I am 19 years old and I have been debating back and fourth on what I should get, an 03/04 Cobra or an STi. I will be returning from training around this time next spring and I will have about $3-$4,000 to play with as a down payment on a car, either would be used. I live in Maine so the STi has the edge there, it has 4 doors, space, a lot of versitility and would run circles around a Cobra in the handling department, I would be picking a used 04 up with 20k ish on the ODO for $24-$25,000. My other option is to go with the not lean but mean 2003 SVT Cobra. I like the Cobra because it is your traditional badass car, it needs no introduction unless someone ignorant thinks it's just an ordinary Mustang, but for the most part the sound, the grunt of 390hp/390lb ft. or torque out of the box and how much it loves mods is very appealing. I currently own a 1999 Ford Explorer XLT with 87k on the ticker, often times though it has not given me much trouble I get pissed off with its crappy cheap rattles, interior and just a cheap feel... I swore I would never buy domestic again. I bet you are all thinking I am just some 19 year old punk with a fat wallet that is mommy and daddies however I have always earned everything I have, I have driven a lot of cars as well... I bet your all thinking "Oh great some cocky show boat kid wants to own a 400hp car". Well this is not the case, I am very responsible and though some play is inevitable while owning any performance car I am fully aware that having a no license and a car like this is useless if you get my drift. Right now I pay $267 per month to insure my Explorer, I have gotten quotes on both the STi and the Cobra, the SVT is considerably more expensive to insure... I will expect to pay $271 per mo for the STi and over $350 per mo for the SVT. Keep in mind that these are right now quotes and I will have a full year under my belt before I have either car, I talked to a guy who owns a Sonic SVT and is my age with a clean record and he pays $300 per month. The cons of the SVT are that I would have to buy a $1000 beater for the winter on this bad boy because of the state I live in, a blessing in disquise because it will be all the more special when I do drive it? I have also considered gas mileage and thought the STi has half the cylinders I hear from multiple sources that they get the same gas mileage, 17mpg city roughly. I have driven quite a few 8cyl cars in my time, I have driven an 02 LS1 Z28, 1994 LT1 A4, 2 1999 C5 Convertibles, 1998 LS1 Convertible, a bunch of newer GT's but the only Cobra I have driven was a 2001 Convertible with 21k on it. I liked and didn't like it and was wondering if anyone can compare them besides there specs, someone who has driven both. I noticed the SVT clutch was brutal, very very stiff, the shifting was not smooth at all and felt cheap and anything but smooth but the worst was the interior, the same ol' Ford control cluster. I was wondering how you guys feel about the 01 I drove (that year SVT) and how it differs from the new S/C ones, in power, build quality, handling and overall feel, smooth shifting? Last but not least I would like to know what I can expect to pay for a used 2003 or 2004 SVT. I would like to stay under $25,000 if I were to buy an STi because I don't have to shell out the extra cash for a beater, I spoke with a guy who said he paid $23,000 for his 03 Sonic with 30,000 miles on it... are these generally what they go for or did he get lucky? I would think they will drop too by next spring. I'd like to find one used for $22,000-$23,000 with under 40,000 miles. Thanks for the help and thoughts guys.