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Best Hot Hatch - SVT, Civic Si, GTI, RSX, Mini, Beetle...

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  • ...is available here.


    Notice how well the passenger compartment stays intact.

  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    Did they hit it with an Excursion?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,667
    just a few things:

    I like 0-60 just as much as the next guy. We actually talked about it quite a bit on this board already. I even used that onramp argument myself. But, HH is right, we're not talking about a huge difference here. Also, if that onramp has a curve in it, you're going to want handling to keep that speed up.

    The RSX has a whole new powertrain. The most important and expensive part of the car. So reliability is still an X-factor no matter how you slice it.

    Safety is a far more complex subject than us as non-safety-engineers can discuss here. But, just to throw an analogy to your "bigger is better" theory: In an accident, would you rather be in a 20 cubic-foot cardboard box or a 5 cubic-foot specially designed reinforced steel box? In other words, size is not everything.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    The RSX does have a new power train. Most of the components of the RSX are either borrowed or modified and tweaked components. The engine of course is totaly brand new. The Mini is brand new from the ground up. In terms of reliability, you can say both are brand new, but I would still say the RSX should be very reliable due to using a great deal of shared components.

    The you might feel the difference between 7.0 (Mini S) and 6.3 (Acura RSX Type S) - both times taken by Car and Driver. I would agree it would be very slight to discern between the two. Also, the RSX is no slouch in the handling department either.

    If I was to take your analogy about the cardboard box vs. the steel box, if I am being hit by something at 60 miles an hour, I am going to get no padding in the steel box. As a result, I will feel the full brunt of the force even if the box is still intact. At least with the cardboard box, it will take some of the impact.

    This my friend is called crumple zones. This is why they went to crumple zones and unibody construction in the 80s. Cars in the 70s (minus MB if they did incorporated Crumple zones then), were dammaged much less in accidents, but their passengers were dammaged much more. As a result, the energy and force from an impact was absorbed significantly by the car's occupants instead of being absorbed by the car. Did I just nulify your analogy, qbrozen, of the cardboard box vs. the reinforced steel box?
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    Vooch, you are right that none of the cars are sports cars, but for the budget minded, they are about as close as you are going to get this side of a 350Z. The only two cars that might qualify would be the Mustang and the WRX (since the Trans Am and the Camaro are no longer made), but these are much different cars.

    Hey, if we all had unlimited funds, we can talk about another couple of econoboxes like a Mclarin F1 vs. the new Ferarri F60.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,667
    no, you didn't nulify it. First of all, steel still crumples. Its not indestructible, just sturdier. Second, the cardboard would not absorb enough of the impact to keep you from being splattered all over whatever it was that hit you. That's my point. Its all about design, not size. Smaller can be better if its designed better. Its pretty simple, really.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    I really hope that the Mini is as sturdy and crashworthy as you think. But it's very light, and crumple zones save lives. In accidents with bigger cars it is almost always going to lose.

    And to take this to the absurd extreme, in a high speed, head on collision between an RSX and a Mini, I would rather be driving the RSX.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    Take a shock sensor (sorry, the name for the device escapes me now). Put the sensor at the end of the 20 foot cardboard box and another at the end of the 5ft. steel box. Ram each box the same. See which sensor records more shock. I will bet you the one at the end of the steel box will record more shock. That is my point. A reinforced steel box does not have crumple zones, and may only absorb the shock slightly. If it did have crumple zones, this will help absorb some of the shock, but not a great deal of it. There is a chance that the object might not even hit the sensor at the end of the 20 feet of cardboard due to the length and the resistance of the cardboard. As a result, the sensor may feel much less shock.

    In terms of smaller and better, you are right. I might take a mini over a VW bus from the 60s, where your knees were right up against the front.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    Sorry, you missed the point entirely. To explain it in a more simple fashion...

    Sorry, nothing needs to be more simple: your disagreement with with my statement that I personally consider German safety engineering to be superior to Japanese safety engineering.

