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Old 03-28-2011, 05:46 AM   #21
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I have always had good luck with any Toyota or Honda that I have owned. If I were to buy a new car tomorrow, it would be one of these manufacturers. Several people at work have Hyundais and they like them a lot. A fellow I work with swears by his Subaru Forester but I don't know if it is considered economical.
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:18 AM   #22
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The Smart is cute 'n' all, but be aware that it is rear-wheel drive. Might not be a good option for states that get a lot of bad or cold weather.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:58 AM   #23
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My wife and I are very happy with our 2008 Kia Rhondo so far (bought used last summer).

It was about half the price of a CRV or RAV4.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:30 AM   #24
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Almost like discussing religion and politics, you'll get an "infinite" number of replies to this question.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:38 AM   #25
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A fellow I work with swears by his Subaru Forester but I don't know if it is considered economical.
I swear by my Subaru Forester(s). I got a 1999 (>100K), 2004 (78K), and 2006 (36K) currently being driven. They get about 22 mpg with our driving (half highway). But the low maintenance cost makes up for the low mpg.

Before the Forester(s), I had the Subaru Legacy and an Imprezza - both driven over 100K. The Legacy, we gave it to a friend who drove it for 2-3 years more. The Imprezza, we traded for the 2006 Forester.

No, I did not work for Subaru.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:45 AM   #26
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Here's my thoughts, based on folks I know who own them and their experiences:

1)Honda Fit
2)Honda Civic
3)Toyota Corolla
4)Nissan Sentra
5)Hyundai Elantra
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:18 PM   #27
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You can get a honda CRV for the low $20,000 range . They get great mileage and are very roomy .
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:47 PM   #28
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Buying a new car every few years is one of the worst threats to keeping a retirement portfolio intact. It's an expense you want under control and predictable.

Personally, I wouldn't consider anything but a Japanese car for reliability, durability, and longevity. Ford may have had some recent success with short-term reliability, but that company in the past has never been known for making long lasting cars. Just look at Consumer Reports over the years. (I really don't want to make Ford owners mad, but this is my opinion based on the facts.)

In my case as I'm about to retire early (59), I want a car that lasts a long time and requires little maintenance and few (if any) repairs. I have a 1990 Camry that fits this need, and it's still going strong after 21 years. It's rusting a bit, but for a 20k hit to the portfolio, I can't justify getting rid of a perfectly running car just for shiney new looks.

For me and everything I've read, Toyota's will last forever without major repair, and have always been extremely reliable. American car companies are still not up to par, and German cars are pretty awful in their reliability (Consumer Reports again).
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:02 PM   #29
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<< Looking at Edmunds True Cost to Own, the following makes/models seem to be suggested: Ford Fiesta; Nissan Versa; Toyota Yaris; Honda Civic; Smart Car; Nissan Sentra. Anyone have experience with these vehicles? >>

I bought a 2009 Nissan Versa. I get 30 mpg on my work commute, which is 80 percent hiway. Has a hatchback, good for transporting fairly large items. No problems yet, after 32,000 miles. Knock on wood. Acceleration is pretty good, if you floor it. Looks cute, IMO.

Test drove a 2009 Honda Civic. Loved it, except for its low profile. Didn't want to bottom out on snowdrifts.

Test drove a 2009 Toyota Yaris. Liked it enough to go in to the dealer expecting to buy it, but the dealer did a "bait and switch" at the last minute so that ruined my thing with Yaris.

Test drove a 2009 Nissan Sentra. OK, but the handling was too heavy, wobbly, and leany.

Try a Hyundai Elantra. Cheap price and 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty. Great handling. I almost bought one, but it didn't come in a hatchback. My gf bought a Hyundai Elantra. It's a good sturdy car. She does not track her mpg, so can't help you there.

Good luck.

They do have a Elantra hatchback... Elantra Touring... they are really two different cars with the same name....

We own an Elantra and I think the newer one is much better than ours... we have a 4 speed and get about 26 to 27 MPGs... the new one has a 6 speed...

My wife loves the car and drives a lot... for the price etc. etc.... I would buy another Hyundai before I went with Toyota or Honda...


