Non-hybrid cars that give good fuel economy (combined MPG)

Discussion in 'Other Cars' started by Troy Heagy, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Troy Heagy

    Troy Heagy Member

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    40 Mitsubishi Mirage $14,000
    37 Ford Fiesta SFE $16,000
    37 Scion iQ $17,000
    37 BMW 328d

    36 Smart ForTwo
    35 Nissan Versa $12,000
    35 Toyota Corolla Eco $20,000
    35 Volkswagen Passat TDI $25,000
     
  2. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    Troy,

    From your other posts [yesterday @ 9:44 PM & today @ 12:22 PM (neither of which appear in a search of posts under your name : the latest being back in January---maybe I'm doing something wrong---glad I left that Pg cached in my computer)], I'm going to cut & paste to respond. Thanks for doing the research on pricing & MPG.

    46 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel $26,000---I wouldn't touch a GM diesel after their Olds diesel fiasco back in the 80's

    45 Ford Fiesta SFE $16,000--------------too small for a family car (O.K. for one or a 2-person car pool).

    45 BMW 328d------heard from car auction dealers that they need frequent & expensive repairs, but super fast.

    45 Mercedes-Benz E250d-----------------I've got no experience nor heard any horror stories on this one.

    44 Mitsubishi Mirage $14,000------I don't think Mitsi's are that common here in Ct. any more (I haven't seen any dealers around). A couple of years ago at the car auction I work at, we used to have a row of about 100 Mitsi's each week & most of them were band new with only 10 to 15 miles on each one (the public wasn't buying them at the Mitsi dealer lots, so they brought the cars to auction, but only about 5 would sell each week. Eventually that turned around & more would sell than remained in stock, but we found out that they were all being bought out of state over the internet.

    43 VW Jetta/Gulf/Beetle/Passat TDI-----Personal experience with VW diesels : Junked my 1st (& only) VW with 45,000 miles on it because in that time I had 3 cracked blocks due to VW using only 10 head bolts (same as on gas engine) even though they upped the compression ratio from about 8:1 (gas) to 24:1 (diesel). First 2 engine block breaks were internal allowing oil & coolant to mix (oil in radiator or copious coolant in crankcase is never a good thing). The 3rd break tore the whole corner of the block right off (just dangling there off the head bolt). Any time I was at the VW dealer's, other diesel owners would commiserate about their blown head gaskets or likewise cracked blocks (some would come in with just a blown head gasket, only to have the tech crack the block when torquing the head bolts---that's why VW developed the "stretch" bolts. There was supposed to have been a BIG list of poorly cast blocks (seen by my tech at the diesel training facility in NJ & at his dealer) & if your block was on that list, it would be replaced free (the service manager denied the existence of that list & refused to let me look at his service bulletins to see for myself). Other issues regarding the service dept were : they would tell on one hand you have to follow the owner's manual to the letter (NO deviation, whatsoever), then they'd put regular anti-freeze in your car [instead of the phosphate-free that the owner's manual specified you MUST use (that was sold in their parts dept.)], the end result being that the phosphate's interaction with the different metals of the block, the head, & the radiator would eat holes in the $400 aluminum radiator. That led to radiators going out the door like coffee going out of Starbucks when the parts dept had their twice-a-year 50% off sales. They also wouldn't honor the warranty when all my chrome flaked off both my bumpers, leaving me with a dull gray nickle finish all over. Screw VW.

    42 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Toyota Corolla Eco $20,000------------these sound O.K. to me (especially the Toyota).

    41 Mazda3, Chevrolet Sonic, Dodge Dart Aero---------------no experience with the last 2, but son & friend have Mazda 3's and love them (& we have a Mazda 5 & love it too).

    40 Ford Focus SFE, Nissan Versa/ Sentra, Mazda6, Fiat 500----you already know my opinion of Mazda's from the line above. Before my Prius, we had 4 Ford Escorts (a model replaced by the Focus) & had good service & reliability from them. Before the Escorts were a variety of Nissan products : '74 610, '79 F-10, "80 310, '83 Sentra, & '84 Maxima, so I'm glad that Nissan still offers the Sentra & I think the Versa looks big enough (even though it is kind of small) to be a small family car (I think bigger than the Ford Fiesta that was 2nd on your list). As for the Fiat, I never was crazy about them back in the 70's when they were here before. I think they're not too popular now & I foresee maybe a hard time trying to find dealers readily available to service them. They may have a little bit of interest now, but I think they may go the way of the Yugo.

