as some of you may not know, i sold me manual civic, looking for a reliable automatic so my mom and i can share it (save on insurance, tags, etc)
so far when i look for automatic 1993 - 97 corolla's, they on average, are a good 500 bucks more than a 92+ toyota camry.
the thing about the camry's is that they are all LE, so i get the comfort of a tach, and power windows. all the corollas are base model or a dx, and they cost an arm and a leg just because its "gas saver"
I had a 92 auto camry before, i can get about 25 mpg with inflated tires and an intake. on the corolla, i know i can get about 30 mpg on it with the same mods(i had an automatic 90 civic before). so its basically a 5 mpg loss every way i measure it.
what I was thinking is that if i get the camry, gas would cost me about 10 bucks more a month, or 120 more a year, and it will take about 4 years to break even since its cheaper than the corolla. but on the meantime, the camry is bigger, quietier, smoother, safer, and the luxuries of power windows, looks better ( some people will look at a guy with a corolla as.. cheap, or laugh since its a tiny ecobox) etc.
also the average camry i see is about 1,500 bucks, even after 5 years of ownership i wont lose as much money, since cars will bottom out at a point of lets say, 800 bucks even if its high mileage, as long as it runs, someone will buy it for that kind of price.
the insurance premium will be exactly the same for both cars, so thats not an issue
RIDE, i have also looked at the prizm's, i know they are corollas... but the thing is, every seller on the craigslist use a prizm's price as a corollas price. all they do is advetise it as a corolla/prizm
i just saw an ad for a 1990 prizm, priced at 2000 obo.
i was looking into a honda, but for auto trannies, honda dont really have solid auto trannies. and yes, i fix my cars all the time so the power options wont be too big of a hassle
This is the wrong time to buy an economy car (but a great time to buy gas guzzlers). Most people still feel the pain of $4/gallon gas (but not this guy). You could look at a hypermile sleeper (see the link in my sig), which is not known for good FE but can be hypermiled well; they won't have that premium price induced by gas costs.
Else, buy the '96 Camry. You did the calculations and found that it takes 4 years for the Corolla to pay off, and after that you're effectively spending $10/month on more comfort and a more practical car.
i was looking into a honda, but for auto trannies, honda dont really have solid auto trannies.
That's not even the slightest bit true. That's a misconception based on two prevailing factors: 1) people abuse the crap out of them by increasing power to the motor, wailing on the tranny, and doing the launch of death and then going online and complaining that the tranny slips, and 2) you HAVE to use Honda ATF in a Honda auto tranny. Honda is really particular about their fluids. You have to use Honda PS fluid.
If you put gear oil in a Honda manual, you destroy it. The tranny that was originally in my VX was going out and it had gear oil in it. My Acura tranny that I just pulled because it is blown had gear oil in it. You can tell because the fluid looks watery.
Before the CVT came around, there were actually only two types of automatic transmissions. There was the Hondamatic and there was everything else.
From wikipedia "Automatic transmission families are usually based on Ravigneaux, Lepelletier, or Simpson planetary gearsets. Each uses some arrangement of one or two central sun gears, and a ring gear, with differing arrangements of planet gears that surround the sun and mesh with the ring. An exception to this is the Hondamatic line from Honda, which uses sliding gears on parallel axes like a manual transmission without any planetary gearsets. Although the Honda is quite different from all other automatics, it is also quite different from an automated manual transmission"
The Toyota Supra is the best example of what an auto trans should be.
I would go with which ever one is the best deal for the mileage/condition of the car. If you can get more car for less money, and it would take years for the FE difference to even out then go for the Camry. It's not like your comparing drastically different cars, like a Hummer vs. a Metro...