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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Okay guys, here's another car finding help thread for you! I'm getting my license next month and as most of you know, I have a Monte Carlo SS for my daily. It's great and all but I don't exactly want to drive it on rainy days too much (it's black and I'd have to wash it like every day, haha) and I have a 200 mile per school week commute so gas is kind of pricey.

So my main problem is the premium $3.50 fuel costs combined with my outrageously long commute that I can't change and the fact that I get a tank a week, giving me a 39 mile extra range (assuming i use every last vapor of gas in the tank) to do extra things after school and on the weekend. My dad offered to possibly buy me a more fuel-efficient car to drive for some of the week so that my SS doesn't have to go out every day. I know, I know. I wouldn't be saving money on fuel right away. Budget is $3000, sorry about that. But here's the criteria I'm looking for:
  • Has to be a domestic, I don't want to drive an imported vehicle (Big Three only, even if it's made in Canada/Mexico).
  • MY1995+
  • Like 17/18 city at least
  • Don't mind if it's a light truck or SUV (ie: Grand Cherokee/S10)
  • Prefer that it's not a sub-compact
Can anyone help me out? Thanks!
 

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Budget?

2003ish Ford Focus? Oldsmobile Intrigue? Chevy Monte Carlo?
About all I would add to that list is a base Regal or 4-banger Malibu.
 

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Your "main problem" is expensive gas combined to a long commute...

Considering this, if you absolutely need a domestic and have $3k... you'll have to choose between a manual Focus, a manual Neon and a manual Cavalier/Sunfire.

Just FWIW, last summer I averaged ~43 mpg on a ~3,000-mile highway roadtrip with a '95 Neon (cruise set at 70 through the flat Midwest plains). I've never owned a non-Z24 Cavalier so I can't really tell from personal experience (EPA numbers aren't really reliable for these cars) how thrifty a base model would be... as for the Focus, it should get the same kind of numbers.
 

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Well w/ 3k you may be able to squeeze out a Prizm a Saturn SL or even Focus as lio45 mentioned, but considering your price range I would definitely considering looking on EBay. They have the best deals and in my eight years as a member I've purchased 2 worry free vehicles for 1000's below wholesale. Hey it's all about gettin' the most bang for my buck.
 

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Well w/ 3k you maybe to squeeze out a Prizm a Saturn SL or even Focus as lio45 mentioned, but considering your price range I would definitely considering looking on EBay. They have the best deals and in my eight years as a member I purchase 2 worry free vehicles.
Bought a vehicle on eBay once... was extremely pleased (was actually in much better condition than described!)

You have to be ready to travel a bit to get the car though...

Why do you suggest getting a Corolla? If rmodys is ready to accept a Prizm, then his criteria are loose enough that I'll suggest getting a Civic VX hatchback (fun to drive + amazing fuel economy + reliable) and gluing a bowtie on the hood yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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GEO METRO 5-SPEEED.

In the long run, will you be saving money by buying another vehicle?

That makes for two insurance policies, two registrations, two mechanical systems to repair, two sets of tires,

At $3500 you can buy 1000 gallons of gas. If your MC is a 3.8 you should be getting 30+ MPG on the highway.
400/30=13.33 gallons + 20 MPG (town) x 5 (100 mi.) = 18.5 gal. (@ 500 mi/wk.)
The 1000 gallons of gas ($3500) should last about 54 weeks.

Say you're getting 40 MPG in your Metro, x 500 mi./week.
That's 12.5 gal x $3.50 = $43.75/wk for Metro gas. 80 weeks to run throgh $3500 in gas money. Plus the $3500 purchase price, hoping it won't need tires or mech. work.

There's more math to do, but I'd apply the "is this cost-effective?" query, as practiced by the great :bs: Robert :worship: S. :frankie: :spit: McNamara :eek: , as you build your decision matrix and see if it's going to be worth it to buy another car.

As for driving the Monte on rainy days...get over it, that's why we drive cars instead of buckboards. Roof, wipers, defroster, lights, AC...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My Monte Carlo is a 305 V8 with a four-barrel.. yeah 30MPG highway is a pipe dream. And haha, I'll drive it in the rain no problem, I'd just prefer not to.

And believe me, I've done a TON of research on this subject already and it's really not cost-effective in the short run but it'd be nice to have a car that I don't have to worry about parking far away from the stores and whatnot.

BUT another car was offered to me and I figured I'd look into it, it can't hurt to look on Autotrader! It's not like anything that I'd kill to own is going for anything less than $12K so I'm no gonna catch a bug, haha.

And other than parts, mechanic work isn't a big deal as we have the tools and knowledge to do it ourselves.
 

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I wouldn't do a Prizm, but that's just me. I could probably actually do $4500 and I noticed that I could get a pretty nice Dodge Stratus for around that price.

http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.j...ors=&transmission=&max_price=5000&cardist=117

http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.j...ors=&transmission=&max_price=5000&cardist=116
Just want to make sure I understand one of your criteria... is it:

"has to be a domestic vehicle"

or

"has to have a badge from a domestic brand on the hood"

???

Not quite the same thing. If it's the latter, then I'll heartily recommend the same 5-speed Suzuki that LAMRONH has already suggested (considering fuel economy and payback time are two important factors in your case you can't find a car more suited to your situation).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just want to make sure I understand one of your criteria... is it:

"has to be a domestic vehicle"

or

"has to have a badge from a domestic brand on the hood"

???

Not quite the same thing. If it's the latter, then I'll heartily recommend the same 5-speed Suzuki that LAMRONH has already suggested (considering fuel economy and payback time are two very important factors).
It's the latter... as in domestic nameplate. As you can probably tell from my limiting factors, I'm not too terribly excited about the entire concept but figured I might be surprised. The Dodge definitely did, nice looking design, way better fuel economy, 17 month (if i ONLY drove that) time period to break even with fuel alone (didn't include tires and other regular maintenance, not worth it at this early stage), etc.

I wish I could just get a job and solve the entire problem by supplementing my one tank a week limit. BUT jobs are off-limit as "school is my job, supporting me is my dad's job." Pretty awesome deal so I can't complain though.
 

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It's the latter... as in domestic nameplate. As you can probably tell from my limiting factors, I'm not too terribly excited about the entire concept but figured I might be surprised. The Dodge definitely did, nice looking design, way better fuel economy, 17 month (if i ONLY drove that) time period to break even with fuel alone (didn't include tires and other regular maintenance, not worth it at this early stage), etc.

I wish I could just get a job and solve the entire problem by supplementing my one tank a week limit. BUT jobs are off-limit as "school is my job, supporting me is my dad's job." Pretty awesome deal so I can't complain though.
If you live close to your friends' and the main stuff there's to do in your town, then the best scenario could be to stick with the Monte for the school commute and get a bike to go around town on weeknights...

IIRC, southwest Florida is pretty flat... and it's warm year-round... in other words, a paradise for cycling.

From May to around October, I almost never use my vehicles for city driving... I'm always cycling. It works really well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If you live close to your friends' and the main stuff there's to do in your town, then the best scenario could be to stick with the Monte for the school commute and get a bike to go around town on weeknights...

IIRC, southwest Florida is pretty flat... and it's warm year-round... in other words, a paradise for cycling.

From May to around October, I almost never use my vehicles for city driving... I'm always cycling. It works really well.
Nah, for the most part my friends live around 20 miles away from me. Most of the attractions are around 45 minutes by car so the bike is out.
 
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