Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones HalfDork
9/11/18 8:03 p.m.

Looks like I might be losing my gas allowance thru work so I need to put my 13 MPG expedition on the back burner and pick up something a little more fuel efficient.  I honestly haven't paid attention to what the current trends are.  Prius? Insight? Leaf? TDI?  

I'm looking for cheap and not clapped out - lots of civics out here with a bazillion miles or JDM'd out.  I drive 50 miles round trip with some pretty good hills, max speeds of 60.  I'm close to Canada, maybe import a Kei car?  It seems 30MPG+ is covered by any small hatchback and some midsize cars.  Those merc bluetecs are getting cheap as well.

Most hybrids out here already have the smug tree hugger tax on them, so I'm hoping there is something under the radar that gets good mileage - whats gonna suck the least? :)

ThatsNoUsername
ThatsNoUsername HalfDork
9/11/18 8:10 p.m.

I had the same idea. Ended up with a zx2. Fun to drive, cheap and 33 plus mpg always

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
9/11/18 8:16 p.m.

DD#1 wound up with a lightly used, loaded up C-max in top trim. It was surprisingly inexpensive, surprisingly nice, a great commuter drive. And she gets 44 mpg like clockwork in mixed suburban driving. It’s not even a plug-in. 

And it avoids the Prius identification, from both sides of the equation. 

dxman92
dxman92 Reader
9/11/18 8:29 p.m.

I drive 66 miles round trip to work and went with a Nissan Versa Note after my CX-5 was totaled. Cheap as dirt, good on fuel (32-42 mpg..usually around 38 mpg), ample passenger room, good cargo room with back seats down, comfortable seats. 2016 was the last year it was available with manual transmission. You can still get the Versa sedan with stick shift but only in base trim. I think Danimal had one before it was totaled and had really good experience with it. 

Wayslow
Wayslow HalfDork
9/11/18 8:43 p.m.

Daughter #2 has a 5 spd 3 door hatchback Toyota Echo. Everytime I drive the thing I think "why I don't just pick up one of these?". Way more fun than it should be. They made the same car in an RS version. For whatever reason these were really popular in Quebec. They even had a spec racing series for them. The current generation Nissan Micra is another car that's more fun than it deserves to be.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/11/18 8:43 p.m.

I have not driven one and can not comment on how "enjoyable" they are but '11 & '12 Ford Fiestas that are manual trans and have a trunk must be impossible to sell off in the used market.  I am seeing them with 110k asking $4k or less.  This seems really cheap for a body style that is still currently offered in new car showrooms.  

 

EDIT: I suppose these things vary by location but here is a real example 2011 Fiesta hatch w/ 100k asking $4.8k

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
9/11/18 8:52 p.m.
Wayslow said:

Daughter #2 has a 5 spd 3 door hatchback Toyota Echo. Everytime I drive the thing I think "why I don't just pick up one of these?". Way more fun than it should be. They made the same car in an RS version. For whatever reason these were really popular in Quebec. They even had a spec racing series for them. The current generation Nissan Micra is another car that's more fun than it deserves to be.

I'll second the same thing. For being a thrashy loud slow messy the us version (I know, the versa note is not the same) it's not a bad car, and it's cheap. 

Kylini
Kylini Dork
9/11/18 9:00 p.m.

It pains me to say it, but 3rd gen Toyota Prius is pretty amazing for what it is. I like cars that fulfill their purpose. It's why I had two Miatas (one for off road and one as a stock cruiser). It's why I have the most boring car in America, a 2010 Prius. Target price is around $7500. Bonus points for LED headlights (trim V). Batteries tend to not be an issue, but if they are they can be replaced with aftermarket parts. I get on average 45 mpg living in the hills in Pennsylvania.

If you need more comfortable or slightly sportier, try to cross-shop for a Lexus CT 200h.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/11/18 9:11 p.m.

In reply to Kylini :

I have 2 of the Gen2 Priuses in the fleet.  They have been great.  '07 w/ 78k for $6k and '08 w/ 112k for $5.3k.    If find them to very much be the right tool for the job.  Soul sucking?  Yeah, but effective.  

STM317
STM317 SuperDork
9/12/18 4:29 a.m.

Is there a specific budget that we have to adhere to, or just "bang for the buck"?

