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    Thread: You have $7k to drop into a family hauler that gets good mileage and has low operating cost. What do you buy?

    1. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 09:54 AM #1
      I'm kind of thinking a Fusion with a 5 speed. Good mileage (from the 4 cylinder).

      Or I could go the traditional Camry route.

      Impalas get good highway mileage and have tons of room and are pretty reliable. What else?

      The car has to be comfortable, even if its small. I really liked my buddy's 08 Focus 5 speed and we put all 4 of us in the car for a 6 hour road trip, and that wasn't bad at all. Even had a rear facing car seat at the time.

      We're trying to cut down our monthly auto budget, and if I could get into a car that will be trouble free for a lot of miles and have no car payment, that would free us up to save up for something a bit more fun in a few years.

      Your input, TCL?



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    2. Member Daskoupe's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 09:56 AM #2
      a well maintained jetta or golf with a 2.0 and a 5 speed is that price.Thats the most problem free vw
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    3. Member AdrockMK2's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 09:57 AM #3
      The best Honda Accord $7k can buy.

    4. Senior Member Aonarch's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 09:58 AM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by AdrockMK2 View Post
      The best Honda Accord $7k can buy.
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      05-04-2012 10:04 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by AdrockMK2 View Post
      The best Honda Accord $7k can buy.
      Make sure it's a 4 cylinder though.

    6. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:04 AM #6
      You know, I would, but I've always been disappointed by real-world Accord fuel economy. And I don't know that they offer more than an equally priced Camry.
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    7. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:06 AM #7
      Ooh, this looks promising.

      http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/2994119856.html

      Chris
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    8. Member Dr. Woo's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:10 AM #8
      So by "family hauler" you mean a sedan? Usually people mean minivans and the like.

      The Accords and Camrys will do it for sure, but definitely take a look at the Fusion if you can find one with a stir-it-yourself, like you mentioned. They're a great bargain.
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    9. 05-04-2012 10:28 AM #9
      I am in the same spot and I am struggling to find a Fusion for that price. What about a Focus Wagon?

    10. 05-04-2012 10:35 AM #10
      I've only seen/drive one 5 speed manual Ford Fusion...so I can imagine them being hard to find. If I was in this situation, i'd be looking at the best example of a 9-3, 4-cyl Accord, 4-cyl Camry, early/mid 2000's Maxima I could find.
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    11. Member compy222's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:40 AM #11
      impala is a great hauler. big, decent mileage, comfy, reliable, etc.

      i would also consider a forester or outback if you want/need AWD. just get one that has had the headgaskets done!

      accord and fusion are nice, but a bit smaller.
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    12. 05-04-2012 10:41 AM #12
      Honda Accord. The V6 with the auto tranny suck though.

    13. Member Dan92SLC's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:41 AM #13
      There is a 2003 SVT Focus silver 5 dr near me for $7. It has only 20,000 miles on it!

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      05-04-2012 10:47 AM #14
      7th gen Accord 6spd

    15. Member zaYG's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:49 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by corrago View Post
      Make sure it's a 4 cylinder though.
      Why?

      7th gen Accords with the V6s are awesome cars. I'd dare say...fun. As long as you get the six speed.
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    16. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:50 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by zaYG View Post
      Why?

      7th gen Accords with the V6s are awesome cars. I'd dare say...fun. As long as you get the six speed.
      And can't be had for my price range. Might as well through STi's in there.

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    17. Member AlBeezy36's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:52 AM #17
      What about something like this:

      99 Lexus ES300.

      http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/cto/2971599541.html

      Senor's thread about the previous gen ES's got me pondering.
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    18. Junior Member Enderwaves's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:56 AM #18
      I'm gonna chime in for the Fusion. We had one for about a year (company car). The fleet version was well appointed, and the interior was simply amazing for the price point. I really like what Ford is doing these days. We took a lot of road trips in it, and it always got just over 35 mpg, with the automatic. The 4 cyl was healthy and it was a fun car to drive. I would definitely look at buying one if that's what I was in the market for. I was definitely sad to turn it back in. For what I thought was going to be an incredibly boring car, it was really nice.

      The one down side was the sync system, which was sort of nice, but often led to my significant other yelling at the "the b- who lives in my car".
      Don't get nervous.

    19. Member zaYG's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 10:59 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by 200HP4dr View Post
      And can't be had for my price range. Might as well through STi's in there.

      Chris
      My friend bought a mint 03 Coupe for less than your price range. I'm sure you could definitely find one if you looked around. The 4 cylinder is still a great option either way.
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    20. Member SpecialFX's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:00 AM #20
      I'd probably try to get the lowest mileage protégé 5 I could find. Reliable, economical, cheap to fix, good handling, and I like hatchbacks
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    21. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:03 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Daskoupe View Post
      a well maintained jetta or golf with a 2.0 and a 5 speed is that price.Thats the most problem free vw
      But then you end up with a compact, not a midsize, with less power, more years, and more miles than a domestic, with more long-term reliability question marks.

      It'd fit his requirement for comfort, but I'm not sure he's best served with that, especially with a rear facing car seat.
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    22. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:03 AM #22
      I'd get a Mazda6. Only real drawback compared to anything mentioned thus far is shorter rear legroom. Depends how tall your family is. Check carefully around the door frames for rust if you get an early model, otherwise they're my default pick for a midsize sedan.

      With the QR25 powered Altima I'd be suspect of the engine's long-term durability. I've heard a few horror stories of the cats breaking up and cat substrate getting sucked into the engine. Symptoms start with an intermittent OBD code for the cat, and before you know it you're burning a quart of oil every 500 miles. A VQ35 should be okay, but then you've given up some fuel economy.

      Accords and Camrys are overpriced. $7k in my area gets you a '98-'02 era Accord or a '97-'01 era Camry, which was pretty much the nadir of those two cars' history. I'd much rather have an '03-'07 Accord than an '02-'06 Camry; there's nothing wrong with the Camry, but there's nothing about it that outclasses the Accord, either, and the Accord is just a better driver.

      The Fusion's just a bigger, softer 6, with the same 4cyl powertrain, built on the same production line, so if the 6 is too small for you, I can't disrecommend the Fusion.
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    23. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:06 AM #23
      Just to throw out an idea....first-gen Pontiac Vibe. It's not amazingly efficient (~32-33mpg with manual) and nor is it a great drive (no worse than an Impala, though), but it's supernaturally reliable, spacious for four and luggage, capable of carrying a carseat with room to spare.

      I keep trying to justify buying something else for my daily driving, but my '03 has 77,500 miles on it and has required absolutely nothing but standard wear items, gas, and 5000 miles oil changes for its entire operational life. For around town, it's great.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Marshmallow Man View Post
      The Terror Grill: Part restaurant, part amusement attraction, part gladiator arena, all profit.
      ARE YOU NOT SATIATED?!?!?!

    24. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:09 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      Just to throw out an idea....first-gen Pontiac Vibe. It's not amazingly efficient (~32-33mpg with manual) and nor is it a great drive (no worse than an Impala, though), but it's supernaturally reliable, spacious for four and luggage, capable of carrying a carseat with room to spare.
      That's a good one. It's a throwback to the old '80s Japanese tall wagons.. they were great family cars if economy was a priority.

      My 2001 Corolla with that engine and 4-speed auto once got 38mpg on a highway trip. It would've been over 40 but climbing hills forced it to drop to third gear.
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    25. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:18 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by AKADriver View Post
      That's a good one. It's a throwback to the old '80s Japanese tall wagons.. they were great family cars if economy was a priority.

