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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Your interpretation of fewer rpms, always equating to better mpg is flawed.
    Many dif engines, and configuration, and state of tune (I don't mean maintenance-wise, I mean design) run more efficiently at varying rev ranges, than others. Honda engines, for example, actually give more economy at higher revs than their competitors. Engine design, state of tune, intake/exhaust design etc all dictates this.

    I feel the racetrack test of the Prius was very telling actually. And that aggressive throttle test, wouldn't have to be confined to just the Prius. The principle of being extra aggressive will strongly impact most car's economic capabilities that are designed to (generally) perform their stated ratings at relatively low revs. While it may initially sound like I am contracting myself, not so. A perfect example of what I am talking about would be any of the very high performance V8 (and even V6) muscles cars like a Mustang or Corvette. Look at the relatively impressive FE rating of a Vette on a gentle highway cruise. But, start racing the Vette around with lots of two-lane passing and quick starts etc, and you will see the fuel consumption skyrocket. Same principle even with the V6 in the new Mustang. Yes, it has impressive FE ratings, but step just outside the expected economic usage and the reality of those 300 horses will have you looking for a refill often.

    Now, all that said, there are other parameters that muddy the waters even further when you modify the driving habit that the mfgr is hoping/assuming you adopt. Again, the Prius is a good example. The engine size, style and design is not really an efficient power-plant for a car the size and weight of a Prius (even minus battery weight). Its design is completely dependent on the intended usage to be in conjunction with electric assist. So if you go to the race track, or even just start bootin' it around, now you are using lots of gas AND the electric assist, which uses engine power to recharge that very electric assist so in aggressive usage, the engine is actually using gas to perform two duties. Moving the car AND charging the batteries. And doing all this with an engine that was designed to be assisted gently, not being the constant primary source of urge. The little bit of braking regenerative recharge to the batteries, while helping, is nothing really when looking at the bigger picture of driving aggressively.

    And as one more example, take that little Yaris with an auto. Now start trying to keep up with aggressive freeway traffic with 4 or 5 passengers with the A/C on. Not only is the engine out of its element through pumping losses of a torque convertor and the restriction of only 4 speeds to allow the engine to perform in its best rev range for the load, but it simply has too many expectations of it. The throttle now is being floored most of the time with quite a bit of the time spent even in 3rd gear screaming its guts out. It has gone beyond that 'sweet-spot' rev range and now all FE bets are off. You can improve the FE a bit by eliminating the TC loss and offering one extra gear to assist keeping the engine in rev range of urge but with FE also in mind, by opting for the 5 speed manual, but you are still left with a small engine with a big load.
    If the expected use of a Yaris was to spend most of its life, with a big load at fast speeds, it would actually be more efficient-capable with more displacement.

    This is why, for example, an 03 to 06 Corolla 1.8 for example, actually had higher FE highway ratings than the smaller engined, lighter, Echo/Yaris 1.5 litre.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    "The engine size, style and design is not really an efficient power-plant for a car the size and weight of a Prius (even minus battery weight). "

    meant to say on the end of that...

    If being used most of time, as urge or battery recharging (which in colder climates is represents a lot of the time even if not being aggressive). This is why diesels more consistently perform closer to their rated FE numbers, throughout all 4 seasons and in all hands and driving styles/habits, than their gas engined competitors. In towns with aggressive use, is where a diesel REALLY shines...not just on the highway.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    edited December 2010
    Not true.

    03-06 Corolla 1.8, highway EPA rating = 38 (auto)
    Echo 1.5, highway EPA rating = 40 (auto)

    The manual Corolla was fairly impressive, making 40 on the highway if memory serves, but the manual Echo still beat it at 41.

    Echo was 2100 pounds when the Corolla was going from 2500 (-2002) to 2700 (2003-).

    The Yaris was and still is around 2300 pounds. Nothing touches it for weight except the new Mazda2. I would characterize both of these models as small engines pulling a SMALL load, and the FE reflects that.

    Now we have these new 4-cylinder engines incorporating all the latest tricks including DI, and in the compact class we are starting to see 40 mpg ratings even under the new EPA testing methodology.

    The question is, will the subcompact class be deemed too cost-sensitive to bring these engine innovations to them as well? Or will the automakers deem it necessary to meet ever-tightening fuel economy standards? I am sure the Yaris's engine could see a 45 mpg rating with the next-gen model, for instance, but it won't because they won't make the effort due to cost. That is the Toyota way - cheap out and keep the purchase price low.

    But will Ford incorporate the same improvements in its Fiesta 1.6 as it is about to for the upcoming (2.0?) in the Focus? If so, we could see that engine's rating rise to 43-45, giving them extra ammo in the battle to keep their average corporate FE from falling too low with all the F-150 sales.

