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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • I think if anyone needs to be corrected it is you.

    You mischaracterized the tests and what you can compare. Or at the very least you made it hard to understand.

    You lumped the front impact test results which cannot be compared between the Elantra and the Echo with the side impact crash test results which can be compared between the two.

    The Elantra got a five in protecting the front seat occupants and a four in protecting the rear seat occupants in a side impact crash.

    The Echo got a three in protecting the front seat occupants and a four in protecting the rear seat occupants during a side impact crash.

    I still think the lack of side impact air bags in the Echo tested and the presence of side impact air bags in the Elantra tested might have something to do with the higher rating of the Elantra in protecting the front seat occupants.
  • let's just get this straight. What kind of vehicle I prefer and what kind of vehicle you prefer should in no way turn into a competition to the death. Your comment reminded me of the Romans and bloodbaths a bit too much. Although I would feel much safer in a Kia Sportage 4x4 than a Toyota RAV4(without ever having to test drive the RAV4-there's no need-it carries on that ripoff Japanese tradition that makes me want to barf)I would never wish death upon another driver. Your comment "we'll see who comes out on top" reminded me of the ancient Romans a tad too much. Safe driving to all and another Mariner's victory is only hours away.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    I agree one reason for the Elantra's better NHTSA crash tests scores compared to the ECHO could be because of the Elantra's standard side air bags. It could also be due to other factors, such as the Elantra's solid body structure, extra weight (about 700 pounds more than the ECHO), etc. I don't know why the NHTSA didn't test the ECHO with its optional side air bags, as they have done with other cars. You'd have to ask them. One possible reason is that the NHTSA buys test cars off dealer lots, and perhaps they could not find an ECHO with side air bags at the time of their testing.

    I don't understand why you are complaining about how I stated the Elantra's and ECHO's test scores. What I stated is accurate, although I organized my thoughts differently than you did. Anyone who wants all the facts can go to the NHTSA web site,, and the IIHS site, At least I gave the full story on the ECHO vs. ZX3, while you only mentioned the one NHTSA test in which the ECHO outperformed the ZX3. IMO, that is misleading. And I also pointed out that the NHTSA scores should not be compared between the ECHO and Elantra because of the weight disparity--which you did not mention in your initial post on this subject.

    We should also consider that the ZX3 is a 2dr hatchback, and many owners will seldom/never carry rear passengers. Those drivers who do carry rear passengers would do well to avoid the ZX3 because of the poor rear side impact results.

    Anyway, if crash safety is a buyer's paramount concern, he/she will likely not buy an ECHO, Elantra, or ZX3, but a Civic. The 2dr Civic with optional side air bags scored 5 stars in all the NHTSA tests and also had excellent IIHS test results. In fact I believe that if the Civic 2dr met the $13,000 bar set by Edmunds for Economy Cars, they would have chosen it as the Most Wanted, based not only on superior crash-worthiness but on other attributes that make it an excellent small car, like reliability, quality, roominess, and gas mileage. They did name it the runner-up to the Golf in the Hatchback/Coupe under $20,000 category. The Civic DX 2dr missed the bar by only $250 ($500 including the side air bags), so anyone who wants a crash-worthy car and doesn't mind a basic vehicle, or mind paying more for an up-level LX or EX, can choose the Civic.

  • randyt2randyt2 Posts: 81
    >>When it comes to the Echo, Edmunds makes cracks about safety<<

    Can you give us a link?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Major, you've expressed your disagreement with's pick for Most Wanted Economy Car based on safety. I am curious as to which car you believe deserves the "Most Wanted" label, based on safety. Recall that the MSRP + Destination must be under $13,000.
  • That little comment you just made in parenthesis is exactly why some on this board snap at your your posts. You add things that aren't relevant to the point and EVERY post you make has some allusion to Kia's supposed being the best.
  • Just a quick FYI.

    My roommate and I took test drives of the 2001 Kia Rio sedan and the 2002 Kia Spectra sedan. The reasons behind the test drive and the details on the test drives including my thoughts on the cars will be posted when I have more time.

    I will also post responses to Backy including my pick for the best car and to Randy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Can't wait to hear your impressions of the new Spectra. I finally saw some while driving past my local dealer on Saturday, but did not have time to take a close look.
  • Iluv, you really got that bassackwards. If you don't drive safely, it is very important that you be in a safe vehicle. If you drive safely, then the actual safety ratings of the vehicle mean less.

    Regarding your questions about not signaling, that is one of my pet peeves. I signal all the time. It is so ingrained that even if I am the only one on the road, I signal. If there is only one way to go, I still signal.

