New or Used: Buyers Remorse, C5 Vettes and Self-Anointed Cultural Creatives

Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
by Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
new or used buyers remorse c5 vettes and self anointed cultural creatives

Jing asks:

Well my question is fairly simple. I’m in the market for a new car and just like everyone else, I am trying to maximize the earning value of my money. I’ve been arguing with myself for over a month now trying to make up my mind but the more I try to focus on one particular car, the more I find my thoughts straying towards another. I have the feeling that inevitably I am going to be facing buyers remorse no matter what decision I ultimately make. With that being said, I don’t have a choice set in stone but ideally I want something sporty.

I originally had my eye set on the genesis coupe but I found my eye wandering towards the 370z instead. The base model is at the upper limit of my price range and while my heart says yes, my mind scoffs as it’s practicality or lack thereof. The alternative is either a Honda CR-Z (Yes, I know what most people here think of it) or a 2011 Kia Optima/Sonata plus a 650cc sport bike. The pricing is about the same for both options, but I cannot for the life of me decide whether to go with the more expensive (and cooler!) car or a more practical commuter coupled with a crotch rocket. What say you all?

Sajeev Answers:

Don’t lie to yourself. You couldn’t care less about maximizing your money’s earning potential. If that was the case, you’d be at Steve’s office signing the paperwork on a 2004 Buick Regal, or comparable. Take it from a fellow Asian person, you gotta try a lot harder to be cheap. A zero option 370Z with your penchant for buyer’s remorse? That’s gonna work, for like a year. And making two loan/insurance payments on a car and sport bike…let’s not even go there.

So what’s the middle ground? Maybe a Genesis coupe, or a Sonata Turbo, if you keep either long enough to take advantage of the warranty and minimize the impact of depreciation. If not, buy a 2-3 year old sports coupe, like a 350Z. It’s certainly an enthusiast’s car but performance on a budget is the sole domain of the C5 Corvette. The old-fart-Corvette stigma is a tough emotional hurdle but that’s how you go fast, carry plenty of stuff, get great fuel economy, and look cool. Don’t fool yourself, a C5 Corvette destroys everything in their wake. Buyer’s remorse won’t even have a chance.

Steve Answers:

Corvettes are for old people? You would be surprised how many young folks who aren’t self-anointed ‘cultural creatives’ end up buying them. The Corvette absolutely crushes the 370Z in virtually every objective measurement… including sales in the U.S. of A. Heck even Jeremy Clarkson, long-time critic of American cars, absolutely adores them.

I can’t believe this is even a question. Go get yourself the best bang for the buck sports car on the history of the planet. Test drive it. Notice how everything it does completely obliterates the sales failures that are the 370Z and the Hyundai Gene-snooz. Revel in the fact that the powertrain for this vehicle can easily last well past the 250k mark with proper care… and drive it. A two to three year old version with low miles will make the Nissan/Hyundai products look like the piss poor alternatives that they are.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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3 of 98 comments
  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Oct 29, 2010

    It's all over the Internet, ping Karesh if interested. Not to mention Subaru's notorious warranty claim denials and the sheer number of exploding Boxers on their forums. Exploding LS motors? Not without a 250-shot of NOS, racing slicks and redline clutch dumping.

  • MattMan MattMan on Oct 29, 2010

    How many of y'all singing the C5 Vette's praises have actually driven a Vette on a track? Or at all? I drove a C6 Z51 (comparable to a C5 Z06) on track and on a several hundred mile road trip. It had almost no steering feel at all. The pedals were not properly placed for heel-toe. The seats did not hold me in place; I just slid back-and-forth between the massive trans tunnel and the door. The shifter action was, to quote the aforementioned Vette fan Jeremy Clarkson, like a "Victorian signal switch". And let's not even talk about the 1st-to-4th shift lockout. And even though a Vette is barely wider than a Boxster, it feels massively proportioned. Yeah, it's objectively fast, Steve. But subjectively, America's premier sports car is missing most of what makes a sporty car feel sporty. And the Vette did not even feel as fast as it actually was. The tall gearing and relatively low-revving engine with massive torque combined to just push you forward on a never-ending wave of linear thrust. By contrast, the Evo VIII I owned at the time felt faster due to its non-linear turbo engine response - even though it wasn't faster. The Evo also had an amazingly driver-focused cockpit, sublime feedback through the steering wheel, and felt like a lithe ballerina through the corners by comparison to the Vette. And while a Vette was faster than my Evo, I would give the nod to the Vette only in very specific conditions: a smooth, dry track. The Evo was more confidence-inspiring on real roads, and in bad weather. The Vette irony is that most owners will never drive it in the one place it is truly superior to other cars: a track.

    • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Oct 29, 2010

      @Matt the C5 Z06 has a closer ratio transmission than the C6 you drove, so that's not fair at all. And the regular C5/C6 is great as a street car because of the gearing's effect on fuel economy, which I'm sure you noticed. As I have, seeing 30-32 MPG at 70 mph in a C5 coupe.

      But I do agree on the awful seats, as I've tracked a C5 at a DE event. And you forgot to mention the terrible run-flat tires. Because they are pretty horrible.

      Nothing is perfect, but very few cars are faster than a Vette. And NOTHING in the C5's price range is faster in the straights/curves, etc unless the driver insists on using the throttle as an on/off switch. Not that you do, just that I've seen that a fair bit. Actually, I've seen that a lot.

  • FreedMike Race car drivers are all alpha-types. Aggression is part of the deal. I think you see more of that stuff in NASCAR because crashes - the end result of said aggression - are far more survivable than they would be in F1 or IndyCar.
  • Analoggrotto Only allow Tesla drivers to race, we are the epitome of class and brilliance.
  • Wjtinfwb When my kids turned 16 and got their Operators, we spent $400 to send both (twins) to 2 driving schools. One held by the local Sherriff was pretty basic but a good starter on car control and dealing with police officers as they ran the school. Then they went to a full day class in N Atlanta on a racetrack, with the cars supplied by BMW. They learned evasive maneuvers, high speed braking, skid control on a wet skid pad and generally built a lot of confidence behind the wheel. Feeling better about their skills, we looked for cars. My son was adamant he wanted a manual, Halleluiah! Looking at used Civics and Golf's and concerned about reliability and safety, I got discouraged. Then noticed an AutoTrader adv. for a new leftover '16 Ford Focus ST six-speed. 25k MSRP advertised for $17,500. $2500 above my self-imposed limit. I went to look, a brand new car, 16 miles on it, black with just the sunroof. 3 year warranty and ABS, Airbags. One drive and the torquey turbo 2.0 convinced me and I bought it on the spot. 7 years and 66k miles later it still serves my son well with zero issues. My daughter was set on a Subaru, I easily found a year old Crosstrek with all the safety gear and only 3k miles. 21k but gave my wife and I lots of peace of mind. She still wheels the Subaru, loves it and it too has provided 7 years and 58k miles of low cost motoring. Buy what fits your budget but keep in mind total cost over the long haul and the peace of mind a reliable and safe car provides. Your kids are worth it.
  • Irvingklaws Here's something cheaper, non-german, and more intriguing...
  • Wjtinfwb Happy you're loving your Z4. Variety is the spice of life and an off-beat car like the Z4 intrigues me as well. More than anything, your article and pictures have me lusting for the dashboards of a decade ago. Big, round analog gauges. Knobs and buttons to dial up the A/C, Heat or Volume. Not a television screen in sight. Need to back up? Use the mirrors or look over your shoulder. If your Z4 had the six-speed manual, it would be about perfect. Today's electronified BMW's leave me ice cold, as do the new Mercedes and Audi's with their video game interiors. Even a lowly GTI cannot escape the glowing LED dashboard. I'm not a total luddite, Bluetooth streaming for the radio would be nice and I'd agree the cooled seats would be a bonus on a warm day with the top down. But the Atari dashboard is just a bridge too far for me.