Ideas for fuel efficient cars- used


We have a Honda Odyssey, and are ready to sell it and buy something smaller and fuel efficient. My husband drives a Camry, and it is not as good with the fuel usage as we thought it would be, and is a bit larger than I want to drive.

I am tall, and my kids are taller, and we need to be able to fit into one. I used to have an Echo, and it was perfect, but there is a limited supply of them around.

We will have around 10K, 12K maximum to spend on it. Less is even better…

Any ideas?


Sorry but I’m always amused that when the price of gas goes up, people run out and spend tons of money to find something that gets better mileage. Then when the times change again, run out and spend more money to get something more comfortable.

First decide what it is you need and want from a vehicle and use mileage as only a part of the equation. You can buy a lot of gas for $12000. I drive a Buick that gets 25 mpg for 40K a year and its comfortable. I couldn’t drive that kind of mileage in a car like the Echo.


The Echo was nice. Too bad the Yaris interior is so much harder to deal with. I’m tall and the seat belts are hard to fasten; the Echo was easy. I can see wanting a car with good gas mileage. A Camry isn’t really big and should get good highway mileage; so I guess that you take lots of short trips. There is no shortage of Corolla sized cars. You should save enough after the minivan is gone.


The questions we should ask to help in your decision are how many miles per year and what is the bulk of your driving city or highway?

Also what are the Camry and Odysesey’s year/miles on vehicle?

Fuel consumption between an Echo to a Camry is not a significant leap.


"Sorry but I’m always amused that when the price of gas goes up, people run out and spend tons of money to find something that gets better mileage. Then when the times change again, run out and spend more money to get something more comfortable. "

Jeez. Nice of you to assume, but that’s not the case here. We got the van when our kids were young and we had a 57 chevy, which we replaced with a small car (and then later that with the Echo) because I hate driving large cars. I wrecked the Echo, so I ended up driving the van, and we replaced the Echo with the Camry.

I am not running out to replace the large car, and then getting something more comfortable later. I am more comfortable driving a small car. I suck driving larger cars (parking, running the rear wheels over curbs, etc.)

You can’t be as amused as you want, but you also might be wrong. :wink:


what are you talking about? I just did a search:
Avg City/Avg Highway
Camry 22/29
Echo 32/39

The Echo is roughly 40-50% more fuel efficient!

Anyway, I would tell the original poster to either hold out for an echo, look at the Scion xA or xB, or get a corolla. There’s not too much choice in the best high mileage gas cars, but for what there is, most of the cars sell pretty well.


How about a small SUV? like a rav 4? We get great mileage on the motorways and fair in the cities. Not too sure if its good for a tall person since we arent tall but it has alot of room. Even a CRV might work and these are great on maintenance as well.

Ours is a 4 cylinder, manual which is a pain on the hills but she does great otherwise and been no trouble.


EPA mileage is one thing, reality is quite different.


Sunnyco, your response to Bing is too snippy for this forum. If fuel economy is your chief concern you can research this yourself at for example.

But prudent car buyers who ask our advice typically have other concerns that supersede mpg, such as cargo capacity, safety, reliability, performance, or winter usage. You have supplied none of the above information. How can anyone offer you serious help?

My warm advice to you is to make a tentative selection of three or four models that meet your personal driving requirements, and then check their EPA ratings at the above site. Compare your selections to others with better fuel economy ratings. You can then decide if an advantage of 2-3 mpg is truly a deciding factor in your purchase.


A lot to reply here to.

  1. I thought Bing’s reply to me was pretty presumptuous, and yes I did feel a bit snippy about it. Sorry. That’s what happens when I read things like that first thing in the morning. :blush: My apologies to Bing.

  2. I am not really sure exactly how much of what type of driving I will be doing, but I will presume a lot of both. I live in the burbs, so in-town is a sure thing, but I will probably take a few trips to Illinois and Wisconsin over the years. I want reliable, and fuel efficient. I will be job hunting in the fall, and there is a good chance of having to drive from fort worth to dallas a lot…but I won’t know about that until later.

