When Heart Rules Head: Five Romantic Rides for Valentine’s Day

Whether you regard Valentine’s day as the perfect opportunity to shower you loved one with presents, or a commercial juggernaut whose only purpose is to keep florists afloat through the winter, there’s no harm in indulging in a little internet-based distraction to mark the occasion.

With that in mind we’ve been diligently scouring the CarGurus classifieds to find five cars across a range of categories that will demonstrate your love for all things automotive knows no bounds. Each is a vehicle you would buy more with your heart than your head, throwing boring considerations such as future residual values, practicality, running costs and reliability to one side and instead indulging only in what makes you happy. We hope you love them as much as we do.

The Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz CL-Coupe
Price from: £2500
Years: 1999-2006

If you have an appreciation of depreciation then a Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe is a hugely enticing piece of machinery. This is a car that, when new, would have retailed for at least £60,000 and often closer to £100,000, yet on the used market today you can find for less than half the price of a new Hyundai i10.

When you put it like that it’s a miracle you don’t see 20-year-old CLs everywhere you look. It’s not as though all of the areas in which this car excels have become any less desirable either, be it the refined image, ultra smooth ride, powerful engines, or the fact there’s plenty of room for four to travel in great luxury.

Admittedly, there’s the fuel economy to worry about, not to mention the tax bills, or the prospect of a four-figure repair if something major goes wrong. But when all’s running smoothly (and with the CL Coupe designed to eat big distances for breakfast it usually will) there’s little to beat this big and beautiful Mercedes.
See Mercedes-Benz CL Coupes for sale on CarGurus

The 4×4: Suzuki Jimny
Price from: £1800
Years: 1997-present

The little Suzuki Jimny is one of the unsung heroes of the automotive world. Yes, it’s hideously cramped, noisy, uncomfortable and slow, but none of that matters because the Jimny remains completely fit for purpose.

That purpose, of course, is going where others simply can’t, because despite being shorter than a Ford Fiesta the Jimny has the same kind of ladder-frame chassis and low-range gearbox as some of the world’s toughest off-roaders. Combine this with excellent ground clearance, permanent four-wheel drive, a small footprint and low kerb weight and the Jimny is the veritable mountain goat when it comes to venturing off-piste. It is also mechanically simple and built to last, which have helped secure it a particularly loyal following.
See Suzuki Jimnys for sale on CarGurus

The Saloon: Alfa-Romeo 166
Price from: £1500
Year: 1999-2007

It was a close call between this gorgeous Alfa-Romeo and the quirky Citroen C6, but there’s something about the 166 that makes the heart flutter that bit more. Built between 1999 and 2007, this car was Alfa’s answer to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and played heavily on the Italian firm’s tradition for sleek design and a sporty driving experience.

To that end it handles really rather well for such a big car, while still being capable of cosseting its occupants over long distances. When it comes to engines there’s a case to be made for the 2.0-litre Twin Spark being the one to go for, but if you can find a 3.0-litre V6 with the manual gearbox and can live with the higher running costs it’s still worth a look.

Either way you’ll also need to check the underside of the car for rust, because it’s a known 166 weak point, and be prepared to spend some money on maintenance. In return you’ll have a real head-turner of a car, not to mention one that has definitely reached the bottom of its depreciation curve.
See Alfa Romeo 166s for sale on CarGurus

The Coupe: Peugeot RCZ
Price from: £6000
Years: 2010-2015

If you’re in the market for a small coupe with neat styling and enough performance to impress chances are it’ll be an Audi TT at the top of your list. Or a Porsche Cayman. Or a Nissan 370Z. However, you need only admire the distinctive ‘double-bubble’ roof of Peugeot’s RCZ to know just how much care and attention was devoted to this underrated machine, which has now been discontinued by the French manufacturer after originally going on sale in 2010.

Things become particularly appealing if you can track down an RCZ-R model, which was upgraded by Peugeot’s motorsport department to have more power and a limited-slip differential, turning it into a fairly serious bit of kit.

However, even more basic RCZs are enjoyable to drive, with pretty strong performance and tidy handling. On the downside the gearbox is a bit floppy, visibility is less than perfect, the interior features more buttons than a scientific calculator and depreciation is still a factor. However, at the kind of prices RCZs are going for all of these seem like entirely reasonable compromises for what is still a lovely piece of design.
See Peugeot RCZ Rs for sale on CarGurus

The Supercar: Maserati Granturismo
Price from: £20,000
Years: 2007-present

Well, what do we have here? A slice of pure Italian exotica for the price of a family hatchback sounds too good to be true, but in the Maserati Granturismo dreams really can come true.

What a machine this is, not only gorgeous to look at but powered by a 4.2-litre V8 with 405bhp that sounds absolutely glorious when revved. True, it’s not as uncomfortably fast as today’s supercars, but the 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds is still entirely respectable, while later S models (from £31,000) can cover the same sprint in 4.9 seconds thanks to a power hike to 440bhp.

By engineering the Granturismo to have a perfect 50/50 front/rear weight distribution Maserati also ensured it handled beautifully. That said, it’s still worth checking the suspension is correctly aligned, because otherwise not only will you not be able to enjoy one of the car’s best features, but you’ll also chew threw tyres at an alarming rate. You’ll also need to brace yourself for the car’s love of petrol (think 20mpg max), but as those eight cylinders gurgle away it’d take a cold soul not to concede it is money well spent.

See Maserati Granturismos for sale on CarGurus

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