New or Used: Commuter Ying, Sporty Yang

Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
by Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
new or used commuter ying sporty yang

Mark V. writes:

I was wrong, I thought I could drive a 370z touring on a daily basis to work, a 75m round trip on the highway mostly, but I can’t. Its to loud and its becoming unpleasant to drive. I don’t want to get a beater for a 2nd car because spending almost 2 hours a day in it would be a major quality of life loss and probably not any more pleasant then my 370z.

I need a commuting yin to my 370’s sporty yang, but I don’t think I can afford the expensive of a 2nd car, technically 3rd if you count the wife’s car.

So I think I’m going to be forced to compromise and get a sports sedan. Which leads to the question, Should I compromise and if so which sports sedan will hold up to my ~18,000m a year commute, make sitting in the car for 2 hours passable, sporty enough to not make me nervous while hooning, and will cost me around 75k to own and operate for the first 5 years?

Sajeev answers:

I have no clue what is sporty enough for you. Owning a German sedan sounds great, and kinda like yesterday’s installment of New or Used,who knows how much of a money pit it will be after the warranty runs out. And that’s assuming you can buy a new one, and not give in to the temptation of a heavily depreciated 7-er, 5-er, Audi A6 or A8. Your mileage will probably require an extended warranty too. Maybe a Lexus IS will work. Maybe a used Infiniti M or G. (M’s depreciate like mad and seem like decent machines) Maybe a Caddy CTS.

I have no idea. Or maybe you should get a Mercury Marauder. Yeah, actually that will work just fine for me. But seriously, start test driving before you get snow’d in!

Steve answers:

The number of the cars that will fit these requirements numbers well into the double figures.

Audi A4. BMW 3-Series. Lexus IS350. Infiniti G37. Anyone here can throw in a long list of good potential fits.

Since your budget is a bit more generous than many, I would consider upsizing a bit. My brother just got the new Audi A6 (really) and considers it to be the ultimate elixir for his PITA Long Island commute. Then there are the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class which have pretty much dominated the mid-level luxury market for eons on end.

You have a lot of options out there. So just take your time. Drive a few… and enjoy your next car.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.
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  • Mike Solowiow Mike Solowiow on Dec 10, 2011

    Man up, stop moaning, and get a Porsche 911. I did a 40 mile commute for over a year in one, and loved every bit of it! If not able to MTFU, then, Audi A4/A6, BMW 3/5-series. Manual only.

  • HungryHill HungryHill on Dec 10, 2011

    Wow! Talk about timing. I found myself in the same situation and finally pulled the trigger after obsessing about "sports sedans" for 6 months. The major difference is I drive 700-800 miles a week and put a premium on reliability. I drove 07s with less than 45k miles- G35x, TL Type-S, 335i non-sport and sport, and an IS350. The 335i without the sport package is the best car in my opinion. Although most of my driving is on the highway, I felt the sport package would become tedious very quickly around town (in MA where most roads suck) and it eats tires. I came real close buying a low milage one in September, but got cold feet due to cost of maintainence and reliability. I'll keep the car past 100k and the German cars scare me a bit. The TL turned me off very quickly. I just didn't do anything for me. I liked the GS a little more, but it's weight (G35Xs), gas milage, heavy steering feel, and how poorly the car held up with 42k gave me pause. I drove an IS350 and instantly feel in love with it. The instant power and fit and finish are definate pluses. Most importantly for me, I won't be too nervous driving 35k/yr. I've had the IS since October and have not seen another 350 in my travels, although IS250 AWD are everywhere. I still lust for a BMW- probably a 535i next time.

  • MaintenanceCosts Will the Bronco have a four-motor configuration a la Rivian? That seems to me like the right approach for an EV off-roader. Enables lots of neat tricks.
  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
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