This weekend I made an impromptu drive to Seattle to visit a friend from Kentucky. She just happened to be in the area for a few hours before she headed to Canada.

I scavenged the SCM press fleet for just the right candidate. The cherry-red Hyundai Elantra GT won, equipped 1.8-liter, DOHC, 4-cylinder engine with continuously variable transmission (D-CVVT).

The visit itself was as pleasant as expected. The Hyundai, by contrast, took me completely by surprise. After a six-plus hour drive to Seattle and back (a little secret about Seattle driving: Always be prepared for traffic, no matter the time or day), the unassuming little Hyundai had me questioning my own future car plans.

When it came time to pick out my first car at age 16, I wanted a classic. That car was a 1977 BMW 320i 4-speed. Later down the road I moved to a 1995 BMW 318i 5-speed. And with this pattern in mind, I naturally figured my next car would be something sporty, and with a manual transmission, of course. I’d be rowing the gears as I ripped along the switchbacks of the Columbia River Gorge…

But the Hyundai was so effortless to operate that even mind-numblingly mundane rush-hour traffic was just no big deal. XM radio offered an infinite smorgasboard of continuous entertainment, and Bluetooth connectivity made hands-free phone calls a snap. I never thought I’d be a fan of a continuously variable transmission, but the Elantra’s was dynamic, decisive and always did exactly what I needed it to.

Maybe if I leased an easy daily driver like the Hyundai for a few years, that would allow more focus, effort and energy toward securing an original Mini Cooper as my first classic car out of college. With one more year left in school, I still have time to tinker around with the idea of leasing a new automatic car and having my classic on the side. I’m not saying anything is set in stone, but the cherry-red Hyundai created an allure for a car segment I’ve never paid much attention to before.

I’m a very confused classic-car girl right now. Have you had a similar experience that rocked the core of your nostalgic classic-car idealism? How have your relationships to classic and modern cars changed over time? I’d like to hear your thoughts. Please share them below.

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