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Best New High Mileage Vehicles For Seniors

Posted on July 23rd, 2009 in , | 55 Comments

Best New High Mileage Vehicles For Seniors
By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist

Senior drivers often have different wants and needs when it comes to vehicles — but like almost everyone else, they’re also concerned about the high cost of fuel.

The following five cars offer good (to excellent) fuel economy as well as features that will appeal to senior drivers:

Under $15,000

2010 Nissan Versa 1.6 (base price $9,990; $11,990 with automatic and AC )

In addition to being the least expensive new car on the market right now, the Versa compact sedan also stands out among cars in its class and price range because of its substantially roomier backseat accommodations. Four adults can sit comfortably in the Versa — a claim few compact sedans or hatchbacks can honestly make. The Versa’s tall roofline and large, wide-opening doors also ease entry and exit from the vehicle.

And gas mileage, even with the optional automatic transmission, is very good: 26 city and 33 highway. Its ride is softer than many smallish cars, too.

For those who want more power — and power amenities — the Versa is also available with a larger 1.8 liter engine and can be equipped with high-tech features such as Bluetooth wireless and keyless ignition as well as luxury-oriented equipment such as a sunroof and premium stereo with satellite radio. Prices for the more powerful Versa 1.8S with automatic begin just over $14k. Manual transmission versions of both the Versa 1.6 and the Versa 1.8S are about $1,000 less.

Under $20,000

2010 Honda Insight hybrid (base price $19,800)

The Insight is a hybrid gas-electric five-door hatchback sedan that’s similar in layout and size to the best-selling Toyota Prius but costs several thousand dollars less.

Two features especially stand out. The first is the simplicity of its interior layout. While the shape of the instrument panel is swoopy and futuristic, the controls are similar in function to what you’d find in a standard (non-hybrid car). For example, instead of a dashboard-mounted toggle switch to control the transmission (as in the Prius) the Insight has a conventional floor-mounted gear selector and the usual ranges of Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Sport. Other controls are similarly easy to understand and use, such as the rotary knob for the AC system (no computer “menus” or “mice” to deal with).

The Insight’s other strong suit is its “kammback” rear section. Instead of the typical steeply-raked hatchback design with an abbreviated trunk area, the Insight’s rear section tapers gradually, with the single piece tailgate section opening wide to provide a generous opening to the large (32 cubic feet with the second row seats folded) cargo area. This means greater access — and less work/trouble getting things in and out of the cargo area.

Gas mileage (40 city, 43 highway) may not as high as the Toyota’s (51 city, 48 highway) but the Insight’s much lower up-front cost washes out the Toyota’s over-the-road mileage advantage. It would take several years of driving to make up for the approximate $2,200 price difference between the cost of a new Insight and the cost of the least expensive version of the Prius ($22,000).

Under $30,000

2010 Ford Taurus (base price $25,170)

The Taurus was a great car in the 1980s and thanks to a complete redesign it is once again exactly that. This is a large, five-passenger sedan that is exceptionally comfortable, smooth and very nicely finished and equipped — for significantly less money than you’d pay for an equivalent import such as the $27,895 Toyota Avalon. The new Taurus is actually bigger than the Avalon (which is itself bigger than a Camry — or the Honda Accord, etc.) with more front seat head and legroom and a substantially larger (20.1 cubic foot) trunk.

The Taurus also comes standard with a powerful 3.5 liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission and can be ordered with all-wheel-drive for improved winter and wet-weather traction and safety. Another helpful feature is an external keypad SecuriCode entry system. If you lock your keys inside the car, you can enter a personal code to unlock the vehicle. Base SE models are very well equipped with a six-way power driver’s seat, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel (which makes the car fit a variety of drivers) as well as automatic headlights, AC, cruise control, power windows and locks, etc. all included.

Official EPA gas mileage numbers weren’t published at the time of this writing (because the new Taurus is just coming out) but are expected to be in the low-mid 20s for city driving and close to 30 mpg for highway driving. A Flex Fuel (can operate on E85 ethanol as well as regular gasoline) should be available soon, too.

Under $35,000

2010 Buick LaCrosse (base price $27,085)

GM may be in trouble but its Buick division is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak landscape. Reason? Buicks like the 2010 LaCrosse continue to offer what you might call the Traditional Luxury Car Experience. It is noticeably softer-riding than the typical mid-sized luxury sedan – where the emphasis is increasingly tilted toward high-performance handling and import car “sporty” driving feel. There’s nothing with that, if that’s what you want. But if you prefer a car that drives the way American luxury cars used to drive, the new LaCrosse is apt to be more to your liking.

