Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mid Week Match-Up: Something Less Sketchy

This week's Mid Week Match-Up comes from reader OGwagon who writes:

My girl's Toyota 2002 Corolla is getting too sketchy to drive after doing a 720 on the 101 that ended in an unhappy meeting with the guardrail following a deluge last December. Being located in the Bay Area there seems to be a plethora of cool interesting rides to choose from.

She wants something economical & is looking at other Corollas including some salvage titles. Her budget is $8K. Delightfully she really enjoys driving a manual, so though they are getting increasingly rare that would be a big bonus. We've looked at Camrys, Priuses (Prii?) & a Hyundai wagon but none felt right to her.  I was all psyched on the 5speed Jag in Santa Barbara fer $5K but know that the price of entry is only the beginning with those beautiful creatures.

It is a great era to be a driver of cheap cars -- the list of modern/reliable/safe cars that can be picked up for $5-8k and driven everyday is almost limitless.  For a fraction of the original MSRP you can pickup something like this 1996 BMW Z3 offered here on eBay for $4,500 buy-it-now  located in Los Angeles, CA.

 What manual transmission vehicles for less than $8k do you guys recommend to OGwagon for his girl?  Comments below.


  1. 98 Beetle?

    Mini Cooper Turbo?

  2. Replies
    1. I just sold my MS3 after 150k miles - it was fun for sure and practical - loved throwing the bike inside after a ride - but not so comfortable. Expansion joints on the hwy were like electro-shock therapy. But the handling - wow. Followed a Maserati up and around a very tight cloverleaf Hwy entrance ramp, thought he could lose me - silly guy.

      Maybe the Infiniti G35 Coupe, you can also get the 4dr sedan w/ 6MT.

  3. OK, so someone must post one of these:

    1992 Base Miata, $5,200 in south SF.

    It's a base car: steel wheels, manual crank windows and no power steering, but does have the optional AC (or at least the button).

    118K miles, front bumper has been repainted, not sure if the right fender has the VIN sticker. Seats are in good shape for the mileage.

  4. 2004-2005 Mini Cooper S?
    2005+ Volvo S40 2.4 or T5?
    Subaru Impreza (non-WRX)?

    1. I'll echo John and say the Volvo S40 is quite a fun and practical little sedan, when equipped with a manual. My wife and I test drove one in 2010 and we were both sold on the car except for the fact that it wasn't a wagon, and there wasn't a comparable V50 to be found.

      Here's a 2005 T5 / 6-speed for $7k

      I'd be on the lookout for a C30 hatchback as well, although not sure if you can find a nice one for less than $8k.

    2. A bit rich at $11800, but with that [strikethrough]real corinthian leather[/strikethrough] swedish practicality

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  6. I would feel remiss in not mentioning that the Volvo S40 is a wonderful car when its insane anti theft system doesn't think you are trying to steal it. If spending a random half hour sitting in the car locking and unlocking the doors and communicating with the ECU with the trip odometer button and the transmission lock every couple months isn't a problem it's a great car. Not so good for situations where prompt departure is desired like commuting or robbing banks.


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