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Low End Sedans (under $16k)

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  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    This is quite an increase. I assume they have changed the final gear ratio or re-done 5th gear for lower rpm. Not that the 2000-2005 Focii ran high rpm on the freeway like the xA and Golfs I had.

    This must meant manufacturer's who make 5 speeds are assuming we haven't forgotten to downshift to 4th or even 3rd as needed for full passing power.

    I did get lazy with my Golfs. They turned over a 4,000 rpm at 80, which meant once you were on the freeway you hardly ever had to shift (once you quit checking to see if it was already in 5th).
  • 2007 Rabbit is placed in MEDIUM (Accord, Camry, Volvo S60, BMW 3-series) weight class and still manages amazing scores for such a small car! That's 2 classes ABOVE most/all of its competitors!

    The results:

    Frontal Driver: 4 stars
    Frontal Passenger: 4 stars
    Front seat Side impact: 5 stars
    Rear Seat Side Impact: 5 stars

    These are the EXACT same scores the BMW 3-series, Volvo S60 MB C-class, received in the SAME weight class.

    This currently places the Rabbit as the least expensive car in the 2007 MEDIUM class with these scores!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    Those are pretty good scores, especially for side impact, but I would like to have seen better results on the frontal crash tests. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up in the IIHS tests.

    Saying the Rabbit is currently the least expensive car in the 2007 MEDIUM class with these scores is faint praise--and also misleading. First, there's currently only one car in that group, the Caliber, that is lower priced than the Rabbit. There are several more expensive cars in that group that have equal or better scores than the Rabbit, including some priced not much above the Rabbit such as the Accord DX. Second, the Caliber scored dual five stars for frontal impact, and hasn't been rated yet for side impact. So to imply the Rabbit is better is premature.
  • " I would like to have seen better results on the frontal crash tests."

    Scoring 4 stars in frontal tests in the MEDIUM class with cars that are significantly larger is mass is a stunning acomplishment. Take the Rabbit and place it in the "light" class (2 classes BELOW MEDIUM) with many of its competitors and it would most likely score 5 stars. I would only imagine how poorly the Accent, Fit, or Yaris would do if tested in the MEDIUM class.

    I imagine the Rabbit will score a Silver award (like the Jetta and Passat), or even a Gold in the IIHS tests.

    ALso, given that "In new cars from model years later than 2000, 51 percent of driver deaths occur in cars struck from the side compared to 44 percent in cars struck from the front," side impact results are far more important. http://www.cnn.com/2006/AUTOS/06/16/iihs_side_impact_sedans/

    Which car would you rather put your kids in the rear seat, the Accent which scored 3 stars or the Rabbit which scored 5 stars? That's a potentially life or death difference.

    "saying the Rabbit is currently the least expensive car in the 2007 MEDIUM class with these scores is faint praise--and also misleading."

    How is this misleading? The fact remains that for under $16K MSRP, the Rabbit is most likely the safest SMALL (in dimensions, not weight) car available.

    "There are several more expensive cars in that group that have equal or better scores than the Rabbit, including some priced not much above the Rabbit such as the Accord DX."

    The Accord DX isn't even sold anyone (didn't even have A/C so not really comparable). The VP replaced it which starts at $18,775. But more importantly as you've said countless times before, a small hatchback is NOT going to compete with a mid-sized sedan, right?

    I test drove a Rabbit 2-door yesterday. Without getting into the details of how it drove (simply amazing for $15,600 the dealer wanted for it), there would be no decision over what I "felt" was safer. There is a sense of solidity with the Rabbit that just isn't felt with the Fit, Yaris, etc. The doors felt heavy and solid, unlike the cheap, thin, and light doors of the Accent.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    Scoring 4 stars in frontal tests in the MEDIUM class with cars that are significantly larger is mass is a stunning acomplishment. Take the Rabbit and place it in the "light" class (2 classes BELOW MEDIUM) with many of its competitors and it would most likely score 5 stars. I would only imagine how poorly the Accent, Fit, or Yaris would do if tested in the MEDIUM class.

    Your logic escapes me. The "class" of a car for NHTSA frontal impact testing has to do with the weight of the car. The test itself is exactly the same no matter what the weight of the car is--the car is slammed into the same barrier, at the same speed. The scores don't depend on weight, other than you are not supposed to compare scores across weight classes.

    Actually, I contend that it is a greater accomplishment for a car that is greater in mass than the Rabbit--which almost all the cars in the MEDIUM test class are--to get 4 stars in the frontal crash. Think about it. The front of the car has to absorb the effects of the extra weight decelerating instantly to 0 mph.

