Shopping for a used vehicle to save on upfront costs and insurance premiums is something that most drivers have done at least once in their lifetime. The potential buyer is usually looking for something with a strong emphasis on practicality and sustainability, not high performance and excitement. What if we told you that there were vehicles you can find that are not only used, but also a lot more exciting and adventurous than they might appear to be? After you read this, you’ll not only have a few choice items to keep an eye out for, but the question “Is there a used car dealership near me?” will be readily answered with unbridled enthusiasm.
2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
While some millennials might be blissfully unaware of Pontiac, others will have fond memories of the former GM brand. While they ceased production in early 2010, there was once a time when Pontiac was revered among performance aficionados. While many assume the inclusion of a Pontiac on this list might take the form of the Trans Am or Fiero, it’s the Grand Prix that we cite as our pick. Its “Widetrack” wheelbase was a major selling point during the 1990s, especially with a clever advertising campaign that stated, “wider is better,” but we’re more impressed with the vehicle’s engine. Proving another marketing slogan, “We build excitement,” a 5.3L V8 belted out 303 horsepower, replacing the already exciting supercharged 3.8L V6 with an even more exciting engine. Its unique appearance allows one to make a first impression wherever they go. While Pontiac now presides in the afterlife, you can still find one for a reasonable price if you look hard enough.
2010 Volvo S40
One of the biggest exports from Sweden, Volvo has always had a unique reputation among American consumers. Often thought of as technologically proficient and geared towards families with a disposable income, they’re sometimes thought of as status symbols rather than pinnacles of performance. The S40, which at the time was the smallest sedan, might have seemed rather unimpressive at first glance. However, we can attest that this isn’t true. A turbocharged 2.5L engine possessed 227 horsepower, which is quite a lot for such a small car. It was also available with either a five or six-speed manual transmission. AWD was also available, which enabled the vehicle to compete with Subaru models, and Volvo flexed its muscle in regard to a wide array of safety features to further compete.
2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
The right advertising campaign can cause any make or model seem more exciting than they actually are. If you go back to the 1990s and look through the clever ad campaigns that generated attention, you might find a few with Crocodile Dundee extolling the virtues of the Subaru Outback. The station wagon with AWD is certainly not exclusive to the Japanese manufacturer, and Volkswagen proved they could do it better with the Golf Alltrack. In a world where the crossover SUV has become the ideal family vehicle, some might think the station wagon as about as exciting as a Chia pet. Volkswagen took the initiative and made it better with a turbocharged engine capable of 170 horsepower, AWD, and a variety of driving assistance features that would satisfy anyone who’s tech-savvy. Standard features such as heated front seats gave the vehicle a little dab of luxury to a vehicle that’s been commonly associated with practicality.
2018 Ford Flex
We go from one variation of the station wagon to another in the form of the 2018 Ford Flex. Sadly, the Flex stopped rolling off of the assembly line in 2019, and given Ford’s repurposed efforts on manufacturing more trucks and SUVs, it’s doubtful that this model will ever make a return as the Bronco did. With seating for seven and a general consensus that the ride quality was better than most, the Flex also benefited from a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 that propelled the wagon forward with 365 horsepower. This left most wagons and smaller SUVs far behind in the performance department, not to mention a few genuine performance cars. Because it was lower to the ground than most SUVs, it had a unique look to it that we just haven’t seen since.
2006 Dodge Stratus
As children, we’re always told never to judge a book by its cover. When it comes to some vehicles, this advice should be followed much more closely than it sometimes is. Case in point, the 2006 Dodge Stratus. At first glance, one might assume that the final year for the Stratus production saw it as just another family car focused more on economy than anything else. The R/T trim of the vehicle came with a 2.7L engine that boasted 200 horsepower. Dodge also demonstrated their predilection for innovation with the introduction of AutoStick, which allowed for manual shifting of the automatic transmission. By all accounts, the Stratus was also agile and easy to handle, with a spacious interior allowing drivers to stretch their legs if need be.
2010 Chevy Cobalt SS
We go from one domestically produced sedan to another. At first glance, one might assume that the SS edition of the Chevy Cobalt is nothing more than a cheap imitation of the Honda Civic, from its rear spoiler to the two-door coupe design. However, anyone familiar with Chevy and the SS (Super Sport) badge instantly knows that this means there’s been an added focus on performance. The turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine boasted 260 horsepower and was equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, putting performance at the fingertips of anyone who sought it. A performance-based suspension made for agile handling and maneuverability. Tracking down a used Chevy Cobalt certainly won’t be difficult, and we guarantee it’s a lot more exciting than the Malibu.
2013 Mazda Mazdaspeed3
We go from one vehicle that bore a striking resemblance to the Honda Civic to another one. The Mazdaspeed 3 seems like a rather lazy name for a vehicle, and its close resemblance to a Civic Hatchback is almost impossible to ignore. Be that as it may, there’s enough underneath the hood to generate a considerable amount of enthusiasm and excitement among anyone. This hatchback was equipped with 263 horsepower and a suspension formulated for performance. Looking at the exterior design, you can certainly see the early stages of what Mazda would adapt into their current fleet of SUVs. Don’t let the name fool you, this is practicality and performance fully realized and in one single package.
Excitement Is More Than Meets the Eye
An exciting vehicle might not have an appearance that announces it to the world at large. Sure, a car might have an aerodynamic design, and it might look like your run-of-the-mill economical family sedan. Still, until you pop that hood or take it for a test drive, you never know just how potent and exhilarating it can be. While new makes and models come out each and every year, we think that the offerings we discussed today are proof that there are a variety of used cars that can go the distance and deliver the goods in a variety of different ways.