It’s also a great deal — priced comparably to cars that aren’t even in the luxury or near-luxury class (like the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord) and well under the price of similarly posh, similarly equipped luxury-brand competitors such as the Lexus ES350 — which starts at $34,470 (a nearly $7,000 price difference).

The 2010 LaCrosse — which is all-new for 2010 — comes standard with a 255 hp V-6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, seven-speaker stereo, 17-inch wheels, climate control AC, leather trim and full power accessories (windows, door locks, cruise control, etc.). A top-of-the-line CXS with “all the bells and whistles” still stickers out at just $33,615 or thousands less than several competitors.

You’ll save at the pump, too. The 2010 LaCrosse is rated by the EPA at 18 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg in highway driving — the latter figure only a few miles per gallon off the pace of many economy-class cars.

Under $45,000

2010 BMW 335d (base price $43,900)

Combining luxury, performance and excellent fuel efficiency, the diesel-powered version of BMW’s highly regarded 3 Series sedan is literally in a class by itself — for the moment, at least.

Neither Lexus, nor Cadillac, nor Acura, nor Audi or Infiniti or Jaguar offer a luxury sedan that can match the 335d’s high-end amenities, high-power and performance (425 lbs.-ft of torque — more than most 6 liter gasoline V-8s — and zero to 60 in about 6 seconds) and its EPA rated 36 mpg capability on the highway. (Its 23 mpg city rating is also very good for a car this powerful.)

The reason is simply that none of those brands currently sell diesel-powered versions of their luxury-sport sedans. (Only Mercedes-Benz currently offers a diesel-powered luxury-sport sedan, the $54,200 E320 BlueTEC. But the E320 is massively more expensive as well as a larger car than the 335d, so it’s not really in the same class as the BMW.)

The mileage disparity — especially on the highway — can be huge. For example, a new Cadillac CTS with the 3.6 liter gas V-6 only manages 26 mpg on the highway (even with the latest direct injection technology) and just 17 mpg in city driving. This is a representative sample of the mileage delivered by comparable luxury-performance sedans powered by gasoline engines vs. the BMW’s turbocharged 3 liter diesel engine. Even with the price of regular unleaded having gone down a bit, the savings over an 8-10 period can be considerable. If gas should go back up to $3 or $4 per gallon sometime over the next few years, the difference in ownership costs could be huge.

And the “diesel downsides” of truck-like noise, rattles and clouds of sooty black smoke? They are history. Modern turbocharged, direct engine diesels are smooth, quiet — and clean.


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55 Responses to “Best New High Mileage Vehicles For Seniors”

  1. Fleet Admiral says:

    Amazing how the 4.0L twin turbo A8 TDI gets 40MPG yet the BMW gets 35. NOT TRYING BMW!! BMW and Merc screwed up on the US diesel market. Overpriced, diesel guzzlers. BMW is doing more to HURT diesels MPG reputation than help it. And Audi is doing the same by bringing the Q7 TDI first instead of the A4/A3 like they told me they would. Merc should have brought the TDI SMART over instead of the gas version. IDIOTS.

    And as for randy getting 665 a tank, that’s only 140 more than what I can squeeze out of my 2.7 twin tubo A6 with 16 gal. Sometimes he even claims 50 mpg. Must have multiple personalities.

    • George says:

      They should have brought over the turbo version of the smart.
      Monitor for any out of the ordinary turbocharger problems, then bring over a turbodiesel.

    • Randy says:

      Fleet Admiral yes i have got over 50 mpg but not on an entire tank. Actually I got 53 once on a 40 mile trip driving 45 mph with a tail wind.

      As far as mileage with your large engine, as I have said numerous times, why brag on good fuel mileage when the vehicle price is so high the fuel usage and cost is insignificant no matter what it is.

    • Fleet Admiral says:

      Considering this car is 9 years old, I’d say I’ve recouped the investment, minus the $750 for timing belt(and this at a PORSCHE dealer) and other things less than $500 that I did myself like brakes/plugs, and had a hell of a lot more fun than any car made in the US or Asia.

      This thing is still more technology packed than anything rolling off the assy lines in this country for a 9 yr old vehicle.

      ECODE Xenons w/autolevel and washers -unlike the asian and US junk which blinds people
      Rear foglight
      Nav -long before any US car had it as even an option
      Rear parking sensors
      Rear heated seats
      AWD
      6th gear
      Tinting interior/exterior mirrors that tilt down to view the curb in reverse
      Folding seats
      Full size spare
      11yr unlimited mileage rust protection
      RBDS radio, which US stations have only JUST in the past few years begun to implement
      Interior cabin unmatched in the industry

    • Randy says:

      Fleet Admiral cost per mile please? 11 year rust warenty, that is pretty cheap because I have known of very few vehicles that have any rust through within 11 years anymore.

