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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    See post 5264.

    And...it's topless! :D
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    No, I'd like a complete car please! :-P

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,997
    that they couldn't have found a way to do fuel economy calculations, to see how much each one of those weight-reducing steps helped out in that regard.

    I'm also impressed that they were able to cut off that much of the car and have what was left still be structurally sound. Although I wonder if you tried taking it out on some bumpy roads, maybe it would start to deform?

    On the subject of wheels, the 1998-99 Dodge Intrepid had 205/70/R15's standard, whereas my 2000 has 225/60/R16. I wonder if swapping it to those narrower 15" wheels and tires would have any noticeable effect on fuel economy or performance? Overall diameter would be the same, 26.6". Weight would go down by 2-3 lb per tire, plus however much is saved by the lighter rim, and the tread width would be reduced by about 34" I guess?

    Somehow, in my case, I have a feeling that all it would do is give the car sloppy cornering, without any real benefit in acceleration or economy. :sick:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,009
    paying more for "less" requires a certain level of discrimination, or stupidity, depending. :P

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,997
    paying more for "less" requires a certain level of discrimination, or stupidity, depending.

    Well I think people have to at least perceive that they're getting "more" in some category, in order to part with their money. Either in quality, luxury, performance, or SOMETHING.

    And it seems like improved fuel economy isn't one of those things most people associate with as a "more". I have a feeling that's why most hybrid cars are pretty well-equipped. Most people would probably balk at the cost of s stripper hybrid, but dump a load of nice features into one, inflate the price even more, and suddenly people think they're getting a good deal.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,009
    I bought mine for "value"...bang for buck, that sort of thing. Given the high resale value, versatility, and zero problems, I think I was right. (for ONCE!)

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  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    But I wonder? If in 2004 according to Edmunds pricing I could buy a Corolla, the bigger brother to the xA and today the Corolla is worth 10,188 from a dealer and 8210 trade in one has to wonder how many will feel as you do? Now consider that the Corolla gets 32-40 MPG and the xA gets 31-37 what advantage other than simply wanting a smaller car is there? Not that wanting small for smalls sake is a bad thing. With the Corolla a person will get better fuel mileage and a better resale value after 3 years. Plus they still make the Corolla. My question becomes why would one the average consumer give up fuel mileage for smallness? I understand your reasoning Shifty but you have to admit you are different. And Scion must feel the other consumers are not as different as you or Nippon. The replacement for the xA is the xD and compared to the Corolla still listed in Edmunds the Corolla still gets better fuel mileage and is even 100 pounds lighter. Plus it lists for 45 dollars less. So based on 2004 figures the Compact is a better deal than the "new" subcompact. Unless the xD is no longer a sub compact and if it isn't then Scion has no sub compacts after only three or four years. Or do you disagree?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,997
    The Scion xA still had a cheaper sticker price than the Corolla. IIRC, they basically came in one trim level, fully-equipped, with the only option being stick or automatic. They had power windows standard and a few other niceties that you had to pay extra for on the Corolla.

    One thing I'll say for the xA, compared to the Corolla, is that it doesn't give up much in front seat comfort. Now that may not be saying much from my perspective since I don't find the Corolla comfortable to drive, but when you figure the xA is about 2 feet shorter, yet doesn't really seem any worse.

    With the xA though, you do give up some back seat legroom. My uncle's Corolla is pretty impressive in the back, IMO. The xA's not bad for its size, but I can tell the back is tighter. The xA also gives up trunk space big-time, compared to the Corolla. Now I'm not talking TOTAL cargo area, as you can fold down the back seats of an xA (I think you can on a Corolla too, but being a sedan it's not as versatile), but the area behind the back seat. The Corolla's trunk is about 14 cubic feet. That's midsized by today's standards. The xA is "rated" at 12 cubic feet, but to utilize that 12 cubic feet that means you're packing stuff up to the ceiling in that tiny hatch area. If you want to still be able to see out the back window, I'd say you have like 7 or 8 cubic feet.

    So if low price and "bang for the buck" is your priority, I'd say the xA would still win over the Corolla. Its fuel economy is a bit worse, but with the xA's lower price, a couple mpg when you're dealing with numbers in the 30's anyway, it would take you ages to break even with the Corolla's fuel economy.

    I dunno how a Corolla is with the stick shift, but the xA is pretty quick. I think comparing automatic to automatic, the Corolla might've been a bit quicker. I know the xB was pretty slow with the automatic, somewhere around 11 seconds from 0-60. I've seen the Corolla automatic pegged around 9.5 seconds (I swear my uncle's doesn't feel that fast), but I can't remember any tests of the xA automatic.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    But Corolla is a sedan - blecch! If my Echo had been available in a hatch in the U.S., I would have bought the hatch. Hatchbacks are so much more useful for carrying odd-size stuff.

