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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,027
    A co-worker of mine just bought a brand new '08 Corvette. He said he's already gotten 30 MPG with it. It seems to defy all laws of physics that a fire breathing, 430 HP V-8 sports car can achieve 30 MPG, and yet little dinky cars like the Yaris and Fit only get high 30's to low 40's. Compared to numbers the 'Vette achieves, these little econo-boxes should easily be getting 50-60 MPG. What's wrong with this picture?
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,562
    Recent Vettes are good at highway mpgs: low Cd + light weight (relatively) + super high gearing = decent cruising mpgs. Now ask him what he gets around town when he's having fun with it!
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,027
    I'm sure his mileage drops considerably when he's honkin' on it, but still you'd think if a performance car can get 30, these econo-boxes should get much better than they do.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    The Vette has enough torque to cruise at 70 mph with the RPMs under 2,000. A little 4 cylinder just can't do that. The 4 cylinder doesn't make enough torque in the low RPMs to maintain a 70ish mph cruising speed so it has to be geared to pull RPMs in the upper 2,000 to low 3,000 rpm range.

    Now throw a small turbo diesel 4 cylinder into the equation and then the situation changes. Now that motor can make decent torque right off idle and pull in high gear at low rpms.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    survey a large group of Corvette owners, and you will get a representative group of driving patterns as well. Someone doing most of their driving on the highway and energetically limiting short trips (as well as watching speed and that sort of thing) will get near the highway rating, which for the Vette is around 30 as mentioned.

    Very few people have those driving patterns and habits, and the rest will get much closer to 20 mpg in the Vette. In-town use, especially for short trips, is where that big honkin' V-8 will hurt you no matter HOW lazily it operates in the rev range.

    Under those conditions, the Yaris drivers will still be getting 35 or better and using half the gas.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You are comparing a 2 seater to a 5 seater, also.

    Compare the 'vette to a Honda Insight, perhaps, and you'd have comparable interior space.

    The Insight would meet your target MPG, too.

    Having said that, making engines smaller has diminishing returns. Even with a tiny 1.5 liters of displacement, they have to push the same number of airbags and mandatory safety equipment that the Corvette does with 6+ liters.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,562
    The other thing the Vette has going for it is (relatively) light weight, about 3200 pounds, pretty good when a Civic EX 4-dr is 2800 lbs.
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    The European Yaris has a 1.4 D-4D engine option with a whopping 89bhp/140lbft. Yaris range starts with the 1.0 VVT-i gasser @ 68bhp/69lbft and tops out with the 1.8 VVT-i gasser @ 131bhp/127lbft There's a 1.3 VVT-i in the mix also.

    As I've said before - if you don't have a diesel in your range; your European range is incomplete.

    My nearest neighbours have the following diesels : Saab 9-5, Ford Focus, Ford Galaxy (MPV), Renault Laguna, Audi A8, Mercedes E and C, old Land Rover and Toyota RAV4 plus my Volvo S60. The other cars are smaller gassers : Citroen Aygo, Peugeot 206, 2 x Honda Jazz (Fit) and an old Renault Clio. Oh and a 20 year old Mercedes S500 which is wonderfully inappropriate.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The Corvette demonstrates what one can do with a lighweight aerodynamic body and really tall gearing. That same drivetrain won't fare anywhere near as well in the Pontiac G8 GXP next year.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,954
    That same drivetrain won't fare anywhere near as well in the Pontiac G8 GXP next year.

    Is the GXP going to get the 7.0 liter V-8? That sounds like it would be a wild ride!

    Actually, given the size of the engine, I think the G8's pretty impressive. The EPA has it rated at 15/24, with the 6.0/automatic. In comparison, a Corvette with the 6.2/automatic is rated at 15/25. It's rated at 16/26 with the 6.2/manual, and the 7.0/manual is rated at 15/24.

    I'm sure those figures drop pretty quickly once you start having some fun with all that power, though.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Naah, it gets the new 6.2 fron the base Corvette, although rumor is that the 7L will make its way into some HSV models.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    editorial in Automotive News today mentions that sales of what they call their "budget class" - consisting of Aveo, Rio, Accent, Yaris, and ForTwo - were up a whopping 33% for the first quarter of the year. Way to go subcompacts!!!

