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jharry3
jharry3 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/20/17 5:27 p.m.

I bought my daughter a 2008 Impreza hatchback. - Good crash rating, AWD, auto transmission. Handle's well enough. Did I mention good crash rating? I second the motion to get a southern car to start. Road salt rust is forever. No on the rotary.
Poor gas mileage, people don't take care of them, probably too fast for a 16 year old and definitely does not have the crash rating of the Subie.

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller Reader
6/20/17 7:55 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

If the underside of that Mazda 3 is as nice as the top, the OP better buy that before I do.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/20/17 8:09 p.m.

In reply to rustybugkiller:

Strangly, have you noticed that both the pictures I posted are "out of season" in that neither picture has leaves on the trees?

I think manual trans cars are harder to sell than we may realize (and can be bought significantly cheaper than their auto trans counterparts.)

Another with few real leaves on the trees.
Link

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
6/20/17 8:15 p.m.

I wouldn't get him the RX-8. It'll be trouble. Both in terms of maintenance and keeping his license. It's a car that begs to be flogged.

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller Reader
6/20/17 8:16 p.m.
John Welsh wrote: In reply to rustybugkiller: Strangly, have you noticed that both the pictures I posted are "out of season" in that neither picture has leaves on the trees? I think manual trans cars are harder to sell than we may realize (and can be bought significantly cheaper than their auto trans counterparts.)

Aw, I didn't notice that! Going to the current ad, the leaves are present. Although the ad was posted 28 days ago. I think your right, I good deal could be had here.

wsouders
wsouders New Reader
6/20/17 11:29 p.m.

Thank you everyone for your awesome input! I have checked on the insurance for the RX-8 and found that it was only $411 for the year. That car is a cream puff up in Michigan about a 3.5 hour drive to even look at. He does also have a soft spot for Subies and would love an 08 - 12 Impreza hatch as there is a good aftermarket for it and plenty of ability to add WRX and STI parts as he feels more comfortable with it and earns the money to buy them. That Mazda 3 is sharp. I have an 07 Focus ST with the same 2.3 and manual and love it. We may have to check it out soon.

szeis4cookie
szeis4cookie HalfDork
6/21/17 5:36 a.m.

Have you considered giving him your Focus and getting something for yourself? That Focus seems like the ideal answer here - it will give him some driving fun, it's reliable, you know the history on it, and it's not so fast that it will get him in trouble.

WildScotsRacing
WildScotsRacing Dork
6/21/17 6:17 a.m.

In reply to szeis4cookie:

That is an excellent idea right there! The duratec focuses have an excellent performance aftermarket, are surprisingly fun handling cars even in stock form, and can be quite competent in the snow with a proper set of winter tires. FYI a manual 2.3 Focus is more than fast enough for a 16 year old to get himself in trouble with, they have torque for days! The positive side of that is that they're also fast enough to get him OUT of trouble should he need the acceleration to avoid a sticky traffic situation.

Mr_Clutch42
Mr_Clutch42 SuperDork
6/21/17 8:29 a.m.

I'm also in the opinion to get your kid a less sporty car for their first car, statistically, they're more likely to crash, especially if they have more than one passenger in the car with them. A Civic, Corolla, or your Focus should be more reliable than the Subaru or the RX-8 you mentioned, not to overlook more gas efficient. It's usually cheaper for new drivers to make driving and maintenance mistakes on an appliance vs. a sports car, and theoretically will put a damper on driving too fast.

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
6/21/17 12:04 p.m.

I was leaning toward Subaru (watched two RX-8s at recent autocrosses blowing oil after bad apex seals) and the same new driver/etc reasons. First car doesn't have to be last car, start simple with the auto and learn to drive competently then 1-2 years down look for manual?

And as a fellow Ohian I can also see the beauty in an AWD car. (He'll still find plenty of resources and parts for the wagon.)

...then I saw the idea of giving him the ST. Even better?

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
6/22/17 12:25 p.m.

I would strongly recommend the Subaru. It's not particularly exciting to drive, but it's cheap to maintain and insure, and it's safe. The RX-8 is a lot of fun, but not a good first car.

We have an '08 Outback and it's been relatively trouble free. It seems to split CV boots often compared to other simple cars, but that's about it. My biggest gripe about the car is the automatic transmission calibration so I'd try to find a manual. Stay away from the turbocharged variants, unless you like a project. (See my Subaru build thread!)

Rufledt
Rufledt UberDork
6/22/17 12:40 p.m.

I own an RX8 and I love rotaries. Get the Subaru. Used RX8 is a terrible idea. Unknown maintenance history (even if they say it's good), can't fit stuff in it, terrible mileage. They aren't that fast but fast enough for serious problems. Slow subi wagon with a stick would be the very best car imaginable, but an auto would still be better than an rx8 for a kid.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/22/17 12:49 p.m.

