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Used Hatchbacks - Got any ideas?

importboyimportboy Posts: 3
edited March 23 in Honda
I am 17 and looking to buy a car used. The things
I care about most are style, speed, and
reliability. I also am looking for a car that is
not on the insurance "hit" list. I'm looking for a
240SX but a civic or crx would be nice. I was alos
looking at Golfs but they're to slow. I want
anyone who has any good car that is between 87-93
to reply and tell me if its reliable and any
problems I might have.


  • Since you seem to want both an import and a hatchback try a '85 -'92 GTI. The only problem I've had with any of them is that they run rough if you've managed to find some bad fuel, but I have no problems when I always stick to Chevron. You may have better fuel up there. I did not very often have the problem in Germany. Insurance rates should be lower than most hatchbacks since they are pretty safe, especially the '90-'92 models. For their time even the 8V GTI's were no slugs: 9.0 sec. to 100 and top speed of around 190. If that is still too slow for you, there are still 2 other options: (1)Performance mods are numerous and readily available mostly from the U.S., Canada and Germany. Just pick up the European Car magazine. (2) Get a 16V, but expect higher insurance rates. Performance depends on the year,but the '90 to '92's go about 200 in stock form and are easily modified to go 220. Stock 0-100 is about 7.8 sec. Good Luck! Check out the GTI conference.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Yes, do keep an eye on insurance costs. My husband and co-host, bnormann, have a 1991 Honda CRX that sounds like it might be what you're looking for. Beware, we've paid more in insurance than we did for the car. Why? Two-seaters of any kind are classes as Performance Cars and you pay a hefty additional fee for the privilege. :-(

  • I have an 89 Honda Accord DX 5-speed hatchback and have found it an excellent urban car. It can seat 4 adults comfortably and, when the back seat folds down, can haul a lot of stuff (about equal in footprint, if not height, to a Jeep Grand Cherokee.) . It has a bit of style, some pep, yet can still handle urban-parallel-parking.

    Honda stopped making the Accord hatchback in 1989. I bought mine used in 1994 at 47K and now have about 83K on it.

    Honda's are usually "bulletproof." I, however, have had a few problems this year which tempers my enthusiasm; I have had to replace both the alternator and steering rack (not cheap items) and now I'm having a clutch/transmission problem.

    Up until now, however, the car has been very reliable. My experience may not be typical; Accords have great reputations. Also note that while I have low miles, but many of those were driven in the city--i.e. with more start-stops per mile).

    One warning, however: Accords rust. Nearly every similar model of late-eighties accord has rust around the wheel-wells. It's a shame because it makes a great care age prematurely. Apparently Honda fixed this problem in the early/mid 90's (according to an unverified rumour from a friend). If you live in a city with cold weather and salted roads, this probably isn't a great car for you.
  • I just bought a 240SX this spring, a 1990 hatchback with a 5 speed. Not much of a drag racer, although fast enough around town, but it handles great and brakes pretty well too (mine doesn't have ABS).

    The back seat lets you carry an extra friend or two (or maybe that's enemy B-) and helps keep the insurance down. I pay less than $1000/year in insurance (20 y.o. male, no tickets or accidents) so insurance isn't too unreasonable, and it's not on my insurance company's "sporty" list. The hatchback means you'll be able to carry much more stuff than you think, and I get almost 30 mpg on the freeway.

    I did have one problem with it, the timing chain tensioner broke the day (!) after I got it. It was sort of a freak thing, and the replacement parts are (supposedly) stronger, but it still set me back $900. Statistically, the cars are pretty reliable, though. I think it's on Consumer Report's "Reliable Used Car" list.

    There's a site at with more information. Also, the 1991+ cars come with a DOHC 16V engine, but in my test drives that didn't seem to make much difference. (Your mileage may vary, of course.)

