We aren’t payment buyers but we are serious budget people. So after we’ve done all the math on all of our expenses and income, all the TFL stuff, our budget for this car is 400/month, max of $450. So with current rates let’s say we are shopping around $22-23k.

This will replace our old Prius and be my primary commuter car. It will get a set of steelies and snows for winter.

So the Corolla SE is firmly in play. It fits all of our needs and wants, other than being well .. being a Corolla. J-Vins and already discounted at our local dealer where we bout our RAV4. This is the sensible choice I think.

VW GTI is probably not in play due to price and no local dealer.

Elantra GT N-Line would likely work financially but I’m not sure I’m sold. Again, no local dealer.

We’ll get at least $2k trade in for the Prius (first offer by notoriously chintzy dealer) and pay taxes out of pocket. We have Top Tier credit so I’d like to snag some of that cheap/0 financing.

Wifey wish list: Appreciably better MPG than the RAV4. Keyless entry & Push Button start if possible, Bonus points for factory remote start. Apple CarPlay. Comfortable. She does not care about sporty or fast.

My wish list is about the same except since it will be my daily commuter I’d like it to be fun to drive. I also value reliability very highly.

We will still have the Miata of course.

Used is totally fine but I’m not seeing enough price difference between lightly used and new to make me want to go used unless I find a very compelling reason.

We are not interested in any luxury makes, or overly complicated cars. We value simpler, cheaper but still engaging to drive and stuff that will last a long time as we keep our cars 10 years.

So what do you think? What obvious player am I missing? Do I forgo the six speed Corolla and just get a Camry with the bigger engine? That car feels bigger than we need.

Do I try to find a manual transmission Civic hatchback? Those are rare now unless I travel and Honda doesn’t seem to be making more.

I thought of the VW Jetta GLI but without a local dealer I’m not sure I want to go down that path. Also I’ve driven my neighbors newer Jetta a few times and I smack my head every time I get into it.

So I welcome any suggests or tips.
I will really be buying a car in the next couple of weeks or sooner. No TFL arguments please, we’ve taken care of all that.