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good value, sporty, manual transmission for a young guy

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


So I am 19 and absolutely love driving. I learned how to drive on my dads 6 speed mini cooper S and fell in love with driving stick. It's time to buy a nicer car than my '02 accord, which is a manual transmission too and my next car must be as well. I've been looking at some low mileage Bmw '09 and '11 1 series coupes. I love the aesthetic and how people tell me it drives. I'm a little worried about reliability and repair costs though.I would love a realistic idea on how much to expect to spend on those carsyearly, for maintenance and unforeseen repairs. I've also been looking at an vw '08 c30 r design, vw GTI, 08 Audi A3 S-Line Sportback, 09 Audi a5 quatro, and a 2013 fiat 500 arbath. Both Audis are high mileage but the a3 is from a third party dealer but does have 12k miles/ one year warranty. Basically, I want a fun, sporty,reliable, stylish car...that won't break the bank to bits on repairs and maintenance. Thanks in advanced everyone!

Priorities: Handling / Price or payments / Powertrain performance

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Coupe / Hatch / Convertible

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Fun toy

Need minimum of 2 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 80
Maximum age: 10 years

Maximum price: US $ 20000

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Response from ronto.rene

6:57 am January 27, 2016

Check Consumer Reports (CR) for reliability stats on most vehicles. Any decent library should have the current issues, as well as the archived issues - going back a few years. CR is a good baseline, from which to begin your research. You may also google "reviews/tests" for any make/model vehicle that interests you. That willl bring up a host of expert and consumer review sources for that particular vehicle.


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Response from Roccaas

10:24 am January 27, 2016

The answer to this question usually begins and end with


I believe the Toybaru BRZ is also allowed.

Being taller, my list begins with Mustang.
Enjoy them while you can-and pay it off, so when your beloved sticks you in a minivan, you can tell them it's there to teach your offspring the fine points of double clutching.

I did~~and it still works!


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Response from trevans

9:53 am January 28, 2016

Another vote for Miata. Mazda made a bazillion of them, and the first two generations (up to 2005) are some of the most documented vehicles - information abound for maintenance and modification.

There's a reason the saying is, "the answer is always Miata".

Cheap to buy, insure, and maintain; very reliable drivetrain, and tons of fun at legal speeds.

Just keep in mind your priorities - it will not be the best for long-distance highway driving. Wind noise can be a problem on the NA and NB (first two gens), especially with the soft top (which most are). And because of the gearing, don't expect it to get the fuel economy of a Civic - think between 26 and 30 in most cases. And you really won't be carrying much stuff with you at all - but you might not care.

Good luck.


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Mazda MX-5 Miata

Response from mwcten

8:08 pm January 31, 2016

My suggestion would be to be honest about your budget for this. Add up your payments, insurance, estimated repair costs and gas. You're specifically asking about repair costs - off the top of my head, $2000-$2500 a year would seem reasonable rule of thumb for most of the vehicles you mention, probably a little more if its a turbo; a little less for the Fiat maybe? More if you're putting on crazy miles; less if you're not. Price out the cost of a third party insurance policy for repairs (pay attention to what they exclude), and you'll see what the bean counters think the cost of repairs will be for the car. So if you're looking over a five year time horizon, you'd probably spend $10-12.5k on repair and maintenance.

Also figure out your risk tolerance for a big repair bill. If you're driving a 100k+ Audi, the engine may die on you. Will you have the cash to buy a used engine or transmission and pay someone to put it in? Check car-parts dot com for used prices in your area. Alsogo to the users website for whatever model you're considering and see what the common problems with them are, and how expensive the fixes are.

If you were in NY and spent $20k/5 years on one of the cars you mention and drive it 10k miles a year, you'd probably be looking at $4.5k payments, $2k repairs, $2.5k insurance, and $1.1k gas, so $10.1k a year in automotive expenses. Or, assuming your repairs/maintenance would run somewhere between $500 (no repairs) - $9,000 (a major and a minor repair or two in a year), your costs could be $8.6k - 17.1k. Your Honda, assuming it's paid off, is costing you on the order of .5k depreciation, $1k repairs, $1k insurance (no collision), $1k gas, so $3.5k a year. I'm making assumptions here, but adjust for your specific case.

