Long commuting vehicles, ideas, feedback.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by kellen, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #1
    So I may have a long commute ahead of me in the near future. Currently have a 2000 jeep cherokee that I will keep and use in the meantime. Gets 20 mpg on freeway. Can't move closer, public transportation is out of the question, the start time is too early. However that means no traffic. It's a great job for a new graduate and pay is excellent. Could continue with the jeep but it doesn't make sense. Will keep the jeep for winter commuting.

    New commute if I take this job is 65 miles each way all highway. Time driving doesnt bother me, I rather like it due to satellite radio and audio books. However 20 mpg isn't going to cut it. Want something minimum in the high 30's for mpg.

    So I have been considering a Prius, golf tdi, civic hybrid or civic hx or 2006+civic or mini (all manual if available) for the commute. Any other vehicles I should look at?

    Would like to keep it below 25k. Keep going back and forth on new vs used due to the miles I am going to be putting on it and the depreciation.

    Anyone have any ideas for a different car? Any feedback on the ones I listed? Heard vw reliability is not the greatest and the hybrid kind of worries me as some people report not getting that much better mpg than civics.

    Cliffs: 65 mile commute each way, need a fuel sipper.
     
  2. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #2
    You may not like the idea, but a Smart car?

    Owners rave about them, once the culture shock diminishes.
     
  3. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #3
    Might not be a terrible idea considering you plan on keeping your Jeep. They're actually not that small.
    They opened up a Fiat dealer in my area; the 500C is pretty nice. I'm not sure how much they run for or what the fuel efficiency rating is though.
    It might be cheaper in the long run to just buy a common brand (like Toyota/Honda) instead of buying something newly introduced like Fiat.
     
  4. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #4
    If you aren't going to drive the car for fun, I would recommend an automatic rather than a manual gearbox. Manuals are great until you end up sat in traffic!

    I have an A3 2.0TDI, which is essentially the same as the Golf you listed. I would highly recommend it. It has a good mix of performance and economy.
     
  5. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    #5
    If it's just a commute car, why even spend 25k$ on it ? Just get a used sub-compact, like a Hyundai Accent or Toyota Yaris, spend less than 10k$ on it and call it a day.

    Seriously, 25k$ is over spending for a commute only vehicle.
     
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #6
    We have a pair of Smart cars. They don't hold much cargo, but if you are just commuting it'll be fine. (That said - the two of us go on week-long road trips frequently. Lots of room for luggage, not so much for my wife to buy weaving looms, floor lamps, side tables - I think it's a plus feature.)

    They are big inside. Bigger than anybody thinks. One of the features of the Smart cars is that they are tall - so you don't feel overwhelmed by bigger cars as much as you would in a shorter but longer vehicle. If nothing else, just take one for test drive and you'll see what I mean. We feel safe in them even with a bunch of trucks on the highway. They have electronic traction control, so are good on slick roads.

    They can easily cruise at 120kph for hours. Though in Philly that may not be a concern.

    At least around here, it is common to see Smart Car parking spots in prime locations (technically for micro cars and motorcycles).

    Downside is that they have no clearance.... so when it snows they need a cleared road. But if you have a jeep for foul weather that won't be concern. On the plus side - you won't be asked to drive a bunch of co-workers to lunch.
     
  7. kellen thread starter macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #7
    The smart car is out for me. I couldn't do it.

    This isn't just a commuting car, but will be driven every day for any use. I wanted a new car, but if I take this job the car will have to serve double duty and the higher the highway mpg the better. So my 3 series or a5 is out of the question.

    I keep thinking of used 10k car, ie civic hx or ex or similar or a new car like golf tdi or prius for 25k. Either one doesn't bother me. Since this will be driven every day in nice weather it would be nice to have a new car. Also would be nice to save 10-15k.

    Just wondering if someone had some ideas i haven't considered.
     
  8. SDub90 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    Long Island
    #8
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    You're not going to really save money by buying an additional vehicle. You'll save yourself $2500/year at most (probably closer to $1500) and that's just on fuel. I don't know how much your insurance is and what kind of coverage, but you'll pay a little extra for the additional vehicle.

    If you really want to save money, sell your jeep and get a used (reliable - Honda, Toyota, Hyundai) car with the money.

