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Another what car would you buy thread

Joined
31 July 2001
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Location
Boston, MA
I was just overseas for work and had a manual transmission for my rental. I forgot how much I hated automatics. I'm just sort of kicking tires at the moment but am throwing around the idea of selling my 05 RL within the next couple of months when people start looking for AWD cars for winter.

With a budget of approx $15K, what sort of car would you buy that has:
Rear seats (small is fine, my kids don't need a ton of room now that they are in booster seats)
Manual transmission
Fun driving experience
Reliable
Maintenance reasonable

I had looked at older M3s in the past which almost fits the bill perfectly except for reliability/repair costs.

I almost caused a nice fender bender the other day, I had just returned from my trip and was driving home and accidentally put one foot on the brake and one on the gas and shifted my automatic into neutral while coming to a stop. HA!
 
15k budget is a bit tight for a "fun" preferably 4 seater+ with manual. I can only think of one, Lexus IS300. Fits the bill (approx $10,000.00), Reliable, Fun, FR, comes in Manual, 4 doors, can lug kids and groceries around. Probably the best bet!

Second one I can think of is rx-8, IF you know how to up keep a rotary then they can last, if not, you'll probably end up blowing it within the next couple thousand miles. So do research before considering one. More sporty, 4 seats, manual. Great little car but SUCKS on gas mileage/power output.

Subaru wrx/sti (older ones). This is a gamble, have friends who has HUGE reliability issues and others that beats the crap out of the car and still runs strong. Notice there aren't actually many older subarus around? That's not that good of a sign :frown: However,besides being a little bit cheaper materials and look interior wise, great fun cars to drive.

Infiniti G35 sedan or coupe, they depreciated like crazy... don't know why. I have never had an infiniti but i did have a 350z which is basically same thing drivetrain wise (i think 350z has better transmission gearing ratios). BUT my god it was a hog. I was getting around 13-15mpg and that really sucked for a car that did have nice torque, but lacks the "fun" factor and power. The car never felt like it had 300hp...

Integra Type-R if you can find an unmolested one. BEST FF car I have ever owned. Had civics, gti, audi a3, rsx, celica before and non can compare. AGAIN, most of them are pretty tired with high mileages or been mod to kingdom of self-destruction, so finding one thats clean is probably a hard task

CIVIC SI or SIR? If you dig FF and fuel efficiency. But the newer SI with around 15k you probably can't find one, older ones forget it, they're crap. SIR is fund little hatch and with a little mod can be a very fun hauler.

Most BMW is a hit and miss, sometimes if you're lucky they run forever, but if not then :mad: e36 m3 is cheaper around <10k so you'll have left over for fixes, if you're looking at e46 than $15k won't cut it.

That about wraps up everything i can think of that sorta suit your criterias. have fun shopping!!!
 
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A R32 GTI if you can find one that's not abused. Around that price, fun to drive, AWD, great recaro leather interiors and good stock exhaust note.

It's something I'd buy even as an ex VW. The trick is though to find one not owned by a student...
 
I used to work for audi/vw. . . too many horror stories about reliability issues. doesn't matter if they are owned by students, parents, or grandparents. They just miraculously break down. So if you're looking for reliable car try to dodge this bullet xD
 
I was in the same situation like you 2 years prior and had a budget of around 20K.

Cars I ended up looking at:

Acura TL (used)
Looked at the last generation model, hoping for a Type-S. They are pretty hard to come by with a 6 speed and usually were still in the 30K range. That did it for me.

Acura TSX (new and used)
Test drove the last generation model and also the current generation both in 6 speed and newer V6. The interior was comfortable and nice (very much like the last generation TL), but both transmissions just didn't do it for me. Driving feel just wasn't there. Also, the 4-cyl engines were just too low on power everywhere.

Mazdaspeed 6 (used)
Tried to find one to test drive but no dice. Love the look of the car, and driving experience probably would have been good, but overall quality had me worried.

Lexus IS (used)
Looked at the latest generation. The back seats are uncomfortable and really small. Other than that, it is a good car all around. You cannot get a 350 with AWD in a 6-speed though.

Infinity G (used)
All around good car. Cannot get AWD and a 6-Speed together, but not that big of a deal. I, for one, am not a fan of the 'wheezing' sound the Infiniti exhaust makes.

BMW 330, 335, E46M3 (used)
All around good driving, fun car, but costs were still too high in the 30K range and parts/service was not friendly. All the E46 M3's in the sub 30K range were all pretty beat up, or relatively old (~10 years). Did not want another project car, just something that I could use and live with every day.

Audi A4 and S4 (used)
The service and parts costs really got me with Audi. Even if reliability was good (which I am not sure is a correct statement), expensive parts, expensive oil changes. Not to mention that the S4 gets piss poor mpg and weighs a crapton compared to everything else.

Subaru STI/Legacy GT
I enjoyed the driving experience of both and found them relatively comfortable, but the fit/finish of the vehicles just was not there. Interior material choice was bland and cheap, but power and driver engagement was pretty good. Sadly, because the demand for these is high, they were still all in the high 20K and low 30K range for good examples.

