By on December 21, 2016

2011_ford_mustang_eng_10-de-as_4_717

Charles writes:

Dear Bark,

The 1986 silver, manual Accord Yokohama company car I was lucky enough to cut my teeth on in rural Ohio still comes to me in my dreams as I’m nigh on middle age. Here I am back in Ohio, and I’m sitting on the theoretical cash for my ’15 Golf TDI. My neurotic self vacillates far and wide: country boy F-150, Tacoma, Fusion Sport, Mustang GT, Civic Type R, Accord V6 Touring? My wife will have the family hauler, but I need something fast and mature that will occasionally accommodate my milk-chugging sons.

My wife says I’m too old for a civic, and she thinks a truck is “trying too hard.” The joy of the car fantasy ceases as soon as you drive one home. This is my struggle: once I choose the car I lose the potentiality. What’s my problem? What’s my car?

Oh, boy. Here comes some tough love. Buckle up.

First things first — I don’t give a hoot what your wife thinks, and neither should you. I’m hoping that you haven’t spent the first half of your life kowtowing to her, because that likely means that you’re in for a rough second act. Get the car you want, as long as it fits within your budget, and tell her to go suck eggs.

Now, as far as the car choice is concerned — no, you’re not “too old” for a Civic, any more than I’m “too old” for a Focus, and the “trying too hard” comment makes my teeth hurt. Or maybe that’s because I’m drinking Coca-Cola at 8:30 in the morning. But whatever. This might sound odd coming from me — perhaps the most vain person in the Western Hemisphere — but people aren’t thinking about your car choice nearly as much as you think they are. Sure, if you have some awesome neon green Civic Type R, other drivers might take notice for a nanosecond, but then they’ll go on about their business. F-150s are so ubiquitous that nobody gives them a second thought, regardless of how lifted and blingy they are. So if you want your car to be mature, great. But don’t get something “mature” because you’re concerned about perceptions.

I do, however, totally get what you’re saying about the thrill of the anticipation of the purchase. Once you actually get the car, you’re now just making a payment on what is now essentially a used car — and if you’re like most Americans, you’ll be doing it for five years or longer. So don’t get caught up in the emotional aspects of the purchase. Pick the car that you think will be rewarding over the long haul, that you’ll look forward to driving each and every day.

I feel like you’ve included the Accord V6 because this is TTAC and that’s what everybody in the comments will tell you to get, but it just doesn’t jibe with your other choices. Toss it. And as much as I love the Fusion Sport, I don’t think it lights your heart on fire. Nix that one, too.

No, to me, your choice appears to be between an F-150, Mustang GT, or Civic Type R. And as somebody who’s done the occasional person-hauling in a Mustang, let me tell you — it works just fine. I’ve had grown men and women in the back seat for half-hour rides, and they survived. Is it ideal? No. Will the Mustang put more smiles on your face the 90 percent of the time you’re not carrying kids? Absolutely.

Go buy your Mustang GT and enjoy the hell out of it every day. And if your wife doesn’t like it, as far as I know, there are other wives available.

Disclaimer: Bark M.’s advice might get you divorced. But if you still want it, email him at [email protected] and follow him on the Twitters and Instagrams

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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168 Comments on “Ask Bark: The Thrill Is Gone (Or Will Be Very Soon)...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    I can relate to this as I am starting my search for a new car. It includes some of the same eclectic vehicles listed. Good advice from Bark.

    • 0 avatar
      qest

      The most important thing is to do a short-term lease of whatever he picks. With a 2-3 year lease, you can almost start shopping again right away, and if you are smart about it, it doesn’t cost much at all.

  • avatar
    Rochester

    I’ve seen that GT engine bay photo so many times since reintroduction of the 5.0L, and it makes my heart skip every time… even though it looks naked without a front shock tower brace.

    For anyone who’s considering a truck, but would rather have a fast car, then the Mustang GT is the absolutely perfect fit.

    Good advice, Bark.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      2018 – go for the Magne-Ride! Unless you want to otherwise get all crazy with the suspension then do yourself a favor and pass on the Magne-Ride option.

      Not sure about this upcoming 4.8L V8 but its close enough in displacement that apples to apples the performance will probably all but transparent (however it appears the 4.8 will have a nice edge over the 5.0 its replacing).

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    If the Mustang’s rear seat is too small for passengers, look strongly at the Challenger. I am 5’9 and can sit behind myself with an inch to spare.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      It also has three seats across the back so it’s basically a family car. You should get one.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the couple times I tried it out, the rear seat of the Mustang is fine to sit in, so long as the person in front of you isn’t taller than about 5′ 10″.

      Getting into and out of the rear seat is another story.

      (cred: commenter is a former owner of a 2012 GT)

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      When there’s a will there’s a way. I’m 6’3″ and fit in the backseat of a mustang just fine when the alternative is being the designated driver or walking. Yeah, there’s not a lot of room to stretch out, read a book, slurp a soda, and keep a pillow nearby for naps. But it’s feasible. For reference, I thought the backseat of the RX-8 was just fine, and don’t mind extended cab trucks.

      I don’t know where we get this ludicrous idea that everyone is functionally a 400 lb senior citizen who needs full size sedan space and a full size door near their seat.

      OP, they’re young men. They can crawl out of a coupe (and fit in one for that matter). It’s not like you’re talking about a euro spec CRZ or FRS where the rear seat is there for insurance purposes at best.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The backseat of the Mustang is fine unless the front passenger is tall, at which point only children in carseats and double-amputees can fit.

