The best James Bond-like cars, for under $15,000
Not everyone can spend $300k on an Aston Martin DBS. Okay, nobody can spend that kind of money. But just look at it —>
There’s a reason why Daniel Craig drove, and subsequently wrecked, a couple of those in the last two Bond movies. But 300K is asking quite a bit. Come to think of it, a lot of us can’t really drop $30K on something like a brand new Nissan Maxima.
So to keep things in the affordable yet still dependable range, we’ll stick to used cars that have around 40,000 miles on them. These autos might be pre-owned, but they wouldn’t be too out of place if 007 got behind the wheel. They’ll obviously have to be a sports car, but meat on their bones is a must. No Miatas or Minis. Curves are also a requirement, and they’ll have to look like they’d have a chance on an Italian mountain road outrunning gun wielding bad guys.
2004 Mazda RX-8 – $14,900
Don’t let the Kelly Blue Book Value of over $15,000 fool you. These are our there, for a steal. The rotary engine scares off a lot of people, but those who take the leap will quickly become fans. Some cars purr, this one whirrs. The engine sound is unique, and although it lacks in off the line torque it makes up in superior handling, and dynamite second to none styling. This car will make people who don’t care about cars fall in love with it.
Pros – Pinup model-like exterior styling curves, interior styling, suicide doors that give access to sweet back seat, and handling that’s so good it could beat numerous luxury coups in a slalom.
Cons – Ugly gas mileage in the city, potentially needy repair costs, designed to burn a bit of oil so you have to check and top off often.
2003 Nissan Z – $17,685
The Datsun Z will forever have a legion of fans that will put up with its ridiculous upkeep requirements. I was very close to purchasing one for myself, until I called around to a couple of my mechanic friends who said in no uncertain terms: Z-cars are money pits. When Nissan brought back the Z-car they were able to put all of the great styling and responsive performance together in a dependable package. Unfortunately, the styling seems just a touch too 1999 and anime-inspired, but that’s probably getting a bit picky. Yes it’s a bit more than $15,000… but with the car dealers trying to move every unit they can, I’m sure you can get a deal.
Pros – Powerful, no real signs of it being fussy, legendary Z-Car name
Cons – Exterior styling looks a little too futuristic, rumor has it the interior disappoints, suspension is a little rough, not as much fun to drive as the RX-8
2005 Chrysler Crossfire – $14,600
Despite the fact that the big three American Automakers are imploding as we speak, they haven’t stunk it up in every attempt over the years. Remember Dailmer-Chrysler? The Benz Chrysler Partnership? Right. This is the Mercedes Benz SLK’s second cousin.
Pros – Kinda sorta American made (it was made in Germany, but hey… it’s Chrysler right?), impressive styling for coming from Chrysler, looks thick in the right places, interior is solid, engine performance also solid
Cons – Way too aggressive Roof+Door accent lines, They were once listed on Overstock.com because they sold so poorly, they don’t make them anymore.
Bottom Line – If you’re making the jump from your old beater to something a little more nice… might as well get a car that’s a blast to drive. Because for around $15,000 you could either get one of these three, or… a decidedly more bland 2005 Toyota Camry. Ooooh it comes in white. Yay.