    I live right on the border between two states and the state that I don't live in seems to use turn signals less. It could just be the county I travel to in that state. It is a very upscale county and I guess the people think they are too important to use turn signals.

    Iluv, I believe Duel was Spielberg's first movie as director.
  • The Spectra sedan was the first one that my roommate and I test drove. Before getting in, I asked the saleswoman if Kia had done anything about the smell that my roommate and I were subjected to at the auto show in March. She claimed to be unaware of what I was talking about.

    I soon got an indication that nothing had changed. I was on the passenger side when the saleswoman opened the driver's door. A very unpleasant odor reached my nostrils.

    What the saleswoman did next I could not believe. She reached in and turned the car on. No, that is not a typo. She did not get in, she simply reached in. Also, I was very surprised that she did not ask to see my driver's license and did not ask to see proof of insurance. I walked around to the driver's side and my roommate went to the passenger side. We got in and the saleswoman did not go with us. Another surprise. The final surprise was that she did not slap a dealer's plate on the car.

    I turned on the air conditioning to see if it would help with the smell and also I wanted to see how the acceleration was. It definitely helped the smell.

    The Spectra was an automatic and as I accelerated onto the highway, I felt myself wishing the car had a few more horses or it was a manual. Definitely felt underpowered. Feelings shared by my roommate. It also felt like it was balking at changing gears.

    I can't really say how the car reacted to bumps because we were in that very upscale county in the next state and potholes and bumps don't exist on the highway we were traveling. The seats did feel fairly comfortable. I felt the driver's seat was more comfortable than the passenger seat.

    After getting off the highway, traveling down a city street for a while, I pulled into a parking lot to switch places with my roommate. Steering feel was similar to my Echo.

    Remember I said that my roommate felt the acceleration was lacking and felt underpowered? She likes automatics and had wanted her next car to be automatic, but if she were to get a Spectra, she would want a manual.

    One thing I noticed when getting into the passenger seat was that the smell seemed a little stronger. I turned up the A/C even more and it did not seem to help.

    One thing both my roommate and I noticed when we got back to the dealership and out of the car was that there was a burning smell coming from somewhere. I did not really associate it with the car we were just in, but my roommate did. I hope nothing happened because I forgot to mention it to the saleswoman.

    Stylewise, I think Kia did a pretty good job. It is a nice looking car. Qualitywise, I think they have room for improvement. My feeling comes mainly from looking at the exterior of the car.

    I am pressed for time and must end this. If there is something more you want to know, just post it and I will deal with it in my next post. If no questions, I will probably post about the Rio test drive next instead.

    But I want to leave you with the word for the day (in regards to that Rio test drive). The word for the day is buzzy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    I am glad you got the Complete Driving Experience of a Korean car, smell and all. If it helps any, the smell does go away pretty quickly (half-life of about 1-2 weeks). I suspect the "burning smell" you experienced was related to the other odor. Korean car makers use a sealant on the car to protect it during the ocean crossing. So you probably smelled the sealant burning off the muffler or converter. (Or it could have been undercoating overspray, a common problem I've seen/smelled before on even Japanese cars.) I smelled much the same thing with my brand-new Elantra. It too faded quickly. Now my car just has that wonderful new-car smell--even after one year.

    If you have time I'd be curious as to details on the quality (fit, finish, materials) and also how quiet the car was, overall and engine noise.
  • I would say that the fit and finish were below that of my Echo. The hood looked to be off for one thing. No, I did not try to open it, but I should have. I felt the materials were comparable to what is in my Echo. The road noise was about the same as with my Echo, but the engine was much louder in the Spectra. I will go into more detail on its own review, but the Rio was the LOUDEST!

    One thing I was the most disappointed in was the fuel economy numbers of the Spectra, but I guess my Escort and Echo have left me spoiled. I get about 36mpg with the Escort and around 41mpg with the Echo.

    Speaking of fuel, the sales lady told us the Rio had a full tank of gas and I joked that we would be back when the tank was almost empty. She did not seem to be joking when she said that would be fine.

    Sorry if my review is not up to the standards or detail of a professional review, but those guys get to be with the cars a lot longer than I did. Also, I did not take notes during the test drives. When she gets home, my roommate and I should be going to take a look at Hyundais and I am going to take a pad of paper to jot notes down. I will take this pad of paper with me on all future test drives.

    We are taking these test drives because her son is in the market for a low end car, but she will be in the market for a car soon too. I am having her write down all the things that are important to her such as safety, reliability, quality, resale value, etc., and then I am having her rate the importance of each on a 1 to 10 or 1 to 5 scale.