        I’ve driven my parents’ car and at full seat extension and some seatback rake, the rear seat is effectively a parcel shelf. Full disclosure: I’m 6’9″, but I would imagine anyone over 6’2 would inflict the same.

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          “I’m 6’9””.

          My god, you’re a freak. How’s it going, anyways? Don’t see you posting much about “externalities” these days…

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I can’t imagine trying to shop for cars at 6’9″. I have a friend who’s 6’5″ and all legs, and he doesn’t fit comfortably into at least three-quarters of the cars he test-drives. He recently bought a Jag XF. Although what he really wanted was the F-Type, he just couldn’t make it work.

          (I’m 5’10” but have exactly the same-height torso as my buddy — the difference is all between my little stub legs and his stilts.)

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            C-Max is the car for tall peoples. It is not cool though. It is the best car I’ve ever owned and I am so bored with it. Must. Save. Money. For. Bronco….And. Retirement….Maybe. Bronco. First.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            You know, it actually isn’t that hard to car-shop: modern cars are pretty tall and most have a pretty low floor, telescoping wheel, etc.

            The caveats are seat-track travel (why I don’t have a Mazda5) and windshield height (why I hate the Montana I’m afflicted with). Many a small, dorky car actually works quite well.

            My parents have a V6 Mustang convertible. Top-up it isn’t great, but top-down it’s entirely viable, even in winter.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            All of my buddies in the 6’4″ and up range drive trucks.

          • 0 avatar

            Did he not check out the F-Type coupe? I’m 6’6″ and fit in that just fine (just not the convertible, oddly).

            Also: I have short legs for my height (I have a long torso).

        • 0 avatar
          houstonhawkeye

          I could not agree more. I am 6’3, my wife is 6’0 and I daily drive a 2016 GT Mustang with the performance pack. Our two kids (8 and 10) who are tall for their ages fit perfectly fine in the back, and I have co-workers ride in the back occasionally. Oddly even though my wife has an SUV we end up taking the Mustang most places because the kids love riding it it. It is not a perfect family car, but people talking and acting like it is essentially a two seat are delusional.

          • 0 avatar

            Not sure how you get kids in the back at 6’3″ I’m just a hair under 6’4″ and I hit the back seat with the front seat in the mustang.My wife at 5’9″ leaves barely enough room for my 5 year old and not enough for the 10 year old.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Good choice on the Challenger. Not only is it far better looking than the Mustang, the power train is better and the back seat is actually usable. The Mustang back seat is just for looks, or Lt. Dan.

      Better car for less money. Challenger all the way.

      • 0 avatar
        Lionspeed

        Absolutely correct. Im 43 and just picked up a 16 RT. Added Borla cat back and K&N intake. Brutally fast and can still haul my wife and 10 year old. Im tall also.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I agree with Mustang GT, of all the cars listed as a possibility by Charles, it is the most viscerally appealing. I mean, look at that engine bay. How can you say no? If you can make it work in your daily life, just do it.

    Regarding the lost potentiality, just make sure you enjoy the car shopping process. Take your time, drive everything that seems interesting, and do a thorough job of it. You are nowhere near negotiating at that point and you can really enjoy the chance to sample a variety of vehicles.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Not sure about Ohio but don’t see too many Mustang GT’s as daily drivers in Ontario from December until April.

    Did see one new(ish) Mustang last Thursday night. Slid sideways every time that he tried to inch the car forward in the left hand lane. Then when he did try to make the left hand turn, the rear end slid way out on him.

    Lot’s of fun to watch and maybe lots of fun if you are an ‘expert’ driver, but from the look on his face and how he tried to correct things, ‘expert’ is not the word that I would use to describe him.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Nobody likes a try hard.

    And Bark, I’m sure you care what your wife thinks. If you don’t, why are you married to her? Likewise, I don’t think factoring in or valuing one’s wife’s opinion = “kowtowing”. We men need to stop being so easily triggered by any kind of perceived threat to our agency and masculinity.

    Image matters. I’m not of middle age yet, but would never drive a lime green anything, because IMO it looks ridiculous. Same for a boy racer ride like a CTR. I don’t think it’s wrong for the letter writer to factor those things in.

    All that said I agree with the others…. a Rustang GT is a solid choice for anyone who can afford the gas, enjoys driving, and doesn’t need a huge back seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      ” We men need to stop being so easily triggered by any kind of perceived threat to our agency and masculinity.”

      Stow that nonsense, sailor.

      Wives don’t get to pick what we drive. They can have an opinion, of course. But so can our neighbors and cousins and pals.

      Good fences make good marriages.

      Lime green cars will get your dick sucked by random women. Source: owned lime green car, experienced said dick-suckin’.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Once again JB “doth protest too much, methinks”.

        The car never seals the deal. And you can attract more women with a cute puppy than with the most expensive supercar.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        If you need a lime green car for that, then you need a better game.

        Source: was single in DC for two years, am not very pretty, rarely showed women my car (which was a car-guy car that women hated).

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Lime green cars don’t get your dick sucked by random women, being the man who dares to drive a lime green car does that. Confidence is a turn on, and women don’t care about your as long as you’re clean/groomed . If you do want a car to turn them on I’d give black with red or vice versa a try, but if you still look like you’re afraid that they’ll ‘friend-zone’ you, they will ‘friend-zone’ you.
        They can smell fear better than dogs.
        Source, used to own black and red cars, and has owned two cars with flamejobs. (flames make them laugh, so it can be an ice-breaker, but it narrows your selection of women considerably)

      • 0 avatar

        Thing every very wealthy person I’ve had a real conversation with has told me (ok one didn’t and he was divorced twice) happy wife happy life. The others all agreed it was cheaper and easier to keep your wife happy.

