Hi my last two cars have been preowned Toyota Camrys which I have absolutely loved driving. My wife drives a Honda Civic with 275,000 miles on it but it’s on its last legs. I’m thinking about taking a job which is 90 minutes away and I would like to get a small car which is good on mileage. I would give my wife the Toyota Camry and possibly get a preowned Mini Cooper,Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla which would be the best choice for comfort and mileage? The Mini looks like a lot of, but is it practical? Thanks!!! Scott
The Mini is going to have a harsher ride. The reliability is sub-par, so if you get it, get it for the fun factor. I guess their auto is a CVT, so get a manual.
Which brings up another point, for a 90 min drive, a stick might not be that “fun” after a while. Also the compact sedans tend to be noisy. The Camry size cars are more comfy, roomy and the gas mileage difference is minimal.
If you want both fun and efficient, look into a Mazda 3 or 6.
I agree with @galant
Stay away from the Mini. Their reliability is in the toilet
And word has it the clutches on them don’t last long. There are plenty of horror stories about lifelong stick drivers who buy a mini, and the clutch is burned out within 30K, or less. Then the dealer has the balls to tell them they don’t know how to drive. Yet it never happened to them on any other stick car they had
Here’s what I would consider . . .
If your commute is mostly free running highway, a manual is OK. If you sit in traffic, for go for the automatic. The Corolla is boring but will ride better than the Honda and way better than the Mini. Either the Toyota or the Honda will run for many, many miles. The Mini is can be problematic. The Toyota has a better automatic, both have good manuals. Go buy another Toyota BUT, if you can find a a good, used 4 cylinder Camry, it gets similar highway mileage to the Corolla. You may find it more comfortable than the Corolla.
Toyotas and Hondas retain their value very well, and that is bad news for you. A used Mazda3 with the Skyactiv engine gets good highway mileage. You might also look at the Prius. Look at the highway mileage of anything you like and compare the annual cost of gas. If work is 50 miles away, that’s 25,000 miles a year plus whatever local driving you do. If total mileage is about 30,000 you will spend $700 or more every 3 years for a new timing belt if it has one. You might want a car with timing chain, and the Mazda3 has it.
@db4690 has given you good recommendations. You will be spending 3 hours a day in the car. Before I retired, I was provided cars from my university’s fleet to drive to conferences. My least favorite was the Honda Civic Hybrid. My wife, who was on the road quite a bit doing recruiting of graduate students did not care for the Honda Civic Hybrid either. The last vehicle from the fleet that I used before I retired in 2011 was a Ford Fusion. I found it quite comfortable. I didn’t check the gas mileage and I had no idea what engine it had. However, it probably depreciates more rapidly than an Accord or Camry which makes it a good buy as a pre-owned car.
One other note: My wife “volunteered” my services to help a church friend shop for a car. She had inherited a Honda Civic from her mother’s estate (1990 model I think). She thought she wanted an Accord, but after testing both the Accord and Civic (non-hybrid) she decided on the Civic because it was easier to get into her garage which is entered off an alley. While the Accord was smoother riding, the Accord we tested had the CVT transmission. For that reason alone, I concurred with her decision to buy the Civic.
Oopsy, I forgot to mention I can’t drive a stick. Please don’t laugh. Lol.
Nothing to laugh at . . . nobody can do everything
Years ago, I worked with a mechanic who couldn’t drive stick. That was actually kind of funny. Fortunately for him, we worked at a Benz dealer at the time. And at that time probably close to 100% of the vehicles were equipped with an auto
But when an older 240D or 190D showed up, he couldn’t work on it, because he couldn’t even drive it
As others have suggested the Corolla,Civic, or the Mazda3 would suit your needs fine. You might try one out (maybe rent one for a weekend) and see how comfortable you will be. I rented a 2013 Corolla last weekend and it was more than comfortable for me and I’m 6’ with long legs. Don’t feel bad about not being able to drive a stick, I can’t either which is why i’m looking at an automatic Mazda3 for myself. If one of the compacts doesn’t feel comfortable enough then you should look at another Camry or Honda Accord.
I’d suggest starting with a Consumer Reports New Car Buyers’ Guide from the local bookstore. That’ll give you excellent comparative data on reliability and more for all the new cars available. Test drives will confirm comfort, which is largely subjective.
I’m too biased to provide good guidance. CR is far more objective.
I would stay away from the Mini. I had one and they aren’t trouble free.
It would help to know your budget. For cars of of three or four years old, make and model is critical. If you want to pay pay less, they matter less. For old cars how well they’ve been cared for and whether they’ve been in anyaccidents matters a lot more. For cars in the over $5000 range, I’ve seen good suggestions here. Avoid any European cars at any price. Avoid most American cars unless the model and price is right. The Fusion is one of those rare American prices with Japanese reliability (it was designed by Mazda.) Other American cars can be good values if a little older if both cheap and in very good condition. Their problems tend to show up quickly and become progressively more expensive to repair. With the exception of certain well documented models. American models are basically quite simple, often lacking the latest technologies. They tend to fail quickly. If well maintained they can last quite a long time. Generally the simpler American models are the best best best, especially those that had been made for quite a few years to work the work the bugs out.
Don’t bother with the Corolla if it’s the same as the 2006 model. There was very little room in there.
Not to be a nay sayer but way back in the 70’s a salesman offered the advice to me to drive the biggest car you can on my 50 mile commute. I always did that and drove full sized or near full sized Buicks and Olds. My back was never sorry I did after nearly 40 years. Small cars are fine for going to the store and on the road once in a while but for daily grueling driving in all weather conditions, comfort is more important than mileage in my book. No charge.
I agree with Bing. Comfort should take precedence over everything. Would getting 40mpg be worth it if you’re feeling crippled by the time you get where you’re going?
Maybe look into an Escape hybrid or other small-ish SUVs, their seats tend to be a bit better, imo, and easier to get in and out of.