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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?



  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    Fully loaded Versa with destination charges and tax and license in my area (7.25%) comes out to a total of: $19,200.

    Without T&L, about $17.9.

    Seems pricey for what you get.

    A fully loaded Focus comes out to $21,405.

    Plus, the Versa comes with a lot of items you can't even get on a Focus, such as sat radio, bluetooth, and push-button ignition.

    It's also physically a bigger car than the Yaris or Fit.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,287
    really? 21.5K for a Focus? GEEZ.....

    What do you mean by "push-button" ignition? Do you mean key-less ignition (key in your pocket) or just a push button starter?

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,988
    i checked out the latest iteration of the build it site for the Versa. An SL 6 speed, with every option except the sport package (which is how I would get one) comes out to $17,005. Still not bad IMO for all the stuff you get, some of which you cannot get at all on other cars in or near it's class, certainly not the FIt/Yaris.

    I would have to see them all in person, or at least review the specs, but it almost seems that the Versa is 1/2 size above the Fit/Yaris, and the Caliber is at least 1 size up. Although they do seem to have comparable pricing, but not mileage.

    I did sit in the Dodge, and if the Versa gives similar space, it seems to me that those 2 can be considered "real" sized cars, not the undresized "toys" that some subcompacts seem to be (like an Aveo)

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (mine)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    I paid 24,000 plus tax for mine back in 2004 and I got every option but nav. When everyone else was paying 800-1000 above sticker for their cars I just paid sticker on my custom ordered MINI. At the time it was the only car they had sold in that color combinations with those options.

    With no options it would have been in the 19,000 dollar range. A MINI Cooper would have been 16,000 dollar range maybe less but at only 115 hp was not nearly enough for me.

    It is a premium small car for sure there is no doubt but I bet it is the most fun to drive of all the sub compacts. Our wholesaler would have bought it off of me for $17,500 as it was. I doubt any other sub compacts are going to have a real world 71% Residual value after two years and almost 28,000 miles. If I hadn't kept it in the family so I could buy it back later I could have sold it for between 20,500 and 21,000.

    Lets just say someone really beat me up and I sold it to them for 20,000 on the button. I also put new tires all the way around on it so figure another 500 dollars for the tires plus labor.

    My expenses to drive that car for two years and just under 28,000 miles were aproximately.

    4,000 dollars depreciation.
    720 dollars sales tax
    500 dollars property tax for two years
    220 dollars for registration(I got new plates twice)
    0 dollars in maitnence since MINs have pre paid maintence
    500 dollars for tires
    2,400 dollars 100 dollars a month insurace over 24 months
    Fuel I have to really guess on this since I stopped keeping my fuel log after the first year.

    Life time average fuel economy was about 29 mpg
    Always put premium in it so we will say $2.50 a gallon
    28,000 miles divided by 29 equals 965.5 gallons times $2.50 equals $2413.75 for fuel.

    so add it up.

    About 38 cents a mile which seems a little higher then I thought it would be. I know my insurance throws it up a little bit as I was under 24 and male most of the time I owned the car.

    I am still male by the way incase you were wondering.

    Edit oops screwed up some numbers correcting.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,913
    What do you mean by "push-button" ignition?

    At the Philly show they explained it as "keyless" (key in your pocket and push a button) ignition.

    About 4-5 weeks until I can take a test drive here :)

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,287
    Okay thanks for the interesting data on that. I agree, the Cooper S is the only one to buy. With 115hp for the base model, you might as well buy a substantially cheaper subcompact and get the same basic performance (but not the same handling of course). Also the MINI repair record is a bit scary, or was.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    " I doubt any other sub compacts are going to have a real world 71% Residual value after two years and almost 28,000 miles."

    After 2 years and about 24,000 miles, I got $15,000 on trade for my RSX, which I bought for $19,500 + ttl. Isn't that about 75% real world residual?

    Of course, cars like RSX are not really what this thread is about (although it is technically a subcompact), especially since RSX is about to go away forever. :cry:

    I will tell you one thing that is "wrong" with these new subcompacts, though, and that is that they are in such high demand that no-one has any to test drive! Almost eight weeks into Fit availability, and I have yet to find a dealer that has a manual in stock that isn't pre-sold. So, I still haven't had a chance to drive one. :-(

    Have sat in one a couple of times though. Have confirmed that I "fit behind myself" in the rear seat, and that the seats are very comfortable, and a bit more substantial than the ones in the Yaris.