    Do you have something from Mercedes stating they have a better method for testing cars than IIRC and NHTSA?

    Try reading your Engineering history books on the subject: you'll find that MB invented the field and remains its leader. FWIW, how many more years will pass until IIRC and NHTSA *begin* to consider using the pedestrian impact safety tests that are already in use in Europe?

    -hh
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    I say that due to "simple physics" the car is deadly in a crash due to the short length.


    Yet the A-Class does better in the Euro NCAP front impact testing than does the comparatively "very long hooded" Saab 9-3: 69% vs 50% (BTW, the Saab 900 was even worse).


    Here's the reference URL's, as well as the URL's for a some Honda's & Toyota's (all larger than the A) that are all incapable of using the physics advantage that they should have, to actually provide better overall safety:


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/mercaclass/


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/civic/index.html


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/accord/index.html


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/beetle/index.html


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/golf/index.html


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/saab93/index.html


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/saab900/index.html


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/corolla/index.html


    http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/safety/camry/index.html


    Yes, that last one's actually a Toyota Camry.



    Insofar as safety engineering history, various manufacturers make various claims, but Béla Barényi (of Mercedes) patented the occupant safety cell in 1951. The crumple zone premiered in 1953 with the Mercedes-Benz 180, and the world's first production vehicle with rigid passenger cage and integrated crumple zone are the 1959 Mercedes 220's. By 1970, less than 10% of the world's new cars had rigid safety cages integrated with crumple zones.

    (source: http://www.whnet.com/4x4/crashes.html)

    -hh

  • Mean nothing when getting up the on-ramp onto the highway. 5-60, or more likely 10-75, are some measures that would mean something. And we all know that 0-60 times do not do a very good job of approximating acceleration from a rolling start.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,667
    MM - I hope so too. BMW said it is. Time will tell the truth.

    I never said the MINI is indeed safer than the RSX. Only that it could be. Size doesn't matter as much as engineering. Kevin even supports that with his comparison of the MINI to a VW bus.

    The links provided by HH are good ones. Check out the Civic vs. the Beetle. That Honda engineering doesn't seem to be standing up to its reputation in this case.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    O.K., F=MA, the reason I do not like the Mini

    Force = Mass x Acceleration

    Thus, when you greatly increase the mass and acceleration (an impact with another car), the force that a smaller car is designed to take will disproportionately increase compared to an average sized car. This is the reason so many people like driving SUVs in America.

    Unfortunately, the tests you sighted do not take this into account.

    One other interesting item of note. The MB A class sits fairly high. While this may hamper handling, it helps with impacts from the side (per your link) and will help against submarining and going under another car's or truck's bumper in the the event of rear-ending or hitting straight on in an accident.

    Unfortunately, the Mini is low to the ground, and the passanger sits very low. As a result, the Mini driver is in significantly more danger in a side impact and of possibly going under another vehicle in front of it.

    None of the tests show an impact with another moving object, just stationary objects.

    You also, mention that Japanese cars are designed to specifically and only to do well in for passenger safety in general, yet the Civic did medocre and the MB did well. Wouldn't these tests contradict your point?

    In terms of Engineering history books, please expand on this. There are many out there, with very few if any being required reading for college engineering students. I am sure the MB history in automotive safety has plenty on the subjects you mentioned, in great detail. BTW, wasn't this book also financially backed by DalmerChrysler? Just curious.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Go check the crash tests. While an SUV hitting a Geo Metro would obviously be a no-brainer as to which vehicle you'd rather be in, SUVs roll and kill their occupants many more times in single-vehicle (or vehicle to telephone pole, etc.) accidents.

    In winter the majority of vehicles you find in the ditch are 4x4 owners who think they can drive at any speed without flying off the road in their high centre of gravity vehicles. Many of them find out they are wrong in having such overconfidence.