    Corollas are everywhere - their resale is somewhat suppressed as a result (flooded market). The same thing happens to Camrys, relative to other models in the Toyota line. I have yet to get much of a picture of how Scions will do for resale, but I bet they will do at least as well as Corolla/Camry.

    And even today you can't get the Corolla as cheap as the Scion, even comparing to the new xD that replaced the xA. Comparably equipped at sticker, that is. Routine discounting on the ages-old Corolla will give it the edge in the real world, but that will change when the new model arrives in about 6 months.

    Oh, and the handling comparison is no comparison: Corolla is understeer city, designed to be numb and smooth. The xA, partly thanks to its small size, is very nimble and a lot more fun to drive.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    With the xA though, you do give up some back seat legroom. My uncle's Corolla is pretty impressive in the back, IMO. The xA's not bad for its size, but I can tell the back is tighter. The xA also gives up trunk space big-time, compared to the Corolla. Now I'm not talking TOTAL cargo area, as you can fold down the back seats of an xA (I think you can on a Corolla too, but being a sedan it's not as versatile), but the area behind the back seat.

    Has anyone sat in the back seat of the new xD? My gosh that thing has a LOT of rear legroom! The seats move back and forth so much. Amazing legroom in the xD.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    The Scion xA still had a cheaper sticker price than the Corolla. IIRC, they basically came in one trim level, fully-equipped, with the only option being stick or automatic. They had power windows standard and a few other niceties that you had to pay extra for on the Corolla.

    One problem.

    My Corolla stickered for $17.2 but sold for $13.9 (yes, there was that much difference). I will admit that most people in Chicagoland were paying closer to $15.0.

    When I asked about the xA (more out of curiosity), they told me I would pay sticker.

    Also, you can generally fill up a hatchback pretty high up and still see out the back window. The Chevette that I owned hauled a ton. I could pile it up within 2" of the ceiling and see out the window. (no kidding)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,997
    Has anyone sat in the back seat of the new xD? My gosh that thing has a LOT of rear legroom! The seats move back and forth so much. Amazing legroom in the xD.

    I haven't tried it out yet, but I am curious. According to published specs I've seen, the xD is actually tighter in back than the xA! Edmund's lists the xD at 33.9 inches, compared to 37.6" for the xA. For comparison, the Corolla is 35.4". I wonder if that 37.6" for the xA is a misprint? That's midsized car territory. About the only small cars I've seen lately with legroom that generous are the Nissan Versa and the Scion xB, both vehicles that seem purpose-built to have a huge back seat. Those two are almost built like how they used to do limos...cramped front seat for the driver (in limos it was due to that partition between the front and the back), but a cavernous back seat for the passengers back there.

    Still, sometimes those published specs don't tell the whole story. If the seatbacks on the xD are contoured correctly or hollowed out for your knees, or if footroom underneath the seat is really good, these aspects can all negate a seemingly low published legroom number.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,997
    My Corolla stickered for $17.2 but sold for $13.9 (yes, there was that much difference). I will admit that most people in Chicagoland were paying closer to $15.0.

    Would that be the LE trim level? I've sat in those at the auto shows, and they're pretty nice. They have a lever on the seat that ratchets the back part down, putting it at an angle that seems to give me more legroom and a more comfy seating position than my uncle's cheap CE base model.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,009
    I think the main and most conspicuous advantages of an xA over a Corolla are a) cargo space (you cannot get a mountain bike into a Corolla no way no how) and selling price for comparably equipped vehicles. There really is a few thousand difference out the door.

    Also the xA is sorta kinda fun and the Corolla has engineered fun out completely. Driving a Corolla could lead to narcolepsy.

    In short, the xA has far more utility.

    Disadvantages are a) less power than the Corolla and some would say b) not as attractive.

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  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    Yes but if we are talking an economy car why would the sub compact get less fuel mileage than the compact? And again why do it with a smaller engine. If you are going to give up HP why give up MPG as well? You know I did the same comparison with the Fit and a 1990 Civic Hatchback. The Fit is a touch bigger and it is a sub compact? The Versa is a lot bigger and it is a sub compact?

    That is why I wonder how far a light year must be if the advantage to the Fit is 1 MPG and it weighs close to 400 pounds more? The Versa gets even less fuel mileage and weighs closer to 600 pounds more than the old civic. So it seems to me the method of making sub compacts more acceptable to the modern consumer is still the same method they have always used. Make them bigger and add HP. Worked before seems to be working now.