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

  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    Almost eight weeks into Fit availability, and I have yet to find a dealer that has a manual in stock that isn't pre-sold.

    Same problem I've had, and it is the same way with the Scion xAs; they are all automatics.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    buy an automatic one of these cars. Ughh.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,790
    Some people just cannot drive a manual for whatever reason. Some people have drives that make manuals a nightmare (if you drove the commute that I had last year in a manual you would most likely get to your destination and rip that transmission right out of your car).

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    At the Philly show they explained it as "keyless" (key in your pocket and push a button) ignition.

    About 4-5 weeks until I can take a test drive here

    Yeah, it's pretty slick. The only thing you get to start the car is the fob; I assume there is some sort of RFID tag inside, that will make the push-button ignition work. I know the Altima's version also unlocks the door as soon as you touch the handle, but I don't know if the Versa works the same way.

    There was a good article in the freep this morning on the Versa, comparing it to the other subcompacts:

    Nissan Versa hatchback offers more room than competitors

    One thing I didn't know is that the seats are made out of that memory foam that they use with mattress toppers, pillows, etc... my wife and I bought one earlier this year in "topper" form, and it is incredible. I imagine the Versa seats are incredibly comfy if that is indeed what they are using.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,024
    A national finance magazine is looking to interview consumers who are looking to purchase a or have already purchased the new subcompact cars because of the high cost of fuel. Please send an e-mail to no later than Saturday, June 10, 2006 by 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET containing your daytime contact information and the vehicle you are considering.


    A national finance magazine is looking to interview consumers who have traded-in their larger SUV for a smaller vehicle, because of the high cost of gas. Please send an e-mail to no later than Saturday, June 10, 2006 by 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET containing your daytime contact information and car you traded-in and the current car you own.

    Chintan Talati
    Corporate Communications

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  • First off, I bought a Dodge Caliber before DCX pulled the deals on them to try to slow down sales... I paid $15.2k for an SXT automatic (CVT) model that had a sticker of $17.3k. I like the car so much, I was thinking of getting another one, maybe a stick for MPG, and letting my wife drive the CVT... But, right now, you can't get a stick Caliber, or a good deal on one, so I started looking at other cars.

    I've no idea what planet some of the reviewers live on when they write about the Yaris. One said the interior was "handsome." This is a joke - its terribly low-rent in every way imaginable. The 1.5 liter power plant is smooth but the car is grossly underpowered even considering its light weight. I also drove a Scion 5-speed with the 1.5 liter engine and found it to feel like it had a rubber-band for an engine. Everything about the Yaris felt noticeably cheap after driving a Caliber.

    Price-wise, the dealer had a 4-door auto Yaris without the power package or keyless entry, which I require and it was $14.1k. That sounds cheap, but adding the required options for most people easily takes it to $15.5k for a car that has no style or performance whatsoever- that's not a great deal.

    Frankly, the more I looked at the Yaris the less I liked it compared to the Caliber - the Yaris did not have side airbags either - that would take it to $16k or more... Now we are entering the territory of the Caliber or the Versa. The salesman even agreed with me that a well-equipped Yaris would fall well short of the Cailber in terms of style and driving manners, but be almost equal in price.

    I'd like to have a car that got super MPG, but that's the only thing I could see going for the Yaris. For what you get, its not really a deal in my opinion.

    I'll look into the Versa, which is close to the Caliber in size/style and close to the Yaris in MPG and hopefully can be had for a reasonable price.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,054
    they'd offer a version of the Caliber with the 2.4 and an automatic/CVT, but with just FWD. I'm guessing the added weight of the AWD system probably hurts both economy and performance. I read a test somewhere, where they said that the 2.4 really didn't perform significantly better than the 2.0/CVT, because of the added weight and drivetrain sap.
  • tsgeiseltsgeisel Posts: 352
    I love my Hyundai, but I would love to have a little jellybean car to zoom around in.

    I've got an Elantra Hatchback. So I have a big jellybean car to zoom around in. Seems to be the best of both worlds to me.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    to cars the size of the Caliber, you have to take Matrix into account too - it has the same power (but more interior room) than Versa, costs the same, and lacks a few of the nicest features available on the Versa.

