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Old 06-05-2014, 12:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Help me find an efficient new car ... for ~$1200!

Right now I am riding around in a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire 2.2L with a 3 speed automatic. The car isn't bad at all, but the 3 speed auto is pretty horrific for mileage and I'm just not a fan of automatics anyways. The thing is, I don't want to spend money right now on a different car, so whatever replaces the Sunfire has to cost pretty close to the same amount. I figure I can probably get $1200 for the Sunfire, so the replacement has to be pretty close to that. The EPA rating for the Sunfire is 21/29/24, so anything higher than that will do, but the higher the better! I'm also very open to a fixer upper if the price is lower.

I'm open to suggestions, so fire away!

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Old 06-05-2014, 12:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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5-speed 1st generation Plymouth Neon?

95 dodge neon 5 speed trade - $1100 (canton)

25 MPG city/34 MPG hwy, per fueleconomy.gov
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Last edited by t vago; 06-05-2014 at 12:57 PM.. Reason: added fuel economy figures
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
Right now I am riding around in a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire 2.2L with a 3 speed automatic. The car isn't bad at all, but the 3 speed auto is pretty horrific for mileage and I'm just not a fan of automatics anyways. The thing is, I don't want to spend money right now on a different car, so whatever replaces the Sunfire has to cost pretty close to the same amount. I figure I can probably get $1200 for the Sunfire, so the replacement has to be pretty close to that. The EPA rating for the Sunfire is 21/29/24, so anything higher than that will do, but the higher the better! I'm also very open to a fixer upper.

I'm open to suggestions, so fire away!
Nissan Sentra
$1200 and fueleconomy.gov shows 26/36mpg for the 1.6L/5spd Sentra (up to '99. 2000+ is worse)
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here are a few I found:

1986 Honda Civic CRX HF - $775

96 saturn sl1 $425

2000 Saturn SC2 - $1200
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I was just going to suggest a Saturn. As long as you don't run out of oil (they typically use oil) they are durable and less rusty (important in your neck of the woods). Rated at 25/36mpg.

2002 Saturn SL1 Manual

Always be wary of cars that don't run... but otherwise, $425 sounds like a decent deal.

SC2 will have the twin-cam engine which gets less mpg.

There's always the obvious choice of Metro and friends too.
1996 Geo Metro Auto
Not real great with an auto though.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
That Civic is rough. I mean, it's mostly complete, but it has some mods and over 300,000 miles. That is a lot of history that you don't know about. It looks like it needs a bit of wiring and a few hundred in parts.

Out of those three, I'd take the $1,200 running Saturn.

I did a quick browse and found these too. I love searching CL!!
1986 Chevette -Yes, a Chevette!

88 honda civic hatch An older Civic.

http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/cto/4504821854.html A very, very, very rough CX, but runs and drives.

http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/cto/4433828573.html Here is a VX.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarguy01 View Post
Out of those three, I'd take the $1,200 running Saturn.
Agreed.

The rust on some of those others is horrific! (Not to say there isn't rust under the shiny plastic skin of the Saturn...

The mystery of the unspecified "needs some work" needs solving though.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t vago View Post
Mr Doax forgot to say: "Chryslers need not apply."

(He's got a thing about Chryslers.)
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think it's hilarious how the photographer stuck his finger into the picture of that $425 Saturn SL1 to hide the big crack above the wheel arch in the front quarter panel.

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Old 06-05-2014, 02:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarguy01 View Post
Out of those three, I'd take the $1,200 running Saturn.
Agreed.
It is an SC2 though, so it's rated at 23/34mpg instead of the 25/36 for the SC1.

There are lots of Saturns to choose from, like the SL1 I posted above.

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