Fuel Economy Cars

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As my monthly gas bill runs about $300 a month for my older model 4runner, I am looking to downsize. I am interested in the following models: Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris and several Hondas (Fit, Insight & Civic). I am wondering what your opinions are on the following points: Best value? Hang ups on hybrids or electrics? Most comfortable driver? Thanks so much helping me navigate this!


  1. The Fiesta, Rio and Yaris are all good choices; it comes down to differences in price, differences in size and warranty coverage. The Yaris is an older design than either the Fiesta or the Rio (the newest; 2012 is “all new” – see the review I just posted here http://epautos.com/2012/03/09/2012-kia-rio/ ) and so isn’t quite as “nice” in terms of higher-than-economy-car materials and looks. The Kia also has a much better warranty.

    Forget hybrids and electrics. You’d have to drive years to make up the much higher up-front costs in down-the-road mileage savings. And if you drive much on the highway vs. stop-and-go city traffic, the math works out even worse. Stay away.

    You might want to look at the Nissan Versa sedan. It doesn’t get quite as good gas mileage as the Fiesta or Rio, but you can buy a 1.6 sedan with AC for about $12,000. That’s a deal!

    Even better: Do as Mith suggests and consider a used economy car. Something along the lines of a Yaris or Corolla, about 3-5 years old. You should have no trouble finding a nice one, with maybe 50,000 or so miles, for around $7,000 or less.

    Such a car will go (reliably) for another 100,000-plus miles, easily. And it will be much cheaper to insure, and you’ll pay far lower personal property taxes on it, too.

  2. How old is your current car?
    How many miles on the odometer?
    What is your current fuel economy?
    (I’ll assume 15/20)
    Are you planning new or used?
    Are you still paying for your current car?

    From the information given you are driving about 1,200-1,700 miles per month or about 15,000 to 20,000 per year.

    If your car has no more payments:

    Assuming $4.00/gallon
    Not considering insurance or motor vehicle fees

    Current car:
    has no more car payments.

    New car
    cost $15,000 (paid without financing)
    40 mpg

    breakeven: about 150,000 miles or about 7.5-10 years at your rate of miles/year.

    If the cost is $20,000 then the breakeven is about 200,000 miles or about 10-13.5 years.

    If you could find a used car ~$5.000 and ~30mpg your break even point would be about 75,000 or about 3.5-5 years.

    You may be better off to keep your car till it no longer runs. When you go shopping for the new (new to you) car make a more economical choice of vehicle.
    If saving money is a high priority, I would avoid a hybrid.

    You will need to test drive some cars to decide for yourself what is a comfortable car.

    Formula used for break even: (Difference in $$$ between cars being compared)/(Difference in cost/miles between cars being compared)
    cost/mile: (cost/gallon)/mpg

    (15000-0)/[(4/40)-(4/20)] = 15000/(0.1-0.2) = 150.000
    I use absolute values so I do not have any negative values.


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