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    1. Member
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      2018 Great Fallllls RIP: 1995 Miata, 1996 Miata, 2007 A4 2.0T, 2002 A4 1.8T, 1998 LGTL, 1995 JGC
      01-25-2020 10:41 AM #1
      Alright folks, thanks in advance for listening to my rambling and providing good insight amidst the entertaining rabble. I have a 2012 A4, P+ 6 speed Quattro. It's a good car. It does things like go, turn, and stop. I even took it to the track last year, and it still goes, turns, and stops. But she's my only car, and she's getting tired (see: expensive repairs on the horizon). I am now in a good position to move into something newer. I do not want to go to the track anymore: it's too expensive, too time-consuming, and frankly too worrisome. I'm also not in a position to own two cars. Call it what you want, but I stress way too much over my car. It's time to change that. So, TCL, I am looking for something newer that goes, turns, and stops. Criteria:

      -Roughly $25k or less
      -2018 or newer
      -Manual transmission
      -Good on gas
      -A God**** color: see Cornflower Blue on the GTI. Things like that.
      -A decent interior: I don't need too many creature comforts, but a nice place with heated seats and Android Auto would be a bonus
      -Something engaging: while I'm no longer going to the track, I want something that I can enjoy on back roads now and then

      I'm a young guy living in the northeast without many obligations, so I don't need a lot of space or daddy-hauling capability yet. I am also not married to all-wheel drive: a good set of snows and common sense will get me through. So my short list is this:

      -MK7.5 GTI (Rabbit and above)
      -Accord Sport
      -WRX (Premium and above)
      -Mazda3 (Touring and above)

      Is there a car or two missing from this list?
      Anyone come across a smoking deal that fits my criteria?
      Should I follow the TCL hive-mind and pick up a B5 S4?
      Thank you for the help.

      Pics for clicks:

      Quote Originally Posted by Triumph View Post
      That's like a child saying, "I'm going to swing my fists and walk towards you, and if you get hit, it's your fault!"

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    3. 01-25-2020 10:50 AM #2
      You can find a nice clean WRX Premium for around that price. Just gotta do your homework to make sure it wasn't owned by a vape brozart. That would be on the top of my list. GTI would be my 2nd choice, but again just gotta do your homework to make sure it wasn't owned by a stage 1 or even worse, a stage 2 dubber. Maybe you can even swing a new leftover 2019 GTI within your budget. Both are solid cars, probably the best for the money. It would come down to whether you value performance more than comfort and vice versa. Tons of them available for sale too with unlimited aftermarket support. Very capable and practical cars for the money.

    4. Member
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      01 911 Turbo
      01-25-2020 10:51 AM #3
      Brz/frs or WRX would prob be the best middle ground at the price

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    5. Member x(why)z's Avatar
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      01-25-2020 10:58 AM #4
      I know you'll say no, but this is what I'd do.

      Challenger R/T with low mileage and a six-speed. $24k on the nose. So much more fun than anything else you're considering.


      And before someone complains, the Challenger is rated at 18 city, 27 highway. Almost matches the WRX in the city and beats it handily on the highway.
      Last edited by x(why)z; 01-25-2020 at 11:01 AM.

    6. Banned EverthingIsTerrible's Avatar
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      2012 GTI, 2017 GSW
      01-25-2020 11:00 AM #5
      Love dat corn flower blue.

    7. Member
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      01-25-2020 04:30 PM #6

    8. Turtles walk slowly, but get angry fast! Smooremin's Avatar
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      01-25-2020 05:00 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by kaz02a4 View Post
      Should I follow the TCL hive-mind and pick up a B5 S4?
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
      Asking OT for relationship advice makes about as much sense as asking TCL what car to buy.
      Quote Originally Posted by ChillOutPossum View Post
      About 5 oclock I realized I needed to go to Costco for some white people stuff.


    9. 01-25-2020 05:13 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by x(why)z View Post
      I know you'll say no, but this is what I'd do.

      Challenger R/T with low mileage and a six-speed. $24k on the nose. So much more fun than anything else you're considering.

      And before someone complains, the Challenger is rated at 18 city, 27 highway. Almost matches the WRX in the city and beats it handily on the highway.
      The Challenger doesn't hide its weight well. For what its worth, I averaged about 17 mpg with the R/T Charger and 27 mpg with the WRX. C/D averaged 14 mpg with the Challenger and 25 mpg with the WRX. There is a huge difference in weight between these cars. They can be fun in different ways I suppose.

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews...l-test-review/

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews...l-test-review/
      Last edited by MonsterM; 01-26-2020 at 08:08 AM.

