“Manly” new car, sub 30k?

Camaro burnout

So you’re another one of the guys.

You don’t have a family yet, have a somewhat active lifestyle, and for you a truck doesn’t make sense. You’ve worked hard and its starting to pay off. As a treat to yourself you’ve decided its time to replace the clapped-out/hand-me-down/outdated/lackadaisical/unimpressive thing with four wheels you park where you happen to live. A new car gives a sense of a new beginning. Car payments for a new car under warranty will take the place of the monthly visit to the shop for another broken expensive thingy. You being one of the bros’ decide you want something that can run with your buddy’s 335 Coupe, CTS-V, and Evolution 9. After crunching numbers you come to a figure, $30,000. What manly cars are to be had for less than $30K?

Think about it…

Thought about it hard enough yet? …

If you had trouble coming up with something, its no surprise to me. Thanks to the double-edged sword known as inflation cars are becoming more expensive as time goes on. I haven’t received a raise in almost 3 years and its likely many of you haven’t had one lately as well. This has made it harder to keep up with the market of guys cars. Initially you’d think of the modern day pony cars. V8 Camaros were under $30 in the late 90’s. Mustang GTs were fairly inexpensive too. Well guess what… Surprise! The cheapest of the bunch (according to Edmunds.com) was the 2011 Mustang GT, which starts at roughly $29,500. Realistically dealers are probably going to price/package one out over $33,000. A local dealership doesn’t list any for under 35 grand. Camaros and Challengers are even more expensive. How about a Charger? Those are a bargain right? Not really. Charger RTs start at $32K! I’d rather do many hateful or painful things over spending over $30K on a Chrysler, but thats me. Buying a V6 of any of these models would be showing weakness in a manly-ness sense. A man’s pony car needs to have a V8! YEA!!! V6s are for rental cars! How about a Dodge Avenger? – How about a Tupperware party? A Ford Taurus? -May as well get a Good Housekeeping subscription.

After you exhaust your search for an american you think, “Hmmm something with some european character.” After cancelling out BMW, Audi, Mer-Benz, Saab, Mini, and Volvo immediately, Volkswagen is pretty much what remains. Problem is this though, if you think about it nothing Volkswagen makes really has “this is a man’s car!” written all over it. They’re equally as fitting/appealing for a girl to drive as a guy. Not only that, the stickers get expensive quick! Alas no good European candidates.

How about something asain. There’s tons of makes from Asia! YES! Disappointment sets in quickly as Toyota is all but ruled out. Nowadays they’re all so dull and Scions are just awkward and make good cars for high school girls. Honda? The Civic is a great car but its just like VWs They play well with both sides. Accord Coupes, the same. Besides you want something that has a little bit more excitement. Nissan’s Sentra SE-R has lost its luster. The Altima coupe wants you to drive it to a pedicure. 370Z… wait… Damn! Starts just over 30k! Hyundai? The Genesis is promising, but still doesn’t have that manly sense. Close, but not just right. Mitsubishi has a weak offering. Ever since the Eclipse lost the turbo, and GST/GSX designation it hasn’t had nearly as much of that man appeal. If you do want a Mitsubishi turbo, Lancer Evolutions start well over 30k. Wait though whats this…?

After all that, There in front of you is a Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. It has a turbo, a wing, a visible inter-cooler, 17″ wheels, and it has a proper manual transmission! It starts at just over $27,000! Very promising! It isn’t quite a CTS-V or 335i, but it does seem to have something going for it. That’s encouraging, but how could I leave out Subaru? Subaru after all has the Impreza WRX. It has all those same things and a burble for an engine note and a hood scoop for an intercooler! YES!! There’s silly air damns on the front bumper for the 2011 model! Though both are neither the race ready Evo or STi, there’s still a sense of fulfillment and the aura of rally history both brands have that gives it the finishing touch. You’re friends cars might be a little faster or have more bells and whistles, but you’ll probably have just as much fun and get better gas mileage.

Having thought about and written this, I’m very well aware of the abundance of “manly” cars available used. There’s also several truck options available but thats not the point. Hopefully, no girly egos were harmed in the reading of this.


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