By on May 11, 2017

2017 Kia Soul - Image: Kia

Recommending vehicles, and having those recommendations go unheeded, is a key component of your role as an automotive enthusiast.

Whether you’re known as a go-to source for vehicle recommendations because of your encyclopedic automotive knowledge, because you’re a keen driver who once raced a Spec Miata, because you’ve brilliantly chosen five consecutive impeccably reliable midsize sedans, or because (like many TTAC contributors) you spend a week with new vehicles as they enter the market, you are relied upon by friends, family, and co-workers.

When asked, what new vehicle ends up topping your Most Recommended list? Forget Consumer Reports’ recommendations and Car And Driver’s 10 Best. If a friend asks you what new car they should buy, what car is it most likely to be?

Camry? F-150? Outback? Elantra Sport? Don’t say Golf SportWagen TDI.

Yesterday, not for the first time in the recent past, a new car buyer’s wishlist presented me with an obvious answer: Kia Soul.

Kia Soul. Kia Soul. Kia Soul. Over and over again, it seems as though the typical car buyer couldn’t do much better than a Kia Soul.

Combine the mid-grade 2017 Kia Soul’s $20,695 MSRP with the $1,000 UVO Package, the 27-mpg Soul presents an undeniably attractive value quotient. You don’t need to pay a premium for all-wheel drive — Kia doesn’t even offer it. Loads of rear seat space and impressive cargo volume make the Soul a viable midsize sedan alternative. Though by no means overpowered, the Soul isn’t a slow poke. The second-generation rides and handles well, too. Naturally, as a Kia, there’s a load of equipment. And back on the Consumer Reports front, Kia is now among the most reliable car brands.

I’m not recommending the Soul to everyone. If you want an affordable luxury car, the Audi A4 is tough to beat. The Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V are outstanding small crossovers. Families with a wide variety of needs are well served by a Honda Odyssey. Full-size pickup trucks from Ford, General Motors, and Ram will all surprise and delight in different ways. The short-lived Ford Mustang V6 is a shockingly effective sports car alternative. And the Volkswagen Golf GTI is perhaps the best all-around vehicle for performance car lovers.

Besides, my Soul recommendation comes with three caveats. Maybe the Soul was cool in 2009, but now that Americans have snapped up more than 900,000 of them, the high sense of style is lost in ubiquity. Second, Kia has yet to install positive steering feel in the Soul. And finally, manual transmission availability is limited.

Yet time and time again, the expectations of car buyers who contact me are best met not by a Mazda MX-5 Miata or Ford F-250 or Jeep Wrangler, but rather by a Kia Soul.

What new car do you recommend most often?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

161 Comments on “QOTD: What Car Do You Recommend Most Often?...”


  • avatar
    Frylock350

    When folks are simply looking for a family vehicle (and specifically don’t want a truck) I always recommend the Chevy Equinox. The price is right, its extremely safe, it has full-size luxury sedan legroom and tons of cargo room, good visibility, and a good ride thanks to its long wheelbase. Its also not terrible long or wide, is easy to park, and is inexpensive to operate.

    If they’re willing to consider a truck I strongly urge them to buy a CCSB pickup. There’s no more useful, durable, and long lasting vehicle you can buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Guy

      Agree on all points. We have a 12MY Equinox and my only minor complaint is the fuel economy. Its rated 32MPG highway and we never have been able to get above 28MPG on long trips. Otherwise a good vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      We had a 2012 Equinox as well. It is a truly underrated vehicle. Excellent front and mid-row space, good ride quality and fuel economy (we got 26mpg combined over a mountainous route) and stellar low noise levels. Even the LATCH anchors are easily accessible.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Junk. And the new ones are overpriced

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Sorry, but the Equinox is not a good choice in that segment at all. The new one probably is, but the Equinox is heavy amd sluggish and not nearly as roomy inside as a car that size should be. But this brings me to the car I recommend the most: the Kia Sorento. It’s got more interior space than an Equinox (with a smaller footprint). You can get it with a V6 even in the base trim. It’s incredibly safe, cheap to insure, and often available at about $4k off sticker. And it handles/rides better than pretty much anything in its class other than the more expensive Ford Edge.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        @quaquaqua,

        So did a quick spec lookup on a Sorento and your assessment is a bit inaccurate. It has identical rear legroom to an Equinox with a shorter wheelbase. The Sorento unquestionably has a larger footprint. Its the same length but ~2″ wider which gives it a larger footprint and explains why it has more interior volume. In regards to performance Sorento V6 (0-60 in ~7.2s) is notably slower than an Equinox 3.6L (0-60 in ~6.7s). I wasn’t able to find numbers on the base engine of the Sorento for comparison purposes.

        • 0 avatar
          wtaf

          I won’t fight for either vehicle but legroom specs (especially rear row(s)) from mfgs are unreliable garbage.
          No real standard for that measurement.

    • 0 avatar
      RS

      Can’t recommend the 2010-2013 with 2.4L because of the oil burning issues. I’m not really sure how well GM addressed the issue in newer ones. The GM 3.6L has it’s own issues too.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Yep, timing chain issues in GM 2.4 and 3.6 motors seem to crop up more frequently than just random chance it seems. Locally there’s guys advertising doing a chain replacement on a 3.6 for $1500, same guys that offer other niche things like Northstar head bolt fixes. To me that points to a serious issue.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      Could not agree more.

  • avatar
    Michael Haz

    Any Honda or Acura vehicle, especially one with the seemingly indestructible V6 engine. My daily driver has that engine, and at 295,000 miles it still runs well, uses less that one quart of oil between oil changes every 7500 miles.

    My second recommendation is always “Use Mobil 1 for every oil change, period”.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      The Honda V6 with the glass transmissions?

      • 0 avatar
        Michael Haz

        Never had an issue with mine.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        I thought the transmission issues were limited to the CUVs and minivans?

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Honda fixed the glass transmissions several years ago.

        Actually the bigger problem now is the V6’s variable cylinder management, which can cause vibrations and premature engine wear. Reportedly it’s easily disabled with a clever aftermarket fix that exacts very little penalty to MPG.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          When the Chrysler 300 5.7L first came out with VCM, it had the same problems.

          I was driving my son’s 300 back down the mountain from Lake Tahoe on my way to Minden, when all of a sudden………WTF!?

          The engine vibrations can get your attention, the first time it happens to you.

          But as far as Honda transmissions, I don’t like that Honda switched to CVTs.

          Much rather prefer the V6 Auto Accord my grandson owns. Slick!

