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AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
1/19/22 5:46 p.m.

Okay I'm moving this summer.  The move is for work.  Part of my life will entail a long commute for the next 4-7 years approximately 4 days a week.  I don't mind the driving considering I will be working 40.0 hrs per week unless something unusual happens, and I will get paid for any overtime if it happens.  I will get to work remotely 1 day a week.  I will have most every weekend off and most all holidays (unless something not good happens). 

Honestly, I know whatever car I commute in, I'm basically going to use it up in 5-7 years at this mileage.  So what gets good gas mileage, is fun to drive, reliable and will go 150k miles without any issues and is reasonably priced.  I'm thinking lower mileage used cars ( <50k miles).  I'm thinking a Honda Fit Sport might be great for this or something similar. 

Any other suggestions?  The answer?  Price, I'd like to be under 15k, but I can spend more; just don't want to unless it something awesome.

Something cheap on insurance is a big bonus too.  I'm going to spend a lot of time in the car so I do want satellite radio, good A/C, and heat, quiet enough to listen to a podcast, etc. 

I won't be in traffic, so a manual transmission will work nicely and they are more fun to drive IMO.  Electric cars won't really work well since the only charging station will be at home or near home.  The destination is not EV friendly and the route is also not EV friendly.  Can a Bolt make 150 miles round trip each day, day after day without any problems?  And it doesn't look very fun to drive. 

 

 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/19/22 5:50 p.m.

Honestly, Mazda3. It will make the trip every day completely reliably, will be fun to drive with a manual, and will get great mileage. Pick the one that makes you the happiest, they are all good.

Data point, Mrs. Jav drove an 08 Mazda3i 5MT 240 miles/day, 5 days/week for a year. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
1/19/22 5:57 p.m.

624 hours a year commuting assuming that's a 3 hour round trip. Fuuuuuuuuuuuug that no way for me! More power to you though I just hope it's paying really well. Just the hours lost is $15k worth of time per year at $25/hr and I make way more than $25/hr. Sorry for the lecture just couldn't help it. 
 

What about a brz/frs? I think the fit sport is a great city car but not a fun place to spend hours per day commuting. 
 

what about more of a GT car like a 370z or g35 / g37? Mpg isn't as good I guess. Dang. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/19/22 6:07 p.m.

I love Fits but I would not want to spend that kind of seat time in one.  Personal prejudice re: comfort.

Final gen Foci can knock down crazy economy, as good or better than a similar Fiesta.  Talking 42-43mpg with a manual trans 2.0 without even trying.  This being a friend's 6 speed model which may or not be a unicorn.

I have done 42mpg while lightly trying in our loaner '13 Focus with the PowerShift trans.  I don't mind the trans but I wouldn't buy one on purpose.  It's... odd, and has no manual mode, which it really, really needs.

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
1/19/22 6:08 p.m.

I did roughly that in a zx2, it was enjoyable

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
1/19/22 6:11 p.m.

ND Miatas get crazy good mileage and are a pretty enjoyable place to be in.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
1/19/22 6:11 p.m.

I would buy something that was a bit dirty, drive it and clean it up and catch up maintenance for a few months, then buy the next one and sell the first before the odometer gets too shocking.  Gives you a bit of a hobby, potentially let's you drive for free, and doesn't hang you with something worthless due to mileage at the end.  You could even have the old one and the next one at the same time, just in case of breakdown.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
1/19/22 6:15 p.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy :

I used to do that in the UK, albeit with motorcycles, when I commuted 10k-15k miles annually. Buy a bike with decently low mileage, run it for six months and fettle it a bit, then sell it for close to what I bought it for.

That work really well when I was self employed and was able to deduct the mileage, but even when that wasn't the case it made for fairly cheap transport.

No Time
No Time SuperDork
1/19/22 6:15 p.m.

I'd look at something from Kia or Hyundai, maybe even new for some warranty coverage. The peace of mind may be worth the cost.   

Sure it will get used up, but you'll have at least 3 years of warranty coverage before you exceed the mileage. By that time you'll have flushed out any early failures, but still have plenty of life left in it to get the 5-7 years out of it.

