A car fills many roles in our lives. At its most basic, it is a simple transporter, something to take us from point A to point B without detouring through every gas station or garage en route. In reality? Cars are so much more. They’re an extension of our family, a visible statement of intent, an emphatic expression of our personalities or, perhaps, simply a quiet, serene place to spend time in on a commute home from a hard day at the office. Cars are workhorses, tackling our daily routines, whether it’s the school run, a trip to Target or helping a friend move house. We want them to function, reliably, to do as we ask when we ask without making the machinations of our existence any more stressful. If you own a car, you’ve likely eschewed rubbing shoulders with your fellow man on public transport in favor of space and privacy. A car should offer that, without demanding any extra effort beyond topping it off with gas.
However, cars go beyond simply being a tool to be used. They are, by their very nature, a form of escapism. The freedom to go anywhere and do anything at any time of day or night is what makes owning your own vehicle such an intoxicating experience. Lose your car for even a day and it’s indescribably jarring. Public transport feels cumbersome, walking seems tiresome, and having to plan ahead what your day will be is positively medieval. Of course, I’m exaggerating, but having the possibility to make spur-of-the-moment decisions without worrying about how you’ll get there or how long it’s going to take is a personal freedom we all should be able to enjoy. It’s why choosing the right car for you is so important. You need something safe, comfortable and reliable, but also something that reflects you as a person and matches what you need your vehicle to do. With so much choice – dozens of manufacturers, hundreds of models – it can be overwhelming, but fear not, intrepid automobile consumer, as we’re here to help. With vehicles covering most major categories – from budget-conscious to fuel-sipping, utility to luxury – we’ve got a (completely subjective) list of cars guaranteed to satisfy when the time comes to upgrade.