It turns out $30,000 buys a lot more than you think.
Let's imagine that you have $30,000 to spend on a car. That amount would be enough to get you plenty of interesting vehicles, but what if you needed more than just one? What if you needed something to drive every day, a car for you wife that can fit the kids and their crap, and a sports car because you deserve it (we assume). Could you possibly buy cool cars that satisfy all three of these purposes with just a $30,000 budget? We took a shot at buying the best three car garage for under $30,000. All of these cars are currently for sale, too.
For our sports car we chose a 2002 Porsche Boxster. Our Boxster is for sale in Pennsylvania for $9,900. We selected it because there's a five-speed manual transmission and because it has less than 41,000 miles on the odometer. The 2.7-liter flat-six engine produces only 217 horsepower, but for less than $10,000, that is more than a brand new Subaru BRZ or Mazda MX-5. The Boxster has two trunks, meaning that you won't sacrifice all practicality and it can even get close to 30 mpg on the highway. Being on such a tight budget for three cars, we looked for something with low mileage so that maintenance costs wouldn't be astronomical. Our 2002 Boxster should be a great weekend toy.
If you are the kind of person who thinks that you can't have fun with a 217-horsepower sports car, here is a nice little video of the fun that you can expect to have behind the wheel of a Boxster. It may not be a 911, but even a base Boxster still makes that lovely Porsche sound.
On our budget, we assumed that we would need to pick something economical for our daily driver. We could have chosen something like the Prius, but we wanted to be a little more exciting than that. Everyone may be angry at Volkswagen for Dieselgate, but we thought we would use the opportunity to buy one for cheap. Our 2010 Jetta TDI is going to cost just $7,999 and has just 51,000 miles on it. The car is for sale in New York and has a black leatherette interior. It even has a nice touchscreen radio. The Jetta TDI is an excellent daily driver that can get more than 40 mpg on the highway. Actual owners have reported as much as 50 mpg, although we now know why. Volkswagen's screw up is your gain.
You can probably get a good deal on one of these if you are willing to deal with any of the Dieselgate fixes. Hopefully Volkswagen will solve the problem without affecting the 2.0-liter diesel which has 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It may pollute, but it is still cooler than a Prius.
Our final car is where we decided to use the biggest portion of our budget. Our wife will be driving this car after all, so we want to make sure that she is happy. Happy wife, happy life. This car needs to be able to tote around the kids and their crap with ease, so we picked a 2007 Saab 9-7X. You could buy the 9-7X with a 6.0-liter 400-horsepower LS2 V8, but with our leftover $12,000 we could only find the 5.3i. Our 2007 model has just under 62,000 miles. This engine has 302 hp, which is enough to tow 6,500 pounds. The 9-7X has plenty of luxury features and plenty of practicality. What do you think of our $30,000 garage? Let us know what you would buy with that budget in mind.