    Unfortunately, AN classifies cars by starting price range, not by size, so the Fit gets thrown in with the larger compact cars (Cobalt, Focus, Sentra, Elantra, Corolla/Matrix, etc). But the Fit was up by the same % as the other subs from what I remember reading from Honda.

    The article also mentions that among what it calls "sporty cars", the Mini Cooper was one of only three (out of 33 models in that group) to be up in sales. They call it a sporty car, I call it a subcompact! ;-)

    Compact and midsize cars? Down by about 2.5% each. And as we know, large car sales TANKED. As did SUVs (down 24%), pick-ups (down another 15% even from 2007's dismal performance), and minivans (down 20% - Toyota, Honda, and Chrysler now dominate this segment with 80% of all minivan sales between them).

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080414/ANA06/804140311/-1

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The minivan segment is down because GM and Ford now sell them by another name - Crossovers.

    How did the Sienna and Ody do compared to their own sales last year? I doubt they were really down 20% model by model.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Oh no, sorry if I implied that, as I didn't mean to.

    Odyssey sales have dropped by single-digit percentages for the first quarter, if my fuzzy memory is serving me well. I know Honda just put a lease incentive on Odyssey because of dropping sales. Sienna sales are strong enough that Toyota is considering giving Sienna production more factory space, taking up some now being used to build Tundras that nobody is buying...

    The 20% drop in minivan sales can be attributed almost solely to the fact that Dodge isn't dumping half a million SWB Caravans per year into the rental fleets any more...by 1-1-07, Ford and GM minivan sales were pretty much bust already, so they had very little effect on the YTD comparisons between this year and last.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good point about Dodge - they replaced the SWB minivan with the Dodge crossover thingy, why do I always have trouble remembering the name? :confuse:

    Honda has lowered prices on the Ody, I know because they're much lower now than they were in May 2007 when I was minivan shopping.

    The lower prices have helped them gain market share within the segment, though.
  • Sienna sales are basically flat but Odyssey sales are down 10% year over year.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Good point about Dodge - they replaced the SWB minivan with the Dodge crossover thingy, why do I always have trouble remembering the name?

    Dodge Journey

    Subcompacts anyone? Anyone?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's just bizarre.

    Sienna prices are about on par with last year. Ody prices are down.

    I can't tell you why Ody sales are down and Sienna's are not. It should be the other way around. :confuse:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Fit sales are up 50% over last year at this time.

    Yaris sales are more than TWICE what Toyota forecast when it introduced that model. ;-)

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

  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    thing about all of these new sub compacts coming out is that the price of a new car is getting to where It is almost reasonable. The Toyota dealers are all advertising Yaris for $12,095. I assume the Fit is maybe $1k more and an Aveo maybe $1k less. I am almost a strickly used car buyer but the sub compact pricing is making me take a look at a new car for myself (wife always gets new) the first time in 25 years.

    I think I will wait until next year when the Ford Fiesta comes over. If it stays true to the pictures I have seen and the price is in the ball park of the other sub-compacts I think Ford may have a winner. I just have to make sure 3 kids fit in the back with reasonable comfort.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Never one to be a naysayer, and one that absolutely loves Ford of Europe vehicles, I too and taking a wait and see attitude. Frankly I will be very shocked if that terrific car is not ruined by the US division of Ford before it arrives here. So I know that sounds contrary to my opening statement , but sadly, that has been my experience with Ford in the US. Why oh Why do they refuse to bring over the simply wonderful cars? I've heard all the excuses (reasons, yeah right) and find them all fabricated. After all the UK has it's own set of very challenging standards that the auto makers must deal with, just like we do here, only different. But NOT different enough that they could not overcome them. After all why is it that we get nice Porsches, Ferraris, Aston Martins, Audis etc? And don't tell me it's about the price otherwise we would not have the very wonderful Mini Cooper S. If BMW can give us the Mini, Ford can give us a few of their very outstanding models designed by Ford of Europe!

