What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile?

Discussion in 'Articles' started by xcel, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Fuel efficient used car values may be your solution.

    [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2004_Toyota_Echo.jpg[/xfloat]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - April 30, 2006

    2004 Toyota Echo with a 35/43 EPA rating (85 – 07 EPA specs) – Just one of many inexpensive newer used cars with excellent FE.

    Here are a few alternatives ranked by year that may fit your criteria for > 35 - 40 MPG per the 85 – 07 EPA specifications as reported by Fuel Economy.gov and Private Party Pricing as derived from Kelly’s Blue Book otherwise known as KBB.

    Definitions: All vehicles below were considered to be in Good Condition, purchased in the Chicago area, with the lowest standard equipment package (GL vs. GLS as an example), miles for a given year as shown and include 5-speed manuals unless otherwise noted.

    "Good" condition means that the vehicle is free of any major defects. This vehicle has a clean title history, the paint, body and interior have only minor (if any) blemishes, and there are no major mechanical problems. There should be little or no rust on this vehicle. The tires match and have substantial tread wear left. A "good" vehicle will need some reconditioning to be sold at retail. Most consumer owned vehicles fall into this category.

    Private Party: Private Party Value is what a buyer can expect to pay when buying a used car from a neighbor or from the classifieds in the local paper.

    [​IMG]
    2004 Honda Civic HX

    2004
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Man(5)60/66$13,84035,000
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Auto(CVT)57/56$13,84035,000
    ToyotaPrius4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(CVT)60/51$16,77535,000
    HondaCivic Hybrid4 cyl, 1.3 L, Auto(CVT)48/47$14,98535,000
    HondaCivic Hybrid4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)46/51$14,49035,000
    VolkswagenNew Beetle4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel38/46$14,73035,000
    VolkswagenGolf4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel38/46$15,55535,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel38/46$16,40535,000
    HondaCivic HX4 cyl, 1.7 L, Man(5)36/44$10,81035,000
    ToyotaEcho4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5)35/43$7,44035,000


    2003
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Man(5)61/68$11,74550,000
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Auto(CVT)57/56$11,74550,000
    ToyotaPrius4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(CVT)52/45$13,95550,000
    HondaCivic Hybrid4 cyl, 1.3 L, Auto(CVT)48/47$13,13550,000
    HondaCivic Hybrid4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)46/51$12,69050,000
    VolkswagenNew Beetle 4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$12,58550,000
    VolkswagenGolf4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$13,18050,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel40/49$14,28550,000
    HondaCivic HX4 cyl, 1.7 L, Man(5)36/44$9,69050,000
    ToyotaEcho4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5)35/43$6,34550,000


    [​IMG]
    2002 Volkswagen New Beetle TDI

    2002
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Man(5)61/68$9,97065,000
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Auto(CVT)57/56$9,97065,000
    ToyotaPrius4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(CVT)52/45$12,02565,000
    VolkswagenNew Beetle4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$11,01065,000
    VolkswagenGolf4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$11,12565,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel40/49$12,03065,000


    2001
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Man(5)61/68$8,49575,000
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Auto(CVT)57/56$8,49575,000
    ToyotaPrius4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(CVT)52/45$10,30075,000
    VolkswagenNew Beetle4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$9,38575,000
    VolkswagenGolf4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$9,45075,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel40/49$10,34075,000
    SuzukiSwift4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)36/42$2,86575,000


    [​IMG]
    2000 Honda Insight

    2000
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    HondaInsight3 cyl, 1 L, Man(5)61/70$7,27085,000
    VolkswagenNew Beetle4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$8,22585,000
    VolkswagenGolf4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$8,37585,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel40/49$8,95585,000
    ChevroletMetro3 cyl, 1 L, Man(5)39/46$2,16585,000
    ChevroletMetro4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)36/42$2,62585,000
    SuzukiSwift4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)36/42$2,26585,000


    1999
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    VolkswagenNew Beetle4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel42/49$6,71095,000
    ChevroletMetro3 cyl, 1 L, Man(5)41/47$1,67095,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel40/49$5,20095,000
    ChevroletMetro4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)39/43$2,02095,000


    [​IMG]
    1998 Chevrolet Metro

    1998
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    ChevroletMetro3 cyl, 1.0 L, Man(5)44/49$1,425105,000
    VolkswagenNew Beetle4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel41/48$5,830105,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel40/49$4,425105,000
    VolkswagenPassat4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel39/50$5,670105,000
    ChevroletMetro4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)39/43$1,675105,000
    SuzukiSwift4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)39/43$1,525105,000