      Only 32 mpg in your vehicle? The BMW would do about that good. Funny I average 40 mpg with a gas engine and gas is usually a lot cheaper than diesel.

    • Fleet Admiral says:

      Cost per mile is irrelevant since I stated I only needed to spend between $1,500-2,000 in repairs and maint in the past 9 yrs of ownership. I spend most heavily on oil changes using GERMAN FULL synthetic group IV 5w40 Lubro Moly. None of this fake synth US garbage marketing scam, and tires that last 60k. Car has 165k on it now

      11 year warranty beginning in the 90’s for US cars? I don’t think so.. my relative has a chevy with a rusting fuel filler flap made in ’02. That’s pathetic…

      Which is why I said BMW and Merc are idiots for not bringing their 50-80MPG diesels instead of the “sports car” diesels, if you can consider diesel sporting. NO US car can achieve that, they can’t even build proper diesels.

    • Randy says:

      Fleet Admiral I did not spend that much in repairs on my Ford gas car and I had it 11 years and about 220,000 miles. No rust on the body either. You do not care about cost per mile along with many others but I would rather spend my money on other things than forking out twice as much to get me to work or the store. I would have looked at a diesel if the size of the car was right and it did get 50 mpg to 80 mpg and the price was well under $20,000. There has been no reason for US manufacturers to make high mileage diesels because gas has been too cheap to make it pay. Blame the price of fuel on the lack of building such vehicles not the intelligence of the US engineers.

    • Randy says:

      Fleet Admiral I forgot to say I was averaging 90,000 miles on my old car tires but I will not make it that far with my Focus because of the softer high performance tires that came on it. It depends a lot on what kind of tires you put on your vehicle and the driver and alignments. I have heard of some performance cars only gettting 10,000 miles on their tires. That would really suck.

  2. southernboy says:

    Again you’re showing your ignorance Randy .

    A tune is never just plugs , never has been . It can include everything from coil packs , plug wires & distributor caps and rotors when so equipped . Today most of the current engines no longer have a distributor so the coil packs many times must be replaced today . Many times it includes O2 sensor & EGR system cleaning or valve replacement .

    You should stick to what ever you actually know , which after reading your posts I’m not sure what that actually is at this point . Not what you think you know but really don’t . LOL :-)

    • Randy says:

      southernboy you are showing your ignorance. Newer cars need none of those tune-up things except maybe your precious VW vehicles. It sounds like you are soaking your clients for whatever you can get.

    • southernboy says:

      Newer cars don’t have what ??? If they don’t have a distributor then they have coil packs that are computor controlled . All gasolione powered vehicles today have EGR systems , O2 sensors & have spark plup wires . All of which are usnually part of a tune up today .

    • Randy says:

      southernboy the only ignition parts that are replaced for a tune up are spark plugs for about all newer gas vehicles except maybe VWs. My last Ford was 11 years old and the spark plug wires along with all the other ignition parts were originals and looked very good and worked very good.

    • southernboy says:

      11 years ago OBDII wasn’t CAM . With CAM 04 & up parts are monitored much more closely for faults that cause an emissions failure . So a little failure today that might not be observable by you throws a code that requires ignition parts replacement today .

      So in today’s OBDII CAM equipped vehicles many times when the tune up is required parts that on the surface seem ok will cause a code to be thrown . Leading to a emissions failure . So that tune up that your gassser will require can cost a fortune equal to value of your car older higher miles on the clock .

    • Randy says:

      southernboy a much better choice is waiting for the check engine light to show an error rather than start replacing parts before it happens unless it is standard maintenance that is required by the vehicle. Many times the original parts are better then the replacement parts and you are giving the mechanic more chances to create a problem that is not there and at the same time empty your pocket . My philosophy is if it’s not broke don’t touch it. I used to be an electrical engineer.

    • George says:

      Most cars do not have EGR anymore. They use variable valve timing to achieve egr via adjusting overlap.
      Randy’s car doesn’t have variable valve timing (the Mazda version of the engine does, Ford decided to save $ and took it out) or EGR, that is why his mileage decreases far more rapidly with speed than a good car.
      75mph=3000rpm, right Randy?

      Tune up used to mean, replace engine air filter, clean/adjust carburetor, replace copper spark plugs, check/adjust/replace ignition system components.

      Modern spark plugs, iridium ones, are good for at least 100K miles, ignition coils are effectively good for life, wideband O2 sensors should last for a decade.

      What does it matter for seniors, if this might be their last vehicle?

