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Old 06-25-2008, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Family car with good MPG?

I have a 98 Ford Taurus. I drive it nicely and get 22-23mpg with it, which is up to 6mpg more than its rated for. Its a comfy car and I like it.

Problem: Friday, it got rear ended. Whiplash for my wife and daughter who were in the car, minor scratches, and, of course, a blown transmission. I guess they just don't like it when you're in gear (automatic) and you push the car. Stripped out first gear in the trans.

So, I want to get something that's going to get better mileage to replace it. I doubt the insurance company will do anything other than total it. It'll cost $3k for a new trans, and its not worth that much (bad paint, body work problems).

I'm a big guy, 6'1" and my wife, daughter, and son are all normal size, but my daughter is a bit tall, and my 12y/o son is growing. I need something with the rear leg room that the Taurus had, but with a 4cyl and an automatic so its easy for my wife to drive.

I've see the Toyota Tercel Wagons, but I don't know if they are what I need. BTW I will probably have about $2k to spend so something new is out of the question.

What can ye suggest?

Thanks for any ideas!

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Old 06-25-2008, 07:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hope the family is okay!

I'm partial to mid 90s accords and camrys. My mom's 93 camry (stick) gets ~30 when driven by normals.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The new Camry can do around 32mpg, and the Camry hybrid can get around 45mpg.

I'm 6'-4" and my brother is over 6'-6" -- he fits in a Honda Fit! I fit in the backseat when the front seats are adjusted all the way back. The Honda Fit has an awesome backseat -- it is very flexible, and you have ~21 cu. ft. with the back seat up, and ~42 cu. ft. with it folded down flat. There is ~5'-6" from behind the front seats back to the hatch door -- the car is a Tardis.

I'm sure that you can get in the 40's with the Fit. The automatic is a 5-speed, and the Sport model has shifting paddles on the steering wheel -- if you want to choose the shift points.
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Tercel wagons are pretty old and still carburated. I'd agree with SVOboy. Go with the Accord or Camry. However, finding one for $2k is going to be a challenge. My only other suggestion is the smaller Saturn SL1 or SL2.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You can get decent MPG's from a 3800 V-6 powered Buick Lesabre or similar model. They are pretty cheap and reliable. Also pretty roomy inside.

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Old 06-26-2008, 10:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What about the mid 90's Buick rivieras? They have a low CD and I'm sure with proper driving could yield numbers in the high 30's. They should also be relatively cheap now a days.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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look at chevy cavaliers also there pretty inexpensive and can yeild some good MPG's there rather roomy.. even the 2 doors had a decent back seat the 4 doors were very roomy in my opinion..

The camery and accords are also a good option but usually fetch a fair chunk of change.

Really I say just go drive all kinds of stuff and see what you like then find the one for you.. even if its not the ones you drove..

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Old 06-27-2008, 12:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
You can get decent MPG's from a 3800 V-6 powered Buick Lesabre or similar model. They are pretty cheap and reliable. Also pretty roomy inside.
2004-ish Century's had a 3100 V-6 that was pretty efficient. I sqeezed 6 family members in one I rented -- got low 30's in the Ohio hills.

I would agree to Camry-4 -- and add to that...

-Ford Fusion 2.3L, 4-cylinder (low/mid-30's)
-Newer Chevy Impala (3.4L/3.5L) (low 30's)
-Malibu Maxx (sliding rear seats) and a great 3.5L V-6 at around 30 mpg
-(give it a try for legroom, but...) Kia Optima 2.4L, 4-Cyl (low 30's)

One of my favorites: the Pontiac Vibe / Toyota Matrix (mid-30's).

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Last edited by RH77; 06-27-2008 at 12:41 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-27-2008, 12:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone. It really does help! Today the insurance company totaled the Taurus. I'm getting $1700 for it but am also saving up to try to have $3k for something. Looks like we're going to go without a car for a few weeks to save money. I'll be riding my new recumbent bike that I built to work, while we use the bus for family travel. Its not a permanent solution, but its a good one for a short while while we get funds to buy something that's not a junker. The Taurus was UGLY. It drove good though.

But I digress!

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 06-27-2008, 12:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I really like the Toyota Corrola/geo prizim/chevy prizim, it's a 4 door, I fit just fine in the back seat at 6 feet tall and 235lbs, gets 40+mpg with a 5 speed, is well built, extremely easy to work on and often costs less then $2,000 to buy.

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