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Old 01-02-2013, 12:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Used 2nd gen Prius. Drive nice and see 50+ mpg until he decides to sell it. They can even be had for under $10k these days. For $16k you can get one with very few miles on it.

Current project: DIY electric water pump - on the cheap
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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there are a few 2010 (3rd generation) prius's on Ebay right now with buy it now prices under $16,000, wait a few months or shop around and he should be able to find a Prius C in his price range.

Otherwise I'd tell him to find a first generation honda Insight, the automatics on them kind of suck but it also makes the car much cheaper.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If he doesn't want to compromise too much, try finding a slightly used mazda 3 (preferably a skyactiv-G). Excelent car! 28/40 city/highway and 155hp!!
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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tell your buddy to learn to drive stick. the only entertaining automatics are more expensive with obscene horsepower rating.

besides, in my book, you can't get your "man card" until you are proficcient with a manual transmission.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If you want an entertaining automatic in that price range, a year-old Sentra 2.0 CVT is the ticket. Burnouts? Check. Holds redline from 0-100 mph? Check (In "S" or "L" mode). Holds revs when you let off the gas? Check (In "L" mode). Lift-off oversteer due to aggressive gear holding and crappy tires? Hell yes. There is no easier "compact" to handbrake turn, except perhaps a Miata.


Of course, it sounds like crap and is actually decently economical, so most people don't care for it.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'd also consider a late-90s to mid-00s Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit TDI.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:17 PM   #17 (permalink)
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An 09+ honda fit. Personally, I'd be scared to buy any used car after hurricane sandy. You can buy new at that price.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Vman455 View Post
Not knowing what the OP's friend is looking for in a car, I second this as a good all-around choice. Plus, these 7th-gens are easier to find non-riced-out since they're not as well-regarded in the tuning community as earlier Civics. And, with some aerodynamic modification, it's easy to see high 40s-low 50s mpg.
While I like my 7th gen Civic, there are a few issues with them. The Civic, Accord, and Oddessy from the early 2000's are all prone to transmission failure (I'm afflicted, my input shaft bearing is going out... but that's how I got the car for a very cheap price). And this is the first generation with MacPherson struts up front, and I don't think it was well implemented. For those reasons, I prefer the 6th gen.

That said, the 7th gen is roomier and safer than the 6th, if those are important factors to you.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:03 PM   #19 (permalink)
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2013 Fiat 500.

MSRP $16,000

40 MPG highway.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:28 AM   #20 (permalink)
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If I had to spend $16k, a barely used Fiesta or Focus with 6 sp automatic manual.

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