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



  • Pardon my dumb question, but what or how much difference does the "factory alloys" make in anything? I have seen several comments relating to this, but don't understand. Please inform me. Thanks, van
  • Backy, I don't know the specifcs of the Spectra SX suspension, but I do know it's definitely altered in some way, tweaked with some people from Mazda apparently, and it feels like you're in a completely different car compared to the Spectra/previous Elantra. I'm imagining it's like how the Accent SE hatch performs totally differently from the Accent GS hatch. You can't attribute all of that to bigger wheels.

    I don't think the '07 Spectra SX will change in any significant way besides the refreshening/aux jack. I really do agree with you that the Elantra has the value award won hands down, plus it offers many more features that the Spectra doesn't, but people will definitely pay the same amount for less car if it handles better.
  • * Drop in the 1.8L, 148 hp all-aluminum engine that Hyundai developed with DCX and Mitsubishi (should provide similar if not better straight-line performance with better fuel economy)

    BTW, do you guys know that Hyundai made the engine block, not DCX and Mitsubishi? They pay royalties to Hyundai and add their own technology (Dual VVT for DCX, MIVEC for Mitsu, and CVVT for Hyundai).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,631
    ... how much difference does the "factory alloys" make in anything?

    If you want alloy wheels, due to appearance or their lighter sprung weight compared to steel wheels (which can help handling), they add about $500+/- value to a car compared to a car that doesn't have them. Of course, you can always add them aftermarket, but in the case of the 2007 Elantra (also the Spectra we've been discussing), the factory alloys are a different size than the standard steel wheels, so you'd either need to get smaller alloys than come from the factory, or get new tires too.

    Personally I really like the factory alloys on the 2007 Elantra SE and Limited; I think the standard steel wheels and plastic covers look cheap. Since the SE is only about $800 more than the GLS and includes other useful features in addition to the alloys such as telescopic wheel, trip computer, audio controls on the wheel, and leather wheel and shift knob, I would go with the SE vs. the GLS.
  • Thanks guess I never thought that much about them before seeing all of the comments here.
  • deekzdeekz Posts: 9
    I just found a rather obscure site called which gives an informative and clean summary-comparo of many of these cars.

    Hope this helps some. ;)
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    The Sandman :)
  • sopmansopman Posts: 46
    Why is it that with the A/C off and the contol pointing at defrost (windshield), when you turn the knob to direct the air flow to your feet the A/C light comes on? Does this run the compressor? Is there a purpose for this?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    To properly defog a window, you want the A/C on to dehumidify the air. If A/C is turned off, the windows will fog from heated moist air blowing on the windows. Nearly all cars do this automatically nowadays.
  • It makes the defroster/defogger more effective. It also gives the compressor a chance to cycle which is supposedly good for it as well.
    It makes sense, the evaporator and condenser that take the humidity of the hot summer air also take the humidity out of the vehicle when it starts condensing where you don't want it, IE the windsheild.
    Other than a very small fuel economy hit, there really isn't a disadvantage to this at all and its much more effective than just blowing hot air on the windshield.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,631
    I got to compare the 2007 Elantra SE head-to-head with the brand-new 2008 Lancer ES today. I drove both back-to-back over exactly the same course. Both cars had automatics (no sticks available), both had tan exteriors and interiors, and both had no options (except the Elantra had floor mats). Even the prices were within a couple hundred dollars of each other.

    I drove the Lancer first. The engine sounded coarse while warming up, but at speed on the highway it was muted up to 75 mph (the fastest I took it). The car felt solid and well-planted on the road, even on a rough side road that I use to test the NVH on cars. Handling was good, although I heard noise from the front suspension when taking a sharp cloverleaf at higher-than-posted speed. I thought the ride was the best thing about the Lancer. The AT muted the car's 152 horses, but it was more than adequate when pushed (I did that only a couple of times) and smooth and quiet on the highway (about 2250 rpm at 70 mph). The main noise on the highway was some wind noise around the A pillars or mirrors, but it was not excessive.

