|2012 Ford Fiesta|
|2012 Smart Fortwo|
The fact of the matter is that there really isn't a lot to get excited about in the sub-$15k category. The best of the group would be the Hyundai Accent (starting @ $14,485) as it is the best looking and most well equipped for the price. But that's rather like being the winner of a backwoods beauty contest in Alabama. You may be get the crown but is it actually an honor?
|2012 Hyundai Accent|
After you get over being depressed about how your life's achievements to date can be reflected in a sub-compact car that will barely accelerate onto a highway doing half the speed limit (and that's if the on ramp is downhill) you wonder, is there hope? The answer is yes. That's because the used car market is incredibly saturated at the moment with fantastic cars at great prices, that is if you know what you're looking for. And, no, I'm not talking about buying a 2004 Chevy Malibu instead of a 2009, I'm talking about cars that you do (or should) actually want to drive because they are great cars. And in the current market can be purchased for an even better price.
Because I know many of you are probably thinking "BS," I'm going to prove it. Below I give a few examples of an SUV, a Mid-size, a Luxury Sedan, Sports Coupe and Convertible that can all be had for less than $15k. And while my choices are somewhat subjective, anyone with a bit of automotive gusto would probably agree.
The SUV: 1994 Range Rover Classic SWB (Mileage: 77,500)The car shown above is for sale in New York for $12,000 (yes, I said $12,000). If you're in the market for an SUV, you are looking at one of the best classic SUV's hands down, one that shaped the modern SUV market. In fact, Range Rover's are such good SUV's that to this day people still take these trucks, modify them slightly and use them as their off road toys because they are invincible. And those who still use them as a daily driver will talk about their comfort and grace, in addition to the acres of glass that surround you making you feel like royalty on display.
Want something newer...
Want something newer....
This car is another prime example of a great luxury car that you can get with reasonably low mileage and really enjoy. Its another German highway cruise missile with an incredibly comfortable ride and it lists for $14k, which is a pretty fair price.
Closing RemarksSo have we learned anything? First, buying a car is subjective and the above cars are simply ones in various categories that I really like, and have liked since I was a kid. But I only spent about an hour looking all of that up and I found some great cars that could be had for great prices. So I'm sure that with a bit of effort, you too could find something that you would actually want to drive that fits your budget.
Secondly, none of the cars that I picked are safe bets, because when buying a 11 year old super-luxe BMW, it will be more expensive to maintain. And, from my choices I'm sure you have picked up on the fact that I am the least practical car shopper ever, and I accept that. But since when is being practical, fun?
Lets put it this way, when when you were about 15 you probably dreamt of getting a Chevy Camaro as your first car (if you were a boy) or a Toyota Celica (if you were a girl, or a girly boy) and instead your practically boring parents gave you a Volvo station wagon with a "#1 Soccer Mom." bumper sticker on the back. And if your younger selves could see you now, shopping for an Accent or Ford Fiesta, being practical, well I'm sure they would kick you straight in the shins, put itching powder in your sheets, or worse start rumors about you.
The other real point that I'm trying to make here is that when we are young we let our emotions guide us and somehow as we get older we loose that. This doesn't just go for cars, this can be seen in almost any decision we make as adults. We focus on the smart and safe decisions, but that doesn't necessarily make them the right ones. Yes, the smart and safe decisions have a place and are a necessary evil but people work very hard in their lives and sometimes just deserve to be spoiled a little bit. My hope is that some of you will read this post and say "I'm going to go and buy an old M5 because I've wanted once since I was a kid." And then actually do it. I personally am about to dump more money into a car than its actually worth. Why? Because I love it, and it makes me happy. Try doing something like that sometime, your bank account might not thank me, but you will.