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

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Comments

  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    For my money I would take a Cobalt over the Mazda because it is a more roomy car than the Mazda 3 which has a tight drivers seating area and the blind spots as mentioned.

    I dunno about that. The Mazda3 sedan is larger then the Cobalt in almost ever interior dimension. The Cobalt has more front leg room by only .7in and rear hear room by a slim .3in. The Mazda3 is larger, by far, in every other category

    Mazda3 Cobalt
    Front Headroom (in.) 39.10 38.50
    Rear Headroom (in.) 37.40 37.70
    Front Legroom (in.) 41.10 41.80
    Rear Legroom (in.) 36.30 33.70
    Front Shoulder Room (in.) 54.90 53.00
    Rear Shoulder Room (in.) 54.00 51.40
    Front Hip Room (in.) 53.80 49.60
    Rear Hip Room (in.) 52.50 46.40

    Now, if the blind sports were a concern, then I guess it is how you are looking out the car. A blind spot for you might not be there for me.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I find JD Power to be quite useless, especially their "initial quality survey" That is based off of the first 90 days of ownership, and does not denote reliability at all. I have found that the best in a judge of quality and reliability is CR, although they are not perfect, they do tend to be more accurate then most.
  • moocow1moocow1 Posts: 230
    Well VW is also back of the pack in the 3 year long term reliability ratings too. I'd definitely crossreference to consumer reports as well, but I don't have any recent articles right now.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Your post contains a number of factual errors.

    Sorry, like it or not, my facts are correct.

    "Consumer Reports puts the time (of the Caravans) at 10.3 seconds."

    Both of our Caravans do the 0-60 sprint in the mid nines. This is verified by our GPS.

    "This is also mistaken. The 1988 Ford Taurus, which weighed in at a bit over 3000 lbs with a comparable 4 cylinder engine would have 90 HP. Even the six-cylinder engine from the same era would only have 145 HP. The 1988 Honda civic had 70-90 HP depending on engine choice. Even the BMW 325e's 4 cylinder was only 121 HP (source: wikipedia)."

    You didn't read what I wrote, I said, "...many cars of the same size...", not "...all cars of the same size...". You then went out and chose a bunch of underpowered pigs, not a very convincing argument. IIRC, a 1985 Dodge Daytona had 150 HP, a 1989 LeBaron GTC had 175 HP as did the 1987 Omni GLH-S and the Shelby Lancer of that same era (just name a few 4-cylinder models from twenty or more years ago that would embarrass the Astra of today).

    "Edmunds.com, our gracious host, gets a 0-60 time of 8.8 seconds for the Astra, which is more than adequate, by your own standards of under 10 seconds."

    Ten seconds is the absolute bare bones minimum, I consider six to seven seconds to sixty far more desirable and drivable.

    "Lastly, my own experience. I used to drive a 2000 Ford Contour (0-60 in 11.8 seconds) with 4-cylinder engine w/ an automatic and I never had a problem passing on windy two lane roads, nor crossing mountain ranges, nor merging on freeways (except when it was having malfunctions). I agree with the earlier poster that I don't see the need for high-horsepowered vehicles."

    Maintain your earlier statements all you want, slow is still slow, and that Contour of yours would have been completely incapable of making safe passes in the short spaces we have around here. As for merging, sorry again, a car that slow would have thirty ton semi-tractors crawling up your back side if you tried to merge after climbing our local ramp.

    So, [non-permissible content removed]-for-tat, I stand by my earlier statement that effectively said that the Astra is completely outclassed by many of the cars in this segment. Me, I'll happily suck the doors off an Astra with a new Rabbit, and get pretty darn mileage while doing it. :shades:
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    VW does seem to be making a comeback in the reliability department. Not the boosted engines, though. I believe the 2.5L's have been Ok. However, frequent issues with VW's has been related with the electrical system. The newer models have not been around enough to see if these frequent problems will pop up or not.

