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Back to school season is here, as the flurry of shoppers straight-arming supplies into their shopping carts can attest. While younger students neatly arrange fresh pencils into their Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers, the college-aged have an important decision to make: Get a degree or a rockin’ new set of wheels. Sure, a degree may set you up on a life-long path to higher earnings, a love of knowledge, and enduring friendships, but new cars are shiny, deliver pizzas, and don’t require a man-bun or mad hacky-sack skills. Below we’ve collected our favorite ways to squander a college fund.

Civic Type R
Civic Type R

After decades of yearning, months of speculations, and anxious days of reviews, the Civic Type R has finally made it to our shores. Those who can stomach the anime styling cues are rewarded with one of the most capable front-wheel-drive sports cars ever to see mass production, with 306 horsepower on tap, a slick-shifting manual transmission, and a chassis capable of putting all that power to the ground without wrenching the steering wheel out of your hands. The ultimate Civic will set you back $34,775, or just over the average year of private university.

Lucid Air
Lucid Air

Gas prices continue to be low, but the reality of climate change and economics of dropping battery prices mean the future of the mainstream automobile will be electric. Marque electric brand Tesla may be the darling of this near-future world but others are chomping for a piece of Tesla’s electro-luxury market. Lucid Motors is one such company with big money and bigger promises, chief among them the Lucid Air, a promised 1,000 horsepower electric supercar that Lucid claimed hit a staggering 235 mph in a recent test run. Lesser models will boast lower (but still more than adequate) horsepower ratings of 400 and up. Lucid is promising prices in line with Tesla’s: $60,000 for base models and over $100,000 for full-spec models. If Lucid’s dreams come true, expect the first models to gobble trust funds in 2019.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Did somebody say “Tesla?” The biggest name in electric autos is finally delivering its first Model 3 sedan to the lucky owner, Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The compact may be the cheapest product to ever sport the chrome “T” but it’s also the most important to the future of the company. According to Musk, his goal in founding Tesla is to drive the widespread adoption of electric cars with a product inexpensive enough for widespread adoption. The base Model 3, at $35,000, is right on target for mainstream success, nearly matching the 2016 average new car price of $34,077. Like previous Teslas, the 3 promises spirited performance and a useable range above 200 miles - unlike previous Teslas, it faces stiff competition from Chevy, Nissan, and other automakers working hard on their own electric vehicles.

Hyundai i30 N
Hyundai i30 N

It’s become fashionable of late for automakers to adopt a letter denoting their performance-enhanced cars. Though BMW has long nourished their “M” division, Lexus only recently kickstarted their “F” division, and Hyundai’s turn on Sesame street was brought to you by the letter “N.” Although the 2018 Hyundai i30 N isn’t coming to North America, it portends great things for the Korean company’s American efforts. The good signs start with 271 horsepower, more aggressive styling, and impressive gains in handling. Hyundai promises N-badged variants of US models will be on our roadways by 2018, so stay tuned.

E-Pace
E-Pace

The compact crossover segment continues to mint money for automakers, who often keep costs down by raising the ride height and adding plastic a slow-selling compact hatchback. Jaguar, however, has purpose-built the E-Pace to be a small crossover (albeit on an architecture donated by sister company Land Rover). Although it’s hard to escape the potato-like dimensions of the class, Jaguar’s designers made a valiant attempt to integrate sporting lines and cues from their performance cars into the designs. A turbo four-cylinder engine backs up the styling with 246 horsepower, while a host of luxury features won’t disappoint those who pony up $39,595 for the base model. If that sounds rich to your ears, consider the average cost for four years at in-state public university runs to $38,600.

Honda Accord
Honda Accord

Although the Toyota Camry regularly grabs headlines for being the best-selling car in the US, strip away fleet sales and the Honda Accord is the number one choice for individual buyers. So even as consumer tastes are drifting to crossovers and SUVs, the Accord is still a crucial part of Honda’s portfolio. The changes are manifold, beginning with a shorter car with a wider body, a dramatic flat fascia and a fastback rear canopy tapering into the trunk lid. The revisions continue into the interior, which is replete with soft-touch surfaces and appointments dangerously close to those of Honda’s Acura division.

The six-speed automatic and CVT of the previous generation are out, replaced by a new 10 speed auto. Similarly the sweet V-6 is no more, replaced with a 2.0 liter turbo 4 with similar output. Base cars see a tidy bump in power, and all cars benefit from greater sound dampening, refinement, and a stiffer chassis. The Accord coupe, the last in its class, also got the axe due to slow sales. Manual fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as the six-speed stick shift is still available on the Sport trimline. Prices are not yet announced, but expect only nominal increases over the outgoing model’s prices, which start at $22,455 - or just shy of one year of out-of-state public university.

*Seriously kids, go to school. Don’t blow your money on a car!

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 194 - September 2017
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