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

  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    First, I am using Cdn EnerGuide ratings. They are like your EPA, only more optimistic. To equate to your gallon- subtract 20% off these numbers.

    I'm reading them right out of the 06 book.

    Corolla hwy - 5 speed - 53
    auto - 50
    city 5 spd - 40
    auto - 36

    Yaris hwy - 5 speed - 51
    auto - 49
    city 5 spd - 41
    auto - 40

    I think that given the weight difference the most impressive number here is the city Corolla manual tran figure. As we are starting to notice, many car ratings are now listing as autos as getting the nod for FE in town. So for the Corolla to be only ONE mpg less in city than the Yaris (which everyone would agree is the smaller and lighter of the two cars and actually built for city use more than the Corolla) is a great indicator of how well sorted Toyota has done with their entire setup with the 1.8 and std tran in the Corolla.

    IMO, just because your EPA numbers show otherwise (by a small amount) does not negate the point I was making regarding the inefficiency of too small an engine in too big/heavy a car and/or if driven beyond the normal expected parameters.

    Interesting that you mention Fiesta and Mazda2 in this example, because the bigger, 20 hp greater engined heavier car (Fiesta) here in Cd, gets higher FE ratings than the Mazda2, so actually further supported my point. Planting an auto instead of the std just exemplifies that even more so.

    Some of these super high numbers they are getting is coming at the expense of some pretty complex technology, (that in some brands, even while still under wty they are having a hard time fixing and debugging...just think Equinox as only one of quite a few examples) but imagine the costs later on down the road once out of wty? I think the best cars to have for the next decade (unless we get more diesels...and even those have a lot more complexity to meet ever more rigid emissions stds) have been between 03 and 09. The extra FE they are getting out of new ones will probably not pay off in the end when you start paying to have that technology 'fixed' and you can't drive your car even at reduced fuel mileage until you do.

    A lot of what is going on now is to cater to the NA political green effort. Meanwhile, 3rd world countries are still spewing their dirty exhaust into the same atmosphere as ours and in far greater numbers.

    Balanced tech, we just need some balance..
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Interesting that you mention Fiesta and Mazda2 in this example, because the bigger, 20 hp greater engined heavier car (Fiesta) here in Cd, gets higher FE ratings than the Mazda2, so actually further supported my point. Planting an auto instead of the std just exemplifies that even more so.

    Yes, but that's because Ford gave the Fiesta super-tall gears (with two more ratios in the automatic vs the Mazda2) to achieve extra FE.

    I would posit that it has little to nothing to do with the increased size of the Fiesta's engine, and EVERYTHING to do with the Fiesta's gearing, which makes it drive like a dog in higher gears (and which is why it is more than a full second slower to 60 mph than the Mazda2).

    When they gear them to be fast and fun, the FE suffers. When they don't, they can achieve some higher EPA numbers. Not rocket science. Of course, if they made them faster by leaving the gearing the same and adding expensive technology like DI, we could have the best of both worlds perhaps......but they probably won't, because they are trying very hard to meet a specific and very low price point. :-(

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

  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    About 2 or 3 weeks ago, I guess when site was still the old format, but not sure, i read a review or test on the Fiesta or one of the small new cars. And at the end they had comparo comments about the Fiesta, Mazda2, Fit and i think Yaris. Yesterday i spent an hour trying to find that test and while i found various site pages that came close, I never did find that those same comments. Do you know where they are, cuz wasn't you who test drove the Fit etc and wrote a good post on your test drive? I figure you must know that review Edmunds did?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My point was that in hard city driving, hybrids and the like don't get much better MPG than the normal cars that they are based off of. If the vehicle has too little torque and too tall gearing, you have to push it really hard to keep up with traffic. And that kills your fuel economy.

    I don't think that Top Gear episode represented city driving at all.

    Think about it - they drove around a track with no traffic at all, at the Prius' maximum possible speed.

    I commute in DC city traffic every day, and let me be totally clear about this - THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

    Never, ever, ever, ever, ever!

    Traffic, around me at least, is the exact opposite - you creep along slowly, never full throttle. Hybrids can creep using electric power only. Diesels get 0 mpg and idle constantly. At least hybrids aren't burning fuel while idling.

    I think half of my commute is with my car at idle. Start/stop alone would make a big improvement.

    The only time you could use more than 20-40% throttle here in DC is at 4 o'clock in the morning, and cops would think you're a drug dealer.

    Top Gear may have simulated a drug dealer escape through the streets of DC at 4am, but that's about as close to city driving as they got.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Actually no, I hadn't read that comparo and would be VERY interested to do so! If you find it again please link it in here. :-)

    There WAS a comparison of the '09 Fit Sport vs the '10 Euro-spec Fiesta, which was interesting enough, but no-one has bothered to include the Yaris in a comparo in quite a while, as far as I know. Too bottom-of-the-barrel I guess.

