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In the market for a new car

4757 Views 37 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  iKermit
Hi everyone,

I have been a forum lurker for a while now, reading up on these cars and associated problems/owner testaments.

These days, I commute over 80 miles a day and have owned a 1996 Camry LE since the showroom floor. Well, with 382,000 miles on her, she's burnt a valve and it's time to let her go. It's been a fantastic car - probably the best car I have ever owned.

I'm in the market for a fuel-efficient commuter car. I have been looking for about 2 weeks now and limping around in a 3-cylinder Camry for the time being. I have driven the Toyota Prius and it's absolutely the worst car I have ever driven - I cannot understand how people can bear to drive such cars.

I have eliminated the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla - and narrowed my options down to the Chevy Cruze Eco (or Eco Diesel - still stuck between the two) and the Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE for their high MPG figures. I would like to check out the 2014 Accord Hybrid, but it looks like the timing won't work out for me, as I need a new car SOON and the dealers don't seem to have any in stock.

I would say I do about a 70% highway/30% city driving split. I commute from outside Chicago into the city, mostly highway on the way in, then gridlock around the city. As I tend to keep a car forever, I do not mind paying extra for whichever will get the best MPG, as I'm sure to make up the cost, but would like a car that comes in under $28,000 if possible. If there was more gridlock, I would rule out a manual transmission, but I would not mind it on this commute (my Camry was my first "grown-up" car with an automatic).

My 1996 Camry averages about 26 MPG on my day-to-day commute, and I am hoping to average somewhere in the 30s-40s to help even out the cost of a new car. I would like something that looks nice on the inside AND outside and that is somewhat pleasant to drive. Interior space or race-car performance is not really a big concern for me - my wife has a crossover that we use to cart the kids around, and I have a '66 Mustang in the garage. I would like something with adequate power to merge onto the highway and keep up with traffic.

I've driven the TCH on about a 60% city/40% highway route this weekend, and returned about 38 MPG. I also have a friend off work today that let me borrow his Cruze Eco for the commute today to test it out - he was the one that actually got me interested in the car. I have looked at the Diesel, and am very impressed with the interior on the Diesel, but have not had the chance to drive one.

For those of you that own either an Eco or a Diesel, how do you like your car and what kind of MPG do you get in a city/hwy split? How have your cars been reliability-wise?

I will come back with my impressions of the Eco after my drive home, as I spent much of the morning coming in toying and playing around with my friend's car to get to know it a little better. I have a dealer that is letting me borrow a Diesel for the day tomorrow, and I hope to make a decision on which car I will go with by tomorrow or Wednesday, as the Camry is hurting bad and running very rough at the moment.

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My MPG is in my sig below for my ECO 6MT gas. If you can afford the diesel Cruze + tax title and tags as well as the diesel fill ups(remember ECO gas range is no where near ECO diesel) then I would lean that direction.

Sent from App
Well, final verdict is in. I don't think the Eco is for me. I did average 38 MPG (35 on the way in) on the trip home from work, trying to shift as low as I could in the city traffic as recommended. So, a tie for the Camry there and very impressive for a non-hybrid vehicle. I typically drive 5 over the speed limits, which are 55-60 on the Interstates. I reset trip 2 while maintaining steady speed on the highway, and I did see 46 MPG from the car. That is higher than I EVER saw from the TCH.

The 1.4 is very surprisingly peppy (especially considering the size of the engine) in gears 1-2-3, but the power all goes downhill after there unless you rev each gear out a little more. The gaps between the gears are huge! I made the mistake of changing lanes to pass a slow-moving bus and nearly got run over when I floored it, downshifted to 5th, found no more power, and dropped to 4th to find still almost nothing. I understand that the transmission is optimized for fuel economy, but it seems a little TOO optimized towards that instead of drivability to me, especially considering that this engine seems to pull strong between 2500-4000 RPM in the lower gears.

That said, I love the way the Cruze drives. It's quiet, smooth on bad roads, surprisingly good in snowy conditions that weren't cleared up by this morning, and otherwise fun to drive. I may look into the LT models if the Diesel doesn't pan out. The interior is surprisingly comfortable, the controls are all laid out well, and the MyLink radio is much easier to use than the Toyota Entune system. Back seat is very small, but usually it is just my son or wife riding in the front seat of my car, and if we have to take both kids, we just take the wife's vehicle.

Picking up the Diesel on my way into work tomorrow - the salesman agreed to leave the keys with the service department that opens early.
You have to rev match it into 3rd just right above 4k & let the needle fall just as you let out clutch for a quick seemless pass. 3rd gear doesn't fuel cut on the eco till about 93ish mph. If you haven't passed the car before that point, abandon the overtake.

You should enjoy overboost on the CTD and notice the sound deadening over the Eco. If you go Auto LT since stick is a hit or miss option you will also notice a difrence in how the diesel shifts over the 1.4 equipt autos.
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Well there you go! Just make sure you try and schedule service well in advance of what you need for a normal Cruze. People find out the Diesel is such a small volume car that none of the Diesel Specific Cruze consumable parts are stocked if you called in today and schedule a oil change for Thursday.
Congrats! Good choice on the Diesel. Yep - wife's Olds Intrigue auto lost top gear around 140k miles - required a rebuild.
Think I was the only lucky one with the GM auto flawlessly driving of my friends, my issues were engine, electrical and body parts related. If it didn't have a pattern of destruction I would have held on to it longer and avoided car notes all over again.

Sent from App
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