    • Randy says:

      George you are being an idiot again. Name me one vehicle that gets as good of mileage at 75 as it does at 55 or 65! Also it does not matter since the max speed limit I travel 99% of the time is 65 mph with the majority of miles driven at 55 mph or under. We are also talking about older drivers here that usually do not speed.

    • George says:

      Your mileage per speed is linear (not constant) with a far steeper slope than a car with a modern engine.
      Honda Insight (old one) 100mpg@50, 75mpg@75, 50mpg@100
      Mileage per speed per the value of your time.
      My car’s mileage doesn’t drop 36% by increasing speed from 55 to 75.
      Nobody goes 65 on Illinois interstate highways.
      and we weren’t talking about old people.
      Old people move to god’s waiting room, aka Florida.

      Way to follow a discussion Randy.

    • Randy says:

      George I would like to see the car that gets 50 mpg at 100 mph. I would have to bow down to that car if it is able to everything else mine does.

    • Randy says:

      George the miles per gallon drops about 18% in my car going from 55 mph to 75 mph. What car or vehicle drops 36%!!!!!! You as others on this site do not have a clue and make up things.

      I would still like to see the car that gets 50 mpg at 100 mph.

    • George says:

      HONDA INSIGHT (original), 1 liter 3 cylinders, 5 speed manual, Two seater, tapered in both axes, lean burn engine. (that is how it gets 100mpg@50mph, 75mpg@75mpg-sweet spot, 50mpg@100mph)
      and no red turn signals

      Hell I get 20mpg@100mph

    • Randy says:

      George well I guess you might be able to get 50 mpg then on an oversized under powered motorcyle. What was the weight under a grand? I guess it may be kind of difficult sticking your arm out the window to signal at 100 mph then without turn signals

    • George says:

      I was referring to your POS Focus, the one with red turn signals, (the Insight had the correct color) which in my opinion immediately disqualifies a vehicle from consideration.
      I am under no delusion that my Chrysler Corporation product is a piece of junk. I respect trying and failing more than not trying at all.

      The Insight weighed around 2000lbs (if you took the CVT transmission)

      The top speed of the Insight was over 100mph, depending on grade, altitude, headwind, or gear 3rd, 4th, 5th

    • Randy says:

      George it does not take much for horsepower to reach 100 mph if the aerodynamics are fairly good. I know you can easily do it with a 80 hp engine. Makes you think why people that drive the same roads need 300 hp to 500 hp that get 15 mpg or so. Back in the early 80s I had a car with 85 hp as a company vehicle.
      A small two seater car would not work for me but would be a good size to just drive to work. The only worry about some of those small cars in the past were that they were pretty much a piece of junk and not safe but I am not saying that the Honda was because I know nothing about it.

  3. southernboy says:

    Both my A4 Jetta and B4 Passat TDIs run in .07-.09 a mile range depending on prices at the pump . The A4 has only had a T-belt replacement once and the parts cost me less than $250 & two-three hours of labor . The B4 T-belt parts cost less than $60 and ~1 1/2 labor to replace . The B4 TDI uses almost exactly the same setup VW/Audi has been using going back to the 77 Rabbit Ds . The later model TDIs aren’t any harder but there are more steps to doing a T-belt replacement and that costs time .

    The last T-chain , on a Toyota I did cost me over $1,000( 1,200-1,500 ) just in parts .And 6-8 hours of labor . The Focus in the US is designed on an outdated Mazda platform with a Mazda engine & trans . I’ve driven that car in Australia in Mazda form , right hand drive but the same car . It was noisy as h3ll at anything above 75 km/hr . At 120-130 km/hr you could hardly hear the radio . And the best I ever got mpgUS wise was in the low to mid 30s . And yes it was a 5 spd man version .

    Now give me a EU spec Focus with a CDI under the hood coupled to a 5 spd man then we could talk . But your car is a US spec-ed piece of crap in comparison .

    I’ve been a mechanic for almost 40 years to date so I know what it cost to keep something on the road . And VW are some of the longest lived models produced around the world . And are hands down the cheapest to drive over the life compared to anything currently sold in the US today .

    • Randy says:

      southernboy you are ignorant if you call a 2008 or later Focus noisy. Go the hell and drive one. That is as bad as me calling the TDI cars noisy as a shotgun going off without even seeing one. You have not driven one of the later version Focus models. I have read online some of the problems VW cars have had and all I can say is that I have not had a single problem with mine in 1 1/2 years.

      As far as mid 30s for fuel milage well I guess that is very possible driving at 80 mph like you said you were doing. That is not done around here by hardly anyone except someone from out of state. You did say you did not drive an actual Focus and they copy that you said you did drive you did not say what year.

      As far as trade in value , I do not care because I usually drive a car over 200,000 miles and the engine has never been the reason I stopped driving a car. Every Ford I have had made it over 200,000 miles.

