From phones to clothes to cars, products that appeal to gays tend to share certain attributes: Easy to use, comfortable, and they gotta look good. Okay, we may be willing to bend on the “comfortable” thing — hello, skinny jeans — but they absolutely must look good. And while we’re not all made of money, we’re certainly willing to pay a slight premium to get what we want.
Now, when it comes to clothes, we tend to find our own way. But when it comes to cars, sometimes we’d rather have a personal shopper. This is why we have put together a list of cars we think are the best match to our tastes and lifestyles for 2013.
Best Sports Car — 2013 Porsche Boxster
Base Price*: $50K
If you, like so many people, think the Porsche Boxster is nothing more than a poor-man’s 911, think again. For starters, anything that starts at $50K for a stripped-down base model and touches six figures with all the boxes checked is not a “poor-man’s” anything. Second, the implication that the Boxster is less of a car than the Carrera in any measurable way is quickly snuffed as soon as one slips behind the wheel. The gorgeous, all-new 2013 Boxster is a supremely satisfying sports car unto itself. Indeed, in some ways, it is even better than the vaunted Carrera.
Heresy? Not when the 911 Carrera has grown so cushy as to compete with plus-sized Maseratis and monster-motored Mercedes. In the Carrera’s wake, the Boxster has evolved in turn, rising in style and capability into the sweet spot formerly dominated by the 911. Telepathic steering, pan-flat handling, and right-now thrust from the deliciously rotary engine (which is mounted right behind your head!) have always been Boxster calling cards, but all of which have been taken to the next level in this year’s all-new, third-generation model.
The new Boxster looks terrific, too. Stretching the wheelbase imparted it with elegant, supercar-like proportions, while the headlamps and tail lamps are now more uniquely Boxster rather than Carrera knock-offs. Like the 911, the interior is more luxurious this year, yet no one will mistake it for a Bentley. My favorite color combo is the one I tested recently: a classic silver exterior with rose red top and matching interior. But seriously, you can’t go wrong no matter what hue you choose.
Now, while the Boxster is hardly cheap, the $25K—$30K you’ll save by not buying a comparably equipped Carrera Convertible can go quite a ways toward packing its two trunks (one in front, one in back) with Italian shoes, gourmet jeans, and fancy things in little blue boxes. Or a Jeep.
The one to get: 2013 Porsche Boxster S with 20-inch Carrera S wheels
Best Luxury Car — Audi A7/S7/RS7
Base Price*: $61K
The Audi A7 is essentially an A6 sedan rendered as a 5-door hatchback. A hatchback?!? Why would we choose a hatchback as the best luxury car for gays? Because it’s drop-dead gorgeous, that’s why. Seriously, while the A6 sedan is nice, when parked next to an A7, the A6 may as well be a pair of sensible shoes next to Louboutin pumps. The A7’s swoopy, unconventional profile and ducktail tush are simply riveting in the metal. The A7 also wears a more angular front fascia, complete with skinny ropes of sexy LED lights in the headlamps that Audi has become known for. And we do love our pretty shiny things.
The interior is similarly special. Rendered in premium materials and assembled with the loving craftsmanship with which Audi has set the industry standard for decades, the A7 is easily as luxurious as anything under $100K. Four-place seating makes the A7’s cabin a particularly exclusive place to be (a rear bench is optional, but not preferable), though the sloping roof translates into tight headroom. Compensating somewhat, however, is the generous cargo area, accessed by that surprisingly sexy rear hatch. Among the A7’s must-have features is a matte-finished layered oak inlaid wood treatment that must be seen to be believed.
Three powerful engines are available, all of which come standard with all-wheel drive. You can’t go wrong with any, as even the base supercharged V-6 boasts more than enough power. The turbocharged V-8s in the S7 and RS7 take performance from decadent to overkill, at least for U.S. roads, though the cars themselves don’t look much different than the base A7. So my advice is to stick with the six and spring for some sweet aftermarket wheels, and maybe a few options, like, say, a B&O sound system or full-LED headlamps.
The one to get: 2013 Audi A7 Premium Plus with 20-inch Sport packageBest SUV — Jeep Grand CherokeeBase Price*: $29K
Okay, gays driving Jeeps may seem cliché — about 10 years ago I dated four guys in a row who had them — but the truth is, the Grand Cherokee has never been a better match for us than it is in 2013. Built on the same platform as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the Grand Cherokee has strong bones, a high-feature interior, and all-American good looks. It’s one of those rare automobiles that looks right at home no matter where it’s parked, whether it be in a Costco parking lot, at a yacht club or perched up on a rock.
