Clarkson Fired: BBC Loses, Not Top Gear

It’s official, Jeremy Clarkson has been fired from BBC after an altercation with a producer. James May and Richard Hammond have already made it clear that they won’t continue making episodes without Clarkson so at the moment, the future of Top Gear looks grim. But BBC loses more than Jeremy Clarkson as Top Gear rakes in 50 million British pounds, the equivalent of $74 mil in our currency. There’s no way that the BBC will make that off their nature shows, Orphan Black, and the Three Musketeers, so it’s a bad business decision for them.

We can sit here and argue for hours about whether this was the right move, but by firing Jeremy Clarkson, BBC has essentially given him, May, and Hammond all the power to creating their own show or joining another network under a different name. There’s already been rumors circulating on the Internet that Sky News and ITV have interest in adding the trio to their TV lineup. Why not? $74 mil in extra revenue in a year is certainly worth it. There’s also rumors that Top Gear will be coming to America, which in terms of business and money, is a great move.

If there is one thing American companies and business owners are good at it’s making money. With Top Gear being on American networks, there would be more distribution, bigger profits, more episodes per year, and a bigger viewing audience. Netflix has also been rumored to be working on a deal with Jeremy Clarkson. So a company that’s dominated the movie rental industry, killing off Blockbuster, would be moving into a new market that will definitely bring revenue. This isn’t the end of Top Gear, this is just the beginning.

People seem skeptical due to the possibility of a non-compete in Jeremy Clarkson’s contract, but since he’s been fired, that contact could be voided, and May and Hammond are sure to follow suit. We’re either going to see this trio on another British TV network, or Top Gear is coming to America. There is no doubt that there are TV executives in the United States foaming at the mouths due to the potential of $74 mil in extra revenue.

Just as car companies are entering new markets and following the money trail, TV networks are going to do the same by trying to acquire these three for another show. The United States has always had businesses that capitalized off opportunities other companies gave them, and the BBC will be, without a doubt, the next corporation making a huge mistake.

This is bad business for the BBC. Think of how many other outspoken and controversial figureheads are still on TV. They bring in revenue and a strong viewing audience. Top Gear isn’t dead, and in fact, we may get a better show without the BBC overseeing operations and hindering these three from making the best TV show on the planet.

It’s your loss BBC. Not Top Gear’s, the fan’s, or Jeremy Clarkson’s. Just remember when viewership rankings tank, and lower yearly revenue starts giving you headaches, that you made the biggest mistake ever.

You Have $15,000, Do You Buy Or Lease A Car?

If you have $15,000 in cash, do you buy or lease a car? Actually, I’m going to make it more interesting. If you have $10,000 in cash would you buy or lease a car?

Having scanned through forums and Reddit, there are many young, and even older consumers, who ask the same question, usually with the same amount of money in hand asking for car buying advice. Now, if your commute to work and weekend trips make your annual mileage higher than 12,000 a year, then buying is the better option. But what about those who are driving around 8,000 – 10,000 miles a year. Would you still be so hasty to buy instead of lease?

Most people feel that leasing costs you more in the long run. But does it really? True, your car payments could be higher per month, but because it’s a new car, you won’t have to factor in major maintenance costs. At $10,000 – $15,000, you’re not going to end up with what you want. Certified pre-owned, you’re looking at the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, or Toyota Corolla to name a few. Used can be a case of trick or treat. There’s always diamonds in the rough, but more often than not, you’ll end up with someone else’s problem. Mechanical failure is likely, factoring into the overall cost of the car, while it’s aging, and every year the resale value is slowly tanking. You either wind up with a money pit, or a decent car that will last you a few years before maintenance issues could arise.

Now let’s look to leasing. You have $10,000 – $15,000 in hand and you’re visiting local dealership websites comparing lease offers and deciding which one works best for you. You stumble upon a great deal. Your local Ford dealership down the street has a lease offer for a new Ford Escape SE; $4,173 due at signing, $159 a month for 24 months. If my math is correct, for those 2 years it will cost you a grand total of $7,989, not including oil changes and annual maintenance. You’re saving $2,000 in the long run, which will be two grand more saved up for your next lease. If you buy a $10,000 car, you’re looking at a world of unknowns.

