In the last week I have delved into the process of selling my car and looking for a new one. The current vehicle (a 2008 Mini Clubman) has 75,000 miles and is long out of warranty, though it has had no major issues in its lifetime. Since I have some equity in it, I figured it was an appropriate time to trade in and trade up.
Normally, and like many of my situation (not able to afford a new base luxury model, but desiring the cachet), I’d look into a year or two-old off-lease model at a discount. BMW 328, Mercedes C250, Audi A4…Volvo S60. All great, capable models with a badge. I’d get into that segment for a modest fortune.
*But* I would have a car that you see ten times in a day, between South Tampa, USF, and the gym parking garage. Nothing exciting, nothing really special, unless its one of the 10% that are optioned differently. I am partial to xenon headlamps, real leather, and stick-shifts…almost none of which are found commonly on those models.
I grew up flexing my contrarian attitude anyway, and especially of late, have been trying to be more honest about what I canÂ actually afford. That means, based on what I want to spend per month, on a down payment, and on gas, (and no hassle maintenance), less Bimmer…more Beetle.
Thusly, I’ve ratcheted down to a short list of replacement cars: another Mini, with a handful of upgrades, a VW Beetle (2.5 or TDI), VW GTI, or VW GLI. All fall in the $24-26k range, with wiggle room. All have varied options for upholstery, design, xenon headlamps, and all are available with a manual rower.
The Beetle is in the front-running, because: it’s brand new, stylish, more masculine than the previous iteration, and as Edmund’s put it, fun to own. Not as a la carte customizable as a Mini, but comes well-equipped at three different trims per engine option.
Coincidentally, Mini of Wesley Chapel gave me an upgraded loaner while my car has been in the shop getting prepped for sale. It is partially responsible for piquing my interest in another Mini, though my ownership experience over time has been positive too. My only hang-up is that this iteration itself is nearly six years old for 2013, soon to be replaced, so it’s hard to justify paying a premium for outgoing technology.
Nonetheless, the lounge leather, black-housed xenons, and harmon-kardon sound system sure do induce a pause. They also aren’t things you find on a typical base exec model from the luxury segment. I like to stand out from the crowd, and this car definitely achieves that.
I’ve enjoyed driving it for the past week. Crossing my fingers they will cut me a deal as a repeat customer.Â I’ll do a follow-up once the decision and process are complete!