We are 103,000+ car owners sharing real-world car information.

Join Us

Fun to drive in NJ, an area with mostly straight roads and on ramps. Reliable, Manual transmission, Be able to take 4 persons and their luggage, great stereo

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Would like a car with: a manual transmission, 170-330 horsepower, decent handling, reliable, practical ( hatchback would be nice). Great stereo. Less than $25k. i love to drive and I love to shift too.

I like the new GTI: great motor and handling, practical hatchback, good stereo (fender)Main objection is questionable reliability, minor objection is boy racer look.

I like the Acura 2012-2014, TL SH AWD, manual:Nice motor/manual trans, decent handling, good reliability, great stereo, upscale look. Objections arelack of fold down seats, and I can only afford (and is only available) as a used car around my limit of $25k for less than 50k miles.

Mazda 6: good handling, reliability, practical. Objection is low on horsepower

HondaAccordSport: similar thoughts as Mazda 6

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 50000
Maximum age: 5 years

Maximum price: US $ 25

« Return to results

Sign in or join TrueDelta to post your own thoughts.

Sort responses by likes

Response from jasonmreece

8:57 am October 20, 2016

The Mazda3 5-door might be a great alternative to the Mazda6. The Mazda3 has 96 cubic feet of interior space compared to the Mazda6's 100 (a very small difference). The MZ3 is also available in higher trim levels with the manual transmission (while only the Mazda6 Sport and Touring can be had with a manual). The MZ3 also weighs about 250lbs less than the larger MZ6, so handling and acceleration would also be a bit better. Both cars can easily hit 60mph in less than 7.5sec, so they're hardly sloiw even if they aren't "fast" like the GTI or Acura TL.

If you're looking for a high-end audio system, the Accord Sport will disappoint...big time. It gets the same 4-speaker 160-watt setup as the Accord LX. Even stepping up to the EX (the highest trim level you can get with the 6-speed manual), it only adds a pair of tweeters to the same system. The EX-L and Touring have much better audio systems, but they're automatic-only.

It doesn't have a lot more power than the Mazdas or the Accord, but the Acura TSX might also work. The driving dynamics and handling are on par with the Mazda3 and Mazda6. It has a 17hp advantage over the Mazdas (201 vs 184) but torque is 15lb-ft less (170 vs. 185). Both the hp and torque peak are also 1000-1300rpm higher than the Mazda. The TSX has never felt underpowered to me (even the heavier Sport Wagon with automatic transmission) and the interior is much nicer than anything you mentioned except the TL.

The TL is a great car to drive, especially with the manual transmission. But I personally can't get past the design...the TSX is much easier on the eyes, IMHO.

But a new Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-door would be at the top of my shopping list...


Link to this reponse

Mazda Mazda3
Acura TSX

Response from bwinch

9:48 pm October 20, 2016

Wow, thanks Jason. I'm glad I asked the question. I hadn't given much thought to the Mazda 3, but after looking it over, it seems like a fun to drive car, that's practical and reliable, with some nice features and the I hear the Bose stereo sounds pretty good.

I checked out the TSX, but my feeling is that it's an older design, but has real good handling but not so great stereo like the TL.

Today, I test drove the TL SH AWD 6 speed. Strong motor and a great sound system, but it was $27K with 40k mile and it seemed a little "boat" like compared to the 2012 Civic SI I'm driving now, and I'm not a big fan of AWD.

It seems like it's coming down to: the Mazda 3 hatch, GTI sport, and the new 2017 civic SI, all with manual transmissions. If the SI comes with a hatch, I may go that way, if I can come to peace with the GTI's reliability maybe that, or the Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-door.

