Yet another "which car to get" thread- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Yet another "which car to get" thread

    I've read most of the threads on this forum, as well as lots of stuff on other (Honda, Scion, etc.) discussion boards. Just looking for more input, and thought I'd give my specifics and see what suggestions people have.

    Situation:
    I drive about 75 miles round trip for work, every day. I live in the country, and any trip to the store is at least 10 miles each way. Our family does a LOT of driving.

    I have pretty much parked my tacoma 4x4, and only use it to run trash and recycling once a week, for trips to the hardware store, or for the occasional multi-bike trip to the trail. It gets 20mpg, and has 197,000 miles on it, and runs great, but just does not get the MPG I need.

    SO, I purchased a '94 Integra for commuting for $500. It gets about 30 mpg, but is worthy of the price. (It's semi-reliable, but I could never take a client to lunch in it, it is pretty rough.) it has 211k on it, and I have saved some money, and need to get rid of it.

    (important info: My wife drives a Mazda 6 Wagon, it gets about 27 on the hwy, and I have racks to carry 2 bikes plus a rocket box. Perfect for the longer family getaways).


    What I am looking for is a good comuter car. I will put about 20k per year on it. It MUST get good MPG, and it MUST be able to keep a bike INSIDE the car. Currently I love the Integra because I can easily get the bike in the hatch, with the rear seat down.


    I've been looking at the FIT, but you can't buy them used (or if you can, they are the same price as new). I am considering going that route.

    I looked at the Scion Xa, but after much research, it does not look like people are getting the MPG.

    Seems like the best car for MPG in my range might be a late-model Civic, 2 door/5-speed. Looks like I can rely on 38-41 mpg, I can fold the seat down and get the bike inside it, and can have Honda reliability and comfort.

    I'd also consider a Vibe, a Matrix, a newer Integra or just about anything else. MPG, Reliability, Getting my bike inside are all stillimportant.


    Other considerations are that I want a car that I can take the family (me, wife, 8 YO daughter) on weekend trips. I fully expect gas to go up to 4 5 or 6 dollars a gallon, so I want to buy accordingly.

    My preferred price range is $8k - $12k, but could go as high as $17k to buy a new Fit Sport, if I were convinced it is worth the extra money over the Civic (remember, we still have my wife's car when we need it). Another "nice to have" is a sunroof. It is not availalbe on the Fit.

    My target is 40 mpg. an absolute low is 35. (this would be based on real-life experience, not on EPA ratings. I get the info from what people post on this, and other forums.)


    So: there is my life story. What other cars might I have missed. What would you get?


    I'm really torn between springing for the Fit, or being more practical and getting the Civic, but I'm open to any other cars too.
    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. -- Confucius

  2. #2
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    I just got a '03 Vibe GT that I'm really liking and can highly recommend. Not sure what kind of mileage I'm getting, I've only had it a week, but I've heard some good numbers on the GT and even better for the base model. I picked it up with 77k on it for about $9000. Holds a bike easily and is also fun to drive. I also test drove a base Matrix with same mileage for about the same price (it was a year newer I think). It was decent, the auto trans was ok and the whole thing didn't feel as solid as my Vibe did...not sure why really....but still a decent vehicle.

  3. #3
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    Bmateo,

    This might open up some more options for you, I donít know what year you Taco is but it might be time to get rid of it. Take a look at the link below.

    Basically if your truck is a 95-2000 & you have rust perforation on your frame Toyota will give you 1.5X KBB value of the RETAIL price, all vehicles are considered to be in excellent condition. I have a í99 X-Cab 4X4 with 281K on it that Iím binging in next week & the buyout will be close to 13K


    http://www.showstop.org/images/truck...munication.pdf


    There is a huge thread on this here

    http://www.tacomaterritory.com/forum...ad.php?t=95993

  4. #4
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    If you want some utility out of the car, the Fit will have it in leaps & bounds over a civic. I replaced a small pickup (Ranger) with a Fit and only once have honestly MISSED the pickup (but I made the situation work). Could rent a pickup if REALLY necessary, too.

    The fit is very tall inside, which is really nice for hauling bikes and other stuff. I have my Fit set up to haul up to 4 bikes on the roof and inside. Add a hitch rack and another fork block and I could bump that up to 7 bikes without much trouble. Wider load bars and more bike trays and you can fit more on the roof (for a possible total of 9).

    It's fun to drive and if you milk it, you can easily hit 40mpg highway (no roof rack, though...it'll keep you just under 40). The manual tranny is a MUST, though. The auto is a bit of a dog (and uses more gas).

