I'm looking for a reliable sporty 4cyl commuter car, please help

Recently i was rear ended on the way home from work, totaling out my 00’ Mustang GT. I was in the process of looking for a cheap commuter car but now since i dont have the mustang i will need a commuter and an everyday car. I travel 75miles a day 5 days a week. I would need a reliable car that gets good mpg’s and preferably it be able to get out of its own way at times.

Cars i was considering…

- 03’ VW Golf GTI

- 03’ Ford Focus ZX3/SVT

- 04’ Dodge Neon SRT4

- 03’ Acura RSX

- 01’ Acura Integra

- 03’ Honda Accord Vtec

- 03’ Honda Civic Vtec

I have an '03 Honda Civic EX 4dr 5 spd stick. With the EX you get the Vtec motor. I’ve had the car since new and it now has 106K miles. Excellent car, fun and “sporty” to drive with the stick. 40mpg at 70 mph trips on the expressway. Not fast, but nimble and quick. If you run up the rpm’s it drives a whole lot faster. I’d recommend it for you.

The back seat is pretty big for a small car. The trunk is good size too.

From your list I’d go with any of the Hondas or Acuras, your choice. Older Golfs and Neons worry me. Of course, much depends on how well maintained the car was.

I own the 03 GTi 20th Anniversary…Awesome car HOWEVER being a mechanic I can tolerate more than most people when it comes to repairs. It is pricey to service and maintain but then again which cars arent if you actually have to have someone else repair it for you? But its even expensive for me to do when I do all myself…so parts are costly for no real reason… HOndas and Toyotas less so… The Accord didnt make the 10 best cars for like 20 years for no reason…I’d go with ANY 4cyl Honda Acura product all day every day… They make FANTASTIC 4cyl engines in fact ALL of their engine are the same…I prefer the 4cyls

FORGET American cars if you want reliability…Any Honda, Acura, Toyota, Nissan is where I’d be looking.

From your list…definitely the Honda’s or Acura’s…at least based on my experience. Those Honda 4-cylinder engines are very very difficult to beat. Last I knew our 87 Accord had well over 400k miles on it…and our 96 Accord well over 300k miles…GREAT engines.

I wouldn’t go near the Neon. Not a very reliable vehicle at all.

Of your list, the sportiest will be the Integra or the SRT-4. The SRT-4 will out-do the Integra in both acceleration and maintenance costs. The Integra has better handling, and costs less to run and maintain.

If you can find an Integra GS-R in decent shape, I think you’d be pretty happy with it. Of course, at this age you’ll probably have to replace the leather interior, but the B18-C engine the GS-R came with was a lot of fun. It’s not as fast as a Type-R, but good luck finding one of those anymore.

I prefer the Teg to the RSX because the Teg has a better suspension - Honda decided to reduce costs in the RSX and you can tell by the way it handles that it’s not as good.

Hey Shadowfax you really seem to know what you are talking about on here. Other than galloping around with the White Wizard on your back, what is your profession? Just curious…

Writer/photographer. The car-nut thing is just the side-hobby-that-annoys-She-Who-Is-Boss. :wink:

Ah YES…I know what you are talking about. My girlfirend gave up trying to understand why all of my money goes into mechanical items LONG ago. Hey you cant argue on the fact that EVERY SINGLE mechancal item I hve ever bought…cars included…have MADE me money everytime I sell one. Noty including operating costs…those are disposable…

She collects her girl-knicknacks and fills the house with them. I handle the filling of the garage. :wink:

I can’t say that every car I’ve ever bought has made me money, but that’s because I’ve only sold 3. I bought a Caravan for a dollar and sold it for a dollar, so I broke even there. I bought a '90 CRX for $300 and sold it for the same many years later. And I parted out an 88 CRX but made less than I spent on it. And the '84 Tercel probably wouldn’t have made me money, but I never found out because it got destroyed when a guy ran a stop sign and T-boned me.

Every other car I’ve ever bought, I still own because I’m one of those people who hates getting rid of cars :wink:

Thank u for all ur suggestions looks like i’m gonna lean towards a honda/acura. Maybe one day i’ll get the GTI when i can afford maintence cost haha. I’ll post a pic of the car when i decide which one.

also thanks for the speedy reply’s

Hands down the Honda Accord.

I commuted in a 95 Civic the same and it was miserable. At about 150k it just felt old/squeaky/worn when my friends Accord’s felt old more at 225k-250k range.

The comfort level is many times greater from a Civic to an Accord. In the long run you are more likely to keep it too.

I think the best choice for sporty economical commuter is 04 Acura TSX.

Just my experience.

Yes I am a big fan of the Accord…I just sold my daily driver of 8 years. A 96 Honda Accord. The body and other parts are as solidly put together and smoothly operating as new even after 210K…It is SOLID as A ROCK… An excellent vehicle. I made a “few” adjustments to my Accord 2dr 4cyl… I pulled the engine and trans and swapped in a JDM only H22 4cyl found in the JDM 94’ Prelude Si. 220Hp with a close ratio 5sp trans with LSD…What an attitude adjustment that was for the car. I only added about 100Hp…lol. It was FAST and fun and solid and sooooo smooth and quiet on the road. Even with my high performance adjustments it still had Honda reliability and quality…albeit from a different model Honda. IN Europe they would call my car the Accord SiR…we werent able to get that model so I made one. It was vicious, but still rock solid reliable and ALL HONDA quality. I miss that car…I just sold it 2 wks ago… It was better assembled than my 03 Gti without question I am deeply disappointed by VW quality under the hood as well as interior… HONDA all the way if you ask me… Toyota, Nissan, are in second place for me bec of model selection but no less reliable.

Give them all a test drive. After that you should have a much smaller list.

Hint. Never ever give your keys to a dealer except if you are having work done on the car. They love to trap you so they can keep at you hoping you will buy whatever they are selling.

what about the honda prelude??

I’d look at the Subaru WRX, turbo power and AWD and it doesn’t suffer from the head gasket problems that the N/A Subarus tend to have.

Forget the first three (they will ba a maintenance nightmare) and add a Mazda Protege (2002,2003) and Mazda 3 (2004 and up). Also consider any Hyundai Elantra from 2003 up.

Which year?

Some of them were FUN cars. The best performers were the 97+ SH’s, but my personal favorite was the 92-96 VTECs. It was back before they figured out how to make the VTEC cam profile shift smooth and so at around 5500rpm or so you’d get this kick of acceleration. Like hitting afterburners. Hell of an entertaining car to drive.

The Mazda 3 will probably be the sportier of the cheaper imports. The Speed3 won’t give you as good MPGs as the regular one, but it’ll definitely be VERY fun to drive.