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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,219
    edited November 2010
    My Outback has a bump for the power window controls - hits my left knee in exactly the wrong spot. I should move the switches to the console. I don't get that kind of design either (maybe I spent too many years in Idaho and learned the wide stance?).

    We didn't like the early Odyssey passenger side since the dash felt too intrusive.

    The Fit was good that way as I recall. It's been about a year since we test drove one, but I don't remember being cramped.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It can be there - just shape is smoothly and pad it.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,219
    Good idea. I do have a pile of black ethafoam lying around in my junk drawer. It'd blend right in with the black leather panels.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I used a beer koozie! LOL

    image

    Cut to size, then stuck with two-sided tape.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,299
    I guess based on size, a Lexus IS250 is a subcompact. I know it is tiny inside.

    and the bump on this one is on the floor, right behind the gas pedal. You (best as I recall) have to thread your leg over/around the hump, and it is always in the way.

    Some part of the AWD system, and since they are prevented from law in NJ from selling a RWD model, you get the hump.

    Even if I wanted one, it was a total deal breaker.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Wait - what law is that... You can't sell a RWD car in NJ?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,682
    edited November 2010
    what did ya think of yer test drive of the new world order Ford Fiesta? Hatch or sedan? Manual or automatic?

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Hey iluv, how come you haven't test-driven a Fiesta yet? You know your local Ford dealer has had them for a while, right?

    I am thinking I am going to try and squeeze in a test drive this week, while my impressions of the Mazda2 are still fresh.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A friend bought one, so she actually took me out for a drive, and then tossed me the keys.

    It was a hatch with the 6 speed auto. Sadly the auto crapped out at around 300 miles on the odometer, but Ford stepped up and replaced the whole thing (it took 3 tries, but she got a free extended warranty so they get a pass).

    It drove well, not at all cheap feeling, though it is definitely small. To sit in the back seat I'd have to move the driver's seat way forward. Good college kid's car, but look elsewhere if you often carry more than you and one passenger.

    She's happy and the new trans has been fine.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,299
    that was sarcasm. Not technically a law, but no dealers ever have any (not sure if they refuse to take them, or the makers refuse to send them). So it seems like a rule!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,682
    edited November 2010
    thanks for the review. I've actually read dozens of them on the net like I always do when looking seriously at a car to potentially buy. I'll put it this way, Ford hasn't just quick-released this subcompact-lots and lots of thoughtful engineering that has been successfully transitioned to the production Fiesta automobile for us to enjoy. I'm still in the game for one but I'm loving how our '08 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS with automatic CVT tranny is plowing through Elko, NV's nasty ice and snow drivel here for the past week or two. Snow's not going away anytime soon, either.

    I remain interested in the sedan later on sometime, maybe a year or two from now. The Lancer's not paid off yet and it only has about 64,650 miles on it, too. :)

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    DANG, iluv, an '08 with 64K miles on it already?? You do some DRIVING!

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

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,299
    happened to be wandering around a local BHPH lot last week (it is next to the parking lot of a produce place we stop at). They had a nice looking Odyssey like ours. Turned out to be a 2007 (we have a 2005). But this one had 121K on it. And from the fact that it had an original dealer inspection sticker (good for 4 years), I knew it had not turned 4 years old yet (and who knows how long it had been idled in "for sale" mode).

    Lot of driving on a Honda AT!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,682
    edited December 2010
    and I'll be doing some more in the near future. I'm headin' home (Washington state) to peruse Washington state job opportunities. Two places, both of which readers in here probably haven't heard of before.

    Brewster, WA, on the Columbia River in eastern Washington and Poulsbo, WA, on the western half of the state. Poulsbo is on the Kitsap Peninsula, about 20 miles north of Bremerton, WA. Even though moving is a pain in the buns and expensive, I am missing home horribly and am going to pursue these positions with much gusto and see what happens.

    Anyhoo-Seattle is approximately 735 miles NW of here in Elko, NV. I could be on the road within a few days. I'll post on the road what happens as any exciting news happens along the route.

    My wife and I are somewhat gypsy...we do put a lot of miles on our rigs...but always only have one rig at a time. The Lancer GTS is a fantastic car...I am going to maintain it and enjoy it to the Nth Degree.

    As far as driving in the snow on the way over to Washington state, uhh, I've faced a whole winter of snow here in Elko in just the past week and a half! Bring it on!

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,219
    You also pretty much live 5 hours from anything. ;)

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  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,374
    Brewster, WA, on the Columbia River in eastern Washington and Poulsbo, WA

    I know and have been to both. Our family has a long time friend from Bridgeport. Question is, what kind of jobs are in Brewster? It is really small...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's a lot of miles.

    You should consider one of the new 40+mpg fuel misers, or even a hybrid.