So the choice. A new Ford Escape SE or an 8 year old car with 50,000+ miles on it. $8,000 overall in 24 months, or $10,000, plus maintenance that will inevitably happen sometime during your ownership of the car.

Another example; this time you have $15,000. Now I’m sure you can find some sweetheart deal for a 6+ year old Infiniti G35 or G37 or an older BMW 3 Series, but again let’s factor in unforeseen maintenance. But you decide, “I’ll lease instead because I want to drive a new car”. Here are the potential options you have. Let me just say this is all predicated on what the dealerships in your area are offering. Here’s a few from my neck of the woods.

Audi A3: $2,694 downpayment, $299 a month for 36 months = $13,458

BMW X1: $4,000 downpayment, $239 a month for 36 months = $12,604

BMW 320i X-Drive: 4,000 downpayment, $239 a month for 36 months = $12,604 (Same offer as the X1)

Infiniti Q40: $1,499 downpayment, $229 a month for 39 months = $10,430

Lexus IS 250: $1,599 downpayment, 349 a month for 36 months = $14,163

These are just some of the deals that are out there. They all cost under $15,000 within the three year window you have the car. Most come with leather seats, heated seats, bluetooth, navigation, and electric sunroof. So think about it for a minute. You can have a luxury car for the same price, or less than if you bought a certified pre-owned Honda Civic. There are even better offers out there if you don’t want to spend $15,000.

After seeing this, would you still buy or would you lease?

#SaveTheManuals: A Valiant Effort All For Not

The age of the manual transmission is coming to a close. With automatics dominating the auto market, auto-shift and paddle shifters replacing the traditional manual, hard core car enthusiasts will have to either buy an older car or hope an auto manufacturer specifically targets to a dwindling market. As of right now, manuals make up about 6-10% market share, leaving the other 90-94% to being automatics or non traditional manuals that allow the driver to switch from manual to automatic when he/she so chooses. Last month, Acura announced that the only car in their lineup that will have a manual transition will be the ILX, which hasn’t generated great sales for the Honda-owned car brand.

When Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren have paddle shifters on their models, you know we’re entering into a new era of cars. People have given many reasons as to why this phenomenon is happening. Some say it’s because the infotainment systems in cars require too much attention from the driver, so manually shifting become a second thought. Others say it’s because automatics have become just as fuel efficient as manuals, and due to the computer systems in cars now, the car can shift just as good, if not better than a human. But I personally believe that automatics are more convenient. Isn’t that where our culture is heading? Convenience?

A 16 year old who is learning how to drive, or just got his/her license can just get behind the wheel, put the key in the ignition, and drive off to their destination. There is no energy required, no secondary action needed while driving, and with the cars that are being produced today, a person driving an automatic can fully enjoy their vehicle just the same as owners of manuals.

Let’s also remember that auto manufacturers are companies. They’re following the money, and that trail does not lead to a large market for manuals. Six to ten percent isn’t a huge chunk of the market. In the last 35 years, we’ve seen a 25% drop in demand for the traditional manual, which means less money is going to that market. For these companies to survive they need to follow the money. This is the same reason that every car brand is entering the crossover market. Porsche manufacturing two SUV’s and a four door, and Ford bringing the Focus RS to America to compete with the likes of the Subaru STI and the Volkswagen GTI, is another example of car brands getting into a market that is making money.

We’re seeing a massive change and shift in the automotive world. Because of these changes, transmissions, infotainment systems, and other components have been updated to appeal to a broader market. Unless consumers start buying manuals, the days of the traditional stick shift will be over. It’s been a valiant effort, but it might be all for not.

