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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,533
    Speaking of Tire Rack, they got their start selling those Phoenix Stahlflexes out of a garage.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Reported at Auto Observer:

    http://www.autoobserver.com/2008/05/seismic-shift-to-smaller-segments-rocks-us-m- - - - arket-edmunds-analysis-shows.html#more

    In the second two months of this year, consideration of subcompacts by prospective buyers was up 28% from the first two months of this year! (last chart at the bottom of the page)

    And two of the three domestics have no car to field in this segment, despite having been caught out in exactly the same way in the 70s. At least GM has the Aveo, but they really ought to work on its fuel economy, as they have done for the Cobalt. Aveo is close to 1/2 a ton lighter than Cobalt, as well as being slower, yet it only matches the larger car for EPA ratings? Something wrong there...

    Oh, and for anyone who disagreed with me that manufacturers like Toyota are missing a golden opportunity by not offering better/more standard optional equipment on their smallest models (and perhaps raising their prices to reflect the increased content):

    "At the same time, during March and April U.S. consumers also displayed their quickly growing interest in ensuring that they take amenities with them as they shift to smaller and more fuel-efficient segments. Consumers were paying more for typically equipped small and midsize cars"

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

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    "At the same time, during March and April U.S. consumers also displayed their quickly growing interest in ensuring that they take amenities with them as they shift to smaller and more fuel-efficient segments. Consumers were paying more for typically equipped small and midsize cars"

    Isn't the real point that the people are moving for fuel mileage not for size? If they are offered two vehicles and both have similar fuel savings will they still option out for the Sub Compact? They want their goodies more than they want a stripped down car and goodies weigh and that makes the sub compact heavier and uses more fuel. So if the sub compact gets compact fuel mileage the compact seems like a better deal. We are right back to where we started with people being forced into sub compacts because of outside forces not preference. If that is the case then todays sub compacts still don't offer much over what we already have been driving for over 20 years. Better for you who happens to be pulling for small cars but nothing much for the consumer.

    As far as manual steering? There is a reason it has been almost dropped from most cars and it has nothing to do with increased road feel. It was a pain at slow speeds. About the only road feel advantage it had was to force you to keep the car in proper alignment so it didn't fight you in a straight line. If there were a real advantage they would remove it from racing sedans in the things like the Rolex series where they would do anything to get an advantage over the other cars.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Oh boaz, you're a tough nut to crack! ;-)

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

  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    Good post boaz...I'm with you on this 100%.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    If that is the case then todays sub compacts still don't offer much over what we already have been driving for over 20 years. Better for you who happens to be pulling for small cars but nothing much for the consumer.

    I'm anything BUT a small car hugger, but even I would say they've improved in leaps and bounds from what was being offered 20 years ago. Just as one example, I had a 1991 Civic rental car once. I forget which engine it had, but for some reason I'm thinking it was an upgraded engine. Although it was just a 4-door sedan. According to www.fueleconomy.gov, there was a 1.5, which was rated at 28/33 with the automatic and a 1.6, which was rated at 24/29.

    That car was dog-slow in acceleration, and if you just let the automatic transmission do its own thing, it would top out around 75-80 on level ground. You could pick up speed on a downhill slope, but it couldn't maintain that on an upgrade. However, I did discover that if I manually held third gear, keeping it out of overdrive, it would get past that 75-80 sticking point, and if I threw it back into overdrive around 85 or so, it would go faster. And given a long enough downhill slope, it would hit 115. But that's kinda like saying if you dropped this Civic and a Corvette out of a cargo plane, they'd both hit the ground at the same time...doesn't mean the Civic has Corvette performance! :P

    That car wasn't without its merits though. It was roomy and comfortable up front for such a little car. For someone like me to say that about it, that's considerable praise. Handling was decent. And it was quiet and rattle-free.

    I'm sure any subcompact built today would walk that Civic like a dog, while returning better fuel economy. I'm sure they're better built and more reliable these days, too. Not saying that Civic was a piece of junk, but it's just that cars have advanced over the decades.

    Now seating position, I'm not sure about. I'm horribly cramped and uncomfortable in modern cars like the Yaris and Fit, and the Corolla and Versa aren't much better for my tastes. The Sentra and Civic are tolerable. It's really hard to say how the modern cars would compare to the comfort of that 1991 Civic, because it's been over 16 years since I sat in it. It might not be as comfy as I remember. And while that Civic was comfy for a small car, it couldn't hold a candle to a bigger car. After that vacation and 1700 miles of seat time in that Civic, I swear my Dart never felt so good! :shades:

    Keep in mind too, that in 1991 and throughout the 80's, the Civic was probably the benchmark of subcompacts. So if much of today's crop has improved over a 1991 Civic, I'm sure they'd make a lot of those other little cars from back then really look like crap.