Volvo S60(R) (used)
Found this to be the most comfortable (front and rear) and best driving of the bunch (considering the price was in the low 20K range). Found a pristine and very rare T5 example with all of the factory options with low low miles, so I got that one. Maybe I should have just gotten an R, but they have their own problems like their AWD system, 4C adjustable dampers, etc. I know parts are a little more expensive than your average Honda/Toyota and more little things go wrong here and there, but as a solid driver's car, it has not failed to impress. Also, getting 30mpg on longer trips and 25ish all day long on the back roads is pretty good for a car with 270 ft-lbs at 3000RPM stock. You can find well taken care of S60R examples with moderate miles (<75K) for around 15K. The last year for the last generation model was 2007 and you can still extend CPO warranty for another 2 years (on the 2007s).

Hope you find what you are looking for. Test drive everything you can before you make a decision.
 
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If you really decide to sell the RL and it's in good shape, let me know before doing so.
 
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Save money: Sentra SE-R SPEC V - extremely clean one for $10k. Don't knock it until you've driven it. 6spd with fantastic torque for a n/a 4 banger with nearly 200hp.

Full budget: G35 sedan, Mazda speed 3/6, or a nice 6spd accord.

I'd take a low mileage AP1 or higher mileage 2004 AP2 for 15k over those in a heart beat though.
 
mazda-3,tsx,imprezza,...........don't laugh....neon acr.....:smile:
 
This entirely based upon my "dreams and wishes" as I have never owned a Subaru, but the 05-08 Legacy GT (250 HP turbo) is one of the cars on my wishlist. If I could have found one for $10k back in '10, I would have bought it, for sure. So that's my vote.
 
The pragmatic side to me would buy an unmolested Integra Type R for the simple fact that I can enjoy it, and 10 years from now, sell it for pretty close to what I paid for it.
 
Wow, thanks for all the great responses. Some cars mentioned that I never would have thought of.

Will let you know about the RL turbo. It's in good shape but does have 120k on it and it's overdue for a timing belt. Dunno if i told you but I switched jobs, the commute was killing me not to mention the car. Had to do all 4 brakes, rotors, front tires and radiator all in the last couple of months.
 
I would agree, but someone else above wrote that theres a reason you don't see many older STi's on the road ... and I realized he is right. I used to see multiple STi's daily, now when I do see one, it's a newer one.
 
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Oh lord.... stop me from thinking down this road, something like this would be awesome (assuming negotiable price :)), only its 12 years old and at that age, the maintenance costs would be ridiculous

http://boston.craigslist.org/nos/cto/3236204136.html

yeah, im just dreaming here :). looking at the STis on CL there are quite a few. looks like the Mitsu Evos held their value better, they're more $$$.
 
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It doesn't have to be an STI... the WRX is a viable vehicle. I think you can get an 06 with low mileage for 15k. Or you can go for a 2.5 RS non-turbo with AWD for even less.
 
The pragmatic side to me would buy an unmolested Integra Type R for the simple fact that I can enjoy it, and 10 years from now, sell it for pretty close to what I paid for it.

Not the greatest for a daily, but still an awesome car.


I'm biased.
 
Have you thought about leasing something like a new Ford Focus. They seem to be getting great reviews and they are loaded with technology.
 
Oh lord.... stop me from thinking down this road, something like this would be awesome (assuming negotiable price :)), only its 12 years old and at that age, the maintenance costs would be ridiculous

http://boston.craigslist.org/nos/cto/3236204136.html

yeah, im just dreaming here :). looking at the STis on CL there are quite a few. looks like the Mitsu Evos held their value better, they're more $$$.

I've had the same thought, both on a used M3 and M5...just can't seem to stomach the potential maintenance issues and cost.
 
Will let you know about the RL turbo. It's in good shape but does have 120k on it and it's overdue for a timing belt. Dunno if i told you but I switched jobs, the commute was killing me not to mention the car. Had to do all 4 brakes, rotors, front tires and radiator all in the last couple of months.

You have a turbo RL?? :biggrin:

Yeah I'm still looking for a grocery getter for parents. They don't drive much so the mileage is not a big deal as long as its in good shape and you want to dump it insanely cheap. LOL.... yeah I'm kidding but do let me know I'll take a look at it.
 
The Saab Aero 9-2x *IS* a WRT, I thought about those as well. My friend has a Suburu GT and was recommending that (which apparently is just a large WRX sedan for the most part).
 
Rob I am sorry but if you are making a change, make it REAL not some half assed I just want to get something mildly better kind of thing. The RL is a good car. Why do you want to give up all that it has just for a stick. Finding something for the same money will only net you an overall loss. I think as exciting as this change may sound, you need to hold off and put something more into it and improve in every area. You really cannot compare the refinement and comfort or reliability of the RL with a Saab. Have you seen an impreza interior versus your current car???

The only car I agree with here is the M5. The rest are clunkers in comparison. You only live once. Go forward or don't move. Don't go sideways.
 
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