    That said I do have an idea of what it is, and I hate to admit it but I believe that the "average" buyer of cars in that segment in the US could care less about the car. They are buying price, cup holders, colors, and related nonsense. Wow! Look at this car Linda, it has 10 cup holders.......sold.

    How pathetic, true but pathetic. :sick:
  • beantownbeantown Posts: 228
    I can't tell you why Ody sales are down and Sienna's are not. It should be the other way around.

    Why? Price? People do base their purchases off of more than just price.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,954
    Why? Price? People do base their purchases off of more than just price.

    I've never been in the market for a minivan, so I couldn't tell you which one I think is better (although I think the Odyssey LOOKS better). But I think part of what's going on is that Toyota has gotten so big that they're sort of like how GM was back in the 60's and 70's. They could build something and people will buy it just based on name value, regardless of how good it really is. Now I'm not saying Honda is a loser name, not by a long shot. But I think Toyota's name value might be a bit stronger these days.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Of course that's not the only thing, but Ody prices are nearly $2 grand lower than they were in May of 2007 (that's when I was getting price quotes). That is a significant difference.

    Meanwhile the 2008 model actually got some improvements.

    I just don't see a reason for a drop in sales with the Ody, while the Sienna's sales are higher (flat pricing, no significant improvements for MY2008).
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Since I like both brands, and do a lot of business with both my local Toyota & Honda dealers I decided to go in and drive each of these minivans. I have never had a need for a minivan, therefore I've driven nearly every Honda & Toyota model except the vans.

    Toyota:
    A very nice driving van. Great power, very refined in terms of the category known as NVH, noise, vibration, and harshness (ride quality). When I set aside my personal dislike for the styling of the Toyota, I found it more comfortable with the best ergonomics. In terms of ease of moving around inside without opening any doors (as though one is parked at a rest stop, it's raining and you don't want to get out) it's far superior to the Honda. The ride quality was controlled, not too soft, not to harsh. They have obviously spent a lot of time on this, as the wind noise is also down to nil. at freeway speeds.

    Honda:
    I love the looks of this van, especially the subtle changes made for 2008. I also prefer the more sports oriented driving experience and the taught suspension. However that said, I believe it works against them as most soccer moms and non car enthusiast dads would find it too stiff, and the steering too responsive. You must drive this van (what a novel concept), as opposed to the Toyota which is clearly designed for the Americans (who as I like to say, are merely passengers that happen to be sitting in the drivers seat). A scary thought really, but one I witness everyday as I drive a lot and watch these so called "drivers" wander all over the road. They are so busy eating, drinking, talking on the cell phone and turning their heads to the right to maintain eye contact with the passenger they are speaking to while hurtling down the road, oblivious to the fact that they are behind the steering wheel.

    Then much like another comment made here, I believe that Toyota has such a strong reputation and brand loyalty, that many people go with that.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    while YMMV, my experience has ALWAYS been that Toyota dealers are more willing to deal on price than Honda dealers. I recently got internet quotes from 3 dealers on a Fit Sport MT and none made an offer below MSRP. They called that a "discount", because they had them marked up $1-2K.

    So Toyota dealers will deal more, and consequently Yaris and Sienna have more sales than Fit and Odyssey. And Fit and Odyssey will have better resale in 3 years and in 5......

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

  • mcmanusmcmanus Posts: 121
    So true of so many manufacturers (that they won't bring over interesting s from the European market).

    And why do we have to wait so long when they finally do decide to bring them across? Or in such limited engine options? Why can't we get the new diesel engines the same time Europe does?

    But alas, I'll be in the market this summer for a new car. I've promised my car to my daughter and drive about 40k miles a year, mostly rural (freeway and 2 lane). So I'm looking for a bit of comfort, A/C, low total cost of ownership, high fuel economy, reliability, and few stops at the shop for scheduled maintenance. A diesel rabbit would be ideal. I could wait until the fall for the diesel Jetta, but it will probably start out in limited supplies and only on very upscale s (especially here in the midwest). Heck, I can't even find a 5M Fit or any Corollas in stock locally.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    If BMW can give us the Mini, Ford can give us a few of their very outstanding models designed by Ford of Europe!

