Make us your home page
Instagram
Autos | Best bets

The best of some limited features in cars

After several decades, the Ford Mustang remains the best bet if you’re looking for a muscle car.

Ford

After several decades, the Ford Mustang remains the best bet if you’re looking for a muscle car.

Most of us start the car-buying journey expecting a lot of choices. When it comes to some types of cars, though, you might be surprised by the lack of choices. Here's a look at the best of some rare breeds.

Bench seats

Your choices: With the Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis ending production, the Chevrolet Impala, Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS will be your only choices.

Best bet: The Buick Lucerne is a bargain. It's significantly less than the Cadillac DTS yet shares virtually all of its running gear and options.

Midsize wagons

Your choices: Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo offer midsize wagons. But if you want one that's affordable, there are two: the Kia Rondo and VW Passat.

Best bet: If you can afford to spend 40 percent more for the VW Passat, go for it. It offers great handling and good utility.

Midsize coupes

Your choices: Front-wheel drive midsize coupes used to be plentiful. Now there are two: the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. Both sacrifice some practicality for style.

Best bet: They're both good-looking and perform well, but the Honda Accord holds the edge in quality.

New under $10,000

Your choices: With the Accent hatchback, Hyundai has long been a part of this class. Nissan has joined the fray with the Versa, a car designed for the Chinese market. These cars are so stripped that even air-conditioning is an option.

Best bet: Go for the Nissan: Antilock brakes with brake assist are options that are unavailable on the Accent.

Petite vans

Your choices: If most minivans aren't mini enough, you can opt for one that's slightly smaller. Both the Mazda5 and Ford Transit Connect offer an impressive amount of space in a maneuverable package.

Best bet: For families, the Mazda5 is hard to beat. For small businesses, Ford is a good bet.

Compact pickups

Your choices: The Ford Ranger is the only true compact, but its design is ancient. Larger, newer designs include the Toyota Tacoma, the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, the Nissan Frontier and the mechanically identical Suzuki Equator.

Best bet: Either the Nissan or Toyota offer refinement and utility, but a base model, full-size pickup may be a better buy.

Muscle cars

Your choices: Wait. Is it 1970? You can still buy a Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang. They are quite American, look great and offer gobs of power, even in base trim.

Best bet: The original is still the greatest. The 2011 Ford Mustang is the proper size, boasts high-tech options and comes as a convertible.

Larry Printz is automotive editor at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.

The best of some limited features in cars 09/01/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Virginian-Pilot.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.