I did 130 miles round trip for several years,  and my Elantra was comfortable, quiet enough for audiobooks, and the BT worked well for calls. While it racked up highway miles on the odometer it was easy on the car. I did have some issues covered by warranty, but nothing that left me stranded and the dealer always set me up with a demo to use as a loaner.


 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/19/22 6:19 p.m.

You raise good points... you don't have to marry to a single car.  It is an opportunity to try all sorts of ideas!  

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
1/19/22 6:28 p.m.

The Fit sucks on the highway.  The answer is Prius, like it or not.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/19/22 6:42 p.m.

Get something very comfortable.  I've been doing 160 a day for about 20 years. I had an Escort, Cavalier, Malibu, and now a Buick Verano. The Malibu and Verano were far better places to spend time, riding smoother, having a bit more space, and being quieter with costing much more to operate. The Buick while costing the most initially has been far less expensive to operate. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/19/22 6:47 p.m.

I don't know where you are located so I don't know if weather is an issue.  

Simple answer.  You want as much chassis as possible.  

Right out avoid the small chassis like Yaris, Accent, Fit.  Too small and fatiguing over the long haul.  

Corolla, Elantra, Civic much better. 
Still better is the next larger of Camry, Sonata, Accord. 
Even better, Avalon, Cadenza, Acura RL

Avalon Hybrid!!!  It's the biggest car available in the size/mpg equation.  Rated 40 mpg combined.  

Prius has been very, very good to me.   

 

Outlier:  Lincoln MKZ.  Many of these were 4cyl hybrid.  A lot of lux touches with good fuel economy, rated for 40 mpg combined.  Heated AND AC SEATS.  It's a tarted up Ford Fusion so add that to the list too.  But, the Ford rarely has AC seats.  

 

Over at https://www.fueleconomy.gov/ play around with the function of "compare side by side" as well as the power search function.  With side by side, notice that you can personalize the situation to get expected annual fuel costs.  You might be surprised that the savings from high mpg to low mpg is not that great.  My caution is don't spend too much chasing fuel savings.  I mean don't buy a $10k more expensive car on the hopes that it's mpg will save you money.  It might just be that the $10k more expensive model saves you just $1k per year over 5 years.  

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
1/19/22 6:59 p.m.

I'd go big and the newest you can afford.  When traveling a lot comfort is key. 
 

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
1/19/22 7:04 p.m.

Something you enjoy driving.

Oof.

dps214
dps214 Dork
1/19/22 7:26 p.m.
John Welsh said:

I don't know where you are located so I don't know if weather is an issue.  

Simple answer.  You want as much chassis as possible.  

Right out avoid the small chassis like Yaris, Accent, Fit.  Too small and fatiguing over the long haul.  

Corolla, Elantra, Civic much better. 
Still better is the next larger of Camry, Sonata, Accord. 
Even better, Avalon, Cadenza, Acura RL

Avalon Hybrid!!!  It's the biggest car available in the size/mpg equation.  Rated 40 mpg combined.  

Prius has been very, very good to me.   

 

Outlier:  Lincoln MKZ.  Many of these were 4cyl hybrid.  A lot of lux touches with good fuel economy, rated for 40 mpg combined.  Heated AND AC SEATS.  It's a tarted up Ford Fusion so add that to the list too.  But, the Ford rarely has AC seats.  

 

Over at https://www.fueleconomy.gov/ play around with the function of "compare side by side" as well as the power search function.  With side by side, notice that you can personalize the situation to get expected annual fuel costs.  You might be surprised that the savings from high mpg to low mpg is not that great.  My caution is don't spend too much chasing fuel savings.  I mean don't buy a $10k more expensive car on the hopes that it's mpg will save you money.  It might just be that the $10k more expensive model saves you just $1k per year over 5 years.  

A while ago I had a fusion rental for a few weeks, including a ~500 mile each way road trip. I didn't hate driving it, it could kind of do some kind of fun things if you really wanted it to and it was a pretty good highway cruiser. Fuel mileage was never as great as it was rated (not a surprise from ford) but was pretty solid for a car that size, especially for how I usually drove it.

