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While I think anyone with a collector car should drive it as much as possible, it's important to have a daily driver so that collector cars should be minimally exposed to adverse conditions (poor weather, parking lots, traffic congestion, etc).  This is especially important if you have a pristine collector car and you want to minimize unnecessary mileage accumulation. Besides, collector car policies often require a second vehicle as your daily driver.


Family Truckster


The first step in choosing which car to buy as your ideal daily driver vehicle is determining how you're going to use it.  Some questions to ask yourself:

  • How many people do I need to carry and how much space do I need for their stuff?
  • How much stuff do I need to lug around?
  • What distance will I be driving it every year?
  • What features do I really need in this car?
  • How much repairs and maintenance can I do myself?

Be honest with your answers.  Needing to buy a 2x4 from the lumber yard once in a while doesn't really justify the need to have a pickup truck. Once you figure out what type of vehicle best suits your needs, go to the library or the bookstore and pick up some books that offer unbiased reviews of vehicles.  My GOTO reference for car reviews is Phil Edmonston's Lemon-Aid book.  I've found that Lemon-Aid books accurately report vehicle problems and they can be found in most libraries although the most current might not be on the shelf.  Other useful references are Consumer Reports and JD Power.

Daily drivers should also be fuel-efficient to minimize your operating costs.  This usually means picking the 4-cylinder engine over the 8 or 6-cylinder but this isn't always true.  Manual transmissions used to have better fuel economy than their automatic counterparts but this isn't necessarily true nowadays.

A daily driver should be very reliable obviously so as to minimize downtime and repair costs.  While it's tempting to buy a car loaded with options, the more complex the car, the more likely it will be to need expensive repairs.  Infotainment systems are popular but, like personal electronic devices, they quickly become obsolete.  Four cylinder engines use fewer and cheaper parts (like spark plugs and air filters) compared with 6-cylinder engines, which is another savings.  Transverse-mounted 6-cylinder engines often have difficult to access spark plugs on the rear cylinder bank, which discourages DIY spark plug changes.

Daily driver electric vehicles are a possibility but their economics prevent them from being a slam-dunk.