Cars with a Personality ($15k- $20k Budget)

Hi all,

I've had some pretty boring NPC cars lately. Currently have a VW Golf GTI (07) and my last car was a Honda Accord Euro Sport, both very reliable and popular cars. My last car before then was a few years ago which was an Integra Type R (DC2) and I've been thinking lately I'm missing a car with a sense of personality and individuality. I'd like to get something again so looking at collecting a list of cars I'd like to look for.

I was looking for a Mini Cooper S but the prices have gone up on the older ones so don't think they're worth it as much.

I'm thinking small odd 4WD's from the 90s like a Suzuki Sierra or a Mitsubishi 2dr Pajero.

What would you get, retro or otherwise that's reliable enough to get around but a bit of a headturner?



  • Subaru Levorg

    • This or any mercedes AMG station wagon. Screams connoisseur. Not at the OPs price range though.

      Maybe an RS6.

  • +2

    Tesla Model 3.


  • 1992 liberty GT or 1995-99 WRX.

  • Fiat Freemont or Dodge Caliber. NPC in USA but not here. I think they are great value for what you get.

  • I would import a Daihatsu Copen Xplay from Japan.

    Or if you can stretch your budget a bit, a Honda s660.

  • A Jeep XJ, but probably throw in two caveats, they probably go for a lot of the cars mentioned, first one is that you are happy to do some work on it yourself, if you are currently pretty clueless that's not a deal-breaker, plenty of Youtube vids and FB groups to help, but gotta be happy to do some work on it yourself otherwise you will be longing for the safe boring option after a few mechanic bills, second is that cars from 20yrs+ ago weren't really built for fuel efficiency, so you either need to be prepared for some decent fuel bills or sub-par performance from small engines.
    Something like this

  • If you are looking for quality, you can't go past the trusty Daihatsu Terios .
    Higher driving position, to give you a commanding presence on the road.

  • Supercharged manual Lexus is200

    • Or just find an IS300 and be done with it.

      • yeah but its auto.

        1JZ is optimal but definitely out of OP's budget

  • +1

    Manual 2016 vow polo is one of the most “fun” cars I’ve ever driven

  • Buy any car for $5k, paint it HOT PINK METALLIC … problem solved.

  • +1

    My Kia Rio has personalities….

    These 2 guys wipe away any Kia ****box worries..😃

  • -1

    Is this basically the same question as wanting a wank car or someone who's got SPS? Like about driving the car that's nice to drive or just one that few other people have? I couldn't give a shit what other people drive, unless it's those idiots driving the modded cars at ridiculous hours of the night.

    Most people turn heads at cars for usually bad reasons you know.

  • Honda Civic hatchback either 8th or 9th gen.
    If you want something quick, then the 8th gen Type R.
    Something practical and reliable, 9th gen diesel or petrol.
    I personally love the design, you might too since you've owned Hondas before.

    • 1st gen Honda Civic

  • You mean like Knight Rider?

  • +1

    AU falcon on gas

    Custom plates: roadking

    • Preferably in wagon form too?

  • Within budget: Nissan Leaf.

  • +1

    Lada !!!!

  • 8 years ago I would have suggested a turbo veloster. (although it wouldnt have been in the price range). But its looks pretty tame now.

    Randoms still ask me to open the 3rd door.

    • Can you turn your pms on? I’ve imported one and interested in a few things.

  • Fiesta ST for something small and modern

    BMW 130i is awesome and can be had in this price range. You could also get a mint E90 330i. 335i/135i if you like breakdowns.

    I also have a soft spot for the Golf R32 and Passet R36, but most are DSGs. The 6 speeds aren't as unreliable as the 7 speeds, but still expensive if they go bang.

    If you don't care about fuel an AUII/III XR8

  • You're all acting as if the Nissan Cube or Chrysler PT Cruiser don't exist.

    Those are the cars of real named characters.

