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Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-15-2010, 7:30 AM Reply   
I'm selling my 2001 Audi tt quattro roadster. It's modded and mint, but I don't drive it unless the weather is good AND I don't have to pick up my kids from somewhere after work. So it mostly sits in the garage. Time to pass it along to a new home.

Anyway I'm looking to get into a "fun" commuter for $15k or less, and no more than 50k miles on the clock. So far the 06+ jetta gli and 4 door gti has piqued my interest, along with the 2006+ civic si sedan. As you can see I'm pretty preferential to four doors, because I'm still doing a fair amount of kid hauling. As much as I'd like something rwd (anybody noticed how cheap an 06+ Gto can be had for?), I live at 5000' at the top of a long hill. Fwd is mandatory, and even awd would be preferred.

I've had the first gen wrx, which was fun, but don't want another. Second gen might be fun but seems to be out of the price range at this point.

What am I missing?
Old    Flack (flackpack)      Join Date: Feb 2004       10-15-2010, 8:32 AM Reply   
Mazda RX8, great handling, sort of a four door, better in weather than some of those others.

If you don't mind the styling - Dodge Caliber SRT. AWD, lots of after market go fast parts, and quick. We have a guy at our motorsports club who has modified one to 380 hp, and is beating up on most of the german crowd with Boxters, Audis and more.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-15-2010, 9:06 AM Reply   
Flack,

Thanks much for your thoughts. Believe me if rwd (RX8) were on the table, I'd have a host of cars I'd be eying more carefully (RX8 among them for sure). But where I live I've got about two to three weeks a year with hard packed snow and I live at the the top of a BIG hill (they'd call it a mountain in the east I'm sure), where rwd just won't work at all without chains.

As for the caliber... ugh, you called it. I can't get past the styling. at all.

Keep 'em coming though!
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-15-2010, 9:29 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawndoggy View Post
I'm selling my 2001 Audi tt quattro roadster. It's modded and mint, but I don't drive it unless the weather is good AND I don't have to pick up my kids from somewhere after work. So it mostly sits in the garage. Time to pass it along to a new home.

Anyway I'm looking to get into a "fun" commuter for $15k or less, and no more than 50k miles on the clock. So far the 06+ jetta gli and 4 door gti has piqued my interest, along with the 2006+ civic si sedan. As you can see I'm pretty preferential to four doors, because I'm still doing a fair amount of kid hauling. As much as I'd like something rwd (anybody noticed how cheap an 06+ Gto can be had for?), I live at 5000' at the top of a long hill. Fwd is mandatory, and even awd would be preferred.

I've had the first gen wrx, which was fun, but don't want another. Second gen might be fun but seems to be out of the price range at this point.

What am I missing?

What about the 05-06 impreza WRX wagon 2.5i? I am not sure what the difference is between those and the first generation but I wouldn't mind trying the sport wagon myself.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-15-2010, 10:03 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by polarbill View Post
What about the 05-06 impreza WRX wagon 2.5i? I am not sure what the difference is between those and the first generation but I wouldn't mind trying the sport wagon myself.
Hey bill... my 2001 wrx was the wagon, but the 2.0 (thanks for reminding me that they did push down the 2.5 motor).

The thing that killed me with the subie was the 1st gear syncro... basically if you were rolling AT ALL it would grind going into first. So say when you are rolling up to a 4 way stop, you had to be completely stopped. sounds like a trivial thing, but that's not how I drive, and I've certainly never had that behavior in the ford, toyota, honda or audi manuals I've owned. It got to the point that I started hating the car over it.

That said, nothing is more fun on a snow packed road than a wrx with dedicated snows. Sideways at 50mph all day long.
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       10-15-2010, 10:23 AM Reply   
Why not another Audi? You could get a A4 quattro, or a A6 quattro for that price range. Heck, you might be able to find an Audi owner that wants to swap. Try listing your TT for a trade on Craigslist. My brother just picked up a '05 S4 with 60k on it for $19k. Super nice car for the money.

How about a Mitsubishi Lancer. Evo would obviously be my first choice, but they made that OZ edition with a lot of the cool bits and a smaller price tag.
Old    Alan Slabaugh (alans)      Join Date: Aug 2005       10-15-2010, 10:24 AM Reply   
I have a '10 WRX and 1st gear is the same, unless you heel toe and mach the revs. I can get into 1st at 20 mph no problem, it really scares the soccer moms at the stop lights and my 2 yo loves the sounds.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-15-2010, 10:31 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by alans View Post
I have a '10 WRX and 1st gear is the same, unless you heel toe and mach the revs. I can get into 1st at 20 mph no problem, it really scares the soccer moms at the stop lights and my 2 yo loves the sounds.
It is the ultimate young dad's car (my 11 y/o was 2 when I got my 01), and I can passibly heel and toe, but I don't think you should HAVE to with a modern car in drama free around town driving.

