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



  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,675
    I'm still interested in getting a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS. The tires are low profile "racing" type tires and those are the ones I want on the car. I'm not even remotely interested in bad-mouthing Mitsubishi...why would I want to do that?

    You got me all wrong from that post, bud. The new Lancer has way, way, way too many positives going for it to even start heading into reverse and spreading propaganda about it. Yikes and spikes and crazy little trogaladykes. :D

    I will call an ace an ace and a spade a spade, though. If the tires start wearing out prematurely I will report it in here. I've always been honest about my rigs on Edmunds. Anyone who has been on Edmunds for any length of time knows that Kia has been given thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars of good, positive advertising about my two Kia's. I have loved both of them and told Edmunds' readers the truth about them.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Just so you go into this with your eyes wide open... expect that those 18" low-profile, high-performance tires WILL wear out pretty darn fast. That's the tradeoff for their added performance. If you want long-wearing tires, getting a car with high-performance rubber is not the way to do it.
  • Most UHP tires I've owned go about 25-30k, if you drive the car the way it's meant to be driven. With people who baby the car, I've seen them go out to about 40k. Of course, some of the UHPs won't do half that, and some tires, such as the "DOT race" tires may not make 10k.

    Premature wear is a pretty vague term, when it comes to tires. All depends on how the car is driven, and what the tire is designed to do. I consider premature wear to be wear as a result of a bad alignment or worn out parts, that sort of thing.

    My Focus ST came with with Pirelli P6s, which would probably have lasted me 50k. I could not stand the lack of stick though, so I put a set of Goodyear F1 GS-D3s on, which will probably need replacement at 25k, but it will be a fun 25k, instead of a frustrating 50k.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,675
    I think you hit on it with that last comment..."it will be a fun 25k, instead of a frustrating 50k."

    I am at the point in my life that I can spend a bit more and enjoy a lot more. The Dunlop's on the '08 Lancer GTS may last me 20,000 but I'm guessing, the way I drive, they'll last about 35,000-40,000. But if they wear faster I'll find the best deal available in Tucson and replace them. I realize I drew the comments in on this subject by stating that tire wear will be one primary thing I report on with the Lancer GTS, so any discussion that can come about regarding performance tires is a good thing.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • steve333steve333 Posts: 200
    Its still an opinion piece, but its good to get as much info as possible.
    They rated the Cobalt 14th which is absurd, IMO. They rated the Corolla 4th, which I also find absurd. Should have been flipped IMHO.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    The Corolla has a rock-solid record of dependability for many years, a smooth and quiet ride, class-leading fuel economy, a well-finished interior (for an economy car), and decent back-seat room and cargo room. The Cobalt has... well, it has OnStar available and a smooth highway ride. It deserves to be rated near the bottom of the compact class IMO. The Corolla might deserve being lowered a notch or two, depending on one's priorities. But if someone is looking for an economical, reliable, high-quality small car, the Corolla fits that bill nicely--IF the driving position is comfortable, which it isn't for many people. I think the Corolla is outclassed by the Civic, Elantra, Mazda3, and Rabbit. Even the Spectra and Sentra are better in many respects than the Corolla. But the Corolla is an old model, overdue for a redesign. By rights, Chevy should have jumped over the Corolla with the Cobalt, since it's newer. They didn't.
  • steve333steve333 Posts: 200
    In my opinion the Corolla was an awful driving car. Sure, its great to have reliability and good mileage but if you hate getting into the car and drive it, then that all goes down the toilet.
    I guess some people can get comfortable in the Corolla, I just felt like there was no way I could ever drive the thing. The engine was loud and had no power. As for the ride, I don't remember either way because there were no potholes around to test it but I assume it takes bumps better than the Cobalt. Just getting the Corolla on the Freeway was a chore.
    The Cobalt has many flaws and I think I am just not counting them because it doesn't matter to me. I don't put anyone in the back seat for instance. Basically, its me and my Cobalt and for a small inexpensive car its very easy to live with as an everyday car, mainly because of the power. Freeway driving is a snap-quick to get to 60 and very stable. Thats what was most important to me, so i guess it all depends on what you're looking for.

