QOTD: The $36,000 Question

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd the 36 000 question

According to several sources, the average price of a new car in America currently hovers around $36,000. This is being consistently dragged upward by folks who just gotta have that Denali or deploy a GL65 AMG to tool around the streets of Beverly Hills.

Using that yardstick, lets play a game. Imagine you have to go out and buy a new car — right now — with today’s average price as your upper limit. But there’s a catch — it’ll be your only car for the next 10 years.

Why 10 years? Pundits argue that’s roughly the average age of cars on the road in America, although you wouldn’t know it from a quick survey of the parking lots at most malls and country clubs. Having said that, our daily whip is aged six years and we just ditched a decade-old truck in favor of a 2018 model. Perhaps the 10-year estimate isn’t that far off the mark.

Anyway, never mind. We’re here to play the game. In this fictional scenario, I’d be trying to find something that would carry three people and life’s detritus without breaking the bank on running costs. Yes, I live in a part of the world where what falls from the sky is not to be believed, but I do not think all-wheel drive is a must. It is my fervent belief that good winter tires trump traction to four corners if those four corners have rubber on them with the same traction as baloney skins.

All hands know I’m a fan of the five-passenger Tahoe Custom, but at around $44,500 it’s 10 grand too expensive. Same thing with any F-150 with a decent engine that’s not equipped like a penalty box. This speaks to the massive profits in trucks, by the way. I’d like to mention the Volvo V60 wagon is juuust outside my self-imposed fictional financial limit. Blast.

Perhaps strangely, I find myself landing at Dodge, where a rear-drive Durango SXT can be had for around $30,000. Equipped with a more than adequate level of kit, a five-passenger Durango would be more than large enough for all of our flotsam and jetsam while not looking like every other crossover on the freeway. The Pentastar V6 and ZF eight-speed are a proven team. It retains external styling cues like foglights and is available in that annoying shade of red I like.

Still, an SUV? Jeez. At least it’s rear-drive. Maybe Steph was on to something.

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2 of 237 comments
  • THX1136 THX1136 on Jun 13, 2018

    Whatever Charger that fits the price point would work for me.

  • Jagboi Jagboi on Jun 14, 2018

    If I can take advantage of incentives and/or find one hanging around on a dealer lot, I could just squeeze in a Jaguar XE AWD with the 2.0 diesel. I rented one in the UK a few years ago and averaged almost 60 mpg, I figure that should insulate against future fuel cost increases.

  • Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models
  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....
  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.