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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • That was a rebuttal to the claim that Daewoo makes a superior engine because they use thick cast iron rather than aluminium and a single piece block rather than a two piece block (BTW, the two piece block design originated in racing, where they also use, GASP, aluminium blocks!). It was basically a Mazda engineering vs. Daewoo engineering spat. Even if we stuck to the low-end cars, the Protege LX and ES 2.0L is not much less powerful and a whole lot lighter.

    However, I think the Protege MP3 can be compared to the Leganza. The MP3 stickers for $18,500 as the Protege's top model. The Leganza CDX stickers for $19,629 as the Leganza's top model. Add a few options and it's near $21k. And the Millenia's Miller Cycle engine was just thrown in for the final Mazda engineering is better than Daewoo engineering. You are probably all lucky I didn't get into the rotary engine or Mazda's direct injection 4-cylinder engines with sequential valve timing...
  • don't get into the rotary engine, its a great engine, no doubt about taht but if something gets busted in that, your done.
  • Perhaps we should come up with a definition of a fast car.

    The fact is that many people buy low end cars with the idea of making them faster. Has anyone heard of a car called the Honda Civic?
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    How about this: A "quick" car is one that travels the 1/4 mile in less than 16 seconds and goes from 0-60 in around 7.5 seconds or less. I have just eliminated all new cars costing less than $15,000. I have heard of the Honda Civic, and unless you get the Si (again, more than $15K), it is almost pointless to try and make it faster because to get any real gains, you will have to spend some real cash, thus breaking the $15K threshhold.
  • 09-01-2001
    As a buyer of a low end vehicle, I desired to purchase a (1)new car, (2)with basic creature comforts (as few options as possible), (3)that (imho) was not ugly, (4)at the lowest price on the market, (5)could give me reasonable gas mileage. I shopped the low end market and found a sedan advertised for $7976. It was tagged & the big town dealer probably only had one or two so they could run the come on ad. But I did my internet homework & I heard what people were saying about that car & others as well. Decision time. I bought it $8600 tax&title. Now at 32,000 miles I am averaging 37mpg on my 2000KiaSephia. It's stylish, looks like everyother import in its size bracket. It handles very well, hugs the road. Passes easily from 65mph to 85mph, although Im much more comfortable in the 55to65mph range. Its really not built to lead the pack, although it can. Lots of inside room for average sized people. I know the skin is thin, but I didnt pay $25000 for it either.
    The Kia Sephia (2000) IMHO is the best value on the market for its class--USA/[non-permissible content removed]/EURO/KOR/ETC-
    bar none. 32,000miles tells me so. I have to chuckle a little at detractors & supporters of various models & features. Let it be known IMHO
    Kia Sephia is Queen of the low end spectrum and if you load it up, it might even be King.
  • Likewise, some of us have to chuckle at supporters of the Sephia... LOL

    In terms of equipment for the dollar, the Sephia is hard to beat. There is no getting around that. However, its quality, refinement, and reliability history are not up to par with some of its more expensive low-end competitors. Good points of the Sephia are the Mazda designed engine (same series as the Miata's engine) and the interior room. It handles well, but not when compared to its ride. The Mazda chassis it rides on was considered very rigid in 1990 when it debuted on the 1st generation Protege, but hasn't kept up with times (Mazda stiffened the platform for 1995 and got rid of it for 1999). I'm surprised you are getting 37mpg when it is only rated for 29mpg by the EPA with the 5-spd on the highway. A quick perusal through the Sephia board reveals a raging war between the "I hate my Sephia" crowd and the "I love my Sephia" crowd. Then there are the two instigators (I think you know who I mean) who claim the Sephia is the best vehicle in the world no matter the price.

