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author photo by Bill Leedy June 2019

When it's car shopping time, feel free to ask anyone that has met me: if you look up "indecisive" in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of me. This isn't necessarily a big deal in normal everyday life, except for every time I'm asked, "What should we make for dinner?" However, my Mazda3 lease is due at the end of July. Now, this was not as big a deal a few months ago when I was employed at a Mazda dealer, as I likely would've just leased a new generation Mazda3. But, since I've moved on to a small used car dealer, the floor is open -- and my "oh, I want this" meter has been bouncing around quite a bit.

Obviously, as someone who is an automotive journalist (in the loosest sense of the term) with a YouTube channel, I'm supposed to have a Tesla Model 3 and a Lamborghini Huracan. However, since my YouTube channel currently only has six videos and something like 47 subscribers, and my writings are, for the time being, only a part-time focus for me, neither of those cars are attainable. What I'm looking at is something in the high-teens to low teens -- and below I'll go over the choices currently at the top of my list.

Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

At the top of the list at the moment (though, that changes on a roughly daily basis) is a Chevrolet Volt. More specifically, a second-generation Volt. I know that the first-gen cars are pretty cheap and use the same drivetrain, but the lack of a rear center seat position for my daughter's rear-facing child seat means that it's out -- and I would have to go to the 2016 and newer Volt. My short drive with a Tesla Model 3 has me curious about electric car ownership ... especially one with the ability to charge itself on longer drives. I have to imagine that this is, by a large margin, the most reliable, newest and cheapest car to own on the list, all of which are rare things for me to consider -- but my Mazda3 has proven that you can still enjoy a car and not have huge repair bills every other month. On the other hand ... Find a Chevrolet Volt for sale

Jaguar XE/XF

Jaguar XE/XF

The Jaguar XE or XF is probably the least likely option on the list, but it's still a car I desire. Much to no one's surprise, my biggest concern with these cars is reliability. The dealer I work for now does have the capability of working on them, but they will mercilessly laugh at me every time it is in the shop. I can also buy myself a pretty nice unlimited mileage warranty, which I have no doubt would pay for itself given that I drive more than the average person -- and, if I knew I had an unlimited mileage warranty, I would probably push it even more than normal. But, while the purchase would be within what I'm looking for, once I add the warranty, it gets to be above what I wanted to spend. So, maybe this one will remain on the "maybe one day, but, not today" list. Find a Jaguar XE for sale or Find a Jaguar XF for sale

Mercedes C400

Mercedes C400

Like the Jaguar, the Mercedes-Benz C400, with reasonable mileage, is sitting right at the top end of my budget. They are similar in size, they have similar power and they offer surprisingly reasonable tuning potential -- and (based on reviews), they have reasonably similar handling dynamics. One major upside is that the same warranty I mentioned above is half the price for the Mercedes as it is for the Jag, leading me to believe that I might spend a little less time in a loaner car! I can also tune the car to have AMG C450 power levels for much less than the price difference between the C400 and the C450, which is appealing -- assuming the warranty company doesn't find out. So, as much as I'm surprised to be interested in a Mercedes, I think I would enjoy this one. Find a Mercedes-Benz C-Class for sale

Mercedes C400

Acura TL

Now for the only car on my list in which a manual is even an option: the Acura TL. I've always been kind of curious about these. Now I'm not interested in the "normal" TL, but the car's second generation -- more specifically, a V6 model with the 6-speed manual. They can be hard to find as they weren't incredibly popular when they were new, owing to the "less-than-pretty" chrome beak ... and the fact that both the manual transmission and the sedan are dying breeds. But, being a Honda product, it would probably be closer to the Volt than the other two in terms of reliability, and it could be fun to know that I've owned that small piece of the automotive pie. If you can find one. Find a Acura TL for sale

Mazda3

Mazda3

The other option, of course, is that I could just buy out my Mazda3's lease. But while I do still enjoy the car -- and while it's been one of the easiest cars I've over had to maintain -- it has been 3 years and 53,000 miles (so far), and I'm getting the urge to try something different. Find a Mazda3 for sale

Let me know what you guys think. Do you have long term ownership experience with any of the vehicles above? How was it for you? I know there are things missing from this list, so what do you think should be there? I'm hunting in the mid-teens to low-$20,000 range, front- or all-wheel-drive, with enough rear seat room for a rear-facing child seat and two average height adults sitting comfortably in the front.

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