    If you're just looking for an excuse to get another car:

    Project car: any VW tdi and convert it to vegetable oil (not difficult, did it wig a few friends on their cars while I was in high school).

    Cheap cars: look at a fit/yaris/fiesta/versa type car and go with a base model

    Funner cars: I love subarus, so I'd say go with an impreza. I drove a mini Cooper a few yard ago and it was fun, so was the smart car.

    And just to throw this out there, you can also look at the civic HF or GX. The GX uses compressed natural gas, so fueling may be a pain and only goes a little over 200 miles per tank (may have changed, that was in 2007 when I was buying a car). You can fuel up over night at home though with a kit.

    Logical recommendations (in this order, to sum up my post):

    1. Sell your jeep, buy used
    2. Keep your cheap
    3. Buy the cheapest new car you can find.

    The first 2 options are the only way you'll save money, the third option will take a few years for it to be worth it. A civic HF or GX will pay for itself much quicker than the remaining options.

    I know I didn't narrow it down much, but I think I laid out most of your options to give some perspective.

    Edit: this took me nearly 30 minutes to write on my phone, a lot more has been said in the time it took to post this.
     
  9. fireshot91 macrumors 601

    fireshot91

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    Northern VA
    #9
    The new 2012 Hyundai Elantra. It's rated to get about 40mpg on highway, and about 30 on city. And on the plus side, it's not that expensive. You could get a base model for around $17k.

    I'm sure the resale value will suck though. :p

    Personally, I'd stick with a Civic. Can't go wrong. Has one of the highest resale values, basically no upkeep, isn't bad of a drive, is cheap, and gets great fuel-mileage.
     
  10. KnightWRX, Aug 7, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011

    KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    #10
    $17k for a Elantra ? What a rip-off. They start lower than that here.

    Then buy it used when it already took its depreciation hit. A 2 year old Hyundai is plenty reliable and very affordable. The Accent and Elantra are both very economical to drive.

    Civics are too expensive on the 2nd hand market.

    It's a commute vehicle. Get it used. My commute vehicle is a 2003 Subaru POS. My new "fun" vehicle is a $22k Harley davidson that keeps siphoning my wallet (Obviously, I summer commute with the Harley though, since it's much cheaper on gas and parking).

    EDIT : Just to clarify, I consider any vehicle not driven for sheer pleasure (ie, it's the journey not the destination type driving) to be a commute vehicule. I use the Subaru "daily" for shopping and when I need more cargo than the Harley provides, it's still just a commuter to me).
     
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #11
    Our Smart cars are our everyday cars. Trips, shopping, etc. Long enough to take a hockey stick tucked between the seats. Big enough in the back to take a hockey bag or, I'm told, golf clubs.

    Just go drive one around a bit before you decide.

    My Smart car is the cabriolet (convertible). It's fun to drive and good on gas.
     
  12. quagmire, Aug 7, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011

    quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #12
    Chevy Cruze Eco which gets 42 MPG HWY with the stick or 39 MPG with the auto( if you get a 2012 model) and has a good interior. People seem to love the Eco better than the regular version( haven't driven an Eco myself). Saying it's more fun to drive. The automatic isn't bad, but don't expect to get any fun out of manual mode. It is the worst manual mode I have ever experienced. Now I was flooring it when I drove it in manual mode at GM's Main Street in Motion driving event, but when I upshifted it was the slowest shift ever. It made me lurch forward and then put me back in the seat as it shifted. When the computer is doing the shifting, it is a lot smoother and faster.

    Or go for the 2012 Ford Focus. It gets 40 MPG with a dual-clutch transmission. The Focus seems to have the better interior out of the compacts though as of now I disagree, but the one I sat in was a preproduction model at NAIAS. I have heard some bad things about the dual clutch transmission though. I have been wanting to drive a 2012 Focus, but I hate dealing with dealerships and salespeople. I much prefer going to driving events since it is no pressure...

    The Civic is pretty nice at least the previous generation. Pretty fun to toss around, but it has a typical Honda engine. Torqueless wonder under 5000 RPM... The 2012 Civic is a joke, IMHO. Honda calls that a redesign? It looks just like the 2011 Civic....

