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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    edited February 2010
    The problem is, though, that that 500lbs of "dead weight" might very well be you and your passenger.

    The way I look at it, I can enjoy the lighter weight and better fuel economy* of the smart every day, while I would only enjoy the marginally better crash protection of a larger car once. We all must die sometime, and one day is as good as any other.

    * true, a TDI Golf can do about as well as a gas smart, but a diesel smart would whoop up on it
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I checked Cars Direct and it's about $23K including delivery(or about 22,700 sticker) for a TDi Golf. Yes, that's more expensive than a Smart, but it's also a much better vehicle as well.

    Of course, you are right - we do need cheaper diesels over here ASAP.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I got curious and priced them as well. Base Golf 3 door TDI is a little over $23k, 5 door rounds up to $24k with freight.

    The $23,090 price was probably for the outgoing Mark V model.

    So we're talking ~$10,000 more than a Smart ForTwo. Not exactly the same price class. With incentives you could probably buy a pair of ForTwos and have those 4 seats after all! ;)

    TDIs get a tax rebate, though, how much again?
  • $1,400 bucks tax CREDIT so it comes right off the top of your taxes.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Significant, but still, a base Golf is $18 something, so that's a whole different price class.

    For me what kills a diesel is that the fuel itself costs a good 10% more around here. :(
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,048
    The one thing I noticed from the C&D long-term test? It takes forever to get heat...

    Real-world? My car sits at work for ten hours in 25F temps.. I get heat in less than a mile (about three minutes)... According to the article, the TDI is much longer than that... and on extra cold days... very, very weak heat, if any at all...

    That's a dealbreaker for me...

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,539
    They also had problems with the tranny, but I assume that's been fixed. That would have to be better for me. Also, there aren't a lot of diesel outlets around here...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2010
    My Sienna also takes a while to warm up. Either that, or it's just a HUGE interior and it takes forever to heat up. My commute is 13 miles and I swear I only feel warm towards the end of the ride.

    In contrast, our Subaru produces good heat after ~2 miles of driving. The heated seats are a bonus because they warm up in just seconds. :shades:

    The Miata's heat system is also good.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,048
    I love the idea of a diesel... but, if you follow the TDI discussions, you'd swear that you'd need a deep knowledge of every single thing about the vehicle to keep from screwing it up...

    Now... where I live, you can find diesel just about everywhere... but, slow/weak heat, and evidently, only one guy named Jurgen in each state that really knows how to do the proper maintenance... and well.. I'll just take a pass...

    If I drove 30K mi./yr, and lived in a warmer climate... the resale and fuel mileage might be worth it.... but, for me? I'd rather have a GTI, than a Golf TDI... about the same price, too...

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    If you get one with manual, it will heat up very quickly. Just run it at mid-revs around town for the first few minutes to warm it up quicker. One thing that it has for it as well, though, is the fact that it can be had with a proper manual transmission. The thing that passes for a transmission(of any kind) in the Smart is its biggest fault. It just flat out ruins the rest of the car.

    http://green.autoblog.com/2008/03/14/top-gear-takes-the-new-fiat-500-diesel-out-- for-a-spin/

    This is what we need, though. Small, frugal, and a better alternative to the Smart.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,374
    My Sienna also takes a while to warm up....In contrast, our Subaru produces good heat after ~2 miles of driving

    I've had a similar experience...my Pilot warms slowly, and even when it is warm, it never feels like the heater is very strong. And I'm usually pretty sensitive to too much heat. None of my previous Hondas have been this weak. The Forester I had previously, though, that sucker kicked out heat early, and lots of it. Subaru knows their market, that's for sure.

    In that C&D article, they were saying the TDI was cool even in 40 degree weather, which isn't even that cold. They need the spec heating the Canada model gets, I guess.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The 500 uses the same sort of computerized manual gearbox as the smart.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/review-2011-fiat-500-1-2-european-spec/
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    When did they do that? The last I heard, the manual version of it was a normal manual.

    Sigh. The older I get the more I think it's just plain bigotry by the Japanese and Europeans that they treat us like 50IQ idiots when it comes to the bumbed-down cars that we are offered in the U.S. It's almost as if they are *trying* to make these cars fail.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Subaru knows their market, that's for sure.

    Yes, they do.

    Not only does the heat pump out early and plentifully, but also the heated side mirrors not only melt ice but also warm up and make rain evaporate. Even in a misty rain they stay completely clear.

    My Sienna has heated mirrors, but they only work to clear ice, and are not effective in rain the way our Subaru is. Notable difference.

    Also, the Forester gets one more bonus - wiper de-icers. They clear the area where the wipers park, and prevent ice build-up. I'll take every little bit of help I can get.

    When it snows, my wife and I fight over who "gets" to take the Forester. Loser takes the Sienna. ;)

    And my Miata?

    No way, it stays parked. Summer tires. Even the torsen works like an open diff on ice.
  • If my wife could drive a manual a TDI Golf would be the perfect car for when she starts working full time again.

    She has a long, 45 minutes to an hour, mostly highway or mountain back road commute. Perfect for a torquey diesel engine.

