Author Topic: Undisputed: Most Mustachian Used Car - Least expensive overall cost auto  (Read 10058 times)

cbr shadow

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There are lots of posts here about used cars, lists of mustachian cars, etc... so there are plenty of cars that are considered reasonable and wont get you a big face punch.

What would YOU personally say the absolute most mustachian car is?  There are plenty of things to consider, like what the car is used for, so lets assume this needs to be a 4-door car used for commuting to/from work and used as a grocery getter, running errands, etc.  Basically "normal use".

Some things to consider:
1) Purchase price
2) Gas Mileage
3) Maintenance (reliability, parts cost/availability)
4) Utility (space for groceries)

So given the above, what single car reigns king?  To be king you have to have an overall lowest cost of ownership.

I'll start with:

2008 Honda Fit Sport with 64k Miles - $6500 on my local craigslist.

This combines good gas mileage, pretty low purchase price, low insurance costs, high reliability, plenty of utility.



Exflyboy

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1st generation Dodge Neon.. I am a bit of a fan..:)

Frank

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1994-2000 toyota tercel.

5.2 L/100 KM - 45 MPG

Cheap to buy, insure and repair.

$_gone_amok

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Toyota corolla from the 1990's. Cheap (can be bought for less than $3K). Reliable (if not more so than Honda). Giving up a bit for utility but a lot people can live with that.

ketchup

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If you are willing to do all your own work, I can't imagine possibly coming out ahead of a 3-cylinder 5-speed 1985-88 Chevy Sprint or '89-'99 Geo Metro (bonus points for XFI trim).  Dead simple mechanically, and you're looking at a minimum of 45MPG (on the later models) up to a max of 55-60MPG (properly driven and taken care of Sprint or Metro XFI).  And they cost about $800~2000 for one depending on condition.  The little 3-cylinder engine will last years, and when it finally starts losing its mojo, you can rebuild it in your garage for a few hundred bucks with basic hand tools.

Had an '88 Sprint, have a '99 Metro now.  Wonderful cars.  Ultimate utilitarian minimalistic vehicle.

TreeTired

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What about a grease car?   I don't have one, but looked into it.   Buy a cheap old diesel and run it on potentially free restaurant used cooking oil. 

superone!

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I absolutely loved my 2001 Honda Insight. Bought it for $6200 and when I was rear-ended and totaled a few years later insurance gave me $7500 for it. And I averaged 55-60mpg. Unfortunately by the time I got the reimbursement from the insurance I couldn't even find another decent mileage first gen Insight for $7500...people have caught on to how awesome this car is. It's a 2 seater, so a little impractical for families, but a great commuter car and I could fit a surprising amount of stuff in that little hatchback!

hexdexorex

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I agree on Toyota Tercel...or Corolla. I have a Toyota Paseo from the early 90s and it has cost me nothing.

Russ

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If you are willing to do all your own work, I can't imagine possibly coming out ahead of a 3-cylinder 5-speed 1985-88 Chevy Sprint or '89-'99 Geo Metro (bonus points for XFI trim).  Dead simple mechanically, and you're looking at a minimum of 45MPG (on the later models) up to a max of 55-60MPG (properly driven and taken care of Sprint or Metro XFI).  And they cost about $800~2000 for one depending on condition.  The little 3-cylinder engine will last years, and when it finally starts losing its mojo, you can rebuild it in your garage for a few hundred bucks with basic hand tools.

Had an '88 Sprint, have a '99 Metro now.  Wonderful cars.  Ultimate utilitarian minimalistic vehicle.

came here to post this, +1

Thegoblinchief

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Yeah, Metros are going to be hard to beat.

That said, if you can find a non rusted out Chevy Nova from the late 80s, those were pretty sweet cars.

Civic hatchbacks of the same vintage are also utilitarian beasts. Once hauled a couple hundred square feet worth of decking and joists in one, brother driving, me (quite safely...not) sitting on top of folded down back seat.