    How many cars with tire blowouts end up rolling the vehicles? Few cars do but look at the Explorer/Firestone fiasco and you'll see what lots of mass up high can do to create an unstable vehicle.

    In a demolision derby I'd rather be in an old '70s boat car than a new MINI but on real roads, mass can work for you OR against you.

    If you want to mention heavier cars as being safer than lighter cars then I agree with you but don't tell my a high COG vehicle is safer.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Kevin, show me how low to the ground the MINI is. Show me how it's height and ground clearance make it lower than other cars. It is taller than the RSX, higher off the ground than the GTI, and its mass is not much of a percentage lighter than these other vehicles. You are making a mountain out of a mole-hill as far as the mass is concerned and the "low to the ground" argument is 100% baseless!
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    O.K., F=MA, the reason I do not like the Mini

    F=mA is merely a starting point. Crash protection is predominantly energy management through the use of low/moderate strain rate Elasto-plastic deformations of materials, and load spreading.

    ... This is the reason so many people like driving SUVs in America.

    People assume that all of that SUV mass is doing all sorts of wonderful and magical things for them, but that's an assumption that's been made without a solid Engineering foundation to back it up. For example, having more mass rolling also means that you have more KE/momentum to absorb/manage in an accident for equal protection to the vehicle's passengers - - it takes more mass, distance and engineering to stop a heavier object with equal effectiveness.

    The only time that an SUV's mass really does itself any good is, as you stated, when they striking a significantly smaller vehicle. However, this is nothing more than risk transfer which IMO is unethical to purposefully pursue.

    None of the tests show an impact with another moving object, just stationary objects.

    Apply superposition principles, change your frame of reference and ask yourself again if that's technically necessary or not.

    You also, mention that Japanese cars are designed to specifically and only to do well in for passenger safety in general, yet the Civic did mediocre and the MB did well. Wouldn't these tests contradict your point?

    If someone who "sandbagged" their design to perform as best as possible on a particular test and they still did poorly, what does that mean?

    FWIW, I recall a quite old (circa 1975) VW Beetle advertisement where they showed a modified Beetle that they had gotten something like 84 miles/gallon out of it. They then said how impractical this Beetle version was and closed the ad by showing a standard Beetle with a tagline of: "An Honest [~30] miles/gallon".

    In terms of Engineering history books, please expand on this. There are many out there, with very few if any being required reading for college engineering students.

    Its probably nothing that you'll be assigned to read in school, but stuff that you'll just absorb and pick up out of sources like professional Engineering journals, because of your background and personal interests. Most of the time, its little more than useless trivia that only other Engineers at ASME conventions find interesting. Such as the ancient TV advertisement mentioned above (or perhaps a heart-shaped meatloaf, anyone? :-)

    -hh
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,667
    If you peruse the tests on that Automobile Association site, you may want to take a look at the results for the VW Lupo. A very small car. Even at 910 kg, the passenger compartment faired WAY better than in the 1800 kg Chrysler Voyager, 1500+ kg Mitsubishi Space Wagon, and 1315 kg Saab 900, just to name a few.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    there will be a five door SVT focus available. Looks like a SVT-ized ZX5. Looks good, but of course I'm biased ;-)


    http://www.focaljet.com/

  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Interesting debate. Kudos to everyone here for keeping it civil and lively at the same time.

    Here is a snapshot of the MINI Cooper and Acura RSX in terms of basic specs, STD safety equipment, dimension and passenger/cargo measuraments and base pricing:

    2002 Base MINI Cooper:

    Base Price: $16,850 (ZF 5 Speed manual transmission)

    Engine: 1.6L (OHC) "Pentagon" engine, 16 valve In line 4cyl, 115HP with Equal Length drive shafts.

    Handling & Ride:
    Front Suspension setup: McPherson Struts
    Rear Suspension: Multi-link Rear Suspension
    Stabilizer bars: Front and rear
    Steering type: Electro-hydraulic, speed sensitive, variable assisted power steering.