    I think it's premature to anoint the Rabbit the "safest car under $18K MSRP" based only on NHTSA testing. For under $18K I could buy a car like a Civic, that has excellent NHTSA and IIHS crash test scores, or a Sonata that has 4x5 star NHTSA crash test scores, very good IIHS crash test scores, and standard stability control.

    You are right, the Accord DX is defunct now. But I don't recall saying countless times that a small hatchback won't compete with a mid-sized sedan. It depends on what you are looking for. Some people look for the most car for their money, whether it's a hatchback or mid-sized sedan. If you don't believe that, take a look at the Fit vs. Accord discussion.

    I look forward to driving the Rabbit myself as soon as I can do that, maybe this weekend.
  • "Fatality data[11] show that 57% of all fatal crashes involve more than one vehicle. The laws of physics require that the momentum of the heavier vehicle impart higher deceleration forces to the lighter vehicle and experience correspondingly slower deceleration itself. Consequently, the occupants of the lighter vehicle experience larger forces...Accordingly, when two vehicles have identical frontal crash ratings, the heavier vehicle generally is safer than the lighter one. Fatality data demonstrate this to be the case and in a head-on collision a 1 percent weight advantage corresponds to more than a 5 percent reduction in the driver’s fatality risk, relative to the driver of the lighter vehicle."

    "The weight risk factor for heavy vehicles has the effect of offsetting frontal impact risk, derived from crash test data alone. For example, an "average" (3,300 lb.) passenger car with "average" frontal crash test ratings (4-1/2 stars by NHTSA + "ACCEPTABLE" by IIHS) has the equivalent SCORE as a 2,500 lb. passenger car rated 5-stars by NHTSA + "GOOD" by IIHS. In effect the improved crash test ratings compensated for the lighter weight, and the driver fatality rate stayed the same. This is the reason both NHTSA and IIHS warn consumers to only compare frontal impact ratings between vehicles within +/- 200 lbs of each other."

    http://www.informedforlife.org/viewartcl.php?index=6

    So, while the Rabbit received "only" 4 stars in the Frontal crash, given its increased weight, it's risk assessment would be that of a 5-star rating in the "light" or "compact" weight class.

    Either way, after reviewing reports that show that those involved in an accident in a car rated at only 3 stars side impact have FOUR TIMES the risk of serious injury compared with a car rated at 5-stars, I will not purchase any car that has a side impact rating lower than 5 stars. It's just not worth the risk. So, if someone values the safety of their occupants from side impacts (all too numerous where I live) and wants a SMALL car, they really are limited to the Rabbit and Civic.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    I think you are misinterpreting the quote from the Informedforlife site. What it is trying to say is that in a collision of a heavier vehicle vs. a lighter vehicle, the heavier vehicle has the advantage, all other things being equal:

    Accordingly, when two vehicles have identical frontal crash ratings, the heavier vehicle generally is safer than the lighter one.

    That is what the "equivalent score" discussion is about. It's not possible to consider the Rabbit for the lower weight class because it doesn't fit into that class, and if you removed enough weight from the car to fit into the class, who knows how the crash protection would be affected? Anyway, even if that were possible, the Rabbit didn't get 4-1/2 stars for its average frontal score (it was 4), so its "equivalent" score would not be 5.

    By your logic, you would want to buy one of the other Medium-class cars that got at least 4 stars in the frontal crash test and which are heavier than the Rabbit, because they would be safer, right?

    Since according to the Informedforlife site frontal collisions are responsible for many more fatalities than side collisions (43% vs 26%), and a difference of one star can double the risk of serious injury or death, I still would rather have five stars than four stars on the front. Five stars all around would be especially good. Also, I respect the IIHS tests more than the NHTSA tests because the IIHS frontal test is tougher (faster, and offset) and the side test considers head injuries in the rankings. Since the Jetta did well in the IIHS tests, the Rabbit should do well also. However, I recommend you wait for the IIHS tests because there have been some cars that received 5 stars on the NHTSA side impact tests and did not do well in the IIHS side impact tests (the side curtains on the Rabbit should mitigate that risk, however).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    Here is my report on my test drive of the Rabbit 3-door. I also posted this link in the "Economy Sedans ($16-20k)" discussion because I think that where the Rabbit really fits (if we forget it's not a sedan...), given its lowest possible list price is about $15.6k and goes over $20k for the 5-door model. Also in size, power, and features, it is not a low-end car.