    10. 01-25-2020 05:17 PM #10
      GSW/Alltrack? Drives very nicely for a DD but has a lot more cargo room (and AWD) than a WRX or GTI.

    11. Senior Member Wimbledon's Avatar
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      01-25-2020 05:18 PM #11
      Some fun options:

      - Veloster N
      - MINI Hardtop
      - MINI Clubman S
      - 500 Abarth (interior may not be nice enough though)
      2018 Fiat 500e
      2008 Audi TT 3.2 quattro manual
      2006 Lotus Exige

    12. Member Eg2Driver's Avatar
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      01-25-2020 05:27 PM #12
      If you want a nice place to be, forget the WRX. The new Veloster is getting absolutely amazing reviews as of late, might be something to look into. Personally, I'd say GTI and be done.

    13. Member fireside's Avatar
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      01-25-2020 05:31 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by x(why)z View Post
      I know you'll say no, but this is what I'd do.

      Challenger R/T with low mileage and a six-speed. $24k on the nose. So much more fun than anything else you're considering.


      And before someone complains, the Challenger is rated at 18 city, 27 highway. Almost matches the WRX in the city and beats it handily on the highway.
      Just drove one of these, can confirm, great highway cruiser/back road bomber. Read: NOT canyon carver, but it never tried to be.

    14. Member
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      2018 Great Fallllls RIP: 1995 Miata, 1996 Miata, 2007 A4 2.0T, 2002 A4 1.8T, 1998 LGTL, 1995 JGC
      01-25-2020 08:35 PM #14
      Thanks for all the replies! Only TCL would throw a Challenger R/T my way...gotta say, I gave that a hard look. Not my cup of tea for right now, though.

      Was able to pound the pavement today and drive a 2019 GTI SE manual, 2019 Mazda3 auto, 2018 Mazda3 manual, and a 2019 Toyota Corolla XSE manual. It was a fun spread. My thoughts:

      -The GTI is potent. It can get more pricey than the space it's competing in, but that's what you get for the awesome powertrain. It is not nearly up to par with features (at the same price point) as the others, though.
      -The 2019 Mazda3 is excellent. I was impressed with the level of refinement and creature features available on the Premium pack car. Those can be had all day for <$25k, too. Even the engine, the 2.5L Skyactiv-G, is a willing partner that gets stellar fuel economy. However, I only got a chance to drive the auto, which brings me to the...
      -2018 Mazda3 is subpar in this group. Not nearly as nice inside, not as much fun, and the manual transmission was underwhelming. Shifts were coarse: engine RPMs drop surprisingly quick, the shifter doesn't like to be hurried, and there is a ton of vibration coming up through the unit. I couldn't for the life of me execute a good shift. Does anyone know if this same engine/transmission is the one offered in the updated 2019 model?
      -The 2019 Corolla was a wildcard. I had a ton of fun driving it, even though I didn't care for the interior. The hatch is tiny in comparison to the other vehicles here, and I'm not a fan of the way it's all tied together with the IP and center stack.

      Unfortunately, there are no Veloster N models anywhere near me. Otherwise, this would absolutely get a test drive. The WRX I'm already familiar enough with, and I can't find anything a) in my price range, b) not over 1000 miles away from where I live, and c) not red. My brother has a red 2018 Premium, and I cannot shake the feeling that I need to get something different...

      So, the GTI has my heart's vote (especially in that blue or green), but it isn't well-optioned below $25k. The Mazda3 gets my brain's vote, but I don't have experience with the redesigned model's manual transmission. Also, finding a manual hatch (especially one in the blue or red) is terribly hard to find...but the car is so good, I am almost willing to look beyond the color.

      What say you, TCL? Here are a few cars that I dug up:
      https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/d...4818/overview/
      https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/d...5854/overview/
      https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/d...0128/overview/
      https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/d...8809/overview/
      Quote Originally Posted by Triumph View Post
      That's like a child saying, "I'm going to swing my fists and walk towards you, and if you get hit, it's your fault!"

    15. Banned EverthingIsTerrible's Avatar
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      01-25-2020 08:46 PM #15
      I think we need more elaboration on what options you require. Because of course the GTI isnt 'well optioned' under 25k. I mean the base GTI doesnt come with hand crank windows...

    16. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      Hot hatchback coupé heaven
      01-25-2020 08:53 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by x(why)z View Post
      I know you'll say no, but this is what I'd do.

      Challenger R/T with low mileage and a six-speed. $24k on the nose. So much more fun than anything else you're considering.