    Now in some extreme cases, like the CR-X, and other ultra-economy-minded cars of the 80's, today's cars are nowhere near as close in terms of fuel economy. But if you were to take the average Civic or Corolla from 1985 or even 1990, and compare it to the average Civic or Corolla of 2008, fuel economy would be improved in the newer cars...even though the newer models are heavier, larger, and more powerful.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Here is a link to the Miata.net tire size calculator:
    tire calc

    I used it to determine that my "oversize" tires were less than 2% larger than the originals. As it turned out, the change actually made my speedometer read MORE accurately, as determined by a stopwatch over 15 miles. This was later confirmed by my Garmin GPS. :)

    james
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Modern electric power steering pumps probably cannibalize a lot less power than the old hydraulic ones.

    NA Miatas were available with manual steering and those were sought after by enthusiasts. Mostly for the increased feedback, though.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "Modern electric power steering pumps probably cannibalize a lot less power than the old hydraulic ones."

    But they decrease road feel by the same proportion that they decrease power cannibalization.

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

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,618
    sorry, but i think that calculator is useless. tirerack has rpms per mile.
    also, i measure the odometer not the speedometer.
    you happened to hit something that fit that calculator.
    we replaced the conti's on the escape with the same size goodyear tripletread. they are huge compared to the original tires. you can see the physical difference in size. the gas mileage has been down some since then, but i am not sure if it is due to rolling resistance or tire circumference, or both.
    i also experienced a big drop in gas mileage when i changed tires on my focus.
    i got most of it back when i switched back to the original tire model.
    the smaller the car, the more the weight difference in tires plays into the gas mileage, too.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    sorry, but i think that calculator is useless. tirerack has rpms per mile.

    Just for clarity, what did you think the revs/mi was on the Miata.net chart?

    also, i measure the odometer not the speedometer.

    So you can back-average the speed so you know what to tell the kind gentleman with the badge?

    i also experienced a big drop in gas mileage when i changed tires on my focus.
    i got most of it back when i switched back to the original tire model


    Hmm your experience is someone opposite of mine. When I replaced the 195/60HR15 MXV4 Energy tires with 195/60VR15 Khumo ASX tires, I got both a dramatic improvement in handling, consistent fuel economy, and 4 Khumos were $12 more than 1 MVX4.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Almost all factory odometers are set up to be 2-3% faster than you are actually going in order to not have people sue them for getting tickets and so on.

    So you have to adjust a bit to compensate - unless you have a digital one that is - those are pretty close to exact with stock tires.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    This link may be of interest:

    Odometer Accuracy Not Regulated By Federal Law

    Investigation Reveals Inaccuracy Of Many Cars Odometers

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

  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    Almost all factory odometers are set up to be 2-3% faster than you are actually going in order to not have people sue them for getting tickets and so on

    Well, that and if it reads a higher speed, its more miles which helps the car companies a lot. It provides for shorter warranty periods (2-3% of 36,60, or 100k miles adds up), higher lease fees (people are going over mileage when they aren't), and people think they are getting better mileage than they are. They also service vehicles more frequently.

    I am not saying its a huge conspiracy, just food for thought. I think Honda got called out for making their speedos read too fast at one point. Alternatively, fines in European countries are levied by photo-radar starting at 3kph over the limit, which is not so much.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,618
    the revs per mile on a generic calculator don't matter. the actual revolutions per mile do matter. like i said, the tire you have can match it or not.
    if you want to measure mileage travelled by the speedo, it's ok with me,
    i just don't do it that way. i use a 30 to 40 mile run on the highway using the mile markers.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    "Now in some extreme cases, like the CR-X, and other ultra-economy-minded cars of the 80's, today's cars are nowhere near as close in terms of fuel economy."

    Isn't the whole point of an economy car economy? The very term, considering, if you look at the average, or better than expected, when used for a sub compact just proves the point. Sub compacts today may be better than some of their old sub compact relatives but no better than their bigger brothers in the mid sized and compacts are compared to their grand parents. But if you remember the old Camry and look at the new one you can see it is not only more comfortable but gets much better fuel mileage and is safer than the old Camry. That is pretty much the case across the board in that size car. But looking at your own quote you realize that sub compacts are not as good at their prime focus, economy, as they should be. But you can excuse that in the case of the CR-x, VW rabbit diesel and Metro twins with the simple words, considering the new standards. ;)
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Good post - excellent points. ;)

    While it may not be a huge conspiracy, you have to believe that the car companies are aware of the implications of their cars odometers reading high. 2-3% savings in warranty claims on millions of vehicles must be significant. :mad:

    james
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,923
    Higher indicated speeds on the speedometer don't always correlate with incorrect odometer readings..

    BMWs are famous for the "optimistic" speedometers.. I'd estimate that my wife's reads at least 4 miles over at 75mph.. But, her odometer is right on the money (checking over long distances by mile markers).

