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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.

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

Not sure if this is a question or not?

GTI has uniformly been praised for all sorts of reasons.Basically it is an everyman's econ, utility, cruiser, hot rod combo dream. No other vehicle comes close.
The only potential negative is historically has had some reliablity issues but new models appear to have fewer.
If it fits your needs buy it!
Disclosure: I owned a Golf S for two years - always comfortable, fun, relatively economical. No complaints, just wanted a PHEV for city driving and I get the shakes in a vehicle with no new car smell.

Hot Hatch

I drove new Outbacks for several years, but when they switched to the digital dash on the OB I switched to a Toyota RAV4 HYBRID. In my experience it is hands down better.
It tics all your boxes, plus its overall performance, fuel economy and reliability are outstanding.
While it's simular, I'm not recommending a regular non-hybrid RAV4. The non-hybrid RAV4 drivetrain is just crude compared to the hybrid.


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% !

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

  • "...We recentlyreviewed the 2021 Acura TLX Type S, a direct competitor of the CT5-V, and it doesn't seem to deliver the same level of soul-stirring enjoyment that the CT5-V does. That's partly because the Cadillac has 51 additional lb-ft of torque versus the Type S, but also because the Acura also feels heavier and less enthusiastic about in its movements..." Motor Trend

Poor Acura doesn't have a single model that is recommended today by Consumer Reports. How far they have fallen!

2021 Acura TLX Review

Hey Dfrank,

Do you still have the TDI? I bought one for my son 3 years ago after the dieselgate issues. It was reconditioned, and has a great warranty from VW. I'm wondering if you have experienced the high pressure fuel pump issues you were concerned about? That got me wondering if the pump should (could) be replaced prior to blowing up perhaps with an upgraded version.

Thanks in advance,


Still happy with Golf TDI after first 5,000 miles

I agree. I own a 2015 CLA as well and can totally confirm your comments. Only repairs are brakes and rear view camera ( but my wife has a habit of slamming down the trunk lid and I think that caused it ). I too am considering a new model or perhaps the new A Class 220.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Review (first drive)

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.

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

Wrong, 2007 Taurus were all fleet cars. I bought mine from a car rental company. Check Wikipedia.

Member Vehicle Review

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.

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

We've had our 21 Pilot for right at a year and nearly 20 thousand miles. Infotainment with Carplay and AA has had glitches, like all vehicles to be fair. Wireless phone charger is touchy. Lane departure is overly sensitive and makes us keep it off. Auto cruise works great. Wonder about the longevity of the ZF trans and Honda dream motor but iiwis. All else equal not much with more reliability in the class or segment, save the yotas with a bit more perhaps. But bigger than the comparable yotas, well at least a year ago, there's a bigger highlander now to compete with the size of a pilot I think. If you can get one. Tough market.

Honda 2021 Pilot Reliable?

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.

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

Yes there are many complaints about the lack of buttons & un-intuitive use of the infotainment system on Generation 6 Outbacks on the Generation 6 forum.
I saw one OB review a couple of months ago that simultanously cursed the OB system & praised that of the current Forester.

Although I not seen nor driven the Forester, apparently it has more manual adjustments for HVAC (and radio?). The current Forester is a very nice car just not quite as "deluxe" as the OB -- But you can get a Forester with all the features you mention . So if you like the Subaru drivetrain & utility, but are struggling with the OB infotainment system, the Forie might be just the ticket for you.

Disclosure: I currently drive a 2015 OB & have a 2022 OB on order (I wish too wish there were more manual controls for HVAC but the longer cargo area and greater comfort of the OB convinced us to get another.


I have had the following problems with the head unit:
1. It shuts down , but only when starting the car.

2. It disconnects from car play in the middle of navigating using google maps. Google maps is still operational on the phone.

3. Usage: Changing the heat or turning off the heated seat involve navigating a multiple level menu. Dangerous when driving.

