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Mike
Mike GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/1/12 6:38 p.m.

I've driven the CR-Z, and got very close to buying one. If it's just going to be you, I'll mirror several others and suggest you go for it. 2013 is supposed to see a number of improvements.

If you need to carry clients, the Insight and Prius seem like a good idea.

Skip the Volt and pure electrics. Your commute makes the Cruze Eco a smarter choice than a Volt, and the electrics aren't up for your commute - even a Tesla Model S with 85KWh battery is pushing it.

Volkswagen and Subaru both make fun to drive cars that appeal to the crunchy set, are comfortable and respectable. Perhaps a Jetta or GTI? Impreza? You could go WRX, but try to keep the boy racer factor low.

If you go by what's in my local Whole Foods parking lot, it seems you need an X5, Prius, or Jetta Wagon.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Intern
10/1/12 6:47 p.m.

Errr, P71?

I'd suggest E39 M5

Jaynen
Jaynen HalfDork
10/1/12 7:00 p.m.

A BMW especially dependent on what area of the country we are talking about will make you look too ostentatious. You don't want clients thinking you must be fleecing them to afford to drive a car like that.

I am liking the idea of the newer VW TDI's if its in your price range. Already has 140hp vs my 2000's 90 and the nice torque was quite a bit of fun to drive on a test drive. It comes in a very nice looking (in my opinion) wagon which also ups the utility a lot

"2010 Jetta TDI Cup "Street" edition It is a version commemorating the 2008+ Jetta TDI Cup Race series, the last year of the MKV, and based on the TDI Clean Diesel sedan. The same 140 hp (104 kW), (240 lbf·ft torque) diesel motor is supplied, but the package includes GLI brakes, suspension, and sway bars. Additional upgrades from the base TDI are "TDI Cup Edition" body side stickers, 18-in wheels with Pirelli P-Zero or Yokohama ADVAN 225/40R18 sport tires, aluminium pedals, leather-wrapped steering wheel, chrome door linings, aerodynamic body kit (front, side & rear), an Interlagos cloth interior with heated sport seats, short shifter, carbon fiber inlays (as opposed to metallic), and a black interior (headliner/doorcards/dash). It can be purchased with either a 6-speed Manual or DSG transmission (DSG includes paddle shifters), and a "Thunderbunny" body kit is optional (and available from VW only on the Cup edition). The vehicle was unveiled in 2008 SEMA show. The production version went on sale in January 2010 with a base MSRP of $24,990USD (not including destination or options).[112]"

I'd skip the cup edition because of its body kit is too lavish but you could easily put the suspension on the wagon but I doubt you would need to. Mine is a mk4 but I lost very little mpg going from 15" cheapo economy tires to 17" 225/45/17 performance all seasons. In some instances on a not so perfectly paved back road I think the Jetta almost feels better than my NA miata which shakes all over

eastpark
eastpark Reader
10/1/12 7:15 p.m.

I've been very happy with my Flex Ecoboost. Great power, nice handling and good for meeting clients. I've had mine for two years now without any issues.

Paul

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/1/12 7:34 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: Errr, P71? I'd suggest E39 M5

Said by the person not purchasing the copious amounts of premium fuel required! Man, my M5 got terrible gas mileage. And I didn't even drive it that hard (all the time).

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/1/12 8:01 p.m.

Mini Clubman sounds good. Also the G8. The V6 is 300 hp and can be had for well under 20k. Lack of third pedal may be a deal breaker though. GT's with the V8 aren't too much more and way fun. GXP is hens teeth and pricey. A Caddy CTS, V or not makes it look like you've got too much money. Same with and Audi or BMW, regardless of what you paid for it. Maybe a really nice LT-1 Impala SS? Again, no third pedal though.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/1/12 9:35 p.m.

I was thinking something like this. An acura TL S type. Seems to check all the rite box's

The problem with the Mazda 3 is that I think it conveys a certain ... well cheapness and not in a good way. I was completely underwhelmed by the examples I messed with at the NE auto show last winter.

I have the same / similar problem at the moment. For the money you are talking (up to 20K) I can get a really nice example of a MB s500. The problem is that how in the world can I go see a client in it? The first thing they will think is that they are paying me to much. I would be for ever explaining that my 2007 MB s500 cost less to purchase then there new honda.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/1/12 9:43 p.m.

I like this thread. Thanks guys!

No on the Prius. Sorry guys.

I may take a look at the CR-Z, but I doubt it. I think there are far too many times that I may want to ride someone whose knees can't quite handle getting into a car that low.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/1/12 9:46 p.m.
eastpark wrote: I've been very happy with my Flex Ecoboost. Great power, nice handling and good for meeting clients. I've had mine for two years now without any issues. Paul

That's a different suggestion.

