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

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Comments

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My last two cars were a BMW 3-Series and a BMW 5-Series, and my next car is likely to be a GTI. Funny thing, even though the spec sheets seem to indicate otherwise, the GTI has, if anything, more room in the back seat than either of my BMWs. Go figure.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    Based upon personal experience and that of my son and brother-in-law, I would keep away from a turbo. These cars were Chrysler, Volvo & Saab. You can expect head gasket and/or turbo unit problems usually in the 60 to 80K mile range, although maybe not until ~ 100K if your typical drive is 20 miles or more.

    Giving up 1 or 2 mpg for a V6 is more cost effective in the long run.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Any rumors/news flying out there about new or updated vehicles?

    I read the Nissan Cube is on the way, with the Versa's 1.8L engine. Just an FYI and a wake-up call for this forum! :blush:

    It's quiet around here!
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    zzzzzzz........zzzzzzzzzzz........zzzzzzzz.....oh, what...what...(yawn) Good afternoon!

    I have not heard much about the Cube. I have been buggin my rep about details on the new Mazda3, and even he does not know. Mazda seems to be tight lipped this time around. Apparently we will be ordering them in November, so, I assume after the debut at the L.A. Auto Show we will know more.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    There is also the all-new Golf (or will it still be Rabbit here?) coming soon, the new Elantra Touring coming in early 2009, and the new (for the US) 5-door Yaris, which should be here by now but I've heard very little on it. Also the new Honda Insight is due out pretty soon, and might squeak under the $20k barrier (or one could hope).
  • A reporter is interested in talking with satisfied owners of a 2005-2007 Mazda 3 who are also parents. If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to jwahl@edmunds.com no later than Friday, November 21, 2008 and include your city and state of residence, the model year of your vehicle and the age of your child/ren.


    A reporter is interested in talking with satisfied owners of a 2005-2007 Honda Civic who are also parents. If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to jwahl@edmunds.com no later than Friday, November 21, 2008 and include your city and state of residence, the model year of your vehicle and the age of your child/ren.

    A reporter is interested in talking with satisfied owners of a 2001-2006 Hyundai Elantra who are also parents. If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to jwahl@edmunds.com no later than Friday, November 21, 2008 and include your city and state of residence, the model year of your vehicle and the age of your child/ren.

    Thanks for your consideration,

    Jonathan Wahl
    Corporate Communications
    Edmunds Inc.

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that sales in Japan of the all-new Life will begin on November 7, 2008.

    Might we oneday see it here in the USA?
    Why not...after all, farmers can toss it into the back of their F150's and Silverados.

    It looks to be the ultimate "economy sedan"! :)

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  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Not sure how well this would do on a 6-lane interstate at 75 MPH.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    So, I've just finished driving seven of the nine cars linked to this topic (I skipped the Yaris and the Fit) and then threw in an eight (a VW Rabbit) for good measure. All eight cars were equipped with a manual transmission, and in general, I have to say that I'm impressed with the amount of car one can buy for ~$17,000 these days.

    The two stand-outs of the group were the Rabbit (not a "Sedan" per-se as I drove a 2-door version, however, it's virtually identical to its 4-door sibling) and the Mazda3 i Touring. At this point I'm probably going to buy a car within the next week, and given the fact that virtually every 5-Speed Rabbit inbound to every VW dealership within a 75 mile radius is already sold for the next couple of months, that means that I'll probably end up with a new Mazda3 in my garage.

    Stay tuned. ;)

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    You might be aware that the Mazda3 is due for replacement next year, but since you like the current Mazda3, then that's a moot point and you can probably get a real good deal on the outgoing design.

    Can you tell us which trims you drove for each car? That can make a difference for some of the cars, e.g. the base Cobalt is a lot different than the sportier trims, the Elantra SE handles better than the GLS, the Corolla 2.4 is much spunkier than the 1.8, and the Sentra has different engine options also (plus one of the few 6MTs in the bunch).
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yeah, I'm aware that the Mazda3 is in its last year, and as it turns out, the Rabbit has already been replaced (in Europe) as well, so both of my two finalists are "lame-duck" cars. Appropriate given our current economic and political situation. ;)

    As far as which version of the cars; I drove the models that offered the best mix of fuel economy (my 25,000 annual commute miles were looming large in my mind when I started doing my test drives, and that was when fuel was still north of $3.00 a gallon), extra goodies, and a stick shift.

