I have a '90 Eagle Talon TSi w/awd and I have enjoyed that car for 15 years, but it’s showing its age and finally required some real work to keep running. So I’ve got some time, but need to start thinking about a replacement in the next couple of years. My wife thinks I should get something that has at least 5 seats while I want something that gets good mileage and handles decently like my Eagle. The main limitation is the short length of my garage: 173" and that’s after I added 3" by making a notch in one end under the stairs. Other than that, I’ll probably need to keep the $ down to 5K or less. I love my all-wheel-drive and hate to give it up, but realize I might not have a choice. The minivan takes the kids everywhere, but I do need to take them on occasion. The kids like Dad’s “fast car” and fit in the small back seats well now, but they are growing so that’s another thing to think about. I just haven’t found anything out there that excites me like this car has and fits in my budget and garage.
A Hyundai Tiburon maybe? The current model is exactly 173" overall, I expect the slightly used ones are similar. You can find 2000 to 2003 models in your price range. I think you’d be squeezing them in the back seat, though.
Maybe you need to think outside the “box” a little. Actually, maybe more inside a box. Something like a Scion xB which seats 5, is boxy and tall, but a short 167" long. The only problem I see is finding one in your price range. My main point being, maybe an older Isuzu Trooper or something along those lines will have the seating capacity, but since it’s tall won’t actually be all that long.
Subaru Impreza wagon @ 173" with the 230 HP WRX engine. 4wd standard.