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Old 11-19-2013, 09:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
5 Gears of Fury
War_Wagon's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Vancouver B.C., Canada
Posts: 1,230

Spunky - '90 Honda Civic CX
90 day: 35.56 mpg (US)
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While that budget is decent to work with, you will be hard pressed to find a VX, HF, or HX in that price range. Good on you if you do, but baring that miracle, I'd say (these change in order depending on how rusty cars in your area get, as that will kill most of them before mechanical failure will):

1. '88-91 Civic - dirt cheap, easy to fix, parts are cheap, if they die then you did something wrong (usually). Any model but an Si as they have different gearing in the transaxle that will hurt highway MPGs.

1.5 '92-'95 Civic - see above, but they tend to have even more issues with rust than the earlier ones, so could be harder to find, and more money if you find a nice one.

2. First gen Insight with a dead traction battery. These cars are insanely overbuilt, and because most people don't get that they can function without the traction battery working, they can be in your price range on occasion. All aluminum and fiberglass construction so no need to worry about rust. It'd be like hitting the lottery if you got one at that price, but if you can get a 5 speed one that cheap TAKE IT.

3. '96-'02 Saturn S series. Single cam motor of whatever model you pick. Again, dirt cheap and easy to fix.

4. '91-'00 Tercel. Dirt cheap, easy to fix, and they had an issue with valve seals so if they have never been replaced the car will smoke like a wet campfire when you start it cold, but who cares? It just makes them cheaper to buy as the seller probably thinks it's on it's last legs!

5. '95- '00 Metro or clone with a 1.0L. Xfi model if you can find one, but those are in the VX/HF/HX territory of pricing unless you luck out.

As for what makes a VX or HX different? They utilize lean burn fuel injection systems and are factory lightweight vehicles.

Edit: I wanted to add the ZX2 but I figured I had cheated enough with the 1.5 add on, so they didn't make the cut ha ha
"Don't look for one place to lose 100 pounds, look for 1600 places to lose an ounce." - Tony DeFeo

Last edited by War_Wagon; 11-19-2013 at 09:46 PM..
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