    Sounds like you'd break even in, oh, about 12 days. LOL
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,682
    edited December 2010
    yep, now some more of you might be getting my 2011 Ford Fiesta thing. 37mpg but you know our '08 Lancer GTS gets me about 32mpg average on the freeway.

    steve, you're right, 500 miles from anywhere is dead-on here in the Great Basin country. The other night I drove over to the Bonneville Salt Flats. I was there in about two hours on I-80.

    Oh, for you wondering, the jobs there in those two towns are for Respiratory Therapists. The Brewster Hospital HR Director is approaching the CEO of the small hospital there right now asking for "fly him up here tomorrow money."

    I told her "Can I please drive up there?" It was fine with her...man, they pay 50 cents a mile for gas. I did the math and that is around 57% more money than I will need in RUG to drive the 748 miles up there and back down here again!

    Got a phone interview with Walgreen's in Everett, WA, tomorrow AM for an RT job, too. Looks like I'm gonna be headin' home, boys.

    I need to just light in one place, though, huh? A lot of you regulars out there I'm sure don't do the gypsy thing quite as well as my wife and I and it does cost a lot of money. And you wouldn't want to. I'm hopin' for the Brewster, WA, job. I am going to try and settle down and pay off bills.

    A bank might have trouble with this hombre right now giving me a loan for a 2011 Ford Fiesta S sedan. I'd opt for the Metallic Blue, 5-speed stick, single-CD player being the only option I'd need. Ford fits this pup out so well I wouldn't ask for a single other thing. Telescoping wheel, the "nibble" electric steering package, taught but supple over the bumps suspension comes standard on all 2011 Ford Fiesta sedans and hatches. I'll let ya know, Wenatchee probably has a Ford dealer as will Yakima, WA, too.

    Robin Trower plays the Knitting Factory in Spokane on March 10, 2011, too. Gotta go see that man live! I'm pretty sure I'm headin' home, boys! :D

    Whoo-hoo! :)

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How about 40mpg, manual or automatic? Both 6 speeds, no less:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/12/02/video-hyundai-launches-save-the-asterisks-cam- paign-for-40-mpg-e/#continued

    That's a funny campaign, too, poking fun at GM and Ford.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,627
    good luck with you job search.
    the small town gig can work out.
    my BIL is an MD and has made a nice niche for himself in a smaller hospital off the beaten track.
    They do go to the 'big city' when they feel they need to.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,219
    Moving around every few years can be fun. Go for it. Only having one car helps make it more affordable too.

    (Didn't realize that the Knitting Factory was a "chain". I just thought it was a dumb name for a Boise concert venue).

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  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,682
    edited December 2010
    Yeah, I didn't know that about the Knitting Factory, either. The Spokane venue seats 1,500 people. Looking forward to going. Still waiting to hear back on the Brewster, WA, job and I had a good phone interview with the Walgreens of Everett, WA, people this morning.

    Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,193
    edited December 2010
    "Honda is set to provide the CR-Z with an all-new four-cylinder gasoline-engine option as part of plans to broaden the compact coupe's appeal in key world markets, including North America.

    Currently available with just one engine option—a gasoline-electric hybrid system that mates a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a brushless electric motor—the CR-Z is also earmarked to receive a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine currently undergoing development in Japan.

    With forced induction and Honda's patented VTEC-i fully variable camshaft-timing system, the new 1.6-liter engine is aimed at providing the performance of a typical 2.0-liter engine...a standard version making about 160 hp and a highly tuned version aimed at matching the 200 hp of the discontinued 2.0-liter four-cylinder used in the Civic Type R. The latter engine is likely to form the basis of a CR-Z Type R tentatively due out in late 2011.

    Plans to go beyond the single hybrid-engine option for the CR-Z come as sales of the coupe have begun to sag in Honda's all-important home market. The Japanese carmaker's intentions to add a gasoline engine to the lineup were first hinted at with the CR-Z Type R concept revealed at the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas. Unlike the proposed production version though, that car ran a turbocharged version of the CR-Z's existing 1.5-liter four-cylinder."
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Sales have gone form dismal to worse. I am glad Honda saw the light.

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    edited December 2010
    I found a Fiesta with a stick shift today! Turns out I had to try a small-town dealer who I assumed would have less in stock; in fact, that place was like the epicenter of the Fiesta intro, with rows and rows of Fiestas along the curb and big Fiesta banners everywhere.

    And yes, an ample selection of stick shifts. I actually got to drive a car that was the exact trim and option set I would buy if I were buying today: an SES with nothing optional except the moonroof. I am still of two minds on the moonroof - I like that this is the only car in the class with a factory moonroof, but the one it has is a tiny little thing, completely BEHIND the driver, which kinda makes it not worth it. But it is a cheap option at $695.