    1997
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    GeoMetro3 cyl, 1.0 L, Man(5)44/49$1,070115,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel40/49$3,875115,000
    GeoMetro4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)39/43$1,550115,000
    SuzukiSwift4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)39/43$1,145115,000
    VolkswagenPassat4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel38/47$4,550115,000
    HondaCivic HX4 cyl, 1.6 L, Man(5)37/44$3,830115,000


    [​IMG]
    1996 Volkswagen Golf TDI

    1996
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    GeoMetro3 cyl, 1.0 L, Man(5)44/49$970120,000
    VolkswagenGolf4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel41/49$3,000120,000
    VolkswagenJetta4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel41/49$3,325120,000
    GeoMetro4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)39/43$1,080120,000
    SuzukiSwift4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)39/43$1,075120,000
    VolkswagenPassat4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel37/45$3,875120,000


    1995
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    GeoMetro3 cyl, 1.0 L, Man(5)44/49$925125,000
    HondaCivic VX4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5)42/46$2,755125,000
    GeoMetro4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)39/43$1,100125,000
    HondaCivic CX4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5)40/45$2,275125,000


    [​IMG]
    1994 Honda Civic VX

    1994
    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6
    MakeModelDrivetrainEPA Estimates (City/Highway)KBB – Private Party Pricing (US $’s)Miles
    GeoMetro XFi3 cyl, 1.0 L, Man(5)53/58$800130,000
    GeoMetro3 cyl, 1.0 L, Man(5)46/49$750130,000
    HondaCivic VX4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5)42/46$2,405130,000
    HondaCivic CX4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5)40/45$1,950130,000
    SuzukiSwift4 cyl, 1.3 L, Man(5)37/44$750130,000
    FordAspire4 cyl, 1.2 L, Man(5)36/43$625130,000

    This is only a guide to find relatively fuel efficient used car for an approximate price as KBB.com described. I bolded some of what I thought may be better values if I were in the market for a $9 - $10 K range used automobile, a $5K used automobile, and a bottom basement < $3,000 automobile in terms of fuel efficiency and price. The TDI’s posted above are usually better equipped then the gasoline only autos so make sure you truly understand not only the condition and capabilities, but also the std. equipment as well. As time moves forward, the used car prices listed above should decline in predictable increments except for the fact that fuel prices are distorting the fuel efficient used car market place. The standard caveats apply when making a used car purchase so do your homework as a simple Google search will quite quickly point out known issues with some of the cars posted above.

    Because of the TDI’s smog related emissions being relatively poor, I would hope one would consider running those autos on B20 to lower CO2 emissions by a far greater degree then available with the gas only counterparts listed above. The older gas only used cars will be lucky to meet TLEV based specs so they are by no means a great solution to control SMOG related emissions either. Do the best you can with the $’s you have however and your used car search should turn out to be rather enjoyable.

    If a new car is all you will accept but on a minimum budget, a stripped down - 29/35 mpg per the new 08 EPA specifications (34/40 mpg per the 85 – 07 EPA estimates ) - 2008 Toyota Yaris 3-door hatch might be able to be found for a touch over $11K and may be just the new, relatively low cost, and fuel efficient automobile you are looking for?

    Finally, be careful out there as the used car market is not a place for the ill-informed to be playing around in.

    Wayne

    Thanks for your assistance Bill Lin!
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2008
  2. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    i know of many people selling their current gas guzzers and looking for a better alternative. You guys just made something that will get a lot of attention to cleanmpg, very well done! And I can see where we are going with trends like this, cleaner air! Yum time to spread the links.
     
  3. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Well done! It's just too bad that many of those cars, particularly the hybrids, are selling at prices well above those that you would expect. Any used Civic Hybrid, Insight, or Prius will go for in excess of $18-$20k with anything under 30k miles. At least, that's what I've found while playing with Autotrader. The best deal going for a real mileage machine is a well-used Insight. I have seen several of them up for sale with ~80k miles for under $10,000. The only wildcard there is the IMA battery, which may or may not be a concern. Also make sure you pack light!
     
  4. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Older 40mpg+ Vehicles Not Easy to Find

    Not that many 40mpg+ vehicles have been built since 1990. Still, it should be possible to find something if one is patient.

    I had a 1974 Datsun B110 that got 50mpg (now known as Nissan). Cars from the 70s and 80s are bound to have a lot of milage on them, but some should be around.
     
  5. krousdb

    krousdb Defiant NX-74205

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    No Del Sol's on the list.:(
     
  6. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    One other thing to mourn about: I don't think we will see many dirt cheap Metros, CRX's, and similar subcompacts. I know about the Honda Fit, but it does not look like it will hypermile as well as some of the vehicles mentioned. More safety features will make if a little heavier, and the general public will not tolerate anything that can't go 0-60mph in over 12 seconds.

    Hybrids will crack the 100mpg realm, but at a price.
     
