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Old 06-11-07, 10:11 PM   #1
dvickery
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Need new (to me) car - reliable w/ good mileage

Ok, so currently I drive an F150 w/ a V8. Gas mileage is horrible and for two reasons, I want to get another car. Reason 1) gas is too expensive and 2) fossil fuels are limited. Yeah, yeah.. I know, why drive a truck if i'm concerned about fossil fuels. i have my reasons but they aren't good enough to continue commuting in it. Bike riding is out of the question since I usually leave at dark, coming and going, and the country roads i use are crowded and narrow.

That being said, I'm looking for a used reliable vehicle in the 5 - 6 K$ range. I'm like 6'5" so Honda's are out of the question. I like the Taurus and Focus and fit in both but they are American. We all know that American vehicle reliability is crap. So... what do you recommend?

dv
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Old 06-11-07, 10:21 PM   #2
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Camry might be a good choice!
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Old 06-11-07, 10:23 PM   #3
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An entry-level motorcycle? It would be well within your price range, would get excellent gas mileage, and has headlights.
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Old 06-11-07, 10:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvickery
Ok, so currently I drive an F150 w/ a V8. Gas mileage is horrible and for two reasons, I want to get another car. Reason 1) gas is too expensive and 2) fossil fuels are limited. Yeah, yeah.. I know, why drive a truck if i'm concerned about fossil fuels. i have my reasons but they aren't good enough to continue commuting in it. Bike riding is out of the question since I usually leave at dark, coming and going, and the country roads i use are crowded and narrow.

That being said, I'm looking for a used reliable vehicle in the 5 - 6 K$ range. I'm like 6'5" so Honda's are out of the question. I like the Taurus and Focus and fit in both but they are American. We all know that American vehicle reliability is crap. So... what do you recommend?

dv
Umm okay.
Here's the level of reliability (car wise)
Ford - hmm 80,000 miles - sees the inside of garage at least once or twice and is losing gas mileage
Chevy - hmmm 120,00 miles - sees the inside of the garage at least once for major overhaul but maintaings gas mileage
Toyota Tacoma - 150,000 miles (3 car accidents late, teaching 4 kids how to drive a stick - never seen the inside of a car garage - was totaled and sold for 3k)
Toyota Celica - 210,000 miles (hauled family of 7 across America - never seen the inside of a car garage - is not in the hands of some college girl)

Your mileage may vary (pun/no pun intended)

If you want reliability without the cost I would go Toyota. You just cannot go wrong. They still to this day build cars that last forever. Theirs cars and pickups built 30+ years ago were built to be driven in 2007 and they still are being driven in 2007.

Honda is supposed to have the same sort of reliability as Toyota - I can't say from experience - All my honda experience are their Small Motors division. Honda's are supposed to have higher maintenance and repair costs. (The latter assumes that it ever has to see the inside of a mechanics shop).
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Old 06-11-07, 10:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvickery
Ok, so currently I drive an F150 w/ a V8. Gas mileage is horrible and for two reasons, I want to get another car. Reason 1) gas is too expensive and 2) fossil fuels are limited. Yeah, yeah.. I know, why drive a truck if i'm concerned about fossil fuels. i have my reasons but they aren't good enough to continue commuting in it. Bike riding is out of the question since I usually leave at dark, coming and going, and the country roads i use are crowded and narrow.

That being said, I'm looking for a used reliable vehicle in the 5 - 6 K$ range. I'm like 6'5" so Honda's are out of the question. I like the Taurus and Focus and fit in both but they are American. We all know that American vehicle reliability is crap. So... what do you recommend?

dv
You should be able to get a decent corolla, camry or perhaps even Avalon. in that price range. Might have to bump up 1k if you want the Avalon. Or bump the salesman down 1k

Oh, and don't discount the Tacoma. It's an awesome pickup with 20mpg~ (last i looked). Might be a viable option since you are coming from a pickup. I assume of cours that you haul stuff in/with the pickup every once in awhile
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Old 06-11-07, 10:28 PM   #6
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If your present truck is paid-off, you'll come out ahead by continuing to drive it, despite lousy fuel economy. If you are going to get rid of the truck and get the new vehicle without taking out a loan, that might be viable, though if you have to spend more than a grand net it's still probably a bad move (do the math on gas savings vs. new car expenditure, to be sure).

That being said, I've been wowed by claims to Corolla fuel economy lately. Dunno if it's the hybrid, but they say 41mpg.

Other than that, look for an Accord or Camry, maybe late 90s - 2000 in good condition in your price range. Those cars will last forever if cared for.
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Old 06-11-07, 10:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Towlie
If your present truck is paid-off, you'll come out ahead by continuing to drive it, despite lousy fuel economy. If you are going to get rid of the truck and get the new vehicle without taking out a loan, that might be viable, though if you have to spend more than a grand net it's still probably a bad move (do the math on gas savings vs. new car expenditure, to be sure).

That being said, I've been wowed by claims to Corolla fuel economy lately. Dunno if it's the hybrid, but they say 41mpg.