Quote:
How about a Mitsubishi Lancer. Evo would obviously be my first choice, but they made that OZ edition with a lot of the cool bits and a smaller price tag.
Evo would totally be on the list except there doesn't seem to be an unmolested used one in existence.

As for A4 or A6... kinda looking for something lighter or more tossable if that makes sense. S4 would be sweet. $19K!? wow. That's a deal. Prolly wanting a bit more fuel efficiency than that tho.

Any thoughts on mazdaspeed 3?
Old    Ben B (benbuchholz)      Join Date: Oct 2009       10-15-2010, 3:32 PM Reply   
have you checked out the BMW xi's? they're awd, either 3-series xi's or the 5-series xi's. Higher repair costs, but man are they nice cars. and super reliable too. I've seen 03 or 04 330xi's for around 13 to 15 thousand, with 50,000 miles or so on them
Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       10-15-2010, 4:20 PM Reply   
Mazda 3 was going to be my mention, specifically in a wagon. Seems much more useable. I test drove one last week, fun little car to drive. I like the way they look as well. Go for the speed 3 if you can find a decent one in your price range.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-15-2010, 4:37 PM Reply   
drove a 2011 mazdaspeed3 at lunch. Not bad all-in-all. Definitely on the list now.
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       10-15-2010, 5:53 PM Reply   
I've heard great things about the Mazda, but never driven one. Do they have AWD, or front only? I'm not a front driver kind of guy. Just hate torquesteer and wheelspin on acceleration.

I'd get a STI if I could, but I've been prohibited by the wife. She thinks they're kids cars. Right now we have a Audi A4 with a 2.0 turbo and a 6 speed. It's a really fun car. Not as fun as my brothers S4, but cheaper to maintain and only marginally less fun. If I ever get my hands on it (and her out of it for good) it'll get tuning and exhaust, then do some suspension. Lowering springs, swaybars... The usual stuff. I think it'd be a blast. Honestly, my brothers last A4 (a b5 chassis) was great. Lightweight with a pumped up 1.8 turbo and some suspension mods. It was really fun to push around. He sold that car with 80k miles for under 10, so those are out there, but usually they're beat much like the Evo's.

I would have to say that a GTI 4-door with the 2.0 turbo would be awesome also. If you could get a R32 with AWD and 4 doors, that'd be the ultimate. Those cars are in big demand, though. A3's are fun, too. S line with a 2.0 and a 6 speed would be killer.

Lot's of options out there. Ben, the xi's are slugs. They drive much heavier than their 2wd counterparts. Cool cars, but not as sporty and really rare to find with a manual for some reason. The only BMW AWD's that I'd consider would be the X5's with a V8. They're super fun to drive. You can toss them around like a car, out grunt most cars off the line, then load the kids/family up and head for the mountains. A great do everything vehicle, but they can be a bit maintanence heavy after 60k miles.
Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       10-15-2010, 6:43 PM Reply   
speed3 is fwd. They did make the mazda 6 in a "speed" version that was awd, only produced from 2005- 2007 to my knowledge
Old    Ben B (benbuchholz)      Join Date: Oct 2009       10-15-2010, 8:38 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by guido View Post
Ben, the xi's are slugs. They drive much heavier than their 2wd counterparts. Cool cars, but not as sporty and really rare to find with a manual for some reason. The only BMW AWD's that I'd consider would be the X5's with a V8. They're super fun to drive. You can toss them around like a car, out grunt most cars off the line, then load the kids/family up and head for the mountains. A great do everything vehicle, but they can be a bit maintanence heavy after 60k miles.
Ah I had no idea they were sluggish. Disregard my contribution! haha but yeah those X5's are definitely fun to drive, my neighbor has one that i've driven once or twice. That thing's a beast in the snow too! And yeah they've put so much money into their X5 for repairs, thats the one thing they don't like about it. seems like they're always fixing something on it. But I guess if you have the money for an X5, usually you have enough money for the repairs
Old    Barry Waste (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-15-2010, 9:21 PM Reply   
I own a Mazdaspeed 3 and really get it kick out of it. Tons of room! If you're into mods, they're real mod friendly and can put down about 300whp for about 2k. I can tell you this, I've owned mine for 2 years and at the age of 42 I still giggle like a kid when I drive it. Mine's pretty modified and it's holding up really well considering we've got it to 368whp and I still get 24/19 MPG. I'm way too old to have this much fun in a wagon.
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Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       10-16-2010, 7:55 AM Reply   
I'd definantly have that on my list of "fun commuter car" ^^^

Beautiful whip
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-16-2010, 6:07 PM Reply   
practical side is winning out... leaning toward wrx. Gonna give an 08 a serious shot tomorrow morning.
Old    Akadirtbikingdad (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       10-17-2010, 5:26 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawndoggy View Post
drove a 2011 mazdaspeed3 at lunch. Not bad all-in-all. Definitely on the list now.
Does this meet the $15K or less price range or are you expanding it?