    The problem is she just can't drive a manual and I won't spend 1,200 bucks more for the DSG that requires a 400 plus dollar service every 45,000 miles.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    My wife also could not drive a manual - but apparently it was the passenger (me) who "made her nervous", when I tried to teach her on my 69 VW.

    She learned on her own after buying her first new car - a 79 mazda glc wagon - with a 4-speed manual. They learn quickly when they have to drive it home.
  • I have tried teaching her several times and so as her brother and father no luck.

    I have even tried teaching her on old junk trades that don't matter and she still gets too nervous.
  • I tried several times to teach my brother and sister to no avail. My brother's motivation to learn eventually came from...of course...a girl he wanted to date. She was taking a road trip with her friends and she invited him if he would share the driving...and she had a manual.
    That was many moons ago...now they are married, have a kid, and my brother still complains about driving that car. :P
  • When it snows, my wife and I fight over who "gets" to take the Forester. Loser takes the Sienna.

    The Legacy has real snow tires on it (of course this year its only snowed 2x) but that thing is a tank. And that's on the days the Accord is frustrating to get out of the sub-division.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    .....I was excited to hear that the Fiat 500 was coming to the U.S., but that article that bumpy attached wasn't exactly a glowing review. Sounds like more of a novelty car than a useful subcompact. Then again, the same could be said for the Mini, but it at least has fun-to-drive going for it.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,374
    Which is funny, because the UK press raves about the 500, and not just the Abarth. I think a lot depends on the engine and spec. I see them all the time when I'm overseas...sharp looking cars.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,196
    "Car buyers typically consider what they want first and what they need second. Rarely does anyone want a small car, especially f they can afford a larger one. Unless gas prices keeping pushing up toward the $4.00-$5.00 range, buying a midsize car or truck is still affordable, and desirable, for the average car buyer. That's not going to change anytime soon."

    Americans Still Shunning Small Cars Even As Gas Prices Rise (Straightline)

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,226
    edited February 2010
    Gotta love incomplete statistics...

    When AutoPacific asked consumers in January of last year if they would consider a small car to replace their current car, 24% said yes. That number dropped to 12% by January of 2010.

    This is obviously written to make it LOOK like the number WILLING to trade for a smaller car dropped by half. But without knowing how many of that 24% ACTUALLY traded for a smaller car in that timeframe, we don't know what the actual decrease was (if a decrease at all).

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,196
    Well, maybe I can interest you in a Mercury?

    image (Green Car Advisor)

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,226
    Not if they really call it a Tracer, you can't.
    :P

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,374
    edited February 2010
    image
    So far,so good from what I can tell. Looks like the concept isn't getting the normal watering down. Interior is intact, too.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ....though I can't help but wonder (believe) that with it's fancy-ing up, its price and fuel usage won't go up (I guess this is inevitable, but still). So many bottom-of-the-line cars have had to be replaced (or undercut?) with less expensive, smaller substitutes because of just sheer growth (think Civic, Focus, Sentra). I like it, though the application of the dual-deck Silverado-esque grille on every single Chevy is gettin' a little old.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,226
    edited February 2010
    Looks pretty good.

    But it leaves me wondering how this slots in with the Cruze. (??)

    Are we talking like Corolla vs Yaris? The proportions of this pic make it seem like it is darned close to the Cruze. Whereas the Yaris looks cartoonish.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I haven't seen any hard numbers, but I think the Aveo is going to end up being the size of an older Cavalier while the Cruze ends up being a Corsica. The Spark would take over the bottom rung.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,910
    I haven't seen any hard numbers, but I think the Aveo is going to end up being the size of an older Cavalier while the Cruze ends up being a Corsica.

    IMO, that's just too much overlap, something Chevy has had a problem with for years. I know it's sort of a lame duck and on its way out, but the Impala just isn't big enough, IMO, to be Chevy's "big" car. To me, it feels like a step down from a 1978-83 Malibu (I could at least fit in the back seat of one of those without hitting my head, or twisting my legs into obscene positions). Meanwhile the current Malibu seems like a slight step down from the old Celebrity (a bit tight on legroom in back for me, but oddly better than the Impala, and shoulder room definitely more suited for a compact). So if the Cruze ends up being like a Corsica, IMO that's just too close to the Malibu. And truth be told, the old Cavalier really wasn't that much smaller than the Corsica.

    Ford and Chrysler, at least, seemed to do a better job differentiating their size classes. For instance, while the new Taurus (or the old Taurus/500/Montego/Sable) doesn't quite feel "full sized" to me, it definitely feels bigger inside than a Fusion/Milan, which in turn is a definite step up in size from a Focus.

    Chrysler's really just down to two cars now, the Sebring/Avenger and 300/Charger. But again, while the 300/Charger (or the old Intrepid/Concorde/300M) never felt quite "full-sized", there was still a noticeable difference from the midsized cars, which again were a notable step up from a Neon.

    I can see the rationale for the Japanese cars moving up the size rung, as they built nothing but small cars when they first came to the US, so they've spread out into just about all size classes. As some models moved up, there was room to bring in new models. But with the domestic brands, they already had larger cars (and if anything, the biggest cars are either standing pat, shrinking slightly, or getting dropped altogether). So in this case, moving the smaller cars up just causes them to compete with existing models.
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