    So, if you want to go out and beat up on 5.0 Mustangs, the 240SX is not the right car. But if you like twisty canyon roads (like me) it's a blast to drive.
  • It's got nothing in the style department, but the Mazda 323 is an excellent car in terms of reliability and low insurance costs. My 1990 with 140,000 miles on it still gets 35 mpg on highway. The back can accommodate a large amount of stuff and you can carry 4 people (I've even done 5 before, but wouldn't recommend it over any major distance.) Last month I upgraded to a 2000 Protege, but I still love my little hatchback! In fact, it's currently for sale... ;-)
  • I have about $3500 to buy a used car for inner city driving and occational highway excursion(I am a college student). From what people talk here, it seems that ford escort, Mazda mirage, Chevy cavalier, or Geo metro met my requirement.

    I would like to get someone's advice on this: how reliable are the above mentioned cars? Say, a car around 93' or with no more than 10k miles on it. Or, what kind of the car should I looking for with those money, if a trouble-free(no need for big maintainence, if any) car for at least 4 or 5 years is possible?

    Advise and help highly appreciated. Thanks very much. Please reply to
  • First of all...the guy talking about the GTI forgot to mention that he was talking about km/hr and not mi/hr. 100 km/hr is about 62 mi/hr. 9 seconds is pretty quick but not super fast.

    I'm a junior in college. This year I bought a 1990 Acura Integra LS hatchback for $4200, with 119k miles (about avg). It gets 26 mi/ga city and 32/hwy. I avg about 28 mi/ga. I believe it fits more cargo than my brother's '88 Accord Hatchback (basically the same as an '89). The back seats fold down like the Accord but my hatch window is round whereas the Accord's is flat so I can fit a bit more (I was surprised at how much more!) in there.

    Performance wise, it's pretty quick. I'm satisfied. Plus there's no shortage of aftermarket add ons for this car if I can afford them later. 0-60 mph in about 9.6s I think. It has 130 hp, weighing about 2650 lbs. Quarter mile in about 16.5s or so.

    Styling. Damn, this is a sweet looking car though! Mine's black with a spoiler and moon roof. I think it's the best looking Integra ever made and the best looking car for the money. I happened to buy a set of '92-93 Integra GS 6-spoke rims used for $240 to add a little flava.

    Insurance isn't too expensive, especially since I turned 21, have only 1 speeding ticket, no accidents, and good student discount. Downside, Acura parts are more expensive than Honda parts. Plus, I've spent a grand total of about $8,000 on my car in 8 months, including regular service and fixing what the previous owner broke. The blue book value was something like $6,000 for the car, though. I would definitely have any car you are considering checked out by a mechanic. I brought mine to a Honda dealer and they told me basically everything that I would need to fix. Half hour inspection for $30.

    I would definitely not waste my money on a Geo/Chevy Metro or Cavalier. Definitely not low maintenance (they're American cars! haha!). You may think I'm a hypocrite for saying that but I knew my car needed work due to prior neglect and was prepared to breathe life back into it. Also, I don't think a either of those cars would last much longer than 5 years. Okay I'm just saying that to be cocky but Hondas are known (as are Toyotas) for lasting into several hundred thousand miles. Sorry for writing a novel.


    P.S. Acura is a "sister" company of Honda, for anybody that didn't know, and is made by Honda. Sort of an "upper line" Honda, as Lexus is to Toyota, Infinity is to Nissan and I think even Lincoln is to Ford.
  • sepposeppo Posts: 1
    1991 Geo Prizm GSI, 5 door, manual trans.

    I used to have a 1990 non-GSI version and I loved it! It averaged in the mid-30's for gas mileage, and had lots of cargo room for the 'typical single college student'. The GSI editions have 130hp (instead of 100), and better options.
    1991 is the last year they made the 5 door hatch.

    BTW, this *is* a Toyota Corolla with a different nameplate.
  • In 1995, I bought a used '89 Probe GT. This model was made between '89 and '92. It's a 5-speed, turbo with 145 hp, but a whopping 190 lb-ft of torque (that's the nice thing about turbos). Based on a Car & Driver article I found from 1989, this car would beat a 5.0L V8 Camaro at that time.

