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Old 11-09-2011, 07:17 PM   #71
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Re: My Top 5 Cars: Economy & Reliability

Quote:
Originally Posted by djenyc View Post
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

I got my 95vx for 1300. it had 150k on it. The rear brake light was broken and it looked like it had been parked for quite a while. The t-belt had been done. I spent a day and about 200 in parts fixing it up... Plugs, wires, radiator had a small crack, antifreeze, oil, filter, rear window shocks, air filter, etc. Basically everything was there. I need to spend about 300 more fixing the slight body damage around the taillight. Great car. Great mileage
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:38 AM   #72
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Re: My Top 5 Cars: Economy & Reliability

I know old thread. I picked up an old VW golf 2 door 1.8l gas not diesel for 500 with almost 300,000 miles and still get 40MPG on the freeway with it with no mods. I have done maintenance on it but it's been more like normal stuff. Replace clutch, brakes, oil, all the regular stuff.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:39 AM   #73
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Re: My Top 5 Cars: Economy & Reliability

sorry it was an 85 golf
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:39 AM   #74
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Re: My Top 5 Cars: Economy & Reliability

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Originally Posted by Scott View Post
It's coming to that time in my life where I get to get another car, the Solstice is soon to go into storage and with many hours behind the computer looking up everything I can find, these are my top 5 car picks for Economy & Reliability.

1996-99 Saturn, This is my number one pick, it's low used car price, easy mpg modifiability, and reports of 200+ thousand miles of life, make this my number one pick.

1996-04 Metro, be it the hatch back or the 4 door, the 1 litre 3 or the 1300 four, low price, high mpg, and from what I can tell good reliability, the Metro's come in a strong second.

1997-99 Ford Escort, sedan or wagon, the major redisign of the series brought a better ride, the same economy, better performance, and reliability.

1996-99 Mitsubishi Mirage, now this is an odd-car-out, but reviews on it rave about it reliability and with the option of a 1.5 or 1.8, this seems to be the sleeper in the pack.

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.

Honorable Mention:

1990-96 VW Golf, Im a huge VW fan, but it must be the cylinder head design, the Golf 2 litre is rated at 28 mpg Hwy, while Ford's 2 litre Escort is rated at 36. I don't want to start out with a car that I have to struggle to get mpg out of.

1996-99 Nissan Sentra, same as the Golf, reliability, but overall lower mpg.

1989-00 Ford/Mazda 323, Festiva/Aspire, I had a Festiva family car that got passed through a couple of generations from 89 to 04, I loved this car, but the cam shaft had these spacers that would slide off center every couple of months and the car would run like a can of rocks, get terrible mileage, and was repaired every 40k and then break. I would be driving that car today, if it wern't for those cam spacers.

Cars I Plan to Avoid:

All Toyota's, this is a long story that I will make as short as possible, I had a 86 MR2 and a 96 Toyota Corolla separated by 2 years of ownership. Both cars at 140k suffered major electrical failures, over months all sensors, electrics, distributors, and ECU's were replaced to the tune of thoursands. Both of these cars wen't to dealers and independant garages that could not repair them, in 03 the MR2 was given away, in 05 the Corolla was given away. This is why I'm so obessed with relaiblity, I drive for a living.

Dodge Neon, at Carsurvey.org, it seems all neons have to have their head gasket replaced every 40k, if not number 3 cylinder cracks.

1996-99 Cavalier/Sunfire, up until recently, I was a hunge fan of this car, it seems these cars are plagued by electrical failures.

Hyndai Accent, Kia Sophia/Rio, of these two manufactures I have researched and found that these cars are plagued by mechanical problem, again the relaibility factor.

So there you have it, I have about 2000 to spend, saving money these days ain't easy, one of my top 5 would save me a bundle on fuel expenses. I plan on doing everything to the car I buy, that would include every under hood mod for mpg, LRR tires, and I'v seen great mpg boosts with belly pans. Now I ask you, what do you think?

