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Old 04-09-2008, 10:58 PM   #21
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isnt the escort the exact same as the ZX2 or whatever that car is/was? or the ZX2 replace it or somehting...
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:01 AM   #22
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ZX2 was a sporty coupe model and had a bit of a hybrid of an engine. Otherwise it was mostly mechanically identical to the Escorts of the time, but I think stayed in production a year or two after the other escorts were done. 97 up Escorts had a 2.0 version of the previous CVH motor with split port induction, but got bigger injectors and a sportier tune, ergo they don't seem quite so sippy, driven normally. However the SPI looks like it has a stratified charge effect, so careful driving and some fiddling may see them doing better than the previous gen... but I think they porked on a few hundred pounds too. If you want the lighter previous gen, slightly smaller motor, and OBD-II for a scangauge you can get it in one model year, 1996.

The folk who are determined to pick the best combos of body, block and head can do some interesting stuff, like put SPI heads on the 1.9 block or a zetec head on it, or an SPI head on zetec bottom end... I think there's a little bit of machining involved due to slight offsets on some of the water channels etc.

The F4-EAT auto trannies get a bad rap... but this may be due to Ford not specifying a fluid change interval on the standard service schedule and also that if the car is not maintained well (disposable car syndrome) and overheating, the tranny will overheat and melt all the plastics in the solenoid pack. Well looked after and kept cool they seem to hold up well, some folks are putting 400WHP and 200+ft/lbs through them, whereas the manuals are known to get delicate around 200-250HP... 80% of the time, a 'scort with a bad auto will have had the solenoid pack gone out, and swapping another one in is not toooo difficult.
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:15 AM   #23
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i don't see why an mr2 would be such a bad choice. i got a 92 mr2 and it gets 34 mpg to the highway. of course, there a 2.0L camry engine in there but with the lil mods i do for mpg, i went from 25-27 to 34 which is a big difference and it's a really fun car to drive. had it for over a year and had no electrical problems
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:02 AM   #24
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Updating my Top 5

I have run into problems with the laws here in Maryland. The people selling used cars don't want to work with me, when their used car wont pass inspections or emissions, they still expect me to buy their car. I have been working with people for the last 7 months and nothing will pass, wound up killing 8 deals so far. So I had to change my car scope. There are plenty of economical cars from the 90's I want, but for right now I'm sticking to the pre 87's. I'm moving out of state in a year, that will change my car buying stategy again and I can resume my search for the top 5.

As I get ready to buy an 86 Diesel Golf, the little woman asked me what kind of new car I would want. Well I told her the price of car payments would unbalance any gas savings. So I gave her my top choices for cars, if I had to make payments, or just spend more on a car. For smog laws in my local area, I would want an 84 to 87 Mercedes 190 D, or a tubo diesel Jetta from the same years. No matter what I get, the car will be attacked by the wrench and modded for MPG. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to drive the Solstice and only be able to do a few mods, but its my wifes car and after my 96 Corolla blew up, she's been letting me rack up miles on the Solstice, I can't thank her enough. I thank you for all the imput.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:41 PM   #25
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been takin a look at some of the escort wagons... scott mentions 97-99 but most of you guys have prior years. are 97-99 indeed better years?
Yeah, the 97-99 are a little nicer. They're a tad quieter & more refined, and more powerful. I very nearly bought a 98 - kind of wish I had - but the 94 Tracer Wagon I ended up with had 20,000 few miles and was several hundred dollars less.

On the downside... the post-97 Escorts are not quite as fuel-efficient as pre-97. The engine is a little bigger, and the car is heavier, so MPG numbers a little lower.

If you can get a low mileage 97 or later wagon w/5spd, jump on it. Of course, do the same for an older one
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:51 PM   #26
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1990-97 Honda Civic, now why isn't this at the top with its reputation for reliability, mpg, and performance? The price. I comb the used car ads and see 90's and 92's for 4000, Iv seen complete thrashers for 2900 and people stick to their guns, you can't talk em down. Here in Maryland a VX or HX grabs top retail, I'v Blue Booked these cars with 130k at 1700 to 2700 and people won't let them go, Honda's are treated like gold out here. I love em, want to get one, but can't find one in my price range, literally getting a Honda would be solid luck.
I'm just curious as to why the year range was cut off in the way it is. 1988-1989 Civics are of the same generation as 1990-1991 Civics, and are actuslly better due to lighter weight. Furthermore, 1998-2000 Civics are the same as 1996-1997 Civics. Therefore, 1988-2000 would be a more appropriat range of years.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:47 AM   #27
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i don't see why an mr2 would be such a bad choice.
I don't think I would call it a bad choice; its just a narrow-focus car. Two doors, two seats... not much space. If one is looking for utility, then I would call it a bad choice.
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:43 PM   #28
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Scott, last December I looked in to mitigation strategy for the coming fuel crisis and outlined some of the highest MPG cars I could find http://fueleconomy.gov/