Now, ask me in 5 to 10 years and my story might change... but so far, we have 18K miles and have not paid anything for service... (the dealership gave us two free oil changes and when I had the third one done they just gave me the keys and said thanks for coming by)... We did have one problem where my son kicked his soccer ball into the side mirror and it would not work... we told them when we took it in, but it was covered under warrenty...
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:04 PM   #30
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In my case as I'm about to retire early (59), I want a car that lasts a long time and requires little maintenance and few (if any) repairs. I have a 1990 Camry that fits this need, and it's still going strong after 21 years. It's rusting a bit, but for a 20k hit to the portfolio, I can't justify getting rid of a perfectly running car just for shiney new looks.

For me and everything I've read, Toyota's will last forever without major repair, and have always been extremely reliable. American car companies are still not up to par, and German cars are pretty awful in their reliability (Consumer Reports again).
I presume that at some point you may be hard-pressed to find parts, no?
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:13 PM   #31
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I presume that at some point you may be hard-pressed to find parts, no?
Good point. Parts I would have thought could be a concern. But Toyota has been very good in keeping parts available (at the distribution center but not in stock) for this 21 year old car. The only special order annoyance for an everyday part is the air filter, but the independent auto shops in the strip malls around here always carry a version of it.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:09 PM   #32
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my significant other has a Hyundai Sonata (09), my daughter a Hyndai Elantra (10), and i a Hyndai Elantra Touring (11) ... we have previously owned Toyotas, Hondas, Subarus. AND there are deals to be had (suggest using Truecar.com) ... each of the Hyundais were purchased at less than dealer invoice. Hyundai gives a great value, imho.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:33 PM   #33
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Personally, I wouldn't consider anything but a Japanese car for reliability, durability, and longevity. Ford may have had some recent success with short-term reliability, but that company in the past has never been known for making long lasting cars. Just look at Consumer Reports over the years. (I really don't want to make Ford owners mad, but this is my opinion based on the facts.)
That's funny, I've been getting Consumer Reports since the late '70's, and I don't remember them having articles about how long a particular make or model "lasts".
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:24 AM   #34
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... I don't remember them having articles about how long a particular make or model "lasts".
I'm guessing that's because Consumer Reports is aware a car will last as long as you repair it when (not if) it breaks.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:27 AM   #35
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I'm guessing that's because Consumer Reports is aware a car will last as long as you repair it when (not if) it breaks.
Until it rusts, anyway.

I saw the first signs of rust on my 03 subie this weekend. It will take a few years to get serious enough for me to consider letting go, but that marks the beginning of the end.
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:25 AM   #36
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Until it rusts, anyway.

I saw the first signs of rust on my 03 subie this weekend. It will take a few years to get serious enough for me to consider letting go, but that marks the beginning of the end.
If you live below the snow belt, rust isn't on the list of 'car killers'. Just ask the folks down in Cuba.
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:40 AM   #37
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A few points.

1-Surprised nobody mentioned the VWs. Fit and finish is higher IMHO. Golf TDI, is a better option than a Prius. In Europe, the new diesels outsell the hybrids by a huge margin.

2-Yaris is dated and getting poor reviews overall.

3-Elantra is getting excellent reviews

4-New Ford Focus is not american, but from Europe.

5-Decent horsepower and good fuel economy is a contradiction. Horsepower is directly related to fuel consumption. For example I had a very small sports car that could generate 330hps. It was harder on gas than my V8 truck if I drove it fast. But I understand what the OP was asking...good fuel consumption and not a complete dog.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:19 AM   #38
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A few points.

1-Surprised nobody mentioned the VWs. Fit and finish is higher IMHO. Golf TDI, is a better option than a Prius.
I used to work in a VW dealership, and those cars were disasters, more electrical problems than you could shake a stick at. I know some who swear by them, but the high maintenance isn't worth it. Audis are even worse. Things have gotten somewhat better but VWs still get low marks for cost of ownerships If you want boring and reliable, I would go with Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, or Honda.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:27 PM   #39
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That's funny, I've been getting Consumer Reports since the late '70's, and I don't remember them having articles about how long a particular make or model "lasts".
I've been reading CR also for that long, and they always had reliability ratings for prior year models. Each model is summarized under "predicted reliability" for the most recent 10 years, I believe. "Lasts" and "reliability" equate to the same concept. You can use common sense to make the connection.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:36 PM   #40
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used Hondas

Have bought 5 used Hondas in the past 5 years. 2007 Honda CRV for around 16k, 2009 Honda CRV for around 18k, 2008 Honda Pilot for around 22k. We also had bought 2004 Honda Accord a few years ago for around 16k. All were Honda certified used vehicles. All had low to medium mileage and all run great. No problems at all. I found all of them on autotrader.com.
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