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PHeller
PHeller UltraDork
10/1/12 9:00 a.m.

CR-Z.

Fun, different enough to get noticed, techie enough to draw a question or two, and still a pretty solid sporty-compact.

Or you could go older and do a Civic/Integra with a big engine swap.

Put stickers on the side that say "245hp/35mpg" or something.

Or just a new Impreza non-turbo. 33mpg, slow as a dog. AWD

nderwater
nderwater UberDork
10/1/12 9:06 a.m.

Sorry for a dissenting vote, but a TDI is the wrong answer for hilly switchbacks. With a $4,000 mod budget, then maybe, but stock it would be an efficient but soul-sucking disappointment.

NOHOME
NOHOME Dork
10/1/12 9:12 a.m.

Play the patriot card and get a Caddy.

PHeller
PHeller UltraDork
10/1/12 9:17 a.m.

The one advantage to driving a fuel sucking, awesomely awesome car is that it may indicate that your business is doing well.

PHeller
PHeller UltraDork
10/1/12 9:17 a.m.

There is always Subaru or Ford Ranger. All the hippies I know drive Subarus or Ford Rangers.

njansenv
njansenv Dork
10/1/12 9:42 a.m.

Biofuel TDI Golf, tune and nozzles for ~140whp and 250++ wtq, good clutch, fresh suspension. Done. :)

CR-Z is actually a great idea....

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
10/1/12 10:42 a.m.
SVreX wrote: We will be building super high efficiency homes and additions. Green houses. That means our customers will likely be both young people and middle aged people with money. I need the ability to have a customer jump in the car and not think, "What kind of fruitcake is this guy?" So, I could be happy driving a MINI Cooper S, and it would appeal to the young crowd, but older folks would wonder if I was having some kind of mid-life crisis. I could be happy driving an M3, but the younger folks might think I'm a wealthy old fart. Prius might make them both happy, but what a drag to drive.

Don't know about GA, but there are tons of gray hairs out here in CA driving Minis. Remember - they were around in the 50s and 60s. :)

The Minis attract attention and put a smile on everybody's faces. Put some company graphics on it and you're good to go.

nderwater
nderwater UberDork
10/1/12 11:50 a.m.
nderwater wrote: Sorry for a dissenting vote, but a TDI is the wrong answer for hilly switchbacks. With a $4,000 mod budget, then maybe, but stock it would be an efficient but soul-sucking disappointment.
njansenv wrote: Biofuel TDI Golf, tune and nozzles for ~140whp and 250++ wtq, good clutch, fresh suspension. Done. :)

(plus wheels & tires, etc.)

...Two contrasting ways to say the same thing

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit SuperDork
10/1/12 12:11 p.m.

Plenty of parts (no really), good gas mileage, fun to drive and are easy to find with a stick.

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy Dork
10/1/12 2:08 p.m.

Lexus IS300 Sport Cross

Jaynen
Jaynen HalfDork
10/1/12 2:16 p.m.

I would think TDI torque would be great for hilly switchbacks. I think mine handles pretty good and it's stock except for it has the TT bushings on the steering

PHeller
PHeller UltraDork
10/1/12 2:18 p.m.

Capt Slow
Capt Slow Dork
10/1/12 2:28 p.m.

mazdaspeed6

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/1/12 2:31 p.m.

Abarth!

Good gas mileage, fun to drive and cool.

DaewooOfDeath
DaewooOfDeath Dork
10/1/12 2:33 p.m.

Nicest volvo 240 in the world?

Maybe a kia forte or koup? I really liked the veloster i drove and while it is ecofriendly it probably doesnt look eco friendly.

Chevy cruze is surpringly fun.

If you want fun in the hilariously incompetent and slightly scary sense, ive never laughed as hard in a car as i did with a prius c.

Mini is an excellent drivers car and not too presumptuous if you stick with the little wheels. Imo the car drives better in base form that s or cooper works form.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce HalfDork
10/1/12 2:36 p.m.

I rode in a first gen insight at an autocross in the fall and holy hell was that a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It's an auto but I can't think of much that says frugal eco guy like one of those.

yamaha
yamaha Dork
10/1/12 2:39 p.m.

Just buy a prius.......add coilovers, trd supercharger, and somewhat classy wheels. BOOM done.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/1/12 2:42 p.m.

Acura TL

Matt B
Matt B Dork
10/1/12 2:53 p.m.

I think CRZ is also the answer here, but I think Dean is onto something. I would go one further down in the range though and suggest the TSX.

It'll handle the roads in a pleasurable fashion, haul 4 adults, not big enough for the greenies to get mad, plus look modern and sleek without being ostentatious.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
10/1/12 2:57 p.m.
nderwater wrote: Sorry for a dissenting vote, but a TDI is the wrong answer for hilly switchbacks. With a $4,000 mod budget, then maybe, but stock it would be an efficient but soul-sucking disappointment.

I honestly disagree here. My g/f has a MCS and I've done a number of mtn runs with the local MINI clubs sweeping with my TDI. They'd drop me on the straights (90hp is still only 90hp) but they hold me up in the curves. And this is in the back of the pack where the aggressive drivers like play "drop-back." I'm not saying a TDi handles as well as a MINI, but on public roads at realistic speeds, a VW can hold its own even on crap all-season tires if you have half a clue about what you're doing (and I only have a quarter clue).

That said, another option would be a MINI Clubman S. 99% of the fun of a standard MINI, but a bit better at hauling cargo and the occasional adult or two in the back seats. Forget the Countryman - they handle like the small SUV's they are.

irish44j
irish44j SuperDork
10/1/12 4:52 p.m.

09-11 WRX with the Limited package (leather, etc). Looks low-key and not expensive. Gets reasonable highway mileage (and most people think they get better mileage than they actually do). Has AWD for all seasons. It's faster than almost all your choices so far, and cheaper. Seats are actually very comfortable. And Subaru has that whole "out in the environment" thing going on so you don't look like some rich douche who just sits in an office all day counting customers' money (e.g. if you drove an Audi or Bimmer).

Jaynen
Jaynen HalfDork
10/1/12 5:05 p.m.

Oh I like the Mazdaspeed6

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltraDork
10/1/12 5:05 p.m.
irish44j wrote: ...............you don't look like some rich douche who just sits in an office all day counting customers' money.........

ha ha ha - this made me laugh.

BTW where can I find this "rich douche" job as today's work day left "nice guy loyal employee" feeling like crap?

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 Dork
10/1/12 5:26 p.m.

CR-Z, MINI S, or Ford Focus (surprisingly fun in stock form). Although a later model WRX (09 and earlier - without the "extroverted" bodywork) would be a kickass stealth choice.

WhiteLX
WhiteLX Reader
10/1/12 5:28 p.m.
Rusted_Busted_Spit wrote: (saab 9-5) Plenty of parts (no really), good gas mileage, fun to drive and are easy to find with a stick.

Where does one find said parts? The Saab 9-5 Aero wagon interests me, but with no dealer network and the manufacturer being nonexistent I'm a bit concerned about major services or parts availability for the next 5-6 years. I'm not sure how well the aftermarket caters to the Saab.

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