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Old 02-25-2018, 12:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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RWD cars with good MPG? (Looking for a highway commuter)

I may be moving back to the country. I would have 80-100 mile round trip. Last car I had for this was a 1996 SC1 Saturn the averaged 40MPGs and I got 100k miles out of it before I moved closer to work. I now have an NB Miata that is mint and won't be driving it but would love to get another RWD car to mod to get the MPGs.
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Old 02-25-2018, 02:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What's the reason for wanting RWD?
FWD is normally a more efficient drive train.

Suzuki Cappuccino is my suggestion if it must be RWD
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Old 02-25-2018, 05:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The Smart Fortwo

The Humbug from Hambach (France).

The Renault Twingo III
Seats 4 and has RWD.

Generally front engined RWD cars are less efficient than FWD or rear engined cars because of the higher weight. Cross mounted engines deliver power in the direction it is needed which is also helpful.

Having the engine weight over the wheels is good too.
I had to help push my neighbor's Mercedes back into his garage when he went out into the snow and ice, discovered it was too slippery to drive safely but couldn't get it back in without my help.
Then I went out with my Insight, had to; it cleared the same grade the Mercedes couldn't handle without a struggle.
It did not please him much I fear.
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Old 02-25-2018, 05:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Does it have to have any real utilitarian purpose? Like seating 4 and or having lots of cargo space?

If not...buy a beater Miata and rag on it all you want. You're kinda stuck with a sports car anyway if you're looking for RWD. Or an old boat from the 80s or earlier. There were some halfass sports cars from the 90s that might give you more seating and or cargo space.

How hard-core are you willing to modify it? You could always stuff a diesel engine in to a C4 corvette...

Does it have to be relatively new? Give us some more "wants" beyond just RWD.
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Old 02-25-2018, 06:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 02-25-2018, 06:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It will be just a commuter/beater so a Miata may work. Just wanted to see what else is out there. For the comments about FWDs I've been there and know why it's more efficient. My route to work has many options. Interstate/highway 50/50 or highway 100%. With the Miata or something sporty I can cut a 10-15 miles off by taking the highway and not interstate. With the Saturn and careful driving I got 40 average on any route I took all year round.
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Old 02-26-2018, 01:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The only "disadvantage" to the Miata is that while you can get in the neighborhood of 35-40 mpg in highway cruising (at least I can), when you take the winding back roads instead your mpg will likely drop. You might have a lot more fun, though :-)
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Old 02-26-2018, 03:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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There will be few speed scrubbing curve��
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Old 02-26-2018, 03:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Fiero or MR2 will give you RWD and transverse in a mid-engine.

Nissan 240SX and Z-cars, Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro/derivatives and Corvettes, Mazda RX7 or RX8 (and the aforementioned Miata) for traditional longitudinal...

Old VW bug and most Porsches for rear-engines.

You'll want 4 cylinders for decent gas mileage, which limits which models work. Newer will mean less maintenance, usually.
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Old 02-26-2018, 04:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That's a tough spot to be in. Miatas are geared too frenetically for great MPG, but for the price and driving joy, might still be your best bet. A Nissan 240 is a real toughie to find for a price which isn't insane for what you get - and ditto a Toyota AE86. Toyobarus are coming down in price pretty fast though, and despite needing (I think) premium fuel, older BMWs weren't bad on fuel for what you got in return. A while back I had a thing for Alfa Spiders...but alas, I don't think any of these are really gonna be sure bets for 30+mpg. The MR2 suggestion is a cool one, though.

You might check to see what you can snag grey market. We're getting into the early 90s for cool stuff that's legal, about when the Japanese were getting really interesting.

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