New or Used: Wear a Cup Edition

Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
by Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang

William writes:

My wife is currently in the market for a new car. Our current garage consists of her 2008 Ford Explorer XLT Ironman Edition V8 that gets a dismal 16 MPG in mixed driving, and my beloved 2010 G37S 6MT that I love in every way, and gets a decent 22 MPG in mixed driving when I’m not laying into the throttle. The Explorer is paid for, and while I mentioned selling it to buy whatever she wants, she’s having none of it, as we do tow with it every now and then and she has an attachment to Explorers. This is her second Ex, RIP 2002 Explorer @ 210k miles. Currently we’re looking at a few cars. She needs room, so a hatch is preferred.

Mini Cooper S Countryman

Lexus CT200h

Toyota Prius

Any suggestions? Price isn’t an issue and we plan to keep it for a while. Many Thanks. Bryant S

P.S. No, we don’t want a Panther :)

Sajeev Answers:

Correction: you don’t think you want a Panther.

That said, I would get something that adds a little more depth to your collection. The G’s got the sporty side covered. The Explorer is obviously a decent truck. The Countryman is a nice fashion statement of modest utility and long-term value, so go ahead and peep the FIAT 500 too. The CT and Prius are great ideas for an efficient runabout, but also consider cheaper and somewhat less efficient modes of transport: Mazda 3, Ford Focus SEL (or Titanium, if you don’t care about resale) or even the cute Honda Fit. It’s time to plant your butts in a whole lotta bucket seats to get your short list!

And seriously, also plant ’em in a bench seat too. (childish giggling)

Steve answers:

Are you kiddin’ Sajeev? (Maybe. – SM) She seems to be one of those sensible people. What would she ever see in a Panther?

Truth be told I have no idea what she wants. If I knew what women wanted I would be running Lifetime television…into the ground.

So go drive an Audi A3. Drive the 1-Series. Drive a 3. Drive the Fiat. Drive a Fiesta. Drive Priuses/Prii and Lexus vehicles that are only identifiable by their serial numbers. I wouldn’t discount coupes, sedans, or even wagons from the list just yet either. Hatches tend to carry stiff price premiums compared to most other vehicles because in part, they attract a younger (at heart) clientele. What you need to do is find that one vehicle that truly offers the best bang for the buck.

Once you find it, don’t tell her. Surprise her. Really.

Let her first find something she loves. Then, just when she’s about to pull the trigger, give her a book called ‘The Tightwad Gazette’. It’s known as the modern-day Bible of frugality. Tell her to read it from page 1 to the index, with special attention given to how to make puppets out of socks, pantyhose, and old dog chew toys.

Let her take all this new information in, she’ll need a moment. Then explain to her kindly, but firmly, that a 2000 Plymouth Grand Voyager with roll-up windows would truly be her ideal ride. Minivans are still unpopular, thanks to (insert politician’s name here), and the name Plymouth has been out of circulation for over 10 years, wish I could say the same thing for (insert another politician’s name here)! The glow of red around her face will be one of pure adoration for a husband that realizes the value of the dollar.

Trust me. I know that glow from personal experience.

Enjoy it. Wear a cup.

Sajeev retorts:

Wait…exactly how is getting kneed in the crotch from a Plymouth minivan any better than an honest shot at Panther Love?

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

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.
Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang

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  • Edgett Edgett on Sep 15, 2011

    After my wife quietly suffered from too many years of Camry beige, I put her behind the wheel of a Honda S2000. It's possible that we'll have changes in our life, but she's informed me in no uncertain terms that the S2000 will NOT leave the household; it's up to me to pilot the more practical car. Just saying... it's no Panther, isn't particularly fuel efficient, but it is a great car!

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Sep 16, 2011

    Well, if we're talking Plymouth, let's review some other dead brand peaches: Pontiac G8 GT - woo hoo! Saab 9-5 - new sedan will be had for a song, old wagon can be had for the same song, but louder I'd go for the G8 GT, as you'll get 9 mpg more on the highway than with the Explorer, it's got a big trunk and back seat and it's still fun to drive, as long as 3 pedals aren't required. If you need a stick, the Saabs come with 'em.