    backy, "The Forums Test Drive Team" #182, 1 Jul 2006 2:12 pm
  • ross14ross14 Posts: 36
    We all know the Rabbit review was a foregone positive rave. Backy, we know how you uplift Teutonic Volks. Cars. Ha Ha! Seriously, a great, descriptive, detailed report on a car that we all want to set small car standards. I remember my first ride in a Rabbit many years ago, & continually hope that the marque returns to its glory.
  • Medium Class along with Jetta, Passat, BMW 3 series, Audi A4, and Lexus IS.
    http://www.iihs.org/ratings/default.aspx
  • mjhart77mjhart77 Posts: 2
    I think the definition of "low-end" is changing with the marketplace. I just bought a new '06 Nissan Sentra, and while I personally would consider it "low-end," the only major "low-end" thing about it is its size... it has 16" alloys, 6-disc Rockford Fosgate changer w/ aux. input, rear spoiler, etc. With the exception of the fact that it's a compact car with a small 4 cyl. (yes, I realize that's a fairly big "exception"), it has pretty much what the mid-size cars are offering (Sticker was $17,400, and I paid $14,300 w/ factory cash back).

    I actually test drove a few Kias and Suzukis, and I can tell you, there's no comparison. The Japanese companies still seem to have it all over the Koreans when it comes to compact fuel-effecient cars. Suddenly cars such as the Sentra (or Corrola, Civic, etc.) are now more like mid-level cars rather than entry-level cars.

    I'm not sure I'd say the Japanese firms are totally abandoning the "entry-level" segment, however. While I was purchasing my Nissan, I noticed the dealer had some literature on something called the Nissan "Versa," which is going to supercede the Sentra as the low-end of Nissan's totem pole (I think it starts at just under $13k).

    I guess with gas prices, etc., the categories we tend to group cars in are changing. Suddenly I don't feel like such a nerd for driving a Nissan Sentra, and hey... I can still make fun of those dorks in Kia Spectras, Suzuki Forenzas, and Hyundai Elentras.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    You hit it on the head. The Versa is now the "low end" car in Nissan's lineup, and the Sentra is moving upscale for 2007 and will be a much larger and more luxurious car (and more expensive!). But even the Versa isn't a "low end" car in the traditional sense. It's very roomy with a nicely-finished interior, and has features that until recently have been available only in expensive cars, e.g. Bluetooth and IntelligentKey. I think it's a superior car to the current Sentra.

    But... why would you want to make fun of the "dorks" driving cars like Spectras, Forenzas, and Elantras? I wouldn't trade my Elantra for a current Spectra if you paid me. And the Spectra is a very nice small car--extremely quiet, perhaps the smoothest ride in the compact class, up-to-date styling inside and out, and a roomy and comfortable interior. I'd much rather have a Spectra than a Sentra. I'd even rather have a Forenza than a Spectra, unless I never had to carry anyone in the back seat. Then I might take the Spectra, if it were really cheap.

    Anyway, have fun driving your new Sentra.
  • lightfootfllightfootfl Posts: 442
    Thinking about "low end" vehicles.. what ever happened to those under $10,000. Now, that is low end. We really need to have something in that area. It seems that everything on the market today seems to go up in price almost daily..well maybe not daily, but you know what I mean. Where are the inexpensive cars now? Also where are those that profess mileage results that would make them more desireable? ie 40+ By the way, I don't mean junkers, I mean something that works at an inexpensive price. I really don't see them anymore.
  • There are some left. See for example the Chevy Aveo Special Value hatchback made by Daewoo.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    Correction to post: I meant to say "I wouldn't trade my Elantra for a current Sentra if you paid me." (typing too fast!) The post probably makes more sense now. :blush:
  • ross14ross14 Posts: 36
    My wife's Aunt is 84, & almost ready to stop driving, so we will probably buy her 2003 Elantra. I drive her to Manhattan where her doctor is. The Elantra is ideal as a small car. The ride on NYC streets is superb; the engine/transmission is smooth; & the interior is way above bargain basement. Visibility (front hood is observable) is excellant, & the best feature of the car is the availibility of full front seat manipulation. The weak link is average gas mpg (I assume since I don't own it). The opinions of those who have not driven the Elantra, often seem negative, but with its warranty, it may be the "Best Buy" of all under $17000 cars, especially with discounts before its replacement arrives.
  • mjhart77mjhart77 Posts: 2
    As far as the Forenza goes, the price was incredibly low... I never got down to numbers, but the salesman said I could get in one for under $12k... but when I took one out for a test drive the first thing I noticed was how cheap everything in the car seemed... the gear shift felt like it would snap off if I moved it too quickly between P and D, and the squishy seats felt like they'd be lucky to stay intact past about year 3 of the 7 year warranty.

