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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  09:38:26  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So my 1998 Saturn is falling apart, with 233K miles on it. I need a new car, and one that gets good mileage, but also one that isn't going to cause me problems or cost a lot. I'm looking for good points and bad points for a variety of cars.

For example, the Smart Car is probably out for me, because not only does it have two different tire sizes (and thus no spare, just a tire patch kit), but Smart only offers a 2-year/24,000-mile warranty. I drive 17K miles per year, on average, so that's only a 1-year, 5-month warranty for me.

Hybrids are also probably out. Most of my driving is highway (probably 85/15 highway/city mix), and so I won't get the most out of the hybrid technology, while still paying as much for it as someone who mostly drives city miles. And at $4/gallon for gas (for easy math), if a Toyota Prius gets 44 MPG (Consumer Reports), and a Honda Fit gets 30 MPG, it would take me almost 15 years to make up for the $10,730 extra paid for the Prius. (In other words, at 17K miles per year, and $4/gal gas, 44 MPG only saves me $722/year versus 30 MPG.)

Back when I got the Saturn, the sticker mileage said 27 city, 37 highway (the "new" mileage estimates from the government would be 23/34). When I'm careful about how I drive it, I can get 35 MPG overall. I'd rather not go less than that. To do so would mean that it'd be cheaper to fix my current car. But as I said, it's falling apart and becoming unreliable, and even if I fix all its current problems, it's much more likely to suffer a brand-new fatal malfunction next week than a new car (or even a slightly used car).

So I'm aiming for something tiny with high endurance. Something on which I can mount an air horn, too (if I'm going to buy a little dog, I want it to have a big bark ). If you own or have seen the latest crops of teensy vehicles, I'd appreciate it very much if you could post your likes/dislikes here.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.

marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  09:48:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I was looking to buy a new car a couple years ago I was seriously considering the Honda Fit. It is small, pretty efficient, and a brand that is rather trustworthy and easy to get used parts for for cheaper repairs. I ended up getting a Toyota Corolla instead only because we decided the Fit would be a little too small for our family of two adults and eventually two children. I just checked and the Fit is Consumer Reports 2011 top pick for budget cars, too.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  10:38:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm considering a VW Jetta (TDI diesel model). Manufacturer says 42mpg highway, that is close to the hybrids (prius says 48mpg highway). Its also a 140hp turbocharged engine, so you don't totally sacrifice all performance for fuel efficiency. Some other reports have it at 50mpg.

With deisel being a bit higher cost than unleaded I don't know if it would actually be a cost savings, but there is the possibility of supplementing feul from a gas station with homemade biodeisel. Then there is the environmental impact aspect, 43mpg (maybe 50) is attractive in terms of lowering your carbon footprint.

Of course, it is about the same price as a Prius....


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  10:39:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What about flexi-fuel cars, or cars that pretty much run on E85 unconverted?
Current prices in Sweden puts E85 at a distinct economical advantage, ~15% cheaper than gasoline, assuming an increased fuelconsumption of 30% (which you should expect to get from highway miles).
Most cars with fuel injection can easily handle up to 50% ethanol in the fuel-mix without performance impact.



Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  10:58:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Unbelievably, there are no gas stations offering diesel along my normal commute. Going out of my way to fill up could very well ruin any fuel-mileage benefits of having a diesel in the first place.

E85 looks to be a non-starter over here, Mab. We've got people driving flex-fuel cars already, but Congresspeople blew a gasket fit when someone recently tried to mandate E15, for crying out loud. We already have E10, but only in the Winter, and only in places where it gets cold.

The more I look at the Honda Fit, the more I like the way it looks. But I haven't seen inside one yet.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  11:46:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave, are you looking for brand new (2011-2012) or late model used? What is your budget?

The 21st Beetle is coming out soon! That sumnanabeotch looks cool. It looks much tougher than the cute New Beetle and will get great mileage. The TDI engine will be available immediately this model year also if you are interested in that. The new Jetta that came out this year is also quite nice. It is stripped down from it's predecessors but it is now more affordable.

Give me an idea of your budget and I can get more detailed.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  12:00:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ebone4rock

Dave, are you looking for brand new (2011-2012) or late model used? What is your budget?
Under $20K. Above that, and I have to pay much more in personal property taxes. I'd prefer free, of course. Seriously, I don't know how big of a loan I can get approved for right now, that's something else I need to look at soon.
The 21st Beetle is coming out soon! That sumnanabeotch looks cool.
It now looks like a tall Porsche. Hehehehe.
It looks much tougher than the cute New Beetle and will get great mileage. The TDI engine will be available immediately this model year also if you are interested in that.
I think I've gotta stay away from the diesels.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  12:26:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Keep in mind my area of expertise is VW, Saab, and Chevrolet.

The new Jetta might be something like you are lookign for. 24/34 mpg starting around $16,000

The Chevy Cruze gets even better mileage, 25/44, and starts around $17,500. It has been getting rave reviews. Besides that I saw an episode of Hawaii 5-0 where it kicked the snot out of a decked out Mustang! :)

Forget about Saab. Beautiful cars but too damn expensive and I don't expect the company to last the rest of the year.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  12:32:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
VW has an motor-alternative I think is called Tsi which is a small gasoline turbo, the VW Polo 1.2 Tsi is said to have milage ~42. But they are so new, even used ones would be out of your price-range.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  12:35:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

VW has an motor-alternative I think is called Tsi which is a small gasoline turbo, the VW Polo 1.2 Tsi is said to have milage ~42. But they are so new, even used ones would be out of your price-range.



