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Old 12-02-2009, 05:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Help Choose Right Car

Our family has always been urban dwellers and have worked in the same area, so we never have commuted before.

Just over a year ago, I moved to a great job, but it is a 100km round trip from the house. Immediately, I sold a great car (Audi S4 4.2L V8) to get a more fuel efficient car, 2009 Audi A4 (2.0T) Avant (wagon). The A4 uses about 60% of the fuel the S4 did.

Well, I have had the A4 for a year now and here are the numbers ...

Km's driven: 33,600
Average FE: 10.46 (22.4 mpg)
Aggregate cost: $3,600

First, the number of km's is astonishing, to us at least. Our other car is a 2000 Volvo V70 with 160km that we have owned for the last 7 years and put about 80km on in that time. The S4 I sold we put 9km on in 18 months. So we have never done much driving.

Secondly, the fuel economy is terrible in my opinion. The combination of the two is a huge cost both in fuel and depreciation.

So, some other background, we need two family-sized vehicles with three active kids and a dog.

Some options:

1. Drive the Volvo for work. Limited depreciation. Decent (albeit similar to the A4) fuel economy.

2. Get a used very fuel efficient small car, drive it to work. Leave the others at home and use them in the city or holidays.

In terms of #2, I would consider the original Honda Insight, Golf TDI, Civic Hybrid? If I can get a used car for $6K or $7K and take my fuel down by over 50% and dramatically slow the depreciation on my other vehicles - it seems like a good return.

Thoughts?

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Old 12-02-2009, 06:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Any Geo Metro with a stick shift in good running condition should return you 50mpg or more. Same with the Honda Civic VX. Both can be had for very little money (certainly under your $7k budget... Otherwise, a 2001-2003 Prius can be had for that price range, and also return 50mpg. I haven't looked into the TDI or Civic Hybrids enough to comment, but the TDI will return good MPG if you are on the highway.
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You might also look at the VW TDI wagons, the Saab wagon is also pretty sweet altho the mileage is only 28-32mpg.
But really do you need 3 cars? it sounds like that is an idea you are tossing around if you get a vehicle for commuting, how often do you have both of your current vehicles filled with kids and dog at the same time?
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wyatt: Thanks. I have never seen a Geo Metro, but will look. When did they stop building the Civic VX's?

Ryland: We are often going different ways with different kids, often with several hockey bags. The two wagons we have are often felt to be small, but we have successfully avoided an SUV or Minivan. Part of the reason the Honda Insight is on the list. Very small, two seats.

Thanks for your comments.
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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In Canada you may have better luck looking for Pontiac Fireflys and Suzuki Swifts than for Geo Metros. Here is a link to a site where people in Toronto sell Swifts... I would stick to the older ones... and away from the GTi. There are both 2 door hatches and 4 door sedans. I think the 2 door was built in Canada until 2001. I drive a 1994 Suzuki Swift 4 door sedan, and would recommend one as a good car. The 1.3L engine is a great engine, and the transmission on it is geared really tall for fuel efficiency.
As for the VX years... I think maybe up to 95, but others would have a much better idea than me.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bought a 2001 Honda Insight today. Hopefully I will achieve the fuel/cost/depreciation savings I am trying to achieve. The car has a lifetime fuel efficiency of 4.0 L per 100 km. Almost three times better than my Audi. The seller says on the highway he normally achieves closer to 3. That's about 78 mpg as compared to my Audi's 22.

Will get it sometime next week.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Good job on the Insight, I wish someone around here would sell one!
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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the TDI is a great desiel......feels just like a gas engine........and gets very good mileage
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I agree with the VW recommendation.

I would've kept it in the Audi/VW (VAG) family and looked at a Passat/Jetta TDI wagon.

I could be a bit biased on that though.
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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wyatt- I'm impressed with your fe!

I'd always heard the 4 cyls to be so much worse than the triples but that sure isn't the case with yours.

I saw a '96 Metro for sale with the 1.3 and I wasn't even going to look at it before... could they be the fe equal of the 1.0 for anything less that uber-hypermiling?

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