      My 2001 Corolla with that engine and 4-speed auto once got 38mpg on a highway trip. It would've been over 40 but climbing hills forced it to drop to third gear.
      It's not a mountain car. My parents live at 7500 feet, where its 130hp is probably reduced to about 90 due to altitude, and you've got to flog the bitch like it's wearing a gimp mask on the last gentle uphill before their highway exit. But it's got some pep around town.
      Last edited by Turbio!; 05-04-2012 at 11:21 AM.
      IPRO Meat-Director and High Minister of Terror-Grilling

      Quote Originally Posted by Marshmallow Man View Post
      The Terror Grill: Part restaurant, part amusement attraction, part gladiator arena, all profit.
      ARE YOU NOT SATIATED?!?!?!

    26. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:19 AM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by das internet View Post
      1. Yes but was it worth losing the mattress? i.e. can you sleep in it?
      2. 32 mpg with the AC on in mixed driving is GOOD.
      Nah, if I need to sleep in the car, my 4Runner is where it's at.

      And no, that 32-33 is highway, not mixed. And for godsake not on hills, it swills gas like a funny car on Vail Pass.
      IPRO Meat-Director and High Minister of Terror-Grilling

      Quote Originally Posted by Marshmallow Man View Post
      The Terror Grill: Part restaurant, part amusement attraction, part gladiator arena, all profit.
      ARE YOU NOT SATIATED?!?!?!

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      05-04-2012 11:21 AM #27


      Now go get your shinebox

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      05-04-2012 11:30 AM #28
      Honestly for a family hauler it really is hard to beat a Camry. Great MPG's, plenty of room and storage and you can't kill them. For me I would go a different Rt.




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    29. 05-04-2012 11:32 AM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      Just to throw out an idea....first-gen Pontiac Vibe. It's not amazingly efficient (~32-33mpg with manual) and nor is it a great drive (no worse than an Impala, though), but it's supernaturally reliable, spacious for four and luggage, capable of carrying a carseat with room to spare.

      I keep trying to justify buying something else for my daily driving, but my '03 has 77,500 miles on it and has required absolutely nothing but standard wear items, gas, and 5000 miles oil changes for its entire operational life. For around town, it's great.
      x2
      I have a first gen Matrix with just over 70k. Only thing I have replaced were oil, brake pads and the ECM*recalled for poss. of cracking*.
      I have yet to see less than 30mpg average, even with our speed limits on the highway 75/80mph.
      Hauls more than one would expect and easy to clean out if you use it for a home depot run.

      Quote Originally Posted by das internet View Post
      1. Yes but was it worth losing the mattress? i.e. can you sleep in it?
      2. 32 mpg with the AC on in mixed driving is GOOD.
      Yes you can sleep in it depending on size. The rears fold flat and the passenger front seat also folds flat.
      I have used it as a camping vehicle a few times.
      Last edited by Air-over-water; 05-04-2012 at 11:35 AM.

    30. Member Rabbit5GTI's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:34 AM #30
      PM zaYG, he may be interested in selling you his 9-5

    31. Member zaYG's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:35 AM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by Mosbius Designs View Post
      PM zaYG, he may be interested in selling you his 9-5


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      05-04-2012 11:38 AM #32
      I just bought a one-owner 2001 Maxima SE (leather, BOSE and Auto A/C) and only 69k miles for $6,300.

      Dealer serviced since day 1... garaged.

      Some pics when I picked her up:







      Last edited by XM_Rocks; 05-04-2012 at 11:41 AM.

    33. Member 01tj's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 12:05 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by XM_Rocks View Post
      I just bought a one-owner 2001 Maxima SE (leather, BOSE and Auto A/C) and only 69k miles for $6,300.

      Dealer serviced since day 1... garaged.

      Some pics when I picked her up:




      Nice pick up. What is auto AC, climate control?

    34. Member Rabbit5GTI's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 12:10 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by XM_Rocks View Post
      I just bought a one-owner 2001 Maxima SE (leather, BOSE and Auto A/C) and only 69k miles for $6,300.

      Dealer serviced since day 1... garaged.
      Ooohhh. I had a huge crush on these cars when they came out. Nice find

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      05-04-2012 12:17 PM #35
      Those maxes were very nice. Mileage is mid twenties though.

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