    As soon as the general public is wiling to pay Mini prices for a Focus (or "Fiesta"), it can start to happen, but I just don't see a lot of $24k Foci running around (as much as I would enjoy it). As far as bringing over FoE vehicles, I would like to remind the forum members of the Ford Cortina, the Mecury Capri (the early 70s, and the 90s), the Merkur Scorpio and XR4Ti (which spanked the BMW 318 of the time in just about every measure), the original Escort and Fiesta, and one dear to my heart, the Contique twins, none of which were exactly out of the ball park home runs, although some did better than others. We will see how the Ford Transit goes, and they new Fiesta. Even other brands have had issues conforming to US codes and standards, remember the HUGE bumpers on European cars in the 70s and 80s?

    I also think this whole mythical "they make it there so they should sell it here too since they already make it there" thing is a bit silly too. The European driving experience is very different than in the US. I think there are very few people who drive 30 miles each way to work, there is less travel on huge interstates and more travel on rural country roads. They are designed for a different user population. Even the US Honda Accord is very different from the rest of the world.

    FoE has very different requirements than FNA. I think this is changing slowly, but a Mondeo is like $40k, the Contour was $20k and the Fusion is about the same so they have more to work with in terms of design. The Europeans are less legislative so there are fewer requirements and fewer lawsuits (that said, some of their crash safety requirements are silly).

    Now if you are saying you don't care for the styling of some FordNA vehicles vs FoE counterparts (like the new Focus or the '08 Taurus), that I can understand, but the majority of the motoring public isn't willing to give up their higher torque motors and 6 speed automatics for the European driving experience.

    That said I do have an idea of what it is, and I hate to admit it but I believe that the "average" buyer of cars in that segment in the US could care less about the car. They are buying price, cup holders, colors, and related nonsense. Wow! Look at this car Linda, it has 10 cup holders.......sold.

    This is even more true than previously thought. One of the highest correlations with JDPowers satisfaction studies is number of cup-holders.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    That said I do have an idea of what it is, and I hate to admit it but I believe that the "average" buyer of cars in that segment in the US could care less about the car. They are buying price, cup holders, colors, and related nonsense. Wow! Look at this car Linda, it has 10 cup holders.......sold.


    This is even more true than previously thought. One of the highest correlations with JDPowers satisfaction studies is number of cup-holders.

    Funny you should mention that. One of the reasons the early MINIs scored so poorly on JDPowers surveys was the poor cup holders. :surprise:

    That and the rough ride. I guess some how people thought a ultra short wheel base, light vehicle with at the very least sporting intentions in base form should have a soft ride. :sick: :confuse:

    The average American car buyer is stupid.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    As soon as the general public is wiling to pay Mini prices for a Focus (or "Fiesta"), it can start to happen, but I just don't see a lot of $24k Foci running around (as much as I would enjoy it).

    Very good point, the reason I omitted it from my entry, is that I know enthusiasts like myself that would not let that stop them, providing the performance was similar to the Cooper S I have. It's one of my favorite cars, and yet there are many naysayers out there that argue it's too much larger and heavier than the original, and I'm aware of this because I own one of the originals, which in my opinion should not be compared. My 2005 Mini S has welcome creature comforts, a great audio system, although I hardly ever use it, due to the beautiful exhaust note!

    Back to pricing, Your point is well taken as we enthusiasts are in the minority and love to drive, not dread to, like so many Americans.

    Regarding your points on the Merkur, and others (which bring back memories) I agree with you.

    The only point where I differ from your take is the European driving experience, and not that it isn't different as I do agree on that point. However, I have spent a lot of time there as my family is from Germany, and therefore I have driven quite a bit there as well. Yes the terrain, the typical length of a drive, roads, etc. are all quite different than the typical US driving pattern. And yet the fact that remains that there are a large group of enthusiasts on either side of the "pond". It's just that the ratios are so much different. On a per capita basis the largest group is in the UK and other countries.

    While I could enjoy a lively debate on this for hours, the facts remain (specifics aside) as you have identified them. Too many differences between the two mindsets and based on this fact, I agree with you completely.

    Cheers!
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