      • 0 avatar
        ozzypriest

        I think the jesus cancer has finally, and thankfully, done you in. It’s only a matter of days now before that rib can get reinserted.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve gotten more women driving a white 2006 Kia Spectra EX than any of the other 27 cars that I’ve owned.

        Most (quality) women don’t really care.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @sportyaccordy nails it. Why would you marry someone whose advise, opinion and values you do not value?

      Doesn’t it get parked in the family’s driveway?
      Doesn’t she also drive or ride in it?
      Doesn’t the money spent on it influence what you have to spend on housing, tuition, food, etc?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Image matters.”

      to some people. I prefer not to be noticed.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “because IMO it looks ridiculous.”

      Not buying a lime green car because you personally don’t like them is very different than wanting a lime green car and not purchasing one because you’re afraid of what the normies might think.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      Sporty, if you’re going to offer up your tastes and preferences, you should remind folks that you drove an accord so low that you lost its oilpan on a rough road.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        The car wasn’t that low. The problem was I had the car on a cheapo suspension with poor body control on frost heave pockmarked NYC roads. Not outside the realm of a bad decision a ~23 year old might make. My 350Z was just as low stock, and my Civic now is probably about as low as well, on KW coilovers ($$$$$)… no problems down here in NC.

        Nice ad hominem though. Yes, how dare I make a poor choice 10 years ago and continue to modify cars to my tastes. My opinions on cars are now rendered null and void.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    First off your wife is correct if she is speaking of the Civic type R. It does look like child like and ridiculous. Not sure how an F150 or any pickup is trying to hard. That is if you don’t put an 8 inch lift kit on it and throw in a spare tire in the bed of the truck for looks.

    Your location does make me think of awd/4wd vehicles. Mustang to me would not be the best choice. List below of adult options. Not in any real order of importance.

    – Audi A4
    – Subaru WRX
    – Any pickup- Tundra and F150 great options
    – Tahoe/Yukon
    – Ford Expedition/Explorer Sport – both have EB 3.5
    – Volvo V60 Polestar – Any Polestar

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    For the record, a Mustang on snows is fine in Ohio.

    A Town Car with snows is fine in Ohio.

    A Town Car with snows in the garage? NOT FINE.

    • 0 avatar
      ThirdOwner

      Honest questions. Given you’ve considered a Mustang before getting the Accord, and since you’ve driven said Accord through a few Ohio winters now, have you:

      – told yourself “I’m glad I got a FWD or I’d be hating these snowy roads”;

      – thought “I wish I had a RWD to have some real fun snow-drifting”

      and, any post-37K miles updates on the Accord coming up?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Having the Accord has freed me up to concentrate on motorcycles and race cars, honestly. I don’t think much about the car, I just drive it. It’s cheaper to run than a Mustang would have been so I don’t regret the choice.

        I’m at 42,800 miles right now. Probably do a three-year report in Feb.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Agreed. I drive a Mustang GT in West Quebec, which has harsh winters by any standard. With winter tires the car handles perfectly fine, though one does have to have some minimal winter driving skills, like a light touch on the gas and you will certainly be dealing with the back end wiggling a little on snow and ice.

      And I’d also say the back seat in a Mustang is absolutely usable by normal sized adults in a pinch. Yes, it’s a little less convenient getting in and out but anyone inclined to complain about that is welcome to arrange their own limo as far as I’m concerned.

      I wouldn’t recommend a Mustang as an only vehicle for a family of course, but it is frequently our vehicle of choice even when we have people in the back.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      A 4×4 pickup on snows is the best.

      Mind you, a dirt bike with studded tires is a blast.

    • 0 avatar

      Being a two-time Town Car owner that has driven in the snow a bit, it’s fine.

      Going up a hill is a different story LOL

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    This is just me personally, and I am probably alone on this, but I would also try the Ecoboost Mustang. Mine cost about $30k and is an almost* loaded Ecoboost Premium model.

    For $30k I could have gotten a base GT, but I am honestly happier with the loaded Ecoboost instead and the power is more than adequate for street use.

    *Didn’t get active cruise control, darnit

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Except that forever you’ll have the exchange:

      “Yeah, a Mustang. No, an ecoboost, the 4cyl. No, it’s cool too! And gas mileage! Or features, or something…”

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        For me it’s usually

        Friend/Family/Coworker/Guy at gas station: “Nice Mustang!”

        Me: “Yeah, and it’s a 4 cylinder!” (said with a small measure of pride)

        FFCG: blank stare

        Most don’t quite know what to make of the fact that A) I bought a Mustang with a 4 cylinder and B) I am actually proud of it. Sometimes I get “really?” but generally I get a polite “oh, that’s nice” or something like that. I don’t care, I like my 4 banger Mustang.

        Small correction, now that I think of it my mechanically inclined Uncle commented that the engine bay layout reminded him a little bit of his son’s Wrangler (he has a TJ with the AMC 2.5L). That’s the most anyone has said about it.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          I’m into my second Southern Ontario winter with an EB Mustang. This year I sprung for Michelin X winter tires. Yup ya need some winter driving skills. This year I’ve encountered some pretty hairy winter driving conditions. The Mustang performs as well , as any FWD I’ve ever owned.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @mikey – I went through 2 winters in a 4×2 Safari van. Everyone thought I had the 4×4 variant. You need to drive with your head. I did get stuck bad twice. I would have been fine in any of the pickups I’ve owned.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        The EB cars have a healthy following since the EB I4 is loaded with buzz worthy tech and responds well to mods.

