• Coincidentally, I just bought an '06 Cooper S. $4000, loaded with equipment, new tires, and battery.
      Got it as a spare car to back up my e90 328i, and wound up driving it far more than the Bimmer. Love it. These are perfect first cars in naturally aspirated form; surefooted handling, easy on gas, awesome visibility, full suite of airbags, and not much space for a carload of knucklehead friends.

    • The first gen MINI's are surprisingly reliable (especially for a BMW built in the UK). I bought a '05 Cooper S at the end of '04 and just sold it last summer with 110K on the clock. It wasn't overly needy. Big things I couldn't (wouldn't) do myself were the harmonic balancer failure and the power steering pump. The last one is a recall issue, so check your '06's history to see if it applies. I paid out of pocket prior to the recall and was subsequently reimbursed by MINI.

  • Good idea on the stick keep hands busy/away from cell phones. That being said…

    2004 Honda CR-V EX, 149k, $4500

  • I'm all in favor of the car being engaging enough to drive (and having a stick) to keep her from being distracted or zoning out. Here's an option that delivers on that, is priced well below his asking price, and should be both easy to work on and reasonably dependable.

    [image src=" images.craigslist.org/00x0x_2Gd5Fvfcml1_600x450.jpg"/]

    Del Sol

    • In addtional to the beauty of the uber cheap price tag and manual transmission, that Del Sol only has room for 2. Young drivers need as few distractions as possible. $1500, seats 2 with stick.. 1st car ain't supposed to be the ideal, its supposed to be the one that makes you hungry to earn money to buy your next car.
      Slow, economical, room for two, manual.. holy crap you just found the modern equivalent to my first car, a '62 Karmann Ghia. (except it was only 10 yrs old at the time instead of 20+)

    • yeah, but you don't want something so visible crapping out in the wrong zipcode

      i'm with boring, reliable, not big enough for a party, not so tiny it gets squashed like a bug, not so new because it's gonna get scratches, not so old that the safety's not there, not so slow she can't get out of trouble, obviously not so fast

      where does that leave us? – Civic or Corolla, 5 to 10 years old

      and absofreakinglutely posiforkingtivey has to be a stick, zero leeway on that one

    • Basically every first car recommendation is a Civic or Corolla…we need to start recommending cars that aren't so "basic". 2000's Subaru Impreza/Forester? Basically qualifies for everything you just mentioned, with slightly added safety of AWD. And it's not so "basic".

    • i think you'd be hard pressed to find a Civirolla with a stick – this article in the LA Times says Subaru sold 10% stick in Forester/Impreza recently, but i'd have to guess Hondoyota is lower

      how about a 15-year-old BMW 3-series? – probably find a stick in one of those

  • How about a Honda Fit? Fair number of manual's available. Easy on Gas, fits a ton of stuff but only 4 humans. Not too fast. Probably won't break much, but with higher mileage you'll have some preventative maintenance to do.

    FIT

  • Girlfriend had a Del Sol i liked it alot so did the body shop she was a closet drunk and crashed it about once a month that did not last long scary times. No on Mustang Gt maybe a V-6…

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