Why Self-Driving Cars Will Never Catch On In The US

The autonomous car has been at the center of many discussions over the past year or so when it comes to technology and the future of the automotive world. While we continue to look at self-driving cars from the driver’s and owner’s perspective, we’re missing out on a more crucial aspect of the industry itself, the economy and it’s profits that come along with vehicles. There’s the possibility that millions if not billions of dollars are at stake with the arrival of autonomous cars, and this could have a devastating effect on the entire industry, from car companies to the after market part suppliers.

When we discuss self-driving cars, we’re not talking about hybrids or electric cars that were once laughed at by the general public. Yes, hybrids and cars like Tesla have changed, and continue to change the industry, but they’re not taking money away from key components in the auto market. Tesla owners still get their cars washed, car enthusiasts who may own hybrids like the BMW i8 may look into after market parts such as rims and suspension, but what would autonomous car owner’s do?

The way I see it, self-driving cars are like owning a robotic dog. Would you still go to Petco to buy chew toys for your “dog” if it were mechanical? The love you have for an animal cannot be compared to whatever connection you could try formulating with a robot full of wires. The same goes for a car. If the car does all the work, sets the speed limit, and does something on command, will you still have that same connection with that car as the one that’s currently sitting in your driveway? The answer is most certainly no.

You’ll probably be less likely to take your car to your trusted mechanic to tune the engine, lower the suspension, install new rims and exhaust, and add on any other customized parts that didn’t come with car when it left the factory. You’re also not going to take the time to wash your car, which means no more going to Auto Zone to buy wax, polish, or scratch removers because the connection that you have with the car you drive won’t be there when the car cares and drives for itself. This will all lead to lost money for businesses and corporations, and if there is one piece of knowledge I’ve learned in life, it’s that if the corporations stop receiving money from consumers, something needs to change ASAP.

Your car is a part of your life, whether you’re willing to admit it or not. The thoughts that run through your head while you pull up to your girlfriend’s house on your first date, the first time you ever got behind the wheel, or driving home full of excitement because you go that job you wanted are all moments that you’ll remember, and will most definitely remember the car you were driving at that time. Those are the moments that you’ll never forget that also make driving special. The car is not a living breathing thing, but it’s always there to get you from one place to another, and by being behind the wheel of that car everyday, you do become attached to it to a certain degree.

The automotive world, just as the pet industry, can sell off emotion. Your dad, who always talks about his muscle car, the memories, and the regret of getting rid of it, is why he either buys a new car to replace it, or finds the vin number, tracks it down, and buys that car back. That’s why cars are special, it’s in our DNA. To strip that away is going to have dire consequences on the auto market because consumers won’t care anymore, that love for your sports car won’t be there and the enjoyment of driving will be lost.

For the people who say, “I’d rather have my car drive for me so I can read Facebook statuses or text my friends”, shouldn’t be driving to begin with. If you would rather be reading why Suzy broke up with Matt, send a trivial text to some friend, or find out who won American Idol, you probably don’t deserve the car you’re driving right now.

There’s money at stake with this technology, money that car companies and even corporations haven’t taken into consideration yet. If consumer’s stop taking care of or modifying their cars because they’re autonomous, many businesses will cease to exist and the auto industry as we know it could self-implode. We’ll have to see how this all plays out in the next 10 years, but there is a lot at stake and risks that many people seem to be overlooking.

The Subcompact Market Isn’t As Cheap As You Think

Who would have ever thought that we’d see a day when a Toyota Yaris and Mitsubishi Mirage cost $16,000 – $17,000? That’s just a base price. The top trim Yaris could cost you as much as $19,000, and all you’re getting for it is 106 hp, 32 combined mpg, a touch screen and bluetooth. There isn’t much cargo room, very little shoulder and leg room, and at the end of the day, you’d be better off buying a Honda Fit. When does the cost for sub compacts become unreasonable, especially since we’re talking about a market that attracts consumers who want overall practicality?