        There is a segment of ‘tards that grumble about only real Mustangs come with V8s but they are just background noise.

        Most decent people in the Mustang community don’t really care about the owner’s preference in motive power. They are just glad to see plenty of Mustangs out there.

  • avatar
    gkhize

    Excellent recommendation.

    My driveway has been home to an SUV of some sort since I bought my first Explorer in 1993. These have always been the “wife’s car” and our long haul vehicle. Those SUVs have always shared the driveway with a Mustang GT; “My car”. Probably 95% of my driving involves commuting or running errands on my own so I don’t need a ton of extra room. I have hauled adult passengers in the back for 50 mile jaunts and while not as spacious as my Yukon Denali, it is certainly tolerable. The Mustang is a blast to zip around in and sure beats the heck out of some econobox. My personal recommendation is to get a GT with an automatic, if you can find one, unless you’re really into row your own. I’ve had both, and for daily commutes stop light to stop light, the auto is just easier. On the other hand, if you get the 6-speed, it really cuts down on the number of people who will ask to drive your car. :-)

    I live in an area where there is lots of snow, and have never had any trouble getting around. The key is to know what your limits are and drive accordingly. Of course I have the aforementioned SUV in the drive as well and if it gets too bad the ‘stang just sits.

    My current GT is a 2014 (auto)and every time I lift the hood I think, “Damn that engine is a work of art!”

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I’m in Ohio, I’m facing down middle age and I’ve been every slowly trying to pick down what I want that must also accommodate my sons. I also want something fast that isn’t something that has a reasonably mature appearance. I did a lot of searching and I had narrowed it down to two choices: Acura TL-SH AWD and a Taurus SHO. Both are pretty fast, both look reasonably handsome (though I’m sure some will disagree), well appointed and of reasonable cost if purchasing used. I didn’t drive the TL as I could not find one with a manual, but did drive the SHO. It was very pleasant and would hustle along quite well. Both are AWD so they’re reasonably practical if you don’t feel like doing snow tires for the Mustang.
    In the end, one must make the determination of what is most important. Why did you buy that Golf? Practicality blended with fun, trying to be frugal, compromise? If you want a hot hatch, get another, get a faster one. Focus ST or RS both have very nice interiors and go fast/faster. They’re not quite as grown up as perhaps you’re shooting for, but in the end it’s your car and as noted most people don’t know/don’t care. Unless you’re driving clients around or have a strong need to impress the valet, get what makes you happy. Keep in mind, you’ll probably find most of your happiness from behind the wheel so I’d focus on how much you enjoy driving something over how it looks.
    I think I’m going to give a Challenger 392 a go because I’ve always wanted a muscle car and I don’t give a hoot if anyone else likes it.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I’m just glad Bark got an opportunity to recommend buying a new Ford. KIDDING!

    Alternative suggestion: GTI.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Here you go Charles:

    duffysauto.net/2013-Ford-F150/Used-Truck/Peru-IL/7025053/Details.aspx

    Ford F-150 FX4 with the mighty, mighty 6.2L V8 in tasteful silver paint and practically right next door in Illinois.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    At this point in my life (mid-40s), I would not drive a car that is perceived as a “kid’s car” like a Civic of any variety, but especially something like an Si. Same thing with a WRX Sti, although maybe the standard WRX would be okay. Even a Mustang wouldn’t cut it for me, but that’s strange since most of the nicer V8 Mustangs seems to be driven by old men trying to recapture their youth.

    I believe your car says a lot about you. And the image I want to project is definitely not that of a boy racer driving a ricer with a huge rear wing. No thanks, I’ll take mine much more understated and mature.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      35 and I agree. I live in an affluent area and drop my daughter off regularly at her fancy private daycare with parking lot full of MB, Lexus, Audi, etc. I’d feel ridiculous driving up in a lime green Civic, and the Civic isn’t fun enough to outweigh that feeling. A Mustang might be, not sure.

      • 0 avatar

        Dude. You drive an S2K. Stop.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “…with parking lot full of MB, Lexus, Audi, etc.”

        For better of for worse, this is one of the reasons why the CLA is popular. For my money, I’d take a Mustang GT or Camaro SS over a CLA eery day buy they’re not MERCEDDEZZZZ-BENNNZZZZZZZZESSSS.

        On another note, money should be liberating. Driving something that “fits” in with the other stepford parents in the school parking lot isn’t. I can’t say that you’re doing it wrong. I mean, I guess it’s working for you but it isn’t the way I’d go about it.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke

          +1

          Isn’t the point of affluence (even modest affluence) having the freedom to do what you want and buy what you want?

          The CLA is the Cadillac Cimmaron of our time.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            hubcap & Luke . I once stated I’d prefer a Cadillac ATS to a CLA, but have gone back and forth on this since (a debate as to what is the lesser bad of two bad cars).

            The CLA I had for 4 days had several advantages over the ATS, being a) seemingly 2x the trunk space, b) 25% more rear leg, knee and shoulder room, c) (the biggest advantage) a more stout motor in turbo 4 cylinder trim (the CLA is surprisingly strong for a 4 pot in sport mode), d) instrument cluster and dash is better (less Pontiac), e) better ergonomics and seat comfort (great bolstering and lumbar support), and f) better Audio/HVAC controls than idiotic/half-broken CUE in the ATS.

