fuel efficient...camper...

02-01-2005, 12:58 PM
Hey, I'm a college student and my car just blew up. Gasket blew, oil went bye bye, and my engine is toast now. I bought a cheap car from someone in another class (88 buick something or other.... it's "brown"....), but I'm looking for a car I can actually... use.

First priority is fuel efficiency... I'm in college, and I'm po'. Second is price... I'd rather pay $1,000 for a gas guzzler than $2,004,978 for a car that runs off fumes. Third.... the one that makes it hard to find one is I need a car big enough so I can take road trips and carry a lot of stuff, or take a nap in the back if I get bored of driving, so it'd have to be a decent sized van, or a truck that I can put one of those boxes on it or whatnot.

Any suggestions? I hear ford rangers are good, they get 20+ miles per gallon, and that's plenty, I hear Rav4's get good milage too, but I havn't seen many around.

So, any suggestions?

02-01-2005, 05:03 PM
I have a few suggestions.

1) a V6 GM rear wheel drive intermediate car between 78-88. They're called A/G-bodies until 1982 at which point they were all G bodies and include cars like El Camino, Olds Cutlass, Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal and Grand National, etc. You can pick them up for a song. I bought an 87 Cutlass with 60,000 original miles for just over $2000, and that was with the V8. Anyway, the V6 cars with a proper tune-up can provide well over 20 mpgs. There are plenty of lemons, but for the most part they are quite reliable. If something does fail, its cheap to replace and easy to do, which is something that usually evades imports.

2) Toyota compact pickup. They have powerless 4-cylinders that make you hope for 35 mpgs but typically return more like 23. On that note, any truck will get worse mileage than its car counterpart. Same for SUVs. A good example is the CRV; same chassis, engine, and transmission as its Civic brother, but the civic gets 30+ while the CRV gets 20+. Anyway, the toyota truck will give you good reliability and a good place to stretch out.

3) If you get a van, keep in mind (since you are a po' student) that engine repair costs can go through the roof. Some vans you can't even replace the spark plugs without removing the engine. Its not pretty. Some of the newer mini-vans have a more forward-mounted engine that is easier to service, but not many.

4) How about a station wagon? Car-like mileage with van-like storage. An older Volvo, Honda Accord, or Caprice comes to mind. The 93-96 Caprice wagons had the LT1 engine which has proven to be very reliable and I am getting 23 mpgs with a heavy foot out of my LT1. I've heard as high as 27 mpgs from some drivers. Look also to the Ford LTD wagon from the late 80s-mid 90s.

For fewer problems that cost more to fix, go import. For more problems that cost $20 and you can do yourself, go RWD american.

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