small car recommendations? (1 Viewer)

wildwerden

Wayfarer
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
131
Location
NY
hey ya'all ! i've currently got a jeep liberty that gets less than 20mpg and i'm looking for something smaller with better mpg (30+) that's reliable, low-maintance, cheap and popular for cheap parts. would like for it to be small enough for a 6 foot girl to curl up in the back with a medium sized dog in case of emergencies - otherwise i'm perfectly content in a hammock / barn loft. been eying a 97 / 98 honda civic that gets 35-38 mpg. i just need recommendations ! thank you !
 
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Bl3wbyyou

Wanderer
Joined
Jan 26, 2012
Messages
207
Age
33
Location
Perry,Florida
Hmmm im fancying a old mercedes diesel wagon you can snag em pretty cheaply.And parts are in just about any junkyard and surprisingly they are very easy to work on.

Plus they are true die hards and last forever practically just doing maintenance stuff is all thats to em.

I wanna get my hands on one and do a veggie oil conversion which can be done very cheaply.

Not to mention they have a shitload of room and ride amazingly too.Plus extremely comfortable.
 

travelin

Wanderer
Joined
Dec 15, 2011
Messages
322
wow i thought those critters got a lot better mileage than that!

here ive been thinking that my little escape which only gets around 26 was needing replaced by one of those liberties. no way now after looking at average mileage online.

cant help with a vehicle type for you but do want to thank you for pointing out the shitty mileage.

my friggin one ton dodge gets 24 on the highway, about 18 city when not pulling the travel trailer.
 

Scotty

Newbie
Joined
Nov 17, 2010
Messages
32
Get a pickup - You've got a cab and a 6ft bed. My 4cyl 2.3l Ford Ranger got 30+ mpg loaded.

Get a cap and a plywood bed in the back.. then you can store all your gear underneath and gain double the floor space... without sleeping ontop of your junk and being cramped up.

Compact cars have compact in-line motors and parts piled up and bolted onto eachother all over the place. This can be overwhelming if you're not familiar with engines. And can make certain tasks like simply changing a thermostat a pain in the ass.

My 2.8l Chevy V6 gets 29mpg HWY but has so much free space under the hood and looks 10 times simpler to work on than any in-line 4cyl motor.

Station wagons are great too.. but the extra height from the pickup bed floor to the cap ceiling allows you to add a 2nd floor in the back to store all your gear underneath and ultimately gain the most space out of any vehicle.
 

Scotty

Newbie
Joined
Nov 17, 2010
Messages
32
Oh too.. Automatic Transmission vs Manual Tranny/Clutch and FWD vs RWD and Foreign vs Domestic and OBD1 vs OBD2

Now this is me guessing and pooling all my experience together. And shouldn't be considered factual, but something to ask around and get opinions on yourself:

Manual transmissions seem to last forever and you may have a bad clutch that will gradually get worse.. but is driveable for years if you take it easy.
You can probably get a clutch job $100 parts + $300 labor.

Bad transmission might beat around town and knock for years but blow out the instant you drive it over 300 miles in a day. Then you're really screwed. New trannys cost a lot of money, and with the price difference, if you don't have it, you'd settle for a used tranny.

A new clutch means new clutch plate and is new and guaranteed to last. Unlike the used tranny. My bro got a new one once in the van.. rode good forward but we had to push it backwards. He then sold it to avoid further headache.
And another huge thing not to overlook is front wheel drive vs rear wheel drive.


Rear wheel is simple, cheap and rugged.. it's hard to physically bust anything. And nothing is piled on top or in the way. Cops drive RWD so they don't break anything while ramming folks off the road at 55+.

Front wheel drive is the opposite. You may need glasses one night and bust something riding off a curb. You gain better traction since the motor is setting on the drive wheels.. but a loaded down trunk or bed can work too.


I love 30+mpg pick up trucks.. but that 38 mpg Civic sounds nice.
But then I just checked out a few common wear parts.

My 93 Chevy, I can get a top of the line oxygen sensor for $17, the cheapest 97 Civic's sensor is $67. I wanted to double check on the foreign vs domestic. So I checked out a 97 Chevy cavalier.. sensor was still $17.

Too it's not bad to look at OBD1 "95 and older cars" vs OBD2 "96 and newer"
My truck would idle high and at 1 point I got 10MPG. With OBD1 I was simply able to 2 pieces of metal into my dash and read the codes telling me my IAC valve was bad.
New IAC valve for OBD1 -- $50

Car is running bad.. check engine light may or may not be on, auto part stores will scan your car for free with their $100+ digital OBD2 scanners. And a new IAC Valve costs $170 for that 97 Honda as well as the 97 Cavalier.

So.. try and consider some of this stuff too. A brand new car is great and more reliable than my 20 year old truck.. but a 10 year old beater that needs some TLC could cost 3x the amount vs the 18 year old OBD1 in the same beater condition.


