I Finally Have A ‘Real Job’ And Need A Fun, Yet Practical Car For The Commute! What Should I Buy?

Scott lives in Baltimore and after working various gigs including a few stints on cruise ships he has what he calls a “real job” as a software engineer. However, he hasn’t driven a car in a long time and wants something fun, but not too challenging. With a $25,000 budget, what car should he buy?

(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.)

Here is the scenario.

Quick Facts:

I finally landed a “real job” as a software engineer after years of not driving (I lived in Brooklyn for 3 years and on cruise ships for 6 year; in both places I was a theater tech). That’s not to say I’m a bad driver, but I am a little rusty and would like something that’s fun to drive but not too challenging. The only other car I’ve ever had was a 1994 Acura Legend in high school and college. I’ll need to commute and run errands and move into an apartment, so flexibility is key.

Not to feel like I’m totally selling out? Something that is economical to own, reasonable amounts of cargo space, but also something that can accelerate. And something that looks a tiny bit aggressive, where after a long day of meetings and coding, I would see it in the parking lot and go, yeah, that’s my car.

I like Acuras and Hondas, so something similar to a Civic might work

While I don’t want something too big, I am 6 ft tall so I need ample legroom, and I have to have CarPlay. OTher than that I’m not super picky. My budget is about $25,000

Budget:  $25,000

Location: Baltimore, MD

Daily Driver: Yes

Wants: Fun to drive, “aggressive looking,” good pickup

Doesn’t want: Something too big

Expert 1: Tom McParland – Four Rings Fancy

Black Audi A3

Image: Autotrader.com

Congratulations on the new gig, Scott. While you probably won’t find the same selection of pizza in Baltimore as compared to Brooklyn, Charm City does have its upsides. If you are looking for a ride to zoom around, you will also want something easy to park. You mentioned something like a Honda Civic, and wile that would certainly be a safe choice, I think you desire a little more punch under the hood.

I would suggest considering something in the lightly used luxury space, like the Audi A3. This compact sedan is basically a “fancy” GTI with four doors instead of five. Under the hood is the same turbocharged motor that cranks out about 220 horsepower; plenty of zip for moving through traffic. These can also be had with all-wheel drive which can come in handy on those bad weather days. Standard equipment includes CarPlay and other upgraded tech that make the commute a bit easier. And while this is a “compact” car it should be roomy enough on the inside to fit your frame comfortably.

But unlike the GTI which tends to go for a premium in the pre-owned market, the A3 has the typical luxury car depreciation making it a better value for your dollar. Here is a 2020 model with only 21,000 miles right in your budget zone.

Expert 2: Lawrence Hodge – Serious Performance For Cheap

2017 Ford Focus RS

Image: Bob Bell Chevrolet

Scott should celebrate your “real job” by getting yourself something that’s a bit more than just a fun commuter. You need something that you’ll look forward to driving everyday. Something that people will see and know that not only do you love to drive, but that you’re an enthusiast as well. Personally, I think that car is the Ford Focus RS.

It ticks all the “fun” boxes: A torque vectoring all wheel drive system, six-speed manual transmission, turbocharged 2.3-liter engine with 350 hp. All in a hatchback that you can easily daily. It even gets decent gas mileage for being a performance hatch at 25 mpg combined. The best part of all though is the price. These things are old enough now that you can pick one up on the cheap if you’re OK with higher miles. I found this 2017 at a Chevy dealer in Bel Air, Maryland. Yea it has just under 87,000 miles, but it’ll only set you back $22,999. That’s a performance bargain you can’t ignore.

Expert 3: Collin Woodard – A Nice Little Red Convertible

1994 Dodge Viper

Photo: CarGurus

After six years on a cruise ship, you definitely deserve to reward yourself, Scott. And what better way is there for an American to reward themselves than with a nice little red convertible? Just think about how happy you would be enjoying the wind in your hair as you shift through the gears on your manual transmission, free to go anywhere you want without regard for what port your ship is docked in or when you need to be back on board to avoid getting left behind.

Even better, after a long day of meeting about computer codes, you’ll definitely be able to walk out into the parking lot and go, “Yeah, that’s my car,” when you see it. We do like the Honda Civic quite a lot here at Jalopnik, but all of your fellow nerds will be driving Civics and, like, Teslas or whatever. You’ll almost definitely be the only one with a nice little red convertible.

Take, for example, this one that I found in North Carolina. It’s just a short plane ride away, giving you the opportunity to road trip it back home to Baltimore and really fall in love with your new car. Technically, it does have a salvage title, and it’s about $7,500 more than you were hoping to spend, but those are more minor inconveniences than anything else. Also, it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay, but you can always add that after you buy it.

Trust me, Scott. What you really want is a nice little convertible like the 1994 Dodge Viper. Even if it doesn’t offer everything you want, it has everything you need to be happy. And you want to be happy, don’t you Scott?

Expert 4: Owen Bellwood – Plug-In Fancy

A photo of a silver BMW 5 Series.

Photo: BMW

It sounds like you’re becoming the grownup you always wanted to be, nice one Scott!

In 2024 every real grownup needs one thing, and that’s a car with a plug to keep their gas payments down and protect the planet. You know, real grownup concerns. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can still get a fun, good looking car that also comes with a plug on the side under your budget. So Scott, I think it’s time for you to become a BMW grownup and get a plug-in 5 Series.

Rather surprisingly, there are a few good options on the market not too far from you. If you want to be sensible, you could go for this lower mileage one that comes with a crisp black exterior and matching interior. But you want fun to drive, so instead get this one with the M Sport pack, all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed auto. You’ll be happy in the knowledge that you’re the proud owner of one of the last good-looking BMWs, and will have an extra $5,000 in your pocket for when the repair bills start arriving.

Source link

Denial of responsibility! NewsConcerns is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment