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Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car #5303203 12/24/19 11:36 AM
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MoPowa Offline OP
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Hello all, was looking for a recommendation for a car. I put at least 3,000 miles a month on the car I'm driving now going to national forests, national parks, little towns...just exploring, hiking, fishing, things like that.


I'm looking for a car with the following features:

-At least 35 mpg highway, and higher would be GREATLY appreciated. This is the highest priority.

-Have a known track record of dependability and reliability.

-Be easy to work on/repair. I'm often in the middle of nowhere, and to be able to at least repair it enough to limp it into town is critical.

-Not have dealer only/online parts. Would definitely want to be able to source parts from AutoZone/Napa...(see above point)

-Would prefer a hatchback or wagon, but it's not critical.

I'm budgeting 10 thousand, but if I can pay less, I wouldn't complain at all. I'm not concerned about looks or extra features, just looking for the best vehicle for the application.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the long post. Hope everyone has a great holiday season!

Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303215 12/24/19 11:46 AM
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Ws6 Offline
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Hmmm.... price vs. mpg puts you in Prius V territory. Planned use vs price puts you in used subaru outback territory.

Also consider a 2013-14 cx5 with the 2.0L and awd.

Last edited by Ws6; 12/24/19 11:47 AM.

2019 CX5 Grand Touring Reserve
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303217 12/24/19 11:48 AM
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bullwinkle Offline
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I'd be thinking Toyota Corolla, but I'm sure others will chime in. My 1st gen xB has been really good, but most of them are getting really old & long in the tooth now (last built in '06), & it's never gotten 35 MPG highway due to very low gearing. A Yaris wouldn't be a bad choice either.


06 Ram 3500 CTD 4X4(FG Venturi), 89 F-450 7.3, 98 XJ 4.0(XG8A), 05 xB(XG3600), 18 Transit 3.7 (MC), 03 Merc Grand Marquis 4.6 2V(XG2), 11 Express 3500 6.0 (Fram PH10060 for now)
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303221 12/24/19 11:51 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
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PimTac Offline
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Subcompact? Compact? Midsize?

I like the suggestion of a Mazda with the 2.0. Those get excellent fuel economy.

A Toyota Corolla could be another good selection.


2017 Mazda CX5
Valvoline Advanced Synthetic 0w20
Roki OEM filter.
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303224 12/24/19 11:53 AM
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MoPowa Offline OP
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The vehicle that's currently filling this role is a Subaru legacy. I'm very seriously considering trading this for a new vehicle because of the above points (Max 32 mpg, problems sourcing parts for repairs, etc.) I haven't run into an issue yet where I felt the awd was necessary ( if that helps with the recommendations). I will definitely look into the Prius and cx5, those weren't on my radar. Thanks!

Last edited by MoPowa; 12/24/19 11:59 AM.
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303232 12/24/19 11:56 AM
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MoPowa Offline OP
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In regards to size, I'm completely impartial. I can work with just about any size. Thanks for all the great recommendations! This is really helpful! Any other recommendations, please feel free to drop them off!

Last edited by MoPowa; 12/24/19 11:57 AM.
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303236 12/24/19 11:59 AM
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wag123 Offline
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Originally Posted by MoPowa
I'm often in the middle of nowhere, and to be able to at least repair it enough to limp it into town is critical.
There are several vehicles that will meet your other requirements, but this particular requirement is going to be problematic on today's vehicles. When they break down there isn't very much you can do on modern vehicles in the field to get them to limp home. The best you can really do is to purchase a vehicle with known history of very high reliability, and then do fastidious maintenance on it to help prevent it from breaking down in the first place.
Also, there aren't really any CUVs on the market in your price range that will achieve your 35mpg requirement. Even the reliable Corolla based Matrix is not going to hit 35mpg. The Prius V would meet your economy and reliability requirements, but they are not particularly easy or inexpensive to work on if you do have problems with it, many parts are dealer only, and finding a good one in your price range is going to be problematic because the people that have them are not getting rid of them. Inexpensive wagons are all but gone (Subaru being the lone holdout). What you are left with is a hatchback car and most of them are in the subcompact size class.

Last edited by wag123; 12/24/19 12:22 PM.
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303239 12/24/19 12:01 PM
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panthermike Offline
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Hard to beat a Corolla in regards to simplicity and reliability. I like the pre CVT models.


'17 Armada Platinum; RGT 0w20, 52K
'19 Ram 1500; RGT 5w20, 15K
'70 F100; Valvoline 15w40
Biotech For All
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303242 12/24/19 12:03 PM
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PimTac Offline
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Originally Posted by MoPowa
The vehicle that's currently filling this role is a Subaru legacy. I'm very seriously considering trading this for a new vehicle because of the above points (Max 32 mpg, problems sourcing parts for repairs, etc.) I haven't run into an issue yet where I felt the awd was necessary ( if that helps with the recommendations). I will definitely look into the Prius and cx5, those weren't on my radar. Thanks!



The CX5 gets pretty good fuel economy but it might not get 35mpg. I’ve gotten that with mine during summer highway driving but 32-33 is normal for some parts of the year. The CX3 would have the 2.0 and that gets closer to 40mpg. That’s a hatchback too which you mentioned as a preference.


2017 Mazda CX5
Valvoline Advanced Synthetic 0w20
Roki OEM filter.
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303267 12/24/19 12:23 PM
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Alfred_B Offline
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A used Corolla

Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303274 12/24/19 12:27 PM
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maxdustington Offline
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That's why I bought my Tercel: 20th century Toyota + nothing to go wrong. It doesn't even have ABS, or a front sway bar.

I dropped my Scangauge and broke it, else I would have a real MPG figure. A $40 CAD tank of gas lasts like two weeks of city commuting + errands.

I put new struts on it and it looks like a 4x4, combining that with a 2000lb curb weight and 155/55/R13s make it awesome in the snow, even with junk tires. I think it would be OK on a muddy dirt road.

I think you probably want something more refined for 10k, but if MPG is top priority that's what I would suggest. Buying gas is an afterthought for me now.


99 Toyota Tercel CE 5EFE/C151
PUP 5W30/Ultra
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303275 12/24/19 12:33 PM
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JLTD Offline
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RAV4 hybrid? AWD and rated 34 highway.


Lates.
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303281 12/24/19 12:40 PM
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The Critic Offline
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Originally Posted by MoPowa


-Be easy to work on/repair. I'm often in the middle of nowhere, and to be able to at least repair it enough to limp it into town is critical.

-Not have dealer only/online parts. Would definitely want to be able to source parts from AutoZone/Napa...(see above point)

The days of being able to source "most" parts from an AZ/NAPA are long gone. Modern cars have a lot of dealer only parts.


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 206K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
2007 Honda Accord 2.4L - 144K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303282 12/24/19 12:43 PM
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ondarvr Offline
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The CX5s aren’t going get 35 easily, and a good used one for under 10,000 would be tough. A CX3 will just maybe get there. A Mazda 3 will do it, my daughter has one and does what you plan to do frequently.

Subarus are a definite no, I’ve had several, too many chronic issues, especially in the sub $10,000 range. Great cars when they don’t need costly repairs. They won’t hit 35 mpg.

Corollas and Civics tend to hit the mileage, cost, reliability and simplicity requirements.

These smaller cars are ok to drive, but don’t expect quiet comfort for long days of cruising.

Re: Looking for a reliable, fuel efficient car [Re: MoPowa] #5303286 12/24/19 12:46 PM
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IronMaidenRules Offline
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IMO, Corolla, Yaris, Fit or Mazda anything.


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