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post #41 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-15-2018, 06:28 PM
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Brand new, I would recommend a Miata, 124 Abarth, 500 Abarth, or Fiesta ST. All reasonably priced, fun, tossable cars aimed at enthusiasts. They actually just updated the Miata for 2019, giving it an extra 26 horsepower and an extra 700 rpm of useable revs. A great recipe for a fun car, though of course not the greatest example of practicality for some people.

I have a 500 Abarth, and it's definitely fun to run around in. Just a couple of bolt-ons and a tune can get you an extra 60 whp or so, putting it right around 200whp/230wtq (same story with the 124, of course). Plus you have the humorously angry exhaust tone and all of the fun turbo noises, along with the practicality of a hatchback. I hardly drive mine (~2,500 miles in 3.5 years), but it usually averages around 30 mpg in almost solely slow city traffic.

Then if 'used' is considered, and entire fleet of fantastic choices opens up... New cars are just getting less and less enthusiast-friendly, and as strange as it sounds, too 'safe'.

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post #42 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 09:02 AM
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BMW 335D

Consider a BMW 335 Diesel! Last year of production was 2011 before they downsized the engine. Effortless power, great economy. Worst milage around town 29, best Hwy 42. With a Dinan ($350) ECU tune, it goes from 270hp to 300+, torque is up past 500 from 420. With the performance package, comes with better seats & upgraded suspension. All this power comes on at 1700 RPM. You cannot believe the effortless quiet power this thing has. New M2 Competition coming this week & can't keep the Diesel, passing it along to my son to become his new commuter. Used ones around 15 grand with less than 60K miles. Carbon buildup is an issue in the intakes every 90 to 100K miles, small price to pay in my opinion. Good luck with your decision. Rustyb
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post #43 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Turbo R View Post
Here's a pic of the rental Honda Fit that we's no wedge or a landmark of automotive aesthetic design excellence, but this thing had a heart of gold and while it wasn't very fast, it turned out to be a great choice. Aftermarket pieces available for Honda cars are virtually endless...I would definitely give one serious consideration in the future if I want a more conventional car with potential for future mods that doesn't break and does everything well. Not a bad car at all for what it is and after spending much time in LA traffic, there was something really endearing about it.
You might find this interesting: here's the President of Spoon Sports on Hot Version Internatonal talking about how the body shell of the Fit is naturally suited to being built into a touring/race car. Also be sure to see the bit starting at 31:45.

That chassis engineering might be part of the reason why it scored so highly in C&D's lane-change test.

But it’s the Fit’s agility and terrier spirit that win our hearts. With 109 horsepower, blazing acceleration isn’t part of the deal, but it’s worth noting that the Fit posted an astonishing speed in our lane-change test (71.4 mph), outhustling pedigreed athletes such as a Ferrari F430 Spider F1, and topped a seven-car comparison <“$15,000 Cheap Skates,” May 2006>.
What truly set the Fit apart was its handling -- not a pretense of handling but the real deal, with springs and struts that allowed one gentle rebound and no more, the only car here that felt happy storming the switchbacks. We later confirmed this when the Fit sailed through our lane-change test 6 mph faster than anything else here -- faster, in fact, than a Corvette Z06.
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Last edited by gray; 12-16-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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post #44 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-19-2019, 11:38 AM
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20K budget? Fiesta ST! I love mine - fun to drive, economical, 4 doors. The MP215 tune is a noticeable bump in power and retains the factory warranty. If you don’t mind something a few years old, the GTI and Focus ST are also great cars, but I think the Fiesta is the most fun to drive!
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post #45 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 06:54 PM
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I would take a nicely cared VW 2004 MK4 R32. They have the legendary 3.2 L VR6, the best sounding engine ever. Get it now before they disappear.
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