I need at least 35 mpg highway. Also safe, good crash test ratings, reliable, 4-door, automatic. And easy to find in the 5-10k range with under 90,000 miles. I like hatchbacks but a sedan would be fine too. AWD would be nice but not required. I’m really having trouble finding something that fits my needs so if you could help I would really appreciate it.
A used Corolla sedan would work. I don’t think you’re going to find anything with AWD that’ll get 35 MPG though.
With used cars you sort of have to choose from what you can find. Sometimes it helps to “spread the word”. Let everyone you work with, everyone you talk to, and all your family members know you’re looking.
There are only a few cars that get 35 mpg highway. Honda Civic is one of them. $5-10K range will get you into a '03 to '08 Civic. Under 90K miles isn’t easy to find in your stated price range as the cars will tend to be older. Go to Edmunds.com and research Honda Civics of different ages to see what model years you can afford. Toyota Corolla, Toyota Yaris, Hundai Elantra, are the class of cars you are looking as they meed the 35 mpg criteria.
Basically, your 35 mpg, $5-10K budget, and less than 90K miles will be a tough set of criteria to meet all in one car. You might have to give a bit on one or more of your criteria.
The Yaris and Mini are the only other vehicles that will likely meet your cost and mileage requirements, in addition to the 35 MPG highway. The Mini would be around 2006, and it is a hatchback. Because of the age, it would also have the highest mileage. They are not well known for reliability. But if you know that and the fun quotient is high enough, you might look into it. I think the Corolla is probably the best of the lot for your requirements, though.
Totally with “jt”. Corollas tend to be amoung the most reliable and economical compact cars ever made. They have sustained this reputation for as long as just about any car ever made. There are a gazillion used ones out there. If you can find one well maintained and with no body rust for $10 k, you will have years of good service. One with 90k well maintained miles stands a good chance of running over 200k…all of mine did with few problems…and none major. One was an auto, the other two standard. Because the Corolla is longer, it actually gets better or as good highway mileage as most shorter subcompacts, even those with smaller and worse performing motors. That includes the Yaris, and…it’s much more comfortable (and just as boring) doing it too.
When buying a used car, don’t just focus on MPG. Depreciation, taxes and repair costs can outweigh fuel mileage when calculation total per-mile cost. A $10k used car has depreciated to 1/2 its new cost, so depreciation may not be an issue here. Reliability and cost of repair could make up a few MPG here or there. Find a nice clean Asian car with service records and get a PPI. The overall condition of the car is more important than a specific make or model when only spending $10k. Personally, I’d look at recent Hyundai Sonatas.
Rethink your “need” for AWD. Driving on snow for 35+ years here in Colorado I have realized that four real winter tires are more important than drive wheels. My RWD BMW 328i with 4 winter tires ran circles around my wife’s Audi A4 Quattro with all (read 3) season tires.
A 35mpg+ car will command a premium
At $5~10k, it’ll be older with less safety equipment compared to today’s cars.
Anything with 90k miles or less will also command a premium
If you cannot budge on any of your requirements, I fear you’ll be looking for quite a long time.
A car driven 20,000 miles at 35 mpg, gas at $4.00, will cost you $2286. At 30 mpg it is $2667. If you pay a big premium to buy a 35 mpg car, how long will you have to drive it to make up the difference? It’s easy to lose sight of the goal.
Most cars with that size/mpg combination could be had for ~$15K new. If you pay $10K for one with 90K miles, you are assuming the car would run to 270K miles with no major repairs.
This is far from a difinitive answer, but is the reason I recomend Corollas…at least one unreliable source says 250k miles is average life expectency for one and it’s been true from my experience. $10 k can get you a pretty good Corolla with a lot fewer then 90,000 miles.
Go new,there are plenty of new cars that are close to what you want-Kevin