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Posts By: BarkM
I’m in the final year of my lease on a 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T and the itch to start shopping for my next car has kicked in. Ownership has not been perfect. CUE annoys me on a regular basis, the 2.0T noticeably shakes the car at idle when the engine is cold, it’s been recalled four times for its sunroof, and its automatic transmission is way too eager to up shift. While my wife loves how quiet and smooth the car is, I am a bit ambivalent. The handling is great, but the car itself lacks character when you cane it.
I’ve owned an E46 BMW M3, both eighth and ninth generations of the Honda Civic Si, and a Toyota MR2 targa top in the past. Recently, I put a refundable deposit on a 2017 Subaru BRZ with a manual transmission in hopes of getting back into something that’s a bit more raw, but it seems Canadian customers are not receiving some ’17 updates and my wife hates being a passenger in it.
I was eyeing the new Chevrolet Camaro SS, BMW M2 and used Porsche Caymans when, on a whim, I test drove a 2015 Lexus RC F.
As our own Matthew Guy has marvelously demonstrated recently, it’s widely known a new-car purchase’s best value can often be found in the base-level trim. Rarely is a vehicle improved in proportion to the cost of additional options. Nor is the money spent on additional options or higher trim levels recovered in resale as secondhand customers are reluctant to pay more money for bells and whistles because, quite often, they’re obsolete by the time the car sells the second time around.
If we take these truths to an obvious conclusion, it can be said that the higher the trim level, the worse the resale value — and in my years of experience working for Autotrader, I can tell you that’s true. Many of the low-end pricing tools used by dealers to determine used car values often don’t even take trim into account.
Is it any wonder then that General Motors’ and Ford’s top trim levels have wretched resale values?
No, I’m not talking about “LTZ” or “Titanium.” I’m talking about Cadillac and Lincoln.
I have a confession to make. I’ve never modified any car that I’ve owned. Not a cold air intake. Not an exhaust. Not a single bolt-on. Nothing.
I guess you could make a case that I modified my Mazda RX-8, but all I did was buy Koni Sport shocks (which are considered OEM replacement) and O.Z. Ultraleggera wheels (man, I miss those) to make it a better autocrosser. And I did buy the Trackey software for my Boss 302. But I’ve never done a single thing to a car that would cause a warranty to be violated. And as a “car guy,” I’ve always been completely okay with that.
That is, I was, until I saw an Instagram picture yesterday.
My current ride is a manual Civic sedan, which I’ve modified but in which I’ve lost interest. It’s just not powerful enough, and I think I want something a little more relaxing for the daily grind. I commute about 400 miles a week and offspring are hopefully coming in the near future. I’ve grown to accept that my next car may break my all-stick-shift streak (six since 2003). I don’t want or need all-wheel drive as I live in the South.
So what do I want?
Well I definitely want a sedan; preferably a smaller one. I definitely want something with six cylinders and liters no less than three by the Lor’t’s decree. I also don’t want to spend more than $20,000, so it will obviously be used. It wouldn’t hurt to have a decent aftermarket—I want to lower the car and put an intake and exhaust on it. The obvious choices to me are the Infiniti G37S, followed by the previous-generation Lexus IS 350 and BMW 335i.
Still, I just can’t shake the idea of at least checking out a 2015+ Chrysler 200S. Why?
In case you haven’t heard, the Southeast is pretty much being destroyed by a Category 4 hurricane as we speak. My own father, who art in Hilton Head, was forced to evacuate from his home near the coast and retreat inland — all the way to Atlanta, which was the closest city with any hotel rooms available. But the whole city is now sold out, and the closest hotels available are now in Tennessee.
These displaced people have no idea what’s awaiting them at home. They might have nothing left to go home to. But one autocrosser gives zero fucks. He’s ready to chase cones, and those displaced people better not be affecting his “race.”
Surprise! It’s a Ford hatchback! As many of you correctly guessed yesterday, the new long-term tester (and this one’s gonna be loooooooong) is a 2016 Focus RS in Nitrous Blue. And, man, is this thing glorious.
I bought a car yesterday (as seen below). I’ll do the full reveal and write-up for you tomorrow. For now, let’s talk about all the things I considered buying but didn’t, and how it might help you make your own buying decision in the future.
And yes, I bought it. I didn’t lease. We’ll discuss that tomorrow, too.
I seem to find myself in an endless car-buying cycle of “I’ll finally be content if I buy X car”; get said car, get a year into ownership and dammit — I want a different car! Buyers remorse at its finest.
I don’t know what it is when it comes to cars, but I seem to have this blind spot for knowing what the heck I really want in the car, unlike everything else in life. Sigh.
We need to talk. You’re a good state. Really, you are. I love your beaches. There’s the delightful lilt of latin accents everywhere. Daytona is the place where motorsports royalty is crowned in America. Sebring is the place of legends. And who doesn’t love Disney World?
But we need to talk about your car situation. It’s just flat-out embarrassing. All of your friends are talking about it. I think it’s time we had a an open, honest conversation, and maybe we can solve this problem together.