And you guys seem pretty good at giving advice, so let’s see what Oppo thinks.

My current car is an ‘02 Crown Vic Police Interceptor - it is, and has been, falling apart. I’m actually surprised it’s still functional at this point, the sounds it makes and the way it shifts, etc. should have killed it a while ago. Not only that, but I’m getting bored with it - it’s a cool car, and I do like the platform, but it weighs as much as a truck, has an easily-confused automatic transmission, and for the fuel economy it gets it should be faster. To top it all off, the rust is getting pretty bad. The more I patch, the more pops up elsewhere. 13 years of being driven year-round in the rust belt is catching up to it.

This is where you come in - it’s time to replace the ‘vic and move on.

I’m in an interesting spot, financially. Having just graduated & gotten a job in engineering, I’m making a very reasonable amount of money. That said, my cost of living, between rent, utilities, and student loan payments, is a bit higher than I’d like. On top of that, I’m trying to save so that in a year or so, I’m able to buy a house and get out of the rent-trap (and have a usable garage - the one here barely fits a car, and I’m not allowed to work on one outside). Oh and sometime I do this thing where I eat food, too.

So here’s where I’m at - I see two options.

1) Get another ‘short term’ car for a few grand from craigslist which I’ll have for a couple years, hope it doesn’t break much, and replace it when I can. This has been my past couple cars and I’m getting tired of it. Also, for the first time, I can’t (read: am not permitted to) work on my own cars in my own driveway, so breakdowns get way more expensive. If I could, I’d be all over some $2000 944 or something.

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2) Get a ‘long term’ car, a year or two used, off a dealer lot and finance it. Something with a bit of warranty left (at least a year’s worth so I can hopefully move) and have it for the minimum-5-years it would take to pay off and likely much longer than that. Having payments also means I need full coverage insurance, which I can’t imagine not being stupidly expensive for a 22-year old.

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What do you guys think is best?

Requirements:
* All- or Rear-Wheel drive (I’ve driven FWD in the snow and I hate hate hate hate hate it)
* Manual Transmission
* Interesting (which is sort of fulfilled by the above two)
* Not a truck or SUV or camper or bicycle or kayak or hovercraft or combine harvester

Thanks for the help, Oppo!