Reader Question: $2k Down and $200-$300 per Month?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Zane asks: I’m trying to help my sister find a car that suits; her budget: $2k down and $200-$300 a month. She’s looking for something with bells and whistles that’s fuel efficient for when she’s running around, roomy enough to store all her stuff, doesn’t necessarily have to be a crossover and due to knowing about them, I’m steering her away from CVT options, although she also doesn’t know stick. Doesn’t exactly have to be new, I’m partial to Beetle TDI convertibles even though it might not have enough room for when she goes to an Ikea or somewhere of the sort, but still solid enough that if she moves to FL, won’t have to worry about nothing more than gas and then head to the dealer once she’s down there. My family generally leases every 2-3 yrs though; I doubt she’d go for something 10-plus yrs old though, so something a bit recent. Any thoughts?

My reply: My first thought was a 2-3 year-old Subaru Crosstrek with a manual. But then I read about your sister not being hip to the stick. This is too bad because the ‘Trek is one of the few crossovers that does offer a manual – and thus avoid the CVT. Any chance she’s willing to learn stick?

If not, my next-up suggestion is a Mazda CX-3. No stick. But the automatic isn’t a CVT and the engine hasn’t got a turbo. This small crossover has lots of room and so would make a great car for her needs, as you’ve elaborated them. Plus, it’s cute and that is likely consideration for women, generally.

The Beetle… I wouldn’t recommend it because it’s got a vestigial trunk and almost useless back seats. The convertible is even worse as regards cargo. Also, convertibles do not age well. Unless she parks indoors, it will not look good, soon.

I’d steer (in a VW) toward a Golf or – even better – a Golf Sportwagen. Both available with TDIs in the older models; but stay away from the DSG automatic.

One more, boring – but totally safe bet:

A Toyota RAV-4; an older one with either the once-available manual or the optionally available V6. A Honda CR-V would be okay, too – except for the CVT.

Hope this helps you get rolling!

. . . 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Ditto on the creosstrek. I have a 2017 stick. A great do everything car. Very good outward visibility, simple analog controls, ample space with a nice suspension and ground clearance. Plus affordable and awd.

  2. Just sent it to her now, and she drove 12 miles in my old stage 2 Audi with its stage 1 clutch, so im positive she’s got it

    Thanks again btw Eric!

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