The problem with the price is what the subcompact car is offering. Yes, to add features like a touch screen and bluetooth is great, but what is the overall goal with this market? To be practical in every sense of the word. For starters, the price isn’t practical. Not when it comes to the other options on the market. In a matter of 8 years, the Yaris’ price has spiked $3,000, and while MSRP says the base price is around $16,000 for the 2015 model, Toyota dealers are selling some of them close to $19,000+.

Without even looking to other brands, the Yaris’ top trim price is invading the Toyota Corolla’s territory. One could argue that the Honda Fit does the same to the Civic, but at least the Fit has cargo room and offers more value to the consumer. With President’s Day sales extended into March due to the snowstorms we’ve gotten in the Northeast, there are better options consumers could go with, and while fuel economy might be lacking, some of the cars are not too far off from the Yaris’ 32 combined mpg.

Some of the other options in the $17,000 – $19,000 price range are –

Toyota Corolla L/LE/S

Honda Civic LX

Honda Fit LX/EX

Ford Focus SE

Ford Fiesta SE

Those five vehicles are better options in terms of cargo space, shoulder and leg room, and fuel economy isn’t too bad. The list could be extended even further, but I think you get the picture as to what you could get at this price if you decided to buy new.

Due to sales events going on currently, the Hyundai Elantra SE/Sport and the Elantra GT are within the $18,000 to $19,500 range. The Subaru Impreza sedan and hatchback are also available within this price range, along with the Volkswagen Jetta S /w Technology Package, and even the Chrysler 200 limited which is one of the biggest surprises so far to have such a sale.

After seeing the prices, the subcompact market doesn’t seem so reasonable or practical anymore. If owning a small car is a must and you’re not concerned about cargo space, then by all means go with the Yaris or Mirage. But always remember that there are some great offers out there, and better cars to choose from than going the subcompact route.

If you prefer a small hatchback, the Fiesta, Fit, VW Golf, Elantra GT, and Kia Rio are other options on the table. In the sedan market, some dealers even have Ford Fusion’s, Toyota Camry’s, and Hyundai Sonata’s on sale for $3,000 to $4,000 below MSRP. Right now is the time to buy and take advantage of some of the deals. On a $16,000 – $19,500 budget, you could find a quality car that not only looks better, but is better built and worth the price.

Acura Is Going Automatic, Leaving One Model Left With Manual In 2016

The consumer markets have spoken and one auto manufacturer has listened. Acura will soon be offering only automatics in their lineup, and in 2016 only the ILX will have a manual transmission. A new era in the automotive market is upon us, and while I can hear the groans from the car enthusiasts who swear by the manual transmission, paddle shifters is that kid on the block who’s taken over and everyone now follows.

The original story posted on Car and Driver goes through Acura’s transition thoroughly. The company that brought us the Integra is realizing that consumers don’t want the manual transmission, and there are a few theories as to why this is happening. For one, automatics are getting great gas mileage, a stronghold and persuasive buying point manuals once had.

Some people are blaming the non-car enthusiasts for this change, but let’s think about the sports cars and exotics that now offer paddle shifters. Ford Mustangs offer automatics, and for a while now, Ferrari has put paddle shifters in their cars. Most notably, the LaFerrari doesn’t even come with a traditional manual. Every car in-between Ford and Ferrari that attracted hardcore car enthusiasts and were for people who could drive manuals are now available in automatics or auto shift. This is the direction car manufacturers have gone, and with manuals only making up 6% of the market, demand is dwindling for a clutch.

With touch screens, navigation systems, iPhones, and other devices that distract drivers, the last thing most consumers want is to worry about shifting. Yes, the purists out there will say that manual is the only way to thoroughly enjoy a car, but an overwhelming majority of drivers, including car enthusiasts, are finding auto shift and automatics to be just as much fun. Let’s also remember the demographics here as well. With most people moving back into the city, having to upshift and downshift at every intersection and being in traffic on the highways is a chore most people don’t want to add when commuting.

