Best car for smart people..

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Im getting close to retiring my work car/swiss army 2001 forester. Nearing 400K miles and no end in sight for the old girl..she is great for in town errands and local errands but she is too tired for long hauls. Found this site http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/19/top-10-cars-for-smart-people/ and its right up my alley for what i want to do with my next frugal car. My criteria: 30mpg or better, able to last to 300K miles without worry, comfortable enough to put those kind of miles and time in a seat. and little or no maintenance. ruling out timing belts as well. My choices so far: Honda Fit, Toyota Matrix A real world comparison between the fit and matrix was done at this site http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forums/corolla-matrix/59817-toyota-matrix-vs-honda-fit-3/ A small courier company had Honda Fits and Toyota Matrixs in his fleet.. in summary the matrix won out in the long run. Honda Fit- reviews point as being a desireable car to own, they have a following..so a good used version for cheap will be hard to find. Also seems that you need to get the 'sport' version to be happy. Only issues seem to be that a/c is weak, will have to do coil packs at some point and probably 02 sensors..everything else seems to point to a well designed economy fun car.. drawbacks are road noise and lack of power on hills. Toyota Matrix- A corolla hatchback in a nutshell. Same if not a little smaller cargo area than a honda fit. I am only interested in the 1.8 1ZZ-FE engine... the 2.4 from the camry seems to have headbolt issues, and the new 2009 and up 1.8 seems to have oil consumption issues. So I am stuck with a 2008 and older XR model to meet my criteria for sporty and the good engine. Both cars seem to function as sporty compacts, that can be used as a pickup truck if needed. Both cars and be used for camping *laying seats down and sleeping inside' Both seem ultra reliable as well..my forester was all of the above at the sacrifice of about 10mpg, timing belt repairs, and design flaws (head gaskets, wheel bearings). Im open to more suggestions or real world stories of why or why not on my choices. Ive read that toyota engines are 'hard on oil' and best to do 3-5k oil changes, also reading the fit is good to go 10-15k on synthetics.. Not considering- hybrids, diesels or sedans.
 
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Interestingly, the toyota ads around here are full of flattery and mention the smartness of the purchaser rather overtly. A Pious radio ad even mentions that it's "easy to drive", a scary thought, seeing some drivers around here. As for reliability, I wish someone would sort between breakdown-causing issues vs "I'll get around to it at my convenience" things like nuisance check engine lights. There's also the subtle shade of difference of "durability", for example needing shocks or front end work prematurely. I drive total clunkers but they still start every morning, knock on wood. Of the makes you mention, buying new seems to be the way to go, especially since you manage to get 400k out of your cars.
 
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I disagree with your idea they are hard on oil. My Corolla has the 1.8 and its easy on oil. I change it per mfr which is 8000km/5k miles but it could definitely go longer. Not sure what you mean by using your car for camping..typically you wouldnt sleep in it. I strongly considered the Matrix but decided upon the Corolla. All the used Matrix's I test drove felt underpowered, and so I ended up with a Corolla and couldnt be happier. The Matrix's benefit is the added space but I load up my Corolla for camping and it handles it well. Id consider the Corolla too. My 07 has been solid.
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
Of the makes you mention, buying new seems to be the way to go, especially since you manage to get 400k out of your cars.
+1
 
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From your slightly pious tone, right off the bat I know I'm gonna be ignored. If your buying a car to look or be thought of as smart, your taking the wrong approach. ALL of those vehicles have common and moderately crippling problems with them, and while I do like a hatchback myself, writing off all sedans is foolish and closed minded.
 
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There's very little to go wrong on a Fit. It's an old-school Honda in the vein of the 92-99 Civic. Very reliable mechanically as long as it's kept up somewhat regularly, WYSIWYG interior that wears like iron with a million little cubbies for stuff, go-kart handling, not the fastest, super-easy to park anywhere, is incredibly spacious on the inside (if it fits through the doors it'll likely fit fine), and will get about 28-32 mpg highway driving the snot out of it. One drawback is an oddball 185/55-16 tire size on the Sport. 205/50-16 fits fine, but does knock off 1-2 mpg for much improved handling/braking. It gets up hills just fine, but it is revving to the sky to do it. That's a feature, not a design flaw! The redline is 6500 RPM, and our automatic has no issue having the engine hold 4500 RPM uphill for minutes at a time. Lastly, plan on changing the ATF on every other oil change (about 15-20k miles) if you end up with an automatic. Otherwise shifting gets quite rough.
 
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My several Camrys are not hard on oil. I don't know if one can fit all the Subie "Save the Fish" stickers on a Camry trunk lid, though. I thought all the "smart people" drove German cars.
 
