Question Of The Day: What's The Best Car You'd Never Buy?

Doug DeMuro
by Doug DeMuro
question of the day what s the best car you d never buy

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia Auto Show, where I found myself sitting in a shiny, new 2015 Ford Flex. For those of you who aren’t up on your modern Fords, this is the one that looks like a port-a-potty tipped on its side.

So anyway: I’m sitting there, playing with all the beautiful buttons, taking in the surprisingly well-crafted interior, reading about the available 365-horsepower turbocharged engine, checking out all the cool, high-tech features, when it hits me: there is absolutely no way I would ever buy this car.

And I admit, my reasons for this are entirely superficial. On paper, it appears the Flex offers excellent interior room, and excellent powertrains, and excellent equipment, and even surprisingly reasonable pricing. But I just could never get past the fact that I’m driving a vehicle that looks like an enormous coffin on wheels. In fact, it’s interesting that they call it the “Flex,” because every single line on the thing is actually rigid, and blocky, and straight, and the only thing that really flexes is the chassis when it goes around a corner.

But here’s the thing about the Flex: when you talk to an owner of the thing, they absolutely love it. Seriously: walk up to someone at a gas station who’s there with a Flex and ask what they think. They’ll talk forever about how much they love the thing. It’s like when you pull out your iPhone at a meal where someone has an Android, and they see your iPhone, and they talk for days, weeks, months, years, about their Android, and why it’s better, and customizable this, and flexible that, when all you really wanted to do was check your e-mail.

So I admit that I might be wrong about the Flex, but its bizarre styling ensures that I’ll never change my mind. And this leads to today’s question of the day, which is: what’s the best car you’d never buy?

It doesn’t have to be about styling. As I was writing this column, I came up with another excellent example of a great car I’d never buy: the E46 BMW M3. For those of you who don’t know it, this was the BMW M3 they made in the mid-2000s. For those of you who still don’t know it, this is the BMW M3 that’s primarily owned by teenagers who spend more time getting their hair to spike up than they do earning a paycheck.

By all accounts, the E46 BMW M3 is an excellent car. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s got a great engine, and the interior is still classic BMW, which is to say that the shifter isn’t that bizarre plastic unit that looks like a malformed piece of petrified wood. But if you buy an E46 M3, you’re automatically… that guy.

You know the guy I mean. The guy who leaves his front windows down, even during the winter, so people can hear his music. The guy who believes street racing will identify the better man. The guy who believes that a condom is a debatable part of relations with a stranger. (“C’mon baby… just this once.”) And if you buy an E46 M3, whether you actually are that guy or not is irrelevant: you’re representing to the world that you’re that guy. You’re telling everyone: “Although I may not actually be that guy, we certainly have the same tastes. Now, let me turn up my bass.” And for me, that alone removes the E46 M3 from my list of possible vehicles in the future.

So I ask you: what’s the best car you’d never buy? Due to brand bias, perhaps? Or styling? Or owner perception? Or maybe you’re above all these superficial things, and they wouldn’t stop you from buying any car. Even if it looks like an enormous coffin on wheels.

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2 of 391 comments
  • A strolling player A strolling player on Feb 08, 2015

    I usually keep an open mind about this stuff. Call me an optimist, but I'd love to own an old Citroën someday, repairability be damned. That said... The B5 Passat wagon, W8 6mt. It's super rare and ticks all the right buttons or whatever. But if I'm going to dive into big-VW-engine repair hell, I'm going to do it right: in a Phaeton.

  • Scott25 Scott25 on Feb 09, 2015

    Mazda MX-5: everyone loves them but I will never own a convertible made after 1980.

  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines.
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.
  • Inside Looking Out Chinese will take over EV market and Tesla will become the richest and largest car company in the world. Forget about Japanese.