    Safety,Security & Braking:

    ABS
    Corner Brake Control (CBC)
    Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
    Flat Tire Monitor
    Driver and front passenger airbags with "Smart" dual-threshold, dual stage deployment, amd semsor to help prevent unnecessary airbag deployment.
    Driver and front passenger seat mounted, side impact airbags
    Advanced head protection system (AHPS II) airbags.
    Side impact door beams with interlocking anchoring system.
    Automatic fuel cut off, triggered by airbag deployment.
    Height adjustable front safety belts with automatic pretensioners & Force limiters.
    ISOFIX (LATCH) child restraint seat anchorages
    Crash sensor - automatically turns on hazard lights, interior lights and unlocks doors.
    Battery misconnection alarm.
    Daytime running lights - Programmed by MINI dealer.

    Dimensions:

    Length: 142.8"
    Wheelbase: 97.1"
    Width: 66.5"
    Front track: 57.4"
    Rear track: 57.7"
    Height: 55.9"
    Unladen weight: 2,524 (2,557 with CVT automatic transmission)
    Weight distribution (Manual/CVT)%: 63/37
    Ramp Approach angle: 10 degrees
    Brake dimensions (Diameter): Front Vented 10.9"
    Rear Solid 10.2"

    Interior dimensions:

    Headroom Front: 38.8"
    Headroom Back: 37.6"
    Elbow Room Front: 53.9"
    Elbow Room Back: 44.5"
    Trunk Volume: 5.3 Cubic Feet
    With both rear seats folded: 23.6 Cubic feet
    Front Leg Room: 41.3"
    Rear Leg Room: 31.3"
    Maximum Seating: 4

    2002 Acura RSX (Base model)

    Base Price: $19,741 (5-speed Manual transmission)

    Engine: 2.0L (DOHC)Alluminum Alloy engine, 16 valve, i-VTEC In line 4cyl, 160HP.

    Handling & Ride:
    Front Suspension setup: McPherson Struts
    Rear Suspension: Double Wishbones
    Stabilizer bars: Front (Tubular) and rear (Solid)
    Steering type: Variable Assist, Rack and Pinion

    Safety,Security & Braking:

    ABS
    Driver and front passenger airbags, dual stage.

    Driver and passenger side airbags with front passenger height and position sensors.
    3 Point seat belts with load limiters and pretensioners (Front).
    3 point seat belts, rear.
    LATCH child seat anchors in the rear seat
    Side impact door beams
    Side impact floor beam
    Collapsible steering column
    Impact absorbing interior surfaces

    Dimensions:

    Length: 172.2"
    Wheelbase: 101.2"
    Width: 67.9"
    Front track: 58.5"
    Rear track: 58.5"
    Height: 55.1"
    Unladen weight: 2,694 (2,771 with 5-speed automatic transmission)
    Ground Clearance: 6.0 in
    Weight distribution (Manual)%: 61/39
    Weight Distribution (Automatic)%: 62/38
    Ramp Approach angle: N/A
    Brake dimensions (Diameter): N/A

    Interior dimensions:

    Headroom Front: 37.8"
    Headroom Back: 30.1"
    Elbow Room Front: 52.6"
    Elbow Room Back: 51.3"
    Trunk Volume: 17.8" (Does not specify with either seat backs up or down)
    With both rear seats folded: N/A
    Front Leg Room: 41.3"
    Rear Leg Room: 29.2"
    Maximum Seating: 4

    The way I see it, the RSX 5-speed manual is only very marginally bigger in some exterior/interior dimensions and weighs exactly 170 pounds more than the MINI Cooper 5-speed car. Also the RSX has less standard safety equipment, is $2,891 more expensive to start than the base Cooper, comparably equipped.

    The Cooper also wins in interior passenger room but loses in trunk cargo capacity with the seats up.

    The only reasons to get the base RSX over the base Cooper are the bigger 2.0L 160HP engine, bigger trunk, 29.4 inches more overall length and that's about it. The MINI Cooper runs in circles around the RSX....

