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Economy Sedans (~$16k-$20k)

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Comments

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Other than Elantra, Corolla, and Sentra, who else in the test? I'd assume Civic...?

    EDIT: I just got my mag in the mail... gonna go read it now!
  • I'd assume Civic...?

    The Mazda3 and VW Rabbit.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Just read it, and I'm really not as surprised. I am a little miffed that they don't cite the Rabbit's fuel economy at all in its review... The economy of that car is its biggest downfall.

    The Elantra interior looks great, best I can tell. I look forward to seeing it at the auto show this weekend.

    Nothing surprising in the review of the Civic or Corolla.

    The Sentra's review amazed me; I expected it to be sportier than the Civic. Instead, they call it a mini-Town Car several times. Not what I'd hoped to see from Nissan.

    I did like how they referred to its styling, calling it "Plump and puffy, ready to burst out in a giggle." That made me roar with laughter...

    Now that I look at this, I am more surprised than I said 8 lines ago... the (insert winner here for others who don't want it spoiled) won the comparo?
  • The Sentra's review amazed me; I expected it to be sportier than the Civic. Instead, they call it a mini-Town Car several times. Not what I'd hoped to see from Nissan.

    This will be taken care of when the SE-R and Spec V models come out, this spring.

    I like how the Mazda3 still did very well, despite being the second-oldest design in that group. I'd take one over any others in that group in a heartbeat.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I like how the Mazda3 still did very well, despite being the second-oldest design in that group. I'd take one over any others in that group in a heartbeat.

    The Mazda 3 is definitely a diamond in the rough of compact cars for sporty shoppers. The article cites tire noise, something I noticed on a friend's 2004 3s sedan that also has 17" wheels. The tires are Noisy with a capital N relative to the Civic. On the other hand, the Civic's styling is incredibly polarizing. While it appears to have hurt it in the testing, I'm glad to see Honda step out and take a risk on styling instead of being bland!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Hint: the winner of a comparo of "six $18k sedans" was... NOT a sedan. :surprise:

    I think that, given C/D's preferences, the finishing order was predictable (except their calling the Mazda3s "too sporty"), although I too was surprised to see the Sentra in last place. IMO it is far superior to the Corolla except in fuel economy.

    As often happens in these comparos, they don't stick to their own rules. They set out to test sedans that sticker under $18k, so what do they do? Three of the cars stickered OVER $18k (and there was no way of avoiding it with the Mazda3s Touring), and one of the cars wasn't even a sedan! Predictably, the most expensive cars finished on top. Although that probably made little difference here, as anyone could have predicted that the sharpest-handling cars would finish on top, as they always do in a C/D comparo.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Although that probably made little difference here, as anyone could have predicted that the sharpest-handling cars would finish on top, as they always do in a C/D comparo.

    Yes, but remember who the target readers are, 'car enthusiasts.' People who read the magazine are much more likely to prefer a good handling car over a soft-riding one. I really believe that C&D and Motor Trend DO put a bias towards good handlers, but I don't think it is much of a secret.

    I was happy to see the Civic NOT completely loaded like every Honda they ever test seems to be. This one came in UNDER the price cap, AMAZING!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    True on the Civic, but had they equipped the Elantra similarly to the Civic (i.e. GLS trim) it would have cost only $15.5k, well under all the others in the test.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It was better equipped than the Civic AND was cheaper than the others... I think the Elantra made a great showing for itself, despite the ranking.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You should read the editorial by Csere in the same issue. Fleet vehicles are decreasing, and it is often very difficult to find samples with precisely the right equipment. As noted in the actual text, neither GM nor Ford could produce anything in stick for the comparo, though I doubt either the Cobalt or Focus would have finished highly, (esp. given that the Focus finished behind the Corolla in the LAST - Nov '02 - small car comparo).

    Had Mazda been able to supply a $17,685 3s Sport instead of Touring, I doubt if things would have changed, and price was one of the dings that C/D listed against the Mazda anyway. The Sentra also crossed the $18K threshold but finished last, so I don't agree that the most expensive cars finished on top.

