IT seems like a simple question, but it’s caused plenty of lost productivity in the Wheels office – what is the ultimate three car garage for $250,000.
The rules were simple, what three new cars would you fill a hypothetical three bay garage with, using just a quarter of a million dollars.
Below is a selection of answers from the Wheels team, let us know how you would blow the budget.
Andy Enright – Deputy Editor
- Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio: $143,900
- Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum: $62,990
- Toyota 86 GT: $31,440
- Leftover cash: $11,670
Probably the easiest decision I’ll have to make all year. The Volvo would be my commuting/everyday car, the Alfa would be the high days/holidays nutmobile and the Toyota would be the track/drift tool. The spare dosh would be spent on a Tunehouse turbo conversion and Brembos for the Toyota 86 project car. That trio would make me a very happy man. And not a Porsche in sight. Who'da thunk it?
Ryan Lewis – Online Editor
- BMW 330i Touring: $75,000
- Toyota HiAce LWB Crew: $38,570
- Lotus Exige Sport manual: $134,500
- Leftover cash: $1930 for something optional on the BMW
If this game were being played in just a few months' time there'd probably be a next-gen Nissan Leaf, a Volvo V60 wagon and an Alpine A110 in my fantasy garage. Or maybe a Chevrolet Camaro, or a Renault Megane RS...
But we're talking about right now, so instead my daily driver and family runabout would be a BMW 330i Touring, because wagons are brilliant and I don't have the budget for an Alpina B3 S Touring. A Toyota HiAce LWB Crew is my oddball, do-anything utility hack with seating for five and enough room to throw a pile of bikes in the back and get out of the city.
My weekend warrior would then be the bone-jarringly raw Lotus Exige S. If there'd been another $10K in the kitty I'd have had a Porsche Cayman S manual instead, but I'm liking this spread of one German, one Japanese and one Briton in my three car garage.
Tony O’Kane – Senior Journalist
- Nissan GT-R Premium: $189,000
- Ford Transit Custom SWB: $39,690
- Mazda2 Genki: $20,690
- Leftover cash: $620 – enough for 222 Happy Meals
The modern-day Godzilla is a triumph of technology over physics, and as a member of the Playstation Generation it’s a car that definitely resonates with me. Yes, it sounds like Satan’s Dyson and it’s no beauty queen either, but its steering fizzes with feel and it’s surprisingly fleet-footed for something that weighs 1.7 tonnes. As a bang-for-buck device, it’s a winner.
As a millennial, I’m going to need a side hustle if I’m ever to afford a home – let alone the maintenance bill of my newly-acquired GT-R. That’s where the Transit comes in – it’s the perfect tool for my new business of selling artisanal smashed-avocado cronuts to other millenials at music festivals.
What, you think I’d drive my Transit Custom food truck to the shops or park my GT-R at the train station? Hell no. The Mazda2 is the cheapest rig in my hyphothetical garage, and as such it’s the one that will get the most use. It’s frugal so I can save my petrol money for the thirsty Nissan, yet in manual form it still has plenty to offer a keen drive. Good cheap fun, and the Genki spec has enough toys to keep me happy.
Barry Park – Senior Journalist
- Porsche Cayman S manual: $145,500
- Audi RS3 Sportback: $80,611
- Suzuki Swift Sport: $25,490
- Leftover cash: -$1601
I’ve always had a fascination with the Cayman. The modern-day S’s four-cylinder turbo engine is only a small step up in terms of performance from the original six-cylinder S from more than a decade ago, but its newfound tractability makes it a great all-rounder, especially for commuting.
The RS3 Sportback is there because I know I’ll occasionally need to have more than two people in the car at the same time, so it’s a great sounding, hard driving, shallow and tokenistic nod to that. And the Swift?
That’s there because the kids from time to time will want to borrow one of my cars that I’ll have to fuel, insure, and service out of my own pocket because that’s what dads have to do. That’s the only key I’ll toss ’em.
Daniel Gardner – Senior Journalist
- Porsche Boxster manual: $118,100
- Audi S4 Avant: $102,611
- Ford Ranger XL single cab: $29,190
- Leftover cash: $99.
