Since we’re all about to be broke again, maybe, it is probably time to consider what bargain-basement used rides we’ll need to pick up on Craigslist for a song. We all know 1990s cars having a moment thanks to Radwood and the like, but I think 2000s cars are poised to get theirs soon too. So what’s the best cheap deal no one knows about from that decade?
It’s probably unfair to call cars from the 2000s “analog” ones, since most of them were firmly into the complex, digital modern era. Maybe you didn’t see turbocharging across the board like you do today, but these are still cars that in many cases had navigation, direct injection, tons of airbags and advanced safety features, anti-lock brakes and, finally, the beginning of the end of truly terrible automatic transmissions. This is all to say that when it comes to wrenching on your own vehicle and keeping it running perfectly yourself, you’re in for a tougher time with 2000s cars than you would be with older ones.
But! On the plus side, so many of those cars are basically at the bottom of the depreciation curve right now, so now’s the time to snatch up a good one before they start to climb in price.
This isn’t a recession car—it came out a few years before things got bad—but lately I’ve been giving thought to the first-generation Infiniti G35, especially in sedan form. Have you checked prices on these lately? They’re cheap as hell, and you can easily nail down a good one for under $5,000.
Do that and you get a pretty handsome body, rear- or all-wheel drive, Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter VQ V6 (which probably makes finding parts super easy), an available manual gearbox and some of the best driving dynamics ever put into a sport sedan by a Japanese automaker.
This thing was a legit BMW challenger back in its day, much more so than the comparatively anodyne Q50 sedan is today. Best of all, it’s a fancy Nissan; I have to assume these cars remain a lot more reliable today than their German competitors from the same period. Nobody talks about what a sweet cheap deal the Gs are, but they should.
What’s your pick for the best unknown fun car from the last decade to get us through the next downturn?