Photo credit: Mike Ballaban
What Car Should You BuyThe experts at Jalopnik answer your car-buying questions.

Melissa is an executive for a Fortune 500 company and has been looking for a replacement for her 2006 Honda Accord but isn’t feeling inspired by anything. She wants style, luxury, and power, but doesn’t want to go overboard on price. What car should she 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.)


When you have a fairly healthy budget, as Melissa does, and you’re pretty open to a variety of vehicles, you have so many options to choose from it is easy to be overwhelmed by the inventory. It’s a good problem to have, but it requires some guidance to narrow the focus a bit.

Luckily, Melissa has come to the right place if she wants some opinions on luxurious, fast cars.

Here is the scenario.

I currently drive a 2006 Honda Accord coupe. Got it brand new and it’s the most equipped version you could get. I like it, but am looking for something a bit different and potentially an upgrade to a luxury car. But I’m not looking to spend ridiculous amounts of money just to have a luxury brand. Some days I want another sporty coupe, maybe a convertible, but not a basic convertible like a Miata or something.

Some days I want a big ole SUV, but really have no need for an SUV. I don’t like the idea of having to pay more for maintenance and fuel. I think like the idea of having more room and feeling safer, even though I understand statistically I’m probably not. I know I don’t want a crossover because they are too “mom-ish.”

I’m single, independent and have a pug.

I also own a 1974 Stingray. If it were up to my dad (a car salesman), I’d buy a new Corvette. Though I really think I need something slightly more practical as a daily driver. However, I still want something that exudes bad-assery as a Stingray does. I’m also not trying to spend that much on a car. I’m open to leasing because I hate vehicle maintenance.


Quick Facts:

Budget: $40,000 - $50,000

Daily Driver: Yes

Estimated Ownership Time: 1-3 years

Wants: Something quick and well equipped

Doesn’t want: A crossover

Expert #1: Tom McParland - Personally lacks both style and attitude.


Melissa, I see where your dad is coming from with the modern Stingray, but you don’t strike me as the type of person that has to have a pair of the same car in current and classic form. I think in order to maintain a balance of variety in your garage you should get something that gives you a very different driving experience.

Based on your location, a droptop should take priority over a coupe and given your need for a little more practicality, you probably want something with usable back seats. You could easily stroll into your local BMW dealer and lease a 4-series convertible well within your budget with all the options you could ever want. Those are fine cars; they are certainly quick and luxurious but they will blend in. What they don’t have is much presence.


What you need is a BMW 650i convertible. Here is a 2013 model with only 22k miles for the “no haggle” price of $46,000. Why did I choose this one? Because it is at CarMax, and you can use your remaining $4000 and get a MaxCare extended warranty that should cover you for any glitches over the next three years. This car has the M-sport package which makes it look far better than the standard 6-series, is loaded with features and sports a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood. Your right foot will be very happy and you can even take friends or coworkers for a ride with ease.

Expert #2: Kristen Lee - Sick And Self-Admitted Porsche Fangirl


Something quick, luxurious and befitting of a Fortune 500 executive? And with a budget of $40,000 to $50,000? Girl, your taste is extremely my shit.

I’m going to go right ahead and point you in the direction of a 2009 Porsche 911. The base model makes around 345 horsepower, which is more than enough to inject some excitement and spirited driving into your life. I wouldn’t call a 911's interior bend-over-backwards luxury, but the leathers are always soft and the buttons have a satisfying feel to them.


You mentioned practicality also: the 911 is actually extremely practical. The frunk is quite spacious, enough room for a large suitcase if you have a road trip in your future. The back seats, though tight for anyone under 5'0", are also an excellent place to store extra groceries and supplies. I will bet you right now that you’d be able to take the car to Costco and not want for any more space.

All in all, it’s an iconic and fantastic little car, with visibility second to none in a modern car and easy to park. If you can find a Porsche Certified Pre-Owned Carrera or Carrera S, you are set.


Here’s a used 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera with 48,939 miles on it for $45,817.

Expert #3: Andrew Collins - Was about to buy a Jaguar when

(Photo Credit: Craigslist)

You already vetoed the obvious choice (Corvette), and I might have said “Audi A5” but this list is already looking a little homogenous with the German offerings.

What about a Jaguar? Wait, hang on, you said you had $50,000? For a fast and luxurious coupe?


You’ve got to go Aston Martin. DB9s and V8 Vantages are in your price range, fit your performance requirements, and are some of the prettiest things ever put on wheels.

Here’s one with low miles and a manual transmission (!) in your neck of the nation and priced right around what you’re planning to pay.


If you’re already looking at pictures of this car, what else do I have to say? I mean, you might run into a slightly more complex maintenance routine than you’re used to with an Accord, but unlike a modern Bentley or a big-buck Mercedes coupe I think the Aston is special enough that it’s going to make you smile even just sitting in your driveway. Or coming up in conversation.

Freddy “Tavarish” Hernandez - Bad Advice At A Reasonable Price


If you’ve clawed your way up the corporate ladder and have made a name for yourself as a standout amongst your peers, it makes sense to get a car that reflects that. You need something that puts a smile on your face every time you look at it, if only to say “What the hell were they thinking with this?!”

The answer, obviously, is a used 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, yours for less than half of your total budget.


Here’s the rundown of reasons why you’d be dumb to choose anything other than this car: it’s more rare than anything on this list, it has the SUV attributes that you so desire without a thirsty V8 gas guzzling engine, it’s decently reliable and has minuscule repair costs relative to the luxury offerings of my colleagues, and it can let your pug’s hair flow in the wind like nature intended.

It’s a guarantee that you’ll get noticed more than you would in any Aston, Jag, or BMW, and you’ll have $20k more to spend on Stingray parts. It’s the perfect choice, frankly.

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (

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