It's that time again where your friends at Jalopnik have another Tom vs. Tavarish car buying advice throw-down. You may remember our last bout regarding financing. This time my partner says that base cars are penalty boxes and you should spend the extra cash. But here are five cars that are perfectly fine without any options.
Work Truck - There was a time when the majority of pickups on the road were not $50,000 pseudo-luxury cars with an open bed. Trucks were once bought by regular working folks that had a job to do, that was to move stuff from point A to point B, take a beating and keep on going. Luckily you can still find these simple machines. While your neighbor just overspent on their massive Tundra because they believe they will be asked to tow the space shuttle one day, you spent less than $21,000 for a four cylinder two-wheel-drive Toyota Tacoma. This modest truck will gladly assist you on your Home Depot or junkyard runs. And don't worry about your base truck being worth less in the pre-owned market, there are always buyers willing to pay for cheap trucks.
BMW 320i -The BMW 320i is perfect for two very different buyers. The first buyer is your typical German badge snob that absolutely must lease something so that they can keep up with the Joneses. The great thing about the 320i is unlike the Audi A3 or the Mercedes CLA, no one knows it's the "cheap" BMW. To the casual observer, a base car with no options, looks the same as a $45,000 model and it can be leased for about $280 a month, or about the same loan payment as a $17,000 econobox.
Now the second buyer that should consider the 320i is someone who wants an old school BMW sedan, but doesn't actually want to buy a vintage BMW. For about $33,000, you can have yourself a manual transmission, rear-wheel-drive, German saloon that will hit 60 in under seven seconds. Now what if you have dreams of the more powerful 328, but don't have the cash? No problem, a $700 chip will boost your "de-tuned" N20 back up to 328 power levels, all while keeping a few grand in your pocket.
VW Golf - Cheap cars do not have to be penalty boxes. For just under $18,000 (before destination) you can have a 2-door Launch Edition Golf 1.8T that comes standard with a 170 horsepower turbo engine, five speed manual, trans, Bluetooth, touchscreen, and a few other goodies. You will also get what is arguably the greatest Golf ever made. The all new MK7 Golf was built upon VW's modular MQB platform that is the foundation of such cars like the R400 and Audi S3. This platform sharing means that, even if you get the least expensive car possible, you are still getting a responsive chassis that feels solid and makes your drive enjoyable.
Kia Cadenza - So this one might be a stretch, but for around $35,000 a Cadenza with no options selected is still more luxurious than a $50,000 BMW 5-series. And if you squint you can almost pretend your Kia is a BMW. So if you aren't hung up on on having a roundel on your hood, but want a stylish and comfortable luxury sedan that won't break the bank, the Cadenza might be your answer.
Mazda Miata -"Simplify and add lightness." It's all motto we all know, but few of us live. If you want that iconic roadster experience it should not be burdened by extra electronic nonsense like navigation, or lane assist. All you that is necessary for motoring bliss is three pedals, rear drive, and a drop top. It can be yours for about $24,000. Also honorable mention in this category goes to the FRS/BRZ and the BMW 228. Just buy these cars as is, no need for extras. You'll thank me later.
If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.