            However, the CLA also has a completely schizophrenic transmission (it was hilarious successfully getting it to skip 2 and even 3 gears in sport and even comfort mode by braking hard and getting on it hard, or vice-versa- I beat the piss out for that car – it’s an easily confused transmission), looks like a knock-off of a real Benz with that atrocious and in really bad taste prominent plasti-star, has an even firmer ride than the ATS in any mode, has truly ‘globby’ steering (like syrupy feel), and by day 3, the electronics that controlled the HVAC were already going totally haywire, coming on full blast in heat or A/C mode, or not responding at all, which required me to shut the car down and restart it almost as if I were rebooting a PC.

            I will say that on tight, smooth, curving roads, where I could set the transmission in sport mode, and really open the CLA up (it’s a boosted 4 banger, but it feels all and possibly much more of its rated crank horsepower), the CLA was more fun to drive than the ATS –

            – even though they’re both crap overall.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke

            DeadWeight, thanks for the info on both those cars as I’ll likely never park my big butt in either.

            When I see an ATS I think “wow, that is a really tiny Cadillac”. From my observations they are mostly driven by older people.

            When I see a CLA I just get angry. From my observations they are usually driven by youngish people of both sexes who use lots of cosmetics and appear to be addicted to high end retail.

          • 0 avatar
            Chan

            @DeadWeight

            I didn’t know the ATS was so bad that the worst Benz ever (TM) thoroughly trashes it in practicality and performance.

            I guess that’s why the CLA sells–the bar for badge snobs is low. It should have been completely replaced by the much more usable GLA, but apparently the lower price point is too hot to resist.

    • 0 avatar
      gkhize

      I’ve driven a Mustang of some sort since high school and am currently driving my tenth. I hear the ‘kid’s car’ comment on occasion but that’s a stereotype from the 70s when we’d put 50s, glass packs, and a big Holley on our ’67 fastback and cruise downtown on Fridays. It’s unfortunate people think that way because today’s Mustangs are a well sorted vehicle with better handling and power than just about any car in their price range.

      Also, Ike was president when I was born so I guess by definition that makes me old. My youth has escaped to parts unknown and I am certainly not interested in forming a search party. What I am interested in is driving a non-vanilla car that I have enjoyed since I saw it introduced in 1964. If my car says a lot about me then I guess it says I know a good performing car when I see one, don’t care if people question my maturity, and don’t care if I blend in.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      What percentage of people that you know judge others by what they drive?

      The most important person to impress when buying a car is yourself. Sure, image may matter to others who know you but I’d bet they’re more likely to judge you if your car is filthy than what badge it has.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Lots of people judge other people by what they drive. That’s the whole reason that the school pickup line is wall-to-wall Lexus RXes and Mercedes GLS-Classes.

        But they aren’t people you should care about.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Probably more people than you think. Not that it matters, but lots of random people judge you by your car when you’re driving down the road. You know, the “A-hole” in the BMW or the “prick” in the Porsche, or the “hillbilly redneck” in the lifted bro truck, that sort of thing.

        BTW, I keep my cars clean. All the time. So I guess I’ll get some image points there.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “… most of the nicer V8 Mustangs seems to be driven by old men trying to recapture their youth.”

      Why would you think of them as recapturing their youth versus driving a car they enjoy?

      In your mind, at what age is driving a Mustang not appropriate? And what would be more appropriate and why?

      An Accord? Sonata? Avalon?

      Yes, a car can say something about you. To me, what speaks even louder is not buying something, especially something you really want, based on the opinions of those you don’t know.

      It seems on the surface you want to project one image but if one delves a bit deeper and looks toward motivations that image just might loses a bit of its sheen.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        “Why would you think of them as recapturing their youth versus driving a car they enjoy?”

        It’s a perception and it’s not an uncommon one. Most older guys prefer comfortable and quiet cars. When I see an old dude in a Mustang, I think to myself that this is probably a guy who most likely had an old Mustang (probably late ’60s or early ’70s) and he wants to revisit that with a new V8 Mustang. I’m not questioning whether or not he’s driving a car he enjoys, but rather the real reason for choosing the Mustang. I’m quite sure there are plenty of other cars a guy like that could potentially enjoy.

        As far as age, that depends upon the person. I got my first Mustang at the age of 18. I sold my last Mustang when I was 28. For me, I was no longer interested in owning a Mustang when I was in my mid-30s. Don’t get me wrong, they are cool cars and they are better than they’ve ever been, but Mustangs just aren’t the kind of car I’d drive around on a daily basis. And Civic is something I’ve never had and never wanted, not in the least.

        Right now I drive an Audi. It’s smooth, has decent enough power, looks fantastic, and it’s a 6-speed manual. That’s really what I’m looking for in a car these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      I used to roll up to my daughter’s daycare in a Tangerine Scream Focus ST. Who the [email protected] cares? Now I park my C-Max in between Q7s and Tahoes. People care about this?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I was in my mid-30s and had a bright blue SRT-4. IDGAF what other people thought about it (if anything) apart from the annoying kids in their primered- and rust-holed Civics always wanting to race.

    • 0 avatar
      Pantherlove

      Its fine to feel this way I guess, I felt the same before settling on a Fiesta ST. The 35 year old me was worried about what others might think about my boy racer choice, but if I’m going to live with something every day for multiple years it damn well better satisfy my needs to have fun in a car. I made a mistake in my previous choice in going for the compromise and while I didn’t loathe it, it didn’t bring me any joy like my new car does.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenn

      “I believe your car says a lot about you. And the image I want to project is…”

      That entry may say more about you than what you hope to (artificially) project – an “image” that will be quickly seen-through by anyone who’s more than a complete stranger.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Don’t kid yourself. You project an image just like everyone else does. The clothes you choose to wear, like it or not, projects an image and says something about you. Even something as simple as your personal grooming habits project an image. Your choice of car is no different.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    New Challenger GT is AWD and V6 for your practical / wife side, and is an aggressive looking coupe.