    You definitely won't get the fuel ecomony out of a vibe/matrix. 35 will be pushing it, I think, because it's a bigger, heavier, and more powerful car. BTW, the scion does not have the same amount of cargo space as the Fit. Passenger space is comparable, but the Fit has a significant edge on cargo capacity. The xA would be much shorter, and that would make it hard to fit bikes inside with fork blocks.

  5. #5
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    You dont need a new car, you need to telecomute more, get a job closer to your house or a house closer to your job. Opinions are like @ss holes, right?

    I always have lived within biking distnace of my work.

  6. #6
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    I'm looking for the same thing but I'd probably buy new and keep it for 10-12 years like my little 1997 Mazda B4000 truck I drive.

    I'm waiting for the Subaru Legacy diesel to be released in the states (it'll be out everywhere else later this year). They are expecting a little bump in HP from the European model for the US -- so it could be a winner at 40+ mpg (we'll see if the price of diesel drops to the same price as gas).

    http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dl...FREE/618383884

    mbb

  7. #7
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    Our Mini gets 42 hwy/ 36 combined

    We have the Cooper, not the Cooper S.

    Put the back seats down and you can get a bike inside. They are available used but have a very high resale (it may be the highest of any auto) so used one are not cheap. But, new ones are not that expensive. We paid $22k fully equiped with everything you might want but leather.

    However, looking up where you live, there may not be any Mini dealers in the area. The car tends to be only seen in larger metropolitan areas.

    A little bonus, the car is more fun to drive than anything I've ever owned or driven and I have a pretty varied history of autos driven. Looks are subjective. We love it.

    I can't address long term reliability as ours is less than a year old.

  8. #8
    Baked Alaskan
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    Lots recommend them in previous "which car" threads, but Subaru's are great options when you need lots of space, great reliability, top notch safety and good mpg. As a bonus they're surprisingly good off road too, check you tube for some great Sub off road abuse videos. If you live anywhere near snow, with good tires they can mow through stuff over their bumpers. Their safety cage is well known for being incredibly sturdy, hence all the 5-star crash ratings.

    At 6'2" with kinda long legs, I find the Fit to be a little cramped, then again the same can be said of the Civic and every other compact car I've driven. I hate the fact my knees practically touch the dash and usually sit well above the bottom off the dash panel, makes me paranoid about what will be left of my legs in a collision. I have big shoulders too and for me most compacts are too narrow. I always feel like I'm flying coach. Your results may vary.

    Just my opinion again, but I rented a Vibe last week when I was in Tucson and after spending 5 days with it I can safely say I would never buy one. Just as cramped as others in its class and though it looks kinda tall you sit up pretty high. I had to be careful because my head touched the grab handle when I was a passenger and almost touched the headliner when I drove. There's not a lot of headroom for someone my height. WIth the rear seats up there is very little cargo room in the back. With the auto I averaged 28 mpg, mostly highway driving with the cruise set @ 75, pretty disappointing for such a small car. I get 20+ on the highway with my V8 Tundra. I don't have a lot of small car experience, but I thought the ride was kinda rough, especially over highway joints and worn asphalt where it really buzzed, and its clearly noisier than m GF's Civic. At 75 the wind, engine and road noise is pretty pronounced, much more so than my truck which is bigger and running off road tires. My mother has a PT Cruiser, a complete POS, but I haven't driven anything from Chrysler that wasn't.

    Good luck with your search.
    The red couch has moved from Alaska to Florida...

  9. #9
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    $8k-$12k buys a lot of gas for the Taco.

    Even at your mileage and 15mpg (assuming that's what the Taco gets) it will take 3 years or more to pay off the replacement.

    If you really want a cheap commuter, stick with the Integra. If you want something a bit nicer, drive the Taco.

    If you're just looking for an excuse to buy a newer car, well, I won't support your reckless consumerism.

  10. #10
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    Oh, and I like the Fit and will likely buy one in a year when my son gets his DL. That, or I'll get another Miata, but they're pretty useless for carrying bikes or golf clubs.

  11. #11
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    What about the Ford Focus Hatch? Anyone on here have one and tried to get a bike in the back?

  12. #12
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    My ex has a matrix, it gets decent gas mpg (30+) with some on edmunds.com report 35-40+ (im assuming they bought a manual, she bought the auto). Huge amounts of interior room for the size of the car, the seats fold down flat and they have plastic backs so you don't have to worry about damaging anything while hauling your bike. Performance is decent, but obviously not blistering. I imagine the stick would have even better acceleration, but as far as autos go, this car has a decent one imo.

    As far as other suggestions, have you thought about the mazda3? golf tdi? newer integra (2001?)? celica? insight? saab 93?