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Our 2015 GMC Terrain has been bullet proof for 35,000 miles. The 2.4l is more than adequate with my ecu tune and transmission tune. I don’t think it’ll run with a V6 but more than peppy enough.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, the glass transmission that was sold for 4 years 15 years ago. Yes, that one. Oddly enough they’ve actually been selling V6s and transmissions since that point as well, and those can also be used as reference points. But why bother, really.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        2003 Honda Accord V6 here! It just passed 262,000 miles, all original miles on the 5AT/Engine and most suspension parts. There were some models with issues, especially the odyssey, but somehow they fixed most of them. My sister’s 03 Pilot has 150,000 miles and transmission has not given her any problems. I’ve heard that glass transmission reference before, but haven’t witnessed it unless it was an old odyssey, 99-03 especially. I do see plenty of 06-08 Fusions with bad transmissions, and many 06- impala’s with transmission failures.

        I really think it comes down to how you care for your vehicle. My 03 Accord gets regular transmission fluid replacement with genuine Honda fluid. People who use the wrong stuff have had disastrous results.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      It is normal for V6 to burn little to none oil for long time. The wear on them is much less than of 4cyl. You would have same result with regular dino oil changed every 5K

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Generally I recommend different car than I’d drive myself. I put reliablilty first in my reco’s because people don’t really have a basis of comparison for driving demeanor, but if it breaks, they’ll blame me.

      Last three cars I recommended:

      New base Civic LX (indestructible K-series 2.0 Four, no turbo, no messed-up EX telematics)

      New stripped Soul for my young adult nephew

      Used Prius for my friend’s college son. Plenty of space for moving stuff, fantastically low cost of operation, never ever breaks.

      I don’t recommend CR-V’s much anymore. Their greater complexity has resulted in significantly lower reliability, according to the latest CR owner surveys. And they’re so popular that they’re no longer tops in bang-for-buck. But I wouldn’t recommend an Equinox if you bribed me; refer to the reliability comment above. The stats show that GMs don’t stay reliable as they age. It’s simply a fact – they just don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        My friend likes the 2012 civic ex they bought. Honda may have taken some crap for that first year, but it’s been bulletproof and still looks new. I think the 2012 EX has the best looking wheels of the 12-15 run.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I would not recommend a Acura or Honda out of warranty with the transmission issues. Their residuals won’t be any different long term compared to a discounted domestic.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        When I take my friends out looking for a $900 car or anything under $7500, I never see anything like your talking about. Case in point, 96 Honda Accord with 200k miles, runs, some dents, probably at one time stolen. Same price as a 2007 Ford Taurus or 05 Impala.

        2003 Honda Accord 200k, LX, dents, scratches, salvage $3500. 2010 Chevrolet Impala same with less miles for $3500.

        I have only seen an Odyssey have the transmission issues, not the accord, pilot, ridgeline.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The “transmission issues” aren’t relevant to any Honda built since 2004.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I don’t recommend cars (or make any recommendations) anymore. My experience is that people will ask for advice, you give a few recommendations, they go off and buy something completely different, and it’s still your fault if they’re unhappy.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      No kidding! It is always the same: i want awd, reliable, safe, efficient.

      Two weeks later.

      Come look, i got a great deal on this Land Rover, isnt it great?

    • 0 avatar

      Or they ask you HOW to buy a car and save money on it, and how to protect themselves when buying a used car, and they end up walking into a dealership and buying the first thing that catches their fancy, sans inspection!

    • 0 avatar

      So true. So true JimZ.

    • 0 avatar
      ColoradoFX4

      So true. Usually they already have a vehicle in mind and are just looking for you to validate their choice.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        What I found is that some people really are clueless since the vehicle they’re are retiring is a 1996 Crown Vic or Grand Marquis.

        I knew of one couple who bought a Matrix to replace their old Yank Tank, but in a few years neither one of them could in or out of it because it was too low to the ground. What a waste of good money!

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        I have a friend who finally makes enough money to upgrade from his old beat up, clear coat-lacking altima. Hail damage means he wants to get something quickly without deliberating on it much. Boom, he gets another altima. Few months later, he gets another raise and new hail damage puts him upside down on the new Altima.We sit down and go over what he’s looking for. I fight to make him at least test drive a Lexus IS. Any generation. Next time I see him, he’s in another goddamn Altima.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @JimZ – agreed. It is a case of conformational bias. They know *you/I/we* are vehicle aficionados so all they really want is for someone to say that they are making a good choice even though their choice could be a POS or completely inappropriate.

      I’ve learned this the hard way. People get pissed if you suggest something that goes against their pre-conceived ideas.

      The last time I was asked, my wife’s best friend asked for my opinion on mid-sized CUV/SUV’s. I looked up the vehicles in the class, put together an electronic file on shootouts/tests and durability data and sent it to her. She bought a Honda Pilot. Her husband wanted a GM product since he is a fan boy. Even that backfired as she managed to turn it into my recommendation as opposed to me just being the researcher. I had made zero recommendations.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I met a girl with a Jetta that had 34 stored body codes. It was a (barely) running joke. She’s making a killing filling a quota for the city though, and she wants to announce it. She asked if I think a Range Rover Evoque is a good car, which triggered an involuntary laughing fit from me. I’m sure she stuck to her guns and got a Macan or some similar piece of flotsam, but at least she saw that people who know about cars aren’t impressed by ones that will continue to waste her time and inconvenience her.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Agreed JimZ – I get asked about cars regularly. My response is almost always:
      – Pick several models that meet your needs and budget.

      – Go see all of them, don’t talk about price with the dealer, just tell them that you are evaluating against the competition.

      – Sit in all of them for a VERY long time. Make sure you are comfortable the entire time. Does your right knee hit the dashboard or console? Does your left elbow rest on the armrest comfortably? Is the armrest made of hard plastic? If you are tall, is your right knee forced inward to access the gas pedal? Does the seat provide adequate support for long trips?

      – Run your hand over the interior materials. Does the interior quality meet your needs? Are there hard plastics everywhere? Do panels move when pressed gently? Are buttons easily accessed? Is there a start button or a traditional ignition?

      – How does the stereo sound? Do the audio dynamics meet your needs for long road trips or commutes? Is there enough Bass and treble? Is it loud enough to overcome road noise? Does the car have enough tech features?

      – When driving, turn off the radio entirely and listen to the road. Do you hear a lot of road noise? How is the soundproofing? Do you want a quiet ride or is some road noise acceptable? How does the car handle hitting a bump or pothole? Do you have to make regular corrections at highway speed? Is the acceleration suitable for your needs? How is the real world mileage?

      Once all of the above is done, pick the one that passes the test, and you probably have the right car.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        This is an excellent list. I don’t understand how so many manufacturers spend so much on engineering only to mess up the basics. Such as:

        > Does your left elbow rest on the armrest comfortably? Is the armrest made of hard plastic?