    While the Sentra isn't exactly a tribute to quality craftsmanship, the interior components seem a lot more solid and comfortable. With that said, the car that impressed me the most as far as build-quality was the Mazda3i... it was probably the most sytlish of the cars I was looking at. In the end, however, the cash back from Nissan and the fact that my Mazda dealer acted insulted when I pulled out a printout from Edmunds.com, so I ended up going with the Sentra.

    Just for curiosity's sake, what's the best any of you have gotten for a price on the Mazda3i?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    It's not the quality of the interior components of the Sentra that is an issue for me, it's the cramped rear seat. That took the Sentra off my list the first time I sat in it--a "blocker" issue as I call them. It also struck the Cobalt off my list really fast. If I didn't use the rear seat for carrying large kids or adults, I would have given the Sentra a little more consideration, but not much since I consider the Elantra a superior car for my requirements, and the price was right to boot (plus the last new car I bought, I wanted a hatchback).
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    A casting director seeks drivers who think of their cars as extensions of their personalities and are able to participate in a rally from Vancouver to LA for two weeks in October. Please visit http://www.carspace.com/bullrun for more information.
  • 2007 Rabbit is placed in MEDIUM (Accord, Camry, Volvo S60, BMW 3-series) weight class and still manages amazing scores for such a small car! That's 2 classes ABOVE most/all of its competitors!

    That is good, but you must consider the extra heft that VW Jetta and Rabbit haul around... the Jetta weighs more than a Honda Accord, and the Jetta is only a compact car.

    The rabbit weighs 3,040 pounds. Pretty portly considering cars that are much larger (Accord) weighs about 3190 lbs. It SHOULD be in the weight class with the big boys, it IS a big boy!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    Looks like Consumer Reports will have a comparo of the Fit, Versa, Yaris, Rio, and Accent in their December issue, based on a note in the November issue. Should be hitting the newsstands and mailboxes in a few days. It will be interesting to see their take on these new small cars, since they don't weigh things like 0-60 performance as heavily as the car mags.
  • jacksan1jacksan1 Posts: 504
    I'm also looking forward to that paricular CR issue. By the way, the December issue which covers those economy cars is due out in early November.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    Edmunds.com just published a first drive of the 2007 Aveo LT sedan:

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FirstDrives/articleId=117227

    There is one curious thing about this review I think. They go on and on about the lack of standard ABS, yet only one four-door in its class, the Fit, has ABS standard. It's optional on Accent GLS, Rio, Yaris, Versa, Spectra, and Forenza. It's even optional on more expensive cars like the new Sentra and the Corolla. So why ding the Aveo on this point?

    IMO what they should have hit Chevy on, and hard, is the lack of side curtain airbags. They aren't even available as an option! Yet they are standard in the Accent, Fit, Rio, Spectra, and Versa, and available on the Yaris. I think that omission is unforgivable on a new-for-2007 model.

    But Chevy did make features like cruise, aux input jack, lumbar support, and even a sunroof available. So at least drivers in the Aveo can be comfy if not safe. :P
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    I finally found a store that had CR's December issue with its comparo of the Accent, Fit, Rio, Versa, and Yaris. They tested 11 cars in all, including a Focus ZX3 MT from the next class up just to see how the low-end cars compared to it. They tested an AT and MT version of each of the other five cars.

    I thought it was one of CR's better comparos. They hit just about all the plusses and minuses I've experienced when I drove these cars. One thing I wished they had done is test an Accent SE instead of the GS. The Accent SE has standard ABS and better handling than the two Accents they tested, and price-wise it would have fallen mid-pack among the tested hatches. It also would have eliminated some of CR's gripes about the GS, e.g. lack of ABS, not-particularly-agile handling, and lack of a rear-window wiper.

    I thought it was interesting about how close the top four finishers among the AT cars were. Just 3 points separated the Versa SL, base Fit, Rio LX, and Accent GLS. Also interesting was how the rankings were in order of price, with $2445 separating the #1 car from the #4 car. The Yaris was the 2nd-most-expensive AT car tested, but wound up ranked 6th (behind the previously-tested xB), 13 points behind the Accent GLS. What that tells me is that a buyer can pretty much select from any of the top four cars based on personal preferences and price and still get a very nice small car. And those who want top fuel economy, don't want (or can't find) a Fit, and can overlook the Yaris' shortcomings can go that route.

