For those that don’t know me very well, I’m Derek and it’s nice to meet you.
Now that the formalities are out of the way, let me tell you a little about me. I a true gear-head and always have been. I love cars, trucks, boats - basically anything with an engine intrigues me. With that said, my niche is the off-road side of things, as my pride and joy is a 2001 Silverado (see below) with 40” tires that I lifted entirely by myself, using my own custom front suspension design and fabricating most of the parts for the truck myself.
It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that this thing does NOT get good fuel mileage. I get between 10-13 mpg depending on how much highway I drive and how bad traffic is (I live in a suburb of Chicago and my girlfriend l
ives in the city). Not to mention, it’s much less stressful when fixing things on the truck to not have to finish by morning so that I can get to work, if things don’t go as smoothly as planned (since they rarely do).
To remedy this, a year and a half ago, I bought a 1996 Hyundai Accent (1.5L of fury, but had a stick!) for $900 that essentially paid for itself in fuel savings in about 6 months. It had 180k on the clock when I bought it and I logged 23k miles on it over the 18 months I’ve owned it. Mine looked like the sample below (same gross color and everything), except with more rust and cooler hubcaps. :)
The transmission on the Hyundai gave out last night and it’s not worth it to me to spend money fixing it or replacing it.
Since I planned on buying a car in the next couple of months, I’m just going to fast-track that plan.
Now, I was paying rent in two locations up until this month due to switching jobs and having to move as a result. I was going to buy a new car in the next 2-3 months so that I could recoup some of my savings. Unfortunately if I drive the truck 100% of the time, I’m spending close to $450 in fuel per month - and that doesn’t even include tire wear and other maintenance cost. Essentially it’s cheaper to have a small car payment and drive a car than to drive the truck.
So, Oppo - I need advice on good cars that are enjoyable to drive but don’t have to be the fastest or most enthusiast-type cars. I’m looking to spend $250 or less per month on a 5 year loan - which comes out to about $13k but if the right car comes across my desk I could spend up to $300/mo ($15k) MAX.
I was initially heart-set on a Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8L with a manual, but the v6 manuals that are within my price range are extremely few and far between.
My mandatory requirements are:
- 25+ MPG highway.
- Manual transmission.
- Cruise control (not that many cars come without it these days, but my current Hyundai doesn’t have it, so I’m adding it!).
- Reliable and inexpensive to maintain.
- New-ish (2010 or newer preferred, but not required).
My wants (in priority order) are:
- Quick, but not necessarily fast. Needs to handle well, regardless.
- Practical-ish (hatchbacks/wagons get bonus points here). I would like to be able to pack a weekends worth of camping gear for two in it.
- NOT enormous (need to be able to parallel park in the city).
- 28+ MPG Highway (getting greedy).
- Rear wheel drive (since I have the truck to drive when it snows, I personally prefer RWD vehicles for the extra sporty feel they have).
So I guess now’s the time where I ask for suggestions! Year (range) and make/model suggestions are appreciated and personal experience or personal knowledge of the particular suggestion are welcomed as well. :)
Thanks, guys and gals!