        Practically every ’70s and ’80s malaise-era American car got this right. Luxury sedans had huge armrests that were long, wide, ran the full length of the door, and were softly padded on the armrest and the door panel where your arm rubbed against it. A separate grab handle above the armrest was used to pull the door closed. Lower-priced cars had a shorter armrest with a grab handle at the end.

        Today, the majority of armrests are uncomfortable. They often bend upward just where your hand wants to fall, bending your hand uncomfortably upward, ignoring the fact that arms are straight. Rather than a separate strap to close the door, there is usually a hard plastic cutout in the armrest, again just where your hand falls. Often the door panel juts out and the armrest curves inward near the B pillar, forcing your elbow off the armrest (most current Mazdas are particularly guilty of this infraction). These little things add up to make a car uncomfortable. Also, most center armrests these days are too far back to serve as anything more than elbow rests.

        Simple things like adjusting the radio volume are more difficult in modern cars than anything from 40 years ago, despite claims of improved ergonomics. Other basic functions like changing gears on an automatic transmission or turning on the wipers are both more complicated than they used to be and too easily invoked when not intended. The car that fits me the most comfortably and with the most intuitive, well thought out controls is the car I’m most likely to buy or recommend.

  • avatar
    deanst

    The value represented by cheap hybrids like the Kia Niro is hard to ignore. Probably not as big as many would like, but big enough for most peoples real needs.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I really like the Niro and intent to acquire one within the next 24 months.

      However when asked i) CR-V, ii) Corolla.
      Why?
      Because people who ask for car buying advise generally are not gear/petrol heads but are looking for an ‘appliance’.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        I am so sick of that appliance line. EVERYONE wants their cars to not break. Hardly ANY mainstream cars have any enthusiast credentials. A CR-V is no more of an appliance than a Jeep Cherokee. But Jeep owners just looove how their cars have “character”, which makes no sense. Get a girlfriend if you want something unpredictable that can leave you by the side of the road.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          That is why it is in ‘italics’. But it is a commonly known and accepted term for a vehicle where driving dynamics and prestige are not a priority but reliability and cost of ownership are.

  • avatar
    arach

    Used to be Honda.

    Now its Hyundai

    • 0 avatar
      ijbrekke

      Spot on.

    • 0 avatar

      Eh, Hyundai still hasn’t proven itself to be as good as Honda. Yes, the basics still work, but I’ve heard too many complaints of last-gens feeling loose and creaky with lots of build and wear issues 4 years in. Hondas don’t do that, and that contributes a lot to long-term ownership happiness. My mother’s decade-old Civic EX-L still drives and looks like the day it was new, which makes you completely forget its 10 years old.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Mom has a 2012 Sonata Limited w/ nav. I can concur; it simply has not held up as well as a Honda or Toyota would have, least of all in terms of fit-and-finish. And she takes good care of her things, too.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      hyundai and kia driving dynamics are not good.
      the extra nickel for a hond yoto is worth it.
      especially considering the higher resale you ll get when you sell it.
      really- a no brainer

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Agreed, I wouldn’t recommend either Hyundai or Kia over Honda for a long term buyer. Kia interiors are terrible, not ergonomically correct, and made of extremely hard plastics. Kia interiors below the K900 get tiresome after just a couple months.

        Hyundai interiors tend to look good for a couple years, and certainly have more visual depth than Kia interiors, but they wear quickly. Neither Hyundai or Kia sedans have the driving feel and dynamics of a Honda Accord Sport.

        That said, in the crossover class, I dont like the Pilot or the Forte. I do like the CR-V and the Santa Fe.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I’m just not seeing it. H-Ks don’t hold up, and they aren’t made of nice materials in the places that matter for their long-term service. If you’re looking for a four year old used car, Honda is king. If you’re shopping new, they’re rapidly losing their reason for being. Anything with a V6 and six speeds is good, whether automatic or manual. Anything without a turbo or a CVT is good in the 4-cylinder ranges. A CVT may be okay in an Accord, but probably not in a CR-V, Civic or Fit. The company with the most keeper new cars is now Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        JonBoy470

        I’m forced to agree. I’ve owned both Hyundais and Toyotas. I’ve owned a 99 Accent and an 04 Accent, and a 00 Camry 4 cyl. The Accents were good cars for the first 8-10 years but then the interior starts falling apart and the door handles crumble. Under hood electrical connectors are poorly weatherproofed, so you start getting all sorts of janky electrical problems, including intermittent no starts. The rubber CVT boots are made out of some sort of rubber-looking, value-engineered tissue paper derivative, though in fairness the joints themselves are made of some sort of adamantium/vibranium/unobtainium alloy and I ran them for tens of thousands of miles after the boots failed and they’d thrown rings of grease splatter on the firewall and brake calipers, just to see how long it would take before I started getting the clunking noise of incipient failure. The head cover gaskets were made of the same crepe paper composite.

        The Camry was not without its own faults. The McPherson strut mounts were garbage, necessitating replacement of all four struts despite the fact that none of them were actually leaking. It also needed a starter, a blower motor resistor, a front O2 sensor, front wheel bearings and an AC compressor, all well after the decade mark, and done more proactively than I had with the Hyundais (for example, The compressor was replaced due to bearing noise, even though it still ran, and the car still blew cold air) None of the drama of the Hyundais. The interior and CV axles were intact, and original, and the body rust free after a decade not garaged in the Northeast.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Agreed – the Kia Soul fits an amazingly wide range of buyers’ needs, whether they realize it or not, especially now that a 201-hp turbo engine is offered.

    I’d happily drive one every day, and I say this as someone whose current DD is an Audi S6…

    • 0 avatar

      Yes. I get them as rentals sometimes in the US and they are truly excellent vehicles. Quiet, refined, good ride quality, reasonably fast (for what they are), spacious and well-designed interior with decent materials. If the Niro didn’t exist, I’d have a lightly-used Soul as my mom’s next car.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Used/certified Prius V, Rav4/Rogue/CRV/Forester, Camry, Avalon, and most recently the base Hyundai Sonata SE. Loved my most recent ’17 Sonata rental after being left feeling lukewarm about a ’15. Locally they’re being blown out for about $15k(!!!). That is one hell of a lot of car for the money, I’d frankly recommend it over a Camry at this point based on the value proposition and how good they drive these days (yes including suspension tuning finally).

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      The Optima out-Sonatas the Sonata in practically every way. Better seats, better ride better handling. But I agree that it’s probably easier to get a bangin’ discount on a Sonata.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Own a Sonata, tried an Optima. Had to return the Optima to the rental company as I found the seat/headrest/driving position unacceptable.