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

  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    ok will do..but it was u that really liked the std tranny Fit right? And said you could spent all day in the seat, but wouldn't want to have to in the Yaris? You have an Echo now? Or who am i confusing u with? If it's not you I might be able to find that thread cuz that comparo might have been linked.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Yup, that was me. The Yaris's seat isn't terrible, but I much prefer the Fit's seat.

    I am now getting calls from that dealership, claiming that if I was serious about cross-shopping the Fit, then I drove the wrong car. I should have driven the xD, and they can do BIG discounts right now on the xD (which supposedly has no-haggle pricing) because it is the end of the year.

    I don't really want a Scion, and the xD in particular is almost as big as the Matrix (I prefer a smaller car, as some here will have discerned! :-P), but maybe if I get a minute I will go over there and drive one....

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

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,608
    We liked the xD better than the Fit. I don't think I'll mention your post to my wife though. :D

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    What about it did you like more?

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

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,608
    edited December 2010
    Liked the shape quite a bit better (more hatchy, like the old Rabbit/Golf than the mini minivan Fit), liked the more upright seating position, seemed to have better road manners on the interstate, and it seemed set up a little better for roof racks. We just tested the manual. I thought the Fit and xD both shifted good and the manuals both seemed peppy enough.

    Liked the blue color but it chips easily. The Fit is roomier, but we could thought we could live with the xD just fine. And yeah, we like minivans, but in a smaller car, we tend to like a hatch or boxier shape more. Transit Connect appeals to us. Have to admit the C-Max looks pretty good in the pictures though, and it resembles a Fit (at least more so than the xD).

    Obviously more people like the Fit, and it'll have better resale. I sometimes wonder if Scion is even going to be around next year!

    Let us know what kind of ballpark figure gets thrown your way.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    According to Wikipedia, the xD and Yaris are built on the same platform, so it can't be all that big.

    "The xD is... essentially a mildly elongated five-door Toyota Vitz. The Vitz is a three-door marketed in the U.S. as the Yaris. Thus, the five-door Yaris was not offered in the U.S. market when the three-door and sedan were launched; however, as of 2009, the five-door Yaris will be offered in the US."

    Steve's concern about Scion's future appears to be valid. Their sales are WAY down from pre-economic crash days. I would think that a $0.75 jump in the price of gas would get them back on track over-night. :P

    (Assuming that a gas-price jump didn't send the economy into another tailspin.) :sick:
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    edited December 2010
    the new 2011 Scion FR-S drift-able coupe and sedan.

    image
    2011 Scion FR-S Coupe

    There was online confirmation on a FT-86 enthusiast's website the other day that Toyota still intends to sell the base model for a price in the low 20's.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,310
    I like the appearance of the xD more than the Fit too. I don't think I'd let Scion's questionable future stop me from choosing that brand, since I'm confident Toyota would stand behind warranties and most parts if it decided to fold Scion into Toyota. Sure, it would be more difficult to find certain Scion body and trim parts in 12 or 15 years than for a Honda or Toyota, but by that time the car would be close to used up anyway.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    I've looked at both the xD and the Fit (prev. generation) and there are pros and cons to each.

    With the xD, as has already been noted, it's a size up from the Fit, Yaris, Fiesta, etc. I think of it as more of a Corolla sized hatch - same 1.8L 128 HP engine, IIRC. Decent amounts of room, and the rear seat slides forward and back, to increase rear seat legroom or luggage space depending on your needs. I didn't like the dash at all, especially the counter intuitive tach / speedo combination. Gimmicky for no apparent reason.

    The Fit, OTOH, is a nice sized package with lots of flexibility. The one thing I noticed when driving it was that there wasn't really a good place for my left foot when not using the clutch .. has this been addressed with the new version?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That drives me nuts - Hondas are supposed to be driver-oriented and they often forget a dead pedal.

    In a clutch car that's inexcusable. I want one even if it's automatic!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    edited December 2010
    The new Fit has a dead pedal and maplights, two things missing from the old model that I would miss if I didn't have them.

    They offered me $1000 flat off any new 2010 Scion in stock, but among the xDs they had only automatics remaining. :-(

    They did have an xB manual they wanted about $16,000 for, but they ruined the looks of the xB when they restyled it, not to mention it has piss-poor fuel economy now.

    All of the reviews on-line, including Edmunds, said the xD is OK as an inexpensive people-mover, but don't expect anything in the way of driving dynamics. And as michaell noted, the gauges are just dumb, with the speedo and tach rotating counter-directionally to each other, and both in the same gauge face. I didn't bother to drive one.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't like center mounted gauges so you don't have to convince me...
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,310
    While I prefer the styling of the xD over the fit, from the reviews I've read I'd choose the Fit. I've also read that the seating position of the xD's driver's seat is uncomfortable for some people.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    No, the xD's gauges are in the usual spot behind the steering wheel.