      And before someone complains, the Challenger is rated at 18 city, 27 highway. Almost matches the WRX in the city and beats it handily on the highway.
      Yeah, I'd go for that.
      Lots of VW stuff|Rare Scirocco parts!
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      Quote Originally Posted by Crimping Is Easy View Post
      You're always better off with a Citroën.™

    17. Member
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      01-25-2020 08:57 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by EverthingIsTerrible View Post
      I think we need more elaboration on what options you require. Because of course the GTI isnt 'well optioned' under 25k. I mean the base GTI doesnt come with hand crank windows...
      The GTI is more spartan than a comparable Mazda3 at the ~$25k price point. The Mazda has a large configurable center screen in the IP, adaptive cruise, auto climate, a well-laid-out infotainment (no touch screens, which coming from the MMI in my A4 is awesome), and lots of premium features. Is this worth it over the EA888 in the GTI? Well...I haven't decided yet.

      I have seen a few threads now on engine stalling in the GTI, though. Anyone have some insider knowledge on this issue?
      Quote Originally Posted by Triumph View Post
      That's like a child saying, "I'm going to swing my fists and walk towards you, and if you get hit, it's your fault!"

    18. Member 88c900t's Avatar
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      01-25-2020 09:01 PM #18
      GTI. The Si looks great on paper but the oil dilution issues scare me. The GTI also has a near-lux interior.

      The Corolla and Mazda3 simply aren't in the same league as the GTI/GLI/SI/N. Wouldn't consider them personally.
      I gave up dailing old and rare cars and became a normie.
      Quote Originally Posted by Burnette View Post
      Gear Patrol, which has as much cred as Paw Patrol
      Quote Originally Posted by l88m22vette View Post
      88c900t wins again, you really ****ing crush it at listing a ton of cheap options
      Quote Originally Posted by volvohutter View Post
      You'll always get a pass due to your history of owning classy and sophisticated automobiles

    19. Banned EverthingIsTerrible's Avatar
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      01-25-2020 09:02 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by kaz02a4 View Post
      The GTI is more spartan than a comparable Mazda3 at the ~$25k price point. The Mazda has a large configurable center screen in the IP, adaptive cruise, auto climate, a well-laid-out infotainment (no touch screens, which coming from the MMI in my A4 is awesome), and lots of premium features. Is this worth it over the EA888 in the GTI? Well...I haven't decided yet.

      I have seen a few threads now on engine stalling in the GTI, though. Anyone have some insider knowledge on this issue?
      Oh yeah you definitely get more for your money with a brand like mazda. But getting something like the rabbit edition negates some of that.

    20. Member
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      19 GLI Autobahn
      01-27-2020 12:25 PM #20
      What about the new GLI? There is 3500 or so on the hood that should bring a loaded Autobahn trim near the 27k mark if you want to stretch a little, or get the 'base' trim for well below that. The Autobahn is well equipped and we are talking the same GTI powertrain with the LSD and Golf R brakes, and the 2019's have the massive 6/72 B2B warranty on them, so if you find a leftover 2019, score - or just get a revised 2020. They also come in a absolutely lovely Pure Gray.

      It's a GTI sedan.

      I have a 2019 Autobahn with DSG. The seats are far more comfy though less aggressive than the GTI and it has a big backseat - it is a roomy sedan. The stereo is worse than the fender - but it is decent with a dedicated sub that should be easy to upgrade one day. The car comes with all the nice stuff - LED head/tails, decent stereo, 8" info display, vented and heated leather seats, big glass sunroof, 7-speed DSG, R brakes, LSD, electronic dash, Apple/android integration. In addition, driving modes let you dial up or back the soundaktor. I have mine with a stage 2 APR tune with their intake bits and a FMIC and it has serious grunt. It is also about 3k cheaper in trim to a GTI while having a couple things the GTI does not (digital dash, vented seats).
      Last edited by Lawrider; 01-27-2020 at 12:31 PM. Reason: moar into

    21. Turtles walk slowly, but get angry fast! Smooremin's Avatar
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      01-27-2020 12:50 PM #21
      Did you buy a B5 S4 yet?
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
      Asking OT for relationship advice makes about as much sense as asking TCL what car to buy.
      Quote Originally Posted by ChillOutPossum View Post
      About 5 oclock I realized I needed to go to Costco for some white people stuff.

