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Old 09-30-2012, 08:04 PM   #1
tippy25
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Default New Car Advice

Well it's been about 7 months since I sold my turd. Commuting to college with a bike was nice and easy, but I graduated in June and have been using my parents' cars since my car made the heroic trip out to Michigan. I finally landed myself a job 2 weeks ago, so I'm starting the new car buying process. Here's a list of what I'm looking at as of right now:

- Subaru WRX (sedan, hatch is ugly IMO)
- Subaru BRZ
- Mazdaspeed3
- Focus ST?

That's pretty much the order I'm considering them, except the BRZ & WRX are mostly tied. I want a small quick car. The Focus ST is the only domestic that remotely fits that description, which is really the only reason I'm considering it. On paper it's slower than the MS3. I test drove a 2012 MS3 today, and it was pretty quick. Any advice or other suggestions? Minimum 200hp, must be manual, 6-speed preferred, don't want a big car. I prefer AWD or RWD, but FWD isn't a deal breaker if the car doesn't suck. If it's used, it must be stock. I don't want to inherit someone else's project.

As far as budget goes, the ceiling is in the $25k range. I'd prefer new, but young used is ok. I'm trying to keep it relatively new, I'd say like 3-4 years old, max.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
epistax
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Well I moved on from an Impreza I just chose a WRX over a BRZ. While the BRZ was fun enough to drive, I found it annoying to get in and out of (I'm only 5'10"). I couldn't see myself using it as my only car. It's just not practical, especially here in New England. I'd love it as a second car.

I can't speak to a Mazda or Focus. They seem decent enough. I can tell you that if I got one of those cars, I might regret it. I can tell you I have absolutely no buyer's remorse with my WRX, and every time I remember I have it, it makes me smile.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:29 PM   #3
Jack
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Cheap focus is cheap and you'd know it if blindfolded and left in one.
Speed 3 is impressive, but has a stupid looking front end.
WRX is a decent car. Somewhat fun and very practical.
BRZ would certainly be the most fun.

Others to consider: Used S2000. Plenty of pampered, low mileage ones out there.
Used Elise. Join Lotus Talk so you know how to take the stupid out that the Lotus engineers put in. You're left with a Toyota reliable car that eats absolutely all the corners.
Civic SI: well put together, great mileage, neutral handling, no surprises on the track
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:16 PM   #4
Suba_WRX
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In South Jersey you might actually be able to get away with a RWD car most of the year. If that's the case I second the S2000 suggestion above. Not sure if you were going to school in Michigan or if your now living there, but if that's the case then WRX.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:17 PM   #5
Decipher
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I owned a Speed3 for a whopping 6 months. It was a first gen but the thing I hate about it, FWD, hasn't changed. Every mod I made to it only made the limitations of FWD more evident. Torque steer and wheel hop where annoying. I think the quality was decent, but it is nothing impressive. I left it for an RX-8. I looked at a MS3 again before buying my Rex and was reminded of everything I hate. The new dash is also hideous. The hard plastic is gaudy and has a cheap feel.

Your list is a little odd. Do you need AWD for weather concerns or do you not care? The Ford is probably worth looking at. I have never been much of a domestic car enthusiast, at all, but Ford has impressed me time and again recently. My fiancée purchased an Edge Sport and I'm totally blown away by the progress Ford has made. Excellent build quality. Amazing technological features. Simply stunning...and these are things I thought I'd never say.

IMO, it's between the Rex and the Ford. If you think you need/want AWD, this is a no-brainer. All I can say is don't write off the hatch. I bought an '11 sedan and decided I could really use the practicality of the hatch. Made the switch and I couldn't be happier. This thing is definitely a keeper!
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
fr_awd
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I like the BRZ, but Subaru has been such limited quantities. Therefore, you really have to jump on it when the dealers (if ever) are taking orders again.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:41 AM   #7
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Mazdaspeed 3 & Ford ST - FWD & torque steer...enough said.

BRZ - Underpowered and over-priced (due to limited supply). Just TRY to get one below sticker price.

WRX - Fastest 0 to 60 time, AWD (no torque steer), best bang for the buck.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:01 AM   #8
mastercaster
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what all do you need out of your vehicle? the ability to carry 4 adults from time to time? the convenience of folding down the back seats and to carry your Costco/Home Depot load? Do you feel the need for AWD?
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:05 AM   #9
Navendra94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRXLTD
Mazdaspeed 3 & Ford ST - FWD & torque steer...enough said.

BRZ - Underpowered and over-priced (due to limited supply). Just TRY to get one below sticker price.

WRX - Fastest 0 to 60 time, AWD (no torque steer), best bang for the buck.
This.

I understand your views on the hatch. I feel the hatch is more aggressive and wider / lower looking. The sedan is sleek and sexier. Subaru's haven't ever been about looks or styling...
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:18 AM   #10
Decipher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fr_awd
I like the BRZ, but Subaru has been such limited quantities. Therefore, you really have to jump on it when the dealers (if ever) are taking orders again.
The dealer by me has 4 just sitting there and have been. My guy up there said sales were hitting hard when they first launched. Now, they're back sliding and he's sitting on them. He can't keep the new Imprezas in stock, especially with the CVT and improved MPG. That may have something to do with the fact that winter's approaching too.