    Your Scion iQ & the Smart ForTwo (that you list in the post above) also seem to be pretty popular & in favor with me (I've driven a Smart ForTwo at the auction & I was surprised at the amount of inside room in a car that seems so small from the outside).

    Thank you again for doing & posting your research & don't be too disappointed with my critiques (they're just my personal opinions & feel free to disagree with them), but I'm very happy to be Prius owner.

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)

     
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  3. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    You are not the only one. It seems that something in Search broke sometime last week, not finding posts by member name posted after a certain time. I started a thread about it (Website 'Search' problem this week?), and a couple people suggested interim solutions.
     
  4. Troy Heagy

    Troy Heagy Member

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    The Chevy diesel was not designed by Americans. Plus it has had success in Europe for several years (no failures).

    I'm not sure why you say Fiesta only holds two people. It has a full two rows that can hold 4 adults or 2 parents + 3 children. I see lots of families riding in similar sized cars. (And it includes a trunk for carrying luggage.... or if you prefer, a hatchback model.)
     
  5. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    Troy,

    I don't think I said the Ford Fiesta only "held 2 people". I implied that it looks too small to comfortably accommodate any more than 2 people. We considered one for my wife a couple of years ago, but maybe I'm confusing the Fiesta with Ford's Festiva. Maybe their Festiva was the small one that looked like it could only comfortably hold 2 people.

    And whose European design is the Chevy diesel using? Hopefully not VW's. They were still using the same 10 head bolt design for the 4 cylinder the last time I checked (that caused me all the grief with my VW). I usually keep all my cars for at least 200,000 miles and they were all used cars that gave me that kind of long-lasting reliability. The VW was my 1st ever NEW car. I spent more in repairs in those 3 years & 45,000 miles than I paid for the car new ($6,000+).

    Finally I realized it was time to stop throwing away good money & I parked it to let it rust (in case any individual wanted to buy it for a project car). It never happened. I had spent a good amount of money in modifying that car too (all accessories & trim type things from the highest level of that model---nothing mechanical, in case you were thinking that might have caused some of my problems). All that was wasted too, since the entire car went to the crusher "as is". At that point I didn't care, because the VW experience left such a bitter taste in my mouth. I will never again spend any money on mods, accessories, trim, etc. & I vowed never to buy another NEW car.

    When I bought the VW, I was trying to buy the most fuel efficient car at the time (rated 39 MPG city, 52 MPG highway) & I was getting 56 to 57 MPG on trips while still in the break-in period. Back then diesel fuel cost 10 to 15 cents less per gallon than regular gas. Now it is 20 to 30 cents MORE per gallon than regular gas (depending on where you buy it). So when I first learned of the Prius, I still wanted to be environmentally responsible as well as fuel efficient, I broke my vow & bought another NEW car, but not before researching everything possible about the hybrid technology & Toyota's application of it to their designs (I didn't have the internet to research anything about VW & diesels before I made the big mistake with my VW).

    I did 2 years of research on the Prius starting with the 2003 model year & got really excited when they came out with the hatchback in 2004, but I wasn't ready to take the plunge until January of 2005 when I placed my order. I figured Toyota had a safe-to-buy product finally since they were on the road in Japan in from 1997-2000, in the USA from 2001-2003 in the improved & upgraded version of the original, & now in a newer & more improved & upgraded hatchback version. It took 6 MONTHS of dealing with a piece of crap Ct. dealer that had my deposit money for the mid-range (option pkg) model that I could afford, but every time he told me my car was ready for me, it was the wrong color or the wrong option pkg (the highest & most expensive one available, costing about $3,000 more than I could afford). I told him to take his act & my car and shove it and I got my deposit back. I then went to another dealer about 10 miles away who didn't need me to give a deposit & who got me exactly what I wanted with no extra costs in only 6 WEEKS. I haven't been disappointed in that decision at all & it's now 9 years later. I'm still on my original 12 v battery & at 157,000 miles & I just read about another owner who is till on the original 12v battery & who is at 356,000 miles, so I'm not worried at all. Sorry to ramble on so long.

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)
     
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  6. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The '80s was 30 years ago, and as troy points out this is an engine that has been in service for some years. GM wants part of the captive audience VW has had for years with in the non- luxury diesel car market.

    I believe the engine came from Opel.

