Like many of you, I have certain specifications when it comes to buying a personal vehicle. I want a manual. I want fun. I want fuel efficiency. Etc. One of the main requirements (along with those three) is that I want RWD, or at least AWD.
The dilemma I ran into today as I was carshopping (which I have no business doing, I already have two cars per one me) is that if you want a RWD Manual fuel-efficient car, you're left with your thumb twiddling.
Normally the answer is always Miata, but let's keep a bit of practicality in mind. A Miata won't haul more than a laptop, and for some, a Miata isn't a good only car.
At the moment I drive an E46 BMW, which is one of the best answers to this question. Fuel efficiency would be fine if the Check Engine wasn't always on. I'm only showing 20.6 MPG. My other car (one the throttle pedal works) is a Legacy GT, another great answer. Generally, I try to stay away from 2-doors if I can, because I don't hate my friends.
In the past, if you there were numerous options for this question, most of them Japanese. You could buy Miatas, E30s, Silvias, MR2s, i think Honda made something, and the great Fox-Body Mustang. Now, it seems the well has dried up.
As you may notice by now, I'm leaving Mustangs and Camaros off the list due to their V8 fuel inefficiency. It'll do OK on the highway, but only there. I've owned two Mustangs, I know.
Weirdly, I've even began considering FWD cars again, and I'd take a cheap enough Cooper S in a heartbeat just for the fun/mileage ratio.
So what I'm looking for, with the help of you oppo people, is the answer for a relatively new (mid 90s-up) non FWD fun practical fuel-efficient manual equipped car. The do-everything for Jalops.
(I included the IS300 photo because of it's neat I6 and RWD, but owner's can tell you the fuel mileage is properly not OK for a 6 cylinder.)
Notice: You can suggest any and every car you'd like, but I'm also entitled to my opinion. However, I'm a very reasonable person. I've owned cars from all different brands, so I'm open.