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Low End Sedans (under $16k)

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Comments

  • 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: 18,624
    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: 18,624
    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: 18,624
    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: 18,624
    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: 18,624
    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: 18,624
    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: 18,624
    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
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  • 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!
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