The search for a new car

Its time for all my casual surfing of the used car market to pay off, I’ve decided to get another car. There are so many cars I’d like to have, but budget and circumstances are always in play, and this time is no different.

This will be my 21st vehicle, so as you can tell, I’m not the type to hang onto a car for a long period of time. While I’ve owned two cars for more than five years, I usually have a one to two-year turnaround. That alone can pretty much explain my embarrassingly small savings account.

My next car needs to serve specific requirements for me. It has to be fun, luxurious, and it has to be more practical than my Cayman. Since the Cayman is going nowhere, this car will be a second car and will therefore not earn a spot in my diminutive garage. The outside parking status will dictate a few things for me, like color. I am looking to avoid dark colors since they show dirt far more than brighter colors, and my car OCD would drive me crazy with say, a black car.

The Choices

When I decided to get another car, my mind was awash with options. I don’t need much room, just a usable back seat and some cargo capacity for the occasional run to the airport, a trip to Lowes or road trip to visit family on the holidays. The main key for me is the fit, finish and feel of the car. I want something that is a nice place to be, has some style and is not a dull appliance.

I “narrowed” my choices down to a small sedan, a hatchback or a small SUV. I love the Audi A5 and the BMW 2 Series, but I learned with my Cadillac ATS coupe that, even though the back seat is usable, if you have to fold the seats down and put stuff back there, not having a door is a huge pain, so those cars are out.

Hatchbacks are the most practical yet still fun cars out there since we don’t get small sporty wagons in the states. So cars like the Golf R and Mazda 3 are in my sights. I know the power differential between those two is a chasm, but I’ve thought the Mazda 3 is one of the best looking cars in the segment since 2014, and the 2019 redesign is aces. However, my hatchback sights are truly set on the Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG. I don’t know of a single auto journalist who hasn’t raved about how crazy-fun that car is, and it has real, usable room. So I have to try it.

As for small sedans, I like the 3 Series, the Mercedes C class, and the Lexus IS350 F Sport. As nice as those sedans are, they have grown a little bloated lately, and a car like the Audi S3 is more my style.

Then there is my obvious love of Porsche, and the vehicle I have admired since its debut, the Macan. After recently living with a Macan for a month while some extensive paintwork was done to my Cayman, I know I like what the Macan has to offer. To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite automotive podcasts, Everyday Driver, I have some driving homework to do.


For those who have lost count, that’s five cars in three different classes, decisiveness is not always my strong suit. Not only am I spanning a few automotive segments, but also a wide budget. To be clear, outside of the Mazda, nothing I am considering is new. In fact, I am looking almost exclusively at a very narrow segment of the market, Certified Pre-Owned.

Being used vehicles, my choices are actually closer in price than one would initially think. Cross-shopping a Mazda 3 and an Audi S3 or Macan may sound ridiculous, but the used market for luxury German cars makes the prices much closer than you would think. I intend to spend no more money than I need, nor buy a vehicle larger than what my max usage demands, let’s hope I stick to that… this time. Wish me luck!

Author: Ryan Carignan

I am an automotive enthusiast, writer, and photographer; welcome to my blog!

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