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BooSTIng
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Welcome to clubwrx! With this being your first car, I am assuming that you are young, -18yo. When buying a wrx or STi used I strictly stay from anything that is modified. I have bought a few used Subaru's and I have a checklist I go by to ensure that the car itself is in good shape. Carfax must be good, all maintenance up to date, absolutely zero modifications, and low mileage. I passed up a few STi's when I was shopping for one. I found my current one and it checked off on every thing listed above.

Also when buying used it is wise to have a leakdown/compression test done to ensure that the engine is healthy.

Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, my personal opinion is that a wrx is not a great choice for a first car. Your insurance will be high due to your age and typically kids with cars like these will end up trying to race and do dumb stuff. No offense. If you are dead set on a wrx then follow the rule of thumb listed above. Take your time and don't jump on the first wrx you find. If the price seems too good to be true, it's because it is. Too many times I've seen people ditch off their cars for a good price due to an engine issue, or the clutch/tranny going out, etc.
 

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Super Moderator
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Buy yourself an accord or civic. Both can be fun to drive, are infinitely more reliable and cheaper to keep running, marginally less likely to encourage you to drive like a tool, and likely won’t be priced twice what the car is worth like that one is.
 

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Buy yourself an accord or civic. Both can be fun to drive, are infinitely more reliable and cheaper to keep running, marginally less likely to encourage you to drive like a tool, and likely won’t be priced twice what the car is worth like that one is.
XJman is right. start with those cars. dont be discourage if people think hondas are not nice to have. my first car was a scion tc and learned to drive stick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the great advice. I think the smartest thing to do is to pass on the car. I have about 10-15k to spend but I really don’t want a Honda or Miata not a big fan of them. I also don’t want a beater as my first car either so what do you guys think my options are?
 

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Super Moderator (Actually a SuperSpy)
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I've driven a late-model Camry and a friend's family owns two they are brilliant cars. Quiet interior, comfortable, safe, and reliable.
 

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BooSTIng
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Honestly if I were you, put 10k (+/- a few thousand) of your 15k back into savings for the car you really want. Around 5-8k should buy you a decent and safe daily driver. Continue to contribute to your savings account as much as you can. Once you are a little older (in your 20's) sell the car you buy now and use your savings for a nice big down payment for the wrx or STi you want.

We all here start out as enthusiasts, however my first car was a Pontiac grand am. And my first Subaru, even though I badly wanted a wrx, was a impreza 2.5i. I couldn't afford the insurance of a wrx at the age of 20. So opted for the impreza in a 5 speed so I could get used to driving a manual. You can still be an enthusiast and drive any type of car.

If I were you I would be looking into a newer used Honda accord, or even a camry is a great safe choice for a new driver. Get some driving experience under your belt and continue to save your pennies for the car you really want once you are a little older.
 

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Super Moderator (Actually a SuperSpy)
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I’m also an enthusiast so I would want like a 300zx or something like that.
That party’s over. There is nothing to be enthusiastic about with the Z. They were great in 1992. They’re rubbish now and they won’t run.

Get a car that runs.
 

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Braydenblue12 said:
Thanks for all the great advice. I think the smartest thing to do is to pass on the car. I have about 10-15k to spend but I really don’t want a Honda or Miata not a big fan of them. I also don’t want a beater as my first car either so what do you guys think my options are?
Braydenblue12 said:
I’m also an enthusiast so I would want like a 300zx or something like that.
I give this advice every time someone posts something similar...

A WRX/STI (or any "performance" vehicle) is not an intelligent purchase for a first car, or a young driver as a whole.

Despite what you say, you do not have the driving experience necessary. While you can injure yourself / others outside the limits of any vehicle, when you have a sporty vehicle you can be overconfident in the abilities (e.g., here in the northeast, you often see people with AWD not slowing down for winter conditions who wind up off the road or crashing into someone a few miles up the road). With a higher horsepower vehicle, you are more likely to be going faster than in a regular car when you realize you've exceeded the limitations of the vehicle, which makes the consequences worse (e.g., instead of slight paint transfer love tap at an intersection, you can be on the giving end of full-on automotive buttsex with a busted radiator and your coolant load dripping all over the pavement). If you have immature passengers egging you on, you're more likely to do push the vehicle (standard peer pressure).

High school / college parking lots are notorious for people not being careful with their vehicles, and either crashing into you, letting their doors slam into your vehicle, etc. As a student, you spend significantly more time in these situations, and will not be likely to have your car come out unscathed (even if through no fault of your own). You think they leave a note when that happens (unless there's obviously a witness)?! You're going to cart around your drunk friends after a night out (being a responsible DD) and one of them is going to puke all over the inside. You're going to have a girlfriend/boyfriend and leave stains on the seats.