Anyways, OP, you do need to state your goals or what matters to you. This will aid in our recommendations. For the best DD and bang for your buck, the WRX is very hard to beat. If any one of those offered AWD, then it would be a different story.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:23 AM   #11
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I say Wrx, most practical but prob least mpg of the cars mentioned in the thread thus far. I would say think hard before getting a brz. They seem awesome, but no back seats and small cabin might get annoying. thumbs down to the rest for no good reason. lol
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:40 AM   #12
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Is mpg at all of concern? I ask because around town you aren't going to do well with the WRX or MS3. In fact, I'd venture to say depending on how much you drive you will spend $100+ more on gas per month than you would with the BRZ. It's definitely something to consider...
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:51 AM   #13
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You won't be getting a brz for under $25k, might as well take that off your list.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:57 PM   #14
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Can't go wrong with the WRX. Especially if you're seeing snow, AWD isn't necessary but it is nice to have.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:58 PM   #15
epistax
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There are two BRZ's on the lot in Keene, NH. They have a sticker = MSRP policy on them.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:07 PM   #16
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If there is snow in the driving mix then AWD does not count for squat. The new WRX comes with summer tyres.

Depending on how much of the white stuff you get determins on weather you buy all seasons, or pure winter tyres.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:16 PM   #17
scx89
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WRX
been outta college for a year now, same position as you, same choices except a genesis coupe instead of the brz

WRX is just too awesome AND practical.
DO THE RIGHT THING
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Web Foot STi View Post
If there is snow in the driving mix then AWD does not count for squat. The new WRX comes with summer tyres.

Depending on how much of the white stuff you get determins on weather you buy all seasons, or pure winter tyres.
it still amazes me how dealerships expect customers to drive STIs with stock summer tires off the lots when they're buried in snow...

...and how stupid customers are to actually attempt it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:57 AM   #19
GtEcH25
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I just purchased my 2013 WRX hatch 9/14. Graduated college 12/11 so I feel you there. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. I came from a 2006 H3 with a ton of room to haul stuff so the hatch was a no brainer for me. Also, from Indiana we get crappy weather so I had to have AWD due to prior experiences with a certain V8 RWD 6spd car getting stuck in a parking lot. After that I vowed AWD from here on out.

As far as picking between those cars, I'd look at the Focus ST. A guy I work with just bought one and I drove it around a little bit. FWD 6-speed hatchback 23 city/32 hwy. 252 hp. Recaro leather seats, nice little features on his were SYNC, push-button start, sunroof, stock boost gauge, killer sound system(wish the WRX had a decent one). The Focus ST definitely has a lot of potential.

BUT.....I LOVE MY SUBY! Go test drive and see for yourself.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:42 PM   #20
tippy25
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I think the hardest thing with the Focus ST is going to be getting a test drive. I haven't seen any at dealerships. I will not be buying a car without a test drive, either. I don't want to end up like that one troll I saw in another thread who bought his car new, sight unseen, and immediately hated it since day 1.

As far as my needs go, I'm in Jersey, so I will get a bit of snow. I'll probably end up getting a second set of wheels with winter tires on them, too. I'll want a roof rack so I can haul my bike and maybe a kayak or canoe places. The hatch is starting to sound much more practical, but I really prefer the look of the sedan. But the more I look at the hatch on Subaru's web site, the more I think that they did something with it since 2010. It doesn't look nearly as ugly. Maybe I'm just getting used to it. As far as people carrying goes, not anticipating a lot of that. The MS3 had enough room for an amputee in the back with my seat in my position.

My commute to work is 90% highway with some really fun on-/off-ramps. I'll probably add simple things like a heat shield(s) and perhaps an intake. A BOV is also a possibility.

Also, in regards to the Michigan thing, the guy I sold my old car (99 Saturn) to lives in Michigan. He flew in and drove it out there. That car was a trooper, she absolutely refused to die. Bad head gasket, bad misfire in #2, burned oil, leaked oil, leaked transmission fluid (only after a drive, not while moving), leaked coolant, 4 exhaust leaks, occasional electrical gremlin, and a broken moon roof. He's fixing her up and prepping her for a turbo. She went to a good home and I'm happy about that.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:41 PM   #21
ghynes440
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I just saw a black focus st down in the pa area at a dealer if your willing to do a long drive
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:58 PM   #22
RockNRace03
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from personal experience ( just shopped for the same car market) looked at the abarth too. when it comes down to it. the wrx is decently pirced. the interior is comfortable and adequate in features at base level. it has 4 doors. its safe.awd. and its still got plenty of power and handles well.only real downside is mpg. my real world driving has shown that i can get about 27mpg highway and 23 city. the average is usually 25.5 for a whole tank. the other cars arent bad choices. but after driving them i felt the wrx gave the best bang for the buck. i have a cool car as a kid. and in a few years when i maybe have a family, i wont have to get rid of it. seemed to make sense to me. but go test drive them, thats the real way to car shop
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:40 PM   #23
Dale2011WRX
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I had decided on a hatch, and when I pulled up to the dealership I saw the sedan and immediately changed my mind. The Focus ST looks like a lot of car for $25K, but I've never looked at one up close. Heard good things about the MS3. BRZ seems impractical for an only car. Truth be told, though, I can't imagine being nearly as happy with any of those 3 as I am with my WRX, I've never had a car I spent so much time just staring at in the driveway. Of course I've got at least $5K in mods in it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:53 PM   #24
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Get the Subaru, Ford's are POS's. (had a few of them, I would know)
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:00 AM   #25
pwain
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Couple of things:

- If 25k is the absolute ceiling, you need to be looking at used. Maybe a WRX recently off lease?

- Figure out your financing and insurance before car shopping. My first car out of college 7.25% (WRX at 1.79%, it gets better after a few years!)

- MS3 can only be worked on at certified dealers, the closest one to me is 1.5 hours.

- I would buy the most affordable/practical car you can. Then pay it off quickly (because your interest rate will suck), and start saving for a less practical second vehicle. However don't go as practical as me with an '09 Corolla, those are 5 years I will never get back.
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