    Nippon my friend you are always true to your colors. No one will ever accuse you of traveling to the beat of the same drummer. I have no problem with a hatch I just find so few very attractive. And traditionally a hatch is less popular in this country for whatever reason. The hatches I do find attractive are closer to notch backs or fast backs and that restricts their usefulness as a hatch. But then, if you discount one far enough I can over look their looks.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,997
    Yes but if we are talking an economy car why would the sub compact get less fuel mileage than the compact? And again why do it with a smaller engine. If you are going to give up HP why give up MPG as well?

    I imagine that the xA, with its smaller engine than the Corolla, is going to have to rev its little buns off to do the same amount of work as the Corolla's engine. I've driven my uncle's '03 Corolla a few times, and out on the highway, it seems to pull about the same amount of revs as my Intrepid. At 75 mph, around 2500 rpm, give or take.

    Sometimes, a bigger engine, even if it's in a bigger car, just doesn't have to work as hard. Supposedly, back in the early 70's, a Buick Electra with a 455 would get slightly better fuel economy at 70 mph than a lighter LeSabre with a 350 would. And that's coming from the folks at GM. They wouldn't lie to us, would they? :P

    As for hatchbacks, in general I'm not too fond of their style. However, with smaller cars, the sedans often look goofy anyway, so you might as well just get the versatility of a hatch. In some cases, such as the Versa, I think the hatch looks better than the sedan.

    As for the Versa, I really have trouble calling it a subcompact. IMO, it would be a compact. Actually, the Yaris sedan seems kinda big for a sub, too. Isn't it around 172" long?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,009
    Again this is apples to oranges. A Fit is a Rolls Royce compared to a 1990 Civic hatchback. Not all the advantages and improvements are readily quantifiable, like MPG, etc.

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  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Our Fit has 21CuFt of cargo space behind the 2nd row, has storage under the 2nd row seats, gets in the mid to upper 30mpg on long highway road-trips at 70mph fully loaded, has high ceilings and high seats (as compared to Civic, Corolla, etc) to make it easier to put kids in carseats, and cost us $16K for a fully loaded auto with paddle shifters.

    Tell me what other car can do all that, and is only 157" long!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,997
    Well, I think the Fit sort of cheats a little in its shape. It's really more of a half-pint-sized minivan in shape than a small car.

    Also, most of its interior room is from height, but not necessarily legroom or shoulder room. The driving position of the Fit felt tight to me, but no worse than something like a Yaris, xA, base Corolla, etc. It's a versatile little vehicle, but I'd probably get more use out of a Civic sedan, simply because the driving position is better for me.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    if we are talking an economy car why would the sub compact get less fuel mileage than the compact?

    It depends on the purpose/orientation of the subcompact. Within the same family and serving the same purpose, it is not far fetched idea to expect better mileage from the smaller car, for example, Fit to Civic. Under similar real world conditions, Fit can be expected to deliver better fuel economy.

    That is why I wonder how far a light year must be if the advantage to the Fit is 1 MPG and it weighs close to 400 pounds more?...than the old civic.

    It weighs more for a lot of reasons. Just to give you an idea, Honda Fit in Japan (1.5-liter, FWD only) is listed at 990 kg (2180 lb) to 1050 lb (2310 lb). By the time it crossed the pond, it got another 150-200 lb on it. But, a Fit, with superior chassis, and perhaps more features, more power and similar weight still exists somewhere. But as you can see, it is the "other" things that add weight.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    Still the question is. Why get less fuel mileage with a smaller car? Why get a sub compact if at the same time you can get a compact with better mileage? The Example of the Corolla is only one example? I am not saying there aren't small car fans here I am asking about the average consumer. To the small car fan there is nothing wrong with a sub compact. Never was and never will be. There is always an excuse why the sub compacts don't sell as well as a mid sized car or even a compact. Sales figures don't matter and fuel mileage doesn't matter all that matters is that they are "called" a sub compact. The question is to the average consumer what is wrong with a Sub Compact? How do you make a sub compact that interests that same consumer. The answer is clearly design it bigger and after introduction add HP. It is not as some said earlier fuel mileage because we already pointed out that some compacts get better fuel mileage than some sub compacts from the same company. And looking at the xD we can see that Toyota has decided the xA wasn't big enough or powerful enough period. The contention I was making is that "if" there was nothing wrong with the sub compact from Toyota why did they drop it in favor of a bigger more powerful version? How is it that we can believe sub compacts are making great strides into the American car buying life style if they are simply becoming bigger and so they are now the size of a compact?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Subcompact might be cheaper, and even though EPA ratings may not tell the whole truth (and in many cases, it doesn't), the real world fuel economy may still favor the smaller car.

