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Buy a beautiful reliable cheap car?

my boyfriend has a cute white 2 door escort ZX2 from 2000 that has around 90K miles on it and is not going to last much longer based on escalating repair costs. He loves this car such that every time we walk up to it he says “see how good he looks.” It’s a nice sleek look like the old ford Probe or the old lexus SC300. He also loves it because he paid around 7K for it. Can anyone recommend a used car that will still make him smile, has sleek looks, and be in the range of 10-15K (this is the most he will pay now-even though i have offered to pay half) and be reliable/inexpensive to maintain. He is thinking the miata hard top convertible but I feel not great about the safety of it and also would prefer something that could accommodate a baby seat in the next ten years or so…

If you can fit in one, maybe get the Miata. I understand they are pretty reliable, fun to drive and look decent. In ten years, it will likely need to be replaced anyway. You wouldn’t want him to drive around in a family van before his time, would you??
By that time he’ll be tame enough to buy a kid friendly driving appliance.

What are the repairs that have been needed? Has the car been maintained well? It may be most cost-effective to keep the Escort running for a while.

problems: heavy oil leaks-get repaired in one spot then seem to come from somewhere else. saw a fair amount of white smoke coming out of the exhaust the last time i followed him. elec problems that come and go-a/c and engine temp gauge work when they feel like it. head/tail lights that burn out often and moisture in the lenses (we tried sealing that up but it worked only temporarily.) then today i felt a big delay in the shifting into gear that propelled me onto the discussion board. the last few times we’ve taken it to sears we’ve gotten bills for $1500-2000 each time (within one year) so we figure its prob not worth putting much more work into it. One problem we’ve never been able to fix is the INTENSE shaking while idling. Sometimes he releases the main hood hatch to make it shake less-ts a very long hood-but this makes me very nervous that one day he will be flying down the road and the hood will fly up and block his view! and he’s never been able to find a mechanic who can fix that.

If he likes the Miata, he should get the Miata. A good rule of thumb for relationship bliss is to never get in the way of what your SO wants to drive.

What about a Scion TC… I believe they are descendants of Toyota and have a sleek look.

how about a new subaru BRZ or the scion FRS about 10k over budget but they our sharp.

He could try for a newer ZX2, but this time have a mechanic look it over before buying. If he had had the current one checked out, I think he would have found that the previous owner had trashed it and probably had a major accident with it. A 2000 ZX2 with 90k miles should not have these problems. Everything you listed tells me that that pony has been rode hard and put away wet too many times

You also need to find a good independent mechanic and stop going to Sears for maintenance. Try the “Mechanics files” on this web site for recommendation sin your area. Also check with friends and family for recommendations.

2005/2008 Ford Mustang Coupe. There’s even room for kids, and reliability is excellent.

Sears? Really? See Keith’s recommendation.