Thanks again, Bill


Link to this reponse

Response from Patt

11:02 pm October 23, 2016

I have a 2003 VW Jertta Manual Tranny Sport Suspension with the 17" Low profile Wheels....The sport suspsension makes all the difference which is akin to the GTI that you like....I was also drawn to the torqueness of the Turbo giving it a fun factor which you really cant find in any comparable car....I think of it as an affordable "sports car" because my insurance isnt sky high with it. The new Jettas with the 2.0 Turbos are even better than just a .2 increase would have you believe. This is because the engineering has improved since 2003!! I suggest you test drive one - I needed something different (went with a VW Tiguan) but have to say- I really do misss the wonderful torque and good ROAD FEEL I had with the manual tranny and great gear box + sporty suspension- fun fun fun on a teacher's budget!! You will notice it on the NJ on- ramps or anyt mountain twisty for sure....the acceleration is a safety factor on the freeway as well and milage is good! I do agree with you the relaibility is NOT like the Japanese or other cars, but the engine itself is still running strong for my sister at 170k and the annoying small things that went wrong early on were covered under warranty. I would suggest buying a lightly used pre-owned so that hopefully someone else had to take care of anything like that!! So not as relaible but way way more personality and fun...BTW great deals to be had on them right now bcs there seem to be too many of them unlike the pre-owned Tigs which are not overstocked at all. I also tried several similar Suburus (BOR-ING!! esp the Cross Tek = under powered) and the bland Forester...the Ford Edge tempted me but ultimately, I favor the Euro feeling of the suspensiion and handling of the VWs... Also consider a manual VW ALLTrack AWD wagon coming out right now OR a used Jetta or Golf Wagon. Some of them are actually really good looking and a cool, throwback idea- you know- the wagon and all!! I also testdrove the Golf GTI but after driving the 'R' nothing else was fun enough except maybe the Mustang GT!! But look out for the insurance costs!! Also the new mustangs are affordable unless you get the 5.0 GT!!


Link to this reponse

Volkswagen Jetta

Response from Patt

11:07 pm October 23, 2016

Leasing seems to be a potentially good deal if you dont mind the lower trims and/or want the convenience of turning them in later hassle- free (I hope)


Link to this reponse

Response from bwinch

10:59 pm October 24, 2016

Hi Patt,

Thanks for the thoughts. You got me thinking VW. The GLI is a car I've seen, and not knowing what it is, thinking it looked really special. It's an understated look, that just looks nice.

I used to own an 84 gti. I still remember the test drive and the first turn and thinking" wow, this is neat. I loved that car. I think it had 90 HP and I installed a cam, throttle body and header and then it made like 120HP and felt like a hot rod to me. Later, I sold it to a friend who got some good years out of it too.

My concern with the GTI is still the reliabliity. I now drive a civic SI and sometimes a RAV4, and theres a nice feeling of confidence that it will won't break. I'm afraid I won't feel that with the GTI, and be stressed about it breaking. As I say that, I think I don't remember seeing any GTIs on the side of the road, except for some moded ones. I think I will do some more research.

And Jason, I stopped by the mazda dealer and sat in a 3 sport. Looks quality inside, and the hatch gives a lot of room for loading things, which I do sometimes. They didn't have a grand touring manual to try, in fact I don't think they had a 3 manual on the lot.

Thank you guys. Bill


Link to this reponse

Response from mkaresh

11:03 pm November 2, 2016

People are telling me that the Focus ST can be purchased for far below MSRP. Since it has a manual transmission, you avoid the automatic that is main reliability concern with the Focus. I'd test drive one back-to-back with the GTI and see which you like best--and which you can get the best deal on.

If you decide you don't need that much power, the Mazda3 is also highly recommended.


Link to this reponse

Ford Focus

Response from NormT

9:12 am July 18, 2017

Most the Japanese economy cars can be marked off your list of 200 hp. All of the 2.0T engines will make 250 hp and almost 300 lb-ft of torque. The Buick models will offer the smoothest, quietest ride on your NJ roads. You know one of the keys to good stereo quality is a quiet interior and the Verano or Regal offer just that


Link to this reponse

Buick Verano
Buick Regal
Buick Encore
Sign in or join TrueDelta to post your own thoughts.

Return to top