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Old 10-21-2017, 05:22 PM   #1
deevergote
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Brainstorming used car ideas... again.

My poor CTS-V is racking up the miles (close to 130,000 now!) and KILLING me in fuel costs. 17-18mpg on average, premium fuel, 300+ miles per week... That's at least $200 per month I'm sinking into the beast.

SO, I'm considering two options, and I could use some suggestions.

Option 1: Grab a beater for $1000-$2000 that will be efficient, comfortable, and reliable. Fun to drive and not embarrassing to be seen in would be a HUGE bonus. 1995 or older would be good, because I wouldn't have to get it inspected. Not that I WANT a car that is unsafe or pollutes, but if my CEL is on and the repairs are pricey, it's good not to be forced to make the repair to pass inspection!
I'm not sure what to get, though. A CB or CD is an obvious choice, but I'm leaning away from those. Partially because it's tough to find one that isn't falling apart around here, partially because I want to try something new, and partially because I REALLY don't want to fall into modifying it (and with CB7tuner being such a part of my life, AND having had a great H22 swapped CB7, I'm not so sure I'll be able to resist!)
So, if I go the beater route, it probably won't be a CB7, despite the CB7 largely meeting my wants, probably better than anything else!
If I go the beater route, I've determined that a car that averages 30mpg (mostly highway driving, though often congested for 10 miles or more) with regular fuel would save me in fuel what I'd be paying for insurance, while keeping the miles and abuse off of my CTS-V. The Miata would be off the road from November to March, so there's insurance savings there as well. Financially, it's not an unreasonable decision to get a beater as long as it will be relatively problem-free for about one year per $1000 spent on the purchase price. It's a gamble, however. BUT, I'd have my CTS-V as a backup.


Option 2: Sell the CTS-V and get something nicer for about $10,000 (or less.)
The Accord Crosstour appeals to me, and it's pretty cheap these days, given the fact that most people hate them.
I'm not sure what else I would want, though. If I'm spending decent money and sacrificing my CTS-V, I want something that looks good, offers a good deal of luxury, has some power, and won't be likely to break down on me.
I would LOVE a Volvo, BMW, or Audi, but I don't know that any in my price range would be worth buying, worth relying on, and worth fixing when they DO break (as repairs could be crazy... and I'm not expecting to do anything major repair-wise myself.)
I hate to part with the monster, as I spent a good 3-4 years planning, searching, and saving for it. It's not a perfect example by any means, but it has been good to me. No major failures, and it still puts a smile on my face. If I part with it, I REALLY want something that I will enjoy, if not quite as much. There aren't many cars out there that offer the mix of luxury, performance, and sinister good looks for the price. Those that come close (like an E46 M3, S4, or possibly even an S60R/V70R) are all likely to be MORE expensive to maintain and repair... and likely not much more efficient. I have a hard time convincing myself that anything could even come close for what I could reasonably afford to spend.


For the first time in 15 years, I'm perfectly fine with automatic. I still have the Miata for when I want to row my own gears. That opens up my options pretty well.
There aren't any brands I'm particularly opposed to.
I just need efficient, reliable, comfortable, and moderately attractive. I'm too vain to roll up to work and park next to my CEO's Range Rover in a rusted out Daewoo Lanos.
I know I make these threads every few months, but my parameters keep changing, and I get distracted by every shiny object I see.


My budget is limited due to the fact that we're primarily saving for a new house. I don't want to take on payments for a new or better used car. $2000 for a beater is pretty much the max, and whatever I can sell the CTS-V for is the ceiling for a better car (capping at $10,000... if I can get $12,000 or so for the Caddy, I'd want to hold some in reserve in case an urgent repair is needed!)
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:49 AM   #2
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4th gen prelude, option no.1

My h22 swapped cb9 gets 30mpg on the highway so I'm sure the 4th gen would be better!
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:12 AM   #3
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That’s one I considered. Not sure I can find one in decent shape, but it would definitely do the trick!
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:49 AM   #4
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Acura TL?
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Old 10-22-2017, 12:11 PM   #5
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The 1999-2003 TL's are nice, as well as the CL's. Although that's still ahead of the 1995 your looking for. Sadly I'd say CB, CD, or BB. A prelude might be a little bit better of an option honestly. Either they have been left stock and taken care of, or are usually beat. Sometimes you can find a clean one though.
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Old 10-22-2017, 03:02 PM   #6
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Deever you're in the same exact boat as I am. I love my daily driver, but it just uses too much gas, and premium at that. Not to mention the insurance is fairly high, not too bad though.