Other than that, look for an Accord or Camry, maybe late 90s - 2000 in good condition in your price range. Those cars will last forever if cared for.
Used is probably gonna be in the 30-35~ range (which is still probably pretty awesome). I believe the 41 is a pretty recent acquisition.
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Old 06-11-07, 10:41 PM   #8
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Let's do some math. You are going to spend ~$6000 on an additional car to save money? Assuming gasoline is $3 per gallon, you could buy 2000 gallons of gasoline instead. Presuming your truck gets 15 miles per gallon overall, you could drive your truck 30,000 miles on that $6000 of gasoline.

You'd have to drive your additional car for a long time before you came out even... especially once you have to pay extra for insurance, maintenance, etc. And it's not better for the environment to have more cars, it would only make sense if you got rid of the truck.
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Old 06-11-07, 10:46 PM   #9
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If by a long time sestivers, you mean a year or two, then sure.
To the OP, I say go grab a new Honda Nighthawk/Rebel, 250cc version. You'll get a nice warranty from a relatively reliable manufacturer, something that gets ~75mpg, and you'll be in it for less than $6k. Otoh, you could just go look for an older, low mileage compact that's on the cheap side, ~$1k. Test drive it to make sure you fit, and repair it when needed.
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Old 06-12-07, 04:57 AM   #10
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I had a Toyota Supra that went 245,000 miles and never had to be repaired. Just regular service like oil, water, brake-pads and timing-belt every 3-4 years. Only needed new alternator and brake-rotors which I did myself. It still had the original water-pump and clutch!

Honda has similar reliability, however repairs and parts costs more than Toyota.
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Old 06-12-07, 05:27 AM   #11
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Camry.....Nuff said! Go out of your way to get the 5-Speed.With proper care you may never buy another car.

Very Happy Carolla owner for the last 16 years!! 178,600 miles,less than $4000 total cost in that time,(including $1600 purchace price) not including gas and Ins. You just cant beat $250 a year!

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Old 06-12-07, 05:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sestivers
Let's do some math. You are going to spend ~$6000 on an additional car to save money? Assuming gasoline is $3 per gallon, you could buy 2000 gallons of gasoline instead. Presuming your truck gets 15 miles per gallon overall, you could drive your truck 30,000 miles on that $6000 of gasoline.

You'd have to drive your additional car for a long time before you came out even... especially once you have to pay extra for insurance, maintenance, etc. And it's not better for the environment to have more cars, it would only make sense if you got rid of the truck.
Unless he drives his truck 30,000 miles per year...
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Old 06-12-07, 06:27 AM   #13
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Yes, in actuality it is quite amusing the way people quibble over gas pricess.
People are quite willing to take on a 20k debt and an extra 100+ amonth in insurance to save 50-120 bucks a month in gas.

It's amusing until it happens to somebody you know and then it's just sickening.
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Old 06-12-07, 06:55 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by dvickery
Ok, so currently I drive an F150 w/ a V8. Gas mileage is horrible and for two reasons, I want to get another car. Reason 1) gas is too expensive and 2) fossil fuels are limited. Yeah, yeah.. I know, why drive a truck if i'm concerned about fossil fuels. i have my reasons but they aren't good enough to continue commuting in it. Bike riding is out of the question since I usually leave at dark, coming and going, and the country roads i use are crowded and narrow.

That being said, I'm looking for a used reliable vehicle in the 5 - 6 K$ range. I'm like 6'5" so Honda's are out of the question. I like the Taurus and Focus and fit in both but they are American. We all know that American vehicle reliability is crap. So... what do you recommend?

dv
DV, my brother has a Toyota Matrix hatchback. This car is great! I borrow it whenever I need something that resembles a pickup. (OK, I can't haul sheetrock ) I think he gets 30 city and 35 highway. Also, it has lots of headroom and a very upright seating position.

Cheers
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Old 06-12-07, 06:56 AM   #15
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DV, my brother has a Toyota Matrix hatchback. This car is great! I borrow it whenever I need something that resembles a pickup. (OK, I can't haul sheetrock ) I think he gets 30 city and 35 highway. Also, it has lots of headroom and a very upright seating position.

Cheers
new Matrix or old?. i thought the matrix was based off of the corolloa or is it just that much heavier ?
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Old 06-12-07, 06:58 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by sestivers
Let's do some math. You are going to spend ~$6000 on an additional car to save money? Assuming gasoline is $3 per gallon, you could buy 2000 gallons of gasoline instead. Presuming your truck gets 15 miles per gallon overall, you could drive your truck 30,000 miles on that $6000 of gasoline.