It's funny how I decide a price and then for a few $ more I can have "this".

Good thread. I had decided to get an Accord for my next car, but have still been thinking about something more fun without breaking the bank and maintaining some function.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-18-2010, 6:30 AM Reply   
Ended up bringing home an 07 civic si sedan. We drove an 08 wrx first, and I would have made a deal on it but the dealer was clueless. Which was probably good because there was something going on with the clutch (stiffest clutch I've ever had the pleasure of standing on).

My wife says, well why not just buy a new one if that's the car you want. So off we go to the Subie dealer. On the way there was a dealer with a used civic si that I'd wanted to take a look at. Took it on a test drive and I was sold (especially considering it was about $12k cheaper than the wrx). Car is still very tight, no squeaks or rattles. The sales person let us go on a pretty extended test drive, including a long portion on a poorly paved rough road... the kind that will make the squeaks and rattles come out. Car was tight as a drum.

So we ended up leaving a nice sized chunk of cash in the bank and I came home with a fun commuter. win-win.
Old    Barry Waste (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-18-2010, 6:36 AM Reply   
You can't go wrong with a Honda Civic. That was a good purchase if you ask me.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-18-2010, 9:11 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by barry View Post
You can't go wrong with a Honda Civic. That was a good purchase if you ask me.
This is our fifth Honda... past experience had a lot to do with this choice.
Old    Richard Coop (mendo247)      Join Date: Mar 2005       10-18-2010, 10:34 AM Reply   
Is it fun to drive? Gonna have to pick up a commuter in the next few weeks and been looking the SI. Also keep an eye on the mileage, id be curious to see what you get compared to a regular civic.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-18-2010, 11:19 AM Reply   
Richard, yeah, it's a hoot. Again, coming from a manual trans honda background. Most specifically, I had a 1993 accord ex wagon that was a manual car and had upgraded suspension bits (sport springs, shocks, high perf tires). The si handles better than that car ever did. It's a stiffer riding car for sure, but not backbreakingly stiff (my just-sold TT fit that category on rough pavement). Corners flat, revs forever. Best shifting honda trans I've ever driven (closely spaced, super slick, not notchy or rubbery).

Gone is the slam of the turbo that I had with the TT, but that's OK, I'm over it.



I'm expecting mileage in the mid 20s. I generally drive like a grandpa, except for two big sweepers on my commute which can be taken at speed if traffic conditions permit. Car will be driven in traffic 99% of the time. I also live at the top of a 750' (vertical elevation gain) "hill", so my mileage experience will definitely be worse than a flatlander driving in similar circumstances. I'll report back after I go through a couple of tanks.
Old    Richard Coop (mendo247)      Join Date: Mar 2005       10-18-2010, 6:45 PM Reply   
Yeah im curious, id hope for more than mid twenties. Im gonna need close to thirty or i may as well keep driving my V6 4wd 4Runner which im getting over twenty with now.
Old    Cory D (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       10-18-2010, 7:35 PM Reply   
Personally if I were gonna go with a fun econobox to daily drive I'd do a '64-'65 Falcon with either a 200 cube 6-banger with ported aussie head, mild cam, and T5. Should net about 30 MPG. Used to have a '63 for a daily that was a 144 and 3 on the tree, got just over 30 MPG highway. Plans were a 200 and T5 but some prick plowed into me before that happened. I would have pummeled him into the ground if I could use my legs at the time, got a little banged up in that one. Only funny part is he plowed me right in front of a police+fire station.

I don't care for new cars but if it came to something new and disposable for when the snow rots it out it'd probably be a fox body with a mild 302 and T5. With some creative tuning you can get 30+ MPG out of them, but realistic is mid 20s. Drive it 'till it rots out, then either replace metal or get another one. Dime a dozen these days and fun little cars. Knowing me if I got a fox body it'd end up with a 545 and TKO600, there goes the fuel efficiency...
Old    Caleb Rountree (dlwsrider)      Join Date: Apr 2007       10-18-2010, 7:43 PM Reply   
It's been mentioned, but I recommend trying a Mazda speed 6 if you can find one. VERY fun car to drive, and will whip on on the track. AWD Sedan too.
Old    E Double U (three6ty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       10-18-2010, 8:18 PM Reply   
Im picking up a 2007 VW Passat Wagon Luxury package tomorrow. 32K miles still under warranty . Picking it up for $15,800 out the door. Cant wait to drive it then hand it off to my wife as her new commuter car!!
Old    BJ Cail (bcail)      Join Date: Aug 2007       10-24-2010, 11:42 AM Reply   
I've got a '09 SI with about 35,000 on the clock. Fun commuter and I get 30-32 mpg no matter how I drive it. My commute is about 80% highway.

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