Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mid Week Match-Up: $15k Daily Driver

Time for another edition of Daily Turismo's favorite game, Mid Week Match-Up (TM), which is basically like match.com for car dudes.  Today's subject is oppositelock regular desu-san-desu who writes to us:

Well, I'm not actually in the market for a car, seeing as how I'm dead broke, but I can tell you what I WILL be in the market for:

-Affordable (under $15k), safe, reliable, manual, possesses a rear differential (ie. RWD or AWD), at least 200hp, seats 5, preferably a hatchback or wagon (no vans, suvs, or crossovers), good parts availability, good handling, decent gas mileage.  Anywhere in the continental US as long as it has no rust.
What do you think he should get?


The STi version of the Subaru Impreza WRX was first released for the US market in 2004 and were lightened rally machines for the street.  Time has marched on and in the next 10 years the STi has only added luxury features, sound deadending insulation, and gotten heavier -- so the first year is arguably the fastest and rawest drive available.  It is also the only version to meet Desu-san-desu's $15k price criteria, such as this 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi currently bidding for $10k on ebay reserve-not-met with about 12 hours to go.


The STi gives you 300 horsepower with a 3200 lb curb weight, but finding a stock example is difficult. The only part of Desu's requirement that this one fails is "decent gas mileage."  With only 2.5 liters you'd expect decent fuel economy, but with a turbo that is always spooled up when you put your foot into it, the fuel goes away quickly.  What do you suggest for Desu?  Comments below.

14 comments:

  1. Great choice with the STI, had an '04 for a year and the mpg was 21 maybe 23 and even trying best I could it wasn't ever any better than that. Awesome car and that 6speed transmission is just incredible, makes the car pull like a train in any gear and transforms the car from basic WRX into a super sonic demon of a car.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When I think reliability and great gas mileage, I think Volvo S60R .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Everything is Stock". Well, maybe now but according to the pictures, not in the past. I would go with the V70R but that's just me. AWD 6speed Wagon. Yes.

      Delete
  3. Milano Verde. You could easily burn thru the rest of your 15K budget addressing all the issues. Still, the sound of the Alfa V-6 would be worth it...

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Avatar, why hast thou forsaken me? There we go.
      B5 Audi S4 Avants had 250 horsepower, Quattro, and a 6-speed manual. Here's one with 500hp for sale.

      Delete
    2. Prices on B5 S4s have really dropped, pick one up for $5K, then hopefully the $10K left over will be enough to keep it running ;)

      Delete
  5. Way over the price range, but what about a 2011 BWM 328i Wagon 6-speed manual?
    Or wait 2 years and it'll be $15,000...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Not a Saturn. :)

    3 years ago I'd have said E28 M5, but it looks like the prices have gone up. Mazdaspeed 6 ticks most of your boxes, but isn't a wagon/hatch. 6 Cylinder E39 wagon can fit all your criteria, but you'd need a later one with the 3 liter to get above 200 horsepower. In a couple years the E61 wagon should easily fit your budget (not that it can't now), and can be had with the twin turbo engine, which by all accounts is incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Replies
    1. He said "reliable" not "needs to be maintained by an enthusiast ASE certified mechanic but driven by your grandmother from new in order to be dependable past 60k miles".

      Pantloads of fun, and super fast / safe but not reliable.

      Sincerely, the former owner of 2x 2005+ Legacy 2.5 GT Wagons.

      Delete
  8. How about a '06-'07 MazdaSpeed6? Not a hatchback but an easy mod to allow rear seat to fold. 274hp, 280ft lbs. Best of all, if you're over 26 you don't have to be embarrassed to driving a boy-racer looking STI or Evo to a clients' business. Pretty easy mods to the turbo 2.3 Direct Injected engine, though not as compared to the STI/Evo communities. Stability control sensor included yaw control unlike other Mazda cars. and many other mods. Mazda was shooting for the BMW driver w/ the car. Has AWD unlike the MazdaSeed3 and comes stock w/o the slightly detuned state of the Speed3 due to torque steer challenges. Low 20's MPG not a problem, higher on the highway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mazda actually made three body styles of the regular 6. Including a 5-door hatchback. It looks so much like the sedan that you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference unless you knew what to look for. Of course they also made a full wagon, but finding one with a manual is difficult. Of course the non-speed 6 fails the RWD or AWD criterion but hey, you can't have it all.

      Unless you buy a B5.5 Passat wagon with the W8, 4Motion, and a 6-spd manual. They exist!

      Delete
  9. 2004-2005 Subaru WRX wagon/Saab 9-2x Aero.

    Voila.

    ReplyDelete

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