    We know Civic gets good mileage. But, in markets like Japan, Fit gets even better mileage. To put that in perspective (numbers based on Japanese mileage rating):
    Civic 1.8 (140 HP): 16.2 km/l to 17.0 km/l (38-40 mpg)
    Fit 1.5 (110 HP): 18.6 km/l to 20.5 km/l (44-48 mpg)
    Fit 1.3 (86 HP): 21.0 km/l to 24.0 km/l (50-56 mpg)

    I don't know how "true" the Japanese mode is to reality, but there are the numbers. We also know that EPA rating doesn't really take power into account. They accelerate all cars at same rate, so a more powerful car isn't exactly outaccelerating the less powerful car, in fact, the smaller/less powerful car may be getting pushed to its limits while the powerful car is just getting started (pushing it to its higher limits will only worsen its fuel economy).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,009
    Well if the subs grow in size and price they will hit the same wall that the compacts are hitting, and they'll have to go back to the drawing boards.

    But every time they go back to square one, they get better and better.

    So I think the answer to your question is: "it's cyclical".

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  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Yes, cars like the Fit are more like a CUV, SUV, or minvan in their seating position, which may or may not be liked by everyone.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Why get a sub compact if at the same time you can get a compact with better mileage? Speaking only for the Fit...it has more cargo space, better seating positions (for my needs) and is more versatile as a hatchback than either the Civic or Corolla, and costs less. For that, I'll take slightly less highway MPG.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,997
    Still the question is. Why get less fuel mileage with a smaller car? Why get a sub compact if at the same time you can get a compact with better mileage? The Example of the Corolla is only one example?

    I've seen this situation happen with mid- and full-sized cars, too. For instance, back in the 80's, a midsized GM car with a 305 or 307 V-8 would get about the same economy as a fullsized GM car with a 305 or 307. I had an '86 Monte with a 305 and an '85 LeSabre with a 307, and they'd both get around 14-15 around town, lower 20's on the highway. With me driving, at least. My granddad managed to milk about 29 mpg out of that LeSabre on one leg of a trip out west though, back when it was new.

    However, in this case, getting a smaller car, like say a Cutlass Sedan instead of a Delta 88 or a Bonneville instead of a Parisienne, would get you a car that was about a foot and a half shorter, 4-5 inches narrower, could still hold 4 people in comfort, still gave you about 16-17 cubic feet of trunk space, and got you to 60 mph about 2 seconds faster.

    To somebody like me who's used to bigger cars, I see a big difference there, but then I don't see much advantage of going from what's already a small car in my eye, like a Civic or Corolla, to an even smaller car. But to somebody who's used to those smaller cars, going from a Corolla to an xA might be like me going from an '85 LeSabre to an '86 Monte Carlo. If that makes any sense. :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,009
    In real life this probably isn't so. My xA consistently gets better mileage than my friend's 2007 automatic Corolla. Not MUCH better, but about 2 mpg.

    Why does this happen? Because she has an automatic and drives in the city and I have a stickshift and drive on the highway.

    Would a trade her lazier highway cruising engine for mine and 2 mpg less?

    Yes I would.

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  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    I haven't tried it out yet, but I am curious. According to published specs I've seen, the xD is actually tighter in back than the xA! Edmund's lists the xD at 33.9 inches, compared to 37.6" for the xA. For comparison, the Corolla is 35.4". I wonder if that 37.6" for the xA is a misprint? That's midsized car territory.

    Well I sat in an xD and with the seat all the way back it had more room than the Honda Civic I sat in as well as a Corolla. The seats in the xD are like the front seats and can adjust forward or back on rails. It's got a lot of legroom. I don't pay attention to specs about legroom because they don't define how they measure it and every manufacturer is different they all have their own way to determine legroom.
    But if you sit in the car you'll know. The xD is a very real possibility for me or rather my wife but I have not driven one yet. I won't waste a dealers time driving a car unless I am serious about buying one soon.
    The only thing is the civic gets better economy but my wife hates the fact she can't see the nose or trunk at all on it. Heck I can't either and that's not really a good thing. gotta drive them back to back but I'm crazy busy so no chance for a while. Oh and the rear seats in the xD recline as well :)
    It seems as much designed for people as the Fit is for cargo. Try one you'll be surprised.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    Disadvantages are a) less power than the Corolla and some would say b) not as attractive.

    Looks aside the xD which is the new model the xA is no more, has the 1.8 Corolla engine in it which might be ok. So it's not a world apart any more. More utility but it would be nice if the seats really folded flat. they do give you a foldable riser to make it easier to slide stuff into the car
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    It seems as much designed for people as the Fit is for cargo. Try one you'll be surprised

    The Fit has the same rear dimensions as the Xd and more cargo.
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