Hi, folks. Just found this forum, figured I'd introduce myself.
I've always liked the idea of "doing more with less" and being a cheapskate I like the idea of saving fuel (because it means saving MONEY!)
Right now my "economy car" is a motorcycle, but that's about all I need since I work in downtown Denver (where there's no free parking anyway) and ride the light rail in to work. However, early next year my office is moving out to the 'burbs and then I'll be commuting every day, probably 24 miles/day or so.
My only 4 wheeled vehicle right now is a 1999 4runner with a 3.4 V6, auto tranny and 4 wheel drive, so it doesn't get very good MPG (in the city, I can maybe break 16 if I baby it, on the highway I can get as high as 20 or a bit more if I keep it under 65.)
Main reason I joined was to get info on real-life experiences with older economy cars. My plan is to get something early next year that will get me to work and hopefully return at least 30 mpg. Of course, since saving money is the objective here I plan on buying cheap (what's the point of getting a 50mpg car if it's accompanied by a $400/month payment?)
I also have an Ultra-Gauge on my 4runner, and I see there is a lot of discussion of these OBD-II devices, so I'll probably engage in those as well. I just completed my first long trip with my UG and while it worked OK, I think it's still got some tweaking that I need to do to get it to work the way I want.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to participating in the discussions!
Welcome, Martin. I'm a fan of old Nissans and Mazdas, myself. They offer Japanese quality without the Honda/Toyota price premium. Nissans have timing chains, so you don't have the hassle and expense of timing belt replacements. Look for a manual transmission with 1.8 L engine for best fuel economy. Stay with OBD-II (1996 and newer vehicles) for safety and better engine monitoring.
I'd also consider Hyundais. My family has owned three. They're reliable, and dirt cheap. Five year old Hyundais sell for 16% of MSRP, a bargain for the used car buyer.