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Old 11-07-2016, 01:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What's your goal for MPG? If hp is a concern there are plenty of more powerful cars that can get into the 40's. My XFE is rated 155 hp with lifetime of 40 mpg with pretty normal driving.

That said when I had a 1990 Sentra 1.6 12 valve(90 hp?) I never thought of it as slow. 83 escort 3 spd auto was slow.

1997 Saturn SL1 sedan 100 hp 5 spd, power was never a thought, drove it faster than I do today so generally got 35 mpg.


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Old 11-07-2016, 02:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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a 1.5l Honda won't require much adjustment over any other 4 cylinder, if it's mated to a manual trans. 1.3 Geo engine probably starts pushing it, unless it's one of the later model 16 valve jobs, though that's just speculation. Gearing tends to make up for the smaller displacement.

1.5 or 1.6l is a nice size for a small (~2000lb) car, IMHO. 1.0l requires an attitude adjustment on the highway, though I rather enjoy it other than having to accelerate up a steep on-ramp.
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Old 11-07-2016, 03:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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A puny engine isn't slow... if the car isn't too heavy for it and you aren't hiding what little power you've got behind an automatic transmission.

Sure, stomping your right foot and letting cubic inches make your problems go away isn't something you can do any more, but if you're thinking about fuel economy at all, you should have left those days behind no matter what you're still driving. That said, I'm having a horrible year for mileage this year because my driving pattern changed radically. My pleasant (never thought I'd call it that) good mpg run to work in the mornings became a frantic run on the interstate between 70 and 80. Morning mpg in the high 50s turned into a struggle to keep it over 40, and I didn't see a single tank over 50 all summer.

But I could do those long, high speed runs and still turn in tanks in the 40s. Ignoring the still good mileage, I can do long, high speed runs. I can even move through traffic. You just need to pay attention to everything, predict what people are going to do and prepare yourself by getting ready to be in the right gear at the right speed at the right time. That's all.

On the plus side, when you don't need to drive like a maniac you're going to get some great mileage. On the other plus side, you can still drive like a maniac if you feel the need to. But the real adjustment is in driving for mileage- thinking ahead and taking a longer view than being first to that red light or passing that one car to be one car farther ahead in line. Once you get in the habit of conserving momentum, underpowered cars aren't underpowered- they just aren't excessively powered.
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Old 11-07-2016, 03:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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70hp in my opinion is enough to get you up to highway speeds quick. Take it from someone who went from DD a Kawasaki Ninja zx6r with some get up. Then jumping into a 67 vw bug. 40hp motor with 40 years on her, and I could get to 60 just like the best of them. Even now my 68 bus with the same style motor I can get up to 55 pretty quick. Like most have said its not such a lifestyle change its an attitude change.

70 is plenty of power
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Old 11-07-2016, 04:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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A small engine can get you up to speed fast enough if you are willing to rev it.
My '85 1.3 liter Civic was willing to rev, and so was I. We left many commuting racer boys behind. It had just a 71 hp engine, but it did not weigh much too.

The '86 VW Rabbit Deasel, that was another story. That was slow.
I got a speeding ticket because I forgot I was accelerating, it took so long that my mind wandered off (true story!)

My Insight accelerates very fast in town, but on the highway not so much. Again revving it to redline helps, except for economy.

In general small cars are fast when you go slow, and slow (to accelerate) when you already go fast.
So whether they serve you well or not also depends on what speed you prefer.

When it comes to determining the ideal speed, take a lesson from a pro:

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Old 11-07-2016, 04:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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While that 2.3L turbo is quite fun, it is by no means necessary. I've driven my uncle's S60 turbo on many occasions and it is a very quick car. Then, I'd jump into my 55 hp 1.0L Metro, not the fancy 1.3L, and get around without any issues. It probably sounds dumb to a lot of people, but the car is not slow. I've never had issues getting up to speed by the end of an on-ramp. I've also never felt 'unsafe' due to not having that extra horsepower. If you don't have enough power, downshift... its not hard.

Take the car for a test drive and make sure you hit an on-ramp or two so you can get a feel for it. I can pretty much guarantee that if you floor it you'll be well over the speed limit by the time you need to merge. So, why would you need more power (besides for fun which really isn't a 'need')?
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Old 11-07-2016, 07:24 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I just sold my 100hp, 1.6 Renault. I regularly drove it weighing 2300kg (5000lbs), it wasn't great climbing away from traffic lights, but other than that I really had no issues with the power, in fact, a lot of the time I was being held up!

100hp in a sub 1000kg car is a rocket ship.
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:01 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I drive a 90hp when new in 1990 (probably somewhat less now) 3000 pound 3 speed auto shaped like a brick every day loaded with 200-1000 pounds of mail and packages. It gets up to anything up to about 55 mph with the flow of traffic from a stop. I've only been on a freeway in one a few times and it wasn't the acceleration that was bad but the vague, 1/2 disconnected feeling steering and thin aluminum shell that made it white knuckle.
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Old 11-08-2016, 02:05 AM   #19 (permalink)
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While I'm sure there are some places that would make it really difficult to get up to speed, I haven't found one. The problems I've had in freeway driving in my Insight come from people trying to merge going 10-20mph below the speed limit. They'll be going, say, 55-60mph on an on ramp when traffic is 70-75mph and due to their poor planning it makes things difficult for them and people in the rightmost lane.

If I'm the guy already on the freeway in the rightmost lane and they merge in front of me going slower than traffic and I can't go into the left lane, I'll have to decelerate to their speed. They speed up with ease, often going into the left lane to do 10mph over the speed limit and I'm down to 60mph trying to get back up to 70mph or so which isn't fun with traffic behind you.

If I'm behind the person trying to merge going slow, that again sticks me with trying to quickly make up the difference in speed between me and traffic.

But if I'm entering a freeway I've have no issues with my extra slowness (avoiding any assist) getting up to 75mph in time to merge.
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Old 11-08-2016, 05:00 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Heh going slow isn't a problem, getting back into your weekend car with double horse power makes you feel like Jesus parting the red sea when you need to accelerate to pass to get to an exit.

**** my civic probably makes 50 whp the way I drive it and I love how it drives 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time im just to lazy to downshift to pass and that's the only time you'll actually miss the horse power

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