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looking for cheap, reliable, good gas milage, please help!

autoresponse autoresponse
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 05/07
Posted: 05/18/07
10:20 AM

Hi i don't know a lot about cars, i'm looking for a reliable car to commute with.  I don't want to spend more than 5 thousand dollars if possible.  i've looked at civics and corollas but they seem to be a little more expensive.  is an older civic or corolla as reliable as a newer model of something else?  how about cavaliers, are they reliable?  What should i be looking for, thank you for any advice i really appreciate it.  

speedracer1407 speedracer1407
User | Posts: 151 | Joined: 03/07
Posted: 05/18/07
10:51 AM

It's both a blessing and a curse that the most reliable used cars are toyotas and hondas.  They hold thier value so well that by the time they're worth $5000, they're either very old, or have a lot of miles.  But rest assured that a honda or toyota used-car buy is usually a good one.  But also note that any traditionally reliable car in that price range will need some maintainence to keep it running in top shape.  Shocks, timing belts, and suspension bushings are all items that generally need replacing in the 90-100K mile range.  But there's a reason why hondas and toyotas have such a reputation: their basic mechanical parts, as well as lesser interior bits tend to last and last.  

As an alternative, consider the Hyundai Elantra and Mazda Protege.  Hyundais had a bad reputation a while back, and for a good reason.  But they've turned around big time, and in the $5000 bracket, you're looking at a 2000+ model year with 70-90K miles.  By 2000, the Hyundai elantras were considered very reliable, and because they still don't hold thier value well, they've depreciated enough that you can find newer, less-driven models for similar prices to toyotas and Hondas.  

The Mazda Protege has always been an underapreciated model, both for reliability and driving fun.  mid to late 90's models are dull to look at, but somewhat fun to drive in ES model trim, and are every bit as reliable as a Civic or Corolla.  1999+ models are a big improvement in performance and handling, and are readily available for $5000.  I owned a 2000 Protege ES and loved it.  I'm a car geek, and my "econobox" satisfied me immensly with its superior handling, rock-solid chassis feel, and utterly trouble free reliability.  OVer 95K miles, I changed the brakes twice, the coolant once, the timing belt once, had a recall on the ignition coil (warrantee), and that's about it.  And I drove the SNOT out of that car without any unexpected trouble, and without any loss of performance or solidity. A couple months after I bought the car in 2000, Car&Driver gave it 1st place in a comparison of 13 competing cars.  Thereafter, the Protege in its various trims won every comparison in C&D it was entered into except one--which featured the Mazdaspeed Protege with a hastily tuned turbo engine.  

Buying used, especially 7-10 years used, is a risk.  You can mimize the risk by buying something mentioned above.  Avoid the cavalier.  It's junk in every category.  

henry.budd henry.budd
Enthusiast | Posts: 254 | Joined: 01/12
Posted: 12/14/12
02:37 AM

Your choices are good but let me suggest you something from Ford like Fusion or Taurus. I do have my prior experience with both this Sedan and that was wonderful. Everything including handling, suspension, transmission, and mileage all are exceptionally good. You will enjoy your driving for sure. Smile
Good Luck!!  

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