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Old 09-17-2009, 03:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best car to start with...

Hello everyone. I have been lurking on the forum lately as I recently took a job that requires 130 miles of commuting each day and I'm fully committed to buying and modding a dedicated commuter car. I will for sure being completing the "lower hanging fruits".. removing mirrors, wheel skirts, underpan, and I am also excited about constructing a nice boat tail.

Anywho.. I am interested in finding out which car is a great place to start. I am a huge fan of hondas as they have excellent motors (in my experience anyways). I see allot of talk about the civic VX but there are not allot of them available for sale. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am cleaning out my garage for work space and will be buying a car in the next two weeks.


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Old 09-17-2009, 03:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site.

I'd have to suggest a 1st gen Insight. Nothing else comes close to the mileage it can crank out.
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the welcome. I guess I should have also stated that I want to stay in the 2k range in terms of purchase price. Which puts the insight out of my range (besides the fact that I need back seats)
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What kind of car are you looking for?

Will you need to carry other people? Will you ever need to pull a trailer? Will you need trunk space? How much do you want to spend on parts? I think an O2 sensor for a 98-00 Honda Civic runs like $340!!!!! do some parts cost research before you buy. Just giving some friendly advice.

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Old 09-17-2009, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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IsaacCarlson is asking the right question here; what you need will define what is a good car. I consider my Corolla, currently getting ~45mpg, good. But one of my "needs" was an automatic tranny (my wife has never driven a stick and has no real desire to do so). I'm pretty sure I'd be in the ~50mpg range if I had the manual tranny. Are you mechanically savvy? If so, that greatly increases your possibilities.
When I search the garage for gasoline cars over 45mpg lifetime, I find a wide assortment of vehicles. (And that doesn't include diesels!) Yes, you see a lot of Civics and Metros, but also a fairly broad assortment of others.
You can find a bunch of great mpg machines for ~$2k. You have to do a lot of looking, but they are out there. Craigslist in my area had me drooling over two listings: a civic vtec engine and a miata that I'd love to do a "Jack McCornack" on.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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2k? Maybe a CRX HF
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would say a CRX is one of the best to start with if you're interested in ecomodding it. Low beginning cd but still some easy improvements and a plethora of engine swap options.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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move, it will be cheaper, save you time, stress, gas.
you might look at an old VW rabbit 55-60mpg and simple once you figure them out.
I love my civic VX and my CRX HF either of those would be great but with wear and tear I figure I average 16-26 cents per mile depending on the car and I do all of my own work that comes out to $21-33 per day for car ownership... $400-675 per month, just to drive that's $5,000 to $8,000 per year in tires, oil changes, exhaust replacement, spark plugs transmission replacement, drive shaft replacement, air filters, fuel filters, oil filters, brake pads, brake rotors, wiper blades, timing belts, alternator belts.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by pdxmonkeyboy View Post
Thanks for the welcome. I guess I should have also stated that I want to stay in the 2k range in terms of purchase price. Which puts the insight out of my range (besides the fact that I need back seats)
If you need a back seat I vote for a Honda Civic. You should be able to pick one up for around 2k.
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Your "has rear seats" requirement is directly in conflict with your "dedicated commuter car" statement. The more requirements you drop, the better your MPG. The two-seat CRX is probably the most economical car in your stated price range.

Don't overlook the Toyota Echo, Saturn S-series, Geo Metro, and Mazda Protege/323/3 which may be in your price range.

You're going to be spending >10 hours a week in the car, and like Ryland says, at least $5000/yr on fuel and upkeep. If you see a nicer, lower-mantainence, less thirsty car for $4000-6000, I'd buy it.

Buy this car to drive to work, drive to work to pay for this car.

But seriously, welcome, and I look forward to seeing your mods.

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