Shopping for Cars

My current car, a 2013 Chrysler 200 Limited, is under a lease that will be up in June. I loved this car far more than I expected to, given the reviews on it, but I can provide more color to that later. The end story is that the residual value of my car (the amount I’d have to pay to purchase it) is going to be about $5,000 more than what it blue books for, so it makes precisely zero sense to purchase it. I have to find a new car.

I thought it’d be interesting, maybe only for my own historical purposes, to talk about the vehicles as I drive them and come to a conclusion. I managed to hit the local auto show a few weekends ago to pull my list under ten cars, but I’m still all over the place in terms of size, power, and price. Currently, in the running, I have:

  • 2016 Chrysler 200C – I liked mine so much, and the new one apparently looks/feels/performs so much better.
  • 2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier – The concept of mostly electric driving sounds great, with a little bit of fuel to back it up. The second generation actually looks like a car.
  • 2016 Fiat 500x Lounge – Not much for SUVs, but this looks classy while still being small enough to whip around.
  • 2016 Buick Regal Premium II or GS – Buick wasn’t on my list until the auto show, these looked nicer than I ever expected.
  • 2016 Volkswagen GTI SE 4-Door – I love the idea of a small car with a nice turbo.
  • 2016 Nissan Maxima SL or Platinum – I can’t stop staring at these — the design is funky but approachable, the interior looks amazing, and it has the big Nissan V6.
  • 2016 Kia Optima SX or SXL – Kia wasn’t originally on my list, but a good friend of mine has one and likes it a lot.
  • 2016 Audi A4 – With the introduction of the 2017s, these actually become reasonable. I had a 2008 that I really liked, except for what the previous owner did to it.

What do I want? I want something that is comfortable to commute in, with a great stereo system with navigation and/or Android Auto, comfortable seats with heat, and enough performance to let me smile once in a while. I already have a project car, so it doesn’t have to be insane, but I don’t want a dog. Naturally, I err on the side of more interesting gadgets, so I’d love to have things like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings. I’d also love to have ventilated seats. Bonus points if I can get a brown leather interior.

The 200 I have now has an incredible sound system, by Boston Acoustics, of all people, navigation, heated leather seats, a sunroof, and the Pentastar V6, a 283hp beast that was ill-suited for this car’s platform, but puts a big grin on my face regardless. It seems you can get it to 60 in 6 seconds, but that implies you have traction.

On with it!

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