  7. Sledge

    Sledge I like owls with captions

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Thanks to gas prices, the resale value of guzzlers has dropped quite a bit making it a bit more difficult in some cases to get into a decent smaller car.
     
  8. malachite81

    malachite81 Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Another problem is finding a lightweight model like the Civic VX or CRX HF that doesn't have some brilliant featureset like this:

    "B16 engine swap! Many Mods! JDM B18A VTEC TURBO GREDDY NOS! (rims not included, need for other car), lowered, nds paint, other half of body kit installed"

    Its very difficult to find a stock one of these, because I've been looking.

    Just needed to vent my frustration.
     
  9. brucepick

    brucepick Well-Known Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Sorry to "hear" that.

    I too, wouldn't want one that's been modified right out of being fuel-efficient - not to mention that the seller likely wants an increased price for all the mods.

    This is probably old news for you, but have you tried craigslist.org, cars.com, and autos.com?

    Years ago I was in a business buying and selling pre-owned items. One lesson I learned was to shop patiently. If you need a car this weekend or even this month you'll be under pressure and pay more for a less suitable item. If you shop patiently you stand a better chance of finding what you want at a price you find acceptable.
     
  10. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Its easier to find an unmodified Civic CX, since it isn't prewired for VTEC and didn't come with all the bells and whistles that make it attractive to the "Honda hybrid" crowd. The CX has the same transmission ratios and weight as the VX, and it you can't live with its stock 70hp motor, you can always stick a used 104hp DX motor in it, which will give you 10 sec 0 to 60mph times with no drop in mpg when driven frugally. The stock CX will give you an honest 50+ mpg at highway speeds and if you aero mod the heck out of it, can give you 68mpg at 75mph.
     
  11. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    I can vouch for Civics making excellent used cars. My son is driving my old '98 Civic DX and we still have a '99 Civic LX as a second car.

    Get an owner's manual and keep up the maintenance, including having the valves adjusted, and those cars will last forever.

    My '99 still feels solid and new, with 140,000 miles on it.

    Harry
     
  12. yab13e

    yab13e Active Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    I would also add the 1991-1994 Nissan Sentra to the list, those cars get 29 city and 38 hwy and have a more powerful 110 hp 1.6 engine. (my 94E mdl 5spd was neck and neck with a 94 Integra GS 5spd):eek: If you want the best mileage get the E model which is stripped down and has the least weight so its the fastest and most economical mdl. BTW Sentras are easier to find unmodified too.:) I really miss my Sentra, Katrina took it from me:(

    Good Luck.
     
  13. desdemona

    desdemona Well-Known Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Thanks for your list!! It may come in quite handy to me. Otoh, I agree that the Hybrid prices might not be quite right. In fact, I am thinking blue book is saying higher. Btw, I loved my old Honda Civic hatchback (year??) but it was never the same by getting hit by a truck, so I had to sell it/or maybe it was junk it. Anyway I looked for one this time around and didn't find one so that's why I have the Toyota (I had to find if fast I was driving a rental car).


    --des
     
  14. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    A couple of other cars come to mind.The pre 2006 Aveo isn't a great car,and maybe isn't even a good car.The MPG isn't very good for auch a light-about 2400 lbs,I think-car.However the mpg is much better than the average car or SUV,and they are CHEAP.Some Aveos sold for as little as $8000 new.Now since 2006 they got a slightly more efficient motor,and side airbags(not side curtain unfortunately),so they are even better(relatively speaking-I would prefer a 2000 5 speed Civic with 80K to a 2003 Aveo with 40k, but the civic would cost you more because everyone prefers the Civic).
    The Focus isn't such a bad car either,and once again it is real life cheap.You can easily find a 2001 or newer-70K miles for about $4500.I particularly like the little wagon,and the hatchback.The Focus also got s significant engine upgrade(Mazda I think) in about 2005,so they are even better.These USA badged(Aveo is made in Korea,the Focus is made in the USA I think) cars have typically poor resale,so they are bargains if you are short of $$.
    A big aside;I have found KBB greatly overestimates private sale value for USA and Japanese cars.It is a bit closer to the mark with Honda and Toyota.
    Thanks,
    Charlie
     
  15. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    This is a "dark-horse" candidate for sure, but I had a 1997 Dodge Stratus that gave me the best everyday MPG of all cars I've had short of the 83 Civic. The 2.0 engine and 5-speed is a rare combo. Since the engine is that same as the Neon, I would imagine the Neon would be capable of better MPG #s because of it's weight. I got low 30's in my short urban commute, and high 30's on the highway, frequently exceeding 40. (My record was 45). It was a great handling car, comparable to Accords of the period, and had tons of back seat and trunk room. It was always the car of choice on roadtrips when we had more than 2 people because it was so roomy and cheap on gas. That car also had the best A/C of any car I've had. All my Japanese cars (Honda, Mazda, Subaru) have had lousy A/C output even when new. Except for the Subie, it also handled in snow better than any other.
     
