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Old 04-25-2016, 03:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 55.97 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 70.75 mpg (US)

Appliance car - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage ES (base)
90 day: 67.41 mpg (US)
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New winter beater: base 2004 Toyota Echo vs. base 1998 Pontiac Firefly (Geo Metro)

So if you follow the Efficient, cheap beaters! Used car ads thread, you know I just picked up this cheap 2004 Toyota Echo. It's going to be next winter's beater car.

And it's the base model. Base, base, BASE!

How base? When I showed it to my dad he chuckled and said, "that's pretty... fundamental." Fundamental as in: no options. No A/C or power steering. It's pretty close to 1998 Firefly base.

It immediately reminded me of the Firefly for its lack of amenities. And then it made me chuckle when I started noting the differences between them.

Things neither car has:

(Things that I bet most car shoppers today would not be OK without...)
  • power steering (this surprised me in the Echo... in 2004??)
  • air conditioning
  • cruise control
  • tachometer
  • remote hatch release
Things the Echo has that the Firefly doesn't:
  • ABS!
  • tilt steering!
  • dual (A & B) resettable trip odometers (Firefly: none)
  • split/folding rear seat (Firefly: folds, but full width)
  • cargo cover
  • interior-adjustable (manual) side mirrors (Firefly: roll down the window to adjust)
  • map lights!
  • rear cargo light!
  • switches on BOTH doors to turn on the dome light! (Firefly: only on driver's door)
  • stowage cubbies galore!
  • exterior/lockable hatchback "latch/button"! (Firefly: hatch access requires the key)
  • audio (Firefly: came with nothing)
  • power! (Over twice the Firefly's HP)

Things the Firefly has that the Echo doesn't
  • temperature gauge
  • top of class fuel economy (at the time)

Key specs:
  • Engine: Echo: 1.5L, DOHC 16v, variable valve timing, 108 hp / 105 ft-lbs
  • Firefly: 1.0L, SOHC, 6v, ~50 hp (XFi cam) / 58 ft-lbs
  • Curb weight: Echo: 928 kg / 2046 lbs
  • Firefly: 813 kg / 1792 lbs
EPA ratings:
  • Echo: 30/38/33 (for the sedan 5-speed)
  • Firefly: 36/44/40

Driving the Echo reminds me a lot of the base "$9998" 2015 Nissan Micra I got to test drive last year. Similar bare bones mission and power to weight ratio. (Although the 2004 Echo stickered at $14k twelve years ago.)

From: Review notes: 2015 Micra S 5-speed extended test-drive - Darin's thoughts -

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Project MPGiata! Mods for getting 50+ MPG from a 1990 Miata
Honda mods: Ecomodding my $800 Honda Fit 5-speed beater
Mitsu mods: 70 MPG in my ecomodded, dirt cheap, 3-cylinder Mirage.
Ecodriving test: Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown

has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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