Possibly the worst and dumbest thing I've ever read about cars, reliability, value, and quality. One look at consumer reports, and the cars on the road alone would indicate that. It is very typical for me to buy a toyota for $2000, drive it 100,000 miles, and junk it for $200-$300. My cents per mile, including EVERYTHING, for ownership is typically in the 20 to 30 range, sometimes less than 20. Currently own three late 80's toyota camry wagons that have a combined 850,000 miles and all of them run great, go 100 miles per hour if asked (stupid, but possible), and have good life left in them. Reports of Saturns that go into the 200,000 mile range? I suppose a few, but that's standard and normal for a toyota. Sure a few toyota's suck, and i'[d never buy a mr2 or a tercel, but overall, they are the cheapest cars to buy and own. I see new cars on the side of the road all the time, and over nearly 1,000,000 miles, i've had to get towed exactly 1 time when a timing belt, with 150,000 miles on it, broke. Even when alternators went, the car still drove hundreds of miles with not electronics or lights being used, as the ignition used next to no juice. Sure, these were older simpler cars, and today it would be different. Now, you can drive a prius 500+ miles on less than 12 gallons of gas making it the cheapest car to own on the road. Toyota's reliability and durability are legendary and i've seen it first hand. Never paid more than $3000 for a car, never driven one for less than 100,000 miles, rarely have expensive repairs, and regular maintenance is inexpensive and easy to do.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:40 PM   #75
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Re: My Top 5 Cars: Economy & Reliability

please use caution and be careful in generalized assertions especially in a first post..."worst," "dumbest," and "consumer reports" are not well received here but...

the post was obviously well thought out and documented as such. certainly the "toyota" comments were less objective and more subjective...but based on the poster's experience.

if you had read the entire thread, you'd find that several members agree with his top picks, tho not necessarily in his chosen order.

cheers,
BowTieGuy...the anti-bully
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:55 AM   #76
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I have actually owned 4 out of 5 of the top 5 picks as commuters before I would put them in this order.

1. 1998 Saturn sl2, it does the best on the highway, Ownership from 100,000-144,000, 40-42mpg, $1250+$400 (maintenance), sold for $1500, total cost $150
2. 1996 Honda civic hatch with a VtecE swap (this is the most expensive cer I had to put together out of the 5), currently own@ 116,000(rebuilt has 28 miles on it, lol, just swapped) total cost so far $4600. I was getting 36w/ D16Y7, the new motor I just built was mean for 50+mpg, we should see.
3. 1998 Suzuki swift, 130,000 -160,000, $2000+$200, 38-42mpg, sold for $1800, total cost $400
4. 1996 Mitsubishi mirage, 89,000-120,000, $2800+ $600, 34-36crashed it... Insurance paid $1,900, total cost 1,500+ tow and junk... Lol

They are all good cars to commute in as long as you maintenance them, I have had a 1993 Toyota MR2 myself I was my toy and it costed an arm and 3 toes thfor maintenance because it has to be in prefect condition. But as far as reliability goes, toyotas are good cars as well we had a Scion xb, drove it since brand new and have 0 issues until the day we sold it, and when we sold it it was still running like new. All and all, a basic car is a basic car, as long as you take care of them, they will last. I currently own a 2008 Mazda 5(for the kids), a 2008 Audi a4 wagon( for me), and the civic. They all have different purpose but as far as MPG, Honda is "king"!!!
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:06 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GasSavers_Scott View Post
1989-00 Ford/Mazda 323, Festiva/Aspire, I had a Festiva family car that got passed through a couple of generations from 89 to 04, I loved this car........
Still got my 1988 Ford Festiva, averaging 46mpg with 100% gasoline(ethanol-free). Might like the new Ford Fiesta with 3-cylinder turbo, if it turns out to be reliable.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:07 AM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GasSavers_Scott View Post
It's coming to that time in my life where I get to get another car, the Solstice is soon to go into storage and with many hours behind the computer looking up everything I can find, these are my top 5 car picks for Economy & Reliability.