4. Another usage: The path to turning on the sound is not deterministic. Some times sound does not turn on when playing a car play application. It requires that the heat unit be focused on the radio. Sometimes you can turn on.

5. If I choose to mute the sound when listening to a car play application like pandora or spotify, it will just mute not stop the music playback. Previous versions of subaru audio systems were properly synced up with car play.

Head Unit Shuts Down

Sorry for not replying sooner. It's probably best to not try to find a reliable hybrid SUV at this price--they'll be either too expensive or not very reliable--and to search for the newest / lowest miles Toyota Prius you can find within your budget. The Prius can hold plenty of stuff, tends to be very reliable, and is considerably more fuel-efficient than an SUV even if the SUV is a hybrid. If you do want something a bit larger, try to find a Prius v. A Ford C-MAX is another option that will be less expensive than a Prius, but while they drive better they're smaller inside, likely less reliable, and less fuel-efficient.

Safe, fuel efficient reliable teen suv

Nice to see your review of the Veloster N - your take is pretty close to mine, it seems.
This car seems to have been built with a very focused target audience: people that want a bare minimum of frippery wrapped around a very competent chassis and drivetrain with a little splash of weird added to the mix for flavor. The VN seems pretty thin on the ground, sadly. I wish there were just a few more of us weirdos to keep 'fun above most everything else' oddities like this being made.

2019 Hyundai Veloster N Review

Well, if you she prefers the look of the F-150 that's where the Maverick comes in.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Review

I really think this will serve its purpose. My daughter wants an F150...and I ask for what. this will do just fine. A Ridgeline would be better as it is larger overall but for the price I could just get the F150.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Review

In terms of "wow factor," I think they were smart with keeping the interior styling looking fresh and using cheap materials, at least in the low trims. Most of these cars are used as basic A to B transportation and Uber cars. For the higher trims, I think they should have upped their game more.

For some reason I love the exterior styling, except the grille. It looks much better than the old one, which looked like a rental car.

I hear a lot about Hyundai CVT failures, which is scary because they have only been using a CVT in the Elantra/Forte for a couple years now. That long warranty might come in handy.

2021 Hyundai Elantra Review

Speaking for my review, click on a "see more photos" link to see more photos, including more of the interior. The materials are at least average for this class. They're just not close to those in the expensive German cars that inspired the interior styling.

2021 Hyundai Elantra Review

The Pilot has been pretty reliable. I wouldn't worry about it's reliability. If you want the reliability of your Lexus, go with a Toyota Highlander, either hybrid or V6.

Honda 2021 Pilot Reliable?

Record it happening with your phone, verbally speak the day/time, and then show the dealer. When you show the dealer, show them the timestamp of when you took the video to prove that it was after the dealer updated the software. Not sure if that will work, as I've had horrible experiences at various dealer service centers.

This is a reliability problem, and most new cars have more problems with the infotainment and interior electronics than any other problem.

Head Unit Shuts Down


2012 Scio XD Problems

I think you'll be fine with the transmission in the QX80. It isn't a CVT.

I don't think the Toyota Highlander is having problems with the 8 speed transmission, and the 2014-2016 6 speed transmission was definitely reliable. So many cars use that same 8 speed transmission from other brands (Aisin, Toyota owns a share of this company). The Ford 10 speed is looking to be a nightmare (no surprise). I believe Chevy has a tweaked version of the same transmission, so I wouldn't trust that either. The Honda Pilot has a decent 9 speed transmission, but it doesn't shift that smoothly. They had a nice 6 speed on lower trims in 2016-2019 I think.


2016+ Kia Sorento is the only decent car you might find in your budget and requirements. You should consider an older Toyota Highlander V6 or RAV4 V6 if you want something reliable without breaking the bank. If you want the most car for your money, go for a minivan. They have a commanding view of the road and almost all of them had V6s. You could find a slightly used Town and Country or Grand Caravan in your budget. Get it inspected before buying, as they aren't the most reliable.