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DH and I have been car free ever since we got married (and I have been car free virtually all my life) but we are moving to a new place for his job where we will need a car <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> . As we will have DH's substantial student loans to pay off, which we hope to do in two or three years by living frugally, we don't want to take on more debt just for a car. And we plan to TTC soon.<br><br>
So we have been trying to decide how to get the most reliable, fuel-efficient car for $10,000 or less, ideally something that will not cost us much in maintainance and gas. I really want us to make the best environmental choices within our budget. Used hybrids seem to be too expensive. We were considering getting a used Jetta TDI, with a veggie oil conversion, but the ones in our price range seem to have around 150-200K miles. Would they still be worth it?<br><br>
Biodiesel/veggie oil mamas what would you suggest?<br><br>
TIA!
 

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We have a Jetta TDI that DH commutes with that we run on biodiesel, and we love it. We bought it two years ago for $15K w/ 45K miles on it. Our mechanic said as long as we change the fuel filter regularly (the biodiesel can gunk it up, and you know when it's happening as it won't accelerate quickly), it will run "forever". Our mechanic has a TDI that has over 300K miles on it, so.....?? We even learned to change the fuel filter ourselves, which if you knew us, would make you laugh and laugh that we would actually do that. We're not really handy people in a car sense. Other than that and some oil changes (thank you, Jiffy Lube! We haven't done that yet <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">), the car has cost us nothing in repairs and gets 40+ mpg on the freeway w/ commuting.<br><br>
The one thing I would point out is that the Jetta is pretty small to have a car seat in. DD is in a booster seat now, so it's fine (although we take my van mostly when together as a family, using the Jetta for a one-person commuter car), but I don't think her Britax rear-facing car seat would have fit in the Jetta. And, with the traffic where we live, I wouldn't have wanted her in the Jetta as a baby, nor does she drive in it much now....usually only when we're going to get biodiesel, maybe once per month. So, I'd definitely consider your driving conditions in the area your live and the size of the car w/ a little one. Happy car hunting!
 

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Honestly, I would get the smallest low mileage Toyota or Honda you can find. Like a Corolla or an Echo. You will save on repairs big time and they are pretty good on gas. Especially the Echo, due to its small size.
 

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You may want to look at Saturns. My Dh drives a 2002 SL2 5 speed as his commuter car and always gets 38-40 mpg!
 

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I get 40-42 mpg with my 2004 Honda Civic 5 speed.<br><br>
We bought it at the end of the year, so they were able to haggle a good deal and we paid 12,000
 

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I drive a 10 year old Mazda Protege with 122K miles on it. I bought it new, and have never had any mechanical problems with it (although I am anal about maintenance). It's a little 4-door sedan and gets 35 mpg. Plus the trunk is huge...we've gone on camping trips out of this car!<br><br>
There are tons of Proteges out there for very low prices.<br><br>
If you wanted something more current, I would like to recommend my husband's Scion XB...I love the box! Outside, it's tiny...inside, it's HUGE! AND it gets 35-40 mpg. This is a car that cost 12,000 new two years ago, so I'm sure you could find a used one under 10k.<br><br>
Oh, I wanted to add...if you can drive a stick shift, I think that increases your mpg (as long as you don't drive like a teenage boy, lol).<br><br>
Holly
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes right-handed">: Not ready to buy yet, but when we do, we'll be looking for the same thing. Thanks!
 

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Whatever you do get a sedan. I loved my 1994 Civic but after 2 years of getting a little guy in and out of the backseat of a coupe I caved and bought new car. I think I might still be driving the Civic is I had had the foresight to buy a sedan.
 

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I second the Toyota Echo. It is very small and one of the most greenest gas cars. Dodge Neons, Honda Civics, and Corollas are also good choices.
 

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I bought a Toyota Echo brand new in 2000. I had a new job that I was driving 68 miles a day (round trip). I loved that car! My commute was mostly all freeway and there were times that I would/could get close to 50mpg! For a small car, it was surprsingly roomy, so much so that my 6'5" hubby could drive it. We recenlty sold it as we had to buy a bigger car to hold baby #2.
 

