A "What car should I buy" Thread

Okaen

Active Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2010
Messages
358
Location
Denver, CO, USA
Car(s)
1995 Honda Accord
Alright guys it is time for me to get a new car. The Honda is nearing 300kmi and I am finally in a position to purchase a new(to me) car.

Budget: ~15k USD, not firm. Less is fine.

Musts:
Car
Manual transmission
Daily Driver capable
Used (I will let someone else pay to drive it off the lot.)

Must NOT be/have:
Convertible
Miata
Hatchback

Preferences:
RWD>AWD>FWD
2 rows of seats
4door>2door
Reliability (lower running costs are always preferable)
HP? 200 (semi-random ballpark figure)


This is my first car that I will spend a decent amount of money on. I have all of the money in my bank account ready, but I don?t have an immediate need to buy a new car. I plan to find the absolute best car that fits my criteria and then take as much time as I need to get the best car for my money. I am hoping to have the car purchased before spring of next year. So I am not in a hurry.

So what do you guys think?
 

thevictor390

Teen Wankeler
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
11,840
Location
Massachusetts
Car(s)
'10 RX-8 R3, '89 Toyota Blizzard SX5
A couple of years ago, I was in a very similar position with very similar preferences.














<---
 

jsausley

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2010
Messages
1,222
Location
Burlington, NC, United States
Car(s)
'16 Audi S5, '14 CC R-Line, '12 Ariel Atom 3
That's difficult. A reliable, 200 HP or more powered car with four doors (or at least four seats) and a manual transmission that isn't a convertible or a hatchback for less than 15,000 USD.

I'd go for a 2001-2004 3-series BMW, preferably a 330Ci, with less than 30,000 miles. You can get the 2-door or the 4-door, but I'd opt for the 2-door. Or, you can get an Audi A4 2.0T quattro with less than 50,000 miles, from around the same year.

If you want something American (well, sort of American), I'd go for a 2008 Pontiac G8, but I'm not sure if you can find them for less than 15,000 USD, especially with a manual transmission. They have a strong Tremec 6-speed and a powerful V8 engine but I think they're right at about 20,000.

The only cars I can really think of that are available in America are German saloons like the A4 and the 330. Everything else is either too expensive or too rubbish.
 

argatoga

Can't Start His Wank
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
17,963
Location
Seattle
Car(s)
'13 Moto Guzzi V7, '08 Pontiac Solstice GXP
I'll also throw in the Australian Pontiac GTO.
 

Labcoatguy

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
13,757
Location
Boston, MA, USA
Car(s)
#Jaguar #XKR, #Saab #9-3, #Toyota #MR2 #2ZZ
A first-generation Lexus IS300 would fit your bill, but manual examples of that are very very rare. Alternatively, the early Infiniti G35 sedans are also approaching that price range.
 

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,961
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
One thing that I would recommend is an Infiniti G35, if you can live with the styling. It's RWD and 6 speed, but it's only a 2-door (I don't think the sedan was offered with a manual)

The other car that I'm thinking of, but I don't want you to buy one, cos you might accidentally buy the one destined for me :)lol:), but I'll recommend it anyways...2004-2005 Volvo S60R.

It's less than $15,000 (you can get a decent 2004 model for about $12k). 4-doors, 300hp Turbo, AWD, 6-spd Manual, most comfortable seats in the world, fancy suspension.

Reliability might be an issue - struts seem to go around the 100k mile mark, depending on how the car was driven. On the S60R they are hideously expensive - a set of four, plus the labor could cost you around $5000. But that's only if they do go bad.
 

CAPT_Howdy

Forum Addict
Joined
May 24, 2008
Messages
5,192
Location
Hobb's End, New Hampshire
Car(s)
2004 Mazda6 Estate 3.0
Have you considered an Acura TSX? I know it's FWD, but it meets all of your other criteria. And you should be able to find a nice early version for around $15K.
 

biggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
788
Location
NC, USA
Car(s)
2x-'93 Nissan 240sx V/C, '03 Infiniti G35 C
G35 Sedan 6MT. Should find for $12k or less. Only hard part is the manuals are a little harder to find.
 

Okaen

Active Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2010
Messages
358
Location
Denver, CO, USA
Car(s)
1995 Honda Accord
Nice.
I will add these to my list of cars to drive.

'05 Mustang GT - I have never driven a Mustang, I am interested to see how it is.

RX-8 - I have driven one of these and it is definitely on the list. Fun even at low speeds. Well optioned for the price. How is the reliability? After 100k or 150k what might go wrong.

BMW 330 - I was thinking I would try to drive on of these. I have a bit of a negative bias against BMW, but I have not driven a newer(1995+) one. Again what reliability issues will arise?

Audi A4 - This one is a front runner on my list. Btw, the 2.0T engine was not in these cars until 05.5 and later, so 01-04 would not be on the list. VW reliability scares me though.

I might add the G8, it might be a bit large for my tastes though.

The S60R is a possibility. They are nearly impossible to find, especially in manual. And the reliability isn't stellar. Worth a search.

I have been in a TSX, they are wonderfully Honda. I am not sure I want another Honda right now though.

As a daily, I don't want an old or hard to repair car like some of those on screwdriver's list. They look nice though.
Z3M - Not a fan of this one.

