Car Purchase Help


A friend is having a baby and is looking for a replacement vehicle to put her aging truck to rest. Any suggestions? Relevant info:

- Current vehicle is a Nissan 2WD pickup truck with manual transmission and camper shell. She loves surfing and being able to carry stuff in her truck (currently she has the back set up with a bed and shelving for roadtrips), so practicality is a big factor.


- Must be decently affordable to buy (she’s on a teacher’s salary), fuel efficient, not expensive to maintain, and preferably a manual.

- With kid on the way safety is a priority, and being able to carry child seat, stroller, and other random things like bikes, surf boards, household items etc. every now and then.


Options currently being considered - Honda Fit, Mazda3, Ford Focus, Honda CR-V (older gens before they got fat and boring and manual-less), Element, Toyota Matrix.

We’ve thought about Subarus (Forester, Outback, Impreza etc)...but she doesn’t need AWD and would rather have better fuel economy and less complexity, at least at this point.


Also keep hearing a lot about good dealer incentives that might make buying brand new worthwhile compared to something a few years old - I’ve never bought a brand new car, should this be something she considers given her market segment? (I don’t have a specific budget from her but would imagine she wouldn’t want to spend much more than $15k total)

Any other suggestions, besides a Miata?

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