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Old 06-22-2009, 04:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Government 4500 cash for clunkers.. what to get

OK folks the wife's aging mini van qualifies for this bill, the government will give me $4500 of my stolen tax money back when I upgrade to a new fuel efficient car.. see NHTSA.gov - CARS - Car Allowance Rebate System

I want to make our investment as little as posable and stretch this money as much as posable, we will run this car into the ground .. as we do with most cars we own..

So my choices are the Kia Rio , the Nissan Versa , the Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris.. all four doors.. The honda fit is nice but a bit to rich for my blood.

The Honda fit is a bit to high of a price.. we'd like to stay under $13,000 Ideally the less the better..

We owned a 2002 Accent base model, and sold it to a friend when we had a kid, it was a 2 door.. not ideal for infants.. We did like that car.. was small but comfortable and efficient.

Were talking a base model car here not even air is needed as a option.. the Versa looks like it takes areo mods really well, and if we can find a base model , were talking 5500 bucks for a new car for the versa..

However the Hyundai and Rio's are tempting since they warranty the drive train for 10/100.. And surprisingly the Hyundai and Rio are rated up there with toyota for reliability now.

Your thoughts and ideas? Did I miss any sub 13k cars on the market?

P.S. the Areo-CRX is still going strong.. Im redoing the nose.. snow drifts and curbs got the best of it this winter..

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Old 06-22-2009, 06:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My roommate drives 2009 Yaris, no mods. Him and I competed a month ago on a road trip to see who would get the best mileage. I came in at 48 mpg (all highway miles). He does have a Scangauge though.

From my experience he has had no issues with it, and it is well built.

If you are willing to pony up more the Honda Insight is rated at like 42 mpg stock but that most test drivers see 50+ mpg without really trying. The Jetta TDI is a superb car that is rated at 58 mpg if you dont mind getting diesel gas (could brew biodiesel as well!)

Rough base prices (not looking these up)

Yaris: 12.9k
Insight: 19k
Jetta TDI: 22k

If I was to buy a car right now, I personally would get a TDI. But alas I am poor and refuse to buy a new car until a suitable electric, or perhaps series hybrid is available.

Goodluck, and I hope you and your wife enjoy whatever you get!
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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New Prius...that almost makes up for the difference in price between that an Yaris..ok not really, but it helps lol
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Bomber Man View Post

If I was to buy a car right now, I personally would get a TDI. But alas I am poor and refuse to buy a new car until a suitable electric, or perhaps series hybrid is available.

Goodluck, and I hope you and your wife enjoy whatever you get!
YEah Id love a diesel, so would my wife, we actually had a old benz diesel.. but even at 17k with the 4500 discount , the payments arn't to my liking were trying to get free of debt.. instead of create more, but this is a no brainer as the van is rusting badly in the unibody and there is no way in heck we would ever get 4500 for it as a trade in on any car.. more like 1000-1300 if we were lucky. we only paid 2k for it years ago so were going to make out like a bandit.

It's very tempting however, as Im a diesel/veggie nut, I have a truck on veg.. The Honda Fit is also tempting since hondas usually are very very very reliable..

In reality we could afford allot more but were looking at this as a way to gain a crap-load of equity (if you can say that about cars ever) and get better MPG for little cost to us.

Basically this is a chance to get a 100% new car for the cost of a 3 year old car.. because we'd mostly likely have to replace this one soon anyway. and would end up buying a used subcompact anyway..

If Obama wants to pay me $4500 for a $1000 car.. if I get a fuel efficient one.. he's a fool, but ill take that deal..
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you have enough mileage a year I imagine that a 60% increase in fuel economy might even pay for the difference. Also keep in mind, the TDI will perform much better, and will do significantly better in a crash. But then again, the TDI will cost twice as much as a Yaris/Fit after the discount price. On a side note, I thought the requirement for the rebate was both better fuel economy and the car had to be so many years old. I guess I'll have to take a look at the site that covers the requirements.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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With the current rebate at Hyundai the Elantra GLS is $12,120. You might want to give it a test drive. If you look at the fuel log I have for this car, my wife as been driving it exclusively since last summer and she's no hypermiler. Look at last summer tanks to see what's possible on the highway during the summer.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would get either the Yaris or the Fit

EDIT: tell honda you are spending the rebate and dont want to blow more than X money and see if they will come down on the price
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The Prius gets better mileage than the Insight, and Honda and Toyota are almost tied for first place in reliability.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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YEah the honda really makes me itch.. the fit is a very nice machine.. The one equipment for the rebate to get the full 4500 is it must get a epa combined average of 10mpg more, so it needs a epa average of 28 or more to work for out epa average 18mpg minivan.

