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vincephan
vincephan New Reader
8/1/11 9:10 p.m.

This is basically another "what car" thread... with some conditions.

After going back and forth between a list full of wants and needs... I came to the conclusion I need...

24+MPG, seating for four, modding potential, good aftermarket...

All for under 6,500.... the EP3 came to mind but I'm wondering what else might you guys suggest.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
8/1/11 9:18 p.m.

Sporty commuter with 30+ mpg = '00 and newer Celica GT or GTS for more fun but slightly less mpg. The economy and reliability of a Corolla in a sportier package with a useful hatchback.

motomoron
motomoron HalfDork
8/1/11 9:38 p.m.

My ep3 consistently got crap gas mileage. It may have improved after I installed an Jackson (Eaton) SC.

CarRamRod
CarRamRod New Reader
8/1/11 11:27 p.m.

Not sure about MPG but how bout an E36?

lnlds
lnlds New Reader
8/1/11 11:32 p.m.

I think a 2.3 duratec focus fits the bill pretty nicely

vincephan
vincephan New Reader
8/2/11 12:46 a.m.

Well, truth be told guys...

My parents are supplying me with a majority of the money for the car so I need a "parent friendly" suggestion.

Both my parents are typical Asian people... they think Honda's and Toyota's are God's gift to people and that anything American or German is complete junk. It's extremely frustrating because there are 3 Camry's in the household and they aren't that reliable....

I actually found a few 330i's around but my parents think they're unreliable. I also threw around the idea of a Focus but my dad told me to buy a Civic instead. Shame... because a Focus handles a bit better than EP3's.

Anyways, keep the suggestions coming. I can probably push for a Focus but BMW's are probably out of question.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke Reader
8/2/11 12:49 a.m.

Ummm.. Older Civics? I love Hondas ,but I'm not the biggest fan of the K-series engines.

Subaru 2.5RS..

mtn
mtn SuperDork
8/2/11 1:08 a.m.

Early Mazda3's might be getting into that price range.

vincephan
vincephan New Reader
8/2/11 2:17 a.m.

I would love a manual hatchback Mazda3... if what you say is true, I've decided on my car.

It's basically a Focus but it passes the parents' "Jap or Crap" test. Win-Win situation for me.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
8/2/11 6:17 a.m.
vincephan wrote: Well, truth be told guys... My parents are supplying me with a majority of the money for the car so I need a "parent friendly" suggestion. Both my parents are typical Asian people... they think Honda's and Toyota's are God's gift to people and that anything American or German is complete junk. It's extremely frustrating because there are 3 Camry's in the household and they aren't that reliable.... I actually found a few 330i's around but my parents think they're unreliable. I also threw around the idea of a Focus but my dad told me to buy a Civic instead. Shame... because a Focus handles a bit better than EP3's. Anyways, keep the suggestions coming. I can probably push for a Focus but BMW's are probably out of question.

If they're push Honda and Toyota, then milk them for a 2000+ Celica GTS as mentioned above. Far and above a better and more fun car than the EP3.

Maybe an RSX Type S?

If they were open to Ford that would help, but the cars similar to the EP3 you've got there, as i would rank them....

1) Celica GTS
2) RSX Type S
3) SVT Focus
4) anything else
5) EP3

(You can swap numbers 1 and 2, personal preference)

But you get the idea.

mw
mw HalfDork
8/2/11 8:24 a.m.

Mini Cooper? Its not jap or reliable, but fits some of the other criteria

mtn
mtn SuperDork
8/2/11 8:30 a.m.
vincephan wrote: I would love a manual hatchback Mazda3... if what you say is true, I've decided on my car. It's basically a Focus but it passes the parents' "Jap or Crap" test. Win-Win situation for me.

Just did a nationwide search on autotrader, manual hatchback 3, maximum price $7000. I came up with 5 hits, all high mileage. But they are getting into the price range, like I said.

EvanB
EvanB SuperDork
8/2/11 8:46 a.m.

You might be able to find a WRX for that price if you are willing to travel for a deal.