Skip the rotary, and honestly, skip the Subaru, too.

The Mazda 3 has it's caveats, especially the first gen cars (ahem... RUST) but one of those with a set of dedicated snows would be my choice. And that's coming from a former "Subaru Fanboi" and current Mazda owner. The Mazda drivetrains are near bulletproof, and if something does happen, you can source parts cheaply because the MZR engines were used in a lot of different cars. The Subarus can rust just as bad, and while the AWD is nice, they still have other issues that are much more annoying to deal with.

wsouders
wsouders New Reader
9/17/17 10:13 p.m.

Well everyone, we ended up with a 2008 Subaru Impreza. It is a dark gray wagon with the 5 speed and not much else. It had 135k on the odometer and a few rust spots (on the roof, hatch and B-pillar) otherwise was solid and priced low enough that we jumped on it. I already have the new timing belt and water pump kit to put on it and had the rust and a few dings repaired by our body guy and it looks like a great little car. He is learning how to drive it now and is happy to have money left over to get some nice rims and tires as it came with steelies and hub caps. We will be investing in good snow tires for a set of aftermarket rims that I already had which fit. Thank you all for the great suggestions. 

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
9/17/17 10:34 p.m.

Impreza wagon, stick. Nice choice.  

Thanks for the return, update.  

Keep the steel rims and  put the winter tires on them. The salt will just destroy anything nicer. The steels are easy to spray paint back to a better appearance at the beginning of every winter. Try a gun-metal gray color on the steel rims.

Wide is not what you want in snow tires. Skinny is better so the steels are good for that too. 

TheRX7Project
TheRX7Project New Reader
9/17/17 11:43 p.m.

Coming from a rotary guy... not the RX-8. The Renesis has problems with cooking the center bearings, and needs to be thrashed to keep carbon from building up. If it has a rebuilt engine- fine, but still keep in mind that rotaries need a good thrashing once a week or so. "A redline a day keeps the mechanic away". Not exactly what you want a fresh driver to have to worry about.

Honestly, first car for a 16 year old... find something cheap, easy to drive, cheap and easy to fix, and reliable, like a Civic. They are likely going to either crash or destroy it.

EDIT: Now I see you got the Impreza. Good choice, and congrats.

szeis4cookie
szeis4cookie HalfDork
9/18/17 6:03 a.m.

Good choice. Next steps are Tire Rack Street Survival and all of the autocrossing.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/18/17 7:13 a.m.

The whole conversation about learning to drive a manual is pointless to me.  Where and when I grew up  (England in the 80's) Auto's were the domain of large luxury cars only.  No one of us male or female, car enthusiast or 'cars are a necessary evil' type ever discussed learning to drive a manual.  We all just learnt to drive.  Driving on the road in traffic is what learning to drive was about.  Three pedals was just what you had.  I'll never understand the scare factor of learning a manual.

RX8's though, I loved them when the first came out and went to test drive them.  Note, I was a prior Rotary owner as well, my first car when I moved here was an NC RX7 GTU.  I love the way the RX8 drives, but that pointless dead end of an engine just ruins it.  The gas mileage, especially for a young person just isn't acceptable.  I don't even car about the reliability issues, if you could actually get over 20mpg  on the highway I'd have bought one new when they were launched, but that gas sucking brick is silly.  Now someone will chime in how they car get 25mpg on the freeway, but I don't buy it.  To me freeway means the cruise is set at 80 or 85.  I knew a guy who got one new and moved cross country from Cali to Michigan to work at Ford.  His trip average was 16mpg.  I wouldn't accept that now in an F150, let alone a small sports car.  So, under no circumstances would I recommend an Rx8 as a primary DD, let alone a first car.  Perfect toy, useless car.  I am now grabbing my old Nomex and going to hide before the Rotor heads track me down.  P.S. final rant about the engine, the whole 1.3 lie is just that, a total fabrication.  It should be considered either a 2.6 or 3.9L based on combustion strokes per revolution. OK, off to the fall out bunker now.  

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand Dork
9/18/17 7:57 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson said: I don't even car about the reliability issues, if you could actually get over 20mpg  on the highway I'd have bought one new when they were launched, but that gas sucking brick is silly.  Now someone will chime in how they car get 25mpg on the freeway, but I don't buy it.  To me freeway means the cruise is set at 80 or 85. 

I'll be that guy..  I set cruise on the highway to 78 (speed limit is 65 'round here), and I will get 21-22 MPG, about 16-17 mixed (I don't drive on the highway much anymore)..  Which is not spectacular by modern standards, but in the same realm as my friends' Nissan 350Z.   I do get somewhere between 8-11MPG on the track with it, though.

For anyone in this situation in the future, I'd vote against the Rx-8 simply because it way too easy to go fast..  If you don't apply liberal amounts of cruise control, you're in for a very uncomfortable discussion about why you're doing triple digits.

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