    Thing is, we are really talking about two different size classes of cars here: Caliber is not a subcompact, neither is Matrix, and in fact it appears that Versa is pushing that limit too.

    However, if you load up the subcompacts, they get to a price that crosses over with the cheapest cars of the next class up. And right now, there are a couple of cars worth considering at their lowest price points (Caliber being one, Matrix/Corolla another) if you are looking at a loaded-up B-segment car as the alternative. In most cases though, fuel economy will suffer.

    Versa is a bad example there: it is going to make only 33 mpg combined, which is the same as Matrix. Caliber with the CVT is even lower than both at 26/30, or 28/32 with the 1.8 that you can only get in certain trims (and with no CVT option, I believe).

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

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Caliber weighs about 3000 lbs, so there goes your gas mileage!

    May as well get a larger, somewhat heavier Camry LE 4-cylinder, which is rated at 24/33 with the automatic. Padded (oops...soft-touch) dash standard, unlike the Caliber's rock hard plastic.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,054
    Caliber weighs about 3000 lbs, so there goes your gas mileage!

    The domestics have been making 3000+ lb cars for about 20 years now which can hit 30 mpg on the highway, yet still perform better than a Caliber 2.4! So I'm just wondering if that AWD setup is sapping alot of power?

    Also, the Caliber 2.4 is a new engine, right? A joint venture among Hyundai/Mitsubishi/DCX? Someone please tell me this isn't the old 2.4 from the Stratus/Sebring sedans...the one that dates back to the old K-car 2.2/2.5! :cry:

    Also, why does it seem that CVT's tend to sap alot of power, yet also hurt fuel economy at the same time? I thought they were supposed to improve both? But if you look to cars like the Ford 500, the regular automatic gets slightly better economy. And I think Saturn gave up on the CVT with the Ion, because it didn't perform well, didn't do anything for economy, and was troublesome. Is the CVT just something that works better in theory than in real life, and is better suited to tractors and other lawn equipment?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    I think it is better suited to either very light weight cars or needs to be designed by Nissan. They make more CVT trannys then anyone else.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,287
    Okay! I road tested the new Toyota Corolla and compared driver's room to the Scion xA and there is no discernible difference in head, shoulder or leg room. The leather seats were more comfortable, the power was about the same up to 75 mph at least, the Corolla had of course a generous trunk and a slide through in the rear seats, so it wins hands down in storage (with the back seats UP). Also I thought the Corolla rode better but it was no Lexus.

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  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    "However, if you load up the subcompacts, they get to a price that crosses over with the cheapest cars of the next class up."

    Even you Nippon make the statement that makes sub compacts a hard sell to the masses. The next step up indicates you can get a better car for the same money.

    I just got back from my vacation and having spent two days of it in London I may have to reconsider my statements about sub compacts. While I did see a few smart cars I will still say the market is strongly in the Accord, Camry, Altima camp. These people are paying about 2 bucks a liter and still the Focus sized cars are the most common we see.

    As for third world countries? I don't think sub compacts are strong enough to hold up to the bad roads. But I do think I discovered where all the Toyota and Nissan diesel mini vans went. And we aren't talking turbo charged diesels either.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    The 2.4 is the new engine from the Hyundai/Mitsu/DCX joint venture. It is used only in the AWD Caliber, IIRC. There are 2 other engines in that family, the 1.8, used in the manual transmission Caliber, and the 2.0, used in the FWD CVT Caliber. This last is EPA rated at 26/30.
  • This is a personal opinion, but I would NEVER buy a car assembled in Mexico. The Versa is assembled in Mexico, as will the new Sentra. The Fit is assembled in Japan. That, to me anyway, is a big selling point and is one of the reasons I purchased the Fit. I looked inside a Caliber "R/T" which is the top of the line right now, and the interior was extremely cheap looking. Some type of silver paper looking stuff all over the center gauge console. Cheap looking seats, shifter, etc. The Fit looks very upscale and expensive in comparison.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,988
    Yeah, but all the pieces are designed in the US, and probably made all over the world, then shipped to Mexico for assembly. So, it would probably look exactly the same if it was made in Canada or Michigan.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (mine)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    "Even you Nippon make the statement that makes sub compacts a hard sell to the masses. The next step up indicates you can get a better car for the same money."