    So, to run through the list, I drove:

    2009 Mazda Mazda3 i Touring Value edition (2.0 liter & 5-Speed)
    2008 VW Rabbit 2-Door (2.5 liter & 5-Speed)
    2009 Chevy Cobalt 1LT-XFE Sedan (2.2 liter & 5-Speed)
    2009 Ford Focus SE Sedan (2.0 liter & 5-Speed)
    2009 Honda Civic LX Sedan (1.8 liter & 5-Speed)
    2009 Hyundai Elantra SE (2.0 liter & 5-Speed)
    2009 Toyota Corolla S (1.8 liter & 5-Speed)
    2009 Nissan Sentra S (2.0 liter & 6-Speed)

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    I'm kind of surprised you didn't test the Civic LX-S or even the EX, since you said you wanted extra goodies, and the LX is pretty stripped compared to most of the other cars you drove.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I drove the EX last year, however, given that I'm trying to keep this car as inexpensive as possible given that I'm most likely going to hand it down to my kids in a couple of years. The LX Civic was the most expensive car (or the second most, I don't remember off the top of my head) as it was, and the EX would have pushed that number up even further. FWIW, the Mazda 3 i Touring is as nicely equipped as the Civic EX for considerably less money. That said, even if the EX was the same price as the Mazda 3, I would choose the Mazda. Why? When pushed, it feels much more composed on the winding 2-lane roads we have around here. The only other car that felt as good (a little better actually) in the curves was the Rabbit.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    How would you compare the Cobalt XFE vs. Focus, two cars I am currently interested in? My quick guess is pickup would go to the Cobalt, handling would go to the Focus, both quiet, but the Civic was quietest (at 70 mph cruise).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    According to C/D's tests, the cars rank as follows in 70 mph cruise, from quietest to loudest (in dBA):

    Focus SE - 68
    Corolla (base) - 69
    Elantra SE - 69
    Sentra 2.0S - 70
    Mazda3s - 71
    Civic LX - 72
    Rabbit - 70 or 72
    (they haven't tested a "normal" Cobalt recently)

    Note that the numbers are from two different tests. In one, the Rabbit got 72; in the more recent one, it got 70. Not sure why since both cars were similar, but maybe the road conditions were different in the two tests. All the tested cars had sticks.

    Reviewing these tests reminded me that the Astra is a pretty nice car in this group, and is available at a pretty good price now.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    How would you compare the Cobalt XFE vs. Focus, two cars I am currently interested in? My quick guess is pickup would go to the Cobalt, handling would go to the Focus, both quiet, but the Civic was quietest (at 70 mph cruise).

    Hmmm, oddly enough, I would say that the Focus felt as fast or maybe a tad faster and handled a bit worse. Why? Well, as far as the acceleration goes, I'm thinking that due to the extra 368 pounds the Cobalt is toting around combined with what feels like extra tall gearing (I suspect that they changed the gearing a bit for the XFE package), has erased what should look like an acceleration advantage on paper. As for the handling, I think Focus models from a couple of years back handle much better. However, when Ford decided to "Americanize" the suspension of the Focus, they ruined the crisp handling and knocked it down to a lesser handling car than the Cobalt.

    FWIW, my nephew has a 2006 Focus and it handles MUCH better than the new one.

    As far as noise goes, I don't mind some engine and road noise, however, I absolutely hate wind noise, and the sedan version of the three different Cobalt sedans that I've driven (two rentals plus the XFE test drive car) have had significant wind noise emanating from the rear doors and/or windows. The Focus suffered from no such wind noise.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Reviewing these tests reminded me that the Astra is a pretty nice car in this group, and is available at a pretty good price now.

    Make sure to get the 08. The 09 version just went up in price for a car that is not really selling :(
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    Most '09s have gone up in price vs. '08s, especially considering rebates or lack thereof. For example, an Elantra SE AT is now about $18,600 list with no rebates yet. Pretty pricey for an Elantra, more than the Mazda3i and Rabbit 3-door, and pretty close to the Impreza, Corolla LE, and Civic LX (with ESC on the Rabbit, Impreza, and Corolla ala the Elantra SE). :surprise:
  • lhansonlhanson Posts: 268
    The same can be said for the 2009 Toyota Yaris's. It's hard to find any under $16,000 now, with some as high as $18,000. I paid full MSRP ($12,500) for my first one in 2006. You would think that GM, Ford, and Chrysler about to go out of business or something.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    Or you would think that Toyota's sales are at record levels and gas was $5 a gallon. ;)
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