Commentary: the Perfect Car for the NU Student

Photo by Abbagale La Vair

By Felix Duppong

Like a significant other, there is a car out there for everyone. Today, it’s time for the NU student to find that match.

Like people, there are a lot of cars in the world – countless types, brands, and models to choose from. However, there are some criteria that need to be met. Unfortunately, we can’t all have that dream car that we want. That would be too easy.

The right car for an NU student must to be a number of things, the first being that it needs to be reasonably priced. For example, I want a Ferrari 458 – but that is not reasonably priced. Secondly, it needs to be practical. Students needs space in the car, especially the trunk. Let’s say our NU student needs to put a relatively large item in the trunk, like Swoops the Eagle. The Ferrari 458 could not fit Swoops in its trunk.

Most importantly this ideal car needs to be safe and reliable, and also comfortable. Students don’t want to be uncomfortably sitting at the side of the 520 in a cloud of steam. Even more importantly, if an accident happens they need to be sure the car will do its job well and protect them. With these criteria in mind, let’s meet the contenders.

Our first contender is from Japan, the “safe” choice, the 2006 Honda Accord. This car is highly regarded as one of the best mid-size cars of all time. It’s safe, affordable, comfortable, reliable, practical, and economical. Prices for a good used one range around $4,000-6,000 which is very reasonable. That’s pretty much it, and that’s the problem. Thinking logically, it is arguably the best car of the bunch. But the Accord’s problem is that, while it is without a doubt a fantastic car, it doesn’t have an ounce of character or soul. It is exceptionally boring. If the Accord was a person, it’s idea of having fun would be doing taxes. For me, a car needs to have a personality, a soul, something that will make me bond with it. The Accord can’t do that. There it is; if you want a car that is extremely good in every way, but soul and personality mean nothing to you, look no further than the Accord.

The next contender is also from Japan, the 2001 Subaru Forester. This small/mid-size SUV, unlike the Honda Accord, is not a middle-aged photocopier salesman who thinks doing their taxes is fun. This car has tremendous character. It’s got this loving sense of adventure and confidence. This character combined with its specs makes it a good option for our NU student.

The Forester isn’t exactly a stranger, especially in the PNW. If you look to your left, you’ll most likely see one. Let’s start off with the basics. It has Subaru’s signature 2.5-liter boxer engine, which gets 26 mpg, and is as dependable and reliable as the love and affection of Sam, the cat who hangs around outside the Caf. It fits 5 people comfortably – perfect for a late-night Taco Bell run with your friends. Plus, you can fit a lot of stuff in the back, including Swoops the Eagle. Its proportions and feel is this car’s greatest feature. When you drive it, it doesn’t feel big, tall, or awkward like a lot of SUV’s. In fact, it feels like a slightly bigger Impreza. In other words, it drives like a smaller car, yet it still has all the space and room of an SUV. Prices for one in good condition range from $3,500-$6000. Safe, comfortable, practical, and lovable as a Corgi. I love this car very much and highly recommend it to our NU student.

Last but not least, from Germany, it’s the 2004 BMW 325Ci. Here is a fun fact: If you can find an older German car that has been well taken care of, you are in for a big treat because you are getting an exquisitely made luxury car for very good money. So how in the world can an older German luxury coupe be good for a college student? The 325Ci can fit five people comfortably, a little snug but still comfortable. It has up to 14.5 ft of cargo capacity. Its trunk could snugly fit our good friend Swoops the Eagle. The leather seats are the ideal balance between firm and soft, and the seating position is awesome, especially in the back, where you would normally expect the seating to be bad considering it’s a coupe. The interior is just a really nice place to be.

Under the hood, it has BMW’s home-cooked 2.5 liter straight-six engine. This not only sounds amazing, but when it is well taken care of, is one of the best engines in the world. It gets 29 mpg and has a respectable 184 horsepower, which makes it pretty fast. Unfortunately, you need to do your homework very thoroughly when buying this car. If it’s been badly taken care of, it will become a money pit of reliability gremlins. Despite this, it is an extremely cool car that’s safe, very comfortable, fast, spacious, and reliable if you buy a good one. This is a great option for our NU student.

We’ve come to the end; it’s time to choose our winner. The winner and perfect car for the NU student is ultimately up to you. All of these cars are fantastic, and there are loads more of great cars out there for the NU student.

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