    See the more we disect the Cooper, the better it holds its own against the RSX. There is no comparison folks.

    Sources:

    www.edmunds.com
    www.miniusa.com
    www.acura.com
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Instead of criticizing the MINI based on hearsay and armchair reviews, go out and drive one....experience it for yourself.

    Afraid that you might like it too much? :)
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    Here's a snapshot...


    Brake dimensions (Diameter): N/A


    Size is useful, but what you really want are the 60-0 Braking Performance test values. Here they are:


    Mini: 112.1 feet Edmunds source


    RSX: 129.59 feet Edmunds Source


    FWIW, that 15% difference is just over 17 feet. Almost two car lengths :-)


    -hh

  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Thanks HH, I missed that critical piece of info.

    No matter how you look at it, the MINI is a serious performing vehicle at Econocar prices...can't beat it..
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    drivinisfun - "There is no comparison folks." "the MINI is a serious performing vehicle..."

    I just don't agree with these statements. Time will tell if the Mini is safer than the RSX, I would love to see it do well, because I would definitely get one. But I don't believe it quite yet.

    As far as performance goes, the base Mini is hardly a serious performing vehicle. It is a serious handling vehicle, but it's engine is more like an Echo than an RSX. However, underpowered Chrysler engine and (possibly unfounded) safety concerns aside, it is definitely a better package than the RSX.

    This is not an argument you can win on paper, even if the Mini is better, it's not all going to be as clear cut as its significant braking advantage.

    qbrozen - fair enough, the Mini certainly could be safer than the RSX, I would love to see it. Competing to increase safety helps everyone. Heck, having the Mini built helps everyone.

    HH - "The only time that an SUV's mass really does itself any good is, as you stated, when they striking a significantly smaller vehicle. However, this is nothing more than risk transfer which IMO is unethical to purposefully pursue. "

    That is exactly it. When that significantly smaller vehicle is you in your Mini, there is a problem. Admittedly, I don't (and we may never) know how much less safe, if at all, it is then the RSX.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    As far as performance goes, the base Mini is hardly a serious performing vehicle. It is a serious handling vehicle, but it's engine is more like an Echo than an RSX.

    It depends on how you define "performance", and to ignore handling unfortunately sounds like the typical American bias that only cares about straight-line performance.

    When you look at the racing heritage of the Mini, the thing that jumps out at you is that while it was short on raw power, it excelled in handling, and when you consistently win, you become a popular racer.

    The same holds true for Porsche 911's versus 914's on the Autocross: the 911's sets the FTOD (Fastest Time of the Day) when its an "open" course layout because of their greater power. But on a "tight" layout, the 914's better handling beats the 911's, despite the 914's significant horsepower handicap.

    IIRC, there was a very similar history with the early AC Cobras: they passed everyone on the straightaways - - and then got passed by everyone at the first curve.

    -hh
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    If I'm going to drive my car on the street, the slight edge that the Mini is going to give me in handling is not going to make any difference whatsoever over the RSX. (brakes aside) So if I'm not going to race it, how much concern should I be paying to the slightly better handling Mini, when the RSX is significantly faster? The ability to do a slightly faster 600' slalom is not quite as significant as taking your acceleration from the slow to moderate range - in street driving.

    That being said, I don't know if the Mini could beat the RSX on a track unless there were no straightaways whatsoever.

    And it seems like horsepower is pretty popular the world over, not just America. True, the Camaro/Firebird/Mustang are pretty American phenomenons, but I believe it's Germany where there are no speed limits.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    And it seems like horsepower is pretty popular the world over, not just America.

    Outside the USA, fuel costs are much higher, with the result being that there are a lot fewer big SUV's and high-HP vehicles. In Europe, most vehicles on the road I've seen on the roads typically have displacements of 2.0 liters or less. Ditto for a lot of rentals I've had in the Caribbean.