    22. Banned EverthingIsTerrible's Avatar
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      01-27-2020 12:59 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Lawrider View Post
      What about the new GLI?
      Someone here just picked one up in gray! They are a sweet package imo.


      https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthre...#post114059627


    23. Member
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      2018 Great Fallllls RIP: 1995 Miata, 1996 Miata, 2007 A4 2.0T, 2002 A4 1.8T, 1998 LGTL, 1995 JGC
      01-27-2020 07:17 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Lawrider View Post
      What about the new GLI? There is 3500 or so on the hood that should bring a loaded Autobahn trim near the 27k mark if you want to stretch a little, or get the 'base' trim for well below that. The Autobahn is well equipped and we are talking the same GTI powertrain with the LSD and Golf R brakes, and the 2019's have the massive 6/72 B2B warranty on them, so if you find a leftover 2019, score - or just get a revised 2020. They also come in a absolutely lovely Pure Gray.

      It's a GTI sedan.

      I have a 2019 Autobahn with DSG. The seats are far more comfy though less aggressive than the GTI and it has a big backseat - it is a roomy sedan. The stereo is worse than the fender - but it is decent with a dedicated sub that should be easy to upgrade one day. The car comes with all the nice stuff - LED head/tails, decent stereo, 8" info display, vented and heated leather seats, big glass sunroof, 7-speed DSG, R brakes, LSD, electronic dash, Apple/android integration. In addition, driving modes let you dial up or back the soundaktor. I have mine with a stage 2 APR tune with their intake bits and a FMIC and it has serious grunt. It is also about 3k cheaper in trim to a GTI while having a couple things the GTI does not (digital dash, vented seats).
      I've been eyeing these with some serious lust. There is seriously just so much to like about this package. I'm continually impressed with the GLI. Not nearly as many around as the GTI, or at least what I've found, but they make a compelling case.

      Quote Originally Posted by Smooremin View Post
      Did you buy a B5 S4 yet?


      Just chatted with my dad about all of this nonsense. We narrowed it down to the GTI/GLI and Mazda3. The VW twins are fun, playful, have that kick and enjoyment, and feel just...better. I was smiling as I drove the car. There really is a ton to like about it. The Mazda is excellent: nice place to be, great features, stellar looks. And yet, it's a more-buttoned up experience. I equated it to shuffling into my 30s without fuss or objection, a well-tailored suit that's nearly all business. The VW, on the other hand, is a good-fitting suit that still means business, but can crush a Naturdays or two on the weekend. It simply has more fun. I don't think the 2.0T will tempt me too much to modify or track it, especially if it comes with the 6yr/72k mile warranty. That's plenty of time for me to think about my poor life choices and how I ended up where I did. If it has a lengthy warranty, I won't touch it.

      Plus, when I see something like this, my heart does backflips: https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/d...7880/overview/
      Anyone live near Raleigh NC and want to check out this beautiful blue GTI for me?
      Quote Originally Posted by Triumph View Post
      That's like a child saying, "I'm going to swing my fists and walk towards you, and if you get hit, it's your fault!"

    24. Senior Member Mike!'s Avatar
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      01-27-2020 08:05 PM #24
      Forget the other criteria, 2018+ and clutch pedal is a pretty short list. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could test drive all examples near you in a weekend!

      It’s a little more sticker than the others you listed but I’d at least take the chance to test drive a Genesis G70 6MT, the last clutch standing in the entry lux class. I seem to recall their leasing deals being good. With so few options may as well back to back that with the WRX and Accord Sport and GLI and so on to see what suits you.

    25. Member
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      2018 Great Fallllls RIP: 1995 Miata, 1996 Miata, 2007 A4 2.0T, 2002 A4 1.8T, 1998 LGTL, 1995 JGC
      01-27-2020 09:19 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
      Forget the other criteria, 2018+ and clutch pedal is a pretty short list. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could test drive all examples near you in a weekend!

      It’s a little more sticker than the others you listed but I’d at least take the chance to test drive a Genesis G70 6MT, the last clutch standing in the entry lux class. I seem to recall their leasing deals being good. With so few options may as well back to back that with the WRX and Accord Sport and GLI and so on to see what suits you.
      I completely forgot about an Accord Sport! I can't believe that fell off my radar...
      There is a GLI and Accord Sport I will try on for size this weekend.
      Hopefully I will learn a thing or two in the meantime.

      The G70 is an interesting proposition, but it's a touch too expensive for what I'm going for right now.
      I'm in no real rush to sell, so that gives me a bit of time to test cars and see what's out there.
      But this whole process has been exhausting so far. I can't imagine how some of you flip cars every few months. I'd be permanently in a state of stress.
      Quote Originally Posted by Triumph View Post
      That's like a child saying, "I'm going to swing my fists and walk towards you, and if you get hit, it's your fault!"

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