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Fuel Efficient Commuter car that is safe, reliable, comfortable, and under 10k

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I need a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient car for a long daily commute. I currently drive a 2018 Toyota Highlander that gets 22.5 mpg average. I need to increase the fuel economy. I will be commuting 45 minutes to 90 minutes each day one way depending on traffic. So two-way is really going to add up. I would like a car under $10,000k and need to be able to put 50k-100k more miles on the vehicle. No frequent repairs with good maintenance. If the car is high mileage it doesn't matter so much IF it is a make and model year that has proven to get hundreds of thousands of miles with low repair cost. Comfort would be a nice bonus. I have looked at 2013 to 18 avalons, but is 150k or 178k miles already on it going to last long enough. I am open to all suggestions. Thanks in advance!

Need minimum of 2 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 100000
Maximum age: 15 years

Maximum price: US $ 10000

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Response from mkaresh

2:33 pm November 20, 2021

I don't think any car with well over 100,000 miles is highly likely to be reliable. A high-mileage Toyota will be more reliable than a high-mileage something else, but the miles still take their toll.

The hard part with buying anything right now is that prices are very high, even crazy high. Maybe you can find someone with a car you like willing to trade for the Highlander, if you'll be getting rid of it.

For fuel economy you're going to want a four-cylinder engine or a Hybird. A Camry seems a better bet than an Avalon, but $10k for one with reasonable miles right now could be tough. Same for a Honda Accord. A quick search finds that even a 2014 Mazda6 with mileage in the low 100s might be barely possible for $10,000 right now. With a Prius, which might not deliver the comfort you'd like but which will be reliable and efficient, you'll be looking at a 2012 or older.

Is your commuting stop-and-go, or cruising on the highway without much traffic? If the former, a hybrid might be a good idea. Otherwise, just an efficient conventional engine.


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Mazda Mazda6
Toyota Prius

Response from GlenninWinnipeg

12:45 pm November 21, 2021

I bought the Elantra .. imperial gallon, even with the 147hp base engine I am getting (summer and fall) 48-53mpg in the CITY; just stunning. I got the middle model, but even the base is very well equipped. This also comes with WIRELESS android/apple interface (rare in most cars still); which is good golly fantastic. In the USA you also get the better warranty and I think included service for a bit. It won North American Car of the Year; is built on a platform intended (originally) to be for an SUV and Truck. The Elantra was refreshed in 2019, with its sister car the Kia Forte but the Forte was refreshed again (2022) whereas the Elantra they were so impressed with the new platform testing they decided to move the Elantra over to it as fast as they could. You get a slight bump on the rear middle floor due to the truck platform; salesperson said they could have removed it to be flat like most cars, but the body was so strong because of it they decided to keep it intact. Often mistaken (including by me) for the Sonota in size. No rear vents (just under seat vents);apparently due to it actually adding weight with neglible (perception) gain. Trunk is enormous too. The hybrid MIGHT be the sweet spot - here the warranty is longer (likely the same in USA) with many components.


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Hyundai Elantra
Volkswagen Jetta
Honda Civic

Response from MikeHTally

5:24 pm November 21, 2021

It's not a good idea to buy a car to save gas. Your break-even point is pretty far away. Remember, gas is only a fraction of total cost. My Escape fuel-cost-per-mile was < 1/4 of the TCO.


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Response from Sea-Dan

12:33 am November 23, 2021

This is probably true for most buyers. But it isn't true for the OP who is looking at a $10K car.
But understand that "break-even point" is a function of 3 factors (1) How many miles you drive annually (2) how long you keep the car and (3) the cost of gas. The buyer can predict the 1st two with some degree of accuracy, but not the 3rd. Years ago I thought gas price would be much higher than they are currently - I was wrong. Whether the current spike gas price spike is just temporary, permanent or just the beginnig is anyone's guess.
But then there is a certain sense of satisfaction for hybrid owners when their fuel bill is reduced by 50% !


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Response from slbenz

11:31 am November 26, 2021

I would agree, anything from Toyota or Honda would be a safe bet. Unfortunately, everyone I know that owns a Prius doesn't like it for any long commute. The Prius is noisy and doesn't have a comfortable ride for long highway drives. I test drove a couple and didn't like it as well for the very same reasons. If you are commuting, looks for a Corolla or Civic. But if comfort for your long commute is a priority, then look into either the Camry or Accord.


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Toyota Corolla
Honda Civic
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