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Even before the license plates come in for my 2017 Ridgeline, I'm looking for a second vehicle. I've always wanted to buy a new vehicle and keep it in the garage and not use it as my daily driver.

I've been looking or a small car with a manual transmission, but they are much more difficult to find than I imagined. I considered a new Nissan Versa S sedan - $11,000 brand new (with air conditioning!), but dealers don't order those lowest-price models. That's really more than I want to spend anyway and I prefer something used that I don't have to worry about getting a door ding on. Hondas hold their resale value too well - it's hard to find a Civic less than 10 years old with less than 100K miles for less than $10K. I really want to spend about $5-6K I think. I'm keeping my eyes open and hoping that something pops up from a reasonable source.
 

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Have you considered a Miata? They are plentiful, cheap to operate, highly reliable and simply a blast to drive. We have had 6 of them in the past (a 93, a 97, 2 99s, an 01 and an 06).
 

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Yes, I have, actually. That would definitely be a model high on my list of candidates. I've never owned nor had the desire to own a "convertible" (including removable hardtops), though.
 

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I think the price range is going to really limit your choice to 8 to 10 year old vehicles.
 

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Have you considered a Miata? They are plentiful, cheap to operate, highly reliable and simply a blast to drive. We have had 6 of them in the past (a 93, a 97, 2 99s, an 01 and an 06).
Came in here to say Miata.

Personally, I'd never own one because I don't care for the looks of them, however, they are often said to be amazing driver cars.

I do remember going out on a race track in a stock miata with a semi competent driver and I was pretty amazed at how well it went around the track.

Look into Acura Integras around the the late 90s early 2000s. Reliable, in your price range, and fun to drive. The cars weigh about 2,600 lbs so if you want to put a better tire on them you can have a fun little car to throw away and row your own gears. They are also very easy to work on with a lot of online support in case you come across any issues. Parts galore as well.
 

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Look into Acura Integras around the the late 90s early 2000s. Reliable, in your price range, and fun to drive. The cars weigh about 2,600 lbs so if you want to put a better tire on them you can have a fun little car to throw away and row your own gears. They are also very easy to work on with a lot of online support in case you come across any issues. Parts galore as well.
None on Cars.com within a reasonable driving distance from me. There are a dozen or so on Craigslist - mid-to-late-90s - every single one has been "riced out" with tacky add-ons, engine modifications, etc.
 

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I'm kinda keeping an eye open for a 2005-06 Acura RSX Type S. My son is wanting one, but he needs to learn to drive the manual in the old beater Civic first. If you can find one of those that is OEM, it might be a good choice.

Personally, I don't much like to fall down into and climb up out of low cars like that anymore. ;)
 

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I found a red 2007 Honda Civic EX coupe with 5-speed manual and black interior 1.5 hours from me. It's got 107K miles. It's advertised for $7,333 + TTL ($7,991 drive-out) at a Dodge dealer. I've requested additional photos and more information. CARFAX doesn't show anything unusual, but that doesn't mean much. I offered them $5,500 drive-out. They came back with $7,000 drive-out. I've requested additional photos of the car. If the photos look good, I'll go see it in person. If it checks out, I might give them $6,000 drive-out.

Used 2007 Honda Civic EX For Sale | Terrell TX | 92212A
 

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Any known issues with a gen 8 Civic? Iirc, my niece had a 2007 EX and the engine had to be replaced under warranty... but I don't recall the reason why. She bought it used too, but Honda still replaced the engine.
 

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Any known issues with a gen 8 Civic? Iirc, my niece had a 2007 EX and the engine had to be replaced under warranty... but I don't recall the reason why. She bought it used too, but Honda still replaced the engine.
Discouraging news. 10-year extended warranty on the engine block due to cracking issues and coolant loss. I had actually been reading about it when you posted. I called my Honda dealer who told me it was originally sold on 9/2007 and is still covered for that issue until 9/2017 (unlimited miles). Why must EVERY vehicle have some inherent flaw? There's also an open recall for the passenger airbag (no surprise there).

If there's a good side, I'd have a year without worry due to a cracked block. If it leaked, it would get a new short block. If it leaked and overheated and warped the heads are a result, I'd get a new long block.
 

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What about the Mazda 3 ? They are quite reliable and drive rather well for a small car. They are not quite as popular as the Civic, but around here the Civic is the most "riced" out car around. The Mazda 3, on the other hand don't seem to suffer the same fate.

Also, the insurance on the Civic may be higher due to them getting stolen so often…

YMMV.
 

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I have a 2007 Honda Fit with a 5-speed manual. It's been a phenomenal car. I am saving it for my 14 year old son. A 2018 Ridgeline is in my future. The Fit's Magic Seats and incredible packaging make it great for all kinds of hauling and family trips. I did a little test before I test drove a new Ridgeline RTS. With the driver's seat adjusted for my 5'10" frame, here's the scoop on rear seat room. In my Fit, there are 4 fingers of space between my knees and the back of the front seat and a full hand from the top of my head to the ceiling. The back seat of the fit actually has at least one finger's more space in leg and head room than the new Ridgeline. I am greatly looking forward to the extra width that the Ridgeline will provide. I highly recommend looking for a manual Fit. I think the last year for a manual was '12 or '13. That's when it fell off Car and Driver's 10-Best list.
 

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The 2007 Civic was a no-go. The interior was DISGUSTING, the passenger headlight was new (likely undisclosed collision damage), and there was evidence it had a nitrous oxide system installed (the switch was still on the dash). They tried to lower the price. I told them I wouldn't give scrap value for it.

What about the Mazda 3 ?
A Mazda 3 would be acceptable. I had one as a rental car several years ago. It was fun to drive, although the automatic transmission sapped what little power the engine produced.

I highly recommend looking for a manual Fit.
There is ONE objection I have to the Fit: The HVAC controls are cable-operated. Even non-automatic climate control systems have been electronically-controlled for years in other vehicles. I don't like the clunky feel of cable-operated HVAC controls. In fact, I find it offensive that they are STILL used even the $22K Fit EX-L with navigation. You've got leather, sunroof, navigation, rearview camera, Lane Watch, and Bluetooth, but mechanical HVAC controls! Crazy!
 

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I agree with your comments on the HVAC controls. My first car was a 1976 Civic CVCC so I guess I was used to the primitive controls. The Fit drives like a sports car and has the room of a mid-sized sedan.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)

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Well hey there Zrog! I wondered where you wandered off to. Congrats on the Si. Have fun!

Just helped my son pick up one of these and it's a fun drive with the 3.8V6 and the 6 speed manual tranny.

2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track with 104k miles. Everything looks good except for an elusive water leak in the trunk that's driving me nuts!
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Nice looking car - I bet he's proud of it! Hope he stays out of trouble with that torquey, manual, RWD powertrain. ;)
 

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Nice looking car - I bet he's proud of it! Hope he stays out of trouble with that torquey, manual, RWD powertrain. ;)
Me too. If he wants to keep his driving privileges, he'll have to behave! Else I get to drive it. >:)
 

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In 2013, my son who lives in Atlanta had to search high and low to find his 2012 EX V6. He had to have that stick. Very, very rare. That iteration (07-12) the only way to get 6 gears was with a manual. They didn't put 6 speeds in autos until 2013.

Course, I see you've solved your problem. Nice choice, Zrog.
 
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