    But, what do you expect for the Kia's low price? It does the job and it does it decently. It matches several low-end sedans that cost more money. But, IMO, the Mazda Protege (which is pushing and easily exceeds the $15k price cap for ES and MP3 models) offers a level of refinement and driving experience equal to cars costing much more, and that is value as well. But, drive what you like. That is what matters and no one else can tell you different.
  • I will agree the Protege rode a little better than the Sephia, but not $1400 dollars better. That was the difference in price for comparable models. Plus I got 2 years and 10000 miles more of a warranty. Also the 10 year warranty on the drivetrain. I also agree with you on the Sephia mpg. I wish I could get 37 mpg on my Sephia. I get 25 around town and 30 on the highway. By the way, have you ever driven a Sephia or are you just going on what you've read?
  • better than me i get 22mpg with my elantra, but i didn't think it would drop 5 mpg just because of a couple of mods, does anybody else have this problem with the elantra(Bad MPG) or do i have a bad air sensor or something
  • I have a question for you. You seem to keep up with automotive data. I was reading a older issue of Auto Week and it listed NHTSA recalls for the 2000-2001 Corolla and the 2001 Echo, yet I don't see them on the NHTSA database. It was a brake problem on the Echo and cruise control problem on both the Corolla and Echo. Just wondering why they weren't in the database because there might be some on other cars (my Sephia included) that I don't see. Thanks.
  • Sorry, I have been having fun offline. Looks like I have a number of posts to respond to.

    I agree that "fast" should be a measure of time versus distance i.e., quarter mile. I do not think that "fast" should necessarily be a measure of time to achieve a certain speed, i.e., 0 to 60.

    The reason being that there are some cars equipped to get to 60 really fast, but then take some time to get any faster. I am speaking about cars with slush boxes. That is why quarter mile is a better judge of a car being "fast."

    I definitely do not think that top speed is an indication of a car being fast. 100mph is a fast speed, but if the car takes five minutes to get there, it is not a fast car.

    I do not agree with the threshold for 0 to 60 and quarter mile times in determining what a fast car is. I would consider my car fast since it does 0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds while the quarter mile takes about 16.5 seconds and all this in a car with a 108hp engine and 105 lb feet of torgue. I think hp and torque have to be considered.

    Now, as to Frank's question about recalls. I think there was an error on the part of AutoWeek. The brake recall on the Echo was for the 2000 model and it is a cold weather recall. Also, cruise control is not even an option on the Echo. To get cruise control, you have to go third party after market. A dealer might install it for someone, but the parts are not coming from Toyota.
  • Found the same recalls online. It says speed control instead of cruise control. Maybe it's not the same thing. Click on this website to ensure I'm not crazy.

  • I have driven just about every car under $30k that's available out there. When I was selling cars, I wanted to be knowledgeable of the competition and know what I had to go up against.

    When I am talking about the Protege, I am usually talking about the ES model with its larger engine; sport suspension; larger brakes, wheels, and tires; more sound insulation; sport seats; etc. There is actually a world of difference between the DX/LX models and the ES models. Now, of course, the ES would be more than that $1,400 difference. The ES model is the one that the press raves about. Its overall balance of ride, handling, acceleration, braking, comfort, and overall chassis dynamics puts it in a league of more expensive vehicles. As for the warranty issue... I agree Kia and Hyundai have impressive warranties. But, as we always told our customers, the best warranty is your peace of mind... and the one you never use...
  • and there's that great Kia Sephia styling. Mechanically the Kia Sephia is fine. Mine is. It hugs the road on corners and accelerates the fastest between 3rd and 4th gears. This works great for 3rd gear semi-powersliding turns. My Sephia with it's Yokohama's grips the road nicely and accelerates up to a gentle slip in to 4th. The Sephia's engine was designed by Kia with input from Mazda. They probably changed something small in it so it has the Kia originality stamp on it or something. Does the job that's all that's important to me. Shuma/Spectra for 2002 Spectra or Mentor/Sephia II for 2002 Sephia? That's the latest question as 2002 models hit the sales lots.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • I checked the site and the speed control is not the same as cruise control and it is a gulf state regional recall. Don't know why it is not listed on the NHTSA site.

    The recall on 2001 Echoes is a mistake. It should be for model year 2000 Echoes. This is the cold weather recall for that model year that is listed on the NHTSA site. If you read the recall, you will see that the manufacture date ran from sometime in 1999 to March of 2000. This is what showed me it was a typo and they meant 2001.