    True, the Camaro/Firebird/Mustang are pretty American phenomenons, but I believe it's Germany where there are no speed limits.

    Speed limits in Germany are 50kph in town, 100kph in the countryside, 130kph "recommended" for the Autobahn on those sections that haven't had firm speed limits applied.

    And while there are the big E-Class and 5/7 Series who go "poof!" past you, most of the cars out there are 1.6 liter Golfs and the like, and cruise along at around 120-140kph in the right lane. I was over there earlier this month and we did just fine with a Mercedes A Class that had a 1.4 liter motor (BTW, it nevertheless could hit 170kph). But at 1,07 Euro's per liter (do the math), I much preferred that it delivered 41 mpg than "neck breaking" acceleration.

    -hh
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    Well, I'm not an SUV fan, but just the same, most big motor Chevys can get pretty good gas mileage as long as you are driving sanely. But either way, I don't think that arguing for the RSX over the Mini marks me as a gas guzzler.

    However, this doesn't address my points about the Mini, do you agree with my last comments.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Well, the 3800 Series II V6 engine in my 2001 Impala is rated at 200HP and 225 pounds feet of torque @ 4,000 RPM. On regular 87 octane fuel (Albeit I always use midgrade 89 Octane gasoline), the car returns 21MPG in the city and 32MPG in the highway at a steady 70 MPH. The car weighs 3,400 pounds and takes me to 60 in about 7.8 seconds.

    The Impala is faster than our MINI, yet the MINI handles like a champ (But the Impala also handles very well for a full size American sedan).

    So what's your point?
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I find taking corners fast, being able to ignore ramp-speed signs, etc. is fun. For that, you need good handling and braking more than you need straight-line speed. Driver is still more important than the car in the end but when the driver is hitting the car's limits it is time to move on.

    When I used to drive a 1.0L 3-cylinder Geo Metro, I accelerated faster than most people. I went up hills faster than GTI 1.8's. Is the Metro a faster car than a GTI??? NO WAY!!! I just drove it faster. It's all about attitude. To me, the Cooper has more of a fun attitude than the RSX but others will certainly disagree with me.

    To return to one of my earlier points, I've never driven an RSX and don't really consider it or the Tiburon to be vehicles people would actually cross-shop along with the MINI. They are all vehicles that make a statement more than anything else and you don't cross shop statements. For your money the best straight-line speed you can get is a RWD V8 Camaro (5.3s to 60MPH for under $23K) but I don't think many MINI, RSX or Tiburon shoppers are looking at Camaros. It says a very different thing than these hatchbacks, along with being a much bigger car which makes it feel and handle very differently (less fun, IMO).
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    If I'm going to drive my car on the street, the slight edge that the Mini is going to give me in handling is not going to make any difference whatsoever over the RSX. (brakes aside)

    The same can be probably said about most of the Hot Hatches in the subject category.

    So if I'm not going to race it, how much concern should I be paying to the slightly better handling Mini, when the RSX is significantly faster?

    For the same reason that we're discussing the worth of any "sporty" car, hot hatch or otherwise?

    The ability to do a slightly faster 600' slalom is not quite as significant as taking your acceleration from the slow to moderate range - in street driving.

    What's more/less significant really comes down to duty cycle, as well as driver skills and personal preference. Personally, I prefer an engine-limited design rather than a chasis-limited design, as I'd prefer to have a vehicle that's more capable of getting me OUT of trouble than INTO trouble. YMMV.

    That being said, I don't know if the Mini could beat the RSX on a track unless there were no straightaways whatsoever.

    The better braking means that the Mini can go deeper into the corners, and the better handling should mean that it should be able to carry more speed through the corners. Easiest thing to do is to wait a few years and see how they both do at SCCA events.

    In the meantime, either one would have a better "fun quotient" than a lot of other products out there, and would be a suitably practical daily driver.

    -hh
This discussion has been closed.