CarRamRod
CarRamRod New Reader
8/2/11 8:54 a.m.

Mazdaspeed Protege is another option but watch out for rust.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey HalfDork
8/2/11 8:55 a.m.
clutchsmoke wrote: Ummm.. Older Civics? I love Hondas ,but I'm not the biggest fan of the K-series engines. Subaru 2.5RS..

Don't like the K-series engine but suggest a vehicle known for eating headgaskets for breakfast?

Osterkraut
Osterkraut SuperDork
8/2/11 8:58 a.m.

Prelude?

Taiden
Taiden HalfDork
8/2/11 9:03 a.m.

wrx wagon!

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt Dork
8/2/11 9:08 a.m.
CarRamRod wrote: Not sure about MPG but how bout an E36?

Mine gets pretty much right at that mileage, and it's a 328 convertible. Held up better than my EG Civic, too.

But if it has to be Japanese as well, the Mazda 3 / Protege comes to mind. You could score a Protege MP3 in that price range pretty easily.

Matt B
Matt B Dork
8/2/11 9:42 a.m.

Non-speed Mazda3's are great all around cars. Lots of space, handle pretty dern good stock, relatively comfy on long drives, but imho their engine is out of it's league compared to the RSX-S, Celica GTS, Prelude, um pretty much everything else listed here. I've driven my brother-in-law's quite a bit, and while I like it - I much prefer my old(er) Integra GSR.

I'll just add that Preludes make great daily drivers. Everybody harps on them for being too heavy (for a fwd), but it's not really noticeable unless you're autocrossing competitively imho. The extra torque they have over the Integra, Celica, and even the WRX (at low rpms) makes them more relaxed around town. They're just getting a little old now, don't know if they'll pass the parent's age test.

I also like the WRX wagon idea, but finding an unmolested one seems like a unicorn these days.

Volksrodden
Volksrodden Dork
8/2/11 10:13 a.m.

SAAB's are not to hateful at the gas pump. I pick up my 1997 900s $1,000, granted it is a hail damage car, witch put the price at "hell yes" for me

mtn
mtn SuperDork
8/2/11 10:17 a.m.
Volksrodden wrote: SAAB's are not to hateful at the gas pump. I pick up my 1997 900s $1,000, granted it is a hail damage car, witch put the price at "hell yes" for me

If it is "Jap or crap" then SAAB would have no chance.

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Associate Editor
8/2/11 10:36 a.m.

I heard second-hand that Mazdaspeed Proteges had some drivetrain issues. Don't take that as gospel, but it's worth looking into. Word is that's why Mazda built the 'speed Miata in-house, after having problems with Callaway building their 'speed Proteges. This could be all entirely rumors though. 'speed Proteges are surprisingly expensive too, last time I looked.

Standard Proteges, Protege5s, and MP3s though, should be very reliable and super fun to drive. The latter two both have the same suspension as the 'speed version, if memory serves.

coll9947
coll9947 Reader
8/2/11 10:42 a.m.

I think 1st gen Mazda3 wagons are the best deal for a newish used car. I was a lot attendant at a Mazda/GMC/Suzuki/Nissan dealership when the Mazda3 came out in 2004 and compared to my 2000 Civic the Mazda3 was SO much car for the money, even being just 4 years newer than my Civic.

I heard the EP3 is most improved by an RSX-S transmission swap. But I'd rather just go for the RSX-S.

Proteges and Protege5s are also pretty good cars. I've had 3 friends all with 01-03 Proteges and they've all been fun little cars that are built just as good as the Civics of yore, but generally sell for less. Finding one in good shape these days can be tricky though, and they might be a little too old now for your folks to approve.

Hence, I suggest Mazda3.

fastEddie
fastEddie SuperDork
8/2/11 10:57 a.m.

Too bad about the Focus - I love my 2.3 5-spd.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt Dork
8/2/11 11:14 a.m.

Another thought - what ever happened to the Sentra SE-R Spec V? They seemed pretty quick, but you don't hear much about them anymore. Sounds like one of them might fit your needs too.

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