    I was less favorably impressed by the car's interior. The driver's seat had a single height adjustment and the wheel tilts but doesn't telescope, so I was unable to find a just-right position. The wheel is plastic, but with a thick rim so it felt good in my hands and has controls for cruise and audio on the spokes. The gauges were almost retro in style, with large recessed dials and a red LCD display for the trip computer. I briefly checked the stereo and it sounded fine.

    My main gripe about the Lancer is that there is obvious cost cutting in the interior. For example: no telescopic wheel; plastic vs. leather wheel; only one, non-illuminated vanity mirror; simple cutouts for cupholders; single-tier storage in the center armrest; cheap-looking/feeling black plastic HVAC dials, stuck low onto a cheap-looking beige plastic dash panel; no soft surfaces at all on the dash or doors, even for armrests; cheap-looking solid black "carpeting" (which looked out of place in the beige interior); and black plastic door pulls. Some of these are quibbles, but I think it's pretty bad when the interior of a $17.5k car looks and feels cheaper than that of a $12k car (like the Accent).

    There were a few nice details on the Lancer: the alloys looked sharp, there's struts holding up the trunk lid, and there's good legroom and toe space in the back seat (although I wished for more thigh support) and a center armrest to help passengers get comfy.

    Then it was on to the Elantra. The engine sounded coarse like the Lancer's while warming up, but then was silky smooth on the highway. The ride and handling of the two cars was pretty close, with the Elantra feeling a little bouncier over low-speed bumps. But the Elantra took sharp turns without a whimper and with little body lean--a big improvement over the previous-generation Elantra. The Elantra has 14 fewer ponies than the Lancer but is lighter, and I noticed little difference in response during my test runs. The Elantra was quiet on the highway, with the engine turning just a little faster than the Lancer's. There was some wind noise at 70 mph, maybe a little less than on the Lancer. Directional stability was excellent (true for both cars). The Elantra SE seemed to take bumps a little harder than the GLS I rented a few weeks ago, but it's difficult to tell for sure due to the differences in roads and weather.

    The interior of the Elantra has a more luxurious feel than the Lancer. The seat fabric is plusher, the dash and armrests are nicely padded, the wheel and shifter are covered in leather. Little touches like two lighted vanity mirrors, spring-loaded grips in the cupholders, a two-tier storage compartment in the center console, faux aluminum door handles, canted and damped HVAC dials with silver trim that fall easily to hand, and nice-looking carpeting lend a more upscale appearance to the Elantra compared to the Lancer. And the Elantra is more comfortable, with a telescopic wheel that helps in finding the best driving position, and a high back seat cushion that offers good thigh support as well as good leg and toe space for adults. Some obvious cost-cutting moves on Hyundai's part are the regular hinges in the trunk instead of struts and dimpled plastic accent panels on the doors instead of fabric.

    In the end, the Lancer wins points for its buttoned-down ride and slightly more power. Also, some people will undoubtedly like its aggressive styling better than the Elantra's swoopy contours. (Looks-wise, I could live with either one in my driveway.) The Elantra impresses with its quietness, passenger comfort and convenience, and capable ride and handling. Both cars offer a strong complement of safety features, including four-wheel disc brakes with ABS (Lancer DE has rear drums with optional ABS) and lots of airbags--six on the Elantra and seven on the Lancer. Both cars offer long warranties. But what might tip the scale in favor of the Elantra for me (other than the Hyundai loyalty rebate I could get!) is the fuel economy. According to the car's trip computers, the Lancer got 28.0 mpg for my test trip (urban highway and back roads), while the Elantra got 33.5 mpg--nearly 20% better. That is not insignificant with $3.00 a gallon gas looming on the horizon again.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    indeed, that is one of the '08 Lancer's newest attributes, it handles even rough pavement well. That is a good thing because our little cow town's streets are hideous!