    The no frills Mirage I had for rental years ago seemed a decent for what it was. Considering the success GM has had with the Spark, the new one might do the same for Mitsubishi. they need with their current reputation which has down around where Hyundai/Kia used to be.


    What year was that VW? In the '80s, VW was doing some of the same things has GM did with diesels. My friend's Rabbit of that era was mostly problem free though. The plastic clutch line snapped, and it was starting with some of the electrical gremlins, but the engine was still good.

    The new TDIs aren't those engines, and people are still willing to put up with the rest of the car for it. Tacoma owners are even transplanting it into their trucks.

    Bad dealers can be found in every brand. Did you try another or go to corporate?

    Seeing how Fiat basically is Chrysler now, they will likely be here awhile now. The Dart is mostly an Alfa Romero. A new AR will be showing up soon, and with the Superbowl ad, it appears they are going to be pushing Maserati.
     
  7. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Erm, whilst it isn't as bad as diesels of old and has much going for it, I wouldn't agree with the comment that there are no failures. GM diesels have issues with dual mass flywheels and all sorts of problems with them. Taxi drivers in my town moved away from them in droves about 10 years ago due to too many failures and faults.

    Still, it's an alternative to a hybrid. I'd rather someone drove an economical diesel instead of a 14 mpg suv.
     
  8. pmike

    pmike Member

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    Check fuelly.com, most cars don't hit their numbers. Our 2012 Civic non-hybrid exceeds its government numbers and is on par with the mpg on fuelly.com.
     
  9. Troy Heagy

    Troy Heagy Member

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    Volkswagen had a good engine during the 90s and 2000s, but when they redesigned the TDI for cleaner emissions, they started having Bosch pump issues. Basically from 2010 onward the pumps will suddenly blow-up. Bosch is working on a fix but it's still causing failures. I wouldn't buy one.

    Chevrolets Cruze Diesel is made by Opel.... people who know how to make a diesel engine.
     
  10. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Considering my first hand experience of such diesels I have to say that with that comment you have just discredited yourself :)
     
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  11. Troy Heagy

    Troy Heagy Member

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    I don't understand how you can compare a modern European diesel with some lemon you drove in the 80s when the tech was still primitive (and not even the same company: Opel vs. VW). If diesels were junk, they would not be driven by almost half the EU population. The europeans would stop buying them.
     
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    GM car diesels of old in the US were made from repurposed gasoline engine blocks. They are partly responsible for the negative feelings many have for diesels here.

    Anything else is a big improvement.
     
  13. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    So UK doesn't count as European?
     
  14. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    Trollbait, Troy, (& others),

    My VW was a 1978 Rabbit"C" (2nd year in USA) & the problems I had with contradictory comments & denial of warranty service (which was only one year back then IIRC) was coming from the roving Factory Service Rep. He wasn't well liked by anybody with problems at many of the surrounding dealerships I visited in my search for the accessory & trim upgrades while getting ready to add those mods. In some areas near to the dealerships, other businesses would have petition sheets with many signatures to get rid of that Factory Service Rep. He had the final say in everything. Back then there was no such thing as a customer experience center to call like Toyota has.

    Last time I checked the shop manuals at the VW dealer, the TDI still only had 10 head bolts (which was the downfall of the earlier VW diesels I & the fellow commiserators had with cracked blocks & blown head gaskets). By contrast, Peugeot had 10 or 12 head bolts on their gas engine in the 504 model, but 23 head bolts in the diesel they put into the 504 (no blown head gaskets or cracked blocks there---stresses all evenly spread out)> Actually, when Peugeot first brought their tried & true diesels into the USA, they thought they had a problem because there were some head gaskets blowing, so being proactive they designed & installed special beefed-up kits under warranty to prevent any more problems. However after going through all that & DEEPER investigation, the reason for the early blown head gaskets surfaced : the dealers were new to the diesel & they didn't feel it was necessary to have their customers come back between 600 & 1,000 miles to have the head re-torqued as required in the scheduled service booklet & shop manuals. So they would skip it then & even at the 5,000 mile service. If you didn't get it done by then, you were lucky to get to between 10,000 & 15,000 miles before the gasket blew. All that headache because of some lousy dealers, but at least Peugeot wanted to protect its reputation by being proactive.

