10 Cars for 10 Stages of Life

From College to Emeritus
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Cars. They’re what gets our blood flowing, despite a recent automotive market that has spilled 5W30 from its carotid. Good news, though. Things are on the upswing and the veritable candy store of choices is as good as ever. So what to choose? Well, even though what you drive may not truly define who you are, it certainly says something about you. You see a guy driving a Prius, you make certain assumptions about him. It’s easy to get categorized. Well, our aim is to set a different tone and point your sometimes four-wheeled naivete in the right direction. You know where you are in life right now. Just don’t let stereotypes drag you into a rut of mundane choices. Instead, allow us to whet your appetite. Choose wisely, turn the key, throttle it and hit that apex!

Ford Fiesta

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Best Car For: College Graduate/First Job So, Mom and Dad are no longer footing the bills for your binge drinking. You’re on your own now, and hopefully you are actually employed by a company other than Subway. No longer looking like a junior roller skate on cookie-sized wheels, the 2011 Ford Fiesta follows the european model with taut handling, spritely performance and sleek enough looks to bring a bit of panache to its practicality. 118 hp, 1.6-liter displacement on a light 2400 lb curb weight, and you have yourself some pretty nice wheels for date night. Plus, you can impress her eco-conscious self with 38 mpg hwy. Size does matter. More

BMW 135i

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Best Car For: First Big Promotion Maybe you recently got married, but you’re not ready to leapfrog from econobox to family sedan just quite yet. You still want to have your fun on the daily commute by roasting just about everything you come across. Here’s where the BMW 135i comes in… 300 hp twin-turbo and lighter than an M3, it delivers near M3 performance at about half the price. Beastly. More

Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen

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Best Car For: New Urban Dad You and the wife have added mini-me to the mix, but you still want to enjoy city life. And, let’s face it, you want practicality without stodginess. You also want to be eco-friendly without driving an anemic shoebox. The Volkswagen TDI Sportwagen dons cleaner lines than previous models, and delivers clean burning diesel and German engineering in a tidy 5-door wagon that gets 32 mpg and has enough torque to pull Elmo’s head into a really uncomfortable position. More

Ford Explorer

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Best Car For: New Small-Business Owner You’re now only answerable to yourself at the office, and it feels pretty good. But you’re also far busier being your own boss, and you need to get around and sometimes haul gear and supplies. Ford has brought the Explorer out of the dark ages, with better fuel economy and versatility, and created the SUV for the urban age. Engine options are a 2.0 liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder (FWD) or a 3.5 liter V6 (FWD or AWD). The Explorer has more refined road manners and manages to be utilitarian without looking like it was made out of legos.More

Acura MDX

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Best Car For: Multiple Kids Okay, you are definitely not ready for the Family Truckster, but you need wheels to move the kiddies and you don’t want to trade in your family jewels to do so. Plus, you still want performance, a healthy dose of sophistication and three row-seating. With 300 hp, aggressive styling and Super Handling All Wheel Drive on hand, The Acura MDX will let you jet the tikes to soccer or tae kwon do post-haste and prove that SUVs can be both sexy and eminently capable. More

Jaguar XKR Convertible

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Best Car For: Mid-Life Crisis So you’re not sporting a comb-over while driving a yellow Corvette convertible. Kudos to you, pal. But your inner child is still trying to break through your slightly aging exterior. How do you unleash the unbridled testosterone without sacrificing your dignity? Merge British sophistication with enough torque to warp the Earth’s crust as you drive the Jaguar XKR Convertible. 500 hp and 461 lb ft later, you’re no longer trying to hold onto the youth that sailed off many moons ago. You’re redefining 50 years old by taking 0-60 in 4.6 seconds. Who needs Viagra. More

Ferrari 458 Italia

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Best Car For: Inheritance Windfall/Lottery Win
We should all have this life stage. Just in case it actually does happen, you’ll need some wheels to flaunt it. Perhaps Ferrari’s most beautiful car in recent memory, the 458 Italia is a technological tour de force, with Ferrari’s latest Formula 1 technology coursing through its veins and displayed all over its gorgeous exterior. Faster than the uber-exclusive Enzo around the track, the Italia will scream its way to 60 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds and corner so tightly, you’ll end up spending some of your winnings at the dentist. More

Hyundai Sonata

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Best Car For: Victim of Stifling Economy So the former stage is far less likely than this one. Perhaps you’re already sucking wind due to the once steady river-like flow of funds, now down to a medium-sized trickle. But you need to get around and still network with a bit of class. The completely revamped and dependable Hyundai Sonata will mask your thinner wallet with its rakish good looks. Less expensive than its mainstream competitors and bolstered by a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, the Sonata is your penny-wise, fashion-conscious chariot. More

Mercedez Benz CLS AMG

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Best Car For: Kids Are Out of the House They no longer bring their laundry home and survive off cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Your kids are now grown ups and have jobs and even kids of their own. You still occasionally want to see them and you don’t want to be driven around in their minivans. Now what? Blast off in the newly redesigned Merc CLS AMG. Boku roominess, power in spades and killer looks make the many years of adolescent tolerance worth it. Look for the new model, just around the corner. More

Mazda CX-9

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Best Car For: Retirement Just because you’re approaching your golden years doesn’t mean you have to tote yourself around in a luxo-barge with the handling characteristics of a Frigidaire. When it’s time to run errands through four seasons, take the grandkids out for a spin or road trip across America, the Mazda CX-9 will prove its capability and driving prowess. Contrary to most people haulers, this 3-row SUV drives more like a car and has an excellent driving position. Practical, sleek (with new exterior tweaks) and roomy, you can spend less time at the bingo hall and more time cruising down Route 66, ready to see the country. More

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