        Might have been a one off?

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          My Optima rental seemed noisier, had terrible seat fabric, and smelled strongly of plastic (same smell as my coworker’s ’14 Malibu oddly enough). Sonata all the way for me.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            The Optima’s interior is awful, it pales in comparison to just about any other four door sedan…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I always tell people to pick a class of vehicle and go drive all the examples they can get their hands on. Then decide which one you want to haggle over. Don’t be sold on one dealer and have a backup if you can’t find a good deal on your 1st choice.

    Ex: Compact CUVs – go drive the RAV4, Rouge, Terrain, Equinox, CRV, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Look how often people ask “what would YOU choose?” even if it’s just between two cars! Some people just can’t make a decision on their own.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Then those people shouldn’t be permitted to handle sharp objects.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I’m certainly willing to go with them and let them know which I prefer to drive, which is usually the Mazdas. But they always have their own preferences after driving anyway.

        The important thing is to show them that if they know the exact vehicle and trim level/options they might be interested in, and they state outright that they’re here to test drive that vehicle, then the time spent in the dealership is minimal. After the drive, no further discussion with the salesperson is necessary; you need to move on to the next vehicle before even considering a purchase.

        I’m also willing to help them decide which trim level is the best value. I hate seeing people overpay for options of dubious value. That just encourages the manufacturers.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @PrincipalDan – agreed. I’ll ask questions as to help them sort out what they need/want/desire then I’ll help them with research. I’ll provide tips on the negotiation and then the rest is up to them. I also have gotten in the habit of making it 100% clear that I am not telling them what to buy. Here is the information, YOU decide.

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      PrincipalDan has the best answer. Cars that look good on paper can be offputting in person for any number of reasons. Case in point: Hondas very often look good to me on paper, but almost invariably I prefer their Toyota equivalent when I drive them. I would add that a little research goes a long way towards avoiding problem cars.

      Also, much of car buying comes down to getting the right deal. There’s no way of knowing whether something like a Chrysler 200 at a screaming discount, or a seemingly overpriced Acura, is in fact the right car unless you have a point of comparison for what you’re sacrificing.

  • avatar
    ajla

    New cars / CUVs : Toyota or Lexus

    New or used trucks / SUVs : Chevy or GMC

    Used cars / CUVs : Lincoln

    Very used : something with the 3800 or a Panther (although I’m eventually going to need a new one here.)

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I was just thinking about my recent 2014 Lincoln MKS acquisition. At under $22K for a CPO example with 30K miles and almost all of the features, it was a steal. And it looks pretty sleek, right until you get close to it and realize it’s about 33% larger in every dimension than it should be. It’s like the Wendy Williams of cars.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Wendy Williams, or Wendy O. Williams?

        If the latter, then the MKS might have some kind of unnatural desire to ram a wall of TV sets.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The talk-show host and Mariah-Carey hater is the one to which I am referring (I think Mariah and Wendy are secretly friends, no that I follow either of them that closely).

  • avatar
    Null Set

    The bus.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Harsh.

      • 0 avatar
        Blackcloud_9

        Yes, but it makes people decide for themselves.
        Reminds me of when my brother was a bartender many years ago. Customers would often come in and ask, “What should I have?” He would always answer “Whiskey neat”. Back then NOBODY wanted a whiskey much less neat (straight up). But it made them decide for themselves and it wasn’t his fault when they weren’t happy with their choice.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Rather than recommend, I tend to anti-recommend, and only if someone can’t afford the trouble they’ll get into.

    Specifically:
    German cars (OK, that’s not so specific)
    Anything with the ZF 9-spd auto
    Subaru 2.5 engines

    Besides that, as JimZ said, most people just buy what they want, and I sincerely wish them well.

    I don’t recommend EVs yet, even though my Leaf was the most reliable car I ever had. Short-range EVs require a very particular owner.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Used Camry is always the answer.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I don’t do recommendations. It just causes me to be irritated when the other party doesn’t even bother to drive what I suggested. Most people buy the first thing they go drive.

    Recently a friend asked if she should take the lease deal on a 2.5L ATS (which was more than the Cadillac website was advertising on the 2.0T at the time). I told her she was being ripped off, but she did it anyway. The 2.5 disappeared as the base engine just a few weeks later.

  • avatar
    Michael Haz

    I once recommended that a relative buy a Camry Hybrid. He did. then squirrels got into it while he was on vacation and did lot of damage to the wiring that controls the hybrid stuff.

    $2500 in damages. The interior of the car had to be taken out so new wiring could be installed. Not covered by his insurance.

    I stopped recommending hybrid vehicles.

  • avatar
    Car Guy

    The best advice I give to people is buy something you can payoff quickly (4 years or less) and keep for at least 10 years. I like cars but they are a terrible investment and your $$$ is better spent paying down your mortgage or beefing up your retirement funding.

    • 0 avatar

      +1000

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      I just bought a car, and stretched the loan out over six years. Why? It wasn’t because I couldn’t afford the payments for a shorter term. It was for a couple reasons:

      – The “Pay off a car within four years” was pretty standard advice something like twenty years ago. Cars last much longer and hold their value more than a bit better since then.

      – My note (a local credit union) is for 1.49%. With a rate that low, It makes no sense not to stretch things out as long as humanly possible.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Basic transportation, plain vanilla? 10 year old Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I accept that NOBODY ever follows recommendations, and that they almost invariably buy the exact opposite of what they tell you they need.

    Case in point- coworker asks about the 2012 I got for our youngest. I can’t tell him enough good things about the car.. and the price on low-mileage used ones is stupidly affordable. New ones are still great in the value quotient. So of course they get his daughter a $29,000 brand new CX-5 AWD. Because southern VA is prime AWD territory, what with all the 70 degree days we had this February. I just roll my eyes and move on.

    But like the author, I tell almost everybody Kia Soul, hands down. Cheap, reliable, but feels more expensive than it is. No one I know with one regrets it. Myself included.

  • avatar
    DM335

    I used to recommend a 4-cylinder Toyota Camry, but the styling has become so forced that I frankly don’t like the car anymore. Now my standard recommendation is a Honda CR-V or Subaru Outback. If someone needs a van, the Chrysler Pacifica is my pick.

  • avatar
    Ugliest1

    Since the author waxed about the Kia Soul, I’ll share that two different friends of mine each bought a Kia Soul EV, one a year ago (very close to the first Soul EV available in Canada) and one about 6 months ago. The first had 4 years’ experience with a Leaf that he loved. He loves the Soul even more, couldn’t be happier. The Leaf is destined for sale once the Model 3 comes out. The other also couldn’t be happier with the Soul.

