Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mid Week Match-Up: A Winter Car For Michael

Today's Mid Week Match-Up request is from a friend of DT Michael who needs a replacement for his Acura TL.  In his words: The transmission on my 2005 Acura TL grenaded on my way home from work on Friday. With 187,000 miles on the clock and a body riddled with hail damage (the car, not mine) it looks like it is time to move on. The cars that interest me vary rather wildly -- yes, the Porsche 911 is my dream car (like many a 46 year old dude). But I also like the utility of a Jeep Wrangler or Commander. And I also dream of owning an electric car. Or a gigantic Autobahn cruising sedan.

My budget is a little bit flexible if I can finance the car -- although $10,000 would be my ideal max -- and since I live in Minnesota I'm averse to rear-drive cars. I can't bring myself to drive an ugly car (I'M LOOKING AT YOU NISSAN LEAF), and my current income generation scheme requires me to seem grown up and stable. So no WRX with a gigantic rear wing, thanks.
Safety is YUGELY important to me so older cars are not ideal. And reliability is pretty high on my list of priorities (I love you GTI, but I know you're gonna hurt me baby).
Any help would be appreciated. I have issues focusing (surprising, I know) and mostly my car purchases have been opportunistic (the TL was purchased from a friend). I like a good deal. 
DT E-i-C Vince:  I'm going to suggest one of my favorite late model front drive pocket rockets -- a  Mazdaspeed Mazda Mazda Speed MazdaSpeed Mazda3 this 2011 Mazdaspeed 3 here on eBay bidding for $4,494 reserve-not-met or $11,000 buy-it-now located in Los Angeles, CA.


  1. Or there is the Mazdaspeed 3's bigger brother the Mazdaspeed 6. Here's one with a proper manual transmission for 6K in St, Paul:

    2006 Mazdaspeed 6

    [image src="" width="400px"/]

  2. Just hear me out.... 2011-12 Scion XB, but must have a 5-speed manual. Don't bother w/ the auto, unless you like snuggling w/ a book and a cup of Sleepy Time Chamomile Tea. I bought one back in August, and surprised how well/precise the shifter is. I know people will bash it for a 'granny cheap-O Box', but it's a Toyota, has a big 4 with front wheal drive, is reliable, can haul a ton of stuff w/ rear seats down, and CHEAP. You see, any XB w/ a manual is rare, and at a used car lot (or Scion/Toyota dealer) has probably has sat there for 3+ months. Because most folks looking at XBs don't want a manual. I saw one in my area for $9900. I knew it hadn't moved in 9 months. The sales guy said the owner of the place wanted it gone, and before even starting to talk business, he lowered it to $8900. I called back a week later and offered $8250, and settled for $8400 'as is'. It needed a cargo floor card and a couple of rear headrests. BUT, it has an aftermarket POWER sunroof, new tires on decent (non-cringe-worthy), new, aftermarket alloy rims. $8400 for a 2011 XB with 41K miles. And it's invisible to the constables.. That's my 2 cents. Good luck w/ your decision!

    - Average Bear.

    1. Along those same lines as the XB a KIA Soul wouldn't be a bad pic.

  3. Thanks to all for the suggestions, and I agree each of these would be a pick worthy of serious consideration. After shopping for a couple of weeks and considering my options I ended up deciding to negotiate the bananas out of a new VW GTI and purchased one last night. I picked the least expensive configuration (S model with manual transmission) and purchased after work on the last day of the month.

    I've driven used cars for most of my life and I decided it made some sense to spend more at this point and hopefully have fewer surprises (I know, V-dub). I spent more than I wanted to in order to get a car I LOVE. It may destroy me financially but dammit I'll go down with a smile on my face.


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