I am looking for a new car and would like to get some good gas mileage. I at first was looking at a $2,000 or lower runner just so i didnt have payments. But lately I have been looking in the 8-13k range (malibu, colorado, ranger, focus) so I could get good mileage and a nice reliable car. I was wondering if you could tell me what the best cars are around 8-13k and from 1k-2k for mileage and reliability. Thanks DG
1996 or later so you can use a Scangauge
Whatever you decide on, a stick will almost universally get better mpg. For some of the newest cars, maybe auto is close to a stick but you're looking at older ones.
Scangauge works on 1996 and later cars as it taps into the OBDII system that became standard then. Scangauge will give you continuous real time display of MPG. My car is too old for Scangauge but I've seen scads of reports here and elsewhere that real time display of mpg is worth its weight in gold for increasing mpg. Also gives you a variety of other readouts like intake air temp, coolant temp, rpm, etc. Do some research on it. About $160-170 and reportedly worth every penny.
Currently getting +/- 50 mpg in fall weather. EPA is 31/39 so not too shabby. WAI, fuel cutoff switch, full belly pan, smooth wheel covers.
I love Hondas, so I got a $2000 CRX HF. It has been reliable, but it is a 17 year old car. If I had to do it all over again, I'd get a 96+ Metro hatchback. You can find these with less then 100K, with AC, and in good shape for about $2500-$3000 depending on the year.
You mentioned that you were looking at getting a new car with high MPG. I would suggest you look at a Toyota Yaris Lift-Back. It EPA's at 40/34, but with hypermilling techniques, you can easily get 45+ on the highway. It looks much bigger inside then when you see it outside. Quiet, peppy, and it has a high tech 1.5 liter engine. You can pick one up for $13,000 plus tax & shipping, and it will come with 40/60 back seat that folds down completely flat to carry lots of luggage. It has A/C, P/S, CD, power windoes, power mirrors, and the Yaris has the lowest cost of ownership of any new car in it's class, even lower then all the Korean models. With a ScanGauge II, one can really extract lots of milage from each tank of gas. With this car, one will never feel under powered getting on freeways, as it's Variable Valve Timing engine dynamically adds more power as required.