    Bottom line, are they getting better? It seems so. Would I buy one? No
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    I find JD Power to be quite useless, especially their "initial quality survey" That is based off of the first 90 days of ownership, and does not denote reliability at all. I have found that the best in a judge of quality and reliability is CR, although they are not perfect, they do tend to be more accurate then most.

    I think the survey is very important but people confuse terms. Quality and reliability are not synonymous. They are correlated to be sure, but they are not one and the same. Quality includes design. Are the controls easy to reach? Is the car easy to park? Can you work the radio without the owner's manual? These are things that come up in the JD Powers initial quality survey. This is also why European cars can ace this without necessarily having the long-term reliability of their peers.

    Just my $0.02 :P
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    "Consumer Reports puts the time (of the Caravans) at 10.3 seconds."

    Both of our Caravans do the 0-60 sprint in the mid nines. This is verified by our GPS.

    Hmm how old were the Caravans and how old was the GPS? What was the accuracy rating on the GPS unit? Who manufactured it? When was it calibrated?

    Perhaps we should use your GPS and measure the 0-60 in the Astra.

    You didn't read what I wrote, I said, "...many cars of the same size...", not "...all cars of the same size...". You then went out and chose a bunch of underpowered pigs, not a very convincing argument. IIRC, a 1985 Dodge Daytona had 150 HP, a 1989 LeBaron GTC had 175 HP as did the 1987 Omni GLH-S and the Shelby Lancer of that same era (just name a few 4-cylinder models from twenty or more years ago that would embarrass the Astra of today).

    And all of those cars got approximately 2/3rds the mileage of the Astra (about 20). And required premium fuel.

    And if he was picking underpowered pigs, he would've picked a 528e automatic, we called it the love turtle.

    Me, I'll happily suck the doors off an Astra with a new Rabbit, and get pretty darn mileage while doing it.

    Except you will have to breath all the diesel smoke from the flatbed tow truck your Rabbit is sitting on ;)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    - DGCs: 1998 & 2003 (both with 3.8 liter engines)

    - GPS: 2008 Garmin 680, very accurate

    - Old blown Chryslers: I had a 1985 Daytona and a 1989 LeBaron GTC. The Daytona would routinely get mid 30s on the highway and twice got over 40 (at high altitude), the LeBaron was typically about 3 mpg lower.

    - Yup, the 528e was a dog with fleas, even with a stick.

    - Well, so far I've had two VWs and two Audis, and while they each had an issue or two, they never left me stranded, and as the 2.5 liter mill enjoys a good reputation for reliability I'd expect no less from a Rabbit. FWIW, I'll gladly trade a little reliability for a more fun to drive car, that said, I've routinely bought cars that ranked poorly on the various reliability indices, and not one of them ever turned out to be a problem child. Hmmm, in fact, the only "problem child" I ever had was a Mazda 6, a car that got great reliability reviews at the time, go figure. ;)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    The power isn't the issue with the Astra, for me anyway. 138 hp is plenty. It's that the Astra doesn't get better FE given that it has only 138 hp. I listed before (so I won't repeat it) several compacts that have comparable or better power than the Astra but better FE.

    The Cobalt has a very tight rear seat, which knocked it off my list the first time I drove it. Plus I think its driver's seat isn't very comfortable, and the center stack reeks of cheapness. And its FE isn't that great for the class either. I think there are better choices in this class.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I was just opining that I don't think the Tucson is Hyundai's best styling effort, especially with what they did with their other SUVs.

    The Tucson with Hyundai's 2.4L, 175 hp I4 would be a real nice ride I think. But speaking of economy sedans.... :blush:
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    DGCs: 1998 & 2003 (both with 3.8 liter engines)

    - GPS: 2008 Garmin 680, very accurate

    - Old blown Chryslers: I had a 1985 Daytona and a 1989 LeBaron GTC. The Daytona would routinely get mid 30s on the highway and twice got over 40 (at high altitude), the LeBaron was typically about 3 mpg lower.


