I’m bored with my Sonic. There, I said it. The car hasn’t done anything wrong, I just feel that I’ve grown past its performance. I want something more capable, something actually meant for driving spiritedly. With winter approaching I’m certainly not planning on doing anything right now, but next spring I might make a change.

But what do I change to? That’s the enthusiast’s struggle

The Dream

I want a Corvette. You probably know this by now. They are such amazing performance cars, and not bad outside of the performance spectrum. C6s look great in my opinion and from a driving experience perspective it’s almost impossible to beat.

I really want a C6 Grand Sport, but they’re still too expensive. The lowest prices I’ve seen are in the upper $30k range. That’s a bargain for sure, but too rich for my current position.

Standard C6s are much more affordable, and coming in under $30k is certainly something I think I could swing, but alas I don’t think it’s going to happen.

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As practical as the Corvette is with its spacious hatch and shockingly good gas mileage I don’t think I can have one as my only car in Kansas. We do get ice and snow and the C6 with all its power, torque, and non-existent ground clearance would be a real challenge through winter.

I know what you’re thinking: just get a winter beater. While that works for some people, it’s not really for me. I can’t be happy in a true beater, and anything that I would be willing to drive as a second car would add too much to the overall cost of replacing the Sonic.

The Compromise

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Of course, there’s always The Answer. Obviously it’s no Corvette, but Miata’s are undeniably fun to drive. With autocross as my driving sport of choice it had to be an option. But why am I considering one when I really want a Corvette?

NC Miatas are SO CHEAP! A low mileage NC can easily be had for $12k-$14k. That’s a bargain, and the NC is nice enough inside to be liveable for someone like me. If I could get one with the PRHT then it’s absolutely doable as a winter car, but even with a soft top it’s reasonable. With relatively low power and a short wheelbase I’m not nearly as nervous to drive one through ice and snow, and with such a low cost of entry it’s an attractive option as a hold-over while saving up enough funds for a Corvette and a second car. Plus the longer I wait to get a Corvette, the nicer a Corvette I can get. C7’s will start getting cheap soon....

The Wildcard

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Rear wheel drive, manual transmission, and the cabin of an entry level luxury car, the Cadillac ATS ticks a lot of boxes. They look fantastic, but not really much like a sports car.

I drove one today, it was a 2.0L Turbo with AWD. The car feels great to drive, but the power was a little disappointing. And while they are affordable (~$25k used), the interior frankly leaves a bit to be desired. It’s not bad, just not as nice as you’d like in a Cadillac.

It’s a car I find intriguing and would certainly consider, but it’s not the top of the list

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The New Kid on the Block

It’s an ATS with the skin of a Camaro. And it’s damn fine skin in my opinion, though many disagree.

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The 2.0L turbo variant should cost about the same as a used ATS turbo. But could I be happy in a turbo Camaro when there’s one available with a Corvette V8? I know I can’t afford a new Camaro SS, so that’s off the table, but the turbo might not be.

The Not-a-sports-car

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The last option I’m considering is not getting a sports car at all. This option is a bandaid. Get something different to replace the Sonic, something inexpensive enough to get financially ready for that Corvette.

Yes, inexpensive. Have you looked at used Volt prices lately? They are under $15k with reasonable mileage, and surely ready for another dip as the significantly better 2016 model hits the market. I’ve driven a Volt and while they certainly aren’t a sports car they are surprisingly fun to drive thanks to the instant torque of the electric drivetrain.

The Reality

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Ultimately, I’ll probably end up stuck with the Sonic. Chances are none of these options will actually make any sense to go through with, and I still like the darn thing even if I am bored of it. But it’s fun to dream, even if the decision is ultimately difficult. And that’s the enthusiast’s struggle: there’s always another car to drive, but never enough time or money to drive them all.