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Fuel efficient commuter for college student

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I am looking for something safe and reliable. It must have bluetooth handsfree and audio streaming. I was looking at the 2014-2015 Ford Focus and the 2013-2016 Chevrolet Cruze. I am not sure which one is more reliable. I see good things and bad things about both. I drove a 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited for a month as a rental car and I absolutely love it. Is the Chevrolet Cruze more reliable than the Focus or vise versa?

Priorities: Insurance cost / Price or payments / Reliability & durability

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 40000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 12000

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Response from WildcatRudy

10:21 pm November 21, 2016

Friends of ours have a Cruze that was new back around 2013. It is already pretty much on its last legs, and it has had multiple major problems all throughout that time. My buddy just bought a new Focus last year, mainly because he had just paid off his last new Focus and had the transmission fail while on a long road trip. Nice.

I have had bad personal experiences with both Ford and GM products in the past, and the companies behind them. If given the two choices here, I'd almost go with the Focus. I would say that among the few I know who still drive "Big 3" products, the Fords seem to get the fewest complaints of the three.

Personally I'd be looking at Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, etc. Even if you go a year or two older than your range to meet your price level, you'll easily be able to put 100,000+ more miles on them with no major issues. Both of these have been made literally for decades, they are affordable to own and operate, and are both safe and fuel efficient. They might be worth looking into.


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Honda Civic
Toyota Corolla

Response from mkaresh

5:17 pm December 6, 2016

Manual or automatic transmission?

If a manual transmission, I'd definitely give the edge to the Focus. Its automatic transmission is the weak link.

Even with the automatic transmission, fewer Focus owners report repairs. The Cruze has been faring poorly in our survey.

The 2016 Civic has been glitchy, but earlier ones have been reliable. The Corolla is consistently very reliable, but otherwise isn't anything special. The Mazda3 both drives well and requires few repairs.


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Response from NormT

2:16 pm July 17, 2017

A Cruze or Volt should be under or right at your $12,000 budget. The Cruze will see close to 50 mpg on the highway at the speed limit and those Chevy Volts run forever and never need a battery replaced they are so over engineered.


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Chevrolet Cruze Limited
Chevrolet Volt
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