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What is a good car for less than $7000?

kacper244kacper244 Posts: 9
edited March 2015 in General
I'm a 18 year old guy. I need a car and have saved up $7000. What is a good car for me? I like fast cars and the car has to be no older than 10 years.
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  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 10,331
    kacper244 said:
    I'm a 18 year old guy. I need a car and have saved up $7000. What is a good car for me? I like fast cars and the car has to be no older than 10 years.
    So you like fast cars, huh!  If you are looking for fast, great handling and lower miles, check out a pre-owned Camaro or Mustang.  $7000 is not going to get you everything, but it might get you something "fast"!  Buy from a reputable dealer or private party you know.  If you don't know the individual who is selling the car, have a mechanic you trust look it over, especially for leaks, etc.

    You might want to settle for something that is not fast, but that is solid.  Hold on to it for a year or so until you've saved up some more money (another $3000+).  Then trade the car in on your dreamy fast car.

    Try a good used VW, or Honda.  

    2018 Mercedes S450

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,100
    If you want to learn to drive fast cars start off with a slower car and attend some high performance driving events- you will learn how to drive your car at the limit in a safe environment. As for a fast car under $7k? Look for a Cobalt SS- but a pre-purchase inspection is mandatory. Not much else quick that meets your criteria.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 12,962
    I'm a little biased since I own one but for that price you might be able to get a 2005 (3rd generation) or 2006 (4th generation) Eclipse GT. Not quite as macho as Mustangs or Camaros but relatively fast (sub 7 sec. 0-60) and probably more reliable than a Cobalt SS. A V-6 4G Eclipse is as fast as a Cobalt SS and will absolutely smoke a 2006 V-6 Mustang.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2009 PT Cruiser, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,436
    edited March 2015
    abacomike said:


    kacper244 said:

    I'm a 18 year old guy. I need a car and have saved up $7000. What is a good car for me? I like fast cars and the car has to be no older than 10 years.

    So you like fast cars, huh!  If you are looking for fast, great handling and lower miles, check out a pre-owned Camaro or Mustang.  $7000 is not going to get you everything, but it might get you something "fast"!  Buy from a reputable dealer or private party you know.  If you don't know the individual who is selling the car, have a mechanic you trust look it over, especially for leaks, etc.

    You might want to settle for something that is not fast, but that is solid.  Hold on to it for a year or so until you've saved up some more money (another $3000+).  Then trade the car in on your dreamy fast car.

    Try a good used VW, or Honda.  



    Good advice, Mike. Maybe get something that's sporty yet reliable. 8 9? year old Civic, perhaps. They are notoirous for lasting well past 150,000 miles. Sweet motors and great manual transmissions.....sporty suspensions....buit well. Might be able to find one in the $7K range.
    2018 Acura TLX 3.5 SH AWD A-SPEC
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,738
    My nephew just bought a 2005 GTI with under 90k miles for .... well, I forget if he told me $5k or $6k. Either way, in your budget and a real solid choice, IMHO.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 4,292
    edited March 2015
    Congrats on saving 7k. If I may ask, what's your car budget after that per month for gas, insurance, repairs, payments, etc.?

    I recommend against an old VW. A GTI is great when it works, but imho they are unreliable and expensive to fix.

    I think the suggestion by oldfarmer an older Eclipse makes sense. Those cars look great, are fast, relatively cheap, and are probably more reliable than a VW.

    Can you drive a manual?

    Anyway, here's a radical and probably annoying suggestion: what if you save money for another year or so in order to get a better car?

    gbrozen: how do you like your LX 6-speed Honda Fit? That's almost like a budget version Honda GTI—but with probably great reliability. A base Honda Fit lists for $16,500.

    If you can wait c. 8 months and keep saving, Honda is apparently putting an amazing 1.5 liter turbo as standard on the next generation all-new 2016 Civic. It'll probably have 160 hp or so, and should be class-leading in terms of acceleration and power. The styling is also taking a radical direction away from the current cautious Civic and toward a more swooping and sporty style. Probably out of your price range, but the base model there will probably be a surprisingly serious performer for the price.

    Or, back to used, how about an older Hyundai. They are pretty reliable and usually have pretty good power. A V-6 Sonata from c. 2008 might be affordable, as well as have significant pick up.
    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 4,292
    edited March 2015
    Hyundai seems to have some good deals on the sporty Elantra GT. My local dealer has one for 4k off of list, and maybe you can still use the 0.0 financing with that....As a parent myself, I hesitate to suggest this, but would your parents as a back up sign a loan for you? I would for my child to get them into a safer and more reliable car. With a low downpayment could you make this monthly lease payment?

    https://www.hyundaiusa.com/financial-tools/special-offers.aspx


    2015 ELANTRA GT - FROM $18,800
    Lease starting at $179/month for 36 months. $1,399 due at lease signing. Excludes registration, tax, title and license. (3/3/2015 - 3/31/2015)
    Low APR 0.0% financing for up to 60 months, 1.9% for 72 months PLUS $500 Bonus Cash (3/3/2015 - 3/31/2015)
    $1,000 Event Cash (3/3/2015 - 3/31/2015)
    $2,000 Retail Bonus Cash (3/3/2015 - 3/31/2015)
    90 Day Deferred Payment option on terms up to 60 months. (3/3/2015 - 3/31/2015)
    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 4,292
    edited March 2015
    kacper244 said:

    I'm a 18 year old guy. I need a car and have saved up $7000. What is a good car for me? I like fast cars and the car has to be no older than 10 years.