1996-99 Saturn, This is my number one pick, it's low used car price, easy mpg modifiability, and reports of 200+ thousand miles of life, make this my number one pick.

1996-04 Metro, be it the hatch back or the 4 door, the 1 litre 3 or the 1300 four, low price, high mpg, and from what I can tell good reliability, the Metro's come in a strong second.

1997-99 Ford Escort, sedan or wagon, the major redisign of the series brought a better ride, the same economy, better performance, and reliability.

1996-99 Mitsubishi Mirage, now this is an odd-car-out, but reviews on it rave about it reliability and with the option of a 1.5 or 1.8, this seems to be the sleeper in the pack.

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.

Honorable Mention:

1990-96 VW Golf, Im a huge VW fan, but it must be the cylinder head design, the Golf 2 litre is rated at 28 mpg Hwy, while Ford's 2 litre Escort is rated at 36. I don't want to start out with a car that I have to struggle to get mpg out of.

1996-99 Nissan Sentra, same as the Golf, reliability, but overall lower mpg.

1989-00 Ford/Mazda 323, Festiva/Aspire, I had a Festiva family car that got passed through a couple of generations from 89 to 04, I loved this car, but the cam shaft had these spacers that would slide off center every couple of months and the car would run like a can of rocks, get terrible mileage, and was repaired every 40k and then break. I would be driving that car today, if it wern't for those cam spacers.

Cars I Plan to Avoid:

All Toyota's, this is a long story that I will make as short as possible, I had a 86 MR2 and a 96 Toyota Corolla separated by 2 years of ownership. Both cars at 140k suffered major electrical failures, over months all sensors, electrics, distributors, and ECU's were replaced to the tune of thoursands. Both of these cars wen't to dealers and independant garages that could not repair them, in 03 the MR2 was given away, in 05 the Corolla was given away. This is why I'm so obessed with relaiblity, I drive for a living.

Dodge Neon, at Carsurvey.org, it seems all neons have to have their head gasket replaced every 40k, if not number 3 cylinder cracks.

1996-99 Cavalier/Sunfire, up until recently, I was a hunge fan of this car, it seems these cars are plagued by electrical failures.

Hyndai Accent, Kia Sophia/Rio, of these two manufactures I have researched and found that these cars are plagued by mechanical problem, again the relaibility factor.

So there you have it, I have about 2000 to spend, saving money these days ain't easy, one of my top 5 would save me a bundle on fuel expenses. I plan on doing everything to the car I buy, that would include every under hood mod for mpg, LRR tires, and I'v seen great mpg boosts with belly pans. Now I ask you, what do you think?
I had a 2000 mirage and I miss it. Was reliable and ok on gas. Now I got a 2014 and i like it but the older one was a bit more solid.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:48 PM   #79
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I switched from petrol to diesel a long time ago, as a gallon of petrol will send one car 25 miles, while the sake diesel engined model can travel 50 miles on a gallon of diesel.
Is diesel twice the price of petrol in the States? Why no diesels in your list?!
I used to run old diesels on heating oil - this then gave me a theoretical mpg of 150 (based on cost!).
These were large 4 door saloons, Nissan Bluebirds the figures relate to.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:38 AM   #80
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I was confused too by why the US has very few diesels. There are several reasons, one is that fuel is cheap so they don't really need economical cars, 30 MPG is fine for most people. Two, they have no Road tax out there, no carbon dioxide based taxes so people can afford to drive big high emitting cars. And three, their emission standards focus more on nitrous oxide rather than carbon dioxide which diesels emit slightly more of, even though there are plenty of ways to reduce this now. I still find it laughable that they find burning billions of gallons of extra fuel and oil and emiting thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide a good alternative to fuel sipping diesels though!
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