    This car is the OPPOSITE of the Mazda2 in almost every way I can think of. The Mazda is SOOOO much more fun to drive, with so much BETTER driver interfaces and controls, that it's amazing the two are even built on the same platform. But depending on what you like in your subcompact, there's a lot to like, and I can see why the Fiesta has won the awards it has.

    Where the Mazda tells you everything the front wheels are doing, the Fiesta tells you very little - some would call this "well-damped". The Fiesta has one of those electric steering setups which has decent weight to it at 60 mph but can be turned by blowing on it at 0-5 mph, the feeling I refer to as "someone forgot to screw the steering wheel on so now it's coming off".

    Where the Mazda corners fast and true but is often jittery over bad pavement or at high speeds, the Fiesta smooooooths everything out but kinda wallows through the turns. Where the Mazda is moderately noisy at highway speeds, the Fiesta is quieter. It is the small car that drives like a big car, something a lot of people want in a small car. I do not.

    The interior of the Fiesta is YARDS better than either the Fit's or the Mazda2's - it has a padded dash, good ergonomics, and electronic HVAC controls where the others still have 1970s-type levers you pull on and hear the cables moving the vacuum doors behind the dash. Oh, and of course Fiesta has Sync in most trims. Bluetooth, ipod controls, all there. Soft surfaces most places elbows and hands end up. It feels like a 21st century car, whereas Mazda2 and Fit both feel very much like their makers cheaped out inside.

    The Fiesta's clutch is light, which is good, but it's very hard to tell where it engages, which is bad. The shifter is decent but the Mazda's is better. The Fiesta has one of those e-throttles which is designed to increase power slowly as you push it down, which would drive me crazy. I would feel like I had to floor it all the time. However, it does have enough torque to pull away from a stop with very little revving in first gear, so the e-throttle thing isn't a big deal when you want smooth starts, just when you want quick ones.

    Just like the Mazda, there isn't much power below 3000 rpm. UNLIKE the Mazda, it has no guts to pass in top gear on the highway, because of the taller top gear (which is good for an additional 2 points of highway fuel economy, according to EPA).

    The price of the one I drove was $18,5. The Mazda Touring is $15,5. If you take out the moonroof on the one I drove (which isn't available in the Mazda), the price would be $17,8. It's easy to see where Ford put the extra $2300, so I think both are a good value, but there isn't much in that $2300 worth of stuff that I care very much about, and I would want the car that drives and handles better. So for me, the Mazda is ahead in the running, but I still intend to drive the Fit again to get a back-to-back-to-back impression.

    IF I can find a stick shift Sport.

    Foot note: believe it or not, my Echo feels stronger at around-town engine speeds than either of the two I have driven, but I guess that is borne out by the tested 0-60 times, which are slower for both Mazda2 (slightly) and Fiesta (more than a second slower) than they were for Echo. However, I think any of these are plenty fast enough if you are willing to keep the revs up above 3500 rpm. So when you need that burst of speed they are there for you, and the rest of the time you get that 40 mpg fuel economy. Or at least, I do.

    Fit is the only one that has been measured faster than the Echo, so I am looking forward to driving it again (if I can find one) now that I have driven the 2 and the Fiesta.

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

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Great review nippon! Based on your description, I would definitely prefer the Mazda over the Ford.

    $695 may be a bargain as sunroofs go, but I can think of a whole bunch of ways that I would prefer to spend that tidy chunk of change than to spend it on a hole in the roof of my car. ;)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited December 2010
    You should also test drive the following vehicles with manual and tell us what you think:

    - Scion TC - Overlooked but a fine car. Handles very nicely, IMO. Back seat is small, though. These are very slow sellers(Scion never seemed to really have taken off?) so you can get good prices on them.

    - Mitsubishi Lancer - Also another often overlooked choice.

    I personally think they are better vehicles that the Mazda 2 or the Fiesta. The Fiesta felt... HEAVY. Like they took a Fit and put a Buick suspension on it. Quiet, soft, and stable. But it's as wide in the rear end as a Buick, and the transmission, as you noted, is rubbish.

    BTW - the two I mentioned above have pretty decent manuals. I'm consistently happy with how Toyota does manuals(Honda is also good, a Civic with Manual is a great thing)

    Of course, if I had the money, I'd spend 17.5K on a 2010 Mustang and forget about MPG. (still does 25mpg combined, easy, with the V6 and manual) And, yes, that's a local price from TrueCar. Evidently the 2010 V6 models are slow movers, due to the new V6 in the 2011, despite being great budget transportation. Yes, it's a better engine, but is it worth 5K more? I don't think so considering that you have a manual to extract every ounce of that power. Figure a real world 8 seconds(again, not abusing the car) or so 0-60, which is worlds faster than a typical sub-compact.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    In looking at the models you suggested I drive, plekto, I am thinking you are suggesting cross-shopping strictly on price, as those models would be roughly the same price (the tC would be a bit more than the Fiesta SES and significantly more than the other two) but I am only interested in subcompact 4- or 5-doors, because I have sworn to myself I won't replace the Echo with a car that makes worse mileage and because I have little kids in the back often enough to value the extra doors.

    tC and Lancer mileage kinda sucks IMO, especially the tC's. Mazda2 and Fiesta will allow me to match the Echo, I'm very confident, and in fact if I went with the Fiesta I think I could improve on the 40 mpg I get now by a bit.

