It is about that time to sell off my Tahoe and get a more fuel efficient car. I would like to stay in the 2002 model year or newer and I am looking for mpg in the range of 28mpg city and about 35 highway. I don't care if it is a 5spd or auto or what make or model it is. I am looking for ideas on what to look for from you folks here. Fuel efficiency, safety and reliability are key. I live in Atlanta and would like to stay under a $4,000 purchase price or less if I can. I drive about 100 to 150 miles per day in a mix of city and highway. We have a Nissan Quest as the "good" car. I need something that looks good - I'm in sales - so a complete beater isn't going to work. Is it possible for me to find something?
What vehicle should I be looking for? Thanks for your input. I just can't take 16mpg anymore.....I need more....waaaay more mpgs.
2002 was the last year chevy prizm's were made. the LSI version is somewhat upscale, but difficult(impossible?) to find a 5 speed. these cars are substantial less expensive that either a toyota corolla(its twin BTW) or honda civic.
do NOT get the 3 speed auto. the 5 speed is rated at 32/41 MPG and the 4 speed auto is 30/40. these are the old EPA #s, which i go by since they can be met(and bettered) with hypermiling techniques.
you didn't mention vehicle size. the cars listed above are easy to get your MPG requirements, but are MUCH smaller than what you drive now!
one difficulty you are going to find is that economy cars in todays market come at a premium. the $4000 price range you have isn't going to give you many options especially since you are looking for something presentable since the car is going to leave an impression on your customers.
I haven't heard too much about the toyota echos much lately. you may be able to pick one of those up pretty cheap. also an idea is a kia or hyundai. they aren't the best of vehicles (that is just my opinion) but they are relatively inexpensive. possibly a ford escort or chevrolet metro, cavalier, cobalt. I have found that the domestics are cheaper but you don't get as good of FE. it is a give and take.
also to consider is that you won't get a good amount for your tahoe either. you are going to take a double hit on this one. you will get less for your SUV because it takes a lot of gas and you will pay a premium price for anything that is considered a high MPG car.
and like bowtie guy said, space will be at a premium in the cars that we are speaking of.
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Sigh... I was looking into getting a Toyota Echo for several months, but the cheapest ones I found in my area were all over $6,000. Like BEEF said, though, fuel efficient cars are getting more expensive, no matter how old or how many miles, just because of the greater demand for them, while bigger trucks and SUVs are getting cheaper, because no one is buying them, and dealers want them off their lots.