Is there a place for manuals? Absolutely. For Acura however, most of their car buyers use their Acura’s as daily drivers, and with the Honda-owned company not offering much in the sports car market, most of the manual transmission lovers will have to look to older models to get their fill. Otherwise they’ll have to change brands, but even Lexus and Infiniti are beginning to change along with consumer demand.

At the end of the day, the goal for any company that sells products is to increase sales. As mentioned earlier, manuals only make up 6% of the market, which means 94% of consumers want an automatic or paddle shifters. Cars with manual transmissions really are a dying breed, and maybe some automakers will still offer traditional manuals on models they know have a cult following of loyal consumers.

The entire auto industry is in the midst of a revolution, and with electric cars gaining traction, who knows what other components will be different in cars in 5-10 years.

Acura is seeing the change and they’re going to listen to consumers. Other car manufacturers will follow suit, and are already moving away from the manual transmission but still offering it on some of their models. It’s truly amazing what consumer buying power can do, and with the advances we’re seeing in the auto industry, this change to going automatic and auto shift was bound to happen.

Debunking the “Leasing is a Bad Option” Opinion

Go on any online forum, Facebook page or group, Twitter, or Reddit and you’ll find an overwhelming majority of commenters and members of groups discouraging many people from leasing when they ask the question. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some people prefer buying outright, some would rather buy certified pre-owned or used, and a growing percentage of consumers are looking at leasing rather than buying. Every consumer has their motivation as to how, what, and why they buy the cars they do, but why is leasing always ripped when someone asks the question?

One of drawbacks of leasing is the annual mileage limit that typically ranges between 10,000 – 12,000 miles, depending on the car brand. You’re also looking at a higher down payment on a lease. But there are other factors (I’ll get to that in a moment) where the $2,000 – $3,000 down payment doesn’t look so bad in the long run. You will also not have the option to trade in the car after your lease is up, but you can buy the car or look at leasing again. Lastly, any extra miles that go above the annual limit, or scratches and dents, will cost you at the end of the lease, so you must be more careful than if you bought new or used.

Now that we’ve got the negatives out of the way, let’s take a look at why leasing is actually better.

As a used car buyer, I’ve experienced dealing with maintenance due to owning an aging car. I have monthly car payments, and I had to put a $2,000 down payment on the car. Right there we’re looking at close to $4,000+ (not including the monthly payments) with the down payment and maintenance. I’m paying $200+ a month on car payments, and to put that into perspective, the payments are more than if I leased a new Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback, Toyota RAV4, or a Honda CR-V.

The payments are a concern for people inquiring about the costs of leasing, and the advice givers always go back to the payments as a strongpoint to oppose the idea of leasing. However, if you’re in the position where you can’t buy a used car outright and put a down payment on it, you’re still dealing with monthly payments. Unlike with leasing, you could be locked in for 48 – 60 months depending on how much you want to pay per month, as opposed to being committed for 24 – 36 months with a lease. So right there you’re putting in an extra year or two on an older car that could be subject to mechanical failure due to high mileage or age.

Some dealerships are now offering free maintenance with a lease. That’s huge, especially if you’re thinking longterm. There are dealerships out there that also offer competitive prices when it comes to oil changes and wheel alignment. Also with a lease, you’re less likely to have to deal with major maintenance bills with the car being so new. There are no previous owners, so the entire time you have the car you know it’s history from your first drive to the last time you’ll ever see the car.

The last positive is that dealership’s leasing offers are always changing, especially during holidays. Herb Chambers BMW of Sudbury had an offer for the BMW 328ix that you couldn’t refuse. It was $275 a month with a $3,000+ down payment (usually you’d be paying close to $300+ a month). I know the down payment would scare anyone away, but if you have the money, you can’t tell me you’d rather buy a $3,000 early 2000’s Honda Civic with 180,000 miles that’s been owned by 3 different people, than a new 3 series. Now again, it’s all about where you are financially, but whether you’re a parent or college graduate, you would prefer something new or newer than having to deal with the headaches and hassles of owning an older car.

