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Old 05-24-2009, 12:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Civic DX-VP, Insight, or ???

Well, the need of a new(er) car will be in order soon. The plan is to keep Teggy around as a good third car, but we need another sedan in the lineup.

We're thinking new, but used isn't out. We're keeping cars quite longer now, though. I'm having a tough time finding low-mileage used Hondas, plus financing is better on new.

As you may know, Honda has earned our trust over the last 5 vehicles and 12 years, so that's where we would like to stay.

The requirements: at least 40 mpg with mild Eco-Driving, A/C, auto (my Wife chooses not to learn standard -- it's non-negotiable), and 4-doors/5-passenger.

Fit Sport: Noted to be fun to drive yet handy. To get A/C though, you have to upgrade to the Sport. Then another $250 for a center armrest (FTW?) and it's up to about $18K. Grumble...

Civic DX-VP: More features, A/C, a touch higher on price, but no hatch. Hmmm...

Insight LX: A hybrid of my own is intriguing, but $20K is steep. The 5-door design and utility + higher FE is even more appealing. Will tax credits and FE offset that price? Plus to get cruise control, you have to go up to an EX! Forget that -- Argh! I don't use cruise anyway, but for the rare occasion...

I know we ask every day, but what happened to the stripped-down ecoboxes of yore? A base model with added A/C and Auto for $15K, or even the option to add stuff a la carte would be nice. I should be thinking Kia or Hyundai, but it's outside of our comfort zone.

The old Civic Wagon comes to mind as what I'm looking for.

The question: has anyone driven these vehicles as a comparison? I've rented the new Civic for work and liked it quite a lot, but the others -- no basis for comparison yet. The local dealer had an Insight tucked away out back, but it's probably sold. The Fit would be easy to find/drive.

Any thoughts?

RH77

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Old 05-24-2009, 01:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The wife won't learn manual??? ... dont give her a choice!!!

lol.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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RH77 -

I vote Insight II. I hate that A/C requires Fit Sport. A/C as an option should NOT force you to buy the extra stuff. It's too big an option all by itself. If it messes with the assembly line, just make it a "premium" option (charge more $$). Also, if you get auto, you will have the "if only it was manual I could get better MPG" frustration of owning your Fit or Civic.

When I burn time "building my own" at auto web sites, it seems that you can "add A/C" to the Pontiac Vibe and keep the rest base (power NOTHING!!!!!!). I just priced a 1.8L + A/C + auto for $17K in the St Louis zipcode.

See how easy it is for ME to spend YOUR money, ?!?!?!?

CarloSW2
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If the Insight 2 is too spendy, what about a used Civic Hybrid? With requirements of 40 mpg, AC, automatic, and just mild eco-driving, I think that's about the only Honda that fits the bill.

EDIT: I'm sure the marketing geniuses at Honda would rub their hands in glee to read this. No longer do they have us aiming to the bottom end of the lineup for mileage; we've been trained to accept that you have to cough out the word "hybrid" if you want low fuel consumption.
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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First of all, decide which is a higher priority--saving gas or saving money. If you want to save money, a new car should automatically be out of the picture, as should any purchase that cannot be bought outright with cash (read: financing).
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Teggy - '98 Acura Integra LS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
When I burn time "building my own" at auto web sites, it seems that you can "add A/C" to the Pontiac Vibe and keep the rest base (power NOTHING!!!!!!). I just priced a 1.8L + A/C + auto for $17K in the St Louis zipcode.

See how easy it is for ME to spend YOUR money, ?!?!?!?

CarloSW2
LOL. That's where my cash has been going!

I've been doing the same (building cars on Sites for a while too) and it seems I get the opposite most times. Toyota is the absolute worst. Want cupholders? You need the Limited model with Navigation. Most others have the same caveats. The introduction of option packages ruined the whole works.

But to make make the announcement firm, an automatic gearbox is required. I'm fortunate enough to get a newer car, but the compromise is that we need 2 reliable slushboxes around. Since my car-rental credits are diminishing, we need a good, long-trip runabout that even my Mother-in-Law can drive...

Quote:
If the Insight 2 is too spendy, what about a used Civic Hybrid? With requirements of 40 mpg, AC, automatic, and just mild eco-driving, I think that's about the only Honda that fits the bill.

EDIT: I'm sure the marketing geniuses at Honda would rub their hands in glee to read this. No longer do they have us aiming to the bottom end of the lineup for mileage; we've been trained to accept that you have to cough out the word "hybrid" if you want low fuel consumption.
The Civic Hybrid. That's a good thought -- I see them all over town, so they're not too rare. I'm not crazy about the idea of a brand new car (read: depreciation), but I don't want a worn out beater either. Ugh. They say Medical Staff make the worst Patients. Hobbyist "car critics" can't pick a car for themselves but instead for everyone else.

But yep, you're right. You can't get a new Civic VX, but instead that little "Hybrid" badge that makes it all better. But how much can you Eco-Mod a Hybrid? I like getting under the hood and fooling with stuff.

(This isn't happening tomorrow, but being the car fanatic that I am, the months-long research begins).

I even looked up Hyundai -- I recalled an Elantra Wagon at the Auto Show. Of course, you have to get the top line "Touring"-only edition to get the wagon part. $18K with rebates. What's the world coming to? A one-option wagon for 2010.

I think I'll look up some HCHs. I used to filter the search to only manuals, but the CVT should open up some options...

RH77
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 53.56 mpg (US)

Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
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Any more news on your leanings/search?
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd vote for a used Prius... way better city mileage, bigger, fairly similar highway mileage. I've been looking, and the older ones can be had for ~$13k now and still have under 100k miles on them. Move up to an 06+ with ~50k miles and you're looking at ~$17k.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Teggy - '98 Acura Integra LS
Sports Cars
90 day: 32.74 mpg (US)

IMA - '10 Honda Insight EX
Team Honda
90 day: 34.76 mpg (US)

Tessie - '06 Acura TSX Base
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I'm really leaning toward the Prius over the HCH-II...

Having rented Priuses on 3 different occasions and the new Civic a time or 2, I know that I really like the Toyota:
  • 5-Door/Hatch Design
  • More engaging to drive
  • Better FE / HSD over IMA

I'm finding most in the '05-06 range with about 40K miles for around $15K.

Since we're keeping cars for a longer duration, the next step is to get some advice on battery pack life, things to look for (or watch out for) in a used hybrid, etc.

RH77
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Honda's site shows the regular Fit with automatic and A/C at $15,500 MSRP. You should be able to negotiate down from there.

There are stripped-down econoboxes. They're called the Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris.

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