    My recommendation will likely annoy many on this forum: go EV for the better day-to-day driving experience and cheaper TCO, and find a way to overcome the two disadvantages (range, “refuel” time on long trips). The Model S and X remove the range problem and most of the long trip refuelling problem, but the TCO suffers.

    “Day-to-day” doesn’t mean taking it to the track.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Jeremy Clarkson claims that whenever he is asked “what car should I buy” he responds “a LaFerrari”.

    His reasoning is that it is the absolute best car in the world, so that is what they should buy. Anything else is just a compromise.

    That way he can change the subject.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Mazda CX5

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    A Toyota. ANY Toyota!

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Disagree. They are not fun to drive. They are lame and not as trouble-free as people think. And they constantly have oil burn issues.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        And to top it off I give them the guided tour in my 1989 Camry V6. But they often are more interested in my wife’s 2016 Sequoia, or if they’re a manly man, my 2016 Tundra 4×4 SR5 TRD.

        Oh, whatta feelin’.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          You should give them tour in 2002-2009 Camry. that will definitely make them throw up.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I also tell them that the Camry is not nearly as good today as it was when it was imported from Japan, like my 1989 was.

            I tell them that the Camry is no better and no worse than the other cars made in the US of A because they all share the same cost-cutting suppliers, like Takata, CTS gas pedals, etc.

            Ultimately, it is Caveat Emptor, buyer beware.

            The Grand Cherokee V6 has been a very popular choice, as has the Avalon, and the Highlander. Some have chosen the AWD RAV4 with the “JT” VIN.

            If someone asks me about other brands, I tell them “Lease”!

            Since many of them can’t get decent financing rates (for a number of reasons) and thus pay cash, they can’t be stuck with an instant Lemon right off the bat.

            Thus, Toyota! Even the cheapest LE has a tried and true content list, and service to back it up.

            Not so with the other brands. One little old lady told me her “Check Engine Light” would come on in her Lincoln sedan but when she took it to the dealer, the service manager told her that was OK, and it would go out after a while.

            To this day, the CEL still comes on, goes out after a while, then comes back on, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        The vast majority of people don’t care about fun to drive. They care about reliability and resale value.
        Toyotas are at the top of the list for both criteria. I recently sold a Sienna that was 6 years old with 100K miles and I got 50% of MSRP for it. And in that 100K, it needed zero repairs. Just did the maintenance as needed and didn’t pay it a second thought. That was my wife’s car and that’s what she wants, get in the car, turn it on, go from point A to point B comfortably, with a very low probability of something breaking.

        And it’s why when my wife went looking for a replacement for the Sienna (now that the kids are older and she no longer needed a van) she looked at Toyotas and Lexus. Ended up with a Highlander. Again, fun to drive? Yawn. But it will go 100K miles with nothing breaking and at 100K I’ll sell it for 50% of MSRP again.

  • avatar

    HELLCAT! HELLCAT!

  • avatar
    zip89123

    Toyota Camry XLE 4-cyl gasser.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    I generally find myself recommending Mazda a lot. The CX-5 is probably the most common recommendation I’ve made. A couple people have actually followed my advice, and they’re very happy with their CX-5s.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    On the Kia Soul, I didn’t think much of them at first, then my then 20 year old daughter got interested. It really is at a great intersection of up-front price/utility/reliability/warranty, etc. If you were just looking for a small affordable young family car, it’s pretty hard to beat.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Any Subaru vehicle because of our climate conditions in Quebec.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    There are NO CARS I have (and would ever) recommended to anyone! (especially little old ladies…)

    CARS are over-priced, under-performing, fragile, unreliable, incapable, unsafe, cramped, non-durable, rust-bucket CRAP. (Guess that covers most all the cases…(^_^) )

    I recommend TRUCKS to EVERYONE, — in all forms (SUV’s, CUV’s, Pickups).

    But I especially recommend pickup trucks. They are Holy and Righteous, immortal, and pure ‘Murica.

    I even more especially recommend Ram Pickup Trucks, but that could be just me….. :)

    ====================================

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    Chrysler 300/Dodge Challenger/Charger. Usually in the low to mid twenties out the door if you don’t glop it up with too many options, and there are really good deals on 300s right now, 20% off I think. A far better car and driving experience than a tinny and plasticky fwd Camcordima for about the same price, roomier, more powerful, and much more solidly built. Reliability has been very good too. My one friend who just needed A Car after wrecking an ancient w body regal bought one and now has 150k + miles after 4 years of driving and no problems.

    The sonata is a good choice right now at around 15K if you want a budget car, I’d certainly pick it over pretty much anything else if you are just budget above all else.

    Kia Souls are nice. Of course, then if you buy one, and something disastrous happened to it, you’d open yourself up to the criticism that you are soul-less.

    CPO Cadillacs and Lincolns seem also like very good deals as you can get one with a total 6 year 100k warranty for low twenties.

    For family vehicles SUVs suck. Much smaller inside than the comparable minivan platform, much less utility without the minivan folding seats, smaller doors for loading things, smaller hatch, harder to get to the back row. Pacifica or Odyssey, the Sienna is awful. Old and rattly and junky.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    One of the things car people have to come to terms with is that it doesn’t matter anymore. Cars are almost all the same, a Honda Civic is 99% of a BMW and a BMW is 95% as reliable. It’s more about style, form factor, image or what’s left of it, and price range.

    We need to keep irresponsible options alive…

  • avatar
    JohnB

    Toyota Camry and Toyota Sienna – bullet proof.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Recommending a car is like talking politics – no matter how much you agree, you never agree enough.

    So I usually just validate what people are looking for.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      But many people do not know what they are looking for, especially if the last time they went shopping was more than twenty years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        In which case, you make your recommendation, and then tell them what a great choice they made when they didn’t follow it!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          No, I never tell them what THEY SHOULD buy. I tell them what has worked well for me and what my previous experiences have been.

          I always stress that they should test drive to the max whatever it is they’re interested in.

          One lady just LOVED my wife’s Sequoia. She drove my wife’s Sequoia. She could afford it. She went to buy one. Found one she liked, even the color.

          So the saleslady recommended that this lady put another person, like her son or daughter, on the title with her name, “in case of her untimely death”. She is in her seventies, widow.

          Serious business!

          Well, she still hasn’t bought. Still drives an old Lincoln Towncar that’s way past its appointment with the crusher.

          So at church I asked her how she was doing and she told me she changed her mind about buying because she did not want her kids fighting over her Sequoia “in case of her untimely death.”

          True story!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            LOL…

            After my grandma went into a home (Alzheimer’s), my mom inherited her early-’90s Town Car. Dad drove it around for a while. I tried it out and to put it kindly, I was not impressed. I guess I’m unmoved by Panther Love.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “I guess I’m unmoved by Panther Love.”

