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Reliable Highway Cruiser, with a side of Autocross for under 15k

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

neverwander

Trying to find an affordable and reliable car to be used for general errand running on most days, but at least 2 weekends a month I go on 3+ hour road trips to visit friends and family in neighboring states. Want something that is comfortable for highway cruising with decent highwaygas mileage, but would still be fun on a back road or autocross. I'm 6'3" with a longer than average torso, so headroom is important.

So far I've tried out a2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo,a2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0t, and a2014 Mazda 3i hatch. I can fit in them as long as they don't have a sunroof. Love the seats in all of them. Looking for either a manual transmission, or something with paddle shifters.

Let me know what you all think would fit me!

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Warranty, maintenance cost / Front seat room

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Wagon / Hatch / Coupe / Sedan

Car Needs: Fun toy / Long trips / Errands about town

Primary Driver(s): Tall driver

Need minimum of 2 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 80000
Maximum age: 8 years

Maximum price: US $ 15000

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Response from mkaresh

10:22 am May 29, 2016

The Hyundai Veloster has had so-so reliability scores, and few if any people have raved about its handling. Great styling, though. Same engine and related chassis in the Kia Forte SX, so that might be another option.

The Genesis Coupe also hasn't set the world on fire, but it's an inexpensive way to get a powerful rear-wheel-drive grand tourer. I'd get a 2013 or later, as the update that year significantly refined the car. Make sure the ride isn't too firm for the driving you'll be doing.

With the Mazda3, I'd get the s with the larger engine and 18-inch wheels, not the i. If you're getting a manual transmission, one was offered with the s from 2015 on. The Mazda is probably your safest bet in terms of reliability.

Other options include the Ford Focus ST (or maybe even the Focus SE with a manual transmission, avoid the DCT) and Volkswagen GTI. I don't know how well you'd fit in these, but a quick trip to the dealers would answer this question. I much prefer the 2015 GTI to earlier ones, but there probably aren't any of these in your price range just yet. An older GTI would probably be the riskiest of any of the cars mentioned, but most are okay.

I find the VW roomier than the Ford, but I'm only 5-9. As with the Genesis Coupe, the Focus ST might ride too firmly depending on the roads you drive. Some people also find its optional Recaro seats overly tight.

In sum: safest bet is probably the Mazda, while the most fun would be the Genesis Coupe or the Focus ST.

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Kia Forte
Ford Focus
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

Response from NormT

1:11 pm July 21, 2017

The Cadillac ATS is coming down to your $15,000 limit and can serve the purpose of comfortable cruiser and track day duty.

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Cadillac ATS
Buick Regal
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