Photo credit Dave Burnett/PUPPYKNUCKLES for Jalopnik

Peter has a Porsche Cayman and was until recently dating someone with a Subaru Forester. This made for a good combination of cars. Sadly, the relationship didn’t last and now Peter’s Porsche is a bit too small for hauling the dog and other things. What car should he buy?

(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.)

Here is the scenario:

I currently drive a 2007 Porsche Cayman S. I purchased it a few years ago in a relationship where my partner had a 2010 Subaru Forester that we used for groceries, taking the dog places, road trips, etc. However, that relationship ended and I’m finding myself needing something with more practicality than the Cayman can provide, both in terms of hauling stuff as well as hauling people/dogs.

The Cayman is a great car and I even use it to bring my dog places myself (she rides shotgun), but I would like something that can haul more than just me and my dog.

I don’t like cars that have styling that is too over the top, so something quick but on the low-key side is preferred. I would also really like a manual transmission if possible. I can spend up to $40,000.

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Quick Facts

Budget: Up to $40,000

Daily Driver: Yes

Location: Minneapolis

Wants: Fun, sporty, practical, maybe a manual

Doesn’t want: Something too small

Expert 1: Tom McParland - You Can’t Keep Two Boxers Together If They Always Fight

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Sorry to hear about your breakup, Peter. It seems that despite your shared love for horizontally opposed motors, it was just not to be. My first suggestion would be to keep the Porsche and drop around $10,000 on a cheap pickup. Perhaps something like this 2007 Ram SLT with capped bed to keep your gear secure. Then you can have your adventure car and your sports car.

If the two-vehicle proposal is not feasible, we need to combine the best of both worlds in with something fast, European and practical. I would suggest the Audi SQ5. Yes, it’s a “crossover” but get behind the wheel and these feel much more like hot-hatchbacks. It’s got that understated styling you are looking for paired with a 354 horsepower supercharged V6 and plenty of luxury appointments to make road trips with the dog enjoyable.

You can score a 2015 certified SQ5 with reasonable miles well within your budget range, but you will likely have to travel to get it.

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Expert 2: Patrick George - You Seem Like An Adult

For whatever it’s worth, I’m also in favor of keeping the Cayman S if you can. It’s a 2007, so I’m assuming it’s paid off, and unless you don’t have space for two cars, don’t want to do double insurance payments or are fearful of repairs, try and hang onto it. It’s a fantastic sports car and deserves a long life with you.

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But that’s not what you asked, so let’s move on.

We seem to get this question a lot: people want a practical car, ideally a sedan, that’s also fast and fun and with a stick. In your price range I’d suggest some kind of hot hatchback instead. You say you don’t want something absurd and over the top, which rules out the Honda Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS and Subaru WRX STI. You seem to be an adult, so let’s do this with some class.

I suggest the Volkswagen Golf R. It may be my personal favorite car in that class, and the one I’d be most likely to buy for myself. It’s powerful, premium inside, roomy enough for your dog, and the all-wheel drive will let you handle the Minneapolis winters with ease—provided you get winter tires too. It’s literally all the car you’ll ever need, and then some. It’s right in your budget too. Drive one of these. I think you’ll really like it.

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Also, it won’t be out until the spring or so, but the new turbocharged Mazda6 that dropped yesterday is a very compelling package to me. And you can get one loaded for under $40,000. It’s not the Golf R, but it checks some of your boxes here.

Expert 3: Erik Shilling — You Deserve Some Time Off

Image: Honda

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Peter! Breakups are bad. I’m sorry to hear about yours, which has left me a bit adrift this morning, pondering the impermanence of human relationships, and how each of us is lucky to have any friends or lovers at all. Anyway.

I agree with Tom and Patrick that you should keep the Cayman S if you can. Everyone needs some thrills in their life. And if your second car is for practicality’s sake, you’ll need the Cayman S even more.

About that second car: I recommend a 2018 Honda Fit Sport, which you can get with a 6-speed manual transmission and is reasonably priced at around $20,000, depending on the amount of options you select. (Your budget being “up to $40,000" I recommend getting all the options.)

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Why the Fit? It’s spacey for a small car, for one thing, and will have plenty of room for you and your dog. It’s also, I would say, low-key as far as styling goes, or, as our own Andrew Collins put it in his review earlier this month, the car “just works.”

The Sport package, which features leather on the shift knob and steering wheel, in addition to some cool spoilers, will also make you feel a little dangerous, though not so much as to damage the low-key vibe. As the owner of a 2008 Honda Fit Sport, I can tell you that that car still makes me feel low-key dangerous every day.

Also! Going with the Fit will leave you with about $19,000 leftover, which you should put towards an extremely long vacation. You just had a breakup, after all. Take care of yourself.

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Expert 4: Jason Torchinsky - Don’t Listen To Those Guys, Or Yourself

Listen to me. You’ve been through a breakup, which is no picnic, and while you seem to be a composed, rational person, this is not the time to settle for a boring car. A Honda Fit? Holy hell, what are we trying to do to you? No, no you deserve better than that, you deserve more, you deserve to grab life by its gummiest glands and really yank, until it squeals and promises to give you anything you want. You deserve a Jensen Interceptor.

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The Jensen Interceptor is a big, roomy, comfortable and fast car, with undeniable presence and a huge bubble-glass rear hatch. It’s got handsome British styling with the reliable punch of a big, easy-to-maintain Chrysler V8.

This 1971 Interceptor is a restored beauty with a 383 cubic-inch V8 and it’s within your budget at $38,000. Okay, it’s an automatic, but it looks (and, I suspect, feels and smells) so damn good you’ll quit caring about that, I’m sure.

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It’s dramatic and unusual, but not too flashy. It’s big and has a lot of room in back for dogs and stuff and room for three other very admiring pals in the buttery-leather body-enveloping seats.

You’re going to feel incredible when you’re driving this thing. You won’t even be able to think about your ex or breakup anymore because you’ll be transported to a whole new level. Everyone who sees you in this thing will want to date you. Hell, I kind of want to date you just thinking about this car, and I’m a happily married man. But that’s the power of an Interceptor.

Look at this thing, then look at the other cars on this page. It’s not even a contest, right?

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Right?