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In the market for a new car

4749 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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Both Cruze models will achieve FANTASTIC MPG on the highway, but will come nowhere close to a hybrid in-town. Depending on your drive, you may be able to beat that hybrid's total average with a high highway MPG number.

Is that Eco a manual or automatic? If it's a manual, it's probably unlike most you've driven. The 1.4T can be shifted at ridiculously low RPM for a 4-cylinder - try running it under 2000 RPM and see what kinda MPG you can eek out of it.

My girlfriend has the 2.5-liter SE Camry and I have an LT Cruze. Both it and the Cruze are nice cars, but I think the Cruze is a much quieter, more refined highway driver (and the MPG is much, much better). Will it beat a hybrid on fuel efficiency? Probably not. The XLE should have a much softer suspension than the SE Camry as well, as that is one of my major complaints about the car.

I was really quite impressed with the Diesel. It isn't fast, but it has very healthy mid-range punch (passing power) and the Diesel drivers on the forum have been getting fantastic MPG from these little things.

Either Cruze is a heck of a lot more fun to drive...if you're into that sorta thing ;)
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The gearing was my major complaint with the Eco as well. The LT's are much closer together, passing power is pretty good even in 5th/6th, but a drop to 4th at highway speeds will get you what you need most of the time.

I too think you'll be the happiest with the Diesel though. Good luck!
Well, a diesels forte is torque with a capitol way a gasser will ever produce low rpm torque like that.

One of my sons Peterbilt's Caterpillar I6 makes 420 hp but 2400 torque!.......when bobbing (no trailer) it rips about the same as good sized V-8 performance car......but no downshift required.
Can't exceed 2400 rpm though, heh heh.

One of the things I love about the 1.4 is that it drives like a small diesel (VW TDI) or small V6 (2.5 L or so) at times. All the power is there below 4500 RPM, with much of it coming on strong at 2000-2500 RPM (lower for the autos). Above that magic 2000 RPM mark, this thing can get up almost any hill thrown at it without changing down a gear, and on flat ground can usually quickly speed up 5-10 mph without a problem. Hit the gas hard below that magic threshold, you're just waiting on the turbo to spool forever though...however, best fuel efficiency is achieved without the turbocharger spooled up.

The engine really feels good with a gearbox that helps put that power to the ground (I was unimpressed by the automatic in stock form), while the Eco MT drives much, much better with a tune on it to help pull the engine more out of those "dead zones".

Put up against a car of similar weight making 178 hp, my Cruzes torque/gearing will hold it dead even til 60 mph (8 seconds). I was fully expecting to lose that one. That said, highway passing power is useless above 60-70...the 1.4 excels at low-end torque and not top end power.

The 2.0TD then feels like the 1.4 was given a steroid injection and kicked in the sides a little bit. It's not "fast", but all that torque instantly available is both deceptive and a lot of fun.

Sent from App
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