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2011 Ford Mustang GT .



I'm a guy in my mid-30s looking for a semi-functional new vehicle. Although I've always wanted a sports coupe, my current car - a 2002 Acura EL - has served me and my family well.

However, my wife drives the "family" car - it's functional and we don't have a need for two such vehicles. This allows me to pursue my dream to finally own that sports coupe I've always wanted.

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As a loyal Honda/Acura driver, I've looked at Japanese models first and foremost, although I'm trying to approach this with an open mind. I'm looking for a sports coupe that has a semblance of a back seat, and trunk space is a bonus. I'm looking to spend $35,000-$45,000.

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Unfortunately, Honda doesn't make the Prelude or the RSX any more, so I'm a little lost. I've been looking at the Lexus IS250 and Acura TSX.

The Buick LaCrosse intrigues me, but I'm not sure if I trust GM products. The Ford Mustang seems to be an option, but that may be a bit too much of a departure from what I'm used to. Any suggestions?

I'm not ruling out convertibles, either.



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Vaughan: Be careful with this one, Cato. This looks like a midlife crisis in the making.

Cato: Midlife crisis? Are you kidding me? Martin obviously is married to a sensible, reasonable woman who understands that after years of denial, he needs to drive something sporty.

Vaughan: He wants to drive something sporty and yet …

Cato: … he's looking at the LaCrosse, which is a pretty big boat of a sedan, but at the same time he's put the IS250 and Acura TSX on his list. Confusing to say the least.

Vaughan: He says he's looking for a sports coupe with a back seat and a semblance of a trunk. Then he rattles off three sedans.

Cato: And takes a shot at Honda and Acura, to boot. Now he has a point there. Somewhere along the line Honda apparently gave up on sporty cars altogether.

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I know, there is a Coupe Si version of the Civic, but it's pretty tame by sporty standards. What boggles the mind further is this new gasoline electric hybrid, the Honda CR-Z. Honda says it's the 21st century successor to the classic CRX Si. And I'm the 21st century successor to, oh, Tom Hanks or Jack Nicholson.

Vaughan: Try Boris Karloff.

Honda's claim isn't as preposterous as yours, but it is a stretch to suggest the CR-Z is a CRX Si for the "green" buyer.

But back to Martin. Here's what I think he should do: test drive the 2011 Mustang, which has been significantly upgraded. Then forget about the LaCrosse and instead test drive the new Buick Regal.

Cato: And then to really give him a cross-section of what's possible, let's send Martin for a test drive of the Audi A3 - the quattro version with the turbo motor and that slick S-Tronic paddle-shifting transmission. Being a two-door hatchback, it's almost a coupe, yet it has the cargo space and back seat he says he wants.

At about $40,000 plus fees and taxes, it's in Martin's ballpark. Very slick little ride. I know the A3 is starting to get a little dated, that a totally updated version is due in a year to 18 months, but I really think this German car will catch his fancy.

Vaughan: My bet is that he'll be most surprised by the Regal. This is the Opel Insignia in Europe, the 2009 European Car of the Year. The four-cylinder turbo model is just under $35,000, so it fits his budget.

Cato: The sleeper here is the Mustang. I want Martin to drive the coupe with the V-8, but I really want him to get some wheel time with the 2011 Mustang GT convertible, which at $42,899 before fees and taxes still fits the budget.

Ford, defending its pony car turf against the Chevrolet Camaro, has tucked in a new 412-horsepower V-8. If Martin is in a midlife mess, that new V-8 will sing to him. Look, Martin says he's after the sort of car he's always wanted. This Mustang ragtop might be it.

Vaughan: My vote is for the Regal, Cato. If a Buick can help with a mid-life crisis then GM's really made some progress.

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on CTV.

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2010 Audi A3 2.0T Premium quattro

2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo

2011 Ford Mustang GT convertible

Wheelbase (mm)




Length (mm)




Width (mm)




Height (mm)





2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-charged

2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-charged

5.0-litre, V-8

Output (hp/torque)

200 hp, 207 lb-ft

220 hp, 258 lb-ft

412 hp, 390 lb-ft

Drive system





Six-speed auto-shift manual

Six-speed automatic

Six-speed manual

Curb weight (kg)




Fuel economy

(litres/100 km)

9.6 city

7.5 highway

Not available

12.2 city

7.6 highway

Base price (MSRP)




Source: Car manufacturers

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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