the window shop crew went to work this week searching for used cars we'd be willing to commit to until 2026. for some of us, five years is a long time to hold on to the same car—even hypothetically. so we set the budget a little higher than usual, at $50,000, to allow for more choice.
first up, contributor john pearley huffman presents the last body-on-frame car from gm: a 1996 chevy impala ss. the rest of us don't understand why he has a soft spot for this whale of a car. pearley claims it'll hold its value and that he'd happily drive it every morning to handlebar coffee roasters in downtown santa barbara, but we doubt he could ever part with his beloved toyota tundra.
senior editor joey capparella shows his true normcore colors in this challenge. he selects a third-generation lexus ls that's so beige and under budget that we all come around to the idea, especially after he reveals that the ls430 is a comparison-test winner.
while capparella's choice might be a bit boring, there'd never be a dull moment in contributor jonathon ramsey's 90k-mile bentley continental gt. the car packs a sleek 551-hp twin-turbo w-12 and comes in under budget. ramsey assures us that the leftover $15k could be used to maintain and repair his bentley in the coming years. (watch our eyes roll when he claims that nothing really ever goes wrong on continental gts.)
deputy testing director k.c. colwell makes a wise choice: a one-owner 15k-mile 2005 porsche 911 (997) with a six-speed manual. his porsche might be only $5 shy of $50,000, but it appears its owner took meticulous care of it.
in the wake of that excellent porsche, host tony quiroga seems less enthusiastic about his 464-hp sports sedan. nevertheless, he manages to sell the merits of his five-year plan and rebut complaints about the engine having roots in a chevy impala v-6.