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In the market for a new car

4747 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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If you pulled over 350k out of a 4cyl Camry, there is no question you stay on top of serviceing you vehicle.

I'm amazed you ot that many years off the Toyota in this climate.....they generally have turned to dust by now so you're doing something very right.
All that aside, if you stay with the service regimine you've been using, either the 1.4 gas or 2.0 diesel will fill the bill IMO.

It sort of does a disservice to the vehicle by using forums as a method of determining failures or weaknesses.
This because there are thousands of examples that have no problems at problems, no need to find a forum and complain.
As a result, those of us that follow forums can easilily get caught up in the 'They all do that' mindset.

Anyways, like any new car, the Cruze did go through some teething pains in the beginning but I really have not picked up on any failure trending on the 13's and expect the 14's to be just as settled in if not even better.

The diesel will get very good mileage, but keep in mind fuel prices for diesel tend to be very stable......I'm sure you've noticed that diesel is averaging $.50 more per gallon than gasoline as I write this.
The price of gasoline varies widely but seldom exceeds the price of diesel over the last few years......something to consider.
Since you tend to run a car till the wheels fall off, put them back on and run it even longer, the potental reasale value will not have any real impact on you....

If you consider yourself pretty good at getting the most out of a gallon, I think the ECO, auto or stick will meet your needs.
I don't know why, but the eco auto shouldn't get much better than a 1LT but it does.
In the winter, my eco auto stays in the 35 range fairly easily and my city/highway split is the opposite of yours or worse.

In the summer, the average holds around 37/38 but steady highway around 60 mph, I have no problem seeing 45 mpg and have gotten into the low 50's with fair frequency.

As far as quiet, I contend the domestics have just run away from the imports.....especially in road noise infiltration.....this is a very quiet unibody car.

I guess it will boil down to what you enjoy driving the most....but I think the Cruze will have overall lower operating costs over its lifetime than any import.

Good luck and let us know your decision.
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This is why I prefer a auto behind a turbo.......drops a gear or two (or three) to pass and stays on boost.
The 40 to 70 pull is remarkable for this itty bitty engine.

Don't confuse my perception of performance to that of my Camaro 6m......but at 60 in 6th it is a dog too if a pass is needed.....gotta drop a couple of gears on that one as well.

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.

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