Starting to kick around the idea of selling/trading my BRZ again, because reasons and just trying to consider what might better suit me for a vehicle now, at various pricepoints. Cheaper always better, obviously, but going up to $30k or so is pretty easily doable, too. That got me thinking about what might be a good ride at various pricepoints.

In the vein of Jalopnik’s What Car Should I Buy series, here’s my list of needs/wants:

- Fun to Drive
- At least four doors
- Can baby
- Mostly reliable / cheaper fixes
- Newish
- NOT a crossover, SUV, truck or FCA product.

- Manual transmission
- Powah! (or the ability to get powah with a tune, think turbo)
- RWD or AWD
- 2014 or newer
- Autocross competitive

Just in casually thinking about it, here’s what I’ve come up with for each pricepoint, everything used/CPO unless indicted:

Up to $15,000
- FiST
- FoST
- Civic Si sedan
- Buick Regal GS
- Cadillac ATS 2.0T

In this group, the FoST, Regal GS and ATS 2.0T would probably all be pretty ragged out and/or hard to find.


Up to $20,000
- FoST
- Buick Regal GS
- Cadillac ATS 2.0T
- Mk7 GTI
- Mazda6

In this group, the GTI might be the hardest one to find a good example of, the others should be pretty available.


Up to $25,000
- Mk7 GTI (new? or loaded used)
- Subaru WRX
- Fusion Sport
- Civic Si sedan (new)
- BMW 320/328i

I still think the new Civics are overstyled, but the Si seems interesting with its fancy suspension and turbo engine. A tune may wake it up a bit, and it should be engaging to drive. This money could swing a new GTI or possibly WRX (if you find a dealership offering nice discounts), or a lightly-used Fusion Sport or 3-er.


Up to $30,000
- Mk7 Golf R
- Subaru WRX (new)
- Subaru WRX STI
- Audi S3
- Chevy SS
- BMW 335i

I know I’m both forgetting tons that fall into this bracket as well as reaching on a few of them. Will be super hard to find a Golf R or Audi S3 under $30k, but have seen a few just barely over the $30k mark. Maybe a bit of negotiating could get one under. Same pretty much goes for the Chevy SS and STI.


What say you, Oppos? I feel like I’m forgetting a ton of really good options, but just can’t seem to think of them.