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#2472648 - 01/18/11 01:03 PM
best mid - late 90's commuter car
Farley Offline

Sr HSO Family

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 2426
Loc: Stockholm Twnsp
probably going to buy a commuter this spring. what should I get. I want high 20's as far as gas mileage, and I do most of my own repairs so kind of want something thats not impossible to work on (meaning I can fit my hand in the engine compartment). What do you suggest? If I remember correctly I think I heard Airjer once say the Saturn SC2 is a good car for that? I'm not looking to spend more than $1000-$1500.
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#2472817 - 01/18/11 03:13 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Farley]
island guy Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 07/11/03
Posts: 424
Loc: fergus falls mn
I commute 120 miles a day with a chev prism. It has the toyota engine. I've had to do very little with it. 30+ mpg.
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#2472821 - 01/18/11 03:16 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: island guy]
Crm7290 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 06/25/10
Posts: 384
Loc: Winona
Saturns are very nice cars.
I had an escort that was a tank, but I think that is more the exception than the rule.
Maybe a corola or camry?
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#2472827 - 01/18/11 03:26 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Crm7290]
SkunkedAgain Online   content
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 09/21/06
Posts: 4223
Loc: 612er
Hard to go wrong with Accords and Civcs from that era

WALTER "You know Dude, I myself dabbled with pacifism at one point. Not in Nam, of course--"
DUDE "And you know Smokey has emotional problems!"
WALTER "You mean--beyond pacifism?"
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#2472834 - 01/18/11 03:29 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: island guy]
JosMN Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 692
Loc: Faribault, MN
Originally Posted By: island guy
I commute 120 miles a day with a chev prism. It has the toyota engine. I've had to do very little with it. 30+ mpg.


I bought my brothers 96 geo prizm last spring for $250, he used it as his commuter from Big Lake to Brooklyn Park since new. The thing will never die, never has had a problem. It has 265,000 miles on it now, a few sets of brake pads, gas, check the oil and go. And he surely didnt baby it, 75 mph down the highway in this thing and it is winding out pretty good. Sure I dont look very cool in it, but for getting to work and back you can't beat it. Keeps miles off of my truck. smile

A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work.

jjostock21@yahoo.com
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#2473090 - 01/18/11 06:24 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: JosMN]
delcecchi Online   content
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 11410
Loc: Rochester, MN/Wakemup Village
Geo Prizm is a Toyota Corolla as I recall. From NUMI.

Del

And it's all over now, Baby Blue.
Donate blood and save lives.




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#2473096 - 01/18/11 06:28 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: delcecchi]
Crm7290 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 06/25/10
Posts: 384
Loc: Winona
The Chevy Prism, Geo Prism and Toyota Corolla are the same car just rebadged.

I was suggesting other good cars to look at too
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#2473098 - 01/18/11 06:29 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: delcecchi]
brian6715 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 03/19/01
Posts: 1062
Loc: Faribault / UMD
I have had both a geo prism and a chevy prism. The geo was like a 94 or something, it was better than my 99. My 99 now has a different motor, and it is louder and not as good on gas (still gets 28-30). It is still an awesome car though! They are bullet proof, mine has been in one major accident, two minor accidents, and went in the ditch (none of it while I was driving wink ).

Love the prism!
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#2473111 - 01/18/11 06:42 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Farley]
goblueM Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 4308
Loc: St. Paul/Blacksburg VA
Originally Posted By: Farley
probably going to buy a commuter this spring. what should I get. I want high 20's as far as gas mileage, and I do most of my own repairs so kind of want something thats not impossible to work on (meaning I can fit my hand in the engine compartment). What do you suggest? If I remember correctly I think I heard Airjer once say the Saturn SC2 is a good car for that? I'm not looking to spend more than $1000-$1500.


high 20s? I'd suggest setting the bar higher for a commuter car! Lots out there that get better than 30 mpg

Toyota Tercel's run forever, civics and corrolas, accord, camry, all are great cars

"The sweetest hunts are stolen. To steal a hunt, either go far into the wilderness where no one has been, or else find some undiscovered place under everybody's nose" - Aldo Leopold
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#2473119 - 01/18/11 06:44 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: brian6715]
Crm7290 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 06/25/10
Posts: 384
Loc: Winona
Stay away from the metro, from what ive seen they arent quite as good.

