QOTD: Can You Hit 'em Where They Ain't? (Middle of the Market Edition, Pt. 2)

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

In last week’s Part 1 of this three-part QOTD series, we asked you to scan through the old brain box and offer up good examples of used cars for the budget-minded motorist, keeping your purchase within a stringent $8,000 budget. Today you’ll get a more generous sum of money, but you’ll also find yourself subject to heightened buyer expectations.

Let’s pick out some really tremendous used cars.

As before, it’s not the best time to shop for a used car. Used values are on the rise, as 2018 lease return inventory has not been as abundant as expected. New cars are also more expensive than ever, meaning an average expenditure of over $36,000 for the new car customer. We’re shopping in the middle of the used market today, so our budget is not quite half of what a new car would cost: $15,000.

For our middle-money buyer, some qualities to consider:

  • General availability
  • Likely miles
  • Equipment level
  • Reliability/longevity
  • Fun factor

Like before, we’re seeking to hit the corners of the market where there’s more bang for the buck. That means those two names which are so easy to utter — Camry and Accord — are off limits. As we’ve got more money to work with now and can aim higher, we cut off two more budget motors. That’d be the Corolla and Civic.

Our list of body styles to consider grows with the budget:

  • Sedan
  • Full-size truck
  • V8 SUV
  • Luxury brand car
  • Sports car/convertible
  • Hybrid

This week’s buyer is not as desperate for wheels as the $8,000 customer, and will expect a nicer car for their greater cash outlay. Your choices shouldn’t be too old or worn out. No 180,000-mile 4Runner recommendations, please. Off to you!

[Image: General Motors]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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2 of 34 comments
  • SixspeedSi SixspeedSi on Oct 03, 2018

    Sedan - cheating and putting Focus ST. Fun, decently comfortable, and are proving to hold up well. Truck - without digging, I'm going to say get the nicest Ram 1500 possible. V6/8-speed combo would be fine for many people. V8 SUV - don't think so chief Lux Sedan - 08-11 ES350, Acura TL (6-speeds are probably still over 15k!!), 300C Sport car - Will I get yelled at for S2000? Could find a decent one at 15k. If not, BRZ, Miata. Hybrid - Nissan Leaf for the full electric experience. Volt for regular plug-in Hybrid.

  • Deanst Deanst on Oct 03, 2018

    I’ll cheat and say a 2017 XTS for $23,000 CAD (18,000 US$). How does it lose 50% of its value so quickly ?

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