QOTD: Best Bare-bones Escape Capsule?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The pursuit of safety can lead an individual down many paths. To a self-defense course. To a gun store. To a withdrawn, frightened existence well removed from the warm confines of relationships and social gatherings. And even to a car dealership.

Yes, owning and driving a car puts you more at risk of dying in a crash than riding the train or bus to work every morning, but in these strange times, a car can be more than just a convenient way to get to work on time (or not). It can be a sanctuary.

Say you want just such a sanctuary. You’re not picky. You don’t want to buy a used jalopy from someone who’s holding back the truth. But you’re not exactly loaded.

Data is piling up that the global populace is ready and willing to change their ways and get behind the wheel of a car — often for the first time — in order to physically distance themselves from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It stands to reason, yet it might not come to pass. However, let’s put all that aside for now.

YOU are now in the shoes of this scared, safety-seeking individual. And you’ll feel especially safe in a vehicle with a warranty, hence your need to buy something with zero miles on the odometer. Now, getting into debates about wildly variable credit scores and financing a bigger vehicle at a lower rate will muddy this exercise, so let’s make some ground rules.

Given your desire for a warranty and new-car smell, the vehicle you’ll be looking for is new. And you’ll be looking to have it satisfy as many needs and desires as possible. You’re still you. However, your price cap in a measly $20k. That’s after destination, but not before tax, admin, other fees, etc. You can cross that MSRP threshold by a handful of dollars, but not a grand or more.

Pretty small list, eh?

Certain auto journos bemoan the death of cheap cars, but they’re still out there, and a vanishing few of these hectoring voices ever actually put their money towards one. If the under-35 crowd really does desire a personal vehicle more than ever before, surely there’ll be an uptick in sales on the affordable end of things. Time will tell.

So let’s hear your pick. There’s a couple of not-hot hatch holdouts in the form of the Chevrolet Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage. The Ford Fiesta’s gone, sadly. Moving up, there’s a new Nissan Versa, and the even fresher Sentra also makes the cut in base form. Hell, Nissan’s Kicks is a contender. So is the entry-level Chevrolet Trailblazer, for that matter. Hyundai and Kia have product they’d like to parade in front of your eyes.

It’s not High Country or King Ranch territory, but it isn’t Trabant, either. What’s it gonna be, B&B?

[Image: Hyundai]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 05, 2020

    I would rather opt for a bicycle. Bare-bones escape - yes, capsule -not, but I do not want to be squeezed into capsule.

  • VWGolfGuy VWGolfGuy on May 06, 2020

    My wife bought a new 2018 Spark to commute with after grad school. I absolutely love that car. It doesn’t do anything particularly well except fit into small spaces. But it does everything you ask of it without complaint. It looks comical and brings a smile to my face. I will miss that car when it comes time to part ways with it. It has a personality that is absent from other cars, and I love it for that onsite of its flaws.

  • Cprescott I'm sure this won't matter to the millions of deceived Honduh owners who think the company that once prided itself on quality has somehow slipped in the real world. Same for Toyoduhs. Resting on our Laurel's - Oh, what a feeling!
  • Jrhurren I had this happen numerous times with my former Accord. It usually occurred when on a slow right curve in the road. Somehow the system would get confused and think the opposite lane (oncoming traffic) was an impending head-on collision.
  • Cprescott The Ford Shamaro is ugly, thick bodied, and a Mustang pretender.
  • Analoggrotto Speaking of mud, does anyone here enjoy naked mud wrestling?
  • Jkross22 Nope. Too expensive, too little wear. Besides, there are so many great all seasons that are great to use that last longer, the use case for summer tires has gotten smaller.