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Car Rec: $20k, 4 real seats, 3 pedals

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Car Rec: $20k, 4 real seats, 3 pedals

Old 03-08-2019, 03:06 PM
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You aren't insisting on RWD (though all the cars on the list are AWD or RWD) so I'll add a 2014+ Honda Accord Sport with 6MT. Tons of space, dead reliable, cheap to own and you get a relatively new car. It's pretty fun to drive and it's great of fuel.

Civic Si, as others mentioned, would also be reliable and cheap and, in sedan form, offer four seats.

You can find a rare last-generation Acura TL with 6MT and AWD, as well, if you can get past the looks.
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Old 03-08-2019, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by asrautox View Post
The Camaro SS should come off. It's not a $20k car and the rear seats are only suitable for dogs and amputees. The BMW's are good if you like spending time in the garage, and might as well add the 1/2/335i models to the list.. The CTS-V and RS4 won't be $20k either.. That leaves you with:

RX-8 - Oil burner
Mini JCW - Worse reliability than BMWs
STI - Ringlands
EVO - 9 would be my choice
WRX - FA20 is better than the EJ
S4 - High $20k

If it were me, I'd go for a low mile 335i or S4 and get to know your local independent mechanic..
Agreed on all.

However, you can get an S4 for less depending on generation. A buddy of mine just sold his 2010 S4 (S/C V6), granted with 106k miles but it was in great condition and only $15k asking.
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Old 03-08-2019, 03:29 PM
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Yeah I think your budget is a bit low for quite a few of the cars listed. And while you eliminated a 911, I don’t think you could have gotten one of those for $20k unless it was a beat 996. I think you should re-evaluate your actual budget and then we could provide better advice.

I think a 335 M-sport sedan would make a good option in the $20k range. If you up your budget to $30k then I would consider an STI or E90 M3
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Old 03-09-2019, 07:50 AM
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VW Golf Sportswagen 4motion in a manual.
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Old 03-09-2019, 07:51 AM
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Newer Honda Fit
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:08 AM
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​​​​- previous gen Civic Si
- 2014ish Honda Accord
- Honda Fit
- early Mk7 GTI
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Old 03-11-2019, 06:02 AM
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Doesn't sound like a bad weather car list. I'm in a similar dilemma as my winter beater 08 g35x is a great car, cheap, bad gas mileage but its starting to bore me. its too heavy.
I'd consider a Golf R, GTI, or 15+ WRX as well.
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Old 03-11-2019, 06:34 AM
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Evo iX prices are incredible. When i totaled mine in 2009 I got what I paid for, for it. They look to be the same or more with low miles. Evo X’s are cheaper.
I found some good 5 speed IX’s on CarGurus, but they touch 30k. Evo viii or X are cheaper.
OP: do yourself a favor and drive a well
sorted stockish IX.
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Old 03-11-2019, 10:56 AM
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Second the Accord Sport. You could get a V6 coupe 6MT for $20k no problem.
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Old 03-11-2019, 07:09 PM
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I’ll update this thread with comments on cars as I drive them. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. A few people called me out that a few of the cars on my list are probably more liked $25. I may bump the budget up if the car can hold its value. The three bimmers on my list do have high maintenance needs but I think that’s made up for by the lack of depreciation.

E90 M3 Sedan. I tested a DCT model because a dealer had one close by. Great great car. A full size four door, it feels it’s weight approx 3700 lbs. The engine is objectively fantastic and very much my taste—high revving naturally aspirated—but an 8400 redline on a V8 is not something I won’t be able to access much. Unlike a bigger displacement V8 it does have as much low end grunt so it doesn’t have the thrill of throwing you back in your seat at low rpm. I think I’ll run out room before I can access all 414 horses at 8000 rpm. I do suburban Chicago driving. My car has to be fun at low speed. I’m not sure this M3 is and in fairness it wasn’t designed to be. Overall this may be the best car on the list for sport, practicality and luxury. The problem is I don’t really need four doors, my back seat gets used twice per month. The engine may not suit my driving. Amazingly prices have not plateaued yet. Still, I want to the 6 speed.

Mini Cooper JCW. 3rd gen F56 in BMW chassis code. I’ve owned/own 1st and 2nd gen Coopers. The third gen is the most luxurious and has the best ride even in the sporty John Cooper Works model. Unfortunately it’s totally numb and boring to drive. I might look at a 1st or 2nd gen JCW. The first gen is my favorite FWD car. They really deserve the go kart reputation. The interiors are early 2000s economy car and I’m not sure I want to live with that.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. This example was heavily modified. I’m not sure what it had—it was at an Acura dealer—but there were boost gauges, a huge exhaust, Cobb accessport and the heaviest clutch I’ve ever used. This car is leg day. It was silly torquey when the boost came on. The handling was amazing. I took a 90 degree turn a little faster than usual and it was a blast. I see why people say it’s a hero car or cheat code. I really need to drive a stock or close to stock Evo. I was thinking boosted four cylinders were not of interest and while the engine isn’t what I like about the car, the Evo is now a dark horse candidate.
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