as some of you have already read, i got into a car accident a couple weeks ago so now i am in the market for a mildly used car.
i did just buy the fit for my wife so my price range for the car for me is 6-9k. also i am looking to get into the rwd and awd crowd. so far i am thinking a 99-01 audi a4 or 02+ subaru wrx. i am open to suggestions, just keep in mind i will not have the room or time to work on the car for more than an hour for another 3 years so its got to be fun to drive straight out of the box and reliable.
don't waste your time or time will waste you
I would go with an older (98-2001) Impreza RS. It has the same engine as the WRX STi without the turbo, and were often bought by middle aged people who babied them unlike the WRX which is consistently bought by rich college students and yuppies who abuse the hell out of them. In addition, it's cheaper, and many WRX performance parts will work on it, so if you do find time to turn it into a project car, more of your budget will be able to go into modifying it.
The Audi A4 V6 is pretty heavy, has about the same amount of power as the Impreza RS, and gets substantially worse mileage.
how about less than $1000 RWD chevette? heck u could get like 10 of em with $7k...dont let the little size confuse you, they have a oddly spacious interior! might be slow but fun to drive just cuz thier old
If you want something cheaper, you could find a older DSM turbo AWD (Talon/Eclipse/Laser). They're pretty abused, generally -- so look around.
Otherwise, a newer RWD is hard to find that isn't a "Muscle Car" like a Chrylser 300-Hemi or something.
The Impreza RS is a great choice -- I've seen many beat to a pulp at Rally-Cross or even Autocross and they keep going. WRX is a fun choice. Bear in mind you'll have 15-18% loss in FE compared to FWD/RWD, and Scoob repair costs are slightly higher than routine imports (except for some Toyotas).
Avoid the Volkswagen 4-Motion or Audi Quattro (reliability).
With RWD you may go for an old Mercedes or BMW -- but again, reliability and cost of repair.
Another good choice is the Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe AWD. Better FE, Toyota reliability, domestic manufacture.
If you're looking for a roadster, the Miata is efficient and bulletproof.
I think they're front wheel drive, but if you have the cash how would a 4 cylinder Mitsubishi Eclipse sound? The used models around here are really expensive. Then again, I personally can't stand spending more than $2,500 or so on a car because I wear them out so quickly.