Well, Oppo, I chronicled my car search last year. My test drives that eventually ended with my Focus ST. I gave you my impressions. I asked for snow tire recommendations and then went out and thankfully bought some.

But, as fun as it was, something was nagging at me...and that was before I started to look at my budget again.

I love my car. It is so much fun. I love how easy it is to pass people on the highway, get around people at stop lights and corner on my favorite driving road. The navigation and sound system have been massively appreciated and the Recaros are glorious (though for a prolonged trip, not always choice). With snow tires, I feel unstoppable. The traction and power are a blast.

But that could change. I am 95% certain I will have to bid the ST a very early farewell. My plan was to own this baby for a minimum of 5 years. I could see it being useful beyond that but nothing is outside the realm of possibility. Most of my close friends got new cars (typically with help from family through trades or whatever) but I did this on my own and was proud of it. This pride is killing me...I may need to accept defeat. I did all my research during my car search. I projected my budget but did not account for my change in hobbies (from nothing to actually something), increased living expenses (I lucked out last year) and, more importantly, how much taxes actually gets taken out of my paycheck (long story short, car came before first paycheck...it was just how timing worked with the new job).

I'm anticipating some major expense changes in a few months (primarily rent differences but I'm a bit more active now than I used to be, too) and while I could support everything at once and hold onto the ST my projections don't save nearly as much as 1) I am now and 2) I would like to.

So I turn to you, Oppo, in another effort to crowd source opinions. I spoke with a couple people I know but I feel that a (somewhat) objective group such as yourselves would be able to lend me (again, somewhat) valuable insight.

Do I:

- stick with the ST and make it work by adjusting spending elsewhere?

- look to sell/trade and work back to a used car ($8-13k) while saving for my future wants?

I would look to fulfill my love of trucks with something somewhat off-road capable. I do not know of trails and such I could go nearby but my plans for the year include outdoor climbing, hiking and camping (hopefully).

Some of the things that have caught my attention, like this Commander, I have no idea about regarding reliability and actual performance.

And yes, the Commander is an automatic. I don't want to abandon manuals but I have my motorcycle (that I decided not to sell) to fill the void.

Any thoughts or words of advice would be greatly appreciated. The more the merrier.

Thanks guys.

(as a note, I complain a lot. I don't know what will happen or what I will do but more information and input is better than less, that is why I am posting)