It doesn’t have to be a BMW, but a new Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and RAV4, or Subaru would be a better option than buying used and dealing with the unknowns.

Yes, leasing has it’s downsides, but so does buying used. It really depends on what you’re specifically looking for. As someone who owns a nine year old car, driving a new car with a lower monthly payment sounds great. Also, the peace of mind of owning a new car with no mechanical issues or aging equipment would make me sleep more soundly at night.

Winter In New England: Never Buy A Front Wheel Drive Car

Have you had enough of winter yet? We sure have. Between shoveling out the driveway, getting stuck on unplowed roads, fishtailing down city streets, and not feeling invincible like the car ads show, makes us extremely tired of snow this year. But guess what? We still have another month or so of winter left, and with a front wheel drive car, patience has run out. Unless you’re a young kid who likes snow drifting in parking lots, RWD will get you nowhere in this weather, and at times FWD is no better. That leaves us with one choice. AWD crossovers, SUV’s, and sedans. Are we complaining? No.

The biggest issue with front wheel drive is that you have no traction in the back. You may make it around the corner, but the back end always gets loose, even with stability and traction control on. Older vehicles are more prone to these problems due to loss of power, and this is very noticeable when going uphill. The prime remedy is to always winterize your car, put on snow tires, and go the whole 9 yards, but weather chooses no favorites and it will stop you dead in your tracks.

When it comes to RWD, you might as well attach a RV trailer on the back of the car because it will expend all your energy and concentration to make it home in a timely manner. Because all the power comes from the back, you have to stabilize the weight ratio as the engine is in the front which causes a nightmare if you get stuck in a rut. Personally, we never understood why RWD was ever considered to be a great idea for driving in the northern reaches of the country, but that decision is up to the buyer.

After surviving six feet of snow in less than three weeks, we’ve decided that AWD and four wheel drive is the only answer to making it through unplowed surfaces. Go on Youtube and Instagram and you’ll find Subarus going through snow as if it was cotton candy, and a BMW dealership in Massachusetts showed the power of BMW’s AWD system as it made it out of a snowbank surrounding the car.

If you still want a RWD or front wheel drive vehicle after winter of 2015, all power to you. We’re done with fishtailing and watching drivers with AWD facing no adversity while we’re trying to correct the wheel because the rear tires feel like they’re on banana peels.

Some people would say all the fun cars are RWD, but we beg to differ. You can’t tell us that cutting through snow in a Subaru and feeling unstoppable for a season is better than snow drifting. Having to put a shovel in the trunk and constantly debating whether you can make it through that snow pile or up that unplowed street has changed our perceptions of winter driving. Yes, for the first storm it seems fun, but when you’re actually trying to get from point A to point B in one piece, AWD seems like the best alternative.

This winter will be over in a few months, at least that’s what we’re hoping. By then maybe FWD and RWD cars will seem more appealing, but for the time being, AWD systems, whether that be Quattro or X-drive, Subarus or Volvos, SUV’s or crossovers, are the only vehicles we want to be behind the wheel of until late April.

Making A Case For The Kia Forte Hatchback

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of getting a good long look at the redesigned Kia Forte5 SX. Needless to say, it left a lasting impression. The hatchback market is extremely competitive with the Volkswagen Golf and GTI leading the way, Ford bringing their Focus RS over to the United States, the Fiesta’s dominance in the compact hatchback market, the fresh design of the Mazda3 which is turning heads, and Hyundai’s Elantra GT. Where does Kia’s Forte fit in, and can it hold it’s own against the competitors?

The Forte hatchback comes with two trims: The EX and SX. For performance, you would most definitely want to go with the SX, which is turbocharged, packing 201 HP. Unfortunately to get all the bells and whistles, which includes front and rear heated seats, you’re looking at spending $28,000, but it’s worth it. A sporty interior that will grasp the attentions of young millennials and will certainly get them noticed. A spacious interior that has more cargo volume than the Golf and GTI will make it easy for college students to move in and out of dorms, while also making room for passengers when it’s a late night on the town.