I bought a 16 Fusion Energi PHEV this summer. I drive about 45 miles per day round trip, on pretty flat divided highway. It's mostly 60mph stretches with a half dozen or so random stoplights, and then a couple miles of "City" driving with 6-8 more lights. When I don't plug it in it gets 44ish mpg which is very good for a mid-sized sedan. Since I've been plugging it in, I've dragged the lifetime fuel economy from 43mpg up to 77mpg and that's still climbing a bit every day. I'm about half way through my 3rd tank of gas in the 3 months and 2500 miles that I've owned it. The nicest thing about it is that it looks like every other Ford Fusion on the road, and it's a larger, more comfortable car than most hybrids. The smooth, silent electric mode is a nice little break from the NVH that I'm used to in most of my cheap beaters too.

I paid $16k for a well appointed car with 23k miles on the clock. The original window sticker says it was a $34k car 2 years ago, and it's still got a ton of warranty left. It's hybrid system is really similar to the Gen2 Prius, so I don't really expect to need any repairs, but the warranty is nice to have so that I won't be wrenching on my daily driver. Overall, it seems like pretty good "bang for the buck" to me. It's a lot of car for the money, but it's not going to compete with a $5k econobox when it comes to total cost.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
9/12/18 3:05 p.m.

Are you sure buying an economy car is a good idea?

If you currently get 13 MPG, and you will improve to 35 MPG.  say gas costs $3.50/gallon.  Cost per mile difference is $0.16 in fuel costs.

Just a ballpark your new beater vehicle will depreciate/cost around $2k/year running costs (maintenance, oil changes, depreciation, etc) plus registration and insurance.  Call it $2500/year.  

You need to drive your new car 14,772 miles/year just to be even.  One expensive repair, long trip in your Excursion, etc puts you in the red.  Fuel at $2.79 a gallon means you have to drive 18,532 miles just to break even.  

With fuel at $2.79/gallon, it would be necessary and impossible to drive 50 miles a day for 370 days in a year just to break even.  

With an average working year of 250 days, it would actually cost you $813 more per year to commute with an efficient car (assuming $2.79/gallon gas, 50 miles a day commuting, $2500/year in running costs on your beater) than it would to just keep driving the vehicle you already own.

 

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/12/18 3:21 p.m.
93gsxturbo said:

Are you sure buying an economy car is a good idea?

If you currently get 13 MPG, and you will improve to 35 MPG.  say gas costs $3.50/gallon.  Cost per mile difference is $0.16 in fuel costs.

Just a ballpark your new beater vehicle will depreciate/cost around $2k/year running costs (maintenance, oil changes, depreciation, etc) plus registration and insurance.  Call it $2500/year.  

You need to drive your new car 14,772 miles/year just to be even.  One expensive repair, long trip in your Excursion, etc puts you in the red.  Fuel at $2.79 a gallon means you have to drive 18,532 miles just to break even.  

With fuel at $2.79/gallon, it would be necessary and impossible to drive 50 miles a day for 370 days in a year just to break even.  

With an average working year of 250 days, it would actually cost you $813 more per year to commute with an efficient car (assuming $2.79/gallon gas, 50 miles a day commuting, $2500/year in running costs on your beater) than it would to just keep driving the vehicle you already own.

 

 

Came here to do the same math.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
9/12/18 3:22 p.m.

Wife's 14 Koup fits the bill quite nicely. THe 2.0L GDI is strong enough to be entertaining, the chassis is just loose enough to cause silliness when you want it and it's a really nice place to spend time. Great infotainment, comfy and supportive seats, room, cubbies galore etc. She's averaging about 36mpg, we got 38 on vacation. 

G_Body_Man
G_Body_Man UltraDork
9/12/18 3:42 p.m.

Toyota Echo with coilovers, a Scion xB rear beam, 15x8s with sticky tires and a biiiig rear sway bar. Probably 5 times more fun than it should be.

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
9/12/18 3:44 p.m.

In reply to Kendall_Jones :Chevy Volt. Spirited enough to not bore you to death and once you figure out the free gas part pretty cheap to drive  

 

G_Body_Man
G_Body_Man UltraDork
9/12/18 3:50 p.m.

Also if you have EV chargers at work, check out an earlier Nissan Leaf. $7k buy-in, no gas bills.

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