If you are driving a car with without a car note - then running out to buy a new fuel efficient car doesn't make much sense. Once the financial agreement has been settled, lets assume 5-years, when the savings start to kick in you can feel a little bit better. But doing the math, you won't break even... even (i hate it when i do that - i'd stop if could) during another 5-year timespan. I only measured gasoline @ $4. Gas would pretty much have to hit armegeddon prices of over $16/gal to do so. And I'm sure cars will be getting over a 100MPGs after the nuclear winter so you will still get hosed.
But if you are driving a $35K SUV or similar large vehicle (or performance vehicle) that you can sell or trade and break even to purchase a new more fuel efficient car... (or you were sitting on the sidelines with cash money, waiting for your beater to break that one last time) it may make perfect sense given your situation. Sometimes events happen that push you into doing something you planned to do but were holding off just a little bit longer. Everyone has their tipping point.
And some people are just stupid.
At least, that is my take. The news tends to be one-sided so I don't take them too seriously.
But I must admit, after filling up with nearly $4/gal of 93 this morning, I did lay off the boost for a couple miles. lol.
Side note: I saw a stereotypical trucker looking guy driving a beige Prius once... I nearly ran the light staring at him. I couldn't believe it.
I'm conflicted, no car is perfect. Overall I love it. Going to be hard to part with it if I find the right Stang.
Pros Handles great out of the box, even with the 4x4 ride height. Curvy dirt roads are a blast. The hatch is practical. The seats are nice. Gauges look great (sweep on start-up). The transmission has a supercharger like whine in gears 1-3 (i like it, some don't). Only comes in a manual (2009-up). Oh then there's the power. Lots of it in the mid to high range. You can hit redline pretty easy in first and second if you aren't careful. The car goes from bruce banner to the incredible hulk as soon as you tap into boost (0-60 in under 5). I crapped my pants the first time it happened. Has a very large aftermarket.
Cons Have to run premium gas. Gas mileage is meh. Highway blows because of the 5-speed ratio, buzzes just under 3K @ 70mph. I get about 24mpgs mixed, driving how I want to. Drops about 2-3mpgs in the winter. I squeezed out 30 once, and I apologized to my car afterwards. lol. It deserves to be driven. Stereo sucks along with most of the interior (loads of cheap plastic). Has projectors, but no HIDs. Heavy clutch. AWD system has less mechanical goodies than I anticipated. No front/rear LSD, viscous center diff. So in the deep fluffy stuff it can drive like FWD or RWD before correcting itself. Not a fan. Toyota's influence is apparent in every single bushing on this car. I have been on a mission to replace every single play-doh like bushing on this car. Aftermarket is expensive!
If I had to do it all over again, I would of bought a used 08 STi. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that doesn't want to drive a WRX. You are either going to love or hate it. I just wish Subaru would remember that and stop trying to soften it up.
It's not so much that you need special tools, though to my knowledge VW/Audi is the only manufacturer to use "Spline drive" bolts (as opposed to standard, hex or torx). And where it's not a spline drive it's usually a hex drive (allen bolt). the allen bolts can be troublesome if they're seized in because they strip so easily. The spline drive bolts are generally only troublesome if you don't have the proper tools. And most people don't have them. You can buy them at NAPA in Canada, so I expect you could in USA as well.
No, your big problem with VW/Audi (and BMW, and Mercedes) is not so much special tools, it's special techs. What I mean is that it's not easy to find someone willing to work on one, and when you do you'll pay through the nose. If you do your own work you'll pay through the nose for parts (and generally will have a wait because nobody stocks them, not even the dealerships), and shop manual type info (such as wiring diagrams) is not easy to come by and not easy to read when you find it. German cars generally don't play well with generic scan tools - you may be able to read generic OBD-II stuff (you can read codes, as required by law) but nothing else. No ABS, no SIR, and no live datastream. That being said, and this being the internet age and all, you can usually find some help in message forums dedicated to the cars.
An example of shops being hesitant to work on 'em: When I first started my new job at a large used car dealership I noticed there was an appointment for a timing belt replacement in a Golf we had just sold. I fully expected to be given the job, given that I had a lot of german car experience in my last job. I asked the service manager about it, and she said "Oh, we'll just send that to the dealership". I was surprised and told her so, and she said "You can work on VW's?!?", like I'd just told her I could walk on water. Long story short, I ended up doing the job and saving the shop the cost (and embarrassment) of sending it out. She was amazed (christ, it's just a timing belt, and on a 2.0 SOHC at that - not exactly rocket science) and I cemented my position there.
Unfortunately I also cemented my position as the VW/Audi/BMW/Mercedes guy...
That happened to me. Wanted my timing belt changed on the A4 and no one would touch it. Dealer wanted over 2K, on top of treating you like second-class for driving used. I eventually found a mechanic through my local forums that primarily worked on Audi's at discount rates. He is beloved by the local Audi community (well... the enthusiasts of course) and after speaking to him once I could see why. He knows his shit and and charges a fair rate. Almost everyone knows they are screwed when he retires. The only downside was he was nearly an hour away with light traffic, and he is always booked. But he was well worth the trip.
I wouldn't buy an Audi (or similar) without a warranty unless you have the stomach and the funds for the repairs. I had a 2003 A4, it was nice, the repairs were expensive, but I knew that going in. I sold it because I wanted something with more sport.
I am currently driving a 2009 WRX as a DD, but I am thinking about selling it since we are moving out of the snow belt.
Just about anything made within the last... well decade really should be pretty reliable.
If your heart is set on the Camaro then get a set of snows and maybe a couple sand bags in the trunk and drive smart. I've only gotten stuck with cars with open diffs.