What's "nice handling"? I'm talking 50 consecutive switchbacks twice per day.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/1/12 9:50 p.m.
WhiteLX wrote:
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.

There's no way I'd consider a Saab. I live in an area that makes that a 2 syllable word if they can pronounce it at all.

hotchocolate
hotchocolate New Reader
10/1/12 10:35 p.m.

Ford fusion hybrid or non hybrid.

Lincoln LS

Legacy B spec

2nd gen lexus gs300 or 400

I second the infinity g35 suggestion

A debadged e36 M3

A great “problem” to have. I am in a similar situation. Trying to find one car that can do it all or most of it without drawing undue attention. BMWs seem to be best at that, but there are some who will judge you based on badge not price...sad

Jaynen
Jaynen HalfDork
10/1/12 11:23 p.m.

G35 Sedan, and I also like the Acura TL mentioned above

szeis4cookie
szeis4cookie Reader
10/2/12 6:19 a.m.

I think new Escape is the answer here. Good handling, American branded, room for customers, reasonably priced. I could see it being really entertaining with the optional EcoBoost.

dj06482
dj06482 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/2/12 7:57 a.m.

Ford Fusion hybrid is a good choice, they're being redesigned for 2013. If you could pick up a leftover 2012, you might be able to get a deal on it...

nderwater
nderwater UberDork
10/2/12 8:09 a.m.
Ian F wrote: 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).

...but you could say the same thing about a slushbox Camry.

Lots of weird recommendations in this thread. The OP is looking for a "Corner Carver" for mountain driving - a car that rewards you every time you drive it, not a car that leaves you pining for more.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
10/2/12 9:19 a.m.

In reply to nderwater:

Which is why I recommended the Clubman. Especially if doing 100 switchback turns a day... A friend of mine is selling a factory JCW Clubman that I've driven a bit. The brakes alone may make the JCW worth it over a std Cooper S Clubman. A TDI owner would be buying pads and rotors by the case.

PHeller
PHeller UltraDork
10/2/12 9:31 a.m.

American. Handles decent. Looks like a contractor vehicle.

Install a modern V8 to obtain decent MPG and brag about it to potential customers.

bluej
bluej GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/2/12 9:45 a.m.

Just to make sure it didn't get lost in the mix, let me reiterate the Volvo C30 suggestion.

  • Based on the same platform as the Focus/Mazda3
  • A few year old used is well in budget and they are not as likely to have been beat on
  • I would think Volvo gives the impression of a nice car but not with the potential connotations of the German brands
  • Small enough to give the subliminal "efficient car" signals
  • 227hp/236tq w 6spd MT or 5spd Manumatic
Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar Dork
10/2/12 10:31 a.m.

My first thought was this:

Non-threatening to customers, practical, good parts availability, and your favorite magazine is writing a whole how-to just for you!

eastsidemav
eastsidemav HalfDork
10/2/12 10:36 a.m.

Have you driven a Prius C yet? Handles a ton better than a standard Prius. I looked at them when I ended up with my Honda Fit.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit SuperDork
10/2/12 11:15 a.m.

eeuroparts

rockauto

WhiteLX wrote:

SAABs parts arm is still in business and is making stuff again, they are even making body panels in the SAAB factory.

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.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/2/12 11:21 a.m.
Ian F wrote: A friend of mine is selling a factory JCW Clubman that I've driven a bit.

How much is he asking?

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/2/12 11:22 a.m.
bluej wrote: Just to make sure it didn't get lost in the mix, let me reiterate the Volvo C30 suggestion. - Based on the same platform as the Focus/Mazda3 - A few year old used is well in budget and they are not as likely to have been beat on - I would think Volvo gives the impression of a nice car but not with the potential connotations of the German brands - Small enough to give the subliminal "efficient car" signals - 227hp/236tq w 6spd MT or 5spd Manumatic

Don't worry. It wasn't lost in the mix.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/2/12 11:23 a.m.

Sorry I never got back to you about that MINI but my friend bought it.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/2/12 11:26 a.m.
PHeller wrote: American. Handles decent. Looks like a contractor vehicle. Install a modern V8 to obtain decent MPG and brag about it to potential customers.

I like that truck. A lot.

If I could combine the corner carver with the tool carrier, I'd consider it. The problem is, there is no way to put 1500 lbs. of tools in the back of anything, secure it, and still have the ability to handle the corners. The cargo will ruin the handling no matter what vehicle it is.

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