    No, it indicates you can get a BIGGER car for the same money. It will have less features, but more passenger room. Bigger and better are not synonymous terms.

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

  • crimsonacrimsona Posts: 153
    On the other hand, replace Mexico with China and I'm sure there'll be even more people who are skeptical about production quality. Japanese design or not, I'd be much more accepting of a Japan design and Japan made Fit than a Japan design Chinese made Fit.

    Similar idea with the Mexican Versa, albeit not to that extreme
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The Fit is assembled in Japan. That, to me anyway, is a big selling point and is one of the reasons I purchased the Fit.

    Scion ranked Number 26 with 140 problems per 100 vehicles.

    Scion xB made in Japan.
    Scion xA made in Japna.
    Scion tC made in Japan.

    Wow! Thank you for qualifying your statement as opinion. Buying based on origin of assembly does not define quality.

    Brands with the fewest manufacturing defects and malfunctions, the study showed, were BMW, Chrysler, Hyundai, Lexus, Porsche and Toyota. The fewest design/technology problems were found in vehicles made by GMC, Hyundai, Jaguar, Lexus, Nissan and Porsche.

    Honda scored too low to make either category. :surprise:

    Toyota, Nissan, GMC and Chrysler all manufacture vehicles in Mexico.

    Hyundai, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche do NOT manufacture vehicles in Japan.


    The Fit looks upscale and expensive? :sick: OK, compared to a Caliber it certainly has better quality of materials.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    or a Caliber but I have the infamous 7-car comparo found in May's C&D in my hot little hands and I've derived some interesting information from it. And I have spent time oogling a 2007 Toyota Yaris sedan with 5-speed tranny, abundant airbags and several nice options for $14,675, at my local dealer. That car is gone from their lot but I sure like the Yaris sedans body style a lot. A few comments, though, from the mag's comparo.

    To sum it up the Honda Fit is the answer to everyone's econo-car needs everywhere. Great ride, great fuel economy, well-built inside and out. Beat out the Nissan Versa by 25 points and the Kia Rio5 came in 3rd place.

    Out of their field in that comparo I would pick the Kia Rio5 or the Toyota Yaris sedan. That is for many reasons, but the main thing I like about the Yaris sedan is it's looks. Also the legendary Toyota quality and resale value and the fact that it gets 34 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway.

    The reason that I would pick the Kia Rio5 are many and include brand loyalty(my last two new cars have been Kia's and they've worked out very, very well for me), price, $14,195 for a loaded Rio5 speaks volumes to me, that for a great little hatchwagon. Also the Rio5 reportedly drives like a little racecar, similar to reports from people on how they loved their late 80's Honda CRX's, great response when being pushed into turns and also great tracking from the car's steering system. A good stereo and good suspension and solid powerplant backed by an unbeatable Long-Haul Warranty. I'd get the Rio5, gentlemen, hands down.

    I will be watching and seeing how people are digging their Yaris sedans and seeing how well their powertrains and electricals are holding up for the long run, yes I will. Kia has already proven to me their systems are there for the long run. It's very doubtful I will leave Kia when it comes time to make my next new car purchase. :blush:

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • crimsonacrimsona Posts: 153
    Scions aren't even available up here, so I can't even look at one in person, much less buy one. I did take a look at the Yaris 5-door, but felt it was sub par for not much less.

    The 07 Fit is produced at the Suzuka factory, which has been pumping out JDM Fits since its release back in 02. I don't anticipate any bugs that have to be ironed out, whereas I'd expect with the full model change at whatever new factory the US Fits will be produced at. I'm looking at one model, not the whole brand - it doesn't affect me where S2000's are made, for example.
  • harrycheztharrychezt Posts: 405
    Yes, Scion as a brand ranked 26th. The tC, however, is another story(see the rankings of the top 3 vehicles in each catagory, in the JD Powers survey/link above).
    The top 3 sporty compacts were Miata, Tiburon, then tC, for 3rd place.
    For compact cars, Hyundai tied Toyota(Elantra/Corolla) and Civic was 3rd/ It was Toyota, Hyundai, Honda.
    Yes, there are some big 3 brands in the survey top 3 ,too, like Grand Prix, Corvette, etc.

    Oh, for iluvmysephia1; Kia Rio was tied for top subcompact, with Suzuki's Aerio

    take care/not offense.
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