In second place, and wow… haven’t these things turned into utter crap, it’s the first-generation Range Rover Sport.

 

Yet another SUV wearing a luxury badge doing its best to con you into thinking it’s worthy of some inflated sense of superiority. When in reality, it regularly finishes at the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys. The Range Rover Sport’s issues are immense.

 

Major suspension issues, engine failures, the electrics are terrible, air conditionings fail, gearbox drivetrain and diffs all have major problems or fail. 

 

Then are the copious leaks from the engine, interior trim failures, sunroof and tailgates that leak are also known issues.

 

In general, these things are just shit. The parts cost a fortune and we know of reports where repair work can take weeks to both diagnose and fix so the labour costs will send you broke.

 

Not only that, when we were researching this list, it was hard to choose which Land Rover or Range Rover product to include as they all have horrendous reputations for reliability, no matter which model or generation. 

 

1. Jeep Grand Cherokee

If you’ve done any research on the net about these, it’ll start to feel like the words unreliable and Jeep Grand Cherokee fit together like wealthy and Bill Gates, it’s the Jeep Grand Cherokee in first place.

 

For under 35 grand, the ones to avoid are the 2011, 2014 and 2015 Grand Cherokees, oh and the 2012, 2013, 2016….actually they’re all pretty bloody horrible. What goes wrong, well what doesn’t go wrong…

 

Engines blow up, transmissions fail, there seem to be endless electronic and ECU issues, interior trim falls apart, exterior trim falls apart.

 

These things are so shit there was actually a class action lawsuit filed against Jeep regarding the Grand Cherokee.

 

Then you have Jeep’s truly horrendous reputation for after sales service, trust us, do not buy a Grand Cherokee.

 

We’ve reviewed versions the Audi Q7 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

 

In the market for a used car? Check out all our ReDriven Cheat Sheets.

 

Find all our video reviews over on YouTube.

 

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