    When speedometer/odometers had a mechanical connection, that would be true, but now that they are electronic, the odometer doesn't necessarily get it's information from the speedometer, or vice versa..

    regards,
    kyfdx

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    It is true that the tire calculator assumes that all tires of a given specification have the same rolling circumference. Obviously this is not totally accurate; tires vary by manufacturer and style. If fact two identical tires will differ with different tire pressures.

    Still, I think you are wrong to call the calculator useless. It give a fair indication of relative rolling circumference, which is quite useful. After I purchased my tires, I did confirm the accuracy of my speedometer in much the same way as you do: by measuring the transit time at a constant speed against the roadside mile markers. It's all good. :shades:

    james
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    That would be an interesting study: speedometer vs odometer accuracy It does seem that the manufacturers would be at risk of a class action lawsuit if it could be shown that their odometers read consistently high.

    Actually, I think that even with mechanical speedo/odometers, they could be easily set to read independently high and/or low. ;)

    james
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    A lawsuit. They have to feel darned if they do, darned if they don't. If the speedos weren't slightly optimistic people would complain that they weren't protected from speeding tickets.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,923
    I vaguely remember something about Honda settling such a lawsuit over odometer discrepancies...

    I'm not really into the mechanical side of things, but when I used to drive an Econoline for a living, there was a plastic piece in the speedometer/odometer bits that was sort of like a screw... If you were reading too fast, you changed from a 16 groove screw to a 17 groove screw (in this case, you = our mechanic). And, both speedometer and odometer were directly tied into the same system..

    I complained once about the reading, and the mechanic went the wrong direction with it.. I was running an indicated 60 mph, but the mile markers had me doing 74mph!! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it

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    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I vaguely remember something about Honda settling such a lawsuit over odometer discrepancies...

    Yep. And because of it, my car's 3/36k warranty (2006 Accord) has been extended to 38,200, I believe.

    Whatever; I'm sure this suit was another kind of case where the lawyers got millions, and each claimant got 30 cents in the mail.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Wasn't dealer-installed a/c a common thing with Japanese cars in general, and Honda in particular, until fairly recently?

    Here is the honest, if somewhat hard to believe answer. I know because I worked for Toyota Motor Sales at the time. They are in Torrance CA, and the distributor of all Toyotas to each dealer in the US.

    As much as we (the US distributor) asked for factory installed A/C, the Japanese arm of Toyota just didn't get it. They simply could not believe it was that important. Even when we were purchasing over thousands of AC kits from them through the parts depot for the dealers to install in the cars. Interesting....... ;)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,618
    ok, i get it. i am referring to the odometer and you are comparing to the effect on the speedometer. i only care about the effect on the odometer. nobody asks about the average speed when you sell a car, but they do care about how far it has travelled. :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "Yaris reported all-time best-ever sales of 14,397 units (in May), up 26.6 percent over the year-ago month."

    WOW! It's hot. That's almost half as many sales as Accord and Ford's F-series. Subcompact sales are ballooning so rapidly it's hard to keep track. :-)

    Get this: Camry, Corolla, Accord, and Civic ALL beat the F-series truck to be the top 4 selling vehicles in May. And were the midsizers on top of the list? NO! The two top sellers were Civic (#1) and Corolla (#2)! The market is finally downsizing, or as I like to say, appropriate-sizing. ;-)

    With regard to Yaris specifically, it is now selling at the same rate as the RAV4 and the Sienna van, and selling at a ratio of almost 3:1 vs the Avalon. That puts it at the same sales rate as most of the best-selling compact and midsize cars from other automakers, and well above some.

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

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I read that the Accord had 43,728, so technically, the Yaris had just under 1/3rd of the Accord's record-breaking sales.

    But, i AM just nitpicking. :)

    If I were not 6'5", I'd be driving a Civic right now. As it is, I drive a 30+ MPG Accord. I figure that's not too bad for a guy my size, right? ;) I really wanted the room of a full-size truck, and could've gotten a nicely equipped Silverado for less than my Accord EX, but I went the green-way and got the Honda. ;)
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    It's funny how prices and availability of USED vehicles have been affected by fuel prices. I was out driving yesterday and within just a few miles of home, I saw five full-sized 4x4 pickups and/or SUVs parked on private sites with for sale signs on them.

    How many small cars did I see for sale... ZERO. (Yes I know, small sample size, statistically insignificant.) But I would wager that one would find similar results with a larger sample
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    I started looking for a used Focus hatchback stick a while ago for a run around car and there are NONE around. The few that you can find have a ton of miles on them.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    if you tour the NEW CAR dealers, you will find the same thing.

    My local Toyota dealer has exactly two Corollas and two Yarises as of yesterday. Contrast this with about two dozen each of Tundra, Sienna, RAV4, and Camry. The Tundras all have huge red discount ads hanging from the rear view mirrors - $5000 off, $7000 off, 0% for 60 months, etc etc. With Tundra, I think they only just finished clearing out their '07s.

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

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