Waited until fall, still no hypermiling cars out there...

Discussion in 'Fuel Economy' started by Colin Dunn, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Member

    Things are looking pretty bleak on the car shopping front right now.

    I considered buying a Prius this summer but encountered price-gouging and a lack of availability.

    Then I looked into the Yaris. Saw announcements that a 5-door hatch was coming ... and now we find out it's automatic only. No manual tranny is a deal-breaker.

    Honda upsized the Fit and decreased the fuel economy. They also didn't fix the problem with short gears limiting fuel economy (particularly highway). Effectively, this makes it just like the Yaris - no decent manual tranny in a 5-door hatch. Scratch another off the list.

    The MAZDA3 5-door hatch looks appealing, but it has poor fuel economy even compared to the automatic versions of the Fit and Yaris.

    My current vehicle is a 2000 Mazda MX-5 Miata. It gets reasonable fuel economy (about 25 city / 30 highway) but I'm looking for something a little more fuel-efficient and practical in my next car.

    So now I have to decide what to do next. I see my alternatives as follows:

    1) Wait until spring '09 for the Honda Insight II. Probably face waiting lists and price-gouging then as masses flock to the newest, hottest, least expensive hybrid on the market.
    2) Try again to get a Prius around the first of the year. Hopefully the temporary reprieve in oil prices will clear the inventory log-jam.
    3) Settle for a 4-door Yaris sedan, though I really wanted the utility of a hatch.
    4) Settle for an automatic 5-door Yaris. Though I despite automatic transmissions for their greater expense and maintenance. I don't do FAS, so that limitation isn't an issue ... but I still don't want to pay $800+ extra for extra bulk and lower MPG. :(
    5) Look for other alternatives. Are there any other 5-door hatches out there getting at least solid 30s real-world city MPG? (I know even the Yaris is only rated for 29 city, but it seems most real-world estimates run in the mid-30s.)
  2. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    Hi Colin--

    Can I suggest the used car market? Once the price shock of Ike subsides the gas prices for used compacts should drop somewhat.

    07CIVICLX5MT we are connected

    Im a little biased on this one, but i reccomend Civic coupe. No hatch:( but you can fold the seat down if you need to. Theres lots of room in the back of these things. Plus you can get 40mpg at least, you can have the 5mt, and youll be rolling in style, unlike yaris and others. of course, styling is secondary to performance economy and practicality, and civic has all of those covered. I LOVE mine!
  4. gershon

    gershon Well-Known Member

    I'd suggest checking out the Kia's. I have 2 of them. A 2000 Spectra and a 2001 Rio. Both have been very reliable.

    I don't know what the new models are like as I probably won't buy another car for another 10 years or so.
  5. Siaharok

    Siaharok Active Member

    I love my 2008 Honda Fit 5spd. I don't know what the EPA is for the 2009, but the EPA is bogus anyway. I'm getting 50MPG easily using a Scangauge.
  6. bomber991

    bomber991 Well-Known Member

    Check out Mini Coopers?
  7. some_other_dave

    some_other_dave Well-Known Member

    Mini Cooper non-S could work; the Mini Clubman would be a little bigger than the standard Cooper. Ford Focus, perhaps. (Do those come in hatchbacks any more?) Chevy Aspire is the cheapest car on the market right now, and I thought it got reasonable FE.

    How big do you need the car to be? Four doors with a hatch, or will two and a hatch do?

  8. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    Hi Colin, how about a Jetta SportWagon TDI? You can get it with a 6-speed manual and it is rated at 34mpg combined.
  9. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Member

    bomber991 -

    Does the mini really require premium gas? If it's possible to run with regular, I could add it to my short list. But the price increment going to premium (which is what's recommended for the car) is equivalent to a 15% hit on MPG.

    seftonm -

    Same concern with diesel cars like the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The fuel costs about 20% more, offsetting any increase in fuel economy.

    lamebums -

    I'll start doing research on the used car market. I didn't take this option seriously because the few high-efficiency cars available used are going for top dollar. Sales volumes for subcompacts were very low in the ~2004 time frame, which means not much inventory is available. :(

    For now, I've decided to wait until 2009 and see what happens with the Honda Insight II. That will give me more time to forego the car payment / save up money. If some used bargains emerge early next year, I might jump on one of those. Otherwise, I'll look to an Insight II or Prius in the spring...
  10. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Colin, as far as I know premium is recommended for the Mini. I believe I've read of people doing just fine on regular?
  11. Jalen

    Jalen Well-Known Member

    you could also look at 2000 to 2002 saturns if you don't mind the used market. I'm running into a little problem with mine that's probably my own fault, but before I made the change I was getting 45 mpg without really trying to do too much hypermiling. They're a little small... though I think they made a 2002 model wagon, in adition to the sedan.
  12. voodoo22

    voodoo22 Cheaper than the bus

    The Mini will do fine with regular, you will only loose performance as the cars computers adjust the engines parameters.

    I think the most important thing for you to do is to wait as long as possible before you pull the trigger. The longer you wait, the more fuel efficient options you will have... I hope.
  13. Nikki

    Nikki Well-Known Member

    What about the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe? Old EPA for my 2007 manual transmission is 30/36. Most of my trips are under 3 miles thru the neighborhood [PSL 25-35mph] with lots of stop signs. I'm easily getting 35-36 mpg per tank even with some a/c use.
  14. phlack

    phlack Well-Known Member

    That's amazing. My trips are just a little longer than that, and theoretically I should get at least that with my car. Couple lights, and two stop signs, and two long runs that should help my mileage. One direction I'm actually doing well (39.8mpg is my highest) but the other direction not so good. Automatic...perhaps that's part of it.

    Good job, though, especially with all that stop & go.

  15. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    What about the Chevy Aveo 5 door hatchback? You can probably get a new one with a manual tranny < $9000 with a 100,000 mile warranty. It'd serve your purpose for a few years until something better does come out maybe, getting 35-40 MPG in the meantime.

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