    The reason I didn't think of anybody other than VW supplying their diesel for the Chevy Cruz (even though I mentioned the Oldsmobile diesel fiasco of the 80's) was because (in the 80's again), Volvo was putting a VW diesel in some of their cars/trucks. And for a while my VW dealer was selling VW diesel powered Grumman vehicles similar to the little rural mail delivery trucks we have now. What ticked me off was that a recall had been issued about a year or two before to replace a 3-ended hose (that went from the valve cover down to 2 different places on the block) with a 2-ended hose (I know because I had to have mine replaced). With the 3-ended hose, it sucked all the oil out of the crankcase up into the valve cover where it would get down into the cylinders & get burned off (who would notice with a smokey diesel anyway) until all the lubricating oil was gone & the engine would seize up. Well these Grumman vehicles still had the 3-ended hoses (well after the recall). When I pointed it out to the dealership, they said they didn't care & it would soon become somebody else's (unsuspecting customer's) headache anyway. What a way to run a business!

    So I should have considered that GM might use an Opel diesel in their Chevy Cruz [especially since Opel had a long history of racing (& winning with) their diesels since back in the 30's]. I don't know what the reputation of the Opel diesel is now. Again, guys, sorry for the long rant/stories.

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)
     
  15. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    Troy,

    I know diesels have been around for at least 90 years (if not longer), but like Troolbait said about the early GM car diesels, VW's diesel engines were also re-purposed gas engine blocks (bored out from 1.5L to 1.6L). That may not sound like much, but now there's less material for strength & they didn't add any more head bolts to spread out the stresses after they upped the compression ratio by a factor of 3 times what the original block was designed to cope with. I'm sorry, but I didn't consider my car a lemon. It was just an engineering fault that VW should have foreseen. Before a had my 1st cracked block I had already talk to other other owners with fair to low mileage who were on their 2nd or 3rd engine & nobody at that time knew what was really going on (it took a while to figure it out). I was hoping I would be lucky, because I really loved that car in the beginning. But as by blocks started cracking one after the other & I began to see my money fly out the window as my repair bills started mounting, that love soon turned to distaste & then hate. I knew I had made a big mistake. I bought that German-engineered VW to replace another German-engineered car [my 1967 Opel Kadett "L"---I nicknamed it my "sidewaysmobile" because in a stiff crosswind you needed to turn the steering wheel 90 degrees and "crab" the car to keep it driving it straight (it was so lightweight & only had 54 HP), but it was very dependable].

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)
     
  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    What do you see at post #11, right after a reply from GrumpyCabbie?
     
  17. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    fuzzy1,

    I just edited my post #15 (took away the 1st few lines & chg'd my greeting from your name to his) because Troy's post #11 wasn't anywhere to be found on my computer before, but it sure is there now. Wierd!

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)
     
  18. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    How do you really feel about VW? :)
     
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  19. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I hate to have to agree with Troy!

    All these posts of people remembering diesels from the 1980's and how bad they were. Yes they were but that was 1982. If we all remember back to 1982, we'll remember that Toyotas were crap rot boxes which barely lasted 6 years here in the UK due to salt on our winter roads.

    Diesel engines have improved no end. Is the GM diesel engine the best? No it's not. It's an average engine, not the best but also not the worst.

    Half of Europe drive diesels because our fuel costs more than twice as much as yours in the US. Every single mpg counts. Everything is a compromise and people don't mind some compromise to enable them to have the larger car they require. Some Euro countries have diesel costing less than petrol as it's classed as a commercial fuel, though in some places it costs more.

    I'm not a great fan of diesel and have owned some and driven many. But they are NOTHING like they were in 1994, let alone 1981.
     
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  20. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    My friend had a 1980 diesel Rabbit. No problems with the engine. He did buy it from the first owner who took care of it. The guy had installed a 5 speed, so who knows what else was fixed or upgraded before my friend got it. His sister did have one of those diesel Volvos that she held onto a long time.

    These were engines from 30, going on 40, years ago. Could short cuts be taken in current designs? Yes. Toyota did it with their commonly used 4 cylinder in the early 2000s. Reducing the number of coolant channels in the block lowered the manufacturing costs. Well, hot spots formed and oil cooked and sludged. Toyota blamed owners until forced to admit it was a design flaw.

    VW's TDI does have some weak points. So can other models, but GM today isn't the same as GM of the '80s. Raising CAFE means they have more at stake, and need high mpg technologies to succeed. Europeans choose diesel because of fuel costs. I don't think the engines would be as successful if repairs ate all the fuel savings.
     
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