Insurance is astronomical with these vehicles and young drivers. You could be paying $300+/mo (ask around about what kind of rates you'd be getting); if you live at home with your parents, you may not want to carry bare minimum insurance, in case of an issue and your parents lose their house and retirement savings as a result of one dumb move. If you go away to college, does the campus allow freshman to have cars (many don't)? If not, you're paying $10/day for that vehicle to sit in your parents driveway while you're at school.

If you decide to attend college after high school, are all expenses paid for? Students don't understand the consequences of taking on student loan debt, and how long it can take to get out from under it. You can NEVER get out of student loans unless you pay them off or have one of the forgiveness programs (e.g., FSLF program, which still requires 10 years worth of payments). I have a former coworker who left school with $250K worth of student loans and a four-year degree in business, who works as a Level 2 Help Desk technician; I'm pretty sure his student loan payment is $1000+/month.

If you're trying to impress people with the vehicle, it's not really going to be the girls. In high school, maybe, but once girls get into college, they've matured a little bit and will look at your Subaru econobox for what it is; a loud, uncomfortable, rattly vehicle. You will likely impress a lot of dudes, though, so if that's what you're after, this may not be a point to get you to avoid spending the money. Be aware, however, that the dudes who would be impressed by a WRX are likely the immature passengers that would be egging you on that I alluded to earlier.




My advice is to buy something inexpensive, reliable, sensible, and Japanese; certainly not a beater, where you're adding coolant and oil at each fuel-up, body panels rusting out, and you say "oh please" every time you turn the key hoping it starts, but doesn't break the bank. A boring 4-door family sedan that brought a mom or dad to/from work and their kids to their activities for its entire life, all while getting good gas mileage on standard pump fuel. Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, etc. are great options here. You can find them in good shape for $5-7K, learn how to do basic maintenance (e.g., oil changes, brake jobs, etc.), and if something happens, it's not that big of a deal. Take that money saved and invest it into keeping your student loan balance lower and/or set money aside for awesome adventures throughout school, where you can travel to awesome places, and bang random stranger(s) while you're in each one. You'll have years ahead of you to get a enthusiast vehicle, at a point when it's more likely to last you longer. With the enthusiast vehicle, you'll likely want to tinker, and your experience learning basic maintenance on the boring sedan will help you feel comfortable modifying it down the road when you can afford to; wrenching on a project car (as long as it isn't constant) is one of the best reasons to have one.

I give this advice because I bought my Subaru as a junior in college. I didn't accrue any additional student loan debt as a result, but I certainly could've spent my money differently. I could've gone on trips during breaks (vs working 90 hours/week). I could've put more towards my student loans (and have already paid them off by now). I could've spent a lot more time going out to bars with friends vs watching marathons of "The Office" and "Seinfeld" at home with roommates. I had the boring paid-off family sedan (Nissan Altima) that required nothing but standard maintenance before I bought the Subaru. So I saw both sides to the lifestyle.
 

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Thanks for all the great advice. I think the smartest thing to do is to pass on the car. I have about 10-15k to spend but I really don’t want a Honda or Miata not a big fan of them. I also don’t want a beater as my first car either so what do you guys think my options are?

I think there is hope for you. And I mean this in a good way. So often younger driving enthusiasts come here hoping we'll say, "Oh yeah. You should definitely buy that highly modified 400 hp 2003 WRX STI with 198,000 miles. I'm sure it will be both reliable and you will be able to drive it skillfully for at least another decade with nothing more than an oil change or two" . . . and then they get perturbed when folks advise against making such a purchase as they really want us to agree with their thoughts.

OK, that said. The WRX and STI are fun cars and many of us have dreamed about owning one for many years . . . many of us just had to have a bit of delayed gratification . . . and that's alright.

So I won't rehash all the reasons that other folks have suggested for not buying a WRX, much less a highly modified, older WRX.

But I will offer up some choices.

My first two choices would be either a Honda Accord/Civic or a Toyota Camry. While I realize you may not want a Honda, they really make some fun cars -- Accords with a bit of pep and manual transmissions . . . and they are very reliable. I actually test drove an older SI before opting for my current WRX. They're not bad cars and I might respectfully suggest keeping them in mind still. Hell, at the New England Forest Rally I've seen Honda Fits do quite well in the rally race.

Toyota is nearly synonymous with reliability . . . and some folks (including me) say they can be kinda boring in the styling department. However, Camrys and Corollas are rock solid reliable . . . and some of their V-6 cars have quite a bit of pep.

I tend to lean pretty heavily towards the Japanese brands . . . if you're a fan of Subarus and/or perhaps would find the AWD useful for driving in the snowbelt the Imprezas are pretty affordable and styling wise are pretty good looking to my eye. My wife loved her older Legacy Outback sedan . . . and is currently driving a modern Legacy -- while it doesn't handle like the WRX, I feel it has plenty of power for merging and is really smooth riding for longer road trips.