I never thought of any of this until just now. I'm so dumb I bought a V6 thinking all S10s were 4cyl. The Ranger I bought while not even knowing how to drive stick. So don't take this advice over your own judgement.

So really.. if you like the car.. get it. Shit don't matter.
 

the wizard

Newbie
Joined
Aug 29, 2009
Messages
61
yeah any little 4 cyl truck is your best bet or a honda civic wagon or toyota camry wagon. more space less gas
 

ByronMc

Wanderer
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
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63
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Best to check on the availability of parts,check out the junkyards,before buying something ! Look on all the craigslist,for parts ! I have a 87 F 150,plenty of parts,everywhere !
 

Alice B Goode

Newbie
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Messages
11
Age
32
Location
Minnesota
My personal go-to vehicle and current one is a Dodge Neon. They're beater cars, you see them EVERYWHERE, guaranteed the junk yard in most states will have parts to fix the little beast.

They get the dodge knock eventually like all Dodge, but who gives a shit, right?

Parts are cheap, gas mileage is good enough to get you by (we get 300-400 miles on a tank, depending on how topped off we are!), seats 5 (you'd want to sleep in the front seat probably though, since the back seat is cramped for me at 5'6" to sleep), and they're not too expensive.

I'd personally go with the newest model, which is 2005 since they stopped making them.

Good luck in your (new to you) car search! :D
 

ByronMc

Wanderer
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
419
Age
63
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Richmond
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www.facebook.com
My personal go-to vehicle and current one is a Dodge Neon. They're beater cars, you see them EVERYWHERE, guaranteed the junk yard in most states will have parts to fix the little beast.

They get the dodge knock eventually like all Dodge, but who gives a shit, right?

Parts are cheap, gas mileage is good enough to get you by (we get 300-400 miles on a tank, depending on how topped off we are!), seats 5 (you'd want to sleep in the front seat probably though, since the back seat is cramped for me at 5'6" to sleep), and they're not too expensive.

I'd personally go with the newest model, which is 2005 since they stopped making them.

Good luck in your (new to you) car search! :D
Thanks Alice !
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
134
Location
San Diego, CA
I have a 4cyl. Toyota paseo that normally would get 30+mpg but one of the solenoids needs to be replaced, I recentely replaced the temp. coolant sensor but the thing still doesn't kick into overdrive on the highway like it should, it sometimes takes forever which is why it will now burn way more gas than its supposed to. id be willing to trade for a truck or a van, preferably a manual-Japanese 4-5cyl. , but even like so&so said , mercedes wagons are die-hards for sure, it also needs a new air intake hose, all of which wouldn't be a arm& a leg to fix but as of now im broke, So if theres anyone in MD, Baltimore/Annapolis area that might want to do a deal , id be interested, its a good commuter vehicle , just too small to sleep in.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
134
Location
San Diego, CA
Get a pickup - You've got a cab and a 6ft bed. My 4cyl 2.3l Ford Ranger got 30+ mpg loaded.

Get a cap and a plywood bed in the back.. then you can store all your gear underneath and gain double the floor space... without sleeping ontop of your junk and being cramped up.

Compact cars have compact in-line motors and parts piled up and bolted onto eachother all over the place. This can be overwhelming if you're not familiar with engines. And can make certain tasks like simply changing a thermostat a pain in the ass.

My 2.8l Chevy V6 gets 29mpg HWY but has so much free space under the hood and looks 10 times simpler to work on than any in-line 4cyl motor.

Station wagons are great too.. but the extra height from the pickup bed floor to the cap ceiling allows you to add a 2nd floor in the back to store all your gear underneath and ultimately gain the most space out of any vehicle.
ya, mine is really tight with everything connected under the hood, cus its a small Japanese car and I was thinking about getting a truck, just want to find a kind that's borderline economical for cheap with not too many problems but that can be tough
 

Scotty

Newbie
Joined
Nov 17, 2010
Messages
32
My S10 is gone now so I was researching for a 30+ mpg wagon. Fell in love with 91-96 Ford Escorts. Found one after searching for a month.

So now got the escort wagon. 35+ mpg without a fresh tune up and good cargo space and the seats fold down. Easily throw a lawn mower in the back and close the hatch.
Just picked up another Escort to trade my little sister but it's an automatic sedan. Still 30+ mpg.

So my recommendation for car is definitely the 91-96 Escort wagons .

and avoid imports if you can. Parts cost more, half are made in the U.S. Today and if you do your own work that Jap vs US craftsmanship is a myth.
 

Scotty

Newbie
Joined
Nov 17, 2010
Messages
32
Oh yeah but for truck. Any of the 4cyl trucks will get you sweet mpg and have good space.
Don't expect to be towing anything you want though.

Avoid a 6 or 8 cylinder unless you want a work truck.
The 2.8l v6 S10 was ok on gas and could still run up hill with 1,000lbs but it's towing capacity was weak so couldn't tow cars safely.
And most of the time I was just driving regular with camping gear and tools, so could of really used the better mpg.
 

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