    Failing that, Hellcat.

  • avatar
    319583076

    AMG GLA45

  • avatar
    ant

    As a fan of Honda cars, I’ll just note: Modern Hondas are not like they were in 1986. All the thoughtful engineering, and careful attention to detail (ergonomics) has been relegated to the bean counter division. Now all choices are made based on what other OEMs are doing.

    Also, as an OTR truck driver, I just gotta say, I don’t see many rear drive vehicles (other than pickups-usually in the ditch) out and about in the winter. There is a reason for this.

    But if you like that sort of thing, what about a PPV Caprice?

    This is a good time of year to buy a pony car though.

    And as fugly as the new civic wagon is (and man, is it fugly) the Type R seems to work from where I sit. Maybe you could get it in black, and try to camouflage some of the awfulness a bit. How much will those things cost I wonder?

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    How old are your boys, and how long will you keep the car? If they are going to be teenagers while you still have it, the Mustang’s back seat is going to be a PITA for them. In that case, get the Fusion Sport.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    Buy a Ridgeline…

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    ” I don’t give a hoot what your wife thinks, and neither should you. I’m hoping that you haven’t spent the first half of your life kowtowing to her, because that likely means that you’re in for a rough second act. Get the car you want, as long as it fits within your budget, and tell her to go suck eggs.”

    This is fucking awful advice. Marriage is a partnership. Big choices like purchasing a car should be made together.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, no.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      It’s fucking awful to have to run everything past one’s significant other.

      Marriage is a partnership, which does not preclude making separate purchases, with *gasp* separate bank accounts. Even a car. Or cars.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        There’s a vast chasm between “wife picks my car” and “I won’t let that B#$! tell me what I can do!”

        Seems to me an adult would weigh his wife’s input and may or may not agree with what she wants, but the idea that her input is worthless and can be thrown aside is idiotic.

      • 0 avatar
        3XC

        This.

        I’m getting married in 3 months. Super girl, she’s wonderful. I was married before so I know how this works. She is on notice that A) The “forever house” where we will live for the next 4 decades will have a large, multi car garage. This is non-negotiable. B)In said garage, there will be one or more project cars in various states of functionality. These do not constitute “junk” and the acquisition and disposition of said cars is not a consensus decision and C) at some point, probably not for a while, but during the course of our lives together I am going to acquire a car that will be a gift to myself for a lifetime of hard work, and it will be Italian and obnoxious and cost as much as our house, and this too is non-negotiable.

        I’m up front about it and she’s ok with it, precisely because its been discussed. I’m not springing this on her. She knows who I am.

        • 0 avatar
          True_Blue

          I’m not certain if you can hear it, but that’s applause ringing in your general direction, sir.

          Not for the adamant rules per se, but the upfrontedness of the agreement. I live with similar rules and being open about managed expectations is key.

          Hey, in fact, if she wants a project or toy of her own, open up a bay for her. The couple that wrenches together, stays together.

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          I hope she’s acclimated to the presence of project cars and sports cars that you already have–otherwise, she’s just agreeing without understanding what it’s like to live around the beasts.

      • 0 avatar
        GS 455

        Hey, they let us say fucking here now or did that just slip past Adam?

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Only if she asks you before she buys rarely worn shoes and beauty products.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        She does not, but I don’t ask her before buying rarely used tools.

        On cars, we work together, and the other has some small say in the other’s choices. Not veto power, but a say.

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          My wife and I have a general agreement that if it’s over US$1000 and not an understood household necessity, we will inform each other before purchasing.

          “Inform” doesn’t even mean “ask for permission.” We trust each other’s judgment and lifestyle habits, so it is mostly a sanity check.

          So far it has worked and the only things I would buy above that price point are cars.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The budgeting should be done together.

      The actual purchase decisions… well, it depends on the purchase. But any reasonable wife of a car guy is not going to interfere with the car guy’s purchase decision on his own car. Establishing who has what priorities is part of the partnership too.

      If my wife had her way I’d be driving a BMW 4-Series. But she knows better than to try to tell me what to buy, and she’d never complain about the LS460 I chose. In return she gets to pick most of the smaller home furnishings without my interference.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        “But any reasonable wife of a car guy is not going to interfere with the car guy’s purchase decision on his own car.”

        Quoted for emphasis. They picked us, guys, knowing we were incorrigible car nuts. Just like how we make it work with them in spite of their idiosyncrasies, right?

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        If it is in the budget then yeah the wife shouldn’t care about what the husband’s car is, though I can see why some wives might be concerned if you pick a car because it is a “chick magnet”, and you regularly refer to it as that. Or worse continually make comments like Jack, about why you picked the color.

        I could also see the concern if you were to pick a Miata and you were expected to drop the 3 kids off at school or day care on your way to work.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          There has to be mutual respect in the relationship. If a couple is to remain a couple, one has to consider the other. If one has kids then they have to be factored in. Most of us don’t have the incomes to do otherwise.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “you were expected to drop the 3 kids off at school or day care on your way to work.”