If it looks a little different than what you’ve seen before, that’s because it has been freshened for 2014, with squintier headlamps, a more sculpted front bumper, and a slightly revised rear end. Retained are its thick bodysides, trapezoidal wheel arches, high ground clearance and, of course, Jeep’s trademark seven-slot grille. Inside, the cabin can be spec’d out from basic to ultra-luxurious, and if you haven’t been in a recent Jeep or Chrysler product, you will be downright shocked with the sense of quality.That said, no matter how much leather and wood lines its interior, the Grand Cherokee wouldn’t be able to hold its own next to a Range Rover if it couldn’t keep up with it off-road, and so three all-wheel drive systems are available. Not that many folks will take either one off-road, but they always want to know they can. More relevant to Grand Cherokee buyers is the availability of a quiet new diesel V-6 that can tow a boat like a monster V-8 while delivering fuel economy numbers solidly in the mid-20-mpg range. Prices range from about $30K to $64K for the hedonistic and insanely fast SRT-8 model. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong with any.
The one to get: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with the diesel V-6Best Sedan — 2014 Mazda 6Base Price*: $22K
The beloved Miata notwithstanding, Mazda remains one of the most under-considered car brands out there, especially among us gay folks. But trust me on this, anyone who runs out and buys a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or Volkswagen Passat without first checking out the gorgeous, all-new 2014 Mazda 6 may have a case of buyer’s remorse in the making.
Like many of the cars on this list, the Mazda 6’s appeal starts with its sexy looks. The front end features a broad, vertical grille, predatory headlamps (emblazoned with LED running lamps on top-tier Grand Touring models) and front wheels pulled forward to perfect the car’s proportions. Sculpted body sides and a swept-back windshield give the car a sleeker look than most anything in its class. And the big, 19-inch wheels that come standard on the mid-grade Touring and the Grand Touring models are pure glam.
The 6’ beauty is more than skin deep. The cabin looks and feels more like an Audi than a Mazda, with restrained elegance and excellent fit and finish. Highlights include supremely comfortable cobra-wing front seats, cool white instrument illumination, and a sophisticated ergonomic interface that includes a segment-first “Commander Switch” dial that resembles BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI knob for Touring models and above.
The 6 also aspires to greatness in terms of its feature content, available with tons of safety and convenience features, such as rear cross-traffic detection, radar cruise control, front obstacle warning, and an integrated TomTom-based navigation system, among many other niceties.
At this point, all Mazda 6s are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that sounds good and gets moving with gusto, thanks to an attentive six-speed automatic transmission and remarkably low overall weight. Fuel efficiency is stunning at 26 city and 38 on the highway with the automatic versions. Best of all, it is priced right on top of the segment’s more popular, though considerable less attractive, leaders. So now that you know about it exists, give it a whirl. It’s time to put some “family” in this sweet family sedan.
The one to get: 2014 Mazda 6 Grand Touring with Advance package
Best Economy Car — Ford FocusBase Price*: $17K
Ford’s been hitting home runs lately with its new products, and with its combination of thriftiness, attractive price, and of course, great looks, the 2013 Focus is one of Ford’s sweetest products ever.
The 2013 Focus is available in many flavors, from basic (S, SE) to feature-laden (Titanium) to sporty (ST). There’s even an electric version. But unless you’re a serious gearhead or an environmental activist, I think the best one to get is the Focus Titanium, with blackout exterior accents and slick, multispoke wheels. Also, as with the saucy Audi A7, which took our luxury car crown this year, the Focus is markedly more stylish as a hatchback than it is in four-door sedan form.
Both body styles, however, boast the same interior goodness, starting with surprising build quality and tons of available technology features. Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, for example, is one of those extremely high-functioning technologies you wouldn’t expect to find in a car like this, yet here it is. Also offered on the Focus are things like parallel parking system, reverse sensors, an available high-contrast white-and-black interior, and customizable ambient lighting.
How does it drive? We wouldn’t let it win this category if it didn’t make us happy behind the wheel. Even in a segment of the market full of spunky runabouts, the Focus’ excellent steering and European-feeling handling are quite impressive. Power is adequate from the four-cylinder engine, but trust us when we say it is best paired with the five-speed manual transmission rather than the six-speed automatic. Whichever you choose, however, you’ll get great fuel economy.
If we could give an honorable mention award in this category, it would go to the 2014 Ford Fiesta, which basically takes all the Focus’s best attributes—style, SYNC, responsive handling and all—and shrink-wraps them into an even more economical package.
Whichever you choose, Ford’s small cars are where it’s at this year when it comes to budget-friendly transportation. Score another one for the home team!
The one to get: 2013 Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback with the 5-speed manual
*Prices rounded to the nearest $1,000Steve Siler