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Fun and Sporty (hopefully convertible)

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Something fun that can zip around town but seats four (two full sized adults in the front and two smaller people in the back). Needs to have good reliability and if outside of warrenty can either be worked on by myself, or by third party mechanics.

I've owned a 2008 MINI Cooper Clubman S and while it was the perfect fun car (and seated 4 comfortably), the reliability was very suspect and therefore I have sold it.

Key points:
1) handling
2) reliablity
3) comfort
4) decent stereo and amenities. Basic interior is completely fine - the more electronics and gadgets, the more that can go wrong (e.g. display went on my MINI radio, was going to cost $800 to repair)
5) strongly hoping for a convertible...

Favorite cars (albiet with only 2 seats) are the Honda S2000 and Miata. Would LOVE a Lexus IS350 with the F-Sport suspension - price is the primary issue (I'm only going to pay cash).

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Coupe / Convertible

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Errands about town / Fun toy

Primary Driver(s): Tall driver

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 60000
Maximum age: 15 years

Maximum price: US $ 15000

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Response from mkaresh

9:46 pm July 27, 2014

This is a tough one. Fun, reliable (or at least fairly simple to repair), four-seat convertible for $15,000?

The closest fit is probably a Ford Mustang, though I suspect it's no more your sort of car than it is mine.

Next closest would be rolling the dice on something European (3-Series, A4, CLK, 9-3, C70, Eos).

Drop the convertible requirement, and the four-seaters closest in character to your favorites are the Mazda RX-8 and Scion FR-S (which would likely be a bit over your budget, but some asking prices are close).

The Scion is noisy, not very comfortable on the highway, and has a very tight back seat.

The Mazda is both more comfortable, more practical (roomier and easier to access rear seat), and more agile, but has poor fuel economy and just so-so reliability (including some engine failures). I'll soon own one myself anyway. Quite a few owners seem to do their own repairs, as rotary engines really aren't all that complicated.

The fewer miles you drive a year, the more sense the RX-8 would make.

If RWD really isn't suitable for your needs (in Colorado), perhaps a Subaru WRX, MazdaSpeed3, or Civic Si.


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Ford Mustang
Mazda RX-8
Scion FR-S

Response from Member5692

1:42 pm July 28, 2014

Thanks for the great response! I hadn't considered the RX-8 at all and will have to give that a good look. One of our company owners drives the RS-8 and loves it, even though he's on his second engine (all covered under warrenty).

Although they don't fit the specific requirements, I am seriously considering a Lexus IS300 and the Acura TSX (up to 2008). I don't believe they would be as sporty or as fun, but the reliability should be there.

One question: how is the Volvo C70 for reliablity? I understand it's not as "fun" as a Beemer.




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Response from mkaresh

6:19 pm July 28, 2014

We don't have any data on the C70. Volvos of that vintage tend to be troublesome, though.

An Acura TSX could be fun, especially with a manual transmission.

2005 is the last year for the IS 300, so those are getting up there. A little less of a concern, since it's a Lexus. I wish they had offered the wagon version as a manual. Very tight rear seat.


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