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

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    edited December 2010
    And as michaell noted, the gauges are just dumb, with the speedo and tach rotating counter-directionally to each other, and both in the same gauge face. I didn't bother to drive one.

    This is in the Scion xD? Rotating speedo and tach, different sides of the same gauge face on what...every different start-up of the car? What is that supposed to mean, anyway? :confuse:

    The speedometer and the tachometer always stay in the same guage-face but rotate around each other indiscriminately, as the Scion's dashboard computer sees fit for that particular time? This is turning sort of Japanese video-gamish, sort of like the 2011 Scion FR-S' dashboard, which includes a racetrack layout as sort of a gimmick. :)

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    edited December 2010
    jeez, man... just google it:

    image

    It's a little weird, but you would probably get used to it in a couple of days.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Chevrolet to add the Sonic name, drop Aveo on its next subcompact

    Chevrolet will drop Aveo and adopt a new name - Sonic - when its remodeled entry-level subcompact debuts next year.

    Chevrolet and General Motors Co, officials have been considering a name change for the subcompact sedan since October. GM North America President Mark Reuss said confusion over how to pronounce “Aveo” had sparked the desire for a change.

    “The Sonic represents a new beginning for Chevrolet in the small car segment and so we felt it was time to give it a new name,” Chris Perry, head of Chevrolet U.S. marketing, said in a statement today. “The new car is roomy, stylish and fun to drive, and Sonic is a youthful, energetic name that helps convey what this vehicle is about.”


    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20101210/CARNEWS/101219999

    Confusion over how to pronounce the name? Who are they kidding? Could it have ANYTHING to do with the fact that the Aveo was a STUNNINGLY cheap little crapbox from the former Daewoo in Korea?

    So it's another "fresh start" for a Chevy model. We will see what the next one looks like at the Detroit show.....it IS interesting to me personally that they plan to build it in the U.S. though. That will put it in a class of one among subcompacts. There are several Mexican-built subs though.

    And if it holds true up until production, the 500 from Fiat will become the second model in that class.

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

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    edited December 2010
    thousand words. Or at least 25 or 30 words that really mean anything.

    image

    I've seen bigger reasons than this to turn a particular car model down, for sure, for sure. Seems like it might even be a desirable thing after 10 or 15 trips in the car, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 30,536
    I sort of like that... better than the tach being hidden in a smaller pod, off to the side...

    I like the Porsche way... A big stinking tach, right in the middle... with the speedometer off to the side..

    Speaking of center instruments.... the MINI has that big dog dish speedo in the center of the dash, but some option packages put the tach mounted on the steering column, in front of you, with a digital speedometer readout within the tach dial... I like that the best, I think...

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Speaking of center instruments.... the MINI has that big dog dish speedo in the center of the dash, but some option packages put the tach mounted on the steering column, in front of you, with a digital speedometer readout within the tach dial... I like that the best, I think...

    Yep, my daughters' '10 MINI has that setup.

    I suppose you can get used to anything. I've been driving the '06 ION for about 9 months now and am used to the center mounted gauges.

    The problem with the xB, IMHO, is that they went to the 2.4L engine and increased the weight by almost 25% from the previous incarnation, which killed the fuel economy. But, I suspect Toyota was OK with that, as they found that older folks were buying the xB in droves, so more room and more power seemed inevitable.

    nippon - so, at the moment you're rating the Fit #1, Yaris #2, Mazda 2 #3 and the Fiesta #4, correct?
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    "Confusion over how to pronounce the name? Who are they kidding? Could it have ANYTHING to do with the fact that the Aveo was a STUNNINGLY cheap little crapbox from the former Daewoo in Korea? "

    My thought exactly when i read that garbage. Ya know...it's statements like that that actually give me great pause when considering ANY GM product. (the Cruze being in my sights for its apparent extremely quiet interior and solid but compliant ride)

    I'm sure they consider it marketing (cover your butt) speak, but I consider it DISHONEST. Since those of us in 'the know' are aware of the level of cr&p they were shovelling when they said that, do they honestly expect us to believe anything else that comes out of their mouths or factories? I take that as an INSULT to my intelligence. So much so that I think I will go in and test drive the Cruze and thrash it to within inches of its life, and then go back and park it, never to darken their dishonest doors again.

    Don't these idiots realize that if they try to shovel carp to intelligent people they will retaliate with their wallets? Geez, it is not rocket science. If i were in charge I would FIRE both Mark Reuss AND Chris Perry....oh wait...the first idiot is NA's Pres of GM...so the dishonesty begins right at the top...need I elaborate more?

    Confidence in the new GM? I think NOT..
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