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Recs for a fun, reliable daily driver under $14K

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
So, as much as I hate cars, it may soon be time to replace my Civic that has 220,000 miles on it.

What should I be looking for is a used car, between 2003 and 2007, that is fun and reliable? By "Fun" I mean fun to LOOK at, visually appealing, etc moreso than something to be driven fast. Has to be reliable and cheap to maintain, since I drive a lot. Good gas mileage is a requirement as well

These come to mind. If you know anything good or bad, or want to add a model, please do

Lexus IS250
Miata
Mini
Accord coupe
VW diesel?
Infiniti G35
Nissan Maxima

I'm mainly looking for something that looks like I CHOSE to buy it, not simply that I bought a generic econobox.
post #2 of 33
I believe you can get a G35 with 50,000 miles or less with your budget, which I would assume isn't a bad bet. I haven't looked in a while, but when I was in the market for my 2nd car Acura Integra Type R's could be had for $14k, I suspect the price has gone up by now though.... And another Civic is never a bad bet.. I ended up with an '99 SI as a second car, purchased it for $7400 in brand new condition with 40,000 miles on it. I've only put 10k on it, so it goes without saying the car appreciated a bit over the last two years I've owned it. Only upgrade I've done is brembo cross slotted brake rotors with ceramic pads... car has no ABS, so you can imagine how fun they are
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks, part of me says get the 'boring beige Civic', and drive ir for the next 250,000 miles. But, I'm young, and something slightly sporty or less common sounds nice.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by longskate88 View Post
Thanks, part of me says get the 'boring beige Civic', and drive ir for the next 250,000 miles. But, I'm young, and something slightly sporty or less common sounds nice.

get an SI then.. might be difficult to find one at a fair price in California though

Being able to drive maintenance free $$$ is a nice feeling!

I haven't kept up on cars well enough to know how much costs on the G35 are... if it's anything like my 3 series, run away!
post #5 of 33
Vw 1.8t.
post #6 of 33
Mustang GT

Should be able to find an 05 or 06 in that price range. Besides being fast, they are pretty decently built and have a nice looking interior. That V8 sounds real nice too and its not too bad on the gas milage, especially on the highway.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by longskate88 View Post
Miata

My pick, especially if you can find a 2000SE or 2001SE with the Nardi wood steering wheel.

You might want to look at the Acura RSX, too.

Or the MR2 Spyder, if you can live with the cargo carrying restrictions.
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavalier View Post
get an SI then.. might be difficult to find one at a fair price in California though

Being able to drive maintenance free $$$ is a nice feeling!

I haven't kept up on cars well enough to know how much costs on the G35 are... if it's anything like my 3 series, run away!

I have a 3 series, a 2007 328i. I have had 0 maint costs to date. BMW takes care of everything for the first 50k miles, including oil changes. After 50k miles you simply use your local German specialty shop for maint/repair work as they typically charge 1/2 the price that the dealership will charge.

My local german specialty shop charges less per book hour than the shop I use for my 91MR2, if the Autohaus worked on Japenese cars I would use them for my MR2 as well

Back on topic... you can occasionally find 2005 Lotus Elise's in this price range. I am giving serious thought to selling my old MR2 and picking up an Elise. This would be a highly impractical choice if this is going to be your only car, however life is short
post #9 of 33
Honda Fit, if you can find one.
post #10 of 33
Get a new VW Diesel car.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by eqpablon View Post
I have a 3 series, a 2007 328i. I have had 0 maint costs to date. BMW takes care of everything for the first 50k miles, including oil changes. After 50k miles you simply use your local German specialty shop for maint/repair work as they typically charge 1/2 the price that the dealership will charge.

My local german specialty shop charges less per book hour than the shop I use for my 91MR2, if the Autohaus worked on Japenese cars I would use them for my MR2 as well

Back on topic... you can occasionally find 2005 Lotus Elise's in this price range. I am giving serious thought to selling my old MR2 and picking up an Elise. This would be a highly impractical choice if this is going to be your only car, however life is short

Lotus Elise under $14k? Are you on drugs
post #12 of 33
No to the VW, BMW (god no...), and the Mustang GT (18 mpg on highway and around town for an 08 GT...). Reliability isn't great on these, unless they've changed in the last 5-7 years Miatas suit you a lot, but they are hugely impractical due to a lack of storage space. They can look nice with upgrades, and are cheap to work on and are reliable. The MR2 Spyder is the same, but is a bit bigger. I've always liked the IS300's, I think you could get a really good condition one within your budget.
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by eqpablon View Post
I have a 3 series, a 2007 328i. I have had 0 maint costs to date. BMW takes care of everything for the first 50k miles, including oil changes. After 50k miles you simply use your local German specialty shop for maint/repair work as they typically charge 1/2 the price that the dealership will charge. My local german specialty shop charges less per book hour than the shop I use for my 91MR2, if the Autohaus worked on Japenese cars I would use them for my MR2 as well Back on topic... you can occasionally find 2005 Lotus Elise's in this price range. I am giving serious thought to selling my old MR2 and picking up an Elise. This would be a highly impractical choice if this is going to be your only car, however life is short
Obviously a new BMW comes with a warranty, but when it comes out of warranty you can expect each trip to the dealership to cost $2-3g's. I have an 03 330Xi btw. I will have to find a german 3rd party shop to start saving money. Wrecked Elises go for $15-20g's..... I would sell my SI and buy one in a heart beat for 14k!
post #14 of 33
A couple year old wrx would be right around that range.
post #15 of 33
you should be able to score at least an 05 g35 in that price range.....have it checked out at the infiniti dealership before buying....if everything checks out, they're quite reliable....of all the cars you listed, the g35 is the best overall package. i sold my 05 g35 sedan with premium package for 13.5k a few months ago....it had around 48k miles and was in flawless condition apart from a few dings here and there.... edit: if you decide to get a g35 make sure it does not have any oil consumption issues....i know some model years had that problem...an 05 sedan does not...i THINK the coupe does...
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