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

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  • Mazda brings out new car, jumps to head of pack.
    Old Honda model still does well.
    Pretty old and cheap Hyundai/Kia does well.
    Old Focus finishes mid pack
    New, spanking fresh, redesigned Cobalt finishes near bottom. So-called much nicer interior is cheaped out again. 24/32 MPG for an economy car? How many times does GM have to set the seats too low?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    NEW WINNER!

    Yessss, you too can join the herd and drive a Civic! If you like it, by all means buy it!

    Meade
  • Edmund's sets out to do an Economy Sedan review, and what do they do? They pick the most expensive vehicle with gas mileage worse than many V6 fullsize cars. Please, either reset your priorities when testing "economy cars", i.e., weighted towards ownership costs, or be honest and call the review "Sports Sedan Alternatives".
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Funny how that works, eh? Note they also (I believe) picked the most expensive car tested in the last economy sedans comparo, the Civic EX at nearly $19,000. This year for some reason they tested (in most cases) high-end trim lines of the cars. They used to consider economy sedans "under $15k". Now it's all of a sudden "$16-20k". Those are not economy cars to me. I can buy a car like an Accord, Camry, Altima, Five Hundred, Malibu, or Sonata for that kind of money, e.g. a nicely-equipped Sonata for about $16k.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    Its not just Edmunds - most comparisons have flaws.

    The price range of cars - and what options they have is normally the issue.

    Can you really compare two cars (fairly) when one costs almost 25% more? OR compare one company's top of the line model with the others base model?

    Most people feel good when the car they own gets ranked #1 in a "shoot out" - it validates the choice we made. But these are the same people who will slam the comparison as "not worth anything" if their ride gets rated low.

    I have seen some comparisons where they have a mix of manual and auto trannys. Then they slam the automatics - because they are automatics - and praise the manual tranny cars - because they are manual. Just plain dumb.

    I like to read the car mags - see what they have to say in their reviews and comparisons - but only a fool would actually run out and buy a car just because _____ (fill in the blank) rated it high.
  • I have been researching vehicles in the midsize to compact size vehicles via various magazines/websites and car rentals (business travel). The Cobalt had caught my eye, partially as I watch GM try to pick itself up out of mediocrity.

    Frankly I am surprised at the low rating of the Cobalt by Edmunds, since reviews from other sources that gave good or even glowing reviews of the interior. I will second the comments of others that Edmunds did the Cobalt a disservice by comparing a stripped model to upcontent vehicles from the other mfgs. Had it been an LS with Sport package and manual transmission the results may have been different.

    Hopefully I will be able to rent a Mazda3 and Cobalt in the near future and see how they feel after a few hundred miles (dealer test drives don't do cars justice). I may even check out the new Honda, although as a present owner of a Honda Prelude (problem child) I am a bit wary.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I am perplexed by one of your statements....

    The current Corolla ranked 3rd of 10 models in Car and Drivers Nov 2002 comparison test of '03 compacts. Thats low? The article cited excellent fuel efficiency, best in test interior materials, large back seat, and best in test acceleration.

    The Elantra placed slightly higher due to an unbeatable portfolio of performance and features.

    The Protege won b/c handling-wise, it was the Bimmer of the group.

    ~alpha
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    At the time of the C/D review in late 2002, the '03 Corolla was the newest design of any of the tested cars. The fact this all-new design came in 3rd to the much older Protege (introduced in '98) and the low-bucks Elantra (introduced in '00) was not a very good showing, IMO. Of course, C/D chose the best-handling car at the top--characteristic for them.
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    But in a year it will be one of the oldest small cars. Very tough competition for the 'rolla: Mazda3 (due for mid-gen refresh next fall), an all-new Civic tomorrow, the all-new Elantra and Sentra next year...

    Well, right now the Corolla is selling extremely well. It overtook the Civic in sales and is still climbing.

    Mazda 3 seems to not be selling well in the U.S. but in Canada thats a different story.

    The new Civic is probably the only sedan out of the 4 you listed that may bring down the Corolla's sales. (IMO)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I think that depends a lot on how good the new Sentra and Elantra are. I have hopes Nissan will finally get its small car right this time. And if Hyundai can improve the Elantra as much as they did the Sonata, and keep the price reasonable, I think it will take some sales from the Corolla (recall it beat the Corolla in the last Edmunds.com small car comparo as well as the last C/D comparo that included both cars).
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    is about to hit the newsletter. Check it out if you haven't already: 2005 Economy Sedan Comparison Test.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    Check out the pics of the 2006 civic dash

    http://automobiles.honda.com/civics/index.aspx

    At the least it will stir up strong feelings of love it or hate it -

    I just took the Civic off my short list of cars to consider - so you know my opinion.

    Digital speedometer!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    For me, it's not so much that the speedo is digital, it's the placement of it. As one reviewer noted, it was blocked by the steering wheel. I used to think Honda's engineers were good with ergonomic design, but now I wonder.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    A reporter hopes to talk with a consumer who considered buying an SUV or truck but decided on a smaller vehicle instead. Please respond to jfallon@edmunds.com no later than Thursday, September 8, 2005 with your daytime contact information and a few lines about your decision.

    MODERATOR
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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • I just had a bad flashback! I thought I was looking at the dash from KIT from Knightrider. That's a TV show I want to forget! :surprise:
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Is that the standard speedo in the new Civic?

    I thought Buick tried all that digital crap years ago and it turned out that analog gauges were better (i.e. more informative peripherally, for one thing)? Why do econo-car owners need one huge tach to look at anyway?

