To pick up where I left off before, I appreciate all the input and have decided (much like you all suggested) to go with another ‘short term’ car while I get my life in order. This also helps me keep the budget low so I can get into the new ride soon, which is good considering the noises/feels coming from my car now. I’m hoping 2nd gear holds out another 5k at this point.

And so, Oppo, I come to you (plural you, which English lacks) for continued guidance. I’ve kept your suggestions from the previous post in mind and been keeping an eye on all of Craig’s Lists within a couple hundred miles. In addition to your suggested cars, I’ve been keeping an eye on e36s and other older 3-series, WRXs, and the sort. It’s optimistic but I’m hoping to stick below 5 grand so I don’t have to take out any more loans.

One of the big things affecting my decision right now is that my garage (attached to my apartment) is kind of pretty freaking small. Inside it’s about 10x19 (feet), and I have Things in there too, like tools and empty boxes. I really, really want to be able to keep my next car in the garage, especially for Winter. This means keeping it small (which I want anyways).

The thought keeps coming back to me, and I really wonder if it’s a good idea, here in the Lake Effect Snow Belt. Should I go on the lookout for a reasonably-stock, reasonably priced...

(with a limited slip diff, of course... and probably a hard top for the winter)?

Key points:

* It snows a lot here, but I’ve always driven RWD in it.
* This will be my only car, i.e. daily driven year round.
* I need a reliable car - I can’t do any work that I can’t hide inside my garage for thanks to the fine print of my apartment lease. That said, I have no problem with doing simple maintenance.
* There’s not a ton of clean NAs around here, I don’t know if they all rusted away or never sold well in the first place. I’m not entirely opposed to travelling south a hundred miles or two to pick up a clean one. NB’s and C’s don’t really excite me.

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So before you jump to the automatic “Miata is always the answer!” give it a little thought, from my perspective.

Is Miata the answer?