as far as the VX, it is a car that can easily get 45+ mpg and it seats 4 and has no batteries to replace like hybrids. that commands a premium price in todays market. that is why I drive a cavalier.
as far as the smart, I like it but it has it's draw backs. 2 people....that's it. no exceptions. that is a big one for me right now. also, you can get your honda better. my wife has an element and has done as good as 25 mpg on a tank of close to 300 miles and averages around 23 or so. she does have a grill block but that is relatively new. also hers is 4wd as well along with an auto trans.
there are some tips in the "201 tips to save gas" at the top of the page. it is a good read. some of the info is up for debate but it is a good place to start. one thing that will help out tremendously is buying a scangauge. it will tell you your MPG in real time so you can see what it sucking gas and what is not. go to www.scangauge.com and check them out. that helped me the most. also, check out my gas log. you may want to consider a cavalier. you can get a descent one right now for around 3k or so and it will still be pretty new. they run cheap.
good luck to you.
Be the change you wish to see in the world
There are lots of threads with summaries of strategies. I wrote an intro, which is linked in my sig.
As for non-Honda FE cars, take a look at the "Hypermile sleepers" thread, also linked in my sig. Especially in this age of expensive fuel, Honda's reputation has really caused their prices to be jacked up, but in the meantime there's lots of cars that people don't realize get good FE...and those remain reasonably priced.
I only limited myself to a honda because I had started off wanting to find an old CRX HF. Find this site during some research and read about the Honda Civic VX. Those are a little easier to find over the CRX HF.
Prices are high in my opinion for such old, high mileage cars. Plus I am not too keen on getting a used car again.
My Element is "my" first new car. Wife has always gotten the new vehicles.
I love the element and I am sure it gets low end mileage due to my driving habits and some mods to the car. Nothing in the engine, but it does have the 18" rims from an SC, mud flaps in the rear, hood rock guard, window vents etc...
I do limit my use of the A/C and drive mostly on the Interstate. 23 miles each way to and from work. However its heavy traffic.
I have always tracked my mileage and the best I have ever gotten is 26mpg. Generally I get 20mpg. Less if the A/C is being used.
MTP, don't get discouraged by high asking price on some VXes.
I bought 2 Civic VX in the last 9 months - paid less than $4K for BOTH! Look around on Craigslist in 300 mile range (can use crazedlist.com) and you'll see them pop up every couple weeks. Keep cash on hand and be prepared to buy as they go quick! I think, you should be able to find something reasonable in a month or so.
Also, if $4K VX is in mint condition - I think it reasonable. Biggest problem with old VXes are rust, neglect and racers.