    Imho here's the deal with most old used cars that are in your budget: they'll probably suck, plus they'll need a lot of repairs and maintenance that might drain your financial blood like a vampire.

    For instance, for a c. 12 year old VW you might need to figure an average of c. $200 a month in repairs and maintenance. Many months it might be close to nothing, but then on average every 4-6 months you might get stuck with a c. $600-$1200 bill for something. And, to state the obvious, if the engine or transmission need major work it's time for the junkyard.

    Used might be your only choice, but sometimes it's a false economy in the long run. For instance, if you buy a c. 12 year old car for c. 5k now, it'll not only keep a lot of $ to keep it going, but in another c. 5 years it'll probably be ready for the scrap heap and have little or no resale value and you'll have to start all over again.

    If, on the other hand, you save another year, and then (as much as I'm a Honda guy) buy, say, a new Hyundai Elantra GT (powerful for the price, roomy, safe) for c. $17k with a 0% loan and a 10 year warranty, you are going to have a car that's faster, more fuel efficient, safer, and much more reliable. If you can afford another car in 5 years this one will be worth something in trade-in, rather than ready for the scrap heap. But if you need to keep it, you should be able to have as much as 10 years of mostly trouble-free ownership, and at least the engine and transmission will be protected by a warranty.

    My 2 cents. In the long run (5-10 years), old used cars are often a false economy over an decent new car at a discount and with low financing.

    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    Here are a few options that come to mind:
    -Acura RSX - front wheel drive, fun to drive, and easy to drive, fairly reliable
    -VW GTi -yes, can get pricey with repairs but fairly quick
    -Honda Accord coupe, both the V6 and 4 cylinders are responsive and fun to drive and reliable. 4 cylinder manual would be your best bet as the engines use a timing chain and not a belt, so you don't have to worry about replacement, and V6 automatics may have tranny issues.
    -Acura TSX or TL although in your price range they will have high mileage
    -Pontiac Gran Prix - good power out of the V6 but not as refined or agile as imports I mentioned
    -Mitsubishi Eclipse - sporty looking and fun to drive, although not my personal favorites

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,738
    benjaminh said:


    I recommend against an old VW. A GTI is great when it works, but imho they are unreliable and expensive to fix.

    qbrozen: how do you like your LX 6-speed Honda Fit? That's almost like a budget version Honda GTI—but with probably great reliability. A base Honda Fit lists for $16,500.

    To answer both points, my new Fit has given me more problems in the first few months of ownership than I had with my '07 GTI in the 1.5 years I owned that. Granted, its a different animal than the older 1.8T version, but, as far as I'm aware, both had issues that could be avoided if you kept on top of them with proper preventative maintenance. Using my nephew's as an example, the person they bought it from had records for all the frequent synthetic oil changes from new (helping ease my mind on the sludge issue).

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • jpp75jpp75 DenverPosts: 1,387
    qbrozen said:


    To answer both points, my new Fit has given me more problems in the first few months of ownership than I had with my '07 GTI in the 1.5 years I owned that. Granted, its a different animal than the older 1.8T version, but, as far as I'm aware, both had issues that could be avoided if you kept on top of them with proper preventative maintenance. Using my nephew's as an example, the person they bought it from had records for all the frequent synthetic oil changes from new (helping ease my mind on the sludge issue).

    What problems have you had with your Fit?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,738
    Bluetooth is glitchy (radio freezes up completely until I restart... dealer could do nothing about it), I have a clunk in the rear left over bumps at the moment, and it does a slight surging thing when its cold and I press the go pedal about halfway. All of it more annoying than truly problematic. I would do something about it, but its likely I won't have it past this fall.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • jpp75jpp75 DenverPosts: 1,387
    qbrozen said:

    Bluetooth is glitchy (radio freezes up completely until I restart... dealer could do nothing about it), I have a clunk in the rear left over bumps at the moment, and it does a slight surging thing when its cold and I press the go pedal about halfway. All of it more annoying than truly problematic. I would do something about it, but its likely I won't have it past this fall.

    I'd actually characterize those as problematic. What are you looking at for a replacement?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,738
    Depends on what the future holds. Right now, we are looking to move south, and if we manage to pull that off, I'd probably just have Carmax take it off my hands and not get a replacement at all. If we stay in NJ, I'd replace it with a CPO S60 to give to the wife for our 15th anniversary in October. But we're way off topic. ;)

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 4,292
    So far it's not clear that the OP has been back since the initial post....
    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
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