    On the MT cars the ratings were more clear-cut. The Fit Sport was the runaway leader with 75 points, beating the next-best car in the class (the xB) by 20 points. (The Focus ZX3 got 62 points.) Below the Fit and Focus, the next four cars--xB, Rio5, Versa S, and Accent GS--were very close, with 3 points separating the xB from the Accent. The Yaris hatch 8th in the group, between the xA and Aveo LS, at 36 points. The rankings of MT cars also followed pricing order pretty much, with the three most expensive cars taking the top 3 spots, then two more cars a little over $14k, then the last 4 cars at $13k or just below. The Yaris was the lowest-priced car at $12,569, and one has to wonder how it would have done with more equipment. (However, the Yaris sedan had much more equipment including ABS but still finished last among the tested AT cars.)

    CR "recommended" only the Fits, the xB, and the Focus. The Fits performed very well and CR has some reliability data on them, since the car debuted here last April. The xB and Focus performed well enough in CR's tests and have at least Average Predicted Reliability (xB is Much Above Average). CR would have recommended the Versa, Rio, and Accent but can't yet because they are new designs and they don't have reliability data. They didn't recommend the Yaris because it didn't perform well enough in their tests (nor did the xA, Forenza, or Aveo tested previously).

    The other thing that CR made clear in the review was the value of ABS, at least with these cars. They tested some of the cars with and w/o ABS, and they recorded much longer stopping distances in both wet and dry conditions without ABS. They mentioned this prominently in the review, and noted that ABS is hard to find on the Versa, Accent GS (not offered at all), and Yaris. The Fit was the only tested car with standard ABS on all trims, and I think that must have garnered some points with CR.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    It's funny how the manual Fit was so much of a clear winner, but the Fit auto was #2 in a close race. I think one of the reasons was that the Fit auto was a base version, and the Fit manual was a sport version. I'm guessing if they picked a Fit auto in a sport version, then it might have been the leader in the auto category as well. But I agree that it was a pretty fair comparison, and similar highs and lows to my experience and other reviews I've seen.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    Yes, a Fit Sport auto might have picked up a few more points, but I think it's clear anyway from the review that CR feels the Fit is the head of the class in this group of cars, with the Versa, Rio, and Accent all pretty close together--pick one for whichever best meets your requirements. I'd tend to lean to the Fit, Accent, or Rio if for nothing else just because it's easier to find them with ABS than the Versa or Yaris, although I have a personal preference for the Accent vs. the Rio.
  • If they tested a Fit auto sport and an Accent Auto SE, I actually think the Accent would have won the whole comparison. It has many more extra features than the difference between the base and sport Fit, plus it adds 16" alloys and a special sport-tuned suspension. If those things add up to points, it'd stand to reason the Accent SE would have topped the ratings.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,737
    I still think the Fit would have won the MT category, if for nothing else because of better shifter feel and more flexible cargo-hauling. But I think it would have been a lot closer than it was.
  • I guess of these the Fit would be the winner IMO. It looks good, it drives good, and it's a Honda. Why not?

    I can't get over the beautiful front end and the HIDEOUS rear end of the 2007 Aveo sedan. I guess I don't like the Altima type taillamps with the chrome reflector visible. I'd swap the bulbs out for clear and put red translucent film over the lenses. And then worry myself into a drunken stupor over resale value and Daewoo quality.

    The Yaris has the odd center-mounted instrument cluster, so it's out. I'd buy a no-options Corolla CE before I'd touch a Yaris.

    The Versa is a great looker, kinda like a micro-sized Quest minivan. Too bad it isn't a 3-row seater like the Mazda5. It's great in everything but gas mileage. And the only reason to get a tiny car is to try for 40mpg on the open road and know you'll get about 30 in town.

    The Accent and Rio are the cheapest, and have the best warranties, but at what cost? What good is a ten-year 100,000 mile warranty if it spends half that time in the dealer's service department?

    The Rabbit is cute, but the electrical troubles worry me.

    But for ME...my $16,000 would buy about 53 20-year old beaters. Cavaliers, Escorts, Neons, and who knows what else comes up that cheap in the future. If I get only three months out of each of them, that's just over 13 years of service.

    Will the little new cars hold up that long, being driven 2000-3000 miles or more per month? Will the clunkers lose their clunk? Will the Steelers go back-to-back in the Superbowl?

    If someone held a gun to my head and made me buy new, I'd go for the Corolla CE 5-speed and be boring but reliable.
  • boring in automobiles. Yikes that is one vanilla-plain looking car.

    The Steelers may not even make the playoffs, much less win back-to-back Super Bowls. They needed a huge assist from the unscrupulous ref's to even win the 2006 Super Bowl, too.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

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