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Which car for a Daily Driver?; ($4000 budget)
Topic Started: Jan 10 2018, 08:28 AM (1,305 Views)
Coche Blanco
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Troll Certified

Must haves:

  • < $4000, pretty hard ceiling here
  • bulletproof transmission (manual or auto, prefer manual)
  • 30 mpg or more in realistic driving
  • A/C
  • not a convertible


I might update this list with more requirements but I'm curious what you guys would suggest.

Suggestions so far:

  • Toyota Corolla / Geo Prizm
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Suzuki Esteem 2000-2001
  • Honda Fit
  • Mazda 3
  • Mazda 626
  • Geo Metro (curse you guys)



In the spoiler window below I made a list of most all cars from 1995-2008 that achieved 25mpg city and had a manual transmission.
Spoiler: click to toggle


Edited by Coche Blanco, Jan 13 2018, 02:59 PM.
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WiscoMetro
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Seeking the Science of MPG

If I was willing to take the hit in MPG you know I'd get a Prizm/Corolla!
Posted Image
A friend of mine had one from 175 to 195k miles. He drove it pretty hard and got mid thirtys. Never required any repairs(would've needed some things if he had kept it much longer). Burned a quart every 1000 ish and he was negligent of checking it, I checked it once and it was two quarts low :O . Yet, still that car never gave him problems. He now misses it having bought his dream mustang...
Edited by WiscoMetro, Jan 10 2018, 09:12 AM.
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Turbo Dan-O
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Obsessive Car Detailer

Toyota Camry. As nice and new as you can afford.
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Cobrajet25
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Camrys or Corollas. Civic if you want it to get stolen!
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suzukitom
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Tom

Get a clean 2000 to 2001 Esteem with the J18, or Metro for about $1,500. Invest the $2,500 saved and get your initial investment back in 10 years or so.

or spend the full amount on a highway driven 4-5 year old Mirage
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snowfish
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Basic GearHead

Don't over look the Honda Fit.
Coached my daughters family into one going on 4 years ago.
Gas & go. Pulls low 30's mpg pretty easy.

Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix.
My Wife's car for the past 5 years.
Same deal, gas & go. Low 30's mpg constantly.
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aartod


Corolla... my brother in law has one with 250,000 miles on it and I had to borrow it once during a family emergency- it drove perfectly with all those miles on it and got great milage. Also my brother in law is not the type to do any (or very little) maintenance on a vehicle. That is a great way to see how a car ages, and imagine how much better it would have been with routine maintenance!
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MarkZ28


If you get a Honda with a V6, beware of the auto trans. They are about as reliable as a Dodge or a Taurus trans. Cant go wrong with a Toyota, boring but will not die.
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cwatkin


The Fit and Yaris seem to carry a premium price over the Mirage, both new and used. I think the Mirage is the best bet if you want something like a Metro that is relatively new for that price.

The Corolla is also a good bet as suggested. You might get a Camry for that price but I bet it is going to be a pretty good beater. AVOID the 2007 4 cylinders in the Camry unless you like buying LOTS of oil!

One I am going to throw in is a Mazda. We had several of these when I was growing up and they were always great cars. I don't ever really remember anything going wrong with them. My parents had several of the 2.5L V6 models and these things were pretty sweet. The auto trans on some of them wasn't ultra reliable so they always changed the fluid and never had issues with them. They also had a 626 with a 4 cylinder and a 5 speed. This was a fun car as long as you were the only one in it and you didn't have much luggage or the AC on. Otherwise it was a dud.

Conor
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Turbo Dan-O
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Obsessive Car Detailer

cwatkin
Jan 11 2018, 01:12 AM

AVOID the 2007 4 cylinders in the Camry unless you like buying LOTS of oil!
They had a recall for that. New rings, pistons and sometimes bearings. It would be a good idea to check to see if that has been done. :thumb
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cwatkin


Yes, the 2007 Camry had a recall for that but I seem to recall it was some INSANE level of oil consumption before they would act. I had a friend with one of these and it never even came close to the recall threshold. The dealer would change the oil and then have them come back after a certain number of miles to check the level. It was using well over a quart every 1000 miles as I remember and they didn't do anything. His wife was really bad about checking the oil and would sometimes offhand mention that the oil light had flickered some during her past week of driving and he would have to add several quarts of oil. Anyway, the thing started getting some pretty serious oil leaks and was traded in on a new car at this point since the front end needed a rework and the windshield was cracked as well.

I think it was traded in at a Toyota dealership so it will be up to them to fix before it can be resold.

Conor
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Horn


I've seen a few Mirages right around $4k. I've also seen a few year old versas for under $4k
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z34-5speed
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Formerly "Tech Certified"

May I suggest you NOT buy a Yaris.
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Scrapbuck
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New Member
[ *  * ]
Hey guys, new guy here, been lurking for a while ever since I picked up my 1990 XFI last year and just recently got a 1994 4-door and realized this may be more of a disease than a short-term affliction so I made an account ;) . I'll do a formal introduction asap but just wanted to give Coche Blanco a heads up on a clean Mirage that's been on craigslist a while in North Georgia. The guy just re-upped the listing yesterday and it seems like a decent deal to me.

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/d/2015-mitsubishi-mirage-de/6426302277.html
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geogonfa
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Nissan Cube, it is a weird body style, but is solid and easily repairable... :type
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