      Next thing you did never say what the actual cost of driving your car was. I do not care about gas cost I care about total cost.

    • southernboy says:

      Randy , oh why bother ……………

    • Randy says:

      yes southernboy why would you bother giving out facts.

    • George says:

      The only thing good about the Focus is the rear suspension.
      The fuel tank is smaller than it should be because Ford scooped a large chunk away to fit a resonator.
      What was so hard about running the exhaust straight and putting two mufflers, one on each side of the spare wheel-and make that a full size one.
      The headlights are crap (the SVT was only exception) 4 speed autos & 5 speed manuals are obsolete. The sedan is ugly looking. The original, Euro, Focus was 3 door/5 door. So what does Ford offer to the US market, a dowdy wagon, and a fugly sedan. (again, praise be to the SVT, too bad no torque sensitive differential from the factory-see video of guys installing Quaife)
      and the 6″ wide 16″ wheels with 205/50 16 tires (at least 1/2 too narrow) why even offer 16″ wheels Ford?
      and I won’t even talk about the ancient ZX2

      The KIA Forte is a better buy, even considering that the rear suspension stinks. Integral trailing arms, same a Honda Fit.
      Maybe KIA will offer a smaller engine, say the ‘world’ 1.8 when they upgrade to a 6 speed auto.

    • Randy says:

      George get over it. With the Focus fuel tank as it is I can get 600 miles and have done a lot better than that. How many cars do you know of that can even get 400 miles? Full sized spare tire? What the heck are you talking about. With the rare tire changes now many cars do not even have spare tires. Why take up more space and add more weight when they are hardly ever used. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder and most say it is fine. Why do you need such wide tires for a 140 hp car that weighs about 2500 lbs? I guess you are picky in what you drive. Funny how it gets me around fine. The sync is nice also.

    • George says:

      The Focus could of had a 15 gallon tank.

      All cars should be required to have a full size diameter spare wheel. Not necessarily a full size width though. The space you have to ‘find’ is much greater when you try to put the road wheel into a trunk where there is only a slot for a mini-spare, that a spot for a full size diameter (you then only have to find the width difference.

      and did you ever say how much tire pressure you run?
      Because I like to be able to brake.

    • Randy says:

      George I have put 15 gallons of gas in my Focus so I do not know what you are talking about. How else could I get 665 miles on a tank?

      As far as red turn signals, I checked as many cars as possible in town today and a good 2/3 of them had red turn signals. I guess the yellow ones must be the wrong ones then.

      Your question on tire pressure, I fill them at 34 psi as called for for the vehicle but it can drop slightly from that amount during the year.

      It is not the tires that give you great gas mileage but the driver. Many things cut down on gas mileage like tailgating where you have to hit the brakes and accelerator all the time and speeding up just to hit the brakes at stop signs. Anticipation of red lights helps a lot and do not be in a hurry just to stop to wait for the light. There are many other things if you are interested. The main thing is to drive as much as possible so you hit the brakes as little as possible(unless maybe you have a hybrid which makes less a difference). Another thing as an example is do not drive at 80 mph in a 65 mph zone only to save a few seconds. You too can get 20% to 30% better mileage than what is on the sticker.

    • Randy says:

      I forgot to say that 205 mm is a little over 8 inches not 6. George it is a full time job correcting your mistakes. As far as full sized tires go, many cars are going without spare tires anymore because 99% of the time they never leave the trunk anymore and many people would not know how to change them anyway. There are also figures where millions of barrels of fuel are required to carry things in your car that there is a high probability they will not be used. That is why they went to the small and lighter spare tires so that there is room to carry something you actually will use. There is a higher probability that your alternator or something else will go out first. Do you carry one of those with you?

    • George says:

      I am start to think Fleet Admiral is correct, you are schizophrenic.
      http://media.ford.com/press_kits_detail.cfm?presskit_id=1917&item_id=5551&press_section_id=2878
      http://media.ford.com/press_kits_detail.cfm?presskit_id=2066&item_id=5717&press_section_id=2878
      https://media.ford.com/press_kits_detail.cfm?presskit_id=1532&item_id=4761&press_section_id=2878
      I don’t care how much fuel you have squeezed into the filler neck and onboard vapor recovery.

      No, red it the wrong color for turn signals. Look at the rest of the World.
      So skinny Pirelli P4s for you?

      My alternator does not hold up the vehicle weight, and roll on crappy Illinois roads.
      Mini-spares are totally useless. I full support full size diameter spare wheels, but if you are going that far, why not extrude the spare wheel well and put a full size one.
      Just look at Ford, they intentionally mounted an emission device under the spare wheel well. If that was repositioned, then the space needed for a full size spare wheel would have been ‘found’ See old Tauruses.

