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Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
11/28/21 7:12 p.m.

Need a highway cruiser. 

Priorities are in order: 

1. Comfortable.  Good seats. Smooth ride > handling.  Think full size American of the 60s-80s over say a modernish lexus. 

2. Good mileage.  Prefer a bottom number of 30 highway but would like mid 30s or better. 

3. Reliable.  Something not known for breaking a lot.  Would like to catch up on maintenence and not really have to worry too much about it.  

I guess that's about it.  Been digging around the online marketplaces but nothings really jumping out at me. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
11/28/21 7:18 p.m.

Everything you wrote , except for 30 mpg points to Ford Panther (Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, Town Car.)  But, even if short of the 30 mpg, the Panthers get good mpg for what they are.   Rated 24 hyw.

The GM answer to this is Buick LeSabre.  Also, missing the 30pmg but not by that much.  Rated 27 hyw.  I had a  LeSabre and it was great.  The even more loaded version is the Buick Park Avenue.  The sort of 2 door version of these cars were the Buick Riviera.  I would seek one of those too if you can be okay with a 2 door.  

Try playing with the Power Search function of fueleconomy.gov  It has the fuel economy rating of every car sold in the US since 1985.  Doing that, they only large vehicle that I could find to beat 30 hyw was a diesel M Benz. 

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
11/28/21 7:33 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

My truck gets me 24. Really would like to improve on that.  Nothing wrong with the truck for the job either.  Would just like to keep the miles lower,  plan on keeping it for a long time.  Just a hair over a year old and already have 42k on it.  

I'll make an exception for lincoln.  I just can't stomach owning a Ford.  Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it...ew

Buick is on the short list. 

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
11/28/21 7:40 p.m.

The $5k will buy you a Gen2 Prius that meets all your requirements other than the Big American Car feel.  But, it will deliver a minimum of 42 mpg without trying and not break while doing it.  Much of the time you are in the car it will be more quiet than a Lincoln but it does this because it shuts off and is near silent when not moving.  

Buy one like this and never look back!

Some recent GRM chatter on Gen2 Prius

Brotus7
Brotus7 Dork
11/28/21 7:51 p.m.

Park Ave Ultra?

Duke
Duke MegaDork
11/28/21 7:52 p.m.

Toyota Avalon.

 

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
11/28/21 7:53 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

I need to drive one to see what it's like.  I have nothing really against a prius.  It's just not the first thing that pops to mind when I think "highway cruiser"

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
11/28/21 7:58 p.m.
Duke said:

Toyota Avalon.

 

Also known as the finest Buick LeSabre ever made.

They make a Hybrid Avalon, but they're not $5k

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/28/21 7:58 p.m.

I agree that one of the final generation of 3800-powered GMs sounds like a good fit, with an asterisk by the gas mileage. They get shockingly good mileage for what they are, but 30 highway is about best case.

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
11/28/21 7:58 p.m.
Duke said:

Toyota Avalon.

 

Ya know I do remember driving my ex father in laws avalon on a couple hundred mile drive years ago and thinking how nice it rode. 

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
11/28/21 8:11 p.m.
Nick Comstock said:

In reply to John Welsh :

I need to drive one to see what it's like.  I have nothing really against a prius.  It's just not the first thing that pops to mind when I think "highway cruiser"

 

Via email I have sent you my Prius buyers guide.

Turbine
Turbine GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/28/21 8:22 p.m.

Came here to suggest an Avalon or W-Body GM product, but I see I've already been beaten.

Alternatively, maybe a Passat TDI of some generation? Might be a little more maintenance intensive than some of the alternatives though.

One of the NMS (2012+) would likely be out of budget, but the earlier B5.5 TDI's aren't bad. The BHW has issues with the Balance shaft module, but most that are still around have had that corrected by now. Manual transmission and wagon versions exist too.

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
11/28/21 8:35 p.m.

In reply to Turbine :

I'm a closet VW fanboi although I've always been too hesitant to actually buy one.  

I'm very familiar with the W- body platform.  Owned an 05 GTP Comp G and a 99 Grand Prix. 

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
11/28/21 8:48 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

What's your take on the comfort of the prius?