RapmasterD

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The most Mustachian used cars are the ones that cabbies in all major U.S. cities drive to a pulp. That's the Toyota Prius. No I do not own one. Yet.

okashira

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The most Mustachian used cars are the ones that cabbies in all major U.S. cities drive to a pulp. That's the Toyota Prius. No I do not own one. Yet.

'Round these parts, (Hoo-stan), I have never seen a single Prius taxi. They are all Crown Vic's, SUVs, vans, etc.

socalwkr

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There are Prius' all over SoCal.  Our airport gave taxi's incentives to purchase Prius' but no one thought they all would.  Now they get front of the line priority for customers!  I recently purchased a used Corolla.  Had one before and ZERO problems with it.  Would have taken me 6-7 years of driving before I made up the cost difference in the Prius

Self-employed-swami

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1994-2000 toyota tercel.

5.2 L/100 KM - 45 MPG

Cheap to buy, insure and repair.

+1

Bonus points if you can find a 1984-86 manual 4wd wagon.  We owned one, and it was FANTASTIC!

RapmasterD

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There are Prius' all over SoCal.  Our airport gave taxi's incentives to purchase Prius' but no one thought they all would.  Now they get front of the line priority for customers!  I recently purchased a used Corolla.  Had one before and ZERO problems with it.  Would have taken me 6-7 years of driving before I made up the cost difference in the Prius

+1 on the Corolla. Great car....and timeless!

But don't take my word for it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwSNRlNUNEI

wtjbatman

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I want a more mustachian car, but I'm not going to buy a three decade old vehicle that was made before the first Bush was President.

SnackDog

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The most frugal car would be one which actually pays you to drive it.  Not many cars appreciate in value and even fewer appreciate fast enough to offset costs of insurance and fuel.  If you had bought a 2012 Tesla new it could be worth $30,000 more today than you paid.  1996-97 Porsche 993 Turbo prices have soared even higher the last couple years, some as much as $50,000 per year.  Almost any "interesting" car from the 1960s or 70s is likely to appreciate in value.  If you want a cheap to purchase one, think Corvair, AMC, Datsun 240Z or BMW 2002.  As a frugal driver you won't be putting many miles on your car, so no issue there.

RetiredAt63

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I won't comment on make or year, but to me a mustachian car has to be a hatchback/wagon.  Sedans just can't carry enough cargo in comparison.

Thegoblinchief

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I won't comment on make or year, but to me a mustachian car has to be a hatchback/wagon.  Sedans just can't carry enough cargo in comparison.

+1

Which is a shame, 'cause Americans have a weird bias against them, so they can be somewhat rare used.

cbr shadow

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Just to keep this thread on track, the cars listed have to be a purchase that can be repeatable by most members here.  Meaning, just because you bought a classic ford and made money on it, this probably isn't something that most of the rest of us can go do ourselves.  I'm looking for the most mustachian car that is reliable, good on gas, inexpensive to begin with, etc.

Sounds like the Geo Metro and Tercel got some good votes.  I read an article recently on the Metro that the "real world" gas mileage is much lower than what they were rated for when they were made because of the formula that was used to calculate it.  Any truth to that?

Only downsides to the Tercel I can find are: Looks - These have an 80's econobox look to them, but that's not something we're factoring in here, and it's just my opinion/taste.  Also mileage.  I took a look at the Chicago Craigslist and all the Tercel's had a ton of miles.

Corolla seems like a good way to go - good suggestions!  Toyota/Honda seem to hold their value pretty well because of their well documented reliability.  Any manufactures that dont hold value well but are still reliable and under rated?  Kia/Hyundai perhaps?

neo von retorch

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Hyundai / Kia appear to be very reliable from around 2008-2009 onward according to consumer reports, and you can find them with less than 60,000 miles on them for under $5000.

superone!

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The most frugal car would be one which actually pays you to drive it.  Not many cars appreciate in value and even fewer appreciate fast enough to offset costs of insurance and fuel.  If you had bought a 2012 Tesla new it could be worth $30,000 more today than you paid.  1996-97 Porsche 993 Turbo prices have soared even higher the last couple years, some as much as $50,000 per year.  Almost any "interesting" car from the 1960s or 70s is likely to appreciate in value.  If you want a cheap to purchase one, think Corvair, AMC, Datsun 240Z or BMW 2002.  As a frugal driver you won't be putting many miles on your car, so no issue there.