      An extra 10 pounds for a full size wheel is nothing when the trend of vehicle weight over twenty years is up by 1000 lbs.

      Seek amateur or professional help.

    • Randy says:

      George you will pretty much be limited to buying a big truck if you want full sized spares becuse otherwise you will not get them because they are not needed. How often do you change tires? The spare tires were not meant to drive forever. So in my opinion on the spare tire issue you are ignorant. As for the yellow rear turn signal who is to say the rest of the world is correct? You can not tell someone is turning with red turn signals? You must be very old to have such bad requirements. You want a car with a minimum 600 mile range, well that limits you to very very very few cars of which the Focus is one. You want a full sized spare, Probably less than 5% of cars have them.

      Get a life and look for something more important to complain about.

    • George says:

      Nissan has a full size diameter spare wheel in the Altima.
      I respect my differential, and I respect my time, that is why cars should have a full size diameter spare wheel [the mini-spare never goes on the drive axle, so if you get a front flat, you first have to jack up the rear, exchanging that wheel with the mini-spare, then you have to change the flat front wheel], or a full size spare wheel.

      What does ‘How often do you change tires?’ mean, rotating tires?

      Yes a mini-spare wasn’t meant to drive forever. You can get about 5000 miles if you put in on the front, and 10K miles on the rear.

      Science says red is wrong. Red is already used for tail, brake, and in some instances tail/brake.

      Thanks again for the insults, it shows your maturity.

    • Randy says:

      George if you need to drive 5000 miles on a spare beause you are too lazy or broke to get it fixed before that then buy a Nissan with yellow turn signals. I hope it has a 20+ gallon tank to drag it around. Myself I leave the spare in the trunk.

    • George says:

      You need to work you your reading comprehension/memory.
      I NEVER put a mini-spare on the front axle (front wheel drive)

      I asked somebody who was driving with the mini-spare how long they have been driving, because the center section was pretty worn down.

      Yes, the exhaust routing / rear suspension design allows for a 20 gallon fuel tank, dual rear mufflers, and a full size diameter spare wheel well. (Now if only it had a small V6, 2.5 liters)

    • Randy says:

      George I looked up your new Nissan. Terrible gas mileage. Only a 7.4 cu ft luggage space? I guess you are satisfied with that but I would have to pull a trailer most of the time. I guess that is why there are different model cars. My car has almost twice the luggage space. You would rather have a full sized tire and I would rather carry ski equipment and luggage or the 8 feet boards among a lot of other things that I bought a couple of days ago and all inside. I guess it needs to have a 20 gallon tank also. The small engine gets far less mileage than my car. The large engine tops out at 27 mpg? My V6 I bought 13 years ago did better than that.

      You reject cars for smaller gas tanks and that do not carry large spares and I would reject your car because it gets not very good gas mileage, is more expensive and will not carry half of what I would like a car to. I own a truck but I hardly ever drive it unless I need to pull something big. My car carries most of things that I need to carry so I do not have to make extra trips going to pick up a truck or get less than 20 mpg going on a ski trip.

      The small tires were not to be run continuously for thousands of miles but as you say yourself they are good enough to. Put it on the non drive wheels if you like. That is possible but would take you an extra 5 minutes rotating them if you have a drive wheel failure. So a 50/50 chance of that when there is less than 1/100 chance of using the spare at all I think it is worth the risk.

    • George says:

      I really wish you would stop posting here. You do not add anything constructive.
      15.3 cubic feet in the sedan. I was not talking about the coupe-that has a transverse muffler [1].

      You can’t compare mileage anymore, the EPA change the rating procedure.

      The 2.5, QR25, is much faster than your Focus. (and it has balance shafts)
      I want a VQ25 V6 in the Altima.

      I’m done.

    • Randy says:

      George I am sure that my car would do 120 mph if I wanted it to but when the max speed limit I have ever driven was 80 so who the hell cares? Mine does very good in the mountains also so who needs more power? You do not sound like a teenager that has to strut their muscle car. The muscle gas car will not exist and will not be able to be sold in a few years.

  4. me says:

    It’s torque not HP that matters on an auto/car diesel . The new TDI has 236 @ ~1,700 rpms which is more than any of the ultra light ultra small noisy to ride in at speed with the driving characteristics of your refrigerator rice burners .

    And if you drive a TDI as slow as you describe , 50-65 mph range mid 50s to low 60s are more than obtainable . If you push the TDI up to the 70-80 mph range where it was designed to be run on the highway you MIGHT be able to make it get as low as mid 40s mpg . If you get one of pre-04 TDIs it’s almost impossible to make the car get lower than high 40s city / low to mid 50s highway . With care any of the manual trans TDIs ever sold here in the US can be pushed up close to or over 60 mpgs .

