What To Consider When Choosing Your First Sports Car

Sports car collage
Credit: Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet
We baby boomers often find ourselves wanting that very first true sports car. The kids are gone, we are financially secure, so why not indulge in that special car we always wanted, but wasnít practical. The bug bit me over five years ago when I saw the new 2014 Corvette for the first time and got my second one two years later. My trusty sidekick on the Car Pro radio show has his second in a row Jaguar F-Type.

To make your selection, a few basics need to be determined.

First and foremost, set your budget. Figure out the upper most amount you want to spend, and that will make narrowing the list much easier. If you are going to get something brand new, a large auto show is worth going to even if it is a good way away, it will save you time overall.

Next decision is whether a convertible is right for you. As fun as they are, you lose a good amount of back seat room and often their trunks are small, especially if it is a retractable hardtop convertible. The benefit of those is a more pleasant ride and drive, and less wind noise than a conventional ragtop.

Next, do you want performance or just sporty looks? Performance cars will set you back a lot more money, and you may opt for just a hot-looking coupe or roadster. Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Chevrolet Camaro are good examples. You can get a six cylinder in either, still have over 300-horses, and get in excess of 30-miles per gallon. You can also step up to the big V8s that give you the feel and the sound of a 1970s-era muscle car.

Jerry Reynolds with 2016 Corvette Z06
Jerry Reynolds with the 2016 Corvette Z06 he once owned

Be aware of the drive system you prefer. Many of us still prefer the traditional rear-wheel drive, while others are used to front-wheel drive. Generally, people really like one or the other, seldom both. A good alternative for some is all-wheel drive, which distributes the power between all four wheels and is a favorite of people who really want that special handling.

You should decide too, what you want your sports car to feel like, and there is no right or wrong answer, it is a personal decision. Do you like the feel and sound of a big throaty V8, or do you prefer a more quiet, quick acceleration like many of the import sports cars with turbochargers/superchargers offer? The difference in the feel when you are behind the wheel is pretty drastic.

Finally, will your sports car be a daily driver, or just a weekend cruiser? Many sports cars do not make good daily drivers. Often, they are hard to get in and out of, visibility can be poor, often they have a harsher ride. One mistake people often make is getting caught up in the looks and performance of a sports car, not thinking about driving it on a daily basis. Case in point, neither of my Corvettes would ever work for me daily, but is excellent for weekend use.

Other considerations are to check insurance rates, usually sports cars are more to insure. Depending on your final choice, maintenance costs can be pricey on some of the more exotic sports cars and choose your car color wisely. Should you need to sell your new baby for some reason, the really wild colors will limit potential buyers.

One last tip: donít be impulsive. Take your time, drive the car you are considering for a good half hour under different road surfaces, or better yet, rent the car youíre thinking about buying before signing on the dotted line.

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Just a question, why wouldn't your Corvette work as a daily? I drive a 15 Camaro daily and it is great, and I know many people daily drive Corvettes and other sports cars. Personally, I always prefer to see them on the road than sitting in a garage all week. Just curious to hear more of your thoughts on this , Jerry. Thanks
The Car Pro
Al, for me, the Z06 rode too rough, it sat too low, and the design made it hard to get into and out of. The 2014 I had before was more comfortable. It's a personal decision, I know people who drive them daily and love them.

Jerry Reynolds,
I'd highly recommend looking at a Tesla if you want a sports car. A friend got a Model S recently and the acceleration is truly insane.About 3 seconds from 0-60. The Model 3 Performance is about the same for half the price.