TT - Might be hard to live with, but I do like it more.

G35 is on the list for sure - I hear they eat tires, but I can live with that.
 
Last edited:

thevictor390

Teen Wankeler
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
11,840
Location
Massachusetts
Car(s)
'10 RX-8 R3, '89 Toyota Blizzard SX5
Not sure on RX-8 reliability. Mine only has 60k miles so far. But in your price range you can get one with low mileage, and the engine is warrantied to 8 years / 100k miles.

The only issue I've had was the catalytic converter causing a check engine light, this was repaired while it was still under factory warranty.

EDIT: forgot another issue, the proximity sensing system for the keyless entry wasn't working. This was repaired by an automated car wash. :lol: Supposedly an issue if you drive through the winter and the rear antenna gets blocked by salt and crap.
 
Last edited:

MrNailhead

Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
38
Location
KY
If you're not afraid of getting your hands dirty and doing some regular used car maintenance, my vote would be go older- my little '87 325i has (for the most part) been very reliable- was my only car for my last couple years of college. I have to believe 15k will get you the nicest (non M-car) E30 bimmer out there. Very comfortable on long road trips as well (unlike the back-breaking seats in my moms '02 Golf). Mine is only rated at 170 hp, but it doesn't weigh all that much either (curb weight of 2600-something, or somewhere around there) so it's a blast to drive- very agile. Of course, older cars like that you do have to be OK with the idea that it could break down somewhere (my throwout bearings decided they had enough in the middle of a busy intersection, haha- was able to limp over to my buddy's house in 1st gear, lol). So, that may not be ideal for someone looking for rock-solid reliability, but I do still love my car.
 

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,961
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
He will need more power than that 325 can offer. You have to bear in mind, we are talking about Colorado - the air is about 20% thinner and naturally aspirated engines suffer a lot from this.
 

biggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
788
Location
NC, USA
Car(s)
2x-'93 Nissan 240sx V/C, '03 Infiniti G35 C
G35 is on the list for sure - I hear they eat tires, but I can live with that.
Just make sure to check align once a year or so. I haven't seen any issues in my 2 years of ownership.

And with the Sedan you should have the ability to rotate, the Coupe not so much.
 

Bad Bowtie

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 18, 2010
Messages
641
Location
STL, MO
Another vote for a GTO.

Great ride- handles nicely while still being very comfortable for everyday driving

Pretty cheap to maintain/fix- Engines are interchangeable with every single LS based vehicle on the road (trucks/f-bodies/corvettes/etc.) so if that goes, you can pick up a cheap replacement for $500. Transmission is VERY strong. You can throw 700+hp at it while only changing the clutch out. You can change the oil, plugs/wires, and many other little things like if a starter (just an example) went bad yourself to save money. Nothing really fancy to these cars.

Interior- subjective, but I love it. Not much too it, but it fits the attitude of the car. I'd give the seats a 12 out of 10.

Exterior/looks- Purely subjective.

Other stuff-
TONS of power, gas mileage is pretty good for what it is (drive it sanely and you can see 18-20 city/25-28 highway). Personally, I'd rather have an 05/06 over an 04. 05/06 got the LS2 (6.0L), dual exhaust, hood scoops, 06 got different taillights, but come with a slightly higher price tag. The 04s can be had very cheap and are only down 50hp. You should easily be able to get one for under 15k with less than 60k miles on the clock.

Keep your current car and your insurance will be cheap and you also won't have to mess with a RWD car in the snow. I know you said you'd rather have 4 doors over 2, but the GTO really has a HUGE backseat for a 2 door car. I'm 6'2 and it's got plenty of room for my long legs.

Lastly, it is very easy to modify and you can see big gains for a relatively small amount of money spent (if you want to go that route).


Bottom line- DRIVE ONE. I am willing to bet you'll fall in love. And don't listen to the salesman and only go for a 5 minute drive. Take it everywhere you want to, I'd say nothing less than 30 minutes of drive time.



**If you are hell bent on 4 doors, or want something with a warranty and are willing to spend ~$20k...a G8GT will not disappoint. It really seems like a 4 door GTO. My friend has one, and it rolls out pretty damn well. 6L80 is pretty damn good too.
 
Last edited:

Okaen

Active Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2010
Messages
358
Location
Denver, CO, USA
Car(s)
1995 Honda Accord
He will need more power than that 325 can offer. You have to bear in mind, we are talking about Colorado - the air is about 20% thinner and naturally aspirated engines suffer a lot from this.
The internet says you lose 3% of your power every 1000ft. So it is about 15% to 18% less power in the Denver area. All bets are off once you head into the mountains.

I can tell you my poor Honda is not nearly as fun in Denver as it was at sea level.

EDIT: Newer is more appealing to me at the moment. I have had old cars my whole life. I really want to experience a car where everything is together tightly and there are no little issues. It is a preference, not a must.
 
Last edited:

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,961
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
Bad Bowtie, I seem to remember reading somewhere that the 04's had problems that the later models didn't. Any truth to that?


I'm going to bookmark this thread, since it seems Okaen and me are looking for the same type of the car in the same area (Even though I'm pretty much hellbent on getting an S60R) :)
 
Top