Having a sales territory that encompasses the entire country of Canada, it’s only inevitable that I do my fair share of driving. I routinely drive quite far from my home base in my own car but I will not drive across the country.
When I fly to Western Canada for example, I always rent vehicles. For someone who is regularly in the market for a new vehicle, this is a huge perk because not only am I exposed to so many different types of vehicles that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of but I also have the opportunity to drive them for extended periods of time.
When most of us are purchasing a vehicle, we may only spend 10 minutes giving it a test drive. In my opinion this is not enough time considering the amount of money you will be spending nor is it sufficient for deciding whether or not the vehicle is suited to you and your needs. If I will be spending over 1/3 of my day in a vehicle, I want to make damn sure that it is:
- Safe (i.e. drives well in the snow, has a sufficient number of airbags, performed well in crash tests)
- Functional (i.e. has enough power outlets storage space, compartments, etc.)
- Affordable (both in terms of payments and fuel economy)
- Has Sufficient Storage Space (for literature, equipment, personal items etc.)
*Note that the above criteria are not necessarily in order of importance.
When you spend 10-20 minutes test driving a vehicle, can you be assured that that vehicle meets all of those criteria?
So, all of that being said, based on my experience driving several different types of vehicles for extended periods of time in different road conditions, this is my list of the best new cars for sales reps or other road warriors. I say ‘new’ because most companies require their sales reps to drive relatively new vehicles and therefore I will not include reliability in the criteria because new cars all come with a standard warranty.
Top 4 New Vehicles for Sales Representatives <$50,000:
***Note: I kept the figure below $50,000 because I am of the belief that if you are in sales your car should look nice, but not be too flashy and expensive. Your car is an extension of you and the company you represent. You want to look professional, sharp, savvy but NOT flashy or cheap.
4. Toyota Rav4 AWD
This is a solid all-round vehicle that is comfortable, affordable, roomy and drives well in the winter. The Rav4 used to be my #2 choice, however in recent years its quality and functionality has declined. Recent models performed poorly in crash tests and the handling is noticeably looser making it feel more unstable. The other setback which applies to us road warriors is that there is only a single power outlet, so good luck if 2 of your multiple devices needs a charge!
3. Chevrolet Impala
Out of all the cars I’ve rented, I have driven these the most. They are comfortable and very spacious which is great if you’re setting up a mobile office. Fuel economy has improved over the years but isn’t the best in its class which can be a pain if you do a lot of driving and need to fill up every day. Although it is only a FWD, it is quite front heavy and drives very well in the snow if you have a good set of winter tires. The Impala has recently been redesigned to give it a more polished look which I find appealing. It no longer looks like you borrowed Grandpa’s car. Overall, this is a working man’s car that functions very well and is safe.
2. Jeep Compass 4×4
I never thought that I would include a Jeep on my list because of their historical poor reliability and bad reputation for being gas guzzlers, but after driving this vehicle for 3 days, I completely changed my mind. The biggest shocker was the fuel economy. I was pleasantly surprised to get approximately 600km on a single tank. It was also extremely comfortable to ride in. The dash was nothing fancy, but it was functional and had multiple power sources which is essential for any mobile office! There is a tremendous amount of storage space although the vehicle itself is quite small and handles extremely well in tight situations as well as in the snow. The 4×4 option is a huge plus if you drive in the winter.
VW Passat TDI
This car is by far the best car for sales representatives and needless to say, that is why purchased one. Aside from the luxury look (both interior and exterior), it is extremely comfortable, spacious and most importantly, you can’t beat the fuel economy! As you can see in this photo below, I got 1000km (approx 621 miles) on a single tank (actually only using 54L or 14.5 gallons) without the fuel indicator warning going off.
Diesel is still cheaper than gasoline here in Canada, so that is an additional savings. The handling is far superior to any Japanese or American vehicle. The steering is tight and solid. Although it is only a FWD, it is excellent in the snow when equipped with snow tires.
The biggest shocker about this vehicle is the price. Even though it looks and handles like a luxury car, it is cheaper to run and maintain than a Honda Civic!
Honda Civic Sedan: Base Price $28,500 CAD. Driving Range: I was filling up every 350km at a cost of $45-50CAD
VW Passat TDI: Base Price for Comfortline (model I have) $29,000 CAD. Driving Range: I fill up every 950km at a cost of $55-60 CAD
In a perfect world I would have a 4×4 or AWD Diesel vehicle but unfortunately, it is impossible to find one for under $55K CAD. So in the end, I opted for the most fuel efficient “luxury-looking” vehicle that performs well enough in the winter with a good set of snow tires.
If you’re a road warrior who is in the market for a new vehicle and are looking for an unbiased opinion on different models, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to help.
In the meantime, drive safe fellow road warriors!