The Un-Businessman's Business Car
By: Anthony Fongaro | April 2015
Ah, the dreary rush hour commute. People in suits are listening to the news, crawling at 4 mph while waiting patiently (or cursing uncontrollably) for the semi-truck in front of them to finally change lanes. It’s a typical weekday. It’s also a typical scene for the typical business person, sitting in their black automobile, sipping their Starbucks, and fiddling with their iPhone. For all we know, this person could be going to their job in accounts-receivable, outside sales, or finance. Certain jobs require a certain dress code, and this dress code seeps into the world of the automobile. Imagine what a client or your co-workers would think if you showed up in a modified Nissan 350Z or a rusted out 1984 Chrysler New Yorker. The world of conference calls and 2 pm production meetings wouldn’t dream of taking you seriously. So people of the business world drive around in their Audi A4s, Ford Fusions, and BMW 3-series.
Who wouldn't be impressed by a car with stickers?
These are not bad cars, but you see them everywhere. The rule to be taken seriously in the business world is you need to drive something German, black, and mundane.
What if you’re different? What if you don’t like the world of the Audi A4, the Ford Fusion, or the BMW 3-Series? You want to have a midsize car that people will take you seriously, yet stay understated. No one wants to relive those post college “I have a real paycheck and chicks will dig my sweet modified Nissan 350Z” days. Nothing too brash and ostentatious will do or no one will want to drive with you to the local Panera Bread. Are there vehicles that can be driven to the workplace without feeling embarrassed? Sure, and they aren’t German.
We know the reason why more people don’t buy the Mazda6. It isn't because of it looks, its fuel economy, or its handling. It’s because, well, it’s a Mazda. You probably don’t even notice the dealership on the way to buy something recommended by your co-worker who knows everything about cars. Hit those brakes because the Mazda 6 is actually a good car. Sure, it isn't as fast as a Ford Fusion but your clients won’t care that the 2.5-liter engine makes only 184-hp and takes about 8 seconds to hit 60 mph. It will idle just fine through that Starbucks drive-through. What it lacks in power and brand snobbery, it makes up for in refinement and amenities. That 2.5-liter engine can get up to 40 highway mpg, so the money you save on fuel you can put towards the vacation to Disney World, the kids really need to meet Mickey Mouse this year.
Fully loaded with every option a modern car should have (including a sunroof, heated front seats, remote engine start, rear-view camera, adaptive cruise control, navigation and a lane departure warning system), a new Mazda6 will cost around $33,000, so the boss won't think he's paying you too much for sitting in front of a computer all day. Plus, you can have a manual transmission in almost every trim level which matters to a whopping 6.5% of the American population. So if you are sick at looking at all the Ford Fusions, Audi A4s, and Honda Accords in your parking lot (and really, who isn't?), the Mazda6 will help you to blend into your corporate culture while owning a fun-to-drive sedan.
Recommending a Cadillac over a BMW or an Audi? In this instance, yes. Cadillac has evolved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and the ATS is a reflection of this company setting its sights straight at the Germans. There really is a lot to like about the ATS. The styling is very contemporary and will help you to not lose it in the parking lot. When it’s time to get up and go, there are three engine choices with the ability to have a manual transmission (very un-Cadillac like) and optional all-wheel drive. The interior continues with the contemporary look and your clients will be very impressed with the available 8.0-inch (bigger is always better, right?) touch screen.
Avoid the slow and quite noisy 202-hp 2.5-liter base engine if you don’t want to miss your approved vacation and go for the more powerful 272-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine or the 321-hp 3.6-liter V6. Priced as either the Luxury or Performance trim, you can have an ATS for around $45,000. Being an American car, you would image the ATS only likes to go in a straight line and you would be correct. It does like to go in a straight line, but can take the corners into McDonalds with ease. Plus, imagine driving to the company 4th of July picnic full of pride in an American car, as opposed to Gary in the office next door showing up in his BMW. As much as I love American sedans (which is a total and utter lie), the Cadillac ATS is an American sedan that someone can actually be proud of.
The Mazda6 and Cadillac ATS are two great examples of what happens when you don’t want to drive the same car as Keith from Accounting or Dave from Marketing. Sure, they both don’t have the instant snob appeal that a BMW or an Audi have, but they are underdogs that showcase what their brands can do when they actually try.
2. Modified Nissan 350z: http://pixgood.com/350z-tuned.html
3. Mazda6 Interior & Exterior: http://www.mazdausa.com/MusaWeb/displayPage.action?pageParameter=modelsGallery&vehicleCode=M6G
4. Cadillac ATS Exterior: http://www.cadillac.com/ats-luxury-sport-sedan/exterior-photos.html
5. Cadillac ATS Interior: http://www.cadillac.com/ats-luxury-sport-sedan/interior-photos.html