    The Smart ForTwo here in the US has been panned big time. The transmission is the most hated thing on that car. Not only do people complain on how it shifts, but it has been failing as well.
     
  13. kellen thread starter macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #13


    I understand, but I had planned on getting a new vehicle and can afford it. 150 miles per day is 7.5 gallons per day in the jeep. Roughly $30 per day. Get a vehicle that gets double that it saves $15 per day x 275 days (due to call, its a surgical position), I am looking at roughly $4000 per year after all my other driving is mixed in on my days off. 5 years it may have paid for itself if I stay at the job, if not it at least is a hefty dent in the purchase price.

    Ah, now I understand. I want a commute vehicle but something I can enjoy. Thinking it doesn't exist.

    Well I just would rather be in a used civic for the same or little less. Mainly due to the smart car getting 41mpg per their website. Seems underwhelming for what you give up in terms of space and looks. I will admit I haven't driven one. Maybe I will test drive one and enjoy the looks from others on the freeway.

    I will add those two onto my list. Those two never entered my mind. Looking for suggestions like this.

    Leaning towards:
    1. Prius. New or used, as they are holding value well it seems. I like the look of them and could even put up with "The Other Guys" jokes.

    2.VW golf tdi. reliability has me up in the air, but this would be a fun car that I would enjoy. Best of both worlds to me in the MPG and in the fun factor. Again new vs. used as they hold their value well.

    3. Used civic. Hx at 42 mpg for dirt cheap and just run it till it dies. 06 or newer ex is nearly 40mpg. Like the looks and the cheapest option.

    4. Other. Ford focus or cruz or whatever else people mention. I like the before mentioned options of TDI/prius/civic better though, but mainly off of looks and mpg.

    Anyone have a downside to either or upside or something I haven't considered?
     
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #14
    Not trying to get you buy Smart, just to go and try one. They also go like stink. Find a windy country road, and push it hard. Especially if your tester has the paddle shifter. Rear engine, RWD.

    On the on-ramp, push the gas right down to the floor, past the click. It accelerates better than you'd think. The auto transmission experience was fixed with a software update. Yeah, when we first got ours you had to let up on the gas just before it shifted to avoid the jerk. That's a thing of the past. It still doesn't shift well going up hills, but iirc most models have a way to manually shift as well, and it works really well. Make sure you try one of those models.

    We have a long, steepish, windy, tree-lined, gravel driveway. Between the weight distribution and traction control I freaked my brother-in-law by running up the driveway at nearly 60kph (15kph is prudent). My SUV driving,"You're gonna die in one of those" brother-in-law stopped teasing me after that. Of course he still thought he was going to die, but at least it was going to be fun.
     
  15. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #15
    Given the long commute, I would recommend a new Honda Civic.
     
  16. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #16
    While the smart may hit 41 mpg highway, I would rather get one of the newer models that get the same mpg. As Quagmire ppointed out, there'd have been numerous complaints about the smart transmissions. Also, the Ford Fiesta and Focus have special models that hit 40 or better. The Chevy Cruze Eco is also 40 or better. Finally, both the Hyundai Accent and Elantra get 40 highway across the board. All have more interior room and room for four people. I personally prefer to have that versatility.

    Of course, this is all based on EPA ratings. I listen to the Autoblog podcast, and they have tested several of these recently. They (and other journalists) have commented that it was tough to actually get those numbers on some models. On the other hand, they and others haqve mentioned that the VW TDI models routinely go way above their EPA ratings. For some reason, the EPA testing doesn't favor diesels. I think Autoblog was approaching 50mpg in their long term TDI.

    A coworker bought an Elantra, and I found it to be nice. He has approached 40mpg on a 30 mile daily commute. The interior is nice and it comes loaded. You can even get heated and cooled leather seats. He drove a relative's Cruze for a couple of weeks before buying the Elantra. It wasnt the Eco model, so the mileage wasn't as good as the Elantra. I also thought the Elantra had a better interior. If driving enjoyment is a priority, I would go for the Focus or Cruze, as every review has said they are more fun to drive than the Elantra. Otherwise, I would get the Elantra. As for resale value, anything you drive this much will have its resale value destroyed.
     
