I have some interest in picking up a commuturd. For those not familiar with this term, a definition: a cheap car that gets used almost strictly for going to and from work. My commute is about 24 miles each way.
I have a few strict requirements:
- A manual transmission
- Air conditioning
- The ability to get at least 40 MPG without serious hypermiling.
- A price tag as far under $1000 as possible, under $500 if it can be accomplished.
- Mechanical systems in decent repair
Naturally there are some things that would be nice, but are not required:
- Cruise control
- Four doors
- A workable radio and CD player
The goal here is to have a car that will last long enough (2-3 years) without major repair costs that when it finally dies, I can look for a car just like it and start over. If I’ve got to get a loan and put full insurance coverage on it, then it’s not worth doing. I’ve also got kids that will be driving relatively soon, and if they can keep up with it, they’ll need a car.
My ’91 Camry was averaging about 25 MPG before I started hypermiling, now I can occasionally get a little higher than 30MPG. That car will be a great thing for my wife to drive for ferrying kids around most of the time. It would be better than the huge van she uses now, which gets about 10-12 MPG. We will still need the van, but if we can drive it a lot less, we’ll save money.
I’ve been told that the Honda Civics from the early to mid 1990s might meet my requirements. I’d like to know if anyone out there knows of any other models that would qualify, or even better would be knowledge of specific cars I can look at.