Most will meat these requirements in the sub compact class..

The wife and I discussed this in depth tonight, were going to take a trip to check out the honda nissan toyota hyundai and kia offerings this weekend .. we may check out the chevy Aveo, but I have mainly heard bad stuff about them.. (plus I'm not to fond of buying a car from a company that totally bankrupt, ford isn't priced aggressively enough.. crysler, bankrupt and they dont have a model that will average 28mpg epa average.

Then again these car sales places may be really itching for sales now.. well see what they do.. when we offer them our business.

We know the lowest cost vehicle is going to be the Versa, were going to to start there and work our way up to the honda and compare them to that and see what we like better as we go up the ladder, We have always preferred the "base" model cars over the decked out ones.. less to go wrong and usually easier to do our own maintenance etc.. Even my colorado pickup truck has the rubber work truck floor..

We recently drove some higher class cars, like the Mercury Milan for a extended period of time, CHevy cobalt etc, it was a nice roomy car, drove well and got better than expected milage for its size, but wasn't worth 23k+

As for the honda fit , were going to check that out and hold the rest to that standard.. hardest part is comparing apples to apples , most dealerships don't stock base models with little to no options.. and thats what were looking for. We'll see what we can find.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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One note on hybrids.. the battery packs on these are something I have hope for and fear..

The HOpe , in a few years youll be able to get larger capacity packs made with newer technologies that provide more power etc.. making your mpg get better..

The fear, these packs aren't cheap.. the cost of a MAJOR mechanical problem.. like a engine failure.. if in 5 years it fails. ill have one hell of a repair cost.. even though the gas engine has many more miles of life in it.. IM in MN and know what the weather can do to batteries up here.. we go from 100 degrees with 95%+ humidity to -50 and bone dry up here..

The batteries in these hybrids, they have a life span.. they will not outlast the engine.. but could be down the road a easy way to increase there mpg or even add plug in hybrid capabilities.

The big unknown here is fuel prices, if gas goes to $6 a hybrid may make up the added 15-20mpg in the initial purchace but at $4 a gallon the car would need 250k on it to make up that added increase, and thats doesn't include the cost of new battery packs ect.

Again thats always the gamble.. However I know I can get better than the EPA rated milage just by driving like a sane person.. every road we drive on is 55mph and not alot of city driving, I see getting over 40 mpg out of any of the subcompacts easily, add a few areo mods and some added air in the tires and we should be in the near hybrid area, for little cost. Sure I could get 60 mpg in a Insight.. but the balance between investment and gains is far lower at that figure than 20mpg to 40mpg.. Even at gas at a insane $10 a gallon it would take 2 years to make up the added $10,000 of a hybrid. At the highs of last year.. at 4 a gallon.. were talking 100,000 miles worth of gas.. 5 years at 20k miles a year... at todays prices of 2.60 a gallon were talking 7-8 years.. to pay for that extra 10k to get a hybrid... Hybrids are nice but unless your driving 30-40k a year.. they still don't add up.. if you are putting loads of miles on or in a "fleet" situation yeah they make sense. Or if you only drive in the city and do loads of miles like a Taxi.. yeah they make sence there too..

Every ones situation is different but for us its all country roads, all low speed (55mph) and not a ton of miles.. we usually do 12-15k a year, and I used 20k a year as a heavily used car for us, my new colorado pickup is 4 years old and has 21k on it.. (and totally paid for) but we don't commute daily in it all the time, the CRX gets the nod most f the time unless I need to haul some big stuff..

I just don't see the hybrid making sense for us unless gas goes to some really outrageous numbers.. if thats the case.. I'll drive at 40 instead of 55.. get some better mpg's, thats should not be a issue as every one else will be not diving as they cant afford to put gas in there 23 mpg average american cars.

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