    I pay about 600 US$ per year, and it's a hoot to drive. 0-60 in about 7.5 seconds. I've had mine past the 120mph speedo, and it still had more before I chickened out.

    I would recommend it if you can find one with decent mileage (mine only has 76,000).

    Good luck.
  • PS - The $600 for insurance is for full broad coverage. My car is in excellent condition, but you may not need that much coverage.
  • I think a CRX is the best hatchback you could get as a cheap used car. Great on gas, great handling, nice and small around the city. And i know those cars last for at least 200K miles.
  • focuszx3rfocuszx3r Posts: 92
    If you are gonna buy a used hatchback here is what I think:
    If u have like $2000, buy a Dodge Colt, a Subaru DL/GL, or a pre 1990 Mazda 323--those cars are un beatable
    Other then that I dont suggest any hatchbacks except for maybe a civic if you want to pay $4000 for a car with 200k.
    The only good hatchback now is the Ford Focus
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    If you want a fun-to-drive car, get a VW Golf or a Honda CRX. Unfortunately, since the last model year for the CRX was 1991, you might not find too many on the market.

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a used Ford Focus ZX3 now, otherwise, it might be an option.

  • focuszx3rfocuszx3r Posts: 92
    I said it was the only good Hatchback being offered now, pointing out thats its the only new Hatchback worth buying
  • atlas1212atlas1212 Posts: 5
    I lost my job and must give up my 2000 Daewoo Lanos S Hatchback. I love it but have no choice. 0 down and take over my 250 a month payments and it's yours. It can be shipped anywhere in the country for under 800 dollars. Or you can pay 10,000 cash and have it outright. I must sell. It is white, AUTO, AIR and has full warranty.

    Please email at
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    My 1994 Escort GT was the best car I've ever owned. OveralI liked it better then my new ZX2. It is very quick, very responsive and agile, very reliable (uses more Mazda parts then Ford) and very economical. It is also surprisingly safe, I unfortunately know from experience, and the reason I'm not still driving it now. Definitely go test drive one anyway, and remember that it is day and night beween the Escort GT and LX.
  • kmtobinkmtobin Posts: 2
    I've got a 1987 Honda LXI hatchback with almost 160,000, and it has been a fantastic car! I'd really recommend it. It's still in really great shape after 12 years, and I've never had to do anything but routine maintenance. It holds four people just fine. (Okay, so the people in the back may not like having to crawl in, but they'll survive...especially if they're your age!) And, the thing will hold the world with the seats folded down. I think mine would easily go 200,000 miles without any major problems. I'd just try to find a seller who can show you through their service records that they've maintained the car. Good luck and happy car shopping!
  • I have a line on my (potential) first VW Hatch but I need some help. It has 34000 miles on it. The price is exceptional and the seller is trustworthy. I am just trying to decide if this is the best option for me and my growing family (my wife, myself, my son and another coming). We're valuing economy, safety and performance. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a ton.
  • I am 17 years old, from KCMO....and im looking
    into buying a new car when i graduate highschool.
    I have a car now, but this one will be the first I
    will, i feel like its my responsibility
    to look into the situiation and figure out what is
    best. Im looking to spend no more than 10,000
    dollars, and ive narrowed down my choices, but i
    want to know the differences and opinions. Its
    either a 95-98 Mitsubishi Eclipse, or an Eagle
    Talon of the same year. Now, i think i read they
    both have the same basic engine...and that Talons
    come turbo charged alot of times, and thats not
    always good....but i would like to know of any
    differences between them or any stories i need to
    hear that would help me. My dad is an
    airplane/helicopter mechanic, so he knows a little
    and is willing to help me, but hes no car expert.
    just dont want to get screwed over because im a
    teenage girl. any advice or feedback would be
    greatly appreciated! Thank you all.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    Hey Seppo, you forgot to mention that the 4 door hatch Prizm is one of the ugliest cars EVER MADE.
This discussion has been closed.