Here are some models from that list:
Diesel

1985 Ford Tempo 4 cyl, 2.0 L, Manual 5-spd, 31/39
1985 Ford Escort Wagon 4 cyl, 2.0 L, Manual 5-spd, CA 31/39
1985 Ford Escort 4 cyl, 2.0 L, Manual 5-spd, 36/46

1985 Chevrolet Chevette 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Manual 5-spd, 33/41

1985 Mazda 626 4 cyl, 2.0 L, Manual 5-spd, 31/38

1985 Volkswagen Quantum 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 5-spd, 28/35
1985 Volkswagen Quantum Wagon 4 cyl, 1.6 L,Manual 5-spd 28/35
1985 Volkswagen Golf/GTI 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 5-spd, 31/41
1985 Volkswagen Jetta 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 5-spd, 31/41
1996 Volkswagen Jetta 4 cyl, 1.9 L, Manual 5-spd, 34/44
1999 Volkswagen New Golf 4 cyl, 1.9 L, Manual 5-spd, 35/44
2000 Volkswagen Golf 4 cyl, 1.9 L, Manual 5-spd, 35/44

Regular
1994 Ford Aspire 4 cyl, 1.2 L, Manual 5-spd 31/39
1995 Ford Aspire 4 cyl, 1.3 L, Manual 5-spd, 31/38

1994 Pontiac Firefly 3 cyl, 1.0 L, Manual 5-spd, 38/45
1994 Chevrolet Sprint 3 cyl, 1.0 L, Manual 5-spd, 38/45
1994 Suzuki Swift 4 cyl, 1.3 L, Manual 5-spd, 31/39
1994 Geo Metro XFI 3 cyl, 1.0 L, Manual 5-spd, 43/51
1996 Geo Metro 3 cyl, 1.0 L, Manual 5-spd, 37/44
1996 Geo Metro 4 cyl, 1.3 L, Manual 5-spd, 33/39

1988 Honda Civic CRX HF 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Manual 5-spd 41/50
1995 Honda Civic HB VX 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Manual 5-spd 39/50
1996 Honda Civic HX 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 5-spd 33/41


---

I found that Civic VX offered the best combination of utility (cargo space, AC, 5 seats) and MPG (topped only buy Geo Metro XFI Unobtanium). I did not consider hybrids due to battery pack cost. I found that Geo Metro had worse fuel economy, while also having smaller engine and less seats/cargo space, and so did Ford Aspire and Toyota Tercel. Larger cars from Ford, Toyota (e.g. Escort, Corolla) are even less fuel efficient.

I think you can find VX for under 2K if you look for a few weeks. I think it's the best we have right now if utility and top MPG are your goals.
Before you settle down, I also suggest you check MPG stats of cars you are considering here http://fueleconomy.gov/ - numbers don't lie, and they go back to 1985.

Good luck

Ross
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:45 AM   #29
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Larger cars from Ford, Toyota (e.g. Escort, Corolla) are even less fuel efficient.
certainly this info is very general, but my chevy prizm(toyota corolla) is doing quite well for a 4 door car. given others have 2 doors, drive more hwy miles, or are able to EOC more frequently than i, it's a safe bet that this car is in fact VERY efficient.

took a hwy trip w/ the a/c on a couple of weeks ago that yielded 47(46.9) mpg.
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Old 08-24-2008, 07:29 AM   #30
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certainly this info is very general, but my chevy prizm(toyota corolla) is doing quite well for a 4 door car. given others have 2 doors, drive more hwy miles, or are able to EOC more frequently than i, it's a safe bet that this car is in fact VERY efficient.

took a hwy trip w/ the a/c on a couple of weeks ago that yielded 47(46.9) mpg.
Bowtie, when I said less fuel efficient - I was comparing their EPA MPG rating. With driving techniques, mods and favorable road condition you can exceed those figures, no doubt. But when choosing a car to buy for fuel efficiency, using data from standardized testing is the best way IMHO.

Ross
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