    Note ,
    In the real world the DSG will be a little lower on highway along with mixed loops compared to the 6 spd man version . As was reflected in the EU & Transport Canada rating numbers .

    I’m guessing from your remarks Randy you’ve never actually driven a VW Diesel of the last 13 years . Again Randy is commenting on things he has no clue of ……………………..your still batting 1,000 :~)

    • southernboy says:

      When we get the new Golf VI & Audi A3 TDI in a couple of months it will become clear how out classed the cheap Asian & domestic nameplated gasoline powered stuff really is in comparison . And that is including the various Hybrids offerings today .

      MotorWeek did a test of the coming A3 TDI and clocked ~43 mpgUS in spirited mixed driving . And the test numbers for the recent Road & Track test were even higher for their tests .

      Today with only three US spec models on sale TDIs are making up ~30 % of sales . The TDI wagon sales numbers are ~81 % of total US sales . In Canada today the TDI is making up around 60 % of total VW sales . BMW & MB are selling every US spec diesel they bring in , most before they hit the lot .

      Now only if the people running the big 2 1/2 would get a clue and bring some of current EU spec diesels they already sell over there here to the US market . I’m sure congress would make it a little easier to do so if asked . Or if Toyota would bring a couple of their current EU spec diesels that are sold across the line over there we could get off of all oil imports .

    • Randy says:

      me I do not care how good a TDI is. My car is far cheaper per mile to drive than your TDI would be if it got 100 mpg. Add the 10 to 12 thousand to the price and add from what I read a timing belt change at around $1200+ at 120,000 miles and you are so far in the hole it does not matter the gas mileage.

      My cost per mile to drive at $3.00 gas is about 7.5 cents for gas. Figure each vehicle would drive for 10 years at 200,000 miles. The depreciation for mine would be $15,000/10 = $1500 and add 5% interest on the 15,000 and you come up with an additional $750.00 coming to a total of $2250/20,000 = $11.25 cents per mile. That comes to less than 19 cents per mile excluding oil and tires and routine maintenance you have for either vehicle but it sounds like the TDI may have more required maintenance. Your turn to calculate the cost of your TDI vehicle per mile. By the way it is niether a rice burner or noisy when it is running. It is very quiet. And I rarely drive over 75 mph because we do not have those speed limits.

    • southernboy says:

      And your car is immune from the cost of a T-Belt or T-chain replacement ?????

      I think Not !!!! ,

      I don’t know or care if your engine has a belt or chain but both have to be replaced @ a regular service interval . So no exceptions you go beyond that point and risk the total destruction of your engine , $$$$$$ .

      So that one is a wash in your figures or from my experience the parts on other belt Timing setups can be much more expensive . And if you have a chain setup multiply times at least 3 the cost of replacement . If you have a T-chain figure on $3k for replacement done properly , at least .

      Ever been 900 , 1,000 , 1,100 or more miles on a tank of fuel , ~15.5 gal in an A4 Jetta & ~19.2 gal in an B4 Passat ?? I’ve done this in more than a few 96 – 03 TDIs .

      What shape will your car be when , IF it makes it to the 300,000 mile mark ????? Plenty of the TDIs sold over the last 13 years going well beyond that mark .

      What will it be worth @ 100k-150k or more miles ??? The TDIs are well known for holding as much as 3-5 times the value of a comparable in age & mileage gasser . TDIs are not uncommon for bringing in the 70-80 % of original costs with these miles on the clock in pristine examples . Could you give your car away with those miles on the clock ???????????

      And what are you talking about maintenance being more on a TDI ??? It’s requires less maintenance . Oil change interval is at least 10k , longer is ok with certain oils . There are VW oils that are good for every two years or 30,000 kms (18,750 miles) . There is no such thing as a tune up on the TDI , can’t say that about your rice burner want to be .

      Again you get the dunce cap Randy ………You would think that at some point you would realize how not connected to reality some of your posts usually are ……….

    • Randy says:

      southernboy you are an ignorant mechanic. I would not let you near my vehicle. Tune up? How hard is it to change spark plugs every 100,000 miles?

      Oil changes? Most cars have a recommended rate at 7500 miles and even a lot longer with synthetic.

      As for buying a TDI with for 80% original cost with 150,000 miles I guess there may be some idiots out there. Most vehicles with 150,000 miles are not p riced lower because of the engine any more but because of suspension parts and replacement and dozens of other parts and rust unless your TDI vehicle is made of stainless steel although rust is not as big a problem as it used to be. I do not like working on vehicles over 10 years old because of rusted bolts and parts and the time it takes to keep it up. I live in the midwest and we have a lot of salty winters here.

