car buying advice

Discussion in 'General' started by JeffVT, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. JeffVT

    JeffVT New Member

    The commute to my new job will be 60 miles each way, on I91 in VT. It's a straight shot, but there is a lot of hilly terrain on this road. I live a mile from the highway and the company is a quarter mile from the exit.

    I'm looking to buy a car in the next few days, and I plan to use many of the hypermiling techniques to improve MPGs. I have my choice narrowed down to two models, both used. One is a 2005 Vibe with automatic transmission, and the other is a 2005 Scion XB 5 speed. I want a car like either of these for cargo capacity (not for use every day, but for running errands and hauling stuff), and these two cars have pretty respectable MPG numbers, compared to SUVs. I also need the car to be comfortable for these long hauls.

    Do you have a preference for either of these cars, either because of the car itself or because of the transmission (AT vs 5spd)?

    Also, what sort of snow tires would you recommend?

  2. 98CRV

    98CRV Well-Known Member

    Given that you are choosing between 2 Toyotas, I'd go for the manual. ICE- off coasting, bumpstarts, and more stuff that more sage hypermilers can point out.
  3. koreberg

    koreberg Junior Member

    The manual is the way to go. It is much easier to get it into the most efficient gear in a manual than it is with an automatic.
  4. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I'd buy the Scion because of the MT. (Much more versatile than an AT for a hypermiler.) It also has a 1.5L instead of the 1.8 in the Vibe, which will be perfectly adequate and a little more efficient. xB owners put down 40mpg on a regular basis with a bit of effort. I also love the practicality of the box on wheels format.

    For snow tires, I've been using Blizzaks for years but I think I'll steer you away from them. They stick like nothing else but tread life is very limited. (That's a big deal with that commute!) Prius people have been going with the Nokian WR of late because it has relatively low rolling resistance for a snow tire and excellent all-around traction. Based on accounts I've heard, that's probably what I would buy. Four of them, of course.

    Oh, and welcome!
  5. Kinder

    Kinder Well-Known Member

    Welcome! I'll second or third others' advice on the Scion--the transmission in your two choices makes it a no-brainer. I bought my xb 5speed 2 years ago new and still love it. I will admit though that you'll be turning fairly high rpms doing freeway driving so it isn't necessarily the perfect highway hypermiling car. It is a great car in general though, and the cargo space is superb and very easy to configure, I have hauled everything in it from my tandem bike to a kitchen table with 4 chairs. Also the visibility with all the glass is really nice, esp. the windshield. ABS & VSC are standard which are both nice in snow. I have used chains on it a few times but do not have snow tires. Have done a couple long road trips and it was very comfortable, the seats are quite good, as is the stereo.

    I can easily get low 30s in city and high 30s on the mountainous highways here out west, though my fiancee commutes with it (only 15 mi each way) so the numbers on my log are a little lower than what I can pull. I'm even luckier, I can and do bike to work everyday. Still, she gets 34-36 every tank without any effort beyond driving the speed limits and letting me keep the tires at 40psi. And in 24 months I've never had to do anything besides change the oil every 6 months and put in 10 gallons of gas every 350-400 miles. Have also done the de-snorkle mod which seems to have added 1-2 mpg.
  6. Daox

    Daox Well-Known Member

    I'd say go with the Scion. My wife drives our Matrix (same as a Vibe) and you can see the average below. This seems to be high compared to many Vibe/Matrix owners. Most automatic drivers are lucky to hit 32 mpg. The more aggressive drivers are well below 30 mpg. The manual tranny is also a huge deal vs automatic.
  7. JeffVT

    JeffVT New Member

    Thank you all for your advice. You all said pretty much what I was expecting you to say.

    I don't have to buy either of the two cars I mentioned, and in fact I'm trying to spend as little as I have to in order to get the type of car I want. I have just tracked down a 5speed Focus ZX3 as well, for $3k less than the other two (the Scion and vibe are around $11.5). Any thoughts on that car?

    If you have any other suggestions for small hatchback-type cars or small wagons, please let me know.

    thanks again.
  8. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    The Focus with the smaller 4 cyl(I think it comes with a 2 or 2.3 liter-also with a hot rodded motor) is not bad.It is probably 3-5 mpg down vs the MT Scion, and 2-4 down vs the Matrix(maybe just 2 mpg hy down). There is a hot rodded Matrix with a 180 hp motor, but it has the 3 letters in its designation(forget the actual letters).
    Complete aside-down here-New Orleans-the MT Fit is advertised -$14,250-not too bad-about MSRP or a tiny bit less maybe.The Sport is $15,500 with the MT(with free nav-probably cheapo aftermarket).There is a lot to be said for new-warranty etc-and the Fit has about a 3 mpg advantage on the Vibe-about 1-2 on the ScionB.Still, it wouldn't make up a $3000 difference.The Fit can load taller objects than the Matrix-close to the Scion.
    The Fit does have side side curtain airbags-the other two don't(tiny chance the Vibe does, but it was a rare option in 2005)
    You can buy a used 2005 Cobalt-4 mpg down on the Japanese cars- for $7000 or less9new for under $12000).Only advantage is cheaper-but.
    You have plenty of good choices.
  9. CoasterToasterXB

    CoasterToasterXB Well-Known Member

    the scion xb is the way to go. I love mine and have a lifetime average of 38 something and in the summer I can get 40's. Plus it carries a butt load of stuff.:p
  10. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Of those two originally mentioned, I would choose the XB.
  11. JeffVT

    JeffVT New Member

    I just came back from the car place. I bought the XB. I got a good deal, and the car is in really good shape, with only about 20k miles on it.

    Next, where do I buy that fuel consumption gizmo?

    Thanks again for everything (so far). I'm very psyched.
  12. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    Scroll down on almost any page. ScanGauge ad is on the left. Or ask Wayne if he's going for a group buy soon.
  13. Kinder

    Kinder Well-Known Member

    And may I compliment you on your good taste:)

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