The EX on the other hand is more practical, getting much better gas mileage (25 MPG in the city, 33 MPG on the highway), but not lacking in power. With a 2.0L engine, you’ll still get 173 hp, 0-60 in 7.5 seconds (only two tenths of a second slower than the GTI). With a base price of $19,960, it’s much more reasonable, but if you’re looking for leather interior and other comforts, the price could hover around $25,000.

The Kia Forte is definitely a car worth looking at getting if you don’t want a Golf or GTI. While you’re not getting the fastest hatchback with the SX, you’re still getting a turbocharged engine, cargo space, a sporty interior, and a car that will turn heads. It’s the kind of car you want to get if you want to be different and not buy a car your friend owns.

If you’re a fan of Top Gear UK, you’ve probably already seen the Forte make it through a grueling challenge of rugby. The car is no doubt durable, and even for Top Gear, was an eye opener. The Forte is by far one of the most impressive cars I’ve seen in the hatchback market. I wasn’t expecting to see premium features such as backup assist, heated seats, navigation system, leather seats, and sunroof from a car that’s been flying under the radar for so long.

As someone who goes against the trend and leans more towards something different, the Kia Forte5 would certainly be in the top 5 cars under $25,000 I’d choose as a daily driver.

3 Cars That Surprise, But Don’t Attract An Audience

Every young person’s dream is to own a car that gets looks, notoriety, and a crowd that will fawn over the driver and car. But to get that, you’ll most likely have to buy a $50,000 car that has a powerful engine and nice luxurious interior. However, there can be negatives to all this. Not only is there the possibility your car could get stolen, but there might be a group of envious people who seek to harm your car because they can’t own something that gets the attention of everyone. Maybe you are the type that wants luxury and performance, but without the gathering crowd and just enjoy driving a car that you know is just as good as the Audi or BMW parked in the spot next to you.

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are three cars that will surely surprise you, but are probably not the first options on your list of luxury and performance vehicles.

1) Volvo S60/V60 T5

volvo-s60-v60-polestar-side-v2-1500x1000

Any Volvo could be considered non conspicuous, but with a turbocharged five cylinder engine that supplies 250 hp on the AWD model, the S60/V60 tops the competition in it’s category. Other than a selected few cars, not many can boast that they have a more powerful engine than an Audi A4 or the lower trims of the Mercedes Benz C300. The Volvo seats make this car extremely comfortable, adding to the luxury aspect of the car. There is no lag in acceleration when you press the gas, and there is nothing more pleasing than hearing that turbocharged engine roar.

2) Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited

2015-Subaru-Legacy-011

Besides the WRX/STi, Subaru’s have the same image as Volvo. They’re seen as safe vehicles for the middle-aged adult, can get through snow thanks to it’s AWD system, and are not considered as a luxury vehicle. That’s where the Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited comes into play. The Legacy has a 256 hp H-6 engine that has just a bit more power than the S60. This car comes fully equipped with leather seats and a navigation system. The only knock on the Subaru would be it’s subpar fuel economy getting 20-29 miles per gallon. However, this car comes with the performance and luxury qualities that make this car fly under the radar.

3) Toyota Avalon

2014-toyota-avalon-xle-photo-537109-s-1280x782

Toyota wasn’t joking when they said this was their best creation ever. The Avalon comes with a V-6 engine that supplies 268 hp, and the best part is, this is standard. When it comes to luxury from Toyota, we tend to look at Lexus, but the Avalon has what it takes to hold it’s own against the competition. This car not only looks executive, but it has an engine that would certainly surprise someone if they had no prior knowledge of the car beforehand.

There are plenty of options out there if you don’t want to buy an Audi, Mercedes Benz, BMW, or Lexus, or want all the hype and drama that comes with the people who are drawn in by what you have. The S60/V60 T5, Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited, and the Toyota Avalon can fulfill all your wants and must haves when looking at a car to buy. These three cars constantly fly under the radar, but you can have fun with them at the same time.