James has an order in for the all-new Corvette C8. He is rethinking his decision, however, and isn’t sure if the new Vette is really “worth it.” He wants something fun, but special and can spend upwards of $60,000. What car should he buy?
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Here is the scenario:
I’ve put a deposit on a C8, but I find myself questioning if I really want to spend that much money. I’ve got a decent amount saved up and want to reward myself with something fun and cool. It won’t be the primary car in the house, so it doesn’t need to be perfect, but I don’t want something some miserable it just becomes a garage queen. I like the C8 because it’s usable 100% of the time, but maybe there is something better.
I want something fun, but usable as a daily driver, and I would like something “special.” Also it needs to be an automatic. This does not need to be a sports car, it can be a coupe, sedan or wagon.
Budget: Up to $60,000
Daily Driver: Sort of
Location: Orlando, FL
Wants: Fun, usable, special
Doesn’t want: A money pit
Maybe you aren’t quite ready to be the Florida man driving the Vette, and that is okay. You certainly don’t have to buy your C8 now. In a few years, you will be able to find some depreciated examples, likely with very low miles, in the used market at prices that will be a bit more appealing. Now is the time to get something that will be harder to find down the road.
With criteria of special, usable, and fun you land on the V60 Polestar. Now the current generation (though now discontinued) T8 Polestar is fantastic, those go for well over $70,000 and you may not want to deal with a plug-in hybrid. However, there are a handful of the previous generation Polestar wagons available and you absolutely must get one in Cyan Racing Blue. These wagons are certainly special with only 1500 produced, about 200 of those came to America. It has 360 horsepower which doesn’t give it anywhere near the performance of the Vette, but it’s a fun car to toss around with a much more usable body style. Carvana has an example that seems appealing and here is another blue one with a bit of mileage sold by a dealer with “guaranteed credit approval”
I’ll never disparage a Polestar wagon, but you’re in the market for a Corvette — I’m guessing your practicality concerns are closer to the classic “two golf bags” test. With that in mind, there’s a fun, special liftback that could be right up your alley: the 2021 Toyota Supra.
I’ve had the pleasure of driving a new ’21 Supra, and I’ve never seen a car turn heads the way that one does. Everyone’s seen a Corvette, but the Supra inspires gawkers the way nothing else under six figures does. From kids on bikes to attorneys in their Cadillacs, everyone wants to get a peek. It’s about as special as you get without an Italian badge on the front, and without all the headaches those include. As for fun, you’ll be seated directly between a snarling turbocharged six-cylinder and the two high-grip rear wheels it powers. There’s no better place to be in this world. While the Supra’s 382 HP may not sound like a Corvette fighter on paper, owners that have taken their cars to the dyno think that Toyota hid a few extra ponies under that long hood. Here’s one for sale in Tampa, brand new, for $57,637. Google Maps tells me that’s an hour and a half drive back to Orlando, and I bet you’ll be grinning the whole time.
A coupe, sedan or wagon. One of those is clearly the most usable, but Tom has already recommended the wagon, and Steve came in with the coupe. So, I’m going with the other very usable body style, the sedan! The fast four-door hasn’t fared well lately, but that’s changing. Cadillac is making damn sure of that, and so is Acura. That’s why I’m going to recommend the 2021 TLX Type S.
Even with something as “uneventful” as the V6, the regular TLX is an extremely capable car. When you throw in all of the equipment that the Type S gets, like all-wheel drive and torque vectoring, on top of the twin-scroll turbo V6, you have a winner. It also happens to have a pretty good stereo. This sports car is fast. It’s fun. The four-doors are just the cherry on top.
This one is unique because it’s not actually on sale yet. Slated to go on sale this fall, I’d go with the Lexus IS500 F Sport Performance. Get it before it’s gone because with the electric future we’re headed into, you won’t be seeing anything like it ever again. Seriously. Where else will you experience a 472 HP 5.0-liter V8 shoved into an RWD Japanese sports sedan? That’s a recipe for fun, and you have that legendary Toyota/Lexus reliability to fall back on so it won’t be a money pit.
There is a downside though. While the starting MSRP of $56,500 falls well within your budget you can’t really count on dealers to have them at that price when they start to arrive.
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