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The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I am just looking for people that have had an older car and have had relatively few issues with it, or have had the 'common' issues but don't cost major dollarsto get repaired. I can do some wrenching myself, so easy to work on is a definite plus. I will probably own this car for about a year while I get my financial situation together. That said I also don't want to drive a death trap either...my last car was a Cougar and even with the v8 I managed to average 22mpg so that is the target for gas mileage....more is, of course, better :) I also have access to the car auction, so I am really looking for actual experiences from owners with their vehicle - I am pretty sure the auction car will have higher miles since the dealer won't sell them but getting first hand knowledge/suggestions would help ease that worry some. Thanks!

Priorities: Fuel economy / Handling / Reliability & durability

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars

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Response from mwcten

7:16 pm November 1, 2016

There are really a lot of models that would fit your bill. If you can wrench and you really want to save money, then you probably want to go compact Japanese in the $1,000-2,000 range. Check the repair data on this site for whatever model you can find cheaply and make sure that rates of needing repairs are low and that common repairs are ones that don't frighten you. You might have OK luck with Craigslist too, especially if you buy from a real person who drove and took care of the car. Granted, the Japanese compacts don't go quite as cheaply as the big domestics, but there's a reason for that (lower cost of ownership once you've bought them).

I have personal experience with Proteges, Corolla/Prizms and Honda Fits. They're all great cars; especially the Fits. Maybe you can turn up a high milage 07 or 08 for a few grand. If you look, you'll see a lot of the repairs they require are new coil packs, which you would be able to replace with OEM for $200 and an hour of your time; so not a huge deal. The Proteges have a great drivetrain and nice handling, but rust like crazy.

In this day and age, I'm not sure there is such a thing as a death trap. Actually, on Jalopnik there was recently an article on a frontal offset crash test of Nissan's base model in Mexico (a 92 Sentra; they just kept making them down there) going head to head with their base model here (Versa). The Mexican car got 0 crash safety stars; a true death trap. The Versa did OK.


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Honda Fit
Chevrolet Prizm
Mazda Protege

Response from LectroFuel

9:43 pm November 3, 2016

I have a 2016 Prius and a 2005 Prius. The only thing that I had to fix on my 2005 was the A/C blower ($300). It's super reliable! It does, however, cost a lot to fix when the battery dies (never happened to me). My Prius has 243,000 miles.

A Ford Crown Vic probably gets worse than 22 mpg, but it's super cheap to fix and they run forever.


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Toyota Prius

Response from drobertwilcox

11:00 pm November 4, 2016

I have owned my 05 Focus for 11 years and about 120,000 miles, currently at 145,000. I have done the brunt of the maintenance repairs myself including tires, wheel bearings, brakes all around, oil and filters, O2 sensors, spark plugs, and one battery. I had the door lock actuator go out once ~$250 repair at the dealership, the door is electronic lock with no mechanical connection to the key. I have more problems with the parts I used to repair it than the OEM. I would suggest purchasing OEM parts in the future like the wheel bearings and the exhaust. They do have one nasty habit of leaking vacuum out of the pcv house between the valve and the intake manifold causing a running lean code. If you are considdering a protege/mazda3 I would suggest avoiding the 04 Mazda 3, there were many engine revisions for the 05 model year.


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Ford Focus

Response from NormT

7:28 am July 18, 2017

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