    A big drawback to the Fit is that I would probably drop a few points in fuel economy, so for me the Mazda is definitely leading in the race. The Fit would have to feel much more fun to drive than the Mazda to grab the prize at this point.

    I wish the 500 were already out - I would love to compare its drive to these others, even though it is only a 3-door. But I bet it's slow - I really want to check out the Abarth, which is still a year away.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm so glad, and I hope they call it the CR-X!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Well, that's the rub. If you want a good ride, 4 doors, and 35+mpg, you're down to a very narrow list. But there is a list. ;) The Fiat 500 is 2 door only and as small as a jellybean. It's like an estate version of a Smart car. And just about as slow unless you get the Abarth (which we won't in the U.S.)

    I also removed a ton of vehicles from the list because they got mediocre MPG or had issues like miserable suspension or lacked a manual. The Civic Si, RX8, and many many others were dropped, because if you want 28-30mpg highway, just get a Buick or Camry. They are cheap and nearly indestructible in a crash. More on this later...

    1: TDI type cars of course are one option. Good MPG and really no issues. No batteries to deal with, either from an environmental perspective or a potential resale value one. Due to the current pent up demand, resale value is quite high as well, especially for a TDI with manual(will sell in days, not weeks) A Jetta TDI gives you a midsize package and a micro-car's fuel economy. Finding one 1-3 years old, though, can be problematic. And the price you pay for them nearly kills the economy savings for the first 50-80K miles.

    2: Alternative cars:

    - Mini Clubman. What impressed me was that they managed to turn a tiny and poor excuse for a vehicle into something that actually works as a small family car. And without making it look like a jellybean or losing the same look and feel. Mini used to do this sort of alternate body styles approach back in the 60s, so it's not without merit. Great handling. Holds its value quite well. Buy new as these tend to be abused all too often.

    - Get a Civic or Corolla. Sacrificing 3-5mpg for a much larger and better vehicle isn't necessarily a bad compromise. (don't forget the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, either) The 2008 Pontiac Vibe is basically a Toyota Corolla wagon with a better interior and higher depreciation. Win-Win. :) Buy 1-3 yrs used if you can.

    - The Jeep Patriot gets 29mpg highway and has a huge cargo area. It's a hidden gem amongst the miles and miles of overpriced and gas hungry SUVs. As long as you avoid automatics, Jeeps are decently reliable. There are loads of other small and micro SUVs out there as well, but most of them just simply cost too much. Starting at $15K, and often having rebates as well, it's worth looking at, IMO.
    http://www.carsdirect.com/build/options?zipcode=91107&acode=USC00JES141C0&restor- e=false (I chose Pasadena, CA because it's fairly close to a typical national price and is well known) Buy new, obviously.

    3 - Kids. If you factor in really low prices like this (which is why I added the Mustang), you can get into a situation where you would have to drive a new Civic 100K+ miles to break even on the fuel costs. Just because you got such a screaming good deal. If it was my money, I'd be a cheap ba***rd and get the best 3-5 year old car that I could for the least amount of money. This usually means a domestic midsize sedan, but not always. The advantage here is that while you might get 5 mpg less than a typical small car, you paid 5K less for the vehicle. That's more than the gas savings. And it's safer in a crash, often handles better, and has tons more amenities as well. These tiny cars are frankly, not something I'd put kids into, because they're simply not going to survive in a typical crash, given that most cars are rolling down the road with a running weight of nearly 4000lbs including the driver and everything else.(not even factoring in SUVs)

    My top "tightwad" pick for a good used car is to just get a 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix or similar for $8-10K. It gets 25mpg combined. If you drove 100K miles, the Pontiac would use 4000 gallons. If you had a 35mpg average car, it would use 1143 fewer gallons. At $3.20 a gallon, that means that as long as the larger vehicle is $3657 less than the econobox, you're breaking even and MPG is a moot factor.

    http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=u&car_id=289963005
    That's your optimal car, other than it having an automatic. Though, the shifter is in-line on the floor, so power-shifting the automatic is simple. And, yes, it does have a "1" gear, so I've actually done it with cars I've rented. I'd rather drive this than a Civic, Yaris, or Mazda 2 any day.
    (maybe I'm spoiled, but I prefer small cars like the Volvo C30 - the lack of features in a typical $15K car is too much for me)
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