About 5 years ago, a friend and I were hanging out at a great little spot in the south of Afghanistan when he informed me that his girlfriend had completely smashed the bejeezus out of his newish Toyota Corolla S, meaning he needed a new car. Being as how he had just arrived in country, he had a few months to research and decide before actually having to buy one.

He wasn’t really a car guy, but he wanted to be. He had expressed interest in buying a fox body Mustang to learn how to work on cars, and always talked about trading his Corolla for something more fun.

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He asked me my opinion... Well, the New Dodge Dart was on its way to showrooms at the time. The press was in love with it, it looked fantastic, and could be optioned into a really fun little package.

So, fast forward a few months and he actually buys one. Brand new, 1.4 Multiair, 6-speed manual, red, Rallye package... He let me drive it, and it drove GREAT! And it was great. For about 6 months... Then the electrical gremlins started, the door handles started falling off, the turbo failed at 30,000 miles, then the engine failed at 45,000 miles.

Then, he traded it in for a Corolla. He did not ask for my advice this time.