“What car should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would Detroit editor Alisa Priddle drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.
I’m mad that automakers aren’t making as many sedans any more. My choices are limited, and that makes me angry.
Ideally, I want a small car that looks luscious, has a manual transmission, lets me take the top off, and is affordable. And I am stymied.
I love Lincoln’s styling these days, but Ford has all but gotten out of the sedan business. FCA has nothing for me short of a muscle car. GM is also cutting back on its sedan offerings, but I’m intrigued by Cadillac’s new CT4 and CT5, which come out this fall with softer lines and the long hood of a rear-driver.
Toyota’s Corolla hatch has a manual, but I want more power and styling. The new Sonata’s styling has plenty of wow factor—the headlights that run up the hood are especially cool—but I have yet to drive it.
As for convertibles, most of the shopping is higher-end German luxury that exceeds my price ceiling. I can’t even justify them as a midlife crisis. A Mazda Miata is every journalist’s choice, but I need room for passengers and enough clothes, food, gear, and sundries for a week at the cottage so it’s just not practical enough. And even with winter tires, it would be challenged in deep snow in northern Michigan and Canada.
More about Alisa: Alisa Priddle is the Detroit editor for MotorTrend and does not like hot weather. Even Detroit is too warm a clime, which sends her scurrying to cottage country in northern Ontario as often as humanly possible, with an overstuffed SUV and a trailer hitch to get the boat in the water.
So I would likely wax nostalgic and head to the Mazda dealer for a 2019 Mazda6. I loved my 2004 Mazda6, which dealer staff begged to test-drive because it was the first to be delivered with the five-speed manual transmission.
I can’t get a stick shift in the Mazda6 anymore. But I’m still smitten with the sedan, especially the side profile where the A-pillar flows into the hood. It’s sexy, like the curve of a lower back.
I would spec up a Grand Touring trim, which starts at $30,420, in Soul Red Crystal Metallic (extra $595 for the paint) with a Sand leatherette interior. The Grand Touring includes the 250-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, six-speed automatic transmission with sport mode, and all-wheel drive. It also includes must-haves such as heated seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, and Apple CarPlay, along with other features also included on lower trims such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning and assist. My trim choice means I get a sunroof I don’t need, and there are a few extras I’d like but don’t get such as cooled seats, a wiper deicer, and heated steering wheel. But I have to be prudent and can’t jump to the highest trim levels.
Mazda keeps it simple. There are no packages to add to the Grand Touring, though there are some option choices. I would add the $125 all-weather floor mats because this car will see all kinds of weather including deep snow. And I’d spend $475 on rear parking sensors to alert me of obstructions that could easily be trees and stumps given the cottage life I lead on the side. Here is my car configured.
Total cost: $31,615. Well worth it for the perky engine, sporty suspension, premium materials, and smiles per ride—even if it doesn’t have a manual transmission or convertible top.