    The main Cobalt faults IMO?:
    1. Mileage is decent but could be a tad better. I average 25.5 MPG mixed driving.
    2. The dash could be a nicer design.
    3. A little too harsh over bumps for my tastes (I like soft rides, which is why I looked at the Corolla first-just was shocked at how much I hated to drive it).
    4. Brakes could be a little more powerful.
    5. Small back seat (doesnt matter to me but does to a lot of folks).
    6. Drivers seat could have some more cushioning but my back never hurts driving it which is a miracle for me.
    7. Steering wheel should be telescoping as well as tilt.
    8. Wndshied wiper switch is retarded. You have to move the switch up and then turn for some things or down and then turn, etc etc. You should just be able to turn the freaking knob without moving the handle.

    Cobalt Good Points:
    1. Power. Acceleration is very good for this class of car.
    2. Steering-linear and pretty smooth for an electric system.
    3. Engine is pretty quiet. Funny how I usually read reviews that say the engine is loud. The Corolla was muh louder than the Cobalt.
    4. Smooth Automatic Transmission-Can barely detect when it shifts.
    5. Good looking design. Matter of opinion but I always get praise about its looks.
    6. AC and Heat work well.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    The Corolla has only one major fault for me: the driving position. It's so uncomfortable there is no way I would buy one. But if the seat fits, it has a lot of plusses--especially considering it's such an old design. There are better small cars, though. I think the reputation for reliability and the fuel economy sells a lot of Corollas. Or some people just don't look at other options.

    The Cobalt has one huge fault for me: the cramped back seat. I sometimes have to carry three people back there, and some over 6'. That's a no-op with the Cobalt. I also think a lot of the interior bits are cheap, the fuel economy as you noted isn't that great for a small car, and the driving position is adequate at best. In short, there's several small cars I like a lot better than the Cobalt. I also don't like the looks of the car that much, especially the rear side window lines. I'd rate the Cobalt only over the Forenza and ION, and the ION won't be around much longer. I am looking forward to its replacement, the Astra.

    But it fits your needs and that is what matters.
  • steve333steve333 Posts: 200
    If you need big backseat than the Cobalt is out, I agree.
    I find the driving position to be good with the seat cranked all the way up heightwise and with the lumbar support almost completely removed. I have the LT which allows for lumbar adjustment otherwise I wouldnt have bought the car. The seats are much more comfortable without the lumbar support.
  • After reading all the reviews, I felt like they did a pretty good job. They gave price the importance that it deserves in this class, and looked at the overall packages.

    I was very suprised at their review of the Focus, only because I agreed with it. Most reviews, these days, fixate on the platform's age and then discount all its good points because the platform is so old.

    I went with a 2007 Focus ST, because it was the best bang for the buck. If I could have gotten a Civic SI for $19k, I'd of given that one a lot more consideration, but all of the dealers I talked to wanted $22k or more, after putting dealer installed garbage on that I did not want. I wound up getting the Focus for only $14k.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    The Focus is a great value, with the rebates. Also a great blend of ride and handling. Downsides for me, which is why I would not buy one, are not-so-good crash test scores (a knock-out item for me; are side curtains even available on the Focus?), boring and cheap-looking interior, cumbersome seat height adjuster, and mediocre fuel economy for the class. I considered it when it was a new design back in 2000, and was very impressed by the ride and handling (just like I was with my '95 Mystake), but when parts started falling off the inside and outside of a brand-new rental car, and when I heard about the mounting recalls, I steered clear. The quality issues seem to have been addressed, but it's still a dated platform that is no longer competitive in terms of safety or interior quality compared to several other small cars. So I don't see a reason to buy one when there are better choices for about the same money. Maybe the refreshed Focus for '08 will be more competitive.
  • I don't really see better choices for the same, out-the-door price. Keep in mind that invoice pricing can be had simply by asking for it, and there is a $2500 rebate.

