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Old 09-14-2007, 08:14 PM   #1
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Any advice before plunging?

I am looking at plunging for a smaller car in the next 2 weeks. I want to spend under 2000 dollars for something that is nice but will get me where I want to go without any fuss . I plan on working on it myself, as any 2000 dollar car is bound to have something wrong with it now or a few months down the road. It is amazing how few vx/cx Honda's there are. I cannot find many (if any) in my area.

I have read up and seen that the vx/cx tranny's are the best if going the Honda route, my brother has an ex and were were pretty disappointed with the 30MPG it gets (atleast I was, I think he likes it enough that it doesn't bother him too much).

I am looking at getting a '96 or newer Saturn/Civic/Toyota/Whatever is reliable for safety and scangauge compatibility. In the case of the vx/cs though I would need to stay below 95.

I would consider something like a crx but have decided to get something with a few more safety features like airbags to keep me safe if my defensive driving isn't enough in a situation.

Anyway, all that is to say that if you have any advice for my search or what to search for it would be appreciated. If you know of something interesting not within the confines of what I described don't hesitate to mention it.

If diesel prices hadn't suddenly started being 30 cents more than gas during the summer I would consider something like a Mercedes 190D that would be classy and still net me 40MPG on my cruise to work.


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Old 09-14-2007, 08:24 PM   #2
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I was actually going to advise on a crx! I think you would be very well set with a civic 92-95 civic dx hatch. The tranny swap is easy and I think it would make quite a bit of difference.

In any case, I say go with the civic, they look better than the corolla's and you can get a hatch, should be able to see 50 mpg with a DX.

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Old 09-14-2007, 09:08 PM   #3
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Civic or Saturn. And if your brother is only getting 30 mpg out of any Civic EX he is either beating on it or it needs some tender loving care. The worse tank I ever got in my 06 EX was 29 mpg. And that was with the A/C on,, tach at redline alot, windows and sunroof open. Just thrashing the crap out of it.

The worse tank Ive turned in so far on my new Mazda3 is 38.3 mpg and that tank had top end runs on it ran on private property. The current tank is at 38 mpg and Ive driven the car hard with more than normal city miles with no A/C.

I wondersome times how I can beat a car pretty darn hard and always beat epa. And others can never get close. Hummm
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:36 AM   #4
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I would recommend a Saturn but I'm probably a bit biased. Check my garage for why that is so. I can tell you that my son got just over 61 mpg on DOHCtor Green MPG at 737 miles on his last tank. He is 18 and is now the primary driver and had no help from me with that tank. His previous tanks have been in the mid and upper 50's. It has air-bags too.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:04 AM   #5
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Yes, don't discount the diesel. 40MPG in a car the size of the Merc 190E is excellent. A gasoline version of that car makes about 20-25MPG, tops. You'd have the mileage of a gasoline Civic with the Merc. Now, imagine a 1 liter turbodiesel in the Civic, be seeing the same piower as the gas Civic and probably see 60-70MPG with normal driving.
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Old 09-15-2007, 08:23 AM   #6
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I'd consider an Escort. Almost a good a repair history as many Japanese cars...many available...easy to find new and used parts.
Leading the perpetually ignorant and uninformed into the light of scientific knowledge. Did I really say that?

a new policy....I intend to ignore the nescient...a waste of time and energy.
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:00 AM   #7
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Fourthbean -

I'm obviously going to suggest Saturn. If you go that route, there is one thing I would like you or your mechanic to check, the transmission differential pin :

Inspecting DIFF PIN- no transaxle disaasembly needed
As many of you know by now, the open differential in "S" series transaxles can have issues with it's DIFF pin. There IS a way to give it a basic visual check WITHOUT removing the transaxle or doing any major disassembly.
Differential Pin (DIFF PIN) Inspection

Old School SW2 EPA ... New School Civic EPA :

What's your EPA MPG?
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:37 AM   #8
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I was looking at death rates for '99-01 vehicles and the domestic Ford/Chevy/Pontiac cars were the worst. Saturn was up there but on the safer end of the scale comparatively with the Civic in 2nd place I believe. IIHS LINK

My brain hurts... I am trying to find a balance between Safety, MPG, and avoiding driving something I will regret.

My brother does drive his Civic harder than I drive, which is probably the reason for his low numbers.

Clencher, are you going for an award for the most one liner posts on a Forum?

I found a ford (not sure if it was the escort) with low miles but it was an automatic .

I think I will pick up a Sunday paper and see what there is to see without using the internet. (Gasp!!, you can do things without the internet!)

Thanks for all the suggestions, keep them coming if you have any left.
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Old 09-15-2007, 11:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ZugyNA View Post
I'd consider an Escort. Almost a good a repair history as many Japanese cars...many available...easy to find new and used parts.
true, ecorts are cheap reliable and can eb found with manual trannies pretty easily. also the zx2 or whatever that thing was (same thing as escort i belive)
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:13 PM   #10
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Alright, to go along with the theme of my horrible subject line...

I about to make a splash...

Ok, that was bad.

I committed to buy a 2000 Saturn SL1 with 88K (not confirmed) miles on it. Current owner bought after it being restored from flood damage in 2002.

It drives nice, LOTS more power than my current car. Accidentally chirped the wheels with definitely not all of the pedal down. Good looking tires all the way around, full size spare, cold A/C (would have accepted a car without but this will be nice when I am carting someone else around).

I didn't do any detail inspection other than look at the oil, I am getting it cheap enough that I could do some repairs and not worry about being in the hole with it. Oh, the starter is bad. We had to bump start it to test drive, he took one bolt off but couldn't find the other. I have read that getting to the other is a royal pain, but I can deal with that.

This car should do me well, now I need to line up the mods to complete after getting my baseline down.

Oh, question. Can you usually hear the sucking of the intake manifold from inside the cabin while accelerating? I think that is what I am hearing, I am used to hearing EVERYTHING from the engine compartment. So just the sucking sound, I can manage.

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