  17. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #17
    Civic hands down. My dad just got a 2011 LX Sedan (not hybrid) and he gets 37-39mpg real world (calculated with the odometer at the pump, not from the brochure). They just redesigned the Civic for the 2012 model, and it gets even better MPG, and has "eco assist" (a fuel economy gauge on the dash) and "econ mode" (which puts the car in max fuel efficiency mode). On top of this, the new ones have USB iPod integration, bluetooth audio, and a ton of other features. And they are really fun, comfortable, and safe to drive.

    A quick look on KBB says you can get at least $4000, maybe more for your jeep if you traded it in. The Civic LX starts at about $18k, if you traded that thing in and put a few grand down, you could take a loan for like $10k, and monthly payments would be less than $250 a month.

    This is just my opinion, but I really don't see the value of buying a slightly used car (less than 5 years old) over a new car. Yes, it's obviously going to be a bit cheaper, but then you have to worry about maintenance, and those bills can add up really quickly. If you buy brand new, you know that everything in the car is brand new and it's under warranty, so you shouldn't have to worry about repair bills for the first few years. Plus you have a brand new car :cool:
     
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #18
    You could get a 4 cylinder Honda accord. One on pure highway trip my brother and I cranked out 37 mpg and on other trip we got like 34mpg going into a 30+mph head wind most of the way. (this numbers are from a 10 hour driver)

    I know in his Accord he pulls off 30+ easily on long distance drives all the time.
     
  19. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #19
    Ford Fiesta. Great car, wish I could afford a new one.
     
  20. quagmire, Aug 7, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011

    quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #20
    I always want to know how these people are driving the vehicles, are the cars broken in yet( in terms of owners complaining about mileage), etc? Reviewers should tell us how fast they were going, the environment they were driving in, etc. Saying you got 32 MPG doesn't mean squat if we don't know if you were in stop and go, country roads with few stoplights, or mostly HWY.

    You can't blame the car for not getting 42 MPG if you are going 80 MPH+( above 65 MPH the drag on the car really kills MPG's), mashing the gas pedal, etc.

    It seems like for reviews I have read about the Cruze Eco when they tell us what the environment was and the speed they went, I have seen the Cruze Eco hit anywhere from 39 MPG to 45 MPG HWY.



    Spot the 2012 MY Civic.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I really want to know the definition Honda uses for redesign.... That's a MCE/refresh tops.
     
  21. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Location:
    Far away from liberals
    #21
    My uncle has one and loves it. I took a ride in it and thought it was a piece of crap. The ride quality is piss poor. Definitely not the car for more than a local drive to the supermarket. Plus it's a death trap. Don't get into an accident with one...
     
  22. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #22


    (This is the old European version of the car. They modified it quite a lot for US release - not least by getting rid of the awesome 0.7L engine and replacing it with a 1L).
     
  23. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Location:
    Far away from liberals
    #23
    Holy crap, shows you what I know.
     
  24. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #24
    Yep, ride is stiff... but no way they are a death-trap. They may look vulnerable - but that steel cage is designed to use the other car's crumple zones. Friend of ours was involved in a low-speed, driver's side corner to corner head on collision with an pick-up. Both drivers were un-scratched. The pick-up was written off, and the Smart car fixed. The force of the collision was not enough to fire the air-bags (not a fault - they don't fire unless the computer decides that the tensioning seat-belts aren't enough. Air-bags fired when not needed do more harm than good.)

    We know the tow truck driver in our community, and the few collisions he's seen with Smarts are pretty much the same. Looks bad, but the passengers are fine. And the other car is almost always a write-off.

    But yeah ... the ride is stiff.
     
  25. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #25
    don't know exactly what you want, but it looks like a redesign to me. yeah, the front of the car is fairly similar. the back looks different, but the real features of the redesign are all on the inside.

    The eco assist gauges on the dashboard, econ mode, the i-Mid display with USB iPod integration, bluetooth hands free & audio link, and redesigned controls on the steering wheel are just some of the features.

    2011
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    2012
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    i love the two tiered dash design. it looks awkward at first, but it's great when you are actually driving.. lets you easily see how fast you are going without having to stare down between the wheel.
     

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