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Old 09-16-2003, 10:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: NoVA
cheap cars

Alright, I know this isn't a very exciting expensive-car subject, but I really need some advice. I'm a college student who is driving a 9 year old Camry and Mom and I have both decided it's time to get a new car for me, but she doesn't want to spend more than $11 or $12k. Obviously I'm looking for something used, but what? I've talked to a couple friends and one says Tiburon if I can find it, which I haven't been able to for the price range, and the other says Integra, which I'm leaning towards.
I'm basically looking for something with a little kick to it that will be fun to drive, and maybe something I can mod a little bit. BUt the price range is very very important. Any ideas?
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Old 09-16-2003, 11:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There are so many good choices. Integras, late-80's 5.0s, late-80's Camaros, an all wheel drive Subaru, an older Celica. 12 grand is really quite a chunk. It could buy you a very nice car in all honesty.
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Old 09-16-2003, 11:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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you should be able to get a 3 to 5 year old honda civic in really good shape for less than your price range. you can trick those out and get some nice kick out of em.
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Old 09-16-2003, 11:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: PA
You can get a lot for $11k. My mom recently got a car for $15k that was $90k in 1989. Its in perfect condition, and is incredible to drive. That's a little out of your price range, but cars really haven't changed all that much recently, so if you get a car that was very good maybe 10-15 years ago, its still great as long as its been maintained well.

There are lots of older BMW's and Benzes you can get in your price range (and way below). I think many of these cars have a much higher driving quality than all but a very few asian cars. An AWD turbo eclipse or the last gen MR2 would be nice though. Certainly avoid the Tiburon. Hyundai isn't known for build quality, and they really aren't that fast.

I'd recommend that you find ads for used cars in your area, and randomly drive a lot of different types of cars. Don't focus on a specific model before getting some perspective. Getting advice from people helps, but what seems like a great car to one person could be disposable to the next. Also realize that most used cars are trashed regardless of year (in non-obvious ways). So if one car seems bad, it doesn't necessarily mean that you wouldn't like other cars of the same year and model.
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My advice is to get a new car that will carry a warranty. With your budget, you don't want to buy an older "nicer" car only to get hit with maintenance and repair costs.

I've never driven or been in one, but you should look into Kia's and Hyundai's. I think they have models that sell for less than $10K new, and insurance will be a lot less, too.

If you're more interested in getting something fast that you can mod, you should be prepared to spend more than you've got budgeted, even if it's not all up front, especially if you don't know how to do your own car repairs and maintenance.
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm going to agree with FastShark85 on this one. If you're in college and need something reliable to get you around for a couple of years, go new. A Hyundai is a reliable car, reasonably well built, cheap on gas, and they have a good warranty. I've driven the Accent as a rental, and it's not bad. it's not going to blow your mind, but it's not that bad a car.
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd go with the Acura. They don't look bad stock, and although I hate to admit it, anything made by Honda just doesn't quit.
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: San Diego, CA.
You've got quite a chunk of money there. But you need to think about other things than power if its a college car. How important is gas mileage? How much cargo room do you need for your stuff and your buddies? How long do you want the car to last? Where do you live/school and what type of weather conditions do you get?

I would probably say though, that you will want to go used. New is nice, but for a college car i would reccommend certified used. You can easily get a 12k car that is relatively new, low miles, and often the certified used cars have a better waranty than the new ones.

There are a lot of options in that range. We need more of an idea of what you want out of the car though. You can mod anything to give you some power. You could get an older olds and pimp it out. you could get a 2nd gen rx7 in perfect condition, swap a new turbo motor in it, and still have money to spare. You could get a 2000yr subaru impreza for that price. Probably get that certified used too since its relatively new.
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Old 09-17-2003, 12:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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don't forget that not only maintenance and repair costs, BUT insurance....

find out how much insurance you can comfortably afford and then look for a car that suits you.
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Old 09-17-2003, 01:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: PA
I don't think that new cars are a good deal for anyone on a budget. Certified used cars are somewhat better, but still not great IMO. You can find cars MUCH cheaper from private sellers. Of course that price difference is buying you a warranty, but ask yourself whether its likely that the maintenance costs will go over the price difference. Dealers lose money on repairs, so the price inflation is a calculated one. They can probably get a car repaired somewhat cheaper than you can (not much I think), but they have to add in the cost of maintaining a staff, facilities, etc.

