Re: long commute by car, what would you do?
Long commutes are a trade off between economy and not killing your car.
I briefly lived in Swindon (luckily escaped the [censored]hole quite quickly) and commuted to London Paddington, which was about 80miles, just a touch over.
Problem was, I was doing the journey in my 1.4 pug, which had a booked top whack of 110mph, so motorway speeds were pretty close to it's maximum potential.
After 18 months of that kind of driving, it was really beginning to have some problems, the sump gasket let go on the M4 one day. Then the clutch started slipping, then it was jumping out of gear, then it started stalling as you dipped the clutch approaching a roundabout or junction, plus numerous other problems.
Before that it had been a perfect motor, never went wrong, I might be wrong, but I blame the heavy motorway mileage for the rapid decline in reliability of the car.
So what I'm getting at, is that although you want a good return on your petrol, it's not really do-able in anything less that a 1.8 or 2.0 in my opinion.