I am tall, and what some one said about the Echo is all true to me. I still harbor resentment against Toyota for stopping the manufacture of them. I am pretty sure they would have caught on after a bit. Great little car.


Fuel consumption between my husband’s Camry, and our old Echo was a big enough leap to give us pause. And the Camry is larger than I want. I really don’t enjoy driving it as much as the Echo, although by comparison it seems like a luxury automobile in some ways. Lovely car, just bigger than I like.

I really love driving a small car. I would like a Jetta, but I have heard that Volkswagons are harder to work on, and tend to have more problems than Toyotas and Hondas. I don’t know if that is just old stuff leftover from the days of the original beetles, or what. Old tales die hard.

Ah, the curse of being tall and loving a small car… :stuck_out_tongue:


The Echo was my ideal car for this stage of my life, but they are hard to come by around here. We had the split rear seats, and with those, the cargo space served our needs well. I am looking for something as close to that as possible. I live in Texas, so winter usage is not a huge issue for me. I want reliability, as I there is an impending divorce situation here, and things are going to become a lot tighter in the money areas, and the car sharing situation.


And safety is good, as well, but in driving the Echo in The Land of SUV’s and Huge Trucks, I obviously gave up a bit of that for the mileage, and enjoying the car I was driving.


And thanks for the web site. :slight_smile:


Widen your search area if you like the Echo. Small cars with good rear seat legroom are nearly impossible to find. A Nissan Versa would work, but it’s too new a model to have used ones selling at $12,000.


Get a diesel volkswagon golf. They are roomy and get better than gasoline mpg. I have heard about reliability issues in the past however. I’d bet that 40 mpg would be easy in a deisel golf.


I have an xA and am very happy with it. A huge part of fuel economy is how the driver behaves on the road - whether you’re driving it like it was stolen, or whether you drive it like your granny to save gas. That being said, in 100% city driving, I have gotten anywhere from 28mpg (drove it fast), to 34mpg. In 100% highway driving, I have managed to get between 35mpg to 39mpg out of several full tanks.

The xA is actually based on the same platform as the Echo, although the interior of the xA is more pleasant, in my opinion. The xA is being replaced in August with the xD, now sharing the Yaris’ platform and a Corolla engine (128hp over the xA’s 103hp). What this means to you is that, now that the xA is discontinued and is being replaced with a more powerful sibling, used prices of xA’s might actually come down to fit comfortably in your budget.

I agree that you should look into other options. Here are some efficient cars I have read about:

  1. xA
  2. Honda Civic Hx with the 1.6L engine
  3. Corolla (or Geo Prizm)
  4. Ford ZX2, or the 4 door Escort
  5. Mazda Protege with the 1.6L or 1.8L engine. The bigger engines are not as economical.

I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of other great cars. I hope this helps!


Anyone know why Toyota stopped producing the Echo?

Too good maybe?

Oil companies squash it?
Foreseeing too much $$$ loss?

Fuel efficient engines are one thing, but aren’t we forgetting that the main idea is to NOT depend on oil?

I have to wonder everytime someone develops a hybrid that doesn’t use gas, there’s no structure (not the correct terminology) to give anyone incentives to buy them.

What is the point of buying such a hybrid (to reach an acceptable level of clean air) if there is no way of ‘refueling’?

A little bit off the subject, but just a thought.


If you liked the Echo, have you looked at a Scion, either the xA or xB? The are basically reskinned Echos.

I found them too small myself… I went with a Hyundai Elantra. A little smaller than the Camry and a little bigger than the Echo. I love my Hyundai but they don’t have the Toyota nameplate on them so you can buy them used for much lower prices than a used Toyota. If the Elantra is too big, look at an Accent.


I’ll actually recommend our car, a 2002 Chevy Malibu with the V6. It’s been a faithful friend to us. I’m 6’2", and I fit in it very well. On the highway, ours gets around 30 MPG, and in mainly city driving it gets around 22-23 MPG. We’ve been very happy with it.