            Start with cougar love. Then move up ;)

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            FreedMike, Panther love is an acquired taste. It takes a little while to get infected. And it is curable.

            My wife and I were initially exposed to it back in the ’80s when our two oldest sons graduated from Marine Corps OCS, in separate years.

            We, being the proud parents, flew in for each occasion and rented an LTC at the airport.

            So my wife joined her dad’s real estate business back in 1985 and was driving clients around in his 1973 4wd Suburban.

            And in 1991, after several successful sales, she told me she would really like a Towncar to ferry her clients around in.

            And I agreed! Nothing spells success in real estate like a Towncar. And it makes for great eye candy. Dazzles the clients with brilliance.

            Ultimately, I’m doing it all for my baby, ’cause she’s as sweet as she can be.

            The rest is history. She picked out the Towncar she liked in El Paso, TX, and it was part of our family until July 2008.

            After just a couple long road trips, she and I both were moved by acquired Panther love.

            As nice as our LTC Executive was in its day, our Sequoia is even better. Yeah, it’s a truck, and it’s girthy, but, man, it’s like riding inside my living room in my Lazyboy recliner.

            On long trips I actually fall asleep in the passenger seat. That’s got to be comfort!

  • avatar
    matador

    Buick LeSabre.

    What, the people who ask me usually have a $3000 budget or so

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And those who choose LeSabre are blessed by eternal torque.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I recently sold my mom’s LeSabre for her, as she’s hung up the keys for good. I had a chance to drive it about 600 miles, and I’m sorry to say I don’t see the appeal. I’d like to say the handling is nautical, but we do own a boat and it’s much more precise than the Buick. To me it just feels big, numb, and flabby.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The appeal of the LeSabre isn’t that it’s great to drive.

        But, for people with low cash and poor credit that just need to make it to work every day, it is a good option.

        It’s cheap to buy, relatively reliable (at least in relation to going down the road), holds up well to deferred maintenance, isn’t expensive to fix when it does break, and generally had an original owner base that took care of them.

        If someone really wanted to tighten up a LeSabre they could swap on parts from the Bonneville or LSS.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My bank teller bought her 16 year old daughter a ’03 Avalon with about 150k miles from the trade-in back lot at the Toyota dealer. Typical full folder of service done at that dealership. I’d pick that over any W-body, my apologies to the Church of 3800.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The trick is to find one that was owned by an old guy. My ’03 LeSabre was. I got it almost seven years ago with 72,000 miles, and it has almost 140,000 on it now. All it’s needed has been routine maintenance, wear items (brakes/tires/bulbs/wiper blades, etc), a couple of window regulators, and front wheel bearings. It’s been a damn good car, and it’ll be a good car for my kids.

        (I sense the coming of the Dreaded Head Gasket Repair, though…)

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          My FIL’s 2000 LeSabre isn’t so great.

          It got its second transmission at 34k miles, and now at 100k miles it won’t hit 4th gear. But it doesn’t matter since he can’t tell the difference, and he ought not to be driving, anyway (slowly advancing dementia at age 83).

          To be fair, I suppose the rest of it has held up pretty well.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            That’s very bad but I don’t think going through 3 transmissions in 100k is statistically common for the model.

            Most of my experience with them is pre MY2000 so that is what I tend to stick with.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I think I’d go for this.

        drivewagner.net/VehicleDetails/used-1991-Oldsmobile-98_Regency-4dr_Sedan_Touring-McCook-NE/2938913443

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    The friend or family member is usually not a gearhead, so the recommendation for my fellow New Englanders is always the CRV AWD LX with dealer installed leather seat covers and heated seats. Its a beast in the snow, even with all season radials, gas mileage is good and unreal on the highway. Ride height is great from someone 5’4 or 6’2. The other big plus is the cargo space and where the hatch closes. It’s flat, no flange to move stuff over – which for your boomer parents, moving things in and out of is a plus. I recently drove one from Denver to the Grand Canyon to Phoenix to Durango, and back to Denver. Had a blast, its fun to push it a bit on some of the twisties, and it had no problem hammering up some of the passes in the Rockies. Its a solid Leatherman multitool.

    Now – for those wanting something fun or outside the norm, and actaully will do so, its been Challengers / Chargers / 300s / Civic Si / Mustangs. I did sell a buddy on an AWD Charger SXT – he loves it, he could not believe something like that exists, and he actually got it in something other than silver or white.

    Its just depressing how many accept mediocrity. Or whine, “I can’t drive stick.” F*** me, learn! But gas prices! Bro – you’re about to finance something for 5 bills a month, triple your auto insurance, pay additional excise taxes, and you’re worried about gas mileage on this solid, depreciated, well maintained V-8 2 door fun mobile.

    Once I hear the excuses, I’m out. If they persist, I’ll tell them Corolla or Prius because they’re not looking for a vehicle, they want a work and grocery getter. Or, they have no soul, and need something to match.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I keep recommending a used C-Max. Most recently a friend ended up buying a used Forester because she thought that she needed AWD, but a C-Max with some winter tires probably would have been a better solution. Oh well…

  • avatar
    srh

    I live in the Northwest, in a rural area. I have friends and family in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. They’re all active.

    The answer is always Subaru. Forester for mom. Outback for sister and her family. CrossTrek for single friend who likes to hike off the beaten path.

    Affordable, good quality, relatively reliable, functional, decent (though not great…) mileage. As far as I can tell, there really aren’t any “duds” in the lineup. Unless you want sporty, which is why my BRZ was replaced with a Focus RS.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Anything made by Toyota. It will go 200K miles without breaking a sweat, as long as it’s maintained properly.

    Edit: And don’t buy new. Whatever you buy, get the 2 year old version of it. It’s 95% as good at 70% of the price.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      And there really isn’t a whole lot to maintain on a Toyota, except for prescribed routine fluid and filter changes, tire rotations, brake inspections, and periodic serpentine belt and timing belt replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        HDC I can’t think of a single T-car that still uses a timing belt, all chains now!

        A coworker asked for help taking a quick look over his ’07 Camry. he bought it in ’11 with 36k miles, just rolled up on 138k with literally nothing but oil changes and tire rotations (and I assume a brake job?) But totally neglected the air/cabin filters, trans fluid changes, serp belt, coolant, plugs, basically the few things that the factory recommends. Despite that the car seems wholly unperturbed, knocking down weekly highway drives all the way to Canada and back. I couldn’t help but shake my head. When a car is that good to you, it deserves at least a bit of maintenance! Camries seem to be the default choice of many recent arrivals in the Indian immigrant community, can’t say I blame them. Interestingly many later graduate to Bimmers as the preferred status brand once they “make it,” I guess Lexus doesn’t quite pull at the heartstrings.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          ’07 Camry 3.3L V6 has a timing belt. The change interval is 90,000 miles. I bet it could last a lot longer if your friend is driving it like the proverbial granny.

