what kind of economic car to get?

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by Jrfish007, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. Jrfish007

    Jrfish007 Member

    So I've saved enough money buy about a $2000 car. I am currently driving an F-150 that gets 16 MPG on good days (farm truck). I drive 18 miles one way to school and with running around I spend an easy $75 per a week on gas. So I am looking for a cheap and easy to maintain car that gets great mileage. I originally wanted a '92-95 Civic VX rated for 50+ MPG from the factory, but finding a decent one is quite hard, even the lower model Civic CX has proven hard to find. I figure if I get a car in this range I should be able to easily push it into the 60+ MPG range and maybe even higher without major mods or hypermilling extremes.

    So are there any other cars that are in my price range that get superior MPG like the Civic VX? Or any car that is more responsive to hypermilling or simple mods for better MPG? Thanks for any suggestions!
  2. shifty35

    shifty35 Well-Known Member

    I'd venture almost any late model Civic, Corolla, or Sentra would do fine. The Civic CX / VX is a real winner for sure. A DX model hatchback would also work fine. It is essentially the same as a CX except they got around to adding another 8 valves good for another 30 hp. And the transmission has a taller final drive on the CX/VX, but those transmissions are fairly easy to come by, and bolt right up to any other single cam Civic made between 89-00...

    Welcome to the forum!
  3. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    Geo Metro. 50 MPG without too much effort, cheap to purchase, tons of spare parts available, cheap as hell to insure.
  4. xcel

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

    Hi Jrfish007:

    ___That $2,000 price point is a tough one. If you were considering $5 - $6K, a 2001 - 2003 Toyota Echo might make a nice fuel saver but those appear to be out of your budget :(

    ___Geo Metro is a good suggestion. I hope MetroMPG sees this but I have read of problems with cylinder head temps causing problems for the super efficient 3-cyl. versions. I believe he has one with no problems to date. 4-cyl. Metro’s are OK I believe.

    ___Good Luck

  5. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    For $2K you can get a decent Saturn 5-speed. Those are good for 60+.;)
  6. xcel

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

    Hi Larry:

    ___Are they that inexpensive?

    ___Good Luck

  7. Jrfish007

    Jrfish007 Member

    I saw a '95 SC2 manual for sale buy my house, but I thought the highway MPG on that was only 34. Does this engine/car respond well to hypermiling? What kind of methods work well with the Saturn?

    The GEO is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure if I care for the looks. Not that the civic hatch or Saturn are head turners, but I'm just not sure the Geo is for me.
  8. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    The CX/VX transmission bolted to a DX engine is a winning
    FE combination, 0 to 60 in 10 seconds and 60+ mpg. That's what I am driving.
  9. Jrfish007

    Jrfish007 Member

    Interesting... how hard was the tranny swap?
  10. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    A year and a half ago I paid $2800 for my latest Saturn('99 SL2). I would suggest an SL1 because the highway mpg was 40 on those. The reason my SL2 did as good as it did was the modification to the cylinder head. You would want to look for a '96-'02 so it would be SG2 compatible.
  11. Jrfish007

    Jrfish007 Member

    ??? What did you do to the cylinder head? And what is SG2? Sorry for the noob questions and thanks!
  12. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    I'll tackle the easy one first. An SG2 is a Scanguage2. www.scanguage.com It is an awesome tool that can give real-time feedback on your FE. It can show you what techniques are helping and what is hurting FE. It can also monitor things like coolant temp, throttle position, rpms, etc.

    The other question is a bit harder to answer but I'll do my best. I had what is called Singh grooves cut into the combustion chambers. http://www.somender-singh.com Also, there was some minor reconstruction of the intake ports which would induce more swirl to the intake charge and allow for more complete combustion. PM me if you need more details and I'll do my best to explain more fully.
  13. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

  14. some_other_dave

    some_other_dave Well-Known Member

    Another option might be a Honda CRX HF. That got just under 50 MPG (EPA rating), in either the 1st-generation (86-87) or the 2nd-generation (88-91) versions. Tall gearing and not much power, but still a spiffy little 2-seater that gets good economy.

    They also have better build quality (IMHO) than a Geo Metro. They can be had for your $2K price point, but it may be hard to find one that hasn't been either beaten half to death or had major "rice boy" mods made to it, or an engine swap of some sort.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2007
  15. Vooch

    Vooch Well-Known Member

    Here is my 2 cents - I'd only buy a used car if

    a) I lived in California or the Southwest. Anywhere else the winters are killer on cars
    b) I did all work on the car myself

    otherwise, the cost of used car tends to exceed that of a new car. New cars are simply so inexpensive and so well reliable and so underpriced that it is difficult to imagine buying a used car, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

    You have been spending $300 per month on gas !

    I'd recommend taking the $2,000 as a down payment and buying one of the entry level new cars which will cost you under $150 in monthly payments for a 5 year loan. You'll have warranties that last anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 miles, plus the heater will work, plus additional safety features - and your MPG will be better than with a similar used car.

    Own the car for 7 - 10 years and you'll come out way ahead financially.

    I recently went car buying with a friend of mine, and there are a number of entry level cars that are simply first class. I drove the Toyota Yaris the entry level Hyundai, and the Honda Fit.

    all the best !
  16. koreberg

    koreberg Junior Member

    I don't know much about the used market on hybrids, but perhaps you could look into using the 2k as a down payment for a used insight, or a golf tdi.

    I've got a used 90 crx si, that i'm willing to part with for 2k, but it probably won't get you 50mpg.
  17. shifty35

    shifty35 Well-Known Member

    You'd be surprised...

    Swap the engine / trans for the HF version and you're almost there... ;)
  18. Jrfish007

    Jrfish007 Member

    Thank you for the suggestion! I have indeed looked into this option, but found it not to be as economical. When I am done with school and my income becomes 5 times what it is right now, I will look into that option for sure.
    - I can work on most cars, if they are simple enough; this is why I am kind of partial to Honda because I have worked on them in the past and find they are easy if you buy an older base model with cheap replacement parts.
    - Also, I am very hard pressed to see a car that gets close to 50MPG highway that is new and in the $10-12k range. The yaris for instance is rated at only 40 MPG highway. I know I can probably get better than that, but the EPA rating is a base for comparison for me.
    - The nail in the coffin though for a new car is the insurance, I have to have full coverage, where as an older car I can get just the min, which will only run me about $15 per month, where as a new car is about $65 per month.

    But the new car option is a very good idea, just not in my case (which it is rare that someone has a full heated garage to work in with tons a mechanical engineers ready to help). Thanks!
  19. Jrfish007

    Jrfish007 Member

    Oh yeah, my actual bill between my wife and I is over $500 per month (she drives 32 miles one way to school) and has a Mazda 6. I know the 6 isn't the best MPG car, but she likes it.
  20. Jrfish007

    Jrfish007 Member

    Actually I wouldn't mind that car, but TN is father than I want to drive ;) Thanks though!

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