It a gamble to buy w/o a warranty, but I think its often a good one. Just make sure any car you buy is checked thoroughly by someone who knows what they're doing (and you trust) before handing over any money.
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Old 09-17-2003, 01:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Nova Scotia
I vote the Acura Integra, its my favorite car ever I have an Integra RS its a 95 but they didn't change the look of them really from 95 to 2000 you can mod the hell out of them and they've got a nice ride. If you go manually which I suggest they have the nice shift EVER! i love itz!!!!
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Old 09-17-2003, 01:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: Nova Scotia
but a 2000 Tiburon wouldn't be bad either if you could find one in that price range. but I still vote Integra!!
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Canadeh!
Integra.
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Old 09-18-2003, 06:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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How about a 5th gen prelude(97-01)? They look alot newer than they are, and with Hondas you can't go wrong.
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Old 09-19-2003, 07:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by WarWagon
I'd go with the Acura. They don't look bad stock, and although I hate to admit it, anything made by Honda just doesn't quit.
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Old 09-19-2003, 07:17 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Location: San Diego, CA.
Seems kinda pointless to pick cars for him until he has a better idea of what he wants. A '98 Jeep Grand Cherokee with teh 5.9Limited engine in it would be in his price range. It would have quite a bit of kick with that engine and still have potential to mod a little.

It meets his very vague requirements, yet is in a totally different class than an integra.
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Old 09-19-2003, 08:14 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: Tulsa, OK
If you've got that much to spend, I'd say get a relatively new car, such as ~3 years old. You'd do well to get a Toyota, probably the most reliable brand, probably a corolla. If you want something kinda new, you could get a used Focus for a song. They're really fun to drive.
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Old 09-21-2003, 03:28 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Location: the bathroom
what's wrong with the camry? i'm drivin' a corolla with 230k miles I paid $500 for 3 years ago. no problems.
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Old 09-21-2003, 08:43 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Get a Honda product. You need reliable, and they are. $11-12K will get you a not-very-old basic Civic, and I still think that's a better choice than a new Korean make.

An older Integra is a good choice if it's been driven well. They do have their quirks, and you can and should research them online. For example: on my '92 Integra, one thing to think about is the 90,000 mile timing chain replacement. They have to essentially pull out the engine to change it (the water pump's down there, too, so they generally change it out at the same tiime), and it costs bigtime unless you do your own work. So if you're offered an Integra at a good price with 85K on it, you might really want to take a look at the maintenance schedule.

Last edited by Rodney; 09-21-2003 at 08:45 AM..
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Old 09-21-2003, 10:12 PM   #20 (permalink)
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more details

alright guys. sorry it took me a while to get back with these details, but that east coast hurricane fucked my school and we were out of internet and what not.
some things i didn't mention:
mom says she's pay for insurance.
mom will also pay for routine and incidental maintenance, but modifying will come out of my wallet.
mom really wants me to get a civic, she's big on japanese cars. since she likes hondas, a prelude or acura is a possibility.

other cars i've found in the price range:
1996 Saab 900 S
1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX
2000 Volkswagen Jetta GLS
1995 Honda Prelude Si

she really really wants me to get the civic, but is willing to take suggestions. i looked at an 01 civic lx and didn't think it was too bad, but was quickly swayed by a friend who told me to look beyond civics.

a quick question about civics, while i'm on topic. the same friend told me getting an Si is a complete waste and to not even consider it. this opinion was confirmed by several other friends, all of whom i consider to know more about cars that myself. any thoughts on the Si?
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Old 09-21-2003, 10:35 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Location: San Diego, CA.
for a litle 4 banger honda....its really not too bad. The Civic SI anyway, 160HP in a 2500lb car .. not my cup of tea, but you could do worse with weight and power.

Sounds like you want / need a perky little econobox. Honda / Acura might not be a bad choice. Maybe look into a Nissan 240SX. I have heard nothing but good things about them being fun, reliable little cars.

Ehh, its late. Maybe more in the morning....
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