          Spark plugs are 100,000 but he’s probably not hurting it too much there either. The right bank (back of the engine bay) makes spark plug access almost impossible, which is frustrating.

          Transmission fluid drain and fill is too easy in those cars. About half the fluid will come out the drain plug but doing only that two oil changes in a row will make the fluid look and smell new again.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            1) This particular Camry is a 2AZ-FE 2.4L 4cyl motor with a timing chain.

            2) The redesigned for 2007 XV-40 body Camry got the then fairly new 2GR-FE chain-driven 3.5L V6, the same motor used across the FWD K-platform related lineup. Prior to that you’re correct the 3.3L 3MZ-FE was a t-belt motor.

            I have to say, even in full cost-cut mode, these Camries are solid as a rock. Poked around the underside and test drove it, suspension is tight as a drum. No leaks, not even a bit of sweating around any gaskets. CV boots looked like new. Just needed a bit of coolant topped off (normal, not any sort of leak/burning). Serpentine belt still looked plenty serviceable. The only things I could tease out was potentially a slightly bad rear wheel bearing (same faint intermittent humming my wife’s ’12 made after clipping a curb with hers), and some minor dry rot on one of the front lower control arm bushings (still plenty usable). Finally I thought I could detect a bit of free play or noise in the steering column, but that’s getting very nit-picky. This is why people buy these things. The suspension on the Toyota K-platform cars is basically identical to the older cars like the ’96 ES300 that I sold this spring: mac-strut front, strut based multi-link rear. That car was 21 years old and at 209k that same original suspension was every bit as tight, in fact the Lexus control arm bushings were not dry-rotted at all in contrast to this Camry.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          My 1989 Camry 2.5L V6 uses a timing belt and it was replaced at ~90K.

          I don’t know that I will put money into a Camry of that vintage. In the desert heat, some of the inside plastic has turned into dust, like the driverside door handle, seatbelt pillar covers, etc.

          When the time comes, I may just retire it with honors.

          My best friend bought it new and had it for decades.

          His grand daughter used it as her daily driver for college for three years, and then I bought it for $100 early last year.

          It’s been a great car.

          I may not renew the registration when my friend’s registration expires in 2018.

          I haven’t changed over the Title, so I may just give it back to him to dispose of as he sees fit.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    An impossible answer to question.

    When someone asks me what car would I recommend my first question is what are their list of requirements.

    Real easy to automatic recommend, “lightly used GM W-body with a 3.8, 3.5 or 3.9 under the hood – if you can find an Impala with the 3.6 and the 6-speed on the cheap – bingo” but that isn’t going to be the right answer for everyone.

    Likewise really easy to say Toyota Sienna to anyone looking for a people hauler – but someone short on cash will likely only be able to afford a Dodge Journey – which may be “awful” but is at least solid basic transportation based on ancient, reliable technology (same as GM W-Body above).

    I remember a few years ago when there was this animated video service that was very popular for about a year, Geico even did an ad using it. There was one where the conversation was around a single mom without a lot of money who just divorced who needed a car. The recommendation was a CPO BMW 3-series and to pay cash. It didn’t matter what her needs or financial situation was, the recommendation was a CPO BMW 3-series, and buy it cash.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    When I do get asked, its about SUV’s.

    I straight up tell them yes, I have a largish SUV, but if its a family vehicle that’s not going to tow a boat or a trailer full of bikes, paddle boards, kayaks, 20-30 weekends a year, get a van. Toyota Sienna, maybe the Kia.

    They usually don’t like that. So then I tell them ‘Fine – Get a Toyota Highlander, it should hold you over until the kids are out of the house.” If they insist on going larger or higher end, I tell them used Tahoe/Yukon in a higher trim. They seem to last forever with routine maintenance, haul and tow WAY more than most need, sit higher than almost everything, and can fit 7 adults with ease.

    If it not about a family vehicle, then its harder. Once I ask for a list of needs vs wants, they say ‘forget it’….which is better for both of us anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Have you *seen* the acquisition costs for a new Tahoe or Yukon? Those rigs are not cheap. I don’t know how so many people can afford them, but I might look at one when fuel prices skyrocket again and people flee from them en masse,

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        MSRP is high for the Yukons, but after the massive rebates and never ending 0% financing for 72 month deals GM offers, they end up not being THAT expensive. Where I live, the Denali is the equivalent of a Camry or Accord, seems like every drive way has one.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        I never ask about budget, but I did say I recommend getting the GM SUVs used. In theory, if find the right deal, and do the routine stuff, it can be a vehicle you keep for a long time, thus representing a great value.

        I still see 15-20 year old examples of them (and the Suburban) rolling around and a lot of them just need a paint job. To my ear, they often sound like they are running pretty well.

        Sure, there are beaters out there, and like any old vehicle, you have to look for rust underneath…but they appear to have the ability to have long lives….200-300k miles, if even given just basic care.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The solid rear axle on the GM SUVs helps. A lot of the Expeditions / Navigators, Armadas / QXs and other BOF SUVs with IRS fare less well in that department. But you do lose a considerable amount of interior space because of the solid rear axle.

          • 0 avatar
            newenthusiast

            Was in a QX60 for three days last week. With the CVT and the IRS, it was smooth ‘shifting’ and had most comfortable road manners of the others I have driven in that size. Less wallow than the Buick Enclave. It could roughly be called modern descendant of the full size family wagon. Decent mpg for its size (I was getting low 30’s at highway speeds with cruise control). I wouldn’t buy the one I had as configured, but its possible a used version with more amenities could be a good value play for many with mpg like that, as long as they don’t need to tow.

            But I don’t think its crossed shopped by the people who are looking for the GM twins, even though most people don’t need the truck-like qualities they offer….but we all know most people over buy for their needs.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I usually tell everyone how much I love my 2013 (JS) 200 Limited. It’s a great value for what you get, sleek, very reliable, and cheap to own.

    I specifically have the 2.4 mated to the 62TE. I think the 3.6 is just a little too much for this car. Just put it this way, that engine makes you wonder if you really need a Hemi in the 300, as great as the Hemi is. Then again, I’m not exactly described as a speed demon, always and forever staying within the speed limit. Someone who does not may think the 2.4 is terrible. Of someone thinks the 3.6 is terrible, they have problems that involve plenty of blue and red lights in their rearview mirror.