    I do concentrate more on driving dynamics than anything else, and the Focus simply shines there. I traded in a '99 Miata, to buy the Focus, and the Focus was the closest sedan, in terms of fun-factor, to the Miata. If I had not had to take long trips often, I'd of stuck with the Miata.

    The 2.0 Focus delivers peppy acceleration and gets 37/27MPG. I don't think that's bad, especially when you can get one for $11k.

    The 2.3 only gets 32/22, but the extra power was worth it to me.

    Many people seem to fixate on the seat height adjustment. I've never found it to be a problem and am glad for it, along with the tilt/telescope wheel, in such a basic car. Interior is boring, but that is not something I worry about. I spend my time looking outside the car, not at the inside. I prefer vehicles that help you avoid a wreck, to ones that don't handle well, but do well in crash tests.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I spend my time looking outside the car, not at the inside.

    So you don't get to drive it much? That's a shame.

    There are several cars with good driving dynamics and good safety. Two that can be had with 4-doors or 5-doors and well-equipped including power package, six airbags, and ABS for under $14k are the Versa S and Elantra GLS. The base Fit will cost a little more than that but has great handling, fuel economy, and utility. Did your Focus for $11k have six airbags, ABS, and power package? Is it a 4/5 door or 3-door?

    I prefer cars that have very good active and passive safety. Fortunately there are several economy cars now that offer both.
  • steve333steve333 Posts: 200
    The Fit does 0-60 in 15 seconds. He says he likes to drive, people who like to drive don't generally get excited by cars that cost 15 grand to go 0-60 in 15.
    The new Elantra from what I have read has a smooth ride but doesnt handle well.
    For the money the Focus has a good balance between handling, acceleration, and mileage.
  • Bingo.

    I like to drive. I occasionaly AutoCross as well, and if a car does not feel like it would be fun to autocross, it's not for me. The Focus ST was the only $14k car that did sub-8 second 0-60s and sub 16-second quarters, while having the sportiest feel of anything in it's price class.

    Even the Mazda3, which is often considered the leader in this class, in regards to handling dynamics and performance, carries 270Lbs more weight than the Focus, and you feel that weight in reduced sharpness and performance. It is certainly more refined than the Focus, but the weight gain was a step backward. Mazda showed that it's possible to improve a car in every way, without a substantial weight gain, with its Miata. It's a shame the 2nd gen Focus could not have gotten that treatment.

    The Fit came close to what I want, but the power simply is not there. If there was a "Fit Si," I'd of given that serious consideration, but that does not exist.

    I'd really like to see an affordable practical RWD compact car with the performance and handling optimization that the Miata has. I'm not holding my breath though.

    My other car is a '96 Impala SS. If they could shrink that down to compact size, cut the weight in half, but keep the power to weight ratio the same, that would be my ideal car. Again, not holding my breath...
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Maybe you didn't read the same reviews I did on the Elantra; the ones I've read (and my test drives) indicate that it handles very nicely, esp. with the 16" wheels. Not quite as crisp as the Mazda3, but a much smoother ride than the 3 so IMO that is an acceptable trade-off, for someone like me who drives pot-holed and frost-heaved streets every day.

    Have you driven the Elantra? If so, what did you think of the handling?
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    The Fit does 0-60 in 15 seconds

    your not serious right? All the tests i've ever read have said otherwise. Otherwise by about 7 seconds. Dont you think that is a little, uh, extreme? :blush:
  • steve333steve333 Posts: 200
    From what I've been reading GM is developing a small car RWD platform. The next small Pontiac is supposedly going to be using it.
  • steve333steve333 Posts: 200
    I havent driven one but I know what you're talking about with bad streets. I would like the Cobalts ride to be a tad softer, but I think it may be the 16 inch Pirellis that make the ride a little more harsh.
  • steve333steve333 Posts: 200
    The Fit with Automatic does 0-60 in 15, or close to it. The stick is faster.
This discussion has been closed.