    As for fuel economy, the 28.0 mpg will suit my wife and I well. Also, I appreciated your review of the Lancer's interior. Indeed, this is one area where Mitsubishi gets broiled from people. I gotta tell ya, I rented an '04 Lancer sedan whilst still in college in the fall of 2004. I liked the ride and here's my point: I didn't even notice the interior that people are barfing up furballs over!

    So, in short...this. I think I'm really gonna like this '08 Lancer GTS. Hopefully this week I'll get my test drive in.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,631
    Different strokes for different folks. I know some people couldn't care less about the interior as long as it moves down the road as they like. Maybe the GTS has a spiffier interior than the ES. Bottom line for me is that I couldn't see paying more money, or even the same money, for the Lancer ES compared to the Elantra SE.

    I actually thought the previous Lancer had a pretty decent interior for its class. :surprise:
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    the thing about this 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is the looks. I love the body design and the GTS has the bodykit and spoiler that is the best usage of bodykit and spoiler I've ever seen. Bar none.

    I thought I'd save money and get an ES or one of the cheaper models but I saw what the GTS offered and need to get one of them.

    More on this later. I did enjoy your review and learned about both cars from it, backy.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    This car is definitely a looker...I went "wow" when I saw some pics of the car. Compared to many of the others in this class, I think it looks the best in sedan trim. Just wish the interior was up to snuff with the rest of the class. But will withhold judgement until I can sit in one. Very impressed with the exterior though. I'd bet that we could all rent one from any of the rental fleets when they hit the streets.

    The Sandman :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,631
    Unfortunately, I doubt we'll be able to rent a GTS. More likely a DE, maybe an ES--which don't have the snazzy ground effects and big wheels. But the car looks good in those trims too--has a little bit of a snarl to it. The car I drove was beige. This is one car they really shouldn't even offer in beige. :shades:
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    This size seems to be the norm now for this size of car. We have 'em on both cars and they handle nicely. Think the ES will be the best seller for this car also.

    The Sandman :)
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS rides on P215/45R18 Dunlop's. I read on one website where guys were talking about the '08 Lancer GTS that the 18-inch tires can get worn out faster. If(more like when, although my wife is not privvy to this at this time...uh-oh!!!)I get a '08 Lancer GTS the Dunlop's will be one part of the sedan that I will be watching closely and reporting in to Edmunds about.

    I would venture a guess those tires would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 each.

    "Wearing them out quickly" would not be something in my vocabulary. My '01 Sportage 4x4's OEM Hankook SUV tires lasted me 102,000 miles. I kid you not. And we were not floating all over the road. I finally swapped them out in the summer of '05 for some Toyo SUV tires. The Toyo's have not been as good. One flat and one leaks air.

    That is not the fault of Kia, either. Kia is a manufacturer that I grow more fond of every passing month. The new '07 Kia Optima is a good car IMO.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • Kia built the Ford Festiva. I've never owned a car that was still solid at 250k, except for my 1990 Festiva, which still purrs like a kitten and gets 35MPG city.

    When I was looking in the 16-20k range, I looked at all of them, and settled on the 2007 Ford Focus ST. Paid just over $14k,(sticker was over $18k) and looking at what others have paid, that was just a middle of the road price for the car. I probably could have gotten it for $13k.

    Fuel economy is not great, averaging 27, but I'll take that for the flexible power it gives.

    As for 215-45-18s costing about $100, think again. You are probably looking at closer to $200, installed, unless you go with an el-cheapo rim-protector.
  • micro99micro99 Posts: 51
    __"I will be watching closely and reporting in to Edmunds about."

    Please - stop for a moment and think about what you just said ! There are far too many people who do research on a vehicle, find that it either doesn`t have a feature that they would like, or, find that it does have a feature that they do not like {like low profile tires) - but nevertheless buy the car anyways. THEN, they feel obliged to fill these boards with negative reports ,and generally, rate the manufacturer lower because of such features. Does this seem logical or fair to you ?
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