OK Jalops and Opponauts, this is the last place where I can find good advice.
My '08 Saturn Astra suffered the most unusual failure the day after Christmas. Somehow, the main output shaft broke after 43,000 miles! It's a 4-speed automatic(I didn't have a choice on the first car) and that shaft breaks with such low mileage?? Apparently I had a Toyota transmission in my car too, which I'm trying to understand how that's even possible; it's a GM car!
Rant aside, my Dad, who is 100% red-blooded American to the core, has declared that my next car can be what ever I want with a budget max of $20-25k only IF it's not foreign.....
This includes the following
Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Volvo, Subaru, MINI, Fiat, Saturn(Don't ask me why, it's GM), Mitsubishi and VW(Sucks because I really liked the GLI)
Now I was originally gonna get a Porsche 944 in the spring as a secondary car, but now that my DD has to be replaced with something newer, That car purchase, to my knowledge, has been halted for who knows how long. :(
That being said, my new car has to meet the following criteria:
1. It has to be AMERICAN
2. Manual Transmission
3. 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
4. Compact Sedan
5. A Healthy Amount of Technology(I'm 18)
6. Sporty/Tight Handling and a Good Pulling Motor
7. A Good Sized Interior
8. Looking at 2013-2014 Cars
9. And Lastly must be within the $20-25k range, no higher.
The Only Cars that have matched the criteria completely are the Ford Focus and Dodge Dart. The Chevy Cruze just looks plain and boring to me. I can't think of any other cars or which is the better of the two. I don't listen to C&D and Motor Trend because they're biased and other such things. My Dad thinks the Focus is better and I like the Dart. I get to test drive the two Thursday so I'll see which one I like, but it doesn't hurt to get another opinion!
So I'm asking the community here, anyone who's driven both or one, has some experience or some story with with these two cars or something better to give me some advice/help on this decision.
EDIT: I should have mentioned this about the Dart, the only two engines I'm looking at are the 1.4T and 2.4NA and I'm under my parent's policy right now.
EDIT 2: My opinions of the Focus and Dart
2014 Focus Titanium
Pros: Looks good, lighter than the Dart(2900lbs vs 3300lbs), more "modern" interior, handling, interior looks cooler to me, because it's lighter it's quicker off the line.
Cons: There's not a single Focus with the options I want in my area, I'm impatient to have one built for me, the design is neat but not doing it for me, and I cannot decide on a good color to match the head/tail lights(it's VERY important to me) and the interior seems cramped especially in the back. You gotta pay more for the good options...
2014 Dart GT
Pros: That design is very European with so many curves, the LED racetrack tailights are the coolest thing since sliced bread, the interior is comfy and spacious, lots of cargo space for a sedan, that turbo which I haven't heard a complaint about, all that technology! maybe the 2.4 but not sure yet, and 6 gears. And that turbo sound! It's got the better numbers too. And more options for less and more Darts than Foci that have what I want/need
Cons: Electrical problems seem to be the norm, it's heavy for the class(100lbs less than a Fusion!), not sure how the weight will affect the handling for this particular car. the shift knob is a giant ball and I've got small hands!(maybe aftermaket will fix that) Can't think of anything else really...