We drive all the new cars, and we have a lot of good things to say about all of them (well, most of them). However, there are only a few that there are only a few we would legitimately consider paying our own money. These are those cars. If you’re looking to be more strategic with your budget, might we recommend one of these fine used models?
The Volkswagen GTI has been an all-around great car choice for decades now, and as the eighth generation Golf comes into view, it looks as though Volkswagen will continue on that path of excellence. The GTI in particular takes a responsive and refined chassis and adds some spice to the powered wheels and appearance. With a base price under $30,000 and enough cargo space for a long-weekend adventure, the GTI is always a temptation.
Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade
Hyundai and Kia have been stealthily creeping up market for the past 18 years, and the Palisade and Telluride three-rows are their debutante. They drive so well and are so nicely appointed that driving them makes you wonder why anyone would spend more than $50,000 on a car. Sure, it’s not going to coddle you like an S-Class or pin you to the back of your seat like a Hellcat, but these mid-size crossovers check so many boxes that you almost aspire to be practical.
Before the 2019 redesign, the RAM 1500 was always a step behind the market-leading F-150. It didn’t have the can-do attitude and brawn the F-150 so easily possesses. However, the newest offering from Stellantis (previously FCA) really stepped up the game. With newfound comfort, all-around ability to do any task with ease, and the release of the Raptor-dominating TRX, the RAM 1500 really has become king of the (soon-to-be) ICE dinosaurs and the best pickup for the money. Even the HD models are nearly luxury vehicles.
The C8 Corvette is in short supply, which makes us sad because it is by far one of the most unique cars to own for such an accessbile amount of money. Who knew that today an enthusiast could own a mid-engined supercar that takes only 2.8 seconds to get to 60 mph for just under $60,000? Though it now can get mistaken for a Ferrari, the Corvette will always be on some sort of list as a comprehensive weekend targa that can also do a little bit of grocery shopping for a reasonable price. It even gets decent fuel economy, to boot.
A BMW M product that’s prettier, cheaper, and more fun to hoon down a mountain than most other BMWs? Look no further than the BMW M2. For around $60k, you can find yourself behind the wheel of one of the most fun and best balanced cars BMW has made in a while. We say not to opt for the $3,000 dual-clutch transmission since this is a purist’s car on a bit of a budget.
Honda released the tenth-generation Accord as, in our opinion, the most versatile, reliable, and best built sedan available in America’s automotive market. We can’t think of another car under $30k that is more fun while also being able to fly under a cop’s radar after dropping off your kids at school. Unfortunately, the Accord is not available with a manual anymore (bad form Honda), but not to worry because the 2.0T is still blisteringly fast as a 10-cog automatic. If sipping fuel is more your speed, there is a surprisingly quiet hybrid available on top of smaller, more fuel efficient powertrains equipped with one of the best CVTs on the market.