      It sounds to me that you work for a dealership that sells TDI cars.

  5. Lee Gilbert says:

    Consumer Reports rated the performance of the Honda Insight so poor that it could not recommend it. For those advocates of Japanese cars to say that it must be really bad

  6. George says:

    The new Honda Insight is terrible for old people. It is too low, and the ride is abysmal. Honda know that and they are rushing to fix such a terrible offering. (and the base version does not have ESP)

    Toyota Venza 2.7, you don’t have to step down to enter. Hopefully Toyota will correct the wheel size issue for 2010 [downsize to 18"] , then that would be good for old people.

    The Camry Hybrid just smells of AARP.

  7. southernboy says:

    What about the current Jetta & Jetta wagon TDIs or the coming Golf TDI ???

    All currently have a $1,300 tax credit and have stickers short of $26k US ( $22k-26k depending on options and models ).

    The current EPA rating of 30/41 is less than useless as the EPA has documented that the rating is ~25 % low below actual on all diesels currently . Hopefully this will be remedied soon to give true rating .

    The TransPort Canada rating is ;

    ~38 city / 48 highway – converted from L/100 km to mpgUSgal .

    These all are EU ratings ;

    2.0 TDI-CR ;
    6 spd man
    ~37 city / 52.4 highway / 49 Extra Urban

    DSG
    ~37 city / 49 highway / 45 Extra Urban

    Note ; these figures are converted from L/100km to mpgUSgal

    Extra Urban is (mixed driving)

    • Randy says:

      The main problem with your TDI is the price. Who the heck cares what the fuel mileage is if the price is over $10,000 more than a similar gas model with only a 20% to 25% or so boost in mileage. You would never make up the difference unless fuel prices triple soon and then you may come closer to breaking even. That is why we have few diesels in the US cars. The same can be said for a hybrid cars unless you do a lot of town driving.

    • southernboy says:

      There is nothing on the market gasoline only powered of the same size & build that comes close the price , soundness , size and fuel economy of the TDIs in the US market today . Anything that comes close at that $10k less price is a much smaller & lighter tin can so in o way the same . A tin can that is noisy at speed no fun what-so-ever to drive .

      The Prius which I wouldn’t own if someone gave it to me and the Jetta are almost identical in size so the size rating of the Jetta in the compact class is a misnomer . Only the funny shape of the Prius gets into the next size class .

      If you don’t believe this take a Jetta & one of the other much smaller & lighter gasoline cars that can’t break into the mid to 30s mpgUS real world highway only . The Honda Fit , Toyota Yaris , Nissan Versa or similar are the main ones that are barely capable in the real world of coming close to the low end of a TDI’s city mpgs on the highway . And this is only on the highway for these gasoline powered models , in the city these things can’t come close to the TDI’s city mpgs , less than 40-50 % lower .

      So when you figure in the mpg difference it’s more in the 40-50 % low below the TDI in mixed driving of any of the much , much smaller & lighter gasoline powered options . So in reality there is nothing that comes even close to the mpgs of a TDI other than a hybrid that costs similar of a similar size .

    • Randy says:

      southernboy put blinders on and you are right. My 145 hp gas car I average 40+ mpg gas in the summer with city and country driving and it is a great car that you can get for around $15,000 loaded tax included and from what I have heard it would put the Golf to shame. How much gas can you buy for 11 or 12 thousand dollars? As for size I took it on a long 10 day ski trip with 3 people with skis and luggage and boot bags all inside. Look around and you may find other cars that put your Golf to shame.

    • George says:

      Randy are you claiming over 40mpg with the 2.3 liter Focus?

    • Randy says:

      George it is a 2 liter manual transmission. The best I did get with it was 665 miles on 15 gallons of gas but that was when I was really trying to get very good mileage. I mostly stayed away from as much traffic as possible and tried to stay at 50 mph or less but did have a few miles at 65 mph. That was over 44 mpg average but under real conditions I am able to get 40 mpg average pretty easily. Speed is an enemy and driving over 65 mph your mileage starts to drop to 35 mpg. It is listed at 35 mpg highway but that is the worst I got under hard driving conditions in the winter.

    • Randy says:

      Sorry George I looked again and it is rated at 140 hp not 145.

  8. [...] http://www.motorists.org/blog/best-high-mileage-vehicles-for-seniors/Under $20000. 2010 Honda Insight hybrid (base price $19800). The Insight is a hybrid gas-electric five-door hatchback sedan that’s similar in layout and size to the best-selling Toyota Prius but costs several thousand dollars less. … [...]




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