TTAC Commentator Topgun writes:
I’ve been a long time reader of TTAC and am a big fan of the New or Used and Piston Slap columns. I am in the market for a new or lightly used (CPO) car and have a preference for rear wheel drive. I have a budget in the 20-25k range for this purpose. This car will be my only car; hence it should be able to handle daily driver duties (25-30 mpg would do) without being a complete snooze to drive (that’s where the rear wheel drive part comes in). A 4 door isn’t strictly necessary since I am single with no kids.
The 2011 Mustang V6 and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe seem to fit the bill nicely. I’ve test driven both and found them a hoot to drive. The fuel efficiencies, ride, and interiors are also up to the mark. However, I can only get the 2.0T version of the Genesis Coupe for the same money as the V6 Mustang. So, the Mustang seems to offer more value for the money, live rear axle notwithstanding.
The real confusion starts when I think about my future location. You see, I’ll be moving to Michigan this summer to start my new position and expect to stay at said company/location for at least another 3 years. Is RWD in Michigan winters really a bad idea? If not, what sort of precautions should I take? Should I invest in a set of winter tires or would regular all-season rubbers do? In case you feel RWD (especially a live axle) in snow is a one way ticket to the nearest ditch/fender, my backup FWD and AWD choices are the 2010 GTI and 2010 Subaru Impreza respectively. I like the GTI in this match up but the Mustang still beats both of them in the bang for the buck category.
If there are other car choices for my specific situation that I may have missed, please do let me know. I did test drive the Mazda 3 and although it is a good car, I didn’t really feel any affinity to it. I feel older BMW/Audi/Merc cars are money pits. But if you think one of them is still reliable, do point it out to me. I also decidedly do not share the love of Panthers that you and many of the B&B have. No V8’s either for fuel economy reasons. I was going for new/CPO for warranty purposes since my wrench skills are average only (Oil changes, basic diagnostics and maintenance etc). Inputs from Steve Lang on easy to maintain older rear drive and fun to drive FWD cars are however welcome.
I need to make a decision soon (in a couple of week’s time), so kindly expedite the matter. Thanks in advance for any and all assistance in this regard.
You seem to have your eye on two very nice models. The Ford Mustang in V6 form is an absolute blast to drive and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a bit more of a touring coupe. But may be the better choice if you’re considering Michigans pockmarked roads.
I won’t talk you out of either car or recommend another. They are both good fits. As a former resident in the upstate NY area, what I can recommend is that you get top quality snow tires. If you have a good set coupled with traction control, ABS, stability control, tire pressure monitor etc., either car should be perfectly fine.
Oh, one more thing. Do NOT go out when there is two to three inches of the fluffy stuff around. Wait until the area has been plowed and salted and even then, be cautious. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen FWD and AWD cars stuck in the ditch or wrecked because their drivers thought they could contradict the laws of physics. Unless your plans are to stay in the U.P. I would proceed with either one of these two vehicles and purchase those snow tires for the winter season.
Yup, Steve nailed it. Good snow tires are a must. Doing it cheaply is a good idea, grabbing OEM wheels from a similar car is better looking (and cheaper?) than a wheel/tire package from a Tirerack-type of vendor. In the Mustang’s case, any V6 Mustang since 1994 sports a nice set of rims for your snow tires. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Sonata wheel bolts up to a Genesis with no problem, even if the offset might look a bit off. Also check craigslist for your platform’s usual suspects, that’s usually cheaper and easier than a U-Pull-It yard.
I’ve been trying to come up with “comps” to your choices and criteria, but I got nothing. I haven’t driven the Mustang yet, but the V6 Performance Package has all the right upgrades missing from the base Mustang. It looks stellar on paper, even with a live axle. Push comes to shove, I would rock that car and never fear a Michigan winter.
Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to [email protected], and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder. In a rush? Don’t be shy about asking to cut in line.