I know a lot of folks have also had good look as of late with the Korean Kia line up . . .
 

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something else forever
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Glad you took the advice of the adults around these parts. I'm a kid so I was totally about to offer you my car for sale but saw your budget. (lol)

Honestly... get a v6 Accord w/ a stick and have fun from there. Cheap and reliable. Lots of potential. Can learn and rebuild from the ground up.

Good luck and have fun man! :D
 

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We had these kind of threads all the time on the MR2 Forum as well and the same answer was given. It generally isn't a good idea to purchase a performance-type car as your first car. Mine was an 88 Volvo 740 GLE. Not really exciting but it was rear wheel drive and did the trick. I learned how to drive with that car, made some mistakes along the way, but it did the trick. Had another crappy car after that then bought a 92 MR2, non turbo though, and was able to handle all that car threw my way, and it liked to test me every chance it was given.

I got my WRX when I turned 30, kind of a birthday present to my self, and would not recommend it to a first time driver. It's not really a learners car for multiple reasons. If you want that WRX feel look into an Imprezza, but my vote is for something more practical like an Accord or Corolla. Both easy to work on and pretty decent college student car. When you look at a modified used car you have to come into that situation with the mindset you are buying someone else's problems.
 

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OP, you are receiving some very good advice. A used Toyota or Honda can be fun and practical. Add insurance into your calculations. Just a FYI, I sold a 2015 WRX Limited with 10K miles on it and bought a 2016 Camaro SS loaded out to MRC and upgraded sound system. There was nearly a 200HP and $15K difference in power and costs of the two cars. My insurance went down about $200 per year moving to the Camaro. I have had an AARP card in my wallet for well over a decade.
 

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We had these kind of threads all the time on the MR2 Forum as well and the same answer was given. It generally isn't a good idea to purchase a performance-type car as your first car. Mine was an 88 Volvo 740 GLE. Not really exciting but it was rear wheel drive and did the trick. I learned how to drive with that car, made some mistakes along the way, but it did the trick. Had another crappy car after that then bought a 92 MR2, non turbo though, and was able to handle all that car threw my way, and it liked to test me every chance it was given.

I got my WRX when I turned 30, kind of a birthday present to my self, and would not recommend it to a first time driver. It's not really a learners car for multiple reasons. If you want that WRX feel look into an Imprezza, but my vote is for something more practical like an Accord or Corolla. Both easy to work on and pretty decent college student car. When you look at a modified used car you have to come into that situation with the mindset you are buying someone else's problems.
Holy crap another MR2 guy??!! We're a rare breed. Are you on the Northeast MR2 owners FB group? Pic for attention:
 

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By the way, my first car was a '93 trans am. 275hp 300lb/ft tq, 6 speed in bright "pull me over" red. I bought it myself at 18 years old for 9 grand, and dont regret it at all. I never did anything too stupid with it and I survived it fine. I sold it 5 years later for what I paid for it. You dont have to get a camry to not be a moron on the roads. I'll buck the trend here and say look into an affordable performance car unless you would be content with a reliable econobox (I never would be) The WRX just isn't a good candidate because the resale is so high that it'll guaranteed be a high mileage rat for that price, and you're highly likely to end up with an unreliable expensive money pit going that route even if you think it looks like a clean car. Plus with an awd and turbo system there is a lot more to go wrong on an older car than with some other platforms. But a late 90s early 2000s mustang/camaro/firebird should be well under your budget, and are not expensive to maintain or repair. Just check insurance first as that might be a deal breaker if you're not putting it on your parents plan. Plenty of other fun options out there like that too if you dont want to do rwd, like a honda prelude for example. The 300Z isnt as good as it was in the 90s but its still a pretty cool first car and a real sports car.

The very fact that you made this thread and have a realistic budget for a kid your age (ie mommy and daddy aint paying for it so you'll value it) hints that you are responsible enough to handle it imo. Just don't be an idiot and you should come out of it shiny side up! Maybe not the best advice, but to me a Camry would make me feel dead inside. ymmv, good luck whatver you choose.
 

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Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Admin
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Good advice being given..a lot depends upon the specific situation and person. I totaled my first car, and it was a wakeup call to me ("Hey kid, in case you're wondering, you're not invincible like you thought!")...but other 16-18 year olds have more sense. Hard to get around the insurance cost, though.

To this day, I still love the 2nd Generation MR2's, my '91 MR2T was a blast! :wiggles:
 

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I joined the group that was started with the MR2 board guys. I sold mine about 3 years ago though after I dropped a bunch of money on a BEAMS redtop swap. It was a sad day. :(
Dont think I will ever sell mine. Anyone I ever knew who sold an sw20 either regretted it or ended up rebuying one like I did! They're still pretty cheap for now but prices are starting to creep up.
 
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