    Hope my post clears up the confusion in your mind.
  • I was trying to clear up the confusion on the cold weather recall and I made the same typo. In my last sentence of the next to last paragraph, I typed 2001 when I meant 2000.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I knew not everyone would agree with my definition of quick. It really depends on what your opinion is. I almost cringed when I wrote my definition of quick, because in the past, I would have considered a car that does the 1/4 mile in 15 seconds or above very slow. I used to have a car that ran the 1/4 mile in 14.5 seconds and I thought THAT was slow compared to the cars that I was racing. I wanted to make a fair definition. But I must disagree with you on two things: Regardless of the transmission or gearing, there are not that many cars out there that are fast 0-60 and slow in the 1/4 mile and vice versa. At least there is never a huge discrepency between the two (1/4 and 0-60) Also, I would not call a car that does 0-60 in 8.4 seconds and the 1/4 mile in 16.5 seconds "fast". Maybe 10 years ago, but not now. In fact, I would call that "average", or "peppy". Like I said before, you cannot buy a new "fast" car for $15K or less.
  • 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds and a mid-16's 1/4 mile for an economy car would be considered "fast." However, compared to a sports car, this would be considered extremely slow. Personally, I would have to agree with newcar31. 8.4 seconds is "peppy" but not "fast." There are no "fast" low-end cars, but plenty of them are "peppy." The Echo gets wonderful mileage for its acceleration ability, but then again, it weighs less than a Mazda Miata and averages about 600 pounds lighter than most of its competitors.

    The Sephia's 1.8L engine and the Sportage's 2.2L engine are Mazda designs through and through. Kia builds them and has modified them slightly, which resulted in slightly more horsepower but less torque and fuel mileage. I do believe when these two vehicles are redesigned, they will move away from their Mazda chassis and engine and on to a Hyundai platform and engine.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    >>Too many people got stung by horrible reliability by Korean cars sold under the guise of various American brands in the past to trust the reliability of Korean made cars now.<<

    If this is true, why are sales of Korean cars in the U.S. soaring? For example, Hyundai has sold 195,832 vehicles in the U.S. through July, up 33% from last year. Through July, Kia has sold 121,038 vehicles, up 39% from last year. So there appear to be many Americans willing to trust the reliability of Korean cars now, and their numbers are steadily increasing. I expect that the new, improved models like the Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Santa Fe, XG300, Rio, and Optima have a lot to do with the increase, as does the Hyundai/Kia warranty program.

    As for the "Mercury Contour" (or "Ford Mystique"?), I owned a '95 Mystique. While a good car in some respects, e.g., handling, it was hands-down the most unreliable car I have ever owned (and I once owned a Vega!). In its first six months, it spent over a month of that, total, in the shop for a myriad of problems and recalls. Comparing the Mystique (or the Mistake as I fondly refer to it) to my Hyundai Elantra is unfair--to the Hyundai. My Elantra has had no problems in almost one year of driving, and no recalls (but there was a recall prior to delivery of the car). It's been in the shop a total of 2 hours--for a free one-month inspection and a free oil change.

    Face facts--the days in which the Korean automakers sold junk cars in the U.S. is over. Now the other automakers will have to compete on terms other than, "Oh, you wouldn't want to buy that Korean car, it's a piece of junk--remember the Excel? Remember the LeMans? Here, spend a few thousand more for this car here, with fewer features and a lesser warranty. We make them better, so we don't have to have as good of a warranty."
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Anyone have any performance specs on the 2001 Neon ACR? I've searched all over the Web and haven't been able to find performance numbers on this particular model, but other data, e.g. numbers on the GenOne Neon R/T and ACR lead me to believe it might approach 0-60 in around 7.5 secs, and a 1/4 mile under 16. Then at least we'd have one bona-fide low-end performance car, by some definitions anyway.

    I agree that 0-60 in 8.4 secs doesn't qualify as "fast". That's what my Elantra will do, and I wouldn't call it fast. But it's plenty quick enough for me in the Land of 10,000 Radar Guns.
  • Well, the 5 speed Echo is faster than the Mazda Protege ES with a manual transmission. The ES does 0 to 60 in 8.9 seconds and the quarter in 16.8 seconds. My source for data on the Protege is Car And Driver.

    Consumer Reports seems to indicate that the Echo is just as comfortable as the Mazda Protege.

    As to quality, well, the Echo was one of the top three in its category. The Protege was not.
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