When you hear the word ‘practical’ being used in relation to cars, what do you instantly think of? Perhaps a boring run-of-the-mill design wrapped up in a plain white exterior that no-one looks at as it drives down the street. Perhaps you don’t want to be noticed, but you also don’t have to buy a ‘Plain Jane’. Sure, a sports car may not be a practical choice, but take a look at what you can get for practicality, and make your next purchase a ‘cool’ choice.
Kia Soul 2008-2020
With its trendy, curved box shape, the Kia Soul is sexy and sassy, and catches your eye as it cruises down the avenue. It’s a practical car as well with more than 61 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear – making it very ‘bootylicious’. Ramp it up with the turbo option, and you’ve got a sweet cruising machine.
The one I found – I have actually found two on offer, with the similarity that they are both 2016 manual transmission models for $9,995. However the differences are that one has a low 44,051 miles and comes in ‘Alien’ Green, while the other comes in clear coat white with an even lower 34,278 miles. For the sake of 9,773 miles and the awesome color, I’d opt for the Alien Green – but it’s a personal choice.
Audi A4 Wagon 1994-2020
Available in either front-wheel drive or ‘Quattro’ all-wheel drive, Audi’s A4 wagon is a solidly built mean machine on wheels. Out of all the cars I experienced on the Autobahn in Germany, Audi was a personal favorite to drive, especially at high speed.
The one I found – Again, there are two I found in excellent condition, but for different reasons. The first is a 2003 second generation silver Quattro all-wheel drive with a powerful 3.0 liter V6 engine, black leather seats, sunroof, and a very low 53,359 miles on the clock – a great option for towing a trailer or caravan for only $8,500. The other is a more economical 2007 third generation Quattro all-wheel drive 2.0 liter turbo in bright cherry red with a light tan leather interior, 61,211 miles, and also with a sunroof for $9,300. It really all comes down to what you need from the car in regards to practicality.
Mini Countryman 2010-2020
Categorized as a ‘subcompact luxury crossover SUV’, the ‘Countryman’ has four doors plus the trunk, and an extended body over the traditional 2-door Mini Clubman. More space meant that Mini could carry passengers more comfortably, or fold down the rear seats to accommodate boxes and other small business goods with ease – all this without comprising on good looks.
The one I found – I came across a deep blue 2011 automatic transmission model in pristine condition with front and rear center consoles for holding drinks, unused spare tire, and just 76,000 miles traveled for $7,999. But hang on, I also happened to spot a 2011 bright red 6-speed manual with double racing stripes in black, 4-cylinder turbo engine, rear spoiler, and 91,249 miles for $8,250. If you were starting a business, you could incorporate the colors of this car into your logo and voila! – A match.
Hummer H2 2002-2009
In a world where one SUV looks a lot like another, the stylishly unique Hummer stands out from the crowd. A solidly built tank available in either a five-door pick-up truck or a five-door SUV, the V8 engine gives this beast enough grunt to take it off-road for leisure pursuits or in Doomsday Prepping. The H2 comes with lots of fantastic ‘standard’ features such as a BOSE premium sound system, and you also have the option of a smaller H3 5-cylinder version, but the larger engine allows for more pulling power, rugged terrains and engine boost.
The one I found – Most used H2 models out there under $20,000 come with higher mileage above 100,000 miles (although the engine should last longer than a 4-cylinder car). But, never one to back down from a challenge, I searched long and hard to find two models – one under $10,000 and the other for under $15,000. So for an absolute bargain, the first one is a 2005 gloss-black and chrome H2 with new tires, leather seats, and 83,552 miles onboard for $9,000. The second H2 is an immaculate 2004 model in egg-yolk yellow with tan interior, sunroof, and 80,803 miles for $13,995. With such similar mileage and age, it all comes down to budget and color preference.
BMW 5 Series 535i Gran Turismo Fastback 2009-2017
Not your typical BMW, the rear hatch has a unique look off the bat. Listed as a fastback/hatchback, it actually feels more like a crossover SUV in space and style. The cargo area has a total capacity of 15.5 cubic feet with the seats raised, or a massive 63.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat and the partition stowed. It also comes with an awesome 8-speed automatic transmission. Another unique feature is the tailgate. Totally flexible, it has a unique two-way opening mechanism which may be opened in a traditional sedan like fashion, or the entire hatch may open in a traditional SUV fashion for larger items. I haven’t seen too many of these hidden treasures on the road, so you’d definitely be noticed driving down the street in one of these.
The one I found – You won’t get much change out of $20k for a good example here, but if you have that in your pocket, let’s go shopping. I always like to assess a car by the mileage and condition, so when I spotted a 2014 x-Drive 6-cylinder Turbo in charcoal grey, I pounced to see what the guy selling it had to say. ‘Well maintained, always kept in the garage, every oil change and service attended to, clean Carfax report…etc, etc’. With a glowing description and 69,447 miles on the dial, this car represents great value at $19,138. As a private seller, I would imagine he would be open to offers, so you could potentially get even more off the asking price.
Honda Civic 2016-2020
I’ll be looking at the 5-door hatchback and the 4-door sedan models for practicality purposes. It’s a real eye-catcher and game changer for the model that lacked a lot of true design style for many years. It’s supersized compared to earlier models. In fact it’s bigger than an old school Accord from the 80’s or 90’s. A popular car that’s not only attracted buyers for its styling, but also for its practical benefits of passenger and trunk space.
The one I found – Well, searching for a late model Civic has turned out to be an ordeal of sorts. I scoured a few different websites where I found a number of models with low mileage (anywhere from 15k-60k), and even lower prices (around $10k-$12k). So I checked out some of these so-called ‘bargains’ further. Here’s what I found out – some of the dealers selling these low priced models actually state in the description that the car had a ‘Rebuilt Title’ or ‘Branded Title’ which means it’s been on the written-off register and fixed (or not depending on the advert). So this made sense, and by the way, there are a lot of Civics out there that have had previous damage. However, then I tried to get more data on the others that don’t have this title listed. I found out through looking at reviews people had left that the dealer is somewhat shady and can’t be trusted as they have misrepresented the car in question. So it’s important to be thorough in reading the sellers description, the online reviews, and asking lots of questions like ‘Does the car have a rebuilt, branded, or salvage title?’ So, having searched hard through all the damaged or previously damaged models, I managed to find a 2017 LX sedan in metallic grey and NO previous accident damage with an eye-watering 15,309 miles traveled, for a very fair $16,999. The dealer also had rave reviews and a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Dodge Ram 1500 Third Generation 2002-2009
Want a light pick-up truck with grunt? This generation included independent front suspension as well as rack & pinion steering for the first time, making this third gen Ram the highest selling model in its history. The crew cab version with rear tray makes it a versatile, practical pick-up which could be ‘pimped up’ for inner city cruising.
The one I found – I managed to find a 2002 crew cab truck in ‘Patriot Blue’ with tinted windows, light tan seats with no stains and plenty of legroom in great condition for an amazing $4,999 with only 80,194 miles on the dash.
I can go on with more, but the idea is to get you thinking about what else is out there. At the end of the day, if it’s practical and it’s cool to you, then that’s all that matters.