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Buying a used car for under $2,500


astro_delirious
12-09-2016, 10:00 PM
I want something that is fun to drive and reliable. Im not going to be racing it, but something that is relativity fast (0-60 under 9?). First Ill just list the basics of what Im looking for then Ill list some cars that have caught my attention.
BASICS:
- 175,xxx miles or less
- 1990 or newer
- preferably manual
- preferably 6 cylinders (wants something that is fun to drive)
- Reliable and able to take a beating. Im from MN and winters can be tough on cars.

SPECIFIC CARS:
Ive looked into a few of these. Let me know if they are good options or if I should steer clear.
- VW golf or jetta with a vr6 engine
- BMW 3 series (I like the look of the e30 325i the most)
- VW golf or jetta with a 1.8t engine
- Mazda Miata

I just started looking so thats all I have so far. Opinions? I mainly want a VW vr6, from what I ve heard they have bullet proof engines and are still fast and fun to drive. I also like the look of most BMW s but everyone on craigslist seems to drastically over value their BMWs (200xxx+ miles for $2500).

Hey just a quick heads up cause I posted this elsewhere and got a bunch of crap. I KNOW A CAR UNDER $2,500 ISN'T GOING TO BE PERFECT!!! However, with that being said, that's all the money I have right now and I need a car. In addition, I've blught used cars in the past. My last car, a 2001 saturn sl2, I bought for $1200 with 150,xxx+ miles on it and it ran without a single problem for another 50k miles before I got hit by another driver and it was totaled. Both my sisters have bought cars for under $3,000 and they've lasted for several years and are still kicking. I know what to look for in a car and seller and I know to back down if anything is suspicious. So please dont come on here to tell me that every car I buy for under $2,500 is gonna be complete crap, cause I know from experience that is not true. Thanks!!! :)

MikeCStig
12-12-2016, 05:40 PM
I want something that is fun to drive and reliable. Im not going to be racing it, but something that is relativity fast (0-60 under 9?). First Ill just list the basics of what Im looking for then Ill list some cars that have caught my attention.
BASICS:
- 175,xxx miles or less
- 1990 or newer
- preferably manual
- preferably 6 cylinders (wants something that is fun to drive)
- Reliable and able to take a beating. Im from MN and winters can be tough on cars.

SPECIFIC CARS:
Ive looked into a few of these. Let me know if they are good options or if I should steer clear.
- VW golf or jetta with a vr6 engine
- BMW 3 series (I like the look of the e30 325i the most)
- VW golf or jetta with a 1.8t engine
- Mazda Miata

The cars you're looking at are decent. The tricky part will be finding a good one on your budget.
The most likely way to get a VW golf or jetta with a VR6 in good condition on your budget is to look at 3rd generation models (1992-1998). I'm not aware of any common problems with them outside of normal wear and tear related stuff. The only thing to consider about a VW anything is that when you need parts, they're a bit expensive. If you can find a good one of those for $2500 I'd go for it. The 4th generation stuff (1998-2004) is where the 1.8t came in and it may be a bit out of price range. It's worth a look, just don't get your hopes up.
One thing you'll have to come to terms with (and this sucks, I know) is that you won't be able to find anything E30 for $2500 unless there's something wrong with it. If that were possible, I'd sell my VW Golf immediately and go looking for one myself. Just a decent E30 325i is going to be at least $2k more than youre looking to spend. Also BMW parts are even more expensive than VW parts.
Now about the Miata... it's probably the most affordable and reliable option you mentioned. The only thing is, I'm not sure how it would do as a Minnesota car. One; because it's a convertible and I'm not sure how the roof would do in such brutal conditions, and two; it's rear wheel drive, so I doubt it's the best thing to be driving on slippery or snowy roads... it's just not built for that type of stuff.
I'll give you another lead to consider. Look into old Hondas. They have a reputation for being able to take a serious beating and not let you down as long as you keep up on maintainance. Check YouTube for videos of Hondas getting abused and surviving you'll see some crazy stuff. Also, some of them aren't as slow and bland as many people think. I've had an Accord ('89) and two Preludes ('91 and '00) and they were all great.

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