  16. desdemona

    desdemona Well-Known Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Somehow the 83 Civic rings a bell. I'm guessing it was my old Civic. It must have been in your sig line as I don't see it here. The Hatchback is also, imo, one fo the nicest designs for carrying anything (the kinds of things people tend to really carry-- groceries, misc from home depot, trips to the mall, bikes, etc vs large game carcuses, off roader equipment, mountain climber gear, etc.).

    --des


     
  17. 2TonJellyBean

    2TonJellyBean Well-Known Member

    Large family - Buick LeSabre

    If you regularly can and do fill six seats, I'd toss in Buick's LeSabre or even Park Ave if you can find a low miler that isn't supercharged. With the NA 3800 either of these cars gets very good highway mileage. For example, I'm not sure a slushbox Protegé could beat it at highway speeds and if so by very much, especially with a few seats filled and a trunk of stuff you need.

    Consider the MPG per person - not quite at 40 passenger highway coach level but nice dependable comfortable quiet transportation.
     
  18. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Des,
    The 80 thru 83 Civics were the 2nd Generation Civics.
    All years had 1.3 or 1.5 engines ("1300" or "1500"). Base models had 4-speed manual trans, and upper models had 5-speed or an automatic. 80-81's had round headlights and were available in 2-door hatch or a wagon.

    82-83's had square headlights, updated dash, and were also available in a 4-door sedan besides the hatch and wagon. In 1982 there was a hatchback model called the "1300FE". It was the highest MPG car of it's day. My parents bought a new 1982 1300FE in a yukky brown color. They wanted the car and it was late in the year and there was no choice. It had a plain AM/FM radio with one speaker, and in 1982, A/C was not available on the 1300FE. The equipment in the car was similar to other models. I think the key mechanical difference that contributed to the MPG was taller gearing in the 5-speed.

    In 1983 the 1300FE gained an upshift indicator light on the dashboard, and you could order it with dealer installed A/C. I bought a used 1983 1300FE around 1988 or 89. It had 105k miles on it and was previously owned by a teacher. My folks and I were wary of buying a car with that many miles, but we did. My car was rather posh. It had the A/C, a 4-speaker stereo with cassette, AND an aftermarket but stock-looking cruise control. The original seat fabric was worn out (a common issue) and I paid $175 to have a local shop reupholster it in plush dark blue velour fabric. The car was metallic light blue. "Normal" everyday MPG for me was low to mid 40's. On highway trips it easily got mid-50's. My mileage probably took a slight hit because I had wider than stock tires on it (175 vs 165) and let's just say I didn't drive it "easy", although with only about 50hp, you couldn't really drive it too "hard". I kept it until about 1995 when it had about 205k miles on it and I traded it for a used 1991 Civic DX hatchback. That car was crappy. The 83 was and is the best car I've every owned. I dutifully changed the oil myself every 3500 miles. It only had to be towed once, and that was due to unusual circumstances (long story, but it went for a swim...). At 205k it still ran and looked great, just a tiny bit of blue smoke on startup due to worn valve seals, and some tiny patches of rust in the back. I guess I got nervous and decided to trade, plus I was living alone on my own in the city and didn't want to have to deal with potential problems, and didn't have my folks nearby to fall back on if needed.

    The 2nd Generation Civics are not widely written about or remembered. In most climates, they eventually rusted, so you don't see them too much anymore. They did raise the bar though- the refinement was way better than a lot of other small cars of the period (we had also had a Chevette) The 1300FE deserves a special place in FE history though, because it was the Prius of it's day, the best MPG car you could buy if I recall correctly. It was bested in 84 (or 85?) by the CRX HF, which had more power, better FE, but only 2 seats. The later VX was pretty good too, especially considering it was much roomier.

    I was proud to own such a fun to drive, satisfying, and well-made car, and I dream of finding one someday to restore it.
     
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Hi Aca2983:

    ___That was a great personal history lesson on fuel efficient vehicles of an era long forgotten by most. Thank you!

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne
     
  20. desdemona

    desdemona Well-Known Member

    Re: What if you cannot afford a “new” fuel efficient automobile? This may help.

    Thanks. I looked it up on Wikipedia. It must have been it, though somehow I remember something a little smaller or compact looking-- but it was a compact, so maybe the pictures are a little deceptive.

    I do recall rust being a problem (wouldn't be here in NM). I had an automatic, as it is all I can drive.

    But I enjoyed the little ride thru memory lane.

    --des

     

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