This was my thinking in purchasing my 1977 Mercedes 240 Diesel. It's in pristine condition, only 107,000 miles on it, I get 27-30 mpg, and I drive it only on the weekends. (maybe a total of 20 miles a month). It's a beautiful car, only problem is my new commute for my new job that starts next week...nearly 30 miles each way!

Trying to weigh whether it is more mustachian to sell my car now and get a more fuel efficient one while the mileage is low and she's still worth quite a bit (relatively, and probably worth more than I paid), or to put to the test the commonly cited wisdom of these cars that they will go for 500,000+ miles with proper care...


ender

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I won't comment on make or year, but to me a mustachian car has to be a hatchback/wagon.  Sedans just can't carry enough cargo in comparison.

+1

Which is a shame, 'cause Americans have a weird bias against them, so they can be somewhat rare used.

Yeah no kidding.

I was going to say a wagon/hatchback too, most of them are built on the same frame as the sedan and so they get the same mileage but have considerably better storage space.

ketchup

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Sounds like the Geo Metro and Tercel got some good votes.  I read an article recently on the Metro that the "real world" gas mileage is much lower than what they were rated for when they were made because of the formula that was used to calculate it.  Any truth to that?
Starting around 2008, the "New EPA MPG" ratings started, and they back-recalculated all the ratings on old cars to compensate. 

My '99 Metro's "Old MPG" rating was 41/47, and it's "New MPG" rating is 34/42.  I have averaged 46MPG in mixed city/highway driving over the past 6K miles, right around the original "highway" rating.  And that's with 153,000 on the clock.  It of course blows away the revised rating.  I have never had a tank below 42MPG.  This has been all summer miles; I haven't owned the car through a winter yet.

When I had my '88 Sprint, I averaged 53MPG mixed in it in the summer, and about 46MPG in the winter.  "New" rating of 44/51, "Old" rating of 54/58.  I attribute it not quite hitting the original numbers to the car not liking gas with ethanol, which was not common in the 80s like it is today.  Either way, it was pretty close, and a 25 year old car at the time.

I'd say the ratings have been exactly in line with my results.  This may not apply to the Metros with automatic transmissions, which I've never driven.  They are 3-speeds with no overdrive and get far worse mileage than the 5-speed manuals.  That could have been what you had read was talking about.  Those get 35MPG on a good day from what I've read.

drgnmn

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I purchased a 2005 Hyundai Accent sedan recently (I actually wanted a hatchback). It only had about 40,000 miles and I got it for under $3000. Of course the hail damage was pretty extensive but it runs great. I sold my RAV4 and now I have no car payments, I get great mileage, my insurance is 1/3rd what it was and my repairs are much less. Heading down the mustachian rabbit hole.

I did have a Geo Metro back in the late 90's when they came out. I loved that car. I was getting 53 mpg in real life. There are many times I wished I still had it.

dantownehall

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I purchased a 2005 Hyundai Accent sedan recently (I actually wanted a hatchback). It only had about 40,000 miles and I got it for under $3000. Of course the hail damage was pretty extensive but it runs great. I sold my RAV4 and now I have no car payments, I get great mileage, my insurance is 1/3rd what it was and my repairs are much less. Heading down the mustachian rabbit hole.

I did have a Geo Metro back in the late 90's when they came out. I loved that car. I was getting 53 mpg in real life. There are many times I wished I still had it.

What kind of mileage are you getting from the Accent?  I'm looking at them now.  Do you know if the newer ones have better mileage?  I saw 40mpg highway quoted for a 2012.

SpicyMcHaggus

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something simple that you are comfortable working on. I find that 4cyl hondas with manual transmissions are the best for me. Things rarely go wrong, and often rust kills them before mechanical problems.  Plenty of 20 yr old Civics and Accords around here. Ugly, rusty, but trusty.

