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I have four sons. My oldest was treated to a '14 Focus ST before his senior year in HS. I searched until I found the right car, low miles, great shape, CPO. He amassed a number of speeding tickets and wrecked it twice. 

The next one in line isn't as interested in cars or speed. I think he'll be happy with something more mundane. 

I'd really like to get him into a manual for a first car, but that REALLY narrows the choices. Would like it to be a 4-door, no more than 75k miles, $5-7k, common for parts availability. I've been shopping various Altimas (various models, manual are TOUGH to find), Sentras ('13-'14, have found a few manuals), Ford Fusions (no manuals), Maximas, Accords, Civics and a few other options. Seems like the Nissans offer a more for the $$$. Hondas seem overpriced for older cars. 

 

Any advice or suggestions? 

 

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be wary of the 1st gen VQ35DE - have the timing chain and guides checked, check the hot idle oil pressure (oil galley gaskets prone to failure) and ensure it isn't burning through oil like it's going out of style (they were known for that due to piston oil scraper ring issues). The manual trans cars were often hot rodded which exacerbates the problems.

My car spun a rod bearing after 3 laps at NJMP for the aforementioned reasons.

Other than that, the manual trans V6 altima/maximas are fun cars!

Edited by Slugworks Paul

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44 minutes ago, Slugworks Paul said:

be wary of the 1st gen VQ35DE - have the timing chain and guides checked, check the hot idle oil pressure (oil galley gaskets prone to failure) and ensure it isn't burning through oil like it's going out of style (they were known for that due to piston oil scraper ring issues). The manual trans cars were often hot rodded which exacerbates the problems.

My car spun a rod bearing after 3 laps at NJMP for the aforementioned reasons.

Other than that, the manual trans V6 altima/maximas are fun cars!

Almost every manual trans 3.5 Altima SE-R I've seen for sale has huge miles on it and appears beat. I've found a few decent Maximas but all auto/CVT. 

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11 minutes ago, Snorman said:

Almost every manual trans 3.5 Altima SE-R I've seen for sale has huge miles on it and appears beat. I've found a few decent Maximas but all auto/CVT. 


Most of them are beat, unfortunately. You could try looking for a late 5th gen maxima (they call it 5.5) but it may be the same story.

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My Dad bought me my 1st car, 2nd car, and split my 3rd car with me. 

1) 1984 Pontiac 2M4 (Iron Duke) - This car taught me many lessons on how to work on cars, and how poorly made an 80s America car was. 
2) 1993 Honda Civic LX - This car taught me how reliable a Honda driven on the street is, and how a car can appreciate when going from 125k miles to 225k miles while being abused by a teenager. 
3) 2000 Ford Contour SVT - This car taught me that in 2000 American cars were made just as poorly as they were in 1984. 

I would go with a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Fit for your son. 
 

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A very good friend of mine owned an import-only repair shop for many decades.  Swore on Toyota as the best, Honda second, the rest of the Asian manufacturers a distant third, and only worked on German stuff because they provided a steady revenue stream.  His daily driver the 15+ years I knew him was a used 2wd, automatic, 4cyl Tacoma extended cab.

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1 hour ago, red0 said:

My Dad bought me my 1st car, 2nd car, and split my 3rd car with me. 

1) 1984 Pontiac 2M4 (Iron Duke) - This car taught me many lessons on how to work on cars, and how poorly made an 80s America car was. 
2) 1993 Honda Civic LX - This car taught me how reliable a Honda driven on the street is, and how a car can appreciate when going from 125k miles to 225k miles while being abused by a teenager. 
3) 2000 Ford Contour SVT - This car taught me that in 2000 American cars were made just as poorly as they were in 1984. 

I would go with a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Fit for your son. 
 

I never thought of a Honda Fit. Will look into them. Thanks. 

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First kid got an Audi TT.  It needed a clutch, starter, power steering lines, fuel pump.   

 

Second kid got two Miatas.  One crashed with a motor and manual transmission, one very clean body, but no motor and an automatic.  He did the swap.

 

Both kids did the work while I offered support and guidance.  Both ended up with pretty cool cars.  Both had their respective cars running and on the road before they were old enough to even have a permit to drive them, never mind a license.  What passes for teaching in one house might be considered abuse in another.

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1 hour ago, MMiskoe said:

First kid got an Audi TT.  It needed a clutch, starter, power steering lines, fuel pump.   

 

Second kid got two Miatas.  One crashed with a motor and manual transmission, one very clean body, but no motor and an automatic.  He did the swap.

 

Both kids did the work while I offered support and guidance.  Both ended up with pretty cool cars.  Both had their respective cars running and on the road before they were old enough to even have a permit to drive them, never mind a license.  What passes for teaching in one house might be considered abuse in another.

While my oldest might have done that, at the time it was important for him to have a dependable car to get to work. 

His younger brothers are not really into cars. I'm not sure I can get them to be passionate about something in which they aren't interested, but very much appreciate that it's a great idea. 

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The correct answer is one that comes in boxes....for example, a purple 1973 MG Midget...tell them it's all theirs as soon as they learn how to put it back together via the Haynes manual, ask me why I recommend his...😅

 

Or go find a Camry, Cruze, Fit, or Civic would do fine as well.

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1 hour ago, espog said:

Never owned one but how about a mazda 3?

Yes...excellent. I found a 2011 sedan in Tampa, but about 2 hours away. It's a manual too. 

May try to get over there this weekend.

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I have been a used car dealer and mechanic for forty years  1 toyota lexus 2 honda 3 gm car with 3.8  and at the bottom would be ford chrysler and mitsubishi .

 

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Another vote for Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla or Yaris, or Honda Fit. 

 

(My first car was a Mazda GLC. My second car was a Honda CRX Si.)

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3 hours ago, cj25 said:

I have been a used car dealer and mechanic for forty years  1 toyota lexus 2 honda 3 gm car with 3.8  and at the bottom would be ford chrysler and mitsubishi .

 

What about Nissan? 

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