Man has grappled with certain basic questions since the dawn of time: Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? What car should I get?
I don’t know much about the other questions, but I think about the last one a lot. I call it ADIDAWCTB (All Day I Dream About What Car to Buy). That’s not as catchy as ADIDAS, but it’s pretty accurate.
One would think that this would make me an expert one can turn to when buying a new car, but sadly, this is not the case. I am an expert only if you are looking for an all-wheel drive, manual transmission family car that has about 300 hp. That’s a very narrow range of expertise. I am not so helpful for minivan buying advice.
There’s no perfect car. Even my STI doesn’t have seat warmers, for example. There are only so many compromises that I’m willing to live with.
Cost. Quality. Time. Pick any two.
—Any product ever made
Also, nobody but I really cares about what car I should to get (for me or my family). If you’ve read this far, you’ve been warned.
I’ve been getting a new car about every five years. The move to Germany messes with that average a bit, as I needed to get one here, and then another one when I return to the U.S. after about 2 years1. Although the next car will be for my wife, I will have a lot of input to what kind of car it will be, as long as it meets her critical requirements.
Wife’s Critical Requirements
- fits in an Ann Arbor parking spot
She would also like it to have a manual transmission, but that is a rant against automobile manufacturers for another day. A reasonable price would be greatly appreciated as well2.
My wish list, based on a complex algorithm of wants and desires dependent on my moods and what YouTube videos I’ve recently watched, is roughly generalized below.
EMan’s Ridiculous Requirements
- manual transmission
- all-wheel drive
- about 300 hp
- Ken Block level of hoonability
Surprisingly, there are at least two cars in the U.S. that actually meet all of the criteria above3, which would make for a nice, short, succinct blog post. Unfortunately, these cars are at the edge of the WAF (wife-acceptance factor), which cannot be underestimated.
I am okay with my wife having a faster car than I have. Really, I am.
But now I’m having second thoughts. After all, this car isn’t really for me. Maybe it would be nice to have more room for long family trips. Maybe it would be nice to have hand and butt warmers for Michigan winters. Maybe we can pretend to save the environment.
Just for fun, I started looking around. I had to make some serious compromises for this list, though, such as no manual transmission, or much higher prices. Now, it’s also true that my concept of value is not the same as others. I’ve now spent more on my current car than it was ever worth, and I’m okay with that. Luckily, I have a wife when sense is needed.
So with an open mind and a dash of fantasy, these are what caught my wandering eye.
EMan’s Expanded Universe
- Porsche Macan S (340 hp)
- Jaguar F-PACE (340 hp)
- Volvo V60 Polestar (362 hp)
- Audi A4 allroad (252 hp)
- VW Golf Alltrack (170 hp)
- (used 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S with pretend back seats and of course it’s a family car, Schatz)
- Chevrolet Bolt EV (200 hp)
Two expensive crossovers4 (Porsche, Jaguar) on my list? Those are my fantasy do-everything cars, including having a 2-inch trailer hitch, but they have a very low WAF.
A Polestar is completely illogical, but just the concept of a racing station wagon is appealing. I wouldn’t even be worried about a 2.0 liter engine putting out 362 hp, because Engineering. Or Magic. Or Duct Tape. And it comes in Polestar Blue. I would borrow this for a day to take on the track. Or snow5.
The Allroad is another type of all-around vehicle, and may actually fit in an Ann Arbor parking spot, increasing its WAF. The VW Golf Alltrack is a safe choice, basically a scaled down version of the Allroad. So scaled down that you can barely see its horsepower rating, but may eventually come with a manual transmission.
Yes, there are three station wagons on my list6.
Finally, there is the Chevy Bolt EV, and electric car with a range of about 230 miles7. While the concept of a fun or sporty electric vehicle (or even hybrid) was an oxymoron just a few years ago, it’s hard to ignore something like a Tesla that can do 0-60 in under 3 seconds. The Bolt is no Tesla8, but it seems like a great running-around car for my wife.
With an electric car, there’s no more need for gas stations. Or oil changes. And sometimes, you can get great parking spaces with free electricity. How about using a solar roof and store its energy in a Tesla Powerwall to charge your electric car? Sure, it could all just be fantasy, but that’s a future I’m willing to sign up to.
Depending on the day and phase of the moon, I can talk myself into any of these cars as my favorite. Er, for my wife. Even with their flaws, they all have something attractive to offer. Yes, there are probably more sensible fun cars out there, like the Ford Fusion Sport, but screw that. Besides, after another week of googling, I’ll probably find another car to add to this list.
Or maybe I should just teach my wife how to use the Drift Mode on the Ford Focus RS.
[2017-08-31] My wife got a blue car.
Yes, I know I should get that itch looked at.