    I can see this maybe in a Prelude, but not in the entry-level car the Civic is. If you're gonna give a college kid one instrument, give 'em a freakin' speedometer -- duplicate it digitally if you hafta, but give 'em a real speedometer! Heck, just a few years ago you couldn't find a tach in an economy car!

    Meade
  • jkobbjkobb Posts: 51
    Its the combination of being digital , flashing numbers at you , and being up way too high , that to me would be very annoying . :(
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Yeah ... and white at that. I can't think of anything more distracting at night than an ever-changing white display just below my eyes. Doesn't Honda know white lighting destroys night vision? How about red or a soft green?

    Oh well. It's a Honda. The herd will flock to buy the car in droves without considering other, better cars anyway.

    Meade

    P.S. One other thing. Look at the eighth pic from the left -- the one of the interior looking at the dash from the right-hand side of the back seat. Note that hee-yuge vent just to the right of the instrument cluster -- which, by the way, is not symmetrical with the vent on the other side, which is farther away from the instrument cluster. That vent, if I'm looking at it correctly, is not only HUGE -- it's also positioned right in front of the place where most drivers will place their right hand on the steering wheel. And it's so close to the steering wheel, I doubt changing its direction will have much effect on the driver's right hand constantly being bombarded with cold a/c air! So this car might actually give you a white-knuckled driving experience, but only on your right hand! :P
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    I think the digital dash became available in the 1970's - it was considered HIGH TECH back then - but most car buyers though it looked stupid. I never owned a car with a digital speedo - but rented several - I did not like it - the dam thing was always jumping around even when I had the cruise control on 69 - 70 - 71 -70 - 69 - 70 - and I think some cars (maybe the T-bird can't recall) even displayed 1/2 MPH - like 75.5 - that was even more annoying!

    The real issue with the system back then was if you had a problem with it the whole dash would go dark - and the cost to fix them was sky high.

    I predict Honda will drop this within 2 model years - because the dealerships will complain about people throwing up during test drives - but knowing Honda's great engineering ability maybe they will keep the digital dash & install an automatic "air sickness bag" system!
  • Looking at the specs for the base sedan Civic are already making me yawn. I really had figured Honda would have stepped up and offered a little more HP grunt than a 140HP SOHC engine, I-VTEC or not... Am curious to know if it is also lacking in the torque department as previous models have, although perhaps not since the sedan's redline is around 6,750rpm. We'll see.

    First impressions...exterior, still looks very much like the current gen Civic. Interior seems okay, at best, certainly not very ergonomic looking in the pics and the gauge placement and design are just ghastly.

    Am also very curious as to whether Honda will continue the recent trend on the Civic of making it more sedentary on the handling side. I used to love Honda, the old Civics and especially the CRX were a blast to drive, but the last 5 years have seen Honda build cars that are less sporty and more comparable (i.e. boring) in the vein of the Corolla. They severely de-tuned the suspension and the Civic's handling characteristics by removing the double-wishbone and placing MacPherson's in the latest gen Civic. I would likely predict that this trend continues and that the Civic will be blended even closer to a Corolla clone.

    It is interesting to see how things have changed among some of the Japanese manufacturers and the approach of their automobiles. At one point, Honda outright dominated the "sporty" econo car segment with the Civic and CRX. Mazda was languishing in some sort of identity crises with a well built old gen Protege/Escort that was really neither very sporty, nor totally boring. Toyota, well...they churned out what they always have, a well-built, but exceptionally boring and dull Corolla. As for Nissan, well, they continue on their quest of trying to find an identity for the Sentra.

    These days, Mazda has redefined themselves and is clearly the leader in the econo segment of cars that are sporty and a total blast to drive. They have greatly succeeded in becoming the BMW of Japan when driving characteristics of their automobiles are taken into account. With Mazda, you feel the road and become a part of the road and driving experience. Honda used to be that way, but has now taken a middle of the road path and have moved more to the concept of isolating drivers from the driving experience. This is the path that Toyota has chosen many years ago to great financial success, but uninspiring vehicles. Then there is Nissan. They are still trying to find the road...... and well, identify it....LOL

    I'll make a couple of other predictions. First, the new Civic will be the most expensive vehicle in its segment when it is released when you factor in similarly equipped vehicles. For instance, a Mazda 3 GT with a Civic EX. Second, regardless of how expensive, boring, ugly or uninspiring the new Civic will be, people will still flock in droves and buy these cars, often without a single test drive. Meade has it pretty accurate that the "herd" will follow. Tiss a shame really, as there are lots of vehicles out there in this segment that merit greater attention and aplomb.

    Lastly, before anyone comes on here trying to extole how the Civic Si blows the competition apart, please don't. First, the Civic Si will be significantly more expensive than any of the other Civic's and will not be priced anywhere near the other cars in this class segment, including the Mazda 3 GT Sport. This is based simply on how Honda priced out all other gens of Civic's vs. their Si's and what is known as the SiR here in Canada. Econo shoppers are not going to be buying the Civic Si or SiR, plain and simple. This therefore, does not make it an equitable comparison point. If you like, compare apples to apples. For instance, the Civic Si with the Mazdaspeed3, Neon SRT or the Corolla XRS, or something or other.

    All that said, even though I hate the way it looks, I do very much like the specs of the Civic Si from an engine/tranny and suspension set-up. This seems to follow more along the lines of Honda having at least one Civic that returns to it's sporty roots. However, I'll hold my final judegment until I see the sticker price for this puppy. In Canada, I'm thinking the Si(R) will be priced pretty comparable to the WRX and without the financing deals. If so, I already know which car I would take and it ain't the Si(R).

    Be well.

    Tim
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