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krismoriah72

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certainly not pious...lol and the 'car for smart people' is just another angle on being frugal in my eyes. I have my own company with a fleet of dump trucks and semis. I spend about $3000 a week in fuel and probably $1000 a week in parts..so my car is my getaway lol. My dump trucks are lucky to get 5mpg...yet i find myself hypermiling to get 25mpg in my forester lol. Anyways i ruled out sedans because i carry alot of parts in my work car... ive carried tires i dont know how many times in the subaru..hubs, drums, even a full drum of grease..tons and tons of parts and lots and lots of miles carrying those parts. Yes ive camped in my subaru probably 10 times at least... the seats fold down and we put down blankets and sleeping bags..sure i could put up a tent..but we slept fine in the sube. I have plenty of money but am a cheapo on my cars.. i went thru a phase where i had a corvette, a 65 mustang, a jacked up chevy, and a modified TDI jetta diesel. ive been through those phases...and nothing gives me the same feeling inside as a 40mpg tank and doesnt need worked on. Im sure there are guys like me...i read the stories on ecomodder and cleanmpg forums..there are those of us that like to squeeze the buck..heck there are guys on here that like to get the most miles out of an oil change.. I am sort of leaning towards a new car but the depreciation right off the lot is a hard hit.
 
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Suzuki Sx4????? I don't think so. Gambling on parts availability and service does not make the Suzuki a good buy especially for the long haul. If I had to replace my 84 Civic wagon that I purchased new and I'm planning to drive to my funeral, I'd probably choose the Fit. I'm at about 429K miles and would have no second thoughts about taking a long drive as in a coast to coast and back trip.
 
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Scion xB or xA. Not so smart after 2008, very smart between 2004 and 2006. If new car smell is what you are after wait for Toyota Auris.
 
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With your successful 400k in the proven Forester, why not another one? The '15 with CVT gets 32 highway. A stick is still available and gets 29. Still the 2.5 though it's been updated since '01.
 
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Another option is anything Toyota with the 1NZ-FE (1.5L) and a manual transmission. Yaris, xA, xB, Echo. xA & xB are hatchbacks, and the Yaris is available with one. A couple of members on this forum have Echos with ~300k miles still running strong. You can get a Yaris new, but the xA and 1st gen xB only ran through the 2006 model year. At 162k, my xB has needed a water pump, a windshield, and shocks & struts. Everything else has been fluids, filters, tires, and brakes. I hypermile it and have averaged 38.9 mpg over the last 15 months and 20k miles - the original EPA highway rating was 34. IIRC, 1NZ-FXE in the 2nd gen Prius is a variant of the 1NZ-FE. It has lots of useable cargo space, as well.
 
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I recently had dealings with a female that drove a Matrix for her Notary public job. She drove the car nearly every single day in mostly bumper to bumper traffic. She knows about ZERO when it comes to taking care of things like a bitoger would. Just visited the local Jiffy Lube once in a while. Vehicle was just two or three years old....200k miles on it with no problems. Ran very well and sounded great. I like Honda....but given those choices I'd probably take the Toyota.
 

krismoriah72

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"With your successful 400k in the proven Forester, why not another one? The '15 with CVT gets 32 highway. A stick is still available and gets 29. Still the 2.5 though it's been updated since '01." I bought a 2004 forester xs for the wife. It currently has 105000 miles and has the dreaded piston slap, and the head gaskets leak but hasnt overheated yet. This particular car was in several auto shows on the east coast, it was the floor model used to show off the 2004 foresters, its loaded with every option..but 10 yrs later its on its way to being a lemon. I dont see this one making it 400k unless i put a new engine in it.. the piston slap may make it another 100k miles and may not..its a design flaw. She loves it, and wants to keep it for awhile..she feels safe in it. but i know the head gasket is eventually going to be an issue if the piston slap isnt first. Before i bought this forester i was going to get a 2014 forester for the wife but the class action lawsuit was too much.. im a subaru guru of sorts having had legacys imprezas foresters etc..but i think the good subaru name is lost. As for the 2015 subarus not having issues? time will tell but im not buying a new car, would rather someone else take the financial hit of driving it off the lot. I have dabbled into talking her into the matrix and let me get the fit..that would be the easy choice lol.
 
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Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
Suzuki Sx4????? I don't think so. Gambling on parts availability and service does not make the Suzuki a good buy especially for the long haul.
+1
 
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OP's website's logic is a bit odd, IMO. They're saying that smart people only care about fuel economy and cargo space? If anything, I would say that "smart people" (however you choose to define that) would probably be very interested in a reliable vehicle that doesn't have insane upkeep costs such as regular maintenance and insurance.
 
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