    We are going to use that to pick the best car for her and we are also going to use your (Backy's) push/blocker system and see what the answer is that way.
  • ichem1ichem1 Posts: 11
    Backy and others: Suspect wife and I went to local Mazda dealer and checked availability of Protege equipped as my wife wanted it. There are no Proteges in the U.S as of now that fit the description my wife wants. The sticking point is the side air bag and ABS brake package we demand along with the lack of a sun roof. They call them moon roof here in Florida since any mention of the sun would send any real Floridian running. Estimated delivery date early Jan. or Feb. I understand that there are brochures with pictures of the 2003 Corolla available. The person I work with bought a Corolla in Feb. and he got an advert. in the mail today for the new Corolla. He will bring it to work with him in the morning. Will let you know.
  • Iluv, the Mariners losing is not a bad thing. It's a good thing. After all, you can take solace in the fact that they got closer to the World Series than Ken Griffey Jr.

    Now what was that about world series pie? ; )

    Oh btw, I did not get to the Hyundai dealership. Had more important things to do. Might not be until this weekend.
  • I take it you missed the infamous looking like spam after a crash in an Echo crack made by Edmunds.

    I am not sure if that remark is in a review that is still reachable because I think Edmunds may have revised it due to protests that it was in bad taste.

    If I can find it, I will point you to it.
  • On the Spectra, the fit and finish (at least on the car I drove) had improved quite a bit. I did open the hood and it seemed to open and close while retaining its fit. The smell started to diminish after several miles. My primary concern was the seat cushion and seat back. Being short, the seat simply doesn't fit me. Like yourself, I found the engine noise when accelerating normally to be a bit annoying. Overall, the car has been improved over the previous model. On the Rio, I drove a Cinco and didn't find some of the faults such as a loud engine (at least on the example driven)that you did. The ride was good. Much better than my neighbor's BMW 325. The workmanship appeared to be very good. No wind noise etc. Both cars appeared to be of good value for buyers who want to avoid overpriced 100,000 mile used cars or those of limited means. One neighbor has a 98 Sephia that has just crested 83K and still seems to be running well. The long warranty will probably offset any aggravation caused by repairs.
    My friend, the dealer tells me that he is selling few to the bruised credit crowd, and a goodly number of senior citizens are purchasing both Rio and Sephia/Spectra models.
    There are still a large number of Ford Aspires (Kia) and Pontiac LeMans (Daewoo) on the road in this area, Metro Detroit, and an increasing population of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. BTW happened to see a Daewoo transit bus on a Detroit street. Believe it was on a test route. Interesting..
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Most owners of small sedans apparently are not concerned about sitting a few inches off the road. The ECHO, Prius, and PT Cruiser are the ONLY sedans that feel comfortable to my wife and I after owning 2 pickups and 2 minivans. Our last sedan was a 1980 Impala purchased NEW in October, 1979.
    The ECHO is the only comfortable sedan for us within the price parameters set for this forum. Now, when will Toyota offer an ECHO LE with padded armrests on front doors, fold down armrests for driver and front passenger, soft and padded material on the doors, quality seats like in even the least expensive Sienna, and Cruise?
    P.S. We have no grudge against Kia. We test drove the Sedona and were VERY impressed with the comfortable, quiet ride with nice acceleration. It was as comfortable, quiet, etc. as either the Sienna or Odyssey. The Sedona also had the most leg and foot room for driver and front passenger of all minivans we have driven.
  • The Mariners lost! I've been sobbing ever since..

    Iluv, how would I know how to spell sayonara in japanese? I ain't japanese, next time, say: Ahnyoung! to say hi and Ahnyoung! to say bye..
  • Humm...are you Korean? Don't answer if you don't feel like it. I've picked up some hints along the way, but, you know what, iluv's been wrong before. AHHHH!!!! Now that that's outta da way-mr. major-check out my Mariner's comment on the 'How Are The Koreans Doing?'site, OK? I don't feel like retyping. A parting comment for now. Mr.major-your Kia reviews leave a good impression on me. What a fantastic car company! I want a new car and I want it to look great. I don't want it to cost too much. After all, we Washingtonians are the 5th highest taxed state in the U.S. AND WE HAVE LARGE REAL ESTATE COSTS. Whether we rent or own. Just the way it is. I also want my car to be backed by a manufacturer's warranty that is rock solid. Did I mention GREAT LOOKING CARS? Oh, OK. I also want the car to run great and run great for the long-haul. Kia's still passing the grade. Oh, fair insurance costs. Still Kia passes the test. Reliable? Yes, Kia's are reliable. Hummm...I guess I agree. The obvious new car choice(or used for that matter)is Kia. Bye.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • So what you are saying is you want a smelly car with a loud engine that lags behind in build quality?

    No wonder you like Kias. Especially if smell is your first criteria. ; )
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