What's The Best Way To Get Top Dollar For An Affordable Enthusiast Car?

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Photo: Acura

As Jalopnik’s resident car-buying expert and a professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. I’ve picked a few of your questions and will try to help out. This week we are talking about selling “affordable” enthusiast cars and the best-used choice for a young professional.

How should someone sell a sort-of unique car that isn’t super expensive or “collectible”?

I bought a 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD with a 6spd manual to use as my daily driver. I was tired of my Crosstrek droning on the highway back and forth to work each day, and wanted something more comfortable and relaxed on the highway, but that could also be engaging or like my S2000. I love the car, but since I don’t drive it much I plan on selling it.

My question for you is, do you have a recommendation for the best place(s) to list the car in light of it’s potentially limited enthusiast appeal? KBB prices the car around $7-8k, but to the right buyer (myself included), I believe this particular car is worth anywhere from $11-15k. I wouldn’t pay that for an automatic version of this car, but with the manual, in this color combination, yeah. I loathe craigslist for selling something like this, I really don’t need to hear that I should just take $6k for it by some arrogant jerk looking for a quick deal, but it’s also not a showroom condition vehicle that should be on BaT or a similar website. I guess what it boils down to is that I don’t need to sell the car, but I also don’t need the car, and it feels like a waste to hold onto it and drive it once a week out of necessity when someone else could be enjoying it. At the same time, I’m also not looking to give it away. So that’s where I’m stuck!


There was a time when this type of car would have been a good fit for Bring a Trailer, but that website has grown to the point where they are featuring some seriously expensive vehicles. Fortunately, another website has come in to fill that gap in the market. It’s called Cars and Bids and it’s run by former Jalop contributor Doug Demuro.

If doing an auction isn’t your thing, you may want to drop into any number of Acura forums to post your car as you will have a targeted audience that may appreciate the rarity of that TL. Though I would not automatically dismiss more traditional routes like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace especially since the cost of a listing is free or minimal. Your traditional listing sites like Autotrader and Cars.com are worthwhile as well since enthusiasts tend to window shop those places for interesting things, so you never know who is going to stumble upon your ad.


Next up what is the best “sporty” sedan for a young professional who wants a luxury car without the hassles?

My son is getting his first real job, he will be doing some sales and generally has to “present well” he wants a car that looks nice but not too flashy. Most of his colleagues drive luxury cars but he really doesn’t have the money to lease a new BMW or something. He likes a sporty sedan but doesn’t want to get hit with big repair bills. What are some good picks for him in the low-mid $20,000 range?


While I find it hard to believe that in this day and age someone would be judged harshly for showing up to client meetings in something like an Accord or Camry, I guess there are still folks in some areas that demand that someone “look the part.” If he insists on getting a sporty luxury sedan, his best bet is likely the Lexus IS. You get the luxury badge and sporty looks with rock-solid reliability.

A runner-up could be the Infiniti Q50 and, given their depreciation curve, he might get something a bit newer with lower miles for a similar price point. Personally, I think the Mazda 6 is the best luxury sports sedan without a luxury nameplate. With a starting price of around $25,000, a brand new car would likely fall in his range and he gets the latest tech, unlike those 2-3 year-old luxury cars that will lack things like CarPlay/Android Auto.


Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at tom.mcparland@jalopnik.com!