I did a ton of research when I was buying a car a couple years back and found a great deal on that escort. It helped that it was owned by a mechanic. Dirty as heck, but ran forever. I sold it to the neighbor years ago and she still uses it
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#2473352 - 01/18/11 09:26 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Crm7290]
Dozer Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 982
Loc: North Branch Mn
Personally I dont like such small cars. The above mentioned will get in the 30-35mpg range. I drive a 98 Grand Prix Gt with a 3800 and get 26-28mph. If you do the math on a it comes to about a $400 difference on a 20,000 mile year. For me its worth $400 a year to drive a car that you enjoy driving when you spend an hour and a half every day in it.

And you dont have to worry about what you look like!
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#2473397 - 01/18/11 10:22 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Dozer]
Jeremy airjer W Offline

HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 9391
Loc: Mt. Iron/St. paul (deranged)
I have a 97 Saturn SL2. I get 34-37 in the summer on the freeway with the cruise set to 70mph. You can't beat a saturn. They are cheep to buy, cheep to fix, and very DIY friendly. It is important to get the DOHC 1.9 liter!

I picked mine up for a grand. Its not pretty but its not supposed to be. If you want nice looking you'll pay more. Its nice having a beater. If I hit it with the snowblower, oh well. If the kids hit it with there bikes, oh well, If there are 35 shopping carts surrounding it, oh well! smile


Edited by airjer (01/18/11 10:26 PM)

Owner - Half Empty Graphic Design
ASE Certified Automotive Technician - Paramount Auto Service, Hastings Goodyear
13 year member of Hot Spot Outdoors, 1/17/01 - 1/17/14...........thecarguy@q.com
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#2473521 - 01/19/11 06:52 AM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Jeremy airjer W]
Farley Offline

Sr HSO Family

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 2426
Loc: Stockholm Twnsp
cool, thanks for the responses guys, yeah I dont care about looking cool, either I'm past that point in my life or I dont make enough $$ to care. I got a 03 F150 as a backup on snowy days.
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#2474490 - 01/19/11 08:07 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Farley]
deadeye Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 11/21/02
Posts: 2606
Loc: fishin in da hood
Honda Civic VX. The best MPGs you can get and a terribly reliable car too...

I am in the process of buying a subaru outback myself (I am picking it up on Friday). For what its worth I had one on the lift in the shop at work and everything on it looks very easy to work on and deal with. Actual MPG's have yet to be determined but I expect to see somewhere around 25 with my highway commute.

Jon><>
Bad decisions make good stories.
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#2474593 - 01/19/11 09:15 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: deadeye]
fishfeeder Offline
Hello I'm New

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 6
Loc: mn
I drove an 87 vw golf and pounded the CAPTAINS QUARTERS out of that poor car for 10 years. got high 20's for mpg and had just minor stuff go wrong that I repaired my self. very well built little cars crank windows and sunroof. I miss that car.
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#2474609 - 01/19/11 09:26 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Jeremy airjer W]
Crm7290 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 06/25/10
Posts: 384
Loc: Winona
If I had any of that happen to my car I would kill anyone responsible. I purposely park far away from everyone so that none of that can happen.


How far will your commutes be?
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#2474787 - 01/20/11 06:49 AM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Crm7290]
Ralph Wiggum Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 5074
Loc: Crystal, MN
Originally Posted By: Crm7290
If I had any of that happen to my car I would kill anyone responsible.


Yeah, cause a dented car is worth going to prison over. crazy
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#2474853 - 01/20/11 07:25 AM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Ralph Wiggum]
Jeremy airjer W Offline

HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 9391
Loc: Mt. Iron/St. paul (deranged)
Its a Saturn, It doesn't dent!

When I park the Tundra I need survival gear to get to the store. My kids always ask, "why can't we park closer dad?" grin

Owner - Half Empty Graphic Design
ASE Certified Automotive Technician - Paramount Auto Service, Hastings Goodyear
13 year member of Hot Spot Outdoors, 1/17/01 - 1/17/14...........thecarguy@q.com
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#2474881 - 01/20/11 07:38 AM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Crm7290]
Farley Offline

Sr HSO Family

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 2426
Loc: Stockholm Twnsp
100 miles\ day. Been doing it for a while now (10 years) except for the 2 years I lived in Minnetonka. Bought the F150 and drove that for a year, then moved to tonka so didnt feel like I needed a commuter car, but now live back out in the sticks, a commuter would save me big $$, $200 per month at least. So I figure if I buy a cheap car, it should pay for itself in 5 months.
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#2475262 - 01/20/11 12:07 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: island guy]
pureinsanity Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 07/13/09
Posts: 3854
Loc: Under A Rock
Get a vw, i love my car its been good to me with MINOR issues that I can fix myself, even the major ones have been very easy to work on. I have had several GM mechanics tell me they are a pain to work on, but in my opinion this is the easiest car Ive ever worked on.