We had a 13 Elantra and that was harsh.  Handled great but was harsh.  That's really the only car close in size to a prius that I can likely compare to.  Test drove a 15 or so Camry and that was also harsh.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
11/28/21 8:52 p.m.

In reply to Nick Comstock :

If you don't like the camry ride,  you won't like the Prius.

I think you should try a LeSabre.

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
11/28/21 9:05 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

I could go all Julian Edgar with a magnehelic gauge and some wool tufts and see if I could get one closer to 30 lol. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
11/28/21 11:29 p.m.

I don't think any of the W-bodys had really good seats.  A lot of them got kind of junky engines including 3800's from that era where they eat various parts out of the top end so coolant ends up where it shouldn't be.  If you could get an Intrigue with the blower 3800 and swap in Recarros you'd have an Intrigue that you spent way too much on but that would be the one to home-brew together I think.

This won't hit the mpg's mark but what about a Q45?  There's also that Lexus... what was that, 200H or whatever?  Basically a 2nd gen Prius with Lexus gingerbread.  Not sure if they're decent for $5k though. 

In the end though either an Avalon for an LS4x0 assuming you can find one you like for $5k.  I really liked the looks of the LS430.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
11/29/21 6:58 a.m.
John Welsh said:
Duke said:

Toyota Avalon.

Also known as the finest Buick LeSabre ever made.

They make a Hybrid Avalon, but they're not $5k

Yeah, I had a line or two about there being a hybrid option, but deleted it because I assumed that would at least double the buy-in.

 

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/29/21 11:19 a.m.

My dad has gone through a few 3800 powered cars. All got 30-32 at 70mph. After 200k trouble free miles he would trade in for another.  My 3800 5speed Firebird has seen 34 mpg hwy but I don't like driving that slow. Can still get 32-33 at 80 windows up and a/c on.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
11/29/21 11:31 a.m.

What about those Ford D3 platform cars like the Montego/Sable from Mecury  and 500/Taurus from Ford?  They might actually be kind of great for this?  

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/29/21 11:38 a.m.

Semi off the wall but my 84 Caprice knocks down 30mpg somewhat regularly. 

 

Definitely has to the big American car feel because....well it is one.

 

It's geared super high so it's hitting 1200rpm at 60. I believe 32mpg was my best. It's not a powerful car at highway speeds though

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
11/29/21 11:51 a.m.

In reply to Nick Comstock :

What is your objection to lower fuel mileage?   If it's cost, there is a solution.  
   Look on the back of the vehicle in question. If it has a flex fuel emblem  you will be spending about a dollar a gallon less.  Thus saving about 1/3 of the cost.  Rude and crude it's like getting 1/3 more mileage per gallon.  So a 25 mpg gets 30 mpg. 
   Now you won't get the same fuel mileage.  It costs me 2 mpg.   So I net out in the dollars per mile about 18% ahead. 
    I can cheat a bit  and slightly improve those numbers.  It depends on the actual Alcohol content.  If it's on the low side winter) there isn't much chance for improvement.  But if the high side( summer through fall )  a couple of gallons of 87 octane  will still retain the advance that adds to the fuel mileage.  Without the full enrichment  85% alcohol requires. 
  
Warning!  The added power is real hard to ignore but obviously if you're flooring it for giggles your mileage will drop. 
    

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/29/21 11:52 a.m.

If I had to follow those rules and buy from my local CL, this is my pick. 30 mpg highway, designed to be a comfortable cruiser, Hyundai/Kia reliability, $4200.

Leather, wood trim, sunroof, DSG(ish) transmission power everything...that's style on a budget.

 

bob-"too many dang korean cars"-zilla
bob-"too many dang korean cars"-zilla MegaDork
11/29/21 12:04 p.m.

https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/cac534a3-94ad-4841-9b38-30a8a2f8918f/

The late 2000's Hyundai Azera. It'll run forever, super comfy, stupid cheap and keep your foot out of it and it'll flirt with 30's on the highway.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
11/29/21 12:26 p.m.

In reply to bob-"too many dang korean cars"-zilla :

I will agree that those Azeras look like damn nice cars, and asking prices are very very reasonable.  In fact low enough that I tend to assume there must be something wrong with this thing and they're trying to unload it, because I just don't know those cars well enough to reassure myself otherwise.

 

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