    Have you driven the new Sentra? I haven't yet, but I was really surprised to see its last place finish, behind the Corolla which debuted in March '02 - a full 16 months before the next oldest Mazda 3 (which would have been my personal choice, given that I disagree with V-Dubs use of a thirsty and none-too-powerful 5 cylinder).

    For what its worth, and for those that haven't received their C/Ds, this comparo has been on their website since yesterday, which is why I initially mentioned it.

    ~alpha
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    They could go out and buy a car if the manufacturer can't supply one. That is what some other organizations that do car reviews do.

    Maybe the Mazda3i Touring, with its 16" wheels, wouldn't have been considered "too sporty" by C/D, and the price would have easily fallen within the $18k limit--as would the Mazda3s Sport.

    The Sentra was only over $18k because of the equipment on it. The 2.0S easily fits under $18k with a modicum of equipment such as ABS.

    I did drive the new Sentra and posted a review in the Sentra vs. Elantra discussion (because I compared it to the Elantra). I really can't understand why they ranked it below the Corolla, unless they really hate its styling that much.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "They could go out and buy a car if the manufacturer can't supply one. That is what some other organizations that do car reviews do."

    Besides non-profit, no-ad Consumers Union, I can't think of any publication, print or otherwise, that does this for their regular Road Tests or Comparisons.

    They could also ORDER direct from the factory, I suppose, but really, there are limits to practicality.

    For what it was worth, I think they did a fine job reviewing a decently level playing field. The ratings and text do a pretty good job of explaining how the Sentra rated below the ancient Corolla, and it was obviously more than styling.

    ~alpha
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    $18,883 for a new 2007 Camry CE automatic at Carmax.
    Very good choice for a economy sedan IMHO.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,668
    some keep drinking that c/d koolaid.
    i used to, but gave up. my life is much better now. :)
    so, alpha, which of the comparo cars have you driven?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Or how about saying to the manufacturer, "If you don't supply a car that fits under our $18k limit, we won't include it in our test." Also, since C/D broke some of their own rules (e.g. price limit and included a hatchback in a test of sedans), they could have eased up on another rule and allowed an automatic car or two into the test.

    Based on the scores, the Corolla topped the Sentra mainly because it was one tick better in C/D's view in a few categories: trunk space (1 cubic foot bigger; no extra points for Sentra's handy divider I guess); fit and finish; rebates/discounts (what a surprise, the Sentra is brand-new and the Corolla is 4+ years old); engine NVH (personally I thought the Sentra's engine was very smooth and quiet); transmission; handling; and ride. But the biggies were 3 points in Corolla's favor for each of mpg and as-tested price. The last is a joke. C/D tested a stripped Corolla LE without ABS and maybe (C/D wasn't clear on this) side bags and alloys--the Sentra had all those and more. If the two cars had been comparably equipped (still with an advantage to the Sentra in some features like Bluetooth), the price difference would have been only $45.
  • is for less than 20K, I could get a new Optima 5 speed/auto-manual, and the I-4 Does get 34MPG hwy, where as the smaller Sentra is similar MSRP, and gets 36 MPG(and as for warranty, well, Kia wins that catagory).

    take care/not offense.
  • Last fall when I was in the market for a fuel efficient car I looked at the Corolla as a possible first choice. In our marketing region (mid-atlantic)Toyota refuses to supply cars to the dealers with several "available options" that are really unavailable. These are things persons driving in the snowbelt states such as MD,PA,NY etc. would like to have i.e. ABS, traction control, and side impact air bags(well, these are useful anywhere). After imploring the dealer to try to find a car with some or all of these "options" for several weeks I gave up. He stated that all the cars thus equipped were going to the southern marketing regions among others where not a flake of snow almost ever falls. This policy by Toyota may have changed since then, I don't know. So, maybe C&D's problem in finding other than a "stripped" Corolla without ABS etc. may be due to the fact they operate out of a snow belt state. They may have had better luck if their headquarters were in California or Florida.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Actually for less than $20k you could get a number of mid-sized cars, including the lower-end Accord, Camry, Malibu, G6, Galant, Sonata, Fusion/Milan, Mazda6, and probably others I'm not mentioning. Some of these could even be V6 models. I think the intent of this discussion is to discuss cars that list at around $16-20k and are in the so-called "compact" car class.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    All save new Sentra and Elantra. I would go 3.