Even assuming you've got that $10.1k a year in cash flow coming in that you could spend on a car, my suggestion is you'd be better off slugging it out with the Accord and banking that extra $6.6k a year. In a few years you could pay cash for something really cool.

Of course you could go a middle of the road option; get a $3k-5k Miata, a Lexus SC or IS300 or something like that; give yourself more like $4-5k automotive expenses. I'm sure if you think hard about it and consider what you really want out of a car, you can find a $5k car you like that you can keep on the road for $1k a year in repairs and maintenance.


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Lexus SC
Lexus IS
Mazda MX-5 Miata

Response from Member6648

12:36 am February 3, 2016

so here is my scenario. My honda accord has actually been a problem for awhile. Ive had it for 2 years and two months now and have had to replace the slave and master cyclinders, Ive done the clutch, timing belt, water pump, and belts myself too. the break lines are rusting and one of the fuel lines had a leak that I had a shop use hosing to fix. It's inspection is up and it has its SRS light on and the E brake is broken too. So I don't think it is worth investing more money into the car right now to get it inspected. my one idea was to sell it stupid chep and use a motor scooter from march, all the way until fall. save a decent amount as I plan on grossing 55-70 this year (thats the only reason I'm looking at the bimmers) and then buy a car. I am actuslly getting approval to finance a 2009 bmw 128i with 39k miles on it. it is a two owner car but has every single service record and is even covered under bmw's platinum warranty until march. I would be getting either a 15k or 17k five year loan for it. I honestly plan on paying this loan off by the end of the first year though. I just feel like it is smarter to buy a car now then put money i won't ever see again peried, into my accord. Whats your opinion on this plan? do note my accord actually only averages 15 miles to the gallon so anything will be an upgrade in fuel economy. insurance is 1300 no collission as well. I am definitely looking at miatas after people's recommendations too.


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Response from mkaresh

9:11 am February 5, 2016

Once German cars are 6+ years old experiences vary widely. After that point they could require few or even no repairs for the next few years, or very expensive repairs. If a $5,000 repair would be very hard to pay for, and you can't potentially do the work yourself (the best way to own an older German car), they're probably not a good idea.

The 1-Series is a fun car. The A3 and previous generation GTI aren't as special, in my opinion. I do like the 2015 an up GTI, but unless VW values are severely depressed you probably cannot find one within your budget.

I didn't much like the Abarth, but some people love them. The stick shift is awkwardly located and feels clunky. Some owners have had bad reliability experiences.

The Miata an FR-S are both good if you won't be on the highway much. Not so good if you will be.

The Infiniti G37 might be worth a look.

Among front-wheel-drive cars, you might try to find a 2015+ Mazda3 with the 2.5-liter engine and a stick. Or do what a few auto writers have done and get a Ford Fiesta ST or the larger Ford Focus ST. Either is a lot of fun, and my largest reliability concern with the Fiesta and Focus is the automatic transmission, which the STs don't have. The Fiesta ST drives far better than the Abarth.

Finally, for cars closer in size to your Accord you might try to find a Mazda6 or (budget buy) a Suzuki Kizashi.

I'd check rates with your insurance company before buying anything. The Mazda6 and Kizashi could be much cheaper to insure than the others--though of course they won't be as fun to drive.


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Mazda Mazda3
Ford Fiesta

Response from ucinn

5:43 pm February 26, 2016

You could also consider a 2011-14 Mustang V6 with a manual.305HP and fun to drive and can still get you 30MPG on the highway without a lot of road noise. They are pretty easy for the most part to wrench on yourself if repairs are needed. Ther are plenty of aftermarket parts are probably a lot cheperthan a BMW.


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Ford Mustang

Response from NormT

12:27 pm July 26, 2017

The Fiesta or Focus ST would provide the biggest bag for the buck.


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Ford Fiesta
Ford Focus
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