My plan was to get a cheap beater I could fix up and get roadworthy to save on insurance and gas. Just for reference I drive about 400 miles a week, and at 18-20 mpg, I knew I could do better. I love my '10 Camaro SS and I feel like it's a shame to use it like this.

The Accord I got will probably better the SS on its best day in gas mileage by by about 50%! Not to mention it will allow me to change the Camaro to Hagerty insurance and save about $100/month on that alone.

In your case, maybe you could get an early to mid-2000s Corolla. Those things are ugly as hell to me and the driver's position is bad for me personally, but the damn things never break. My witch...er uh, sister-in-law has an '02 and in 15 years and 300k they just change the oil and filters and drive the piss out of it. I think they had an A/C relay blink out, that's about it. Gets over 40mpg on the highway with her 5 speed. They may have changed the front pads a couple times.
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Old 10-22-2017, 03:24 PM   #7
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A TL would definitely fit the bill for luxurious, reliable, and somewhat fun. Possibly even efficient. Might be a better choice for option 2, though.

A Corolla is a possibility. I could even get an S and have a little fun driving it. Not at all something to be proud of, sadly. Still, frugality might win out over vanity on this one in the end.
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:12 PM   #8
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Option 1 isn't going to happen in the Northeast. Cash for Clunkers ate so many vehicles while it was going on. Anything in the sub-$2,500 market is going to be rusty and beat, and meeting multiple parameters is going to be hard to find. I'm looking through South Jersey's CL and it does seem like everything for sale with the exception of a few Volvos are either Buy Here Pay Here lot fodder or projects.

You might be able to find a Camry, albeit an older model. I suppose there's always GM, but you won't see the fuel economy because they tended to stuff V6s into most everything which didn't get anything on the fuel economy front. Honestly with your commute, asking a $2,500 car to handle that on a regular basis is tall order. You never know what the ticking time bomb is on a car like that, either. We are coming into winter, so even if you wanted to wrench yourself, it's going to be a PITA for that. You'd have the CTS as a backup, but you have to prepare for a situation in which the cheap car is broken, you are paying insurance on it and you are driving the CTS.

Option 2 - This is the dangerous zone where the car is nice enough to get out of the why not category but not nice enough to be in the "super nice car in which everything is perfect". Anything German at that price point is going to likely be 3rd or 4th owner which means deferred maintenance which likely means big repairs due. You could get lucky in the Japanese world if you wanted a mid to higher end model, but you run into the same issues.

$9,000 to 11,000 shows me 3-4 year old Corollas, which would be dead reliable, albeit boring.

What about another Fit? A base fit would probably be no more than $17,500 OTD with TTL. Finance the $7,500 on a 72 month loan would be $115 a month, give or take. Your gas savings would probably be on the order of that which would likely break you even. You'd have something that would be something you'd not even need to think about for five years. You could sub in a Mazda 3 instead at likely roughly the same price point.

I know image is extremely important to you, so that's likely not the option you'd want to go with, but that's what I'd do if I was in your shoes. If you wanted to stay in the luxury arena, I'd just fix all the issues your car has and be done with it. It's the monster you know versus the unknown. Anything European at that price point will bleed you dry.
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:41 PM   #9
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Here's a nice TL in Central Jersey. Although I have no idea how close/far that is in relation to you. It's a little above your the price your looking for but it's a Type-S and a nice color too boot. The interior looks to be in immaculate condition.

2002 Acura TL Type S
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:19 PM   #10
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Aside from those crap wheels, that’s a good one!
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:13 PM   #11
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before everyone laughs at me, gen 2 toyota prius. i picked mine up for 700 bucks needing a gas motor. cant beat 40+ mpg and great reliability.
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:24 PM   #12
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before everyone laughs at me, gen 2 toyota prius. i picked mine up for 700 bucks needing a gas motor. cant beat 40+ mpg and great reliability.
I was actually going to say a 1st gen Prius or Insight, but I think they may be on their last leg due to their age.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:32 AM   #13
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I just was looking at some DD's mainly because I'm averaging 17-19mpg in my LS400 also. And I wanted to save this clean AZ rust free car from a Michigan winter and just buy a beater to go to work in. Nobody will wash their cars outside when its below freezing anyways, or they'll probably be covered in snow for a very long time.