You'd have to drive your additional car for a long time before you came out even... especially once you have to pay extra for insurance, maintenance, etc. And it's not better for the environment to have more cars, it would only make sense if you got rid of the truck.
Maybe he's interested in saving gas, not saving money. There's a difference you know. Do you think your grandkids are going to give a rat's ass about the money you saved 50 years from now?
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Old 06-12-07, 06:59 AM   #17
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new Matrix or old?. i thought the matrix was based off of the corolloa or is it just that much heavier ?
It's a 2004. I think the car has its own platform. The roof is about five inches taller than a Corolla.
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Old 06-12-07, 07:01 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by austropithicus
Maybe he's interested in saving gas, not saving money. There's a difference you know. Do you think your grandkids are going to give a rat's ass about the money you saved 50 years from now?
They will probably care that you used up their oil reserve a hell of alot faster and got the world using renewable clean power sources sooner
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Old 06-12-07, 07:02 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by austropithicus
It's a 2004. I think the car has its own platform. The roof is about five inches taller than a Corolla.
Hmm i could have sworn the Matrix was based off of the Corolla. Maybe i'm just thinking of the Honda Fit.
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Old 06-12-07, 07:34 AM   #20
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corolla ftw!

or a honda civic sedan
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Old 06-12-07, 07:40 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvickery
I like the Taurus and Focus and fit in both but they are American. We all know that American vehicle reliability is crap. So... what do you recommend?
Isn't a Focus around the same size as a Civic? Or an Accord even?
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Old 06-12-07, 08:02 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by dvickery
We all know that American vehicle reliability is crap.
American automobile reliabilty has vastly improved in the past few years. It really is a shame that people have written these companies off. I drive a 2000 Ford Ranger that is as bare bones as it gets and have had no problems with it in the year and a half I've owned it, and I get about 24 mpg. People assuming that US made vehicles are crap are doing these companies in just as much as their (the Detroit Three) stupid business decisions are. I've included an article about the last J.D. Powers & Assoc. Dependibility Study as evidence of the improvement of US automobiles.

By the way, I work as an automotive technician for an independent garage. The three other mechanics I work with drive Fords too. One is on his 3rd Taurus wagon in 16 years, bought all of them used.

- Kyle

P.S. Uh, as far as the Taurus goes...stay away from the 3.8L engine...it's a POS . The 3.0L is a sweetheart though .
http://autos.msn.com/advice/article....tentid=4022547

Most Dependable Vehicles

The dependability of non-luxury vehicles has improved to almost reach the levels of luxury-brand vehicles, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).
The Vehicle Dependability Study measures problem symptoms experienced by original owners of three-year-old vehicles (2003 models). The vehicles are scored based on the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).

The gap between luxury and non-luxury brand was cut in half to just 15 PP100 for 2003 models. J.D. Power attributes this to quality improvements with non-luxury brands—primarily in the ride/handling/braking and engine/transmission categories.

This shift was underscored by the top-ranked brands. Toyota's Lexus division was the top-ranked brand in this study for the 12th year in a row, and Cadillac ranked fourth. The other three brands in the top five were non-luxury brands—Mercury and Buick in second and third respectively, and Toyota in the fifth position.

"The industry continues to make improvements in long-term vehicle quality, and not just among luxury makes that benefit from smaller production volumes on the assembly line," said Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis for J.D. Power and Associates. "Many high-volume, mass-marketed brands have acquired a foundation of quality products from which to challenge the normally strong performances of the luxury brands. What this means for consumers is that they don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a high-quality used vehicle, and vehicles with high long-term dependability ratings retain more of their original value than brands with lower dependability ratings. This pays off for the consumer when it's time to trade in their vehicle."

In addition to topping the brand list, Lexus vehicles topped four of the 16 segments: GS as top Midsize Premium Car; LS 430 as Large Premium Car; SC 430 as Premium Sporty Car; and GX 470 as Midsize Premium Multi-Activity Vehicle (MAV). Toyota also topped four segments, with Honda placing three vehicles as segment leaders.

Vehicles from General Motors topped four segments, and vehicles from Ford Motor Company were at the top of two segments.
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Old 06-12-07, 08:07 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sestivers
And it's not better for the environment to have more cars
Maybe he's interested in saving gas, not saving money. There's a difference you know. Do you think your grandkids are going to give a rat's ass about the money you saved 50 years from now?
It seems like you missed this part of my statement.
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Old 06-12-07, 08:09 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Kyle in Maine
Vehicles from General Motors topped four segments, and vehicles from Ford Motor Company were at the top of two segments.
Sadly that is so biased that i's not even funny. A car that will generally see a shop at least once within its first 5 years and a car that will see a shop 3 times within 7 years and drastically lose gas mileage cannot compete with a car that never sees the inside of a car shop lasts 3 times as long and never loses gas mileage.

Anybody that attempts to state that there is reliability in cars that see a shop 3-20 times in their lifetime compared to cars that never see a shop in their lifetime.
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Old 06-12-07, 08:14 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by dvickery
I like the Taurus and Focus and fit in both but they are American. We all know that American vehicle reliability is crap.
We all know? I seem to remeber just reading that Ford edged out quite a few foreign makes in a quality study.

I'd say get more than six grand together before you decide to trade your current ride for an unknown car. At the $5k pricepoint the chances of getting a dog are pretty good, why take the chance? Plus, you're a little late to the "fuel economy" party. The value of your F150 has dropped pretty good over the last 18 months, and the prices of what you're looking for have risen. Selling low and buying high to save a few pennies on gas doesn't really make much sense.
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