    Wow you were snapping off sub-10 second 0-60 runs in a 10 year old Chyrsler minivan? Would you go over the "buying American" forum and chime in with that?

    I think you would also agree that a single data point for MPG doesn't change the whole picture. My Reliant and Lebaron GTS/Lancer both sucked fuel and a prodigious rate.
  • tenpin288tenpin288 Posts: 804
    The Tucson with Hyundai's 2.4L, 175 hp I4 would be a real nice ride I think.

    That would be nice. It has nearly the same power as the current 2.7 V6 but better FE. Or Hyundai could bring over the turbo 2.0 L diesel they use in other markets. That diesel only has 140 hp but gobs of torque. And the average FE according to members of another board I frequent are in the 30-35 MPG US range. That would be nice! ;)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Just shows how car styling is very personal. I think the Elantra sedan's lines are pretty nice. I especiallly like the side character line. No, it is not sharp-edged. But few compacts have "sharp edged" styling when you think of it--most are pretty rounded. The sharpest creases in the class now are on the Focus, Forenza, and Sentra. With the Focus, you have to live with those chrome, uh, what are those things on the front fenders? Exhaust ports for the impulse engines, maybe?? I like the Forenza's styling (somewhat reminiscent of the 2001-6 Elantra, especially in back), but other than the interior room and the 8-way drivers seat, that's about the only thing I like about it. And I think the Sentra looks like the previous-gen Altima, but viewed through Fun House mirrors.

    There are many other cars that have swoopy lines... Jaguar, for one. Some people don't like that kind of styling. I'm OK with it. I even like the lines of the 2002-5 Sonata. Kind of old-fashioned, but in a classic kind of way. I think the Elantra looks better with the 5-spoke 16" alloys (SE) instead of the plastic covers on the GLS, as in your photo. Silver with the plastic covers is about as boring a color combo as you can find (vs. the high-end trim Tucson that you compared it to in your photos, with the dark cladding, alloys etc.). I think the Elantra looks a lot better in a darker color like grey, blue, or red (look to the right).

    I've seen photos of the 2009 Elantra sedan from the Beijing auto show, and they show a sharper-edged grille and rear lamps. So maybe you'll like that better. But probably not. :) Personally I think the new grille looks weird on the car--doesn't fit the rest of the car.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yeah, the 1998 is surprisingly quick, it also gets pretty good mileage when I keep my foot out of it (I managed 504 miles on a single tank last summer that yielded a 28.2 mpg calculation), and that with over 150,000 miles on the clock.

    FWIW, both of my 1980s vintage Chrysler turbos were equipped with 5-Speed transmissions, my business partner's 1986 LeBaron GTS was a slushbox and it got crap mileage.

    BTW, I didn't know that there was a "Buy American" forum, and while I admire a number of American cars, most of them aren't on the horizon for me simply because I like 5 person sedans with stick shifts and decent power. As such, I may not be the best person to advocate American cars.

    I'll go over and take a look. :shades:

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I actually thought the 2002-2005 Sonata was decent-looking. The best Hyundai has had in awhile was the 2006-2008 Sonata. Unfortunately, the 2009 is a little bit softer looking (I'd only want the SE with the 5-spoke alloys). There are lots of more rounded cars as you say, and maybe I wasn't fair about that; but the round charater lines, with the round-ish headlights, rounded taillights, and I think the biggest offender, the rounded greenhouse, give the car a hint of 1996 Taurus.

    Now that I look at it again, the greenhouse is what does it for me, or rather, ruins it.

    image

    Looking at the sedan competitors, the Civic, Corolla, Focus, Cobalt, etc, they all have a greenhouse that is squared off at the bottom, unlike the Hyundai.