          That’s what your woman is for, which is why you cruise the 93 Miata and she runs the expensive fake SUV du jour. The only scenario I can envision where this is not logical is where your woman makes bank. If this is the case, and you do not, you have essentially failed somewhere along the line and I can do nothing more than just shake my head. In the case of both doing well, au pair. I do appreciate what Lou is saying but a woman’s first responsibility is family as much as her man is to take care of their family.

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          I’ve yet to experience any of the phenomena Jack describes.

          Here in California, the women (at least the self-sufficient ones) are intimidated by flashy cars. You might get some attention with a cute car, but by far the best tool is a dog or a baby.

          The only footnote is that a dirty or poorly maintained car definitely turns people off.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I’d like to know how much say HE had in which *UV is currently in their driveway. My money is on ‘very little.’

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      My wife is the daughter of a former low-level GM exec. This makes her naturally horrendous at picking good cars. She’s well aware of this, so she abstains from the car selection process for the most part. She is also a brilliant woman, which means I’d be an idiot to dismiss her opinions. So, we have a process that works for us. Aside from her requirement that we have a MINI in the garage, she is completely comfortable knowing that whatever else I choose will work for her. Since cars are a matter of personal finance, I ALWAYS encourage her to weigh in before making a purchase. We do this with anything that costs more than $5000. Marriage is indeed a partnership, and you’ll go nowhere in life if you forget that.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    This is my favorite Bark reply ever.

  • avatar
    Kato

    If you need a truck, get one. If you don’t need a truck, get something fast and fun. The Mustang will work unless the back seat room thing is significant. If that’s the case then Hemi Charger.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Do not fight with your wife over a car, or your next ride will be the weekly special at your local BHPH lot .

  • avatar
    GS 455

    Raptor. “Honey, is this trying too hard?”

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      I should write an article about “cars of my neighbour”. He’s had a plethora of vehicles in the short time they’ve resided there, including a early-2000s F-150 Harley Davidson will horrifically loud glasspacks, a BMW X6, and now a Raptor (again with horrifically loud glasspacks).

      I guess if you’re going for obnoxious, you go all out.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I am so done with loud exhaust on street cars. It just makes me mad. I guess that’s how I know I’m getting too old.

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          I’m going to be one of those busybodies I once despised and file a noise complaint. I take no backseat to anyone in appreciation of the V8 sound. $hit, I own 3 of ’em.

          But one must also show some consideration. Buddy firing the thing up at 5 am (or earlier) to go to work and waking up yours truly goes to the “swinging fist/tip of nose” argument.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “I guess that’s how I know I’m getting too old.”

          Maybe, but I don’t think so. I’ve never liked extremely loud exhausts on street cars or motorcycles.

          I do enjoy nice sounding exhausts but the ones you can here coming from three blocks away… no thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Does he have a jet ski?

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          No, but he recently sold a 150-decibel dirt bike. I’m not sure what other toys he keeps in the garage while some of the aforementioned vehicles sit outside.

          Such are the breaks when you live in the exurbs. Peace and quiet? We don’t need no stinkin’ peace and quiet! Basically, everybody acts as though they live on an acreage.

      • 0 avatar
        GS 455

        When it comes to people’s choices in vehicles my attitude is whatever floats their gonads. Cars can be fun, over-the-top, “extroverted” etc but I draw the line at obnoxiously loud exhaust noise.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave W

        Our neighbor up the street/hill has a 1st generation Camaro with a lack of mufflerage. When he drives it in the summer his neighbors have complained about how loud it is on start up at 6AM. Being a considerate guy he now coasts down down his driveway, down the road, and as the road starts to level off (just outside our bedroom windows) pops the clutch and scares the hell out of us as he roars off. At least the guy with the Harley leaves just after our alarm goes off.

      • 0 avatar
        everybodyhatesscott

        I’m convinced the X6 is the ugliest vehicle in the world. I have no idea why anyone would ever buy one. This is coming from someone who would love a lime green civic type r

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    It’s a year away, but I’ve begun shopping for what I want next (read:eternally shopping like many of you).

    I will be 40 and mid-life crisis stigma be damned, I want something fun, but still practical. I prefer new, but it doesn’t have to be. 30k is the absolute limit of what I want to spend, unless the proper deal presents itself on the right car, then I’ll squeak over that.

    The practical side of me says GTI or Mazda 3 hatch, new or slightly used. Slightly less practical is the 500 Abarth, but slightly used can be way less than 20k. I drive so little that gas is not a huge concern, so the Chevy SS or Charger/300 SRT are on my list too. Possibly an SRT Cherokee, but probably not. Also is a BMW of some variety if I can find the right one.

    A new Mustang is enticing too, as I’ve never had anything like that, but so is a Focus or Fiesta ST. My twins will be six and we’ll have a minivan for those family duties. My wife doesn’t drive a stick and isn’t willing to learn. She will use the car occasionally, so it has to be an automatic, unless I can get away with 4 cars, since #3 lives in DC 90% of the time and is paid for.

    I’m also willing to lease something cheap that’s boring like my current Cruze if I can get a sub 20k car that’s “fun”.

    Decisions, decisions.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      I’ve come to the conclusion that “Mid-Life Crisis Car” is a social construct to excuse the fact that someone can’t afford what you have. It seems like any expensive or expensive-looking car can be construed as a mid-life crisis mitigator.

    • 0 avatar

      Our lives almost mirror each other, besides the fact that you have more kiddos.

      I’m all over the place as well, but in my heart, I know that the Jaguar XK is the only car for me. I have a new CRV that handles the family duties, so that’s all taken care of.

      I may also keep my RAV to keep the miles off of it.