01 Jetta
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#2475305 - 01/20/11 12:32 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: pureinsanity]
Jeremy airjer W Offline

HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 9391
Loc: Mt. Iron/St. paul (deranged)
If you ask the parts guys at VW what there techs are like they will be the first to admit they are a different breed. I guess with a screen name like pureinsanity your right on board with the VW way of doing things! grin

Owner - Half Empty Graphic Design
ASE Certified Automotive Technician - Paramount Auto Service, Hastings Goodyear
13 year member of Hot Spot Outdoors, 1/17/01 - 1/17/14...........thecarguy@q.com
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#2475488 - 01/20/11 02:55 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: Jeremy airjer W]
pureinsanity Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 07/13/09
Posts: 3854
Loc: Under A Rock
Originally Posted By: airjer
If you ask the parts guys at VW what there techs are like they will be the first to admit they are a different breed. I guess with a screen name like pureinsanity your right on board with the VW way of doing things! grin


I stay away from the VW dealers PERIOD. Parts are ridiculously priced, and so is their labor!
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#2475643 - 01/20/11 05:06 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: pureinsanity]
1968 Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 12/28/07
Posts: 142
Loc: twin cities
Anything but Euro! V dubs seem to be made mostly out of plastic. Even some of their oil dipstick tubes, that frequently break like all the other crispified underhood clips, covers, housings. Seen a 97 jetta once with under 100k, and most of the 50 or so door jamb wires were cracked/broke. Even on the rear doors that rarely got used.

Euro cars also severely limit your choices for service as you are stuck with the dealer or a specialist in order to get the right specialty tools and experience. Even basic maintenance can hurt. Coupon oil changes won't meet requirements of newer Euro's.

Corolla/Prizm, Civic, Saturns are all decent/affordable. Although I feel Toy/Honda quality has slipped a little, it's hard to go wrong with them. Saturn brakes aren't the best. The biggest drawback to the Asian cars is the cost of timing belt service that most will need at least twice.

Don't forget to ask Google. No shortage of reviews there. If you don't find any hate sites, that's a plus!
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#2475752 - 01/20/11 07:18 PM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: 1968]
delcecchi Online   content
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 11410
Loc: Rochester, MN/Wakemup Village
For the 90's it would be hard to beat a civic or a 4 cyl accord, or a corolla or camry. Our 95 accord 4 gets 33 or so on the highway, 25 in town except when it is real cold. Driving 2 miles at a time in winter is bad for the mileage.

Del

And it's all over now, Baby Blue.
Donate blood and save lives.




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#2476229 - 01/21/11 08:55 AM
Re: best mid - late 90's commuter car [Re: 1968]
pureinsanity Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 07/13/09
Posts: 3854
Loc: Under A Rock
Originally Posted By: 1968

Euro cars also severely limit your choices for service as you are stuck with the dealer or a specialist in order to get the right specialty tools and experience. Even basic maintenance can hurt. Coupon oil changes won't meet requirements of newer Euro's.



Hmm, that is strange.

I will admit there is a lot of plastic, but I will also say I have never had much issues with any of the plastic except a coolant flange that had a defect in the aftermarket part I bought.

Specialty tools? I've only came across one time I have ever needed a tool to complete a job that I couldn't use standard tools with. And a friend had just the right tool. It was for some bolts when we changed my clutch out.

Ive heard of the dipsticks breaking, but still have yet to see one break and I know lots of people with VW's

Basic maintenance has been a breeze, I usually get my fluids from VW just for the fact I don't trust the junk made in today's ready mix fluids. Ill spend the 40 dollars on coolant from VW vs putting in the stuff napa or oriley says is OK to put in a VW. Ive seen and helped with a few radiator flushes because someone listened to those guys and put the aftermarket coolant in their VW. You wouldn't believe the gunk that builds up from that stuff.

As far as oil changes. I do all that myself, and run ams oil in my car! Love it and it works great!

Not sure why you are so down on VW's but I love how easy my car is to work on and how easy the maintenance and big jobs have been to do.

Someone somewhere started a rumor that VW's are so hard to work on so no one ever wants to tackle them.

I forgot to mention as well that there is a lot of VW clubs that usually show DIY step by step instructions for people who want to tackle a bigger job by themselves. All via internet.
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