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Old 08-13-2008, 11:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Looking for ideas on small AWD economy car

I'm really need to buy an inexpensive high mpg car as my DD. I drive 25K per year for a living in Colorado. Been thinking about a 90's Metro or Civic, but something AWD would be great. Any thoughts on a Subaru Justy or a Mazda 323 GTX? What other options are out there? Looking to get 30 mpg's as a minimum.

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Old 08-13-2008, 12:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've always wanted an awd justy, but they are hard to find as many people rally race them lol. But here in the U.S. market the pickings are slim in the awd econobox area. But good luck!
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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suzuki samaurai only use 4x4 when you reall need it
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Have you tried a Metro or Civic with some skinny snowtires? We have a set of 155/80R13 snowtires and basically unless you're on ice or the bottom of the car is dragging in heavy snow you are mobile.
We also have an 03 4x4 chevy tracker with snow tires and it is better for going up steep hills on ice or snow but on a highway or relatively level road there is no major difference.
I'll also say in 99% of winter driving snow tires trump AWD or 4x4 with "all" season tires. Basically hill climbing or towing on snow is where 4x4 shines.
There were AWD Camrys and Tercel wagons, I doubt the Camry would get 30 mpg but the Tercel might.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyIan View Post
Have you tried a Metro or Civic with some skinny snowtires? We have a set of 155/80R13 snowtires and basically unless you're on ice or the bottom of the car is dragging in heavy snow you are mobile.
We also have an 03 4x4 chevy tracker with snow tires and it is better for going up steep hills on ice or snow but on a highway or relatively level road there is no major difference.
I'll also say in 99% of winter driving snow tires trump AWD or 4x4 with "all" season tires. Basically hill climbing or towing on snow is where 4x4 shines.
There were AWD Camrys and Tercel wagons, I doubt the Camry would get 30 mpg but the Tercel might.
Ian
Thanks for the input. I plan on snow tires no matter what I buy. I travel through the rockies all year round and need to be able to get into some fairly remote places off the 2 lane highways in the back country. I visit many jobsites and they don't always do a good job of snow removal because most of the contractors are driving monster pickups! That's why I'm thinking AWD with snow tires. Won't need it a ton, but when I do I really do!
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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some civic wagons came with RT-AWD

They still have the potential to get some good FE because the rear only engages when the front slips. Oh, and you can find them for sub-$2000

A vx or hx motor swap and you have a capable awd vehicle that would get 45+. Keeping the stock engine I think 30+ would be pretty easy.
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looking forward to seeing what kind of uber-sipper slinks out of the full race skunkworks.

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Old 08-13-2008, 01:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A 90's Honda CRV might do 30mpg with a 5 spd. I guess my tracker is getting 28 mpg with no mods but me, it is the last of the small 4 cyl SUVs with real 4x4, if that appeals to you. 90's Kia sportages also have real 4x4 and 4 cyl motor from Mazda. I imagine it has the same efficiency as the tracker but its motor is peppier. Suzuki had an AWD Aerio and now the SX4 is AWD.

On paper 4x4 is better than AWD in low speed "not getting stuck in the rutted snow" manuevers but I've never played with an AWD car enough to say how much better 4x4 is.

Many parttime systems like the CRV require front wheel spin to bring in the back axle and then they become true 4x4 for a while, I believe all the toyota's have a manual choice between 2wd, AWD, and then locking the center dif for 4x4.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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How about something like a Dodge Colt? I dunno, just trying to think of something small and 4WD. Didnt Mitsubishi make something similar in the early 90s? Id say you want 4WD instead of AWD since you can disengage it when you dont need it and get better mileage.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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How about something like a Dodge Colt? I dunno, just trying to think of something small and 4WD. Didnt Mitsubishi make something similar in the early 90s? Id say you want 4WD instead of AWD since you can disengage it when you dont need it and get better mileage.
In my experience, all the AWD, 4x4 systems are pretty close in the amount of extra drag they create. All the parts are turning in both systems all the time weither they are transmitting power or not. I don't have the numbers in front of me but pretty much all the 4 cyl AWD and 4x4 vehicles rate very similar mpg numbers to each other, be it a subaru or a tracker or a CRV.

I like Vince's idea of the newer efficient engine in an old AWD civic but I still think it would use more fuel than we would think makes sense. 40 mpg would be hard to get I bet.
Ian
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh, and i forgot the civic wagovan also has a lever on the tranny to make it FWD only

And people have put over 400hp through the stock drivetrain

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looking forward to seeing what kind of uber-sipper slinks out of the full race skunkworks.
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