    ~alpha
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You bring up a good point regarding C/D's scoring system. 20 points are alloted for 'As-Tested-Price', but only 10 are allotted for 'Features and Amenities'. The Sentra did make one point up relative to the Corolla for having greater feature content, but one could extrapolate that if both categories were worth twenty points, the Sentra would have made up two. (Or conversely, if both were 10, the Corolla may have only gotten 1 point better for 'As Tested Price' instead of 3). Still, even if they scored equal on both 'ATP' and 'FaA', the Corolla would have had the higher score.

    I agree that C/D shouldn't have put the 'Sedans' moniker on the cover (they did, correct? I don't have the mag in front of me), but I see no reason why the Golf, uh, I mean, Rabbit... shouldn't have been included. The text itself doesn't mention sedans, so I think that was more of a headline faux pas "Let’s round up the whole class of compact four-doors, equip them with all-natural U-shift-’em gearboxes, and enjoy driving while we compare choices at the low-budget end of the market."

    ~alpha
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    It's just a little strange though. Five sedans and a hatch. It's like C/D hasn't heard of the Jetta--and we know they have.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The Rabbit is a better handling vehicle. Why test the Jetta with the extra weight and lesser utility of a trunk?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Because... the Jetta is a sedan?

    Oh, I get it... which car did C/D want to win the comparo, is that what you are implying?
  • d_hyperd_hyper Posts: 130
    Because they are testing sedans (also mentioned in the article text). Besides "Gotta have it" score, Rabbit outscored Mz3 because of trunk capacity. So...where's Mz3 hatch now? Furthermore, the whole article is amateurish with only few sentences describing each auto. From now on, I subscribe to Edmunds instead! ;)
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I agree, they could have used the Base or 2.5 Jetta, but it is what it is. (In the end, if the Jetta was tested, it would have gotten the same 5 points as the Rabbit for trunk space, at 16 CU FT vs. the Mazda 3's 11.5.) There's never going to be the PERFECT comparison test for a multitude of factors - from fleet availability to feature content to price to personal preferences.... but overall, I think C/D did a VERY good job with this one.

    Edmunds.com comparison tests historically have left me much more perplexed than this one, though they've gotten better as of late. Still, the scoring is whacky.

    ~alpha
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Oh, I get it... which car did C/D want to win the comparo, is that what you are implying?

    I get it, you are implying that you did not want the VW to win and would have prefered the Jetta to be tested as it would be less likely to win.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    I would rather that when a publication tests cars under rules they establish, they actually stick to those rules. Otherwise it raises a question as to WHY they chose to ignore the rules--e.g., testing a hatchback instead of the sedan version of the same car, when the test was for sedans.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Any Mitsu Lancer owners here?
    If so, did you cross shop Corolla, Elantra, Sentra, etc. before you purchased?
    Mitsubishi seems to have faded from the minds of car shoppers.
  • tsgeiseltsgeisel Posts: 352
    "So...where's the Mz3 hatch now?"

    With a self-imposed "limit" of 18k, there's no way they could have gotten a Mazda3 hatch to test, even stretching things as they did.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Mitsubishi seems to have faded from the minds of car shoppers.

    Probably because vehicle like the Lancer look dated when they debut. Honestly, can you tell me that the Lancer looks like a fresh design compared to these?

    Lancerimage

    Mazda 3
    image

    To me, the Lancer doesn't look any newer than this 13 year old Honda sedan. It's a dated looking design because of its very square flanks. The new pointy nose doesn't exactly flatter the car either, IMO.

    image
This discussion has been closed.