If I need to justify why a manual, mid-engined, convertible features as the most expensive and therefore most important vehicle in my garage then you are probably reading the wrong publication. The Audi is there for a little practicality without having to sacrifice too much in the way of speed, handling or looks, and without having to give in to the scourge of SUVs. The Ford is for everything else the others can’t do.
Ash Westerman – Senior Journalist
- Porsche 911 Carrera manual: $220,900
- Kia Picanto S manual: $14,190
- Proton Preve GX: $15,490
- Leftover cash: -$580
Okay, seeing as the smart combos have already been snapped up, I’ll take a base boggo manual 911 to see if 911 reality really does match the dream. Then gimme a manual Kia Pictanto to run around in, using the rest of the budget to spend on a Proton Preve GX - that I don’t need and I don’t like - to jump off kerbs and eventually fill with empty beer bottles, before I donate it to a homeless person.
Cameron Kirby – Staff Journalist
- BMW M2 Pure: $93,300
- Kia Stinger GT: $59,990
- Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE: $93,550
- Leftover cash: $3,250
Here’s my recipe for the perfect three car garage. A fun, manual, rear-drive coupe for weekend blasts (BMW M2 Pure, tick), enjoyable and comfortable daily-driver which’ll entertain at the Traffic Light Grand Prix (Kia Stinger GT, tick), and an SUV for all your long-distance, off-road, large group, hauling duties (Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE, tick). Put it all together and I’ve got enough spare cash for a track day and some fresh rubber.
David Bonnici – Staff Journalist
- Mazda MX-5 GT: $38,340
- Audi SQ7: $153,327
- Holden Commodore SS: $47,490
- Leftover cash: $10,843
My three car garage is all about rides that make me smile, starting with the Mazda MX-5 GT manual, rear-drive rag top for weekend jaunts and daily drives. The SQ7, with its audacious twin-turbo diesel V8, seven seats and Bentley Bentayga space is perfect for moving bodies, touring and towing while still managing to impress my mates.
And it would be remiss of this VY SS owner not to snap up one of the last Commodore SS manuals because of its unmatched Superman/Clark Kent versatility that allows it do everything else the other two can’t.
With my $10,843 in change I’ll option up the SQ7 to add Sepang blue pearl paint ($2250), panoramic sunroof ($3990), all-wheel-steering ($2650) and red brake calipers ($950).
Felipe Ubilla – Art Director
- BMW M3: $139,900
- Skoda Octovia RS245 Wagon: $45,890
- Audi S1 quattro: $49,990
- Leftover cash: $14,220
The M3 is because I need something stupid, the Octavia is the practical choice for all family duties and the S1 is the (quick) run-around car. Plus I can throw the tribe into any of them if need be. All the spare cash would be for speccing up the cars and tyres. Many, many tyres.
Alex Affat – Digital Content Manager
- 718 Cayman S manual: $145,500
- Volkswagen Amarok TDI420 Core Edition automatic: $46,990
- Skoda Superb 162TSI Wagon: $46,590
- Leftover cash: $10,920 for racecar bits
The 718 would be transformed into a racecar. (A poverty-pack 991 would have eaten up far too much of my budget, posts slower lap times than the 718 Cayman S and, for a car I’m going to tear apart, I’d prefer a lighter and more lithe starting point).
A cheaper price of entry also affords me some goodies. I’ll buy some fat forged Volk TE37 wheels, and some meaty semi slicks. Completely strip the interior and chuck in a Velos Viper driver seat (passengers be damned!) and get a full CAMS national-level AGI cage bolted in. I can’t buy a Cayman GT4, so I’ll just build my own. If anything it’s better because I won’t be scared to drive it to death!
The Amarok will be the weekend adventure car and tow rig. While it’s not the V6, it’ll more than handle whatever I throw at it. The Skoda is… superb… value with a price tag that undercuts its Volkswagen brethren. I’d option the tech pack ($4200) mostly for the adaptive suspension which should quell some of the critiques in feel. It’s quiet, comfy and everything my real-life daily-driven track car is not!
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