The debate regarding the automobile and its relation to one’s value in the sexual marketplace has been ongoing for some time, with some overstating the car’s value as a tool of attraction.

While the automobile has little potential to serve as the pussy panacea some wish it would (unless you can afford something like this), it is still worthwhile for guys to get their car game on point as a part of a more comprehensive lifestyle improvement program and create a useful image with which to market themselves.

To that end, I’ve taken the time to recommend eight cars that are fairly cool, cheap, reliable, and affordable for a guy just beginning to improve his lifestyle game and looking to get a ride that fits the bill. I designed this list with a budget in mind-each car listed can be had used and in decent condition for $15,000, in some cases much less.

1. Nissan 350Z (Coupe or Convertible)

The existence of the newer, faster 370Z has helped to make these pretty cheap, but they still look good and make for a great value. Good examples of these can be found in the $13-14k range without too much effort, and they get cheaper than that if you’re willing to deal with higher mileage (90,000 or more on the clock).

These are some of the better affordable droptops on the market too, if that’s your style.

2. Infiniti G35 (Sedan or Coupe)

The G35 is based on the 350Z, and like that car is a great value. You get a little more luxury here and thus pay a little more for a G35 Coupe than a 350Z Coupe. The G35 sedans can get dirt cheap if you’re willing to tolerate a higher mileage example, and they’re not a bad deal either. This is a fitting ride for a young professional guy.

3. Pontiac GTO

Here’s a value muscle car. Built in Australia (an Aussie/Kiwi reader here might recognize the Holden Monaro), the GTO was offered in the USA for a short three year run under the now defunct Pontiac name. The result was one of the best values on the market, and it still is. You can now have this 400hp RWD V8 monster for well under $15,000.

4. Acura TSX

This is a small sedan based on the Japanese/European version of the familiar Accord, which itself is the smaller, sportier vehicle that the much thinner folks in the rest of the world get to buy.

We pay a little more for ours here in the states because we get them under a more premium brand, but these are still pretty cheap. As little as $10-12k will get you into a decent 04.

5. Acura TL

I think that the 01-03 TL is one of the more underrated values on the used car market, and a solid option for a young guy working his way up. A sporty, well-kept Type-S like the one pictured here can easily be had for less than $15k. They’re reasonably luxurious (leather, sunroof, etc), they look decent and they’re dirt cheap.

They have some transmission issues in the higher mileage ranges, but you can mitigate that by going for a lower mileage example (you’ll still spend way less than $15k).

If you want the next generation (04-08), you’ll fork out a bit more, but $15k will still get you a pretty well-kept car.

6. Lexus IS300

$13k will get you a decent 2004 or 2005 model without too much mileage. These are a great value and extremely well put together. They aren’t as sharp on the track as the E46 3-Series, but they have fewer expensive bugs in other areas and I personally prefer this design. I wanted one of these myself to head off to college in, but couldn’t make the financials work.

7. Cadillac CTS-V (04-05)

You’ll have to tolerate higher mileage (above 85,000, generally) to find one in this price range, and they aren’t abundant, but this is a car that might be worth the effort. They’re not terribly efficient and the build quality isn’t perfect, but you’ll be hard pressed to find something that will take you faster while looking quite this good and costing you quite this little.

8. Chevy Cobalt SS

This is a surprisingly decent car considering the general mediocrity associated with the Cobalt name. It comes standard with a stick, a plus for the diehards who have watched the manual become a dying breed these days. They’re easy to modify, perform very well, and get solid gas mileage too (owner reports indicate up to a possible 40mpg on the highway).

$13k will allow you to easily find a nice unit somewhere with well under 50k on the clock. This is more of a “budget” type of car than the others on this list, but it is a strong enough value to belong.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (03-07)
  • Volvo S60R (03-07)
  • BMW M3 (02-04)

There do perhaps exist other options, but these are the cars on top of my personal list, vehicles I’d trust if I were on the market. If you’re a guy on a budget but looking to get a ride that fits the upwardly mobile trend in your personal and professional life that ROK hopes to facilitate, then these cars should be on your short list.

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