    I'm surprised you aren't considering an rsx since it's basically a redesign on the intergra...and it looks amazing, both inside an out.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkumtrider
    What about the Ford Focus Hatch? Anyone on here have one and tried to get a bike in the back?
    I'd consider the Focus Wagon. They stopped making them in 2006, but might be able to find one used. Same with the Saturn Wagon.

    To some of the other suggestions:
    -The taco has almost 200k miles, and I NEED a truck, and it won't last forever if I put 20k/year on it.
    -Also, at 20 mpg, it is not the most responsible vehicle to drive 75 miles a day.
    -Subarus are VERY nice, but don't meet my mileage requirement. They are at the top of the short list when my wife's car needs replacement.

    The fit is my preferred car, it seems to be a bikers dream, but I'm struggling with justifying the extra money over a used Civic. (I still have the truck and the wagon if I "need" to haul bikes, but usually it's just me.)


    Unfortunately a job change, nor a home change are options. I really wish I lived about 15 miles from work, could commute, and eat whatever the hell I wanted, and get faster. Not an option though...



    Thanks for the suggestions. keep 'em comning. I guess it really comes down to "I need to figure it all out soon..."
    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. -- Confucius

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by frints
    Bmateo,

    This might open up some more options for you, I donít know what year you Taco is but it might be time to get rid of it. Take a look at the link below.

    Basically if your truck is a 95-2000 & you have rust perforation on your frame Toyota will give you 1.5X KBB value of the RETAIL price, all vehicles are considered to be in excellent condition. I have a í99 X-Cab 4X4 with 281K on it that Iím binging in next week & the buyout will be close to 13K


    http://www.showstop.org/images/truck...munication.pdf


    There is a huge thread on this here

    http://www.tacomaterritory.com/forum...ad.php?t=95993
    Thanks for this. I've not considered selling it, but I REALLY need to look into this. I have a 95 with lots of miles, but not much rust. (just faded paint, and lot's of "use".)
    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. -- Confucius

  15. #15
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    Just wait a bit and look for a used fit to come up. Sometimes I wish I had gotten the fit instead of my car (06 Mazda3), mainly for mpg reasons. I get about 28.5 with mixed city/highway driving at about an even split. I hate driving in the city, I feel like I'm just eating through gas.

  16. #16
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    Used Mazda Protege 5. Excellent car, very bike friendly, better gas mileage than our current Focus wagon, available everywhere pretty cheaply.

  17. #17
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    diesel jetta, 06/07?
    ride fast...take chances...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmateo
    Thanks for this. I've not considered selling it, but I REALLY need to look into this. I have a 95 with lots of miles, but not much rust. (just faded paint, and lot's of "use".)
    95 Tacoma LX, 197k, 4x4, v6, extended cab in Excellent shape, retail is listed at $5990, so I'd only get about $9k. Good money, but I'd be much happier to find out that my truck is in good shape and does not need to be replaced. (I'm in NC, so it may be true.)

    As to some of the other suggestions, I'm still looking for 35-40 mpg. Fit or Civic are on the short list. Integra too.

    Some of the others (Mazda 3, Subie, etc) are nice cars, and ones I'd like to have, but don't come close on the mileage. Vibe would make the cut, but not the Vibe GT (which sounds like a fun car to have though.)
    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. -- Confucius

  19. #19
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    No decision is made (I won't actually buy until later this summer), but it looks like I'm narrowed down to the Fit or Matrix/Vibe.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=397553

    The civic/integra is still in the running as a distant 3rd/4th., especially if funding becomes an issue. I'm a Honda man for over 30 years, since my first car was a hand-me-down '77 civic (GREAT CAR!).

    Thanks again for all the replies.
    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. -- Confucius

  20. #20
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    Before you get a Matrix, check out this review:
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/200...matrix-review/

    If you're thinking used, maybe not an issue. I test drove a Fit automatic, man what a dog. Might be OK with a manual tranny though. My 93 Escort 2-door could fit a bike inside and got 35 MPG, you might be able to pick one up with low miles for a song. I sold mine after 210,000 miles, still ran good.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by iridetitus
    diesel jetta, 06/07?

    Have you seen the price of Diesel latley? The exhuast is a little dirty for bikers and people who like to breath the air.

  22. #22
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    UPDATE:

    I got a 2005 Civic Coupe, EX/Special Edition for a great deal a couple weeks ago. Averaging 36.5-37.5 mpg over three tanks, and I'm very happy with it.

    The bike does fit inside, but I can see where it will tear up the interior over time, as it's a narrow fit under the rear deck.

    I'm having a hitch reciever installed on Friday, which will be my primary mode, with the inside storage still being an option.


    Hoping to not have to replace the wife's car, but if I do a Matrix/Vibe is still on the short list.
    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. -- Confucius

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