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I'd suggest a Toyota Corolla.<br>
We have a 1995 Geo Prizm (Corolla twin - they were made at the same plant) that gets 22-30mpg (city driving vs. an entiree tank of freeway driving), and the mileage on the Corolla's has only gotten better over the years.<br><br>
But, since you don't have kids and haven't had to deal with carseats that don't fit yet, maybe see what carseats you'd like to use with the babe, and see if they'll fit in the vehicle of your choice. We can actually fit our Britax Marathon FF behind the driver and the Britax Roundabout RF behind the passenger, but both driver and passenger need to be sort of short (and the driver can't mind being kicked by a cranky 3.5yo). But as our kids get older and taller, it wouldn't be a fantastic family car choice. As it is, right now it's dh's commuter car for the whole 2 miles he has to drive (weather and his work schedule haven't cooperated for biking regularly yet).<br><br>
Also, if you do get a VW and convert to biodiesel, is biodiesel available where you're going to live? If not, that wouldn't be good. Also keep in mind repair records and such - I've heard *much* better things about converting a 30+yo Mercedes to biodiesel than a VW.
 

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Geo Metro<br><br>
They get great gas mileage. Should it start to drop put injector cleaner in it.<br><br>
My parents had one that 60MPG. Ours gets 40MPG but is has AC
 

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biodiesel baby! we have a 2004 golf TDI (4 door) and a 1999.5 jetta TDI and usually run B100 in both. as an FYI for any folks out there who don't know -- THERE IS NO CONVERSION NECCESSARY TO RUN BIODIESEL IN ANY DIESEL VEHICLE <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/jumpers.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="jumpers">: ! if you want to run grease you need a grease kit, but BIODIESEL is just a diesel fuel derived from veggie (or other) oils and can be run in any standard diesel engine. if your car is a much older model and still has rubber hoses instead of the synthetic ones standard in new cars you might need to changes those out, but it's not usually a big expense. you're in NE? you will need to mix in something with B100 (like a couple of gallons of petroleum diesel or another additive) in the winter, but you can still run b50 i bet, if not b80. check the TDI boards for more knowledgable folks or check out the link in my sig.<br><br>
kwarwick, we rarely change the fuel filters <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!">. i was told that biodiesel is actually a cleaner fuel than petroleum diesel and will act as a solvent to clean out the deposits left by dirty petro diesel, but once those are cleaned out -- which should only take a tank or two i think -- it's my understanding that you shouldn't need to change the filters any more than you would normally. i could be wrong on that, but that's the scoop i was told and we haven't had too much trouble with the jetta. the golf is our daily driver, though. i'm not sure we've ever changed the fuel filter on the golf except as part of standard maintenance. we've run biodiesel from day one in it.<br><br>
britax carseats fit fine in the jetta and the golf. i've got a britax booster and a marathon in there now. used to have a rearfacing roundabout. not an issue. HOWEVER, two carseats in the back is the max. you probably won't run into that issue anytime soon, but we're starting to feel a little cramped in the golf especially when we take our two dogs in the hatch and two kids in the backseat and we're in the front. we have a rooftop car carrier (thule), but it can't hold everything for a weekend trip and so we're cramming bags in here and there left and right. if we don't take the dogs we're fine as a family of four. if we want to take a kid friend though we're SOL. it's possible that a backless booster might fit between the two britaxes, but i'm not sure. i have fit my grown up behonkus back there, but i had to do a little contortionist move to do it.<br><br>
anyway, we regularly get about 39mpg in the golf running B100 and our emissions are pretty good i think. we're lucky that there's a great biodiesel co-op in our area adn we can just fill up on b100 at the pump, but they also teach you how to make it yourself if you're interested. if that's the kind of thing that you or your dh would like to do as a hobby i say go for it!<br><br>
i can probably find more linkies if you like...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for your input mamas! I'll look into the fuel efficient cars that you mentioned.<br><br>
Beanma, we can only get B20 in the new place, at a gas station 12 miles away from our new home. That's why I thought a grease car might be better. I was alarmed to hear that it was illegal, though and that one can be fined $ 2750 for installing a veggie conversion!<br><br><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/23/automobiles/23AUTO.html?ex=1179720000&en=bb2a9a824c5640a4&ei=5070" target="_blank">http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/23/au...5640a4&ei=5070</a>
 

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We bought a 96 subaru for 2500 in great condition- it has required virtually no maintenance and gets great mileadge. I have a few coworkers who also have subarus (96, 97, etc.) and are extremely satisfied.
 

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I would not get a dodge neon. I have one and have been very unimpressed with the mpg.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Matt's Mom in MT</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8182695"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would not get a dodge neon. I have one and have been very unimpressed with the mpg.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br>
Although I've got completely different issues with the Neon.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lmonter</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8160306"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'd suggest a Toyota Corolla.<br>
We have a 1995 Geo Prizm (Corolla twin - they were made at the same plant) that gets 22-30mpg (city driving vs. an entiree tank of freeway driving), and the mileage on the Corolla's has only gotten better over the years.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
We have a '93 Geo Prizm that gets 35mpg on the highway...we love that car<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 
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