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Old 06-27-2008, 10:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I like the Tercel Wagon too, but I don't know that that's what you really want. With one person aboard it's okay, but it's never going to be a speed demon, and not even a speed delinquent when everyone's aboard. Much-vaunted Toyota reliability notwithstanding, the last Tercel Wagon came off the line in what, '88? They weren't wildly common in the first place, and they're just going to get rarer, and same goes for parts.

I checked out a new Yaris yesterday. There was a fair amount of room in the back, and the front looked actually roomy for such a little car. The five-door should have a mountain of space for whatever you need to do if you don't need all the seats.

My personal fave and dream car is the previous-gen Scion xB. I like the compact form factor, the way the body fills the car's footprint right out to the corners and encompasses a gigantic volume inside. The rear footroom is the kind of thing usually not seen outside of limousines, and the car is hugely popular for livery outfits in cities. Tuckable shape, big space: no wonder. Driven conservatively, the xB should easily get into the mid-30s mpg-wise.

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Old 06-27-2008, 12:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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$3000 Hmmm.

I did a quick search on autotrader for sedans and wagons in your area. Not much there. Check out craigslist daily.

Check out a couple of local car auctions that are open to the public:

Nevada Public Auto Auction

Your cash will go further there. You'll usually pay 25-50% under retail, but you need a good eye for condition. Hondas and Toyotas ALWAYS cost more than other brands, even in poor condition. You should be able to get into a decent 2000-2002 small sedan for $3K. Also consider the smaller 5 passenger Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager for those years. I know 3 friends who consistently get 28-30 mpg on the highway with them, and talk about room.

***IMPORTANT***

A 30 day subscription to CARFAX ($29.95) is worth it's weight in gold!

I phoned in the VIN to my daughter sitting at the computer and she'd tell me the history. I avoided a couple of really nice LOOKING cars that had long expensive repair histories.

GOOD LUCK!!!
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Old 06-27-2008, 01:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If you can find a 96+ Volvo 850 wagon 5 speed or a 98 (stay away from 99+, too many electronics) Volvo V70 5 speed wagon. Either would have to be 5 speed manual 5 cylinder 2.5 liter non turbo with 170hp. Don't worry about miles on the odometer as long as it has a service history. These cars are dirt cheap right now because everyone seems to think volvos are heavy, inefficient and expensive to maintain. Far from it.
http://www.edmunds.com/used/1996/vol...36/prices.html
Wagons have a CD of .32, FWD and much easier to maintain and work on than any other European car if you know how to turn a wrench. If you leaves all the work to a "professional" mechanic, they will take you to the cleaners. At 65mph we average 33mpg and 25mpg city on 87 octane. The leather on high end models tends to fall apart so look for cloth seats which are much more durable. The fewer the options, the more reliable its going to be.
http://www.edmunds.com/used/1996/vol...136/specs.html
All have front and side airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, ABS and traction control. Theres enough room in the back to comfortably sleep 2 people with the rear seats folded down or fit 4 bicycles on their side.

On our camping trip last week we averaged 28.8mpg with a loaded car driving 300 miles up and down highway 1 along the Mendocino and Sonoma county coast.

Last edited by tjts1; 06-27-2008 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I wonder what kinda mpg you could get with a 5 speed SHO taurus. Probably easier to hypermile than your plain jane auto taurus. Plus it would be a familiar car.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhazard View Post
I wonder what kinda mpg you could get with a 5 speed SHO taurus. Probably easier to hypermile than your plain jane auto taurus. Plus it would be a familiar car.
Yeah i was rather shocked when i say the new corvettes were rated at 27mpg.. thats pretty good considering, i bet if you hypermiled it you could pull down 35 mpg easly.. wish i had one to try it out on
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:59 PM   #16 (permalink)
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A ford escort wagon from 96 to 00 might do you well. The older ones 91-96 had a four door hatchback to. Solid simple cars with manual trannys. If you are lucky you might find a 91-96 Escort LX-E 4 door which had a Mazda engine for some zippyness but for lowest overall cost probably the 1.9L ones are better.
A 95-99 SOHC 5spd Neon should beat nearly everything for mileage and have alot more power but they are not the most reliable cars. Parts are cheap though. Don't get an automatic for mileage though, the 3spd kills highway mpg.
I think for cars this age you are really looking more for the condition of the car you are looking at instead of the reputation of the car in general. A full service record car is probably worth paying quite a bit more for.
Ian

PS. Also a Ford contour was available with a manual trans.
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I've hypermiled a C6 to 40+ MPG according to the HUD. It's VERY tedious though because the difference between a constant 40 mpg and 2 MPG is about - that much of a difference in throttle. lol

Any sort of 5 speed 4 banger wagon is going to be great. I'd try for a saturn.
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Try the Hyundai Elantra on for size. I'm 6'3" and find it to be a very comfortable car to drive (Mine's a 2005 hatchback). Rear legroom isn't bad either.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:35 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I *wish* I could get something with a 5 speed in it. I really do. But, my wife has a muscle disease and the constant clutch movement hurts her a lot after driving around town for the day running errands. As a result, she tends to wear through clutches faster. We've been that route. I'll see though. I'd rather have a 5 speed than a 3spd auto, but a 4spd auto isn't too bad with the o/d.

Thanks for all the suggestions. We shop soon.
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Old 06-28-2008, 10:15 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhazard View Post
I wonder what kinda mpg you could get with a 5 speed SHO taurus. Probably easier to hypermile than your plain jane auto taurus. Plus it would be a familiar car.
UGH. Stay away from SHOs. Those Yamaha V6s are maintenance intensive headaches.

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