    I cannot recommend cars to my wife, or convince her to buy used instead of new. I desperately tried to get her to buy a 2-3 year old JGC Limited. She only buys new and foreign and continued that trend when she bought her Outback. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “2-3 year old JGC Limited. She only buys new and foreign and continued that trend when she bought her Outback. Oh well.”

      Honestly she probably dodged a bullet there.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Buy Japanese
    Lease German

  • avatar
    edlaw0704

    Subaru outbacks. Safe, quiet (2015 later), low EMF and reasonable VOC. Or Highlander if off-road is not needed, Anything European and American is like sitting on a transformer getting testicular cancer and breathing VOC getting lung cancer at the same time…

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Corolla, of course. There is nothing like it

  • avatar

    Miata

  • avatar
    Fred

    Camry or Accord. Want more luxury? Try their luxury versions. Audis are nice but expensive. Trucks, I was always a Chevy man but I’d try a Toyota or Nissan after the last one. Want a sports car. Miata’s are the cheapest, but I’d recomend a MG TD or B, they are priced pretty good. There are some odd ball Lotus that a deal if you are willing to be adventurous. American hot rods, get a Fox body Mustang, what the heck at these prices 2 or 3.

  • avatar
    z9

    A long time ago, a friend was over at my house and was asking me what kind of car he should get. While we were discussing this, we were listening to some Eugene Chadbourne albums, most likely his classic “Vermin of the Blues.” So my friend tracks down Eugene in North Carolina, calls him up, and he actually answers the phone, and my friend asks him, “What kind of car do you drive?” Eugene says he drives a Plymouth Voyager and then politely says he has to go.

    I think my friend ended up with a baby blue Volvo 240. But I always imagined it was at least the same color as Eugene’s Voyager.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    Street: Prius
    Track: Miata

  • avatar
    chaparral

    I used to have a wide variety of recommendations, but some manufacturers have engineered out the old downsides of their cars to the point that they ate the capabilities of the next class up.

    For a sedan, the new Honda Civic. It’s a midsizer that has compact running costs.

    For a sports car, the new Miata. It’s still a Miata but it’s as fast as the Camaro or Mustang it’s replacing in your driveway.

    For a truck, the current Chevy 1500. Compact-truck mileage, three-quarter-ton capabilities.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Miata
    Is
    Always
    The
    Answer

    But more seriously, I usually say CX-5 now that the new one’s quieter. My Mazda3 is a little too noisy to recommend to my friends.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Infiniti G37/Q50/Q60. Available in coupe or sedan, AWD or hardtop convertible, auto or manual, however the newest models are auto only. Powerful, RWD, near luxury. Basically like a BMW or Benz but without breaking the bank or spending too much time in the shop. Proven V6 platform before they switched to the turbos. Good aftermarket support, decent mileage considering the power. Starting to look dated but still an attractive design I think. Improved interiors, plenty of gadgets (nav, bluetooth, parking sensors, backup cam, memory seats, leather, etc). Only downside is premium fuel usable and a small trunk. Two year old off lease versions are nearly 50% off MSRP. So at $25K you are getting one hell of car here.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    For a seven seater, the Pilot. That V6 screams to redline like it doesn’t belong in a family hauler.
    For a second car, I always recommend a Coyote engined mustang GT.

  • avatar
    Dan

    The only time that the correct answer isn’t “a Toyota” is if you’re talking to a car guy.

    And there’s no point to giving us any advice because we’re just going to ignore it and come back with a used luxury car, 400 horsepower truck, DSG VW, or something similarly idiotic.

    But for normal people who just want a car and not a toy, Toyota is still the gold standard.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” for normal people who just want a car and not a toy, Toyota is still the gold standard.”

      Yup.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Not always. Some Toyota products just aren’t really competitive right now. Civic stomps Corolla even in areas normal people notice. Same situation with CR-V versus RAV4.

      On the other hand, the Prius is probably my single most frequent recommendation.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    Funny, I also recommend Kia first and foremost. Still a very cheap used car brand here in Norway, relative to what you get. And friends heed the advice. One guy bought a Cee’d wagon for next to nothing, and he’s really happy. It also helps that Kia used to have open source shop manuals for everyone to download and employ, and their parts are cheap.

  • avatar
    j-wad-esq

    since most of my recomendees are value-oriented A-to-B type buyers, I traditionally have suggested Toyota or Honda models. The last few years I’ve increasingly gone with Hyundai or Kia. Hyundai’s can often be found here in the midwest better equipped than comparable Honda or Toyota models yet still at a significant discount. And I think their reliability is the equal of Japanese competition.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I end up recommending a lot of different cars, but there are a few that I recommend more often.

    A to B buyers who just want low TCO and reliability: Prius or Prius V depending on space needs.
    Outdoorsy folks who do mud and snow a lot (very common around here): Forester or Outback depending on budget.
    “I want a CUV”: CR-V.
    “I want a luxury CUV”: Audi Q5 for lessees or Acura RDX for owners.
    “I want a three-row CUV”: Pilot or MDX depending on budget.

    I find the cars I’m commonly asked about but recommend against more interesting: Corolla (Prius is always a better answer), X3, Range Rover Evoque, Jeep Wrangler (for ordinary drivers), Jeep Cherokee. I also still recommend against VAG products for long-term owners, but if the reliability record of recent Audits stays excellent for a couple more years I may rethink that.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I end up recommending a lot of different cars, but there are a few that I recommend more often.

    A to B buyers who just want low TCO and reliability: Prius or Prius V depending on space needs.
    Outdoorsy folks who do mud and snow a lot (very common around here): Forester or Outback depending on budget.
    “I want a CUV”: CR-V.
    “I want a luxury CUV”: Audi Q5 for lessees or Acura RDX for owners.
    “I want a three-row CUV”: Pilot or MDX depending on budget.

    I find the cars I’m commonly asked about but recommend against more interesting: Corolla (Prius is always a better answer), X3, Range Rover Evoque, Jeep Wrangler (for ordinary drivers), Tahoburbaladenali, Jeep Cherokee. I also still recommend against VAG products for long-term owners, but if the reliability record of recent Audis stays excellent for a couple more years I may rethink that.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ToolGuy: Almost forgot: e) Used Mustang now sets you up for a natural and painless progression to a used Mach-E a few...
  • bumpy ii: It might not be that bad. Mazda’s not exactly a huge operation now or then, so I expect most of the...
  • multicam: Are there Boxsters in this price range? Or would they be instant maintenance no-go’s?
  • Kendahl: A serious suggestion would be a low mileage Infiniti G37 with the premium and navigation packages. Having...
  • ToolGuy: Thoughts: I – You are still on the rebound and should wait awhile – but you won’t. II...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber