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Old 07-16-2009, 07:48 AM   #1
blazndragon0
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another first car thread

I'm 17 right now looking for my own car. The only qualifications is a manual transmission and being less than $4000, preferably less than 3k (I know, it's not alot). Other than that I'm really car-dumb and have no idea where to start. Help me out!
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:22 AM   #2
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Re: another first car thread

That's a wide open question, but good to hear you're looking for a manual tranny, not only will it make your car more fun, it will save you a bundle in the long run. So are you looking for a tuner? Highway cruiser? AWD/FWD/RWD? If you want decent reliable transportation without a lot of headache, Hyundai's cars in the early 2000's made leaps and bounds in quality for the brand - a 2000-2003 Elantra might fall into your price bracket, but might not tick all your 'fun to drive' boxes. Mazda also has the underappreciated 626, which was a thoroughly decent car and had an available V6. If you want something fun, get an older Celica or 240SX, decent build quality and lots of fun. If you prefer domestic, a late-90's Regal GS would give you a supercharged 3.8L V6 good for boat loads of torque, but no manual tranny. You could try and find an early-90's Taurus SHO with the Yamaha V6 screamer, but in good nick it will cost you.
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:49 AM   #3
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Re: another first car thread

Wow thanks for the suggestions. Yeah I noticed Elantras were really cheap. Ideally I would like a Celica but I can't really find anything in my price range (damn poor lol).

I guess I'm looking for tuners. I don't care, or maybe just don't know, about AWD/FWD/RWD. I just need something to get around haha..
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:18 PM   #4
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Re: another first car thread

Well, if you're not too particular about your first ride, just look for the cleanest car in your price range, somebody's 1-owner baby. Mid-90's import cars were, in my opinion, much better than what was coming out of North America. Another gem is the Nissan Maxima, the 3.0L V6 SE model with 5-speed was beautiful, you should be able to find a '95-'97 in your price range, but look for one that hasn't been abused. Damn, forgot about that Nissan, now I want one...
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:17 AM   #5
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Re: another first car thread

Well I've looked around and this is what I've come across (all from dealers except the sentra):
$1295 97 honda civic 171k miles
$1995 97 mazda protege 165k miles
$2250 97 nissan sentra 42k miles
$2800 02 hyundai accent 95k miles
$2995 97 saturn sc1 110k miles (1 owner)

I don't know what's good or not lol...
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:29 AM   #6
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Question Re: another first car thread

I'd take the Nissan Sentra ! Great car , lowest mileage ( if this is correct reading ? ) , middle of price range ! Just my

Last edited by oldblu65; 07-17-2009 at 12:30 AM. Reason: sPelLinG ?
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:34 AM   #7
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Re: another first car thread

The Sentra IS a good car, but why does a 12-year-old car have the mileage of a 3-year-old car? Was it sitting in a garage for a few years, and if so, was it properly stored? Or has the mileage been turned back? They say about 15K miles/year is normal, so if its drastically more or less, you should be asking why.

The Honda and Mazda are on par with where the mileage should be, but why so cheap for a Civic? Have a look, they have an excellent track record but for $1295 I'd guess its been abused. The Accent is probably decent but boring, and the 1997 SC1 was the first year of the new body style, which has inherent reliability risks.

I'd say the Protegé. I drive a Protege5 and love the car, peppy around town, good on gas, and it handles like a Volkswagen (good thing). Parts are cheap and its easy to fix, and the price is right. Check for rust around the rear quarter panels and exhaust before you jump in. And make sure its the 1.8L engine (ES model), otherwise you're getting 92 hp out of the 1.5.

One nice thing about the Mazda over the Honda is that if your timing belt goes, it doesn't cease the motor, which is a nightmare problem because your Civic basically now needs a new engine.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:19 PM   #8
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Re: another first car thread

The Civic has some dents and torn paint in areas which could explain the cheapness. Does that affect your thoughts on it?
Yeah, the Protege's looking good.
The Sentra is suspicious with the low mileage, I'll be sure to ask.

Thanks for all the input.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:57 PM   #9
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Re: another first car thread

When you have a list of vehicles like that it makes it worthwhile to get the unlimited Carfax or Autocheck subscription ( 30 days?). That way you can check back with all the records if available and compare to see if the mileages are accurate and what type of services were performed and if on a regular basis.
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