Answering a question with a question isn’t my way of being rude. It’s my way of finding out what the questioner truly wants to know.
Their question comes in a variety of forms. What’s the best car? What’s the best car on sale right now? What’s the best car ever?
I want to know how much money they’re allowing me to spend, to which era I’m limited, whether I’m buying for my current life situation as a married work-at-home father or for some other situation, such as life on my neighbor’s farm.
With a recent move to a new province, I’m getting the question with far greater frequency — the result of meeting new people who are confused or delighted or dismayed at what I do for a living. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the answer pinned down before, but being asked so often has forced me to develop a thoughtful response.
What’s my favorite car? I now know.
Hi Sajeev and Steve,
I’ve always enjoyed this column, and several years ago I took a piece of the advice you provided: I bought a used Ford Taurus for a teen driver.
Anyway, I’m curious for your thoughts on what we should drive now. My wife and I have long commutes as well as 3 children. It’ll be a year before the oldest can sit up front and, at that point, the youngest can go from a massive car seat to a booster.
I log about 18,000 miles per year in an E39 M5. I have little time for it to be down, though I can borrow a relative’s extra car in a pinch. As expected, the car costs a few thousand to maintain per year, plus fuel is about $3,000 per year at today’s prices.
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