    Oh well. Hey, I'm sorry I've been babbling about the Elantra for awhile; I guess I didn't have a lot to talk about. I really don't dislike the car as a whole, just the styling. It certainly wouldn't be at the bottom of my list, but styling keeps it from the top, for me. Otherwise, I really like the products Hyundai is coming out with; I especially like that they keep improving what they put out there (Sonata powertrains, for example). I like Hyundai as a whole, though, and that's saying something coming from a 20 year old Honda afficianado (or is it? haha).

    Good night all!
  • moocow1moocow1 Posts: 230
    I drove a top of the line 2008 cobalt sport pretty recently for over a week in hawaii and it had pretty similar features to the Sonata I got. In fact that cobalt really spoiled me and made me no longer want my elantra. However, it really felt like a not quite refined car still. The steering and pedals were a lot heavier than I was used to and the car's interior was just moderately good at best. Also the 4 speed auto totally wasted the pretty decent engine. I didn't feel like it was a smooth and smart car, more like a rough and sporty. I could never imagine buying it without a ton more refinement first. Also a fun nitpick, the steering wheel audio controls were terribly placed. I accidentally hit mute like 10 times ;)
    It's sad when I can say the best features were the cruise control and the sunroof.
  • moocow1moocow1 Posts: 230
    I could say the same for the Elantra. Hyundai badly needs to put their new Theta-II engines into all their lower end vehicles. Elantra and Tucson being the biggest culprits. An Elantra GT with a 2.4L Theta-II would be a killer car mated to a 5 speed auto. It would basically push itself far closer to the Sonata territory that's it has fallen way behind of. That would have quelled at least half my objections of the current Elantra.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    It would basically push itself far closer to the Sonata territory that's it has fallen way behind of.

    And I'm pretty sure that's why Hyundai hasn't done it--it would grab too many sales from the Sonata. Except from people who like squared-off greenhouses. ;)

    I'm not sure though why Hyundai hasn't dropped their newer I4 engines, e.g. 1.8 or 2.0, into the Elantra yet. Maybe they figure they'll milk the Beta II engine as long as they can; the tooling must be paid for by now. Also it's competitive in power and FE in the class, although not class-leading in either. At least it's clean, with PZEV available. Maybe also Hyundai figures they'll leave their ol' reliable Beta II engine in the Elantra here in the Land of the 10/100 Powertrain Warranty.

    Have you noticed, Elantra sales have picked up lately? They actually topped the Sonata's in April. Pretty good for a car that has fallen "way behind" the Sonata. ;)
  • moocow1moocow1 Posts: 230
    Ya I know, it's bizarre how people just buy elantras. Well no wait, it's not. Look at how many people buy corolla's, which pretty much aren't much better. There's a little bit of the blind leading the blind in the car world. Same reason why people buy so many Toyotas. You're right though that the Beta-II has held up amazingly well though, but it doesn't really make a difference which engine they have to support. It's not like the Theta-II doesn't get the 10 year warranty also ;) I'm sure one of the main reasons is saving money though.

    I compared prices and it only cost me about 2.5k more for the Sonata. Far too small a difference imho.

    Another silly observation:
    I see some interesting levels of features and refinement between the compact vs midsize models for each car brand.
    The Civic and Mazda3 are pretty close to the Accord and Mazda6.
    The Impreza is also pretty close to the Legacy.
    The Corolla is a little farther behind the Camry.
    The Elantra and Cobalt are both pretty far behind the Sonata and Malibu.
    The Focus is wayyyy behind the Fusion in refinement/features, however they both have that silly(but cool) sync toy ;) I guess that, the price, and the mpg are enough for most people with those hot sales!

    I honestly am not sure how far or close the Sentra/Spectra/Lancer/etc really are to their upper partners. From basic information, it seems the Astra is pretty close to the Aura too.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    The Cobalt, despite it's faults, gets reasonable FE given the size/power of the engine (and better than some manufacturers smaller engines...Suzuki, for example).

    However, there are MANY of those other faults in the car...in fact pretty much anything besides the engine. :shades:
This discussion has been closed.