Hammer Time: One Car, One Lifetime

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time one car one lifetime

Enthusiasts consider this idea every once in a blue moon. “If you could have just one car for the rest of your life, what would it be?” Last-gen BMW M5? Porsche 911? Corvette? Pontiac G8? Lotus Elise (just kidding). But how about folks who don’t care about cars? What should they get? The Camrolla and Civords would likely be at the top of the lists for the frugal and apathetic. But maybe a Grand Marquis or Crown Vic Interceptor would do fine. Then you have pre-Daimler Jeep Cherokees, RWD Volvo wagons, Subarus of certain stripes, and old Benzes that may now require German translations and Indian parts. The 10+ year old used car world has several winners for the tightwad crowd. But what about new and late model cars?

My pick for those who simply call their car, ‘the car’, would be a Nissan Versa S Hatchback. It’s common enough that it won’t get the price premiums that a Fit or xB typically get if you buy it used. ‘The car’ also has ample seating, an upscale interior for its class and is very easy to drive. Got something better? Well, let the games begin. Those who say ‘Toyota Prius’ will be automatically disqualified for lack of originality.

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4 of 64 comments
  • JuniorMint JuniorMint on Jun 09, 2009

    And did you ask yourself why the xB has a price premium? (I assume we're talking about the Gen 1...xB The Sequel is about as noteworthy as the Echo.) I can't believe you'd rather subject your passengers to the back seat of the Versa for 12 years than pay a few extra thousand for a far superior car. That's just...cold.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Jun 09, 2009

    Ha! You think that's cold? Just wait until they get into my 2001 Honda Insight.

  • Davejay Davejay on Jun 10, 2009

    Drove a Mazda3 rental recently, hated it. Drove a Yaris rental the same week, liked it. Still like my Versa SL better. So I'd just say change the Versa S to a Versa SL, because the seat fabric on the S sucks, whereas the SL has a very nice blue and black fabric that improves the interior tremendously.

  • FromBrazil FromBrazil on Jun 11, 2009

    From a different perspective: Any Fiat Palio and/or derivatives (Siena sedan, Weekend station wagon or Strada pickup truck). Parts cheap, many sold. Go on forever w/little maintenance. The only other car that would fit the bill down here would be the VW Gol (though until the this year you couldn't get a sedan version). Again, parts cheap, many sold. Downside: uncomfortable vis-a-vis the Palio, insurance more expensive, tends to have more crazy engine and electrical problems. Now try to do that in a Ford Fiesta, GM Corsa, various Peugeot and Renaults. Couldn't be done for different reasons. More expensive, all sold less, parts more difficult. BTW, I have a Palio. Due to crisis and reading many articles (especially yours Mr. Lang) plan to keep it for a long time and see if it really is so beneficial finance-wise. Was recently offered a very cheap brand-new Renault Clio. Would change in a minute if the plan were to keep it 3-5 yrs. But as I intend to keep the Palio for +10 yrs, I just cannot see the Renault being as easy to keep as the Fiat, so I turned the deal down. So, I'll be putting my money where my mouth is. The car is already 3 yrs old and has around 30 000 miles on it. Nothing but regular maintenance. It'll be interesting to see how this goes.