They are not available in the U.S. yet.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  13:17:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ebone4rock

Keep in mind my area of expertise is VW, Saab, and Chevrolet.

The new Jetta might be something like you are lookign for. 24/34 mpg starting around $16,000
Is it available with a gas engine?
The Chevy Cruze gets even better mileage, 25/44, and starts around $17,500. It has been getting rave reviews.
Consumer Reports says that to get a shot at 40+ MPG with the Cruze, you need to opt for the manual transmission "Eco" version, which is more expensive. The non-Eco models seem to top out at 38 MPG, with some as low as 35.

And while I learned to drive on a stick, I'm willing to sacrifice 1-2 MPG for an automatic. On a normal day, a stick would probably be fine, but when I encounter traffic jams, they tend to be half-hour ordeals and I wouldn't want to make it worse on myself with a damn clutch.
Besides that I saw an episode of Hawaii 5-0 where it kicked the snot out of a decked out Mustang! :)
Heh. Lying in TV shows is illegal, right?
Forget about Saab. Beautiful cars but too damn expensive and I don't expect the company to last the rest of the year.
A friend of mine got a Saab a few years ago on the advice of a friend of his who is a Saab mechanic. Unfortunately, the car almost spent more time in the shop than on the road.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  13:27:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.
Is it available with a gas engine?


Oh yeah. The best mileage with an automatic comes from the 2.5l 5 cylinder starting around $19,000. The 2.0l version is a bit less expensive and gets a few mpg less.

As soon as I sell my 2008 Chev HHR I am getting a VW Tiguan (small SUV). I can't wait. That fothermucker is sweeeeeet!

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  15:00:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ebone4rock

Originally posted by Dave W.
Is it available with a gas engine?


Oh yeah. The best mileage with an automatic comes from the 2.5l 5 cylinder starting around $19,000. The 2.0l version is a bit less expensive and gets a few mpg less.
The government seems to disagree. 2.5l is 24/31, the two-liter is 24/32. However, it looks like the 2.0l requires the dreaded premium gasoline.

Definitely won't be getting a car that requires premium gas unless the cost of ownership is going to be that much less.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  15:58:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If I had a few acres of land I'd very seriously consider growing a crop of rapeseed (aka canola) and making my own biodiesel. I'm pretty sure on an individual level you could grow enough of this without nitrogenous fertilizer to make enough biodiesel to get you through a year, and still be cost effective.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  16:01:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Ebone4rock

Originally posted by Dave W.
Is it available with a gas engine?


Oh yeah. The best mileage with an automatic comes from the 2.5l 5 cylinder starting around $19,000. The 2.0l version is a bit less expensive and gets a few mpg less.
The government seems to disagree. 2.5l is 24/31, the two-liter is 24/32. However, it looks like the 2.0l requires the dreaded premium gasoline.

Definitely won't be getting a car that requires premium gas unless the cost of ownership is going to be that much less.


I will have to recheck my available info tomorrow.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  16:04:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave.....

Having been a car dealer for many years and still highly exposed to the inside of the vehicle industry (my wife is the comptroller for a mega-dealer), I would offer these comments:

1. A late-model (1 to 3 model years back), low-mileage used car is a vastly better investment than any new car. Depreciation frequently runs 25 to 40 percent in the first two years. Low mileage is very important.

2. Buying from an individual will always result in a better price than from a dealer - if you have even average negotiation skills.

3. Credit union financing is almost always better than dealer-arranged financing - (Banks kick back to dealers).

4. Your credit bureau rating (credit score) is very important in obtaining a decent loan. Hopefully over 700. Check all three bureaus before you finance.
Almost anybody can get financing for a new car, but poor credit means high interest. Better credit is needed for a used car purchase.

5. On any new or late model used car, get the Kelley Blue Book value before you shop. Blue Book is available on line.

6. Used car dealers will always charge more for the same exact vehicle than new car dealers. However, if you don't know the Kelley value or what your credit rating is, the new dealer will try to screw the hell out of you. The used car dealer usually has to screw the hell out of you, as he does not have the balance of a parts and service department and new car sales to offset the lower used car profit average.

7. Always check Carfax (available for a small fee online) before buying any used car. Carfax is honest.

8. a. Decide firmly on the make, model, size and model, and bells and whistles that you want before starting shopping. Stick to it.

9. Shop on line first, then take the information you have acquired and compare to local newapaper listings, local dealers (especially large new car dealers), and any free specialty publications (Thrifty Nickle, etc.) that you find in grocery stores, etc.

10. Finally, if you decide on any Chrysler or General Motors product, send me an e-mail and I will give you the honest rock-bottom price that the world's largest Dodge dealer and largest Northwest U.S. GM dealer will offer. Dave Smith Motors in Kellogg, Idaho is one of the ten largest dealers in the US, sells to every state in the US. and frequently ships for delivery across country. It is primarily an Internet marketing system, and through exceptionally low pricing, they have become one of the largest dealers in the US. Shipping cost and/or travel cost to pick up may make a Dave Smith price higher than a local dealer; but it certainly is a handy price to quote to any local dealer that has the car you want. If they sell Chrysler/Dodge or GM, they will know of Dave Smith.

11. The average dealer markup across the United States on a new vehicle (20K to 40K) is about $2500. Most will sell for $1500. A very few will sell for $1000 or less. Edmunds (on line) will give you the new car dealer cost pretty close to accurate. It is very useful in negotiation.

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