As soon as a brand new car leaves the dealer’s lot, the depreciation phenomenon commences. There are plenty of reasons to spring for a new car with an empty odometer, of course. They come with great warranties, include the latest technologies, offer the buyer peace of mind with regard to the vehicle’s history, and, naturally, they come with that wonderful new car smell. However, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and your new car depreciating as soon as the rubber rolls of the lot.” We took a look at the data and found that although some cars quickly lose value for good reason (looking at you, Mitsubishi Galant), there are others that actually become pretty great deals. If the smell of organic materials off-gassing is of paramount importance, feel free to pay the premium for your brand new car. If you don’t mind waiting a few years, however, we’ve picked 10 vehicles that offer incredible value on the used market.
With Independence Day this weekend, we thought it would be an ideal time to take a look at some of the most “American” cars on sale today. Sure, it would be easy to throw together a list of muscle cars and pickup trucks, but, like it or not, the United States isn’t the birthplace of the V8 engine or 4-wheel-drive (that would be France and the Netherlands, respectively), and anyway, that would have been too easy. Instead, when trying to define American culture, we’ve been drawn to the wide breadth of automobiles that have helped define our car culture. After being born from a nation’s version of youngest-child-style frustration (our revolution), the U.S. was initially kept afloat by—and then thrived because of—our penchant to innovate.
Sometimes we just need a feel-good story to get us through the week.
By now you’ve probably heard about the man in Detroit who has walked an incredible 21 miles every day for work. This wasn’t a once or twice fluke—James Robertson made the trek for 10 years. Assuming a 5-day work week, that’s 54,600 miles traversed on foot through some of Detroit’s toughest areas.
He walks because he could never afford to replace or repair the car that broke down a decade ago. Even still, Robertson arrives at his 2 pm shift on time, every day, and goes home at 10 pm.
For 10 years.
Naturally, when the Internet got hold of this story, things went berserk. Within days a fund was set up, and over $300,000 was raised for Mr. Robertson to buy a new car.
Late last week he received his gift:
Jeremy Clarkson, on his Facebook page yesterday, posed the question above. Can a car be art? Most of the nearly 2,000 comments simply said, “Yes,” but the question struck me and reminded me of at least two examples of cars also serving as art.
A car certainly requires art as it evolves from an idea in a designer’s mind to a clay form to a concept. Typically, once production begins, any art that was involved in creating the idea of the car gets lost in the practicalities of building it.
That’s not always true, of course, and I do believe a few examples of cars could be classified not only as automobiles, but as fine examples of pristine art.
I’ve never been in a car that accelerated on its own. Well, this one time, I was in a Dodge Viper that leaped to 100 miles per hour faster than I could buckle my seat belt, but I was a passenger. The driver giggled in glee as I tried to hide my panic.
Yes, that was an episode of unintended acceleration from my point of view, but not one that would cause any worry to our friends at Dodge.
I’ve also driven plenty of Toyota, Lexus and Audi vehicles without any car ever going any faster than I wanted it to go. I attribute my driving success to the fact that I know which pedal is for “go” and which is for “stop,” something that people who suffer from “pedal misapplication” fail to understand.
A new rash of unintended acceleration cases, though, should cause some pause for people in the used sedan market.
You can cling to hope all you want, but the fact remains that the new Ford Ranger won’t be sold in the United States. Ford’s reasoning is that its new compact pickup is too close in size to the F-150, and buyers should just opt for that truck.
That reasoning doesn’t make sense, though. Ford has 5 crossovers/SUVs and 5 different cars, so by its own logic shouldn’t have a Fusion, because it offers the Taurus. And it shouldn’t have the Escape, because it has the Explorer. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet for some reason, when it comes to trucks, that’s the thinking that has prevailed.