Increasingly, I’m realizing that unlike my commute, life is short—far too short to suffer boring cars.
My family has two 10-year-old SUVs that were relatively smart purchases back when gas was priced under $2 a gallon, but they are dreadfully dull and out of synch with our current $4-a-gallon reality. As the time draws near to replace one, I’m coming to accept the best choice may be a vehicle that emphasizes fun over pure practicality.
In my final days, I doubt I’ll wish that I had owned a more practical, more boring, and more beige car. When I think back to the cars I’ve owned, those with character stand out, such as the BMW 3 Series, Chevrolet Corvette, and Pontiac Firebird. Those without the elusive fun factor are precious few and utterly forgettable.
In the perpetual “What would I buy?” game that all in my profession play, I keep coming back to a Ford Mustang. It has heart-warming retro-themed styling, entertaining power, decent ride, adequate space, mischievous character, and daresay respectable fuel economy. While my nature would be to go for a V8-powered GT, this decade, the 305-hp V6 provides a great balance of fun and fuel efficiency.
Pricing starts at $22,200 for this flag-waving American icon. The sky is effectively the limit, with a stunning array of options such as a glass roof and history-evoking model variants, such as the Boss 302 and Shelby GT500. For me, the smart money is focused on the low end.
Seriously, what else can you buy for $22,000 that would be as fun?
For those looking to pool their resources to make my driveway dream come true, or looking for a targeted gift suggestion, here’s how I would option it up.
Quarter window louvers ($225), V6 performance package ($1,995) with a strut-tower brace, larger sway bars, unique front springs and brake calipers, 19-inch wheels, performance-oriented stability control, and more aggressive 3.31:1 rear axle ratio.
Grand total: $25,215. My region is currently offering a $1,500 rebate, putting this configuration below $24,000, before negotiating. Oh, yeah, this is a bang-for-the-buck champion.
And to get a truly great deal, negotiate the purchase the week after Christmas. Muscle and sports cars don’t sell well in winter. Throw in the added pressure for month- and year-end sales targets, and the dealership will be most eager during this time.
Another, radically different vehicle that truly tempts me for all the wrong reasons is a Jeep Wrangler. But, I’ve already chronicled my torrid affair with that low-rated, go-anywhere SUV. For now, it is the Mustang that ranks atop my new-car wish list.