For reasons I'll go into later, I find myself in the need of a more practical vehicle than my Miata in the next few years. There are a few requirements I have, but not a ton. I'd like to spend no more than $25k, but that will be in a year or two, so recommendations can include "I hope it'll be this price in two years." I do live in Florida, so I can keep the car on summer tires year-round, and don't need AWD/4WD to get me through snowy winters.
- Wagons over hatchbacks over lift backs over sedans.
- Transmission doesn't particularly matter, but I'd prefer something I can shift, whether it's a proper manual or a good manually shiftable automatic (dual clutch over torque converter, but if it's a good one of the latter, I won't care).
- CarPlay built in, but if not, I need to be able to install it without breaking how the car works (infotainment, climate control, et cetera).
- Something I can work on without too many specialized tools, but I do own one of those silly VW 16-point driver bits from when I did the brakes on an '07 Jetta
- Something fun to drive over something mundane. I drive a Miata, and owned a Mini Cooper S before that.
- Half decent gas mileage.
- VW GTI
- Subaru WRX (first mod being a 4-pot/2-pot Brembo conversion)
- GLA45 AMG (I hate SUVs, but in AMG trim, this looks close enough to the ground to be a proper hatch)
- CLA45 AMG
- VW Golf R
- Audi S3
- Subaru WRX STI