The point about paying more for fuel economy is very valid. Over 5 years at 30k miles/year, the difference between 25mpg and 40mpg is a little under $7k total at current fuel prices. On that note, make sure that whatever you get is happy running on 87 octane or you're going to have a bad time.

Berck
Berck New Reader
1/19/22 7:35 p.m.

Miata is always the answer!  Commute miles don't destroy a car as fast as you might think.  I had a 100mile roundtrip commute for many years.  My primary vehicle of choice was a 1991 Miata.  So, yeah, now it's a 220,000+ mile car, but it's hardly used up.  As opposed to the guy I bought another Miata from who had 800,000 miles on his from his 200 mile commute.  He said the first engine lasted 700,000 and then "rusted out".

A thing that I enjoyed to liven it up was to have choices.  If the weather was motorcycle weather, I'd ride the motorcycle.  (20,000 motorcycle commuting miles in a few years).  I've also got a collection of winter beaters for when the weather was bad enough I couldn't get the Miata out of the driveway even on snow tires.

Whatever you pick, make sure you're comfortable in it.  And having a backup is the easiest way to keep at least one affordable commuter running:)

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
1/19/22 7:39 p.m.

I'd want the nicest Lexus LS I could get to swallow up those miles. Gas mileage is further down my list than comfort. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
1/19/22 7:41 p.m.

I have considered both the ND and NC for this task. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
1/19/22 7:42 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

I won't discuss pay or benefits, but I won't do anything for less than $25/hr.  I can day trade and make that or pick up scrap metal and recycle it.  It is substantial pay, benefits and retirement. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/19/22 8:03 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

I have considered both the ND and NC for this task. 

Consider the fixed roof.  You might appreciate the additional road noise reduction.

I'm also in the camp that the best "reliability/dependability" comes from having a spare car on hand.  That way #1 can be serviced or repaired and you drive #2.  

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/19/22 8:11 p.m.

I like Miatas but I could not see spending that much time in one.

Might be biased but only because I was pleasantly surprised by the first generation Volvo S40.  It's a wonderful luxobox to spend time in, has decent handling after a few tweaks, and gets ridiculous economy for a turbo port injected four - could knock down 40mpg or 34mpg towing.

They are hard to find, though, being not popular when new and now in the 20 year old range, and have a tiny fuel tank.  Like absurdly tiny.  I forget the exact numbers but I know sucked-dry to pump shutoff was 5 gallons lower than the official tank capacity.  Small enough that you might need to visit a fuel station twice a day.

amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter)
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
1/19/22 8:13 p.m.

Most of my picks have been covered already - mazda3 or something from Hyundai, Kia

But John W makes a good point with the Lincoln suggestion. Cooled and heated seats are awesome. So is cruise control 

 

The Bolt won't make that trip. The Volt will but a hybrid would probably be a better option. I owned a Volt and used to have a 120 daily commute. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/19/22 8:15 p.m.

In reply to amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) :

Seats, HVAC, and audio system should be main priority.  100% agreed.

 

A late 00s Legacy can do mid 30s mpg and ticks those marks...

matthewmcl
matthewmcl HalfDork
1/19/22 8:19 p.m.

I commute 110 to 120 miles a day, depending on the route I take, 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on weather. I have an '18 Fit Sport with the CVT. I am plenty comfortable in the Fit, except I wish the seat would go one more notch upright. 6' and 170 lbs., but I also feel much more comfortable in small cars and I could drive the Fit all day. I will say that the CVT works better than the manual for highway cruising. The top gearing is about 50% taller on the CVT which means the motor is spinning at what feels like a normal car RPM, and based on comparing my experience to others, the CVT is good for an extra 5 mpg because of the taller gearing. I got mine new, and I have about 60k on it, now. 2019 was a different job and 2020/2021 had a lot of WFH, so mileage is not as high as it otherwise would be.

A Prius is still likely at the top of the list.

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