My husband drives a Ford Mustang, and I drive a Fiat 500, and we both love our cars, but we only need one. He’s now working from home and will stay working from home after COVID, so he’ll drive his car only on weekends. I need my car all week. He doesn’t want to drive my Fiat because it’s too small – he’s 6-foot-5, and I’m 5-foot4. If we sell them both, can you recommend one car to replace them that will make us both happy? – Alisha
Gentile: Alisha, I don’t blame your husband for not wanting to drive your Fiat. He definitely is too big for its smaller dimensions. I know it must be difficult to get rid of two cars, which you clearly both like, but in today’s reality, I think It’s a smart idea.
Richardson: I’m guessing that Alisha and her hubby are doing this to save some money, since the ideal solution is just to keep the Mustang as a Sunday driver. That’s an expensive luxury, though. Factor in insurance and maintenance, and those few kilometres on a Sunday get really costly.
Gentile: Exactly. And Alisha might not like driving the Mustang. It’s way bigger than her little Fiat. She’ll be driving the most, so they’re better off getting a vehicle she’s comfortable in, too.
Richardson: Actually, the seats on a Mustang have a long range of movement, so it would probably fit them both well. I just drove one and loved it. My wife, however, thought it was stupid. She hated that I kept leaving the exhaust sound on Track, which is pretty loud. She told me I was compensating for something.
Gentile: And she would know. But this is a done deal, Mark – both the Mustang and the Fiat are being sold.
Richardson: So their new car probably doesn’t have to be big, but it does have to accommodate both tall and not-so-tall drivers. And it should probably be peppy. Both the ‘Stang and the 500 are fun to drive, so how about a larger Fiat, like the 500L?
Gentile: I like the idea of a larger hatchback like the 500L; it’s spacious with plenty of head- and legroom for taller drivers and passengers. But I’m not a big fan of the ride and handling. It’s a bit choppy and rough over bumps and other degradations on the road. It’s definitely not as fun to drive as a Mustang.
Richardson: The advantage is that Alisha already has a relationship with her Fiat dealer, and the 500L keeps the style of the 500 she says she loves. But maybe she doesn’t like her dealer. What else gives a bit of Euro style with some size and agility?
Gentile: The Mini Countryman might fit the bill for both hubby and wife. It’s stylish, spacious and fun to drive – like a go-Kart! Her hubby would really love it.
Richardson: He probably would. I drove the Countryman a few years ago with my buddy Wade, and he’s a tall guy, so I’m sure Alisha’s hubby would fit. He can try it for size at any dealership, of course, and there’s a new edition for 2021, so he may get a good deal on this year’s models. But Mustang to Mini … those are very different images, and as a guy, that could be quite the jump for the husband to accept.
Gentile: I disagree. I see a lot of guys driving Minis. I think he’ll like its ride and handling - it’s definitely way more fun to drive than a Fiat. So what do you think would be a better “image” for her husband?
Richardson: I’m sure he’d enjoy the larger Mini too. It’s got plenty of rally and performance cred. But if he’s a Mustang guy, he might prefer the looks of a Toyota Camry XSE. Now that’s a surprisingly sporty-looking car that starts around $35,000 and would be practical enough for both of them.
Gentile: Camry? Really? Granted, it’s no ordinary-looking Camry, but it’s still a Toyota. I don’t think he’ll want to go from a Mustang to a Camry. That’ll do nothing for his image. I’m thinking maybe a Subaru WRX?
Richardson: Hmm - I’d forgotten about the WRX. It does get pushed to the side sometimes, but owners love them for their sportiness without being niche. And Subaru’s a bit of an underdog, which would probably satisfy any image concerns of selling out to the mainstream.
Gentile: It would. My pick is the WRX. They’ll both enjoy it!
Richardson: The WRX is right on the money at about $32,000 to start. It’s not so cute like the Mini nor so parental like the Camry. It’s kind of plain on the inside, though, and nowhere near as stylish as either the 500 or the Mustang. These guys might find its looks boring. They also don’t need its all-wheel drive.
Gentile: They don’t need it, but it’s a nice bonus to have in the wintertime. Alisha will appreciate it. And her hubby will enjoy the drive – more sporty than a Mini, Camry or Fiat, for that matter.
What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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