I found someone local selling a 2005 Civic Hybrid manual for $1250 w/ 215k miles. It had the IMA light on but the owner put had installed a new hybrid pack, so most likely the IMA motor was bad. But the guy still said he was getting 40mpg hwy. Its good to know that they came in manual to make the commute more fun, albeit slow lol.

I don't think TLs are very fuel efficient. They'll most likely only get 18-20mpg especially with that V6. I would shy away from anything with a V6, as they probably won't beat 20mpg especially in the winter. 4 cyl is the way to go.

What about a Fiesta? they're nothing special but they'll probably be pretty new at that price point, may have a warranty still and they've got a turbo 1.5L engine? so have decent torque and fun to drive on the street. We had a Fiesta ST at my last job I drove around briefly and it was very fun for a little car. Made cool turbo woosh noises every time you let off the gas stock
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:51 PM   #14
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I like my G37, but gas mileage is abysmal.

I'm gonna go very left field. If you can stretch your budget just a hair, you should look at an MK7 Golf TSI. It drives like a mini S-Class, will get to 60 in the 6s with an auto, and easily do 30 MPG average. All for about $13K on average. They are a little boring to drive but that's fine. You have the Miata for that.
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Old 10-23-2017, 08:05 PM   #15
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I’ve considered a Prius or Insight, but I do think that I’d need to spend more for a newer one. Old is scary. Batteries aren’t as expensive as some people think, but they’re still not cheap! Might be a good Option 2 choice.

A Golf has been floating to the top of my list occasionally as well. Not the classiest cars, but better than a bargain beater like a Corolla, Fiesta, or Versa.


I’ve been eyeing the 5th gen Lexus ES. It’s essentially a Camry, which usually made me scoff... but now I see Camry repairs and Lexus luxury/prestige. The 5th gen ran until 2012, and actually still looks pretty current. They get 27-29 highway mpg, which is the low end of acceptable. Premium fuel is recommended, but not required. It’s the same engine as basic v6 powered Toyotas, so the extra octane requirement is all in the programming, from what I’ve read.
Does anyone know anything about them? Any major known issues? I haven’t found anything in my searches yet.
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Old 10-23-2017, 08:42 PM   #16
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Just some food for thought.

The '99-'03 TL's get 18-20 city and 28-30 highway. So even with the V6 the fuel economy isn't nearly as bad as one might think it is. Obviously this might have gone down in the time since it was new. But nice driving and a little TLC, could have you up there in MPG's even with the V6. I think most of your drive is highway, so you have to remember that an uncomfortable econo box might just suck in all reality to drive for an hour or two. Honestly I have no idea as I tend not to drive much of anything that is newer.

Some of the guys with the 3rd gen TL's are reporting up to 32-33 MPG's on the highway. I don't know if the 2nd gen TL's require premium fuel or not, but my 3rd gen does. Even so the mileage is pretty good. In town it's not as great but it also doesn't help that I have a heavy foot. When babying it and trying to keep the MPG's up I can get around 20. That is all town driving mind you. I don't have to go on the highway to get to work.

Also considering that these car's were usually purchased by couple's farther along in life than kids, they are usually better taken care of. Lexus is in that boat as well though, being a luxury brand, but something as new at 2012 is going to cost a small fortune.

Also when working on the TL's, I have a 3rd gen and a good friend of our's has a 2nd gen. I purchase all my parts at Honda. They cross reference the part numbers over to Honda parts and sell it at Honda prices. Everything on the V6 is in the Accord's, also almost the entire suspension has matching parts to Accord's. Falling again into the buying an Acura and paying Honda prices for repairs. I haven't run across a single Acura specific part rebuilding the entire engine and replacing the transmission in my 3rd gen, or rebuilding the suspension on the 2nd gen (including wheel bearings and such). I'm not trying to sway your decision, just giving you some information on the Acura side of things.
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Old 10-24-2017, 02:27 PM   #17
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found something that meets all of your "beater" requirements:

https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/ct...294783380.html


dooooo iiitttttttt
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:12 PM   #18
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I don't know why he keeps avoiding his destiny.
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:14 PM   #19
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We all know Mike just needs a CB7, but he's just being so resistant to it! Come on Mike we all know as well as you do, that you want a CB7!
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:04 PM   #20
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The other key component that depends on Mike himself is what's available in his area and how far is he willing to go to get whatever he has his fancy on.
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