If you could buy a somewhat entertaining car what would you pick

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We have the sonic we just bought which is a great little run around car $19 to fill it up! It make sense for the long commutes as well. But I had been planning to buy something in the coming months that was more entertaining to own. So the sonic is the darts replacement and now I’m back to finding a truly fun car.
I have a habit of buying something getting bored and selling it. I don’t want to do that this time. I want to buy something and have fun with it and enjoy it for awhile.
I am going to spend around $6,000 give or take a bit. It must be a stick preferably 5 seater. Most importantly it needs to have soul! Fun to drive! Doesn’t need to be super fast just a little quick is nice. But fun, engaging and enjoyable. I would like it to be reliable enough to trust it to go on a trip or to be driven regularly but it doesn’t have to have Corolla levels of reliability. A nice following with a decent amount of aftermarket is also appreciated. What would you look for? I love cars in general. So I could go in about a 1,000 different directions. I could do a mustang but it’s only 4 seats or a vw jetta/golf 5cyl or turbo. Maybe an older bmw? Is there anything exciting from Japan anymore? I’m eager to hear what everyone recommends. It’s mostly just a fun car to enjoy but it would be nice if it can haul the kiddos around at times without being a nightmare as well.
 
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I am looking for something similar. I want 4 doors in something that isn't a snoozefest. Maybe consider a Mazda product? I recently drove a Mazda 6 that surprised me with its ability to entertain.

I've also autocrossed a 2nd gen Mazda 3i, and it too managed to not trip over its own feet.
 
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Around here you can get a really nice, low/moderate mileage late 90/early 00s Jaguar XK8. That's my pick and at some point I will. Can get two small kids in the back, not much more, though.
 
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E46 BMW, maybe try and find a 330i with a stick? My sister has the 330i "Performance" (2003) and it's a fun little car.
Good answer. I was looking at them this summer. Drove a 330ix - complete smile maker and actually a pretty practical car. I got back to tell her about the car after test driving and she laughed - "you're still smiling from driving it..."

The performance package you mentioned is supposed to be a real sleeper (have not driven one), and the coupe version is gorgeous.
 
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Good answer. I was looking at them this summer. Drove a 330ix - complete smile maker and actually a pretty practical car. I got back to tell her about the car after test driving and she laughed - "you're still smiling from driving it..."

The performance package you mentioned is supposed to be a real sleeper (have not driven one), and the coupe version is gorgeous.
Can these be had around the $6k mark? I will add it to my list to consider. I do love me an inline 6.
 
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Can these be had around the $6k mark? I will add it to my list to consider. I do love me an inline 6.
I saw quite a few regularly on CL in the Seattle area for $5k-ish - routinely. Very nice ,garage kept, 60 to 100k miles on average (pre-Covid). They are the V8 ones (which is a good engine, as is transmission). I like inline 6's, too, but also love V8s. Currently my drivers are a V6 and an I-5 turbo (which is ok), but I need to get an i6 or v8 for fun. ;)

I was talking about them with a friend in Dallas a month or so ago. I found a nice one asking $6k 10 miles from him immediately.
 
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Hondas are still good. They still make the best manual transmissions :)
You would be happy with a manual Fit.

Mazda is also good if you can find one that's rust-free and then rustproof it regularly. The Mazda 2 is in the same class as the Sonic and Fit, so a manual Mazda 2 would be great for you.

You could also get the Mazda 5. Even though it's a "minivan" it is really just a Mazda 3 that's slightly taller and has much more room. It has seating for 6 and the same aftermarket support a Mazda 3 has, since it uses the same suspension from the Mazdaspeed 3. And yes, they were available with a manual transmission.

Your requirements scream "Mazda" and whisper "zoom-zoom" because Mazda is good (even if a step below Honda and Toyota) and known for being fun to drive.
 
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I like light weight, responsive, engaging cars. Stick shift essential and rear wheel drive preferred. And that are reliable with low cost of ownership. In that vein, in your price range:
Toyota MR2: getting old, hard to find a nice one, but if you can, they're fun!
Mazda Miata: light and responsive, great handling and more fun than it looks like it has any right to be
Honda S2000: rev it like you stole it and it goes good
Whatever you get, I recommend the first 2 mods that anyone does when autocrossing a car: put in a stiffer rear sway bar and high performance tires. Both mods are inexpensive, easy to do, and highly effective.
 
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A Charger or Challenger with the Hellcat engine, a High power Mustang or Corvette with the highest out put engine.
 
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