The other day you Jalops recommended a whole host of new cars that people should buy, but with the economy slumping along and student loans weighing people down, these days, more often than not, I'm being asked about used cars. Which used cars do you recommend to people?
Used cars present different issues than new cars. Once a car drives off the dealer lot and depreciation starts to take effect the playing field is leveled a bit. Heavy depreciation is not always a sign of a crappy car – take the Volkswagen Phaeton. These days you can get a 12-cylinder monster of a luxobarge for the price of a low-end Camry, and it's mostly due to the fact that it was burdened with a VW badge more than anything else. People who wanted luxury would just go for its twin, the Audi A8, rather than the VW. Few people wanted it, even fewer were bought, and now the few survivors in the US are fantastic bargains.
People who want used cars also tend to want the most "car" for their money. Not only should they be getting a great deal, but usually they want the car they buy to do everything. Is it reliable? Needs to be. Can it carry all the stuff? Yep. It is safe? Of course. Does it go fast? Absolutely. What about in the snow?
For all those reasons, I recommend the Volvo V70R. You can pick up one with low miles and in great condition for less than $15,000, and it's got an enormous station wagon trunk, a roof rack, all wheel drive, Volvo-levels of safety, and, oh yeah, it's got 300 horses on tap. Sure there were some complaints about wooden driving dynamics when it was new, but we're looking for a good value on everything here.
Before we get any jokers who go "McLaren F1 har har har" let's set some ground rules. You have to be able to pick one up for less than $25,000 in good condition, and no bizarre importation rules.
So which used car do you usually recommend?
Image via Volvo