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My Mustang Got Totalled In A Snowstorm! What Car Should I Buy?

Wants some horsepower, three pedals, and a reasonable amount of room.

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Norm’s Ford Mustang did not meet its end at the conclusion of a local car show but rather the “old school” way in a big snowstorm. He is looking for a replacement ideally with some power and three pedals. What car should he buy?

(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. )


Here is the scenario -

My girlfriend just totaled my 2006 Mustang Convertible in a snowstorm. I want to replace it with something American or European. Sporty. V8 or a 4/6 cylinder with a turbo. Convertible would be a bonus, but not necessary. Classic styling. Enough room to fit two big 1st and 3rd graders in back. Largish-trunk or hatchback. Easy to maintain, reliable. Gas mileage is no concern.

I can spend up to $50,000 for the right car but I would rather not.

Quick Facts:

Budget: up to$50,000 but ideally less

Daily Driver: Yes

Location: Boring, Oregon

Wants: Power, Three pedals, classic style

Doesn’t want: A minivan

Expert 1: Tom McParland - Ger More Car With MOPAR

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Photo: Victora Scott (In-House Art)

Norm we are sorry to hear about your Mustang. I will be honest I had to look up whether or not Boring, Oregon was a real place because I thought you might have been messing with us. I guess the town isn’t as uneventful as you hoped it would be.

Of course, the easy answer to your lost Mustang is to just get another Mustang convertible, but you wouldn’t be asking Jalopnik for advice if you were going to go with the obvious solution.

Since your objectives are: American with classic styling, good horsepower, three-pedals, and room for growing kids it would seem the Dodge Challenger would be an even better replacement for your Mustang. Of course, you can’t get the Chally in a drop-top unless you pay some aftermarket company to cut the roof off, but I can’t imagine you have a lot of opportunity for al-fresco driving given the weather in Oregon.

Unlike some other modern muscle cars, the Challenger actually has a usable back seat for the kiddos. The added bonus to Dodge’s “classic” looks is that if you buy a used one or a new one, they all have the same styling. So, you can get a nice pre-owned model in the low $30,000 range or max your budget on a higher horsepower Scat Pack. Now might be the perfect time to score one of these “old school” rides since Dodge will be transitioning their Challenger/Charger platform to something “electrified”  


Expert 2: Andy Kalmowitz - Stick With The Blue Oval But Add AWD

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Photo: Burns Hyundai Genesis of Cherry Hill

Hey man. Sorry to hear about your Mustang. It sucks, but here’s some good news: it’s your chance to upgrade! There is no finer car to upgrade an old Mustang to than a less-old Focus RS! This vehicle really ticks nearly all of your boxes. It’s got three pedals, a big trunk, enough room for your kids to come along and a turbocharged four banger that will make more power than your old Mustang. It’s also not a minivan - which I can see is a plus for you.

Okay, it may not exactly have “classic styling” or a convertible roof, but the little thing still looks thoroughly badass - especially in that blue. This one even comes in well below your $50,000 budget. That means, if you feel so inclined, you can upgrade it to your heart’s desire with the leftover cash. Another bonus to the Focus RS? All-Wheel Drive. That means it’s far less likely to meet the same demise as your Mustang.


So, congrats Norm (great name by the way)! Now is your chance to get in on everyone’s favorite car from three years ago.

Expert 3: Steve DaSilva - What’s More Reliable Than A Warranty?


You want an American V8 with a stick shift and four seats. You already know and like Mustangs. A newer one may be the obvious choice, but it’s obvious for a reason: The Mustang is a good car.

Originally, I set out to find you a special Mustang. Autotrader had a used GT350 in your area and your price range, but it seems to be gone from the dealer’s site already, so no luck there. But, while searching, I realized something: Coming from your SN197, an S550 is pretty special.


The current Mustang has an independent rear suspension, a great-feeling gearbox, and the 5.0 Coyote replacing the old Modular. It’s also available with a warranty, like this certified pre-owned example. Sure, it’s a hardtop instead of your old convertible, but that means more storage space to haul Kid Stuff. And, really, what’s lower-maintenance than having Ford pay for your repairs?

Expert 4: José Rodríguez Jr. - Just Get The GTI Golf R

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Photo: Volkswagen

You need to replace a Mustang totalled in a snowstorm, have two growing kids, possibly on their way to being gearheads, and a love of three pedals? Yeah. You need a GTI, but only better. You need a 2022 Golf R, which will happily hoon in inclement weather with its all-wheel drive. You’ll never fret over snow again, and the kids will be very comfortable.

Coupes like the Mustang or slab-sided Challenger are great, and I think two is usually the right number of doors regardless of body style, but if you have kids and still plan to have fun driving, you’re probably better off in the hot hatch. What better hatchback with a manual transmission and AWD priced under $50,000 than the Golf R?


No, the Golf R isn’t American, nor does it have the classic styling of the pony cars that’d be a similar replacement for your departed Mustang. The Golf R is classic in its own way, and with its forced induction and four cylinders it fits your criteria for cylinder count plus turbocharging. Just be wary of dealer markups, which I hope don’t put the latest Golf R out of reach.

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