  • avatar
    sportsuburbangt

    I just went through a similar process. I bought a Charger RT Road and Track.

    I had to replace a Magnum RT that i put over 140k on in 8 years. I am a Mopar or no car guy, so I limited myself to a Charger or Ram pickup. I am the first to admit that its a little crazy but I drank the Mopar Kool Aid a long time ago and cant give it up. The wife knew what she was getting into so her only request was an auto trans, she cant drive stick.

    I replaced the Magnum with a Charger RT Road and Track and I am loving it. I rented a Ram pickup for a couple of days and it was too bulky for my daily grind.

    Check out the Charger RT Road and Track or the Charger Scat Pack. Its a great car and if your easy on the gas it will get close to 30 mpg on a long ride.

    Rent the car your thinking of for a day or two it could prevent you from making a mistake. Its better to spend $200 to test it in real life than be stuck with something that’s a bad fit.

    All kidding aside the Magnum was a great car the Hemi is an incredible motor, the interior of the Magnum was so-so but they did a great job on the new charger.

    If your only considering your choices above go with the Mustang you’ll be smiling every time you get out of the car. Rent it first and see if it fits you.
    For me its Mopar or no car!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Audi S4.

    You’re welcome.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      No more manual means too boring to be on my list. The combination of manual and supercharged V6 was what made the last one interesting. Now it’s just another expensive German snoozemobile that will make me feel like I was just too poor to get the A6 that engine/transmission combo was really designed for.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’m slipping (and massively distracted enough now and for the foreseeable future) to have realized they no longer offer the manual on the S4,non which case, I withdraw my suggestion.

        • 0 avatar
          sleepycharge

          This wouldn’t be in anyway related to a certain administration changeover and/or various market “not a bubble!” bubbles (and related professional/personal prudence as such?)

          I’ve been lurking for 3 years – finally registered so I could try and inconspicuously but not opaquely venerate the obvious larger-than-cars “truth table” parked immediately under the ongoing CADILLAC et al commentary of one Mr. Grossman.

  • avatar
    crossx5

    Chevy SS from outside the original list.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    Rural Ohio has some great driving roads, I’ve heard. You’ve got 2 boys, raise them right…pass on the joy of driving and cars before we are all mind-controlled zombies in govt controlled AI cars.

    The list to consider in no particular order:
    1) Mustang GT w/Track Pkg.
    2) Audi S3
    3) Dodge Challenger 392 Scat Pack
    4) Honda Accord V6 manual coupe (made in Ohio)
    5) Honda Civic Si Sedan (when it comes out, no need for a Type R)
    6) Jaguar F-Pace 35t R Sport

    • 0 avatar
      True_Blue

      I’ve noticed that some of rural Ohio’s roads level little in the way of forgiveness, both in the quality of the surface, and the width of the road. (This is based on areas around Sterling and Lodi OH). A couple of these roads were barely two-lanes as is.

      An S3 would probably be a blast all-year round.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Don’t compromise unless you have to. I’ve owned the Mustang GT and F-150 at the same time, just for me. I didn’t really need either.

    I strongly urge you to do so, or something similar. Do it for all those around the world (and North America) that wish they could.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I would go the truck route.

    Have a serious look at a Colorado dual cab diesel 4×4.

    This will fulfill your pickup dream and you can explain to your wife how economical it is. Even put decent side steps to assist her for ingress and egress. Explain to her this is the best, smallish, economical, etc.

    As a bonus you can take your grandkids, fishing, off roading, camping and drinking beers.

    Generate a (false) project to placate her using it as an excuse to buy the pickup.

    Just lie to her about why you need a pickup, most seem to do this and oddly it works.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    If you must get a wife approved vehicle. Might I suggest a charger sxt awd? Or a chrysler 300 sport v8? They are more adult and way better than any old run of the mill accord or fusion..

  • avatar
    Chan

    “My wife says I’m too old for a civic, and she thinks a truck is “trying too hard.””

    Wife merely expressed an opinion, which she has every right to do. So go buy the truck.

    Better yet, buy the Mustang.

    But buy what you want, not what your wife thinks you want.

  • avatar
    thunderjet

    I guess I can provide some insight being that I own a 2017 V6 Accord as well as a 2012 Mustang. The Accord is a nice daily driver. Pretty quick and handles well for a FWD mid size car. It’s comfortable and quiet. The Mustang is rougher around the edges but just a more fun/fulfilling drive.

    Be that as it may I live in Chicago. The Mustang is parked from November till April. The Accord is not.

  • avatar

    I think what car works here depends. I don’t think Mustang is the answer. I like renting Mustangs camaros etc, but they bore me quickly. The only two cars that I really like long term are sporty compacts or trucks/SUVs. If it were me I would look at a GTI, Civic R, etc, Or a truck.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    Found myself in a similar dilemma not too long ago and then found salvation in a new Audi S3. Just right size for 4 if needed. Not a “boy racer” in outward appearence but step on the go pedal and you’ll be rewarded with a true 4 sec. car that will bring a smile to you face every day.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    Screw that advice Charles. Get a C7Z06 and tell the rest of them to get behind you. They will have no choice.

  • avatar

    “I want you to get an XK” – my wife

    She’s pretty awesome!

    But yeah, I’m in the same boat with this guy, although I don’t care what people think because they’re not paying my car note.

    I agree with Bark’s advice, get whatever you think you will look forward to. I’ve driven myself nuts “deciding on”, then searching for cars that I thought I would be satisfied with…eventually, I came to my senses and realised that there’s only one car that I would love to have.


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