JoyBlogette

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I drive a diesel VW Golf and I love it.  I agree with the hatchback/wagon comment.  The hatchback rules for cargo space or oddly shaped items and the diesel is amazing for mileage.

yyc-phil

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I would vote for a mid-90s Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. The Civic hatchback from these years is still very handsome and sporty compared to the Corolla, and for a hatchback, it can hold quite a bit of cargo with the back seat folded down. After getting rid of my almost new Ford Excursion, I bought a 1998 Civic in Yellowknife in 2005, and it never let me down once even in the harshest winters, at -45 C or in snowy and icy conditions. I bought mine for $3,000 in tip-top condition with 64,000 km, drove it hard and fast with extremely limited maintenance (oil & filter change once a year or less, which is much less than recommended but it worked in my case) and sold it for $1000 in 2012 with 212,000 km. Reliable and economical, easily the best and most mustachian car I ever owned.

AlexK

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Mustache car for sale:

'94 Geo Metro xfi with 236k miles. I rebuilt the engine at 200k (bored cylinders 0.020" over and rebuilt head) and installed A/C. It has professionally tinted windows and no rust. New brakes and wheel bearings. Good tires. CD stereo with aux input. Paint looks OK (it's white). Few small dents. Bumpers faded. I've only been getting 50 mpg with it but it does not have the xfi transmission, it was replaced at some point with a slightly lower ratio unit from a base model. Runs perfect and never a single issue since the rebuild. It is ready to drive anywhere. Fly here and drive it home.

I would sell it to a forum member for $2k and I think it would sell for more than that on ebay.

I upgraded to a Scion Xa because I wanted a car with airbags.

labrat

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something simple that you are comfortable working on. I find that 4cyl hondas with manual transmissions are the best for me. Things rarely go wrong, and often rust kills them before mechanical problems.  Plenty of 20 yr old Civics and Accords around here. Ugly, rusty, but trusty.

+1.  LOVED my 96 Accord until it was rear-ended and totaled a few years back.  Best car I ever drove!

Mad Tiki

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For me personally, I need some sort of utility vehicle which is used for work and pleasure.
My choice was made 4 years ago when an absolutely superb 92 jeep cherokee came my way.
It had 150k very well maintained mechanic owned miles on it.
Seems the daughter went out for a drive on the highway blasting the radio and never looking down at the gages. That is untill it started spewing anti freeze and steam all up on the windshield.
Ling story short, it ended up parked next to my shop. After inquiring about it, I was told it needed a new water pump (original issue that caused coolant to leak and over heat the engine) which then caused the head to slightly warp, which also resulted in some hailine cracks.
So. I talked him into letting me have it for 800. I put another 400 into a used/ rebuilt head, entire new cooling system. Just to be on the safe side. Total investment was 1200. It only get 18-22 mpg's, but for as little as I paid for it, and the use it gets doing daily commuting, picking up car parts, and weekend excursions out in the Arizona Desert (natures unplugged entertainment), I feel I made the right choice. Maintenance so far has been front brakes, 35., crank position sensor 52., fuel pressure regulator 65. Not bad for a vehicle now reaching 245k miles :)
It think it earns a mustachian award :)

hexdexorex

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Kia / Hyundai didnt hold up a decade ago. Its hard to tell if now these ones will because it hasnt been long enough.

If looks are a concern there is the paseo

http://tinyurl.com/movz8du

Or a early 90s Celica...

But yea with both the backseats are horrible.

Also here are some good websites for more research

https://www.fuelly.com/car   (for accurate real world mpg ratings)
http://www.carcomplaints.com/  (for accurate issues related to certain years in cars...there might be better sites for this that I dont know of?)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 03:49:20 PM by hexdexorex »

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Are we counting likelihood of death or serious injury in a crash in the calculus?  Modern safety features (especially air bags and anti-lock brakes) radically changed how many people can walk away from a previously deadly situation.

I'm no SUV safety apologist... but personally I'd go for the oldest, best mpg car with driver and passenger airbags and anti-lock brakes.  Out 1996 Honda Odyssey has these, so they can't be that rare on older cars.