    • +1

      Please tell me you did not actually recommend a PT Cruiser

      • OP wants to turn heads. What's more recognisable than that?

      • At least they aren't a slouch like the Cubes are.

        • I think it balances out with all the time you spend on the side of the road waiting for the RACV to come and get your Chrysler…

  • Personality… like, looks unusual? Or is fun to drive?

    I think my Skoda Fabia 2012 RS Wagon is a hoot - 132kW in a lightweight chassis. It may also turn heads, though maybe not in the way you want.

    There's a raft of lightweight, zippy cars that would be an interesting drive (Polo GTi, Renault Clio Sport, Fiesta ST, Mazda MX5 etc) and most can be had used for <$15k. Looking unusual as well though = rare = expensive (unless you get a car that is rare because it was unpopular… like the dorky Fabia wagons).

  • +1

    Used Audi A5 Coupe. Timeless design.

  • +6

    Imported Suzuki Alto Turbo RS

    • <$20k
    • 670kg kerb weight!
    • So light that it needs 4WD to put all of its 47kW to the ground
    • Little angry boi
  • +2


  • Here are some widely differing options

    HK Kingswood V8 or a Monaro.

    Chrysler Pt cruiser

    Toyota FJ cruiser

    Chrysler crossfire.

  • Hyundai Veloster

  • +3

    Renault Megane RS 265/275. You can stop your searching.
    Fantastic drivers car
    Look great
    Come in a range of specs - get the recaros
    Well made.
    Price hasn't gone crazy like other cars.

  • "The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.”

  • "Integra Type R (DC2)"

    Worth $35-40K+ now haha. Lots of character

  • How about upgraded intake(or just remove the snow filter on the stock box) and down pipe and stage 2 ecs and dsg tune on the golf.

    Otherwise na/nb mx5.

  • Nissan cube. Or any sort of JDM kei car.

  • Skoda Yeti

  • Nikki LADA

  • I quite like the eunos 30x or the early 2000 beetles.

  • Buy a relatively low K BRZ or 86. In manual. I currently have a $130k sports car and still miss my 86. It's all the car you need.

  • Another vote for Fiat Abarth 500

  • Cheap, headturner, reliable… Choose 2!

    Purvis Eureka is the first 2. Only as reliable as the motor in it.

  • Check out some of the cool little Kei 4WDs that can be imported!

    I have IronChef Imports on Facebook, and just about every post of theirs has me licking my lips!

  • My wife stopped me buying a 1990s Subaru SVX for $17,990.

  • Toyota Blade Master G - It's a V6 Corolla.

  • MX5 in my view is basically always the answer for a fun street car that you can always take to the track with minimal mods. That's if you can deal with shortcomings of space etc. I'm considering a ND2 (although quite a lot more than this budget) as a third car just for fun next to my i30N. There are some 1.5 and 2 litre earlier NDs for mid $20s now though. NC or a NB SE (turbo version) could be a better option for the money though.
    Other than that I'd consider:
    RenaultSport Megane
    Fiesta ST
    RenaultSport Clio
    You might get lucky and find a S14 200SX but most have gone up in value. S15s are way out of the price range now.
    Golf GTI
    Octavia RS is awesome value - basically a Golf GTI sedan or wagon. We have a RS wagon as a daily and it's great. The bonus is they depreciate initially like a stone so make great second hand buys.
    Polo GTI as an alternative to the Fiesta ST
    Focus ST
    86 or BRZ
    If you like Honda's I've seen some older modded Civics around lately with K swaps that look pretty cool.
    Some older JDM stuff might be cool too but most of them have gone up in price where the value is questionable now. A Mitsubishi FTO is another similar alternative to the Integra Type R.

  • +1

    Never seen this on the street in Australia. Admittedly quite a price premium compared to MSRP and competitors. As an Integra owner you know the Honda meme premium.

    Drove it up and down and through Hakone for 4 days, fun af.

    Same concept, closer to your budget:

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