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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Your comment:
    "Or....go out and buy a nimble yet reasonable sized vehicle that gets good gas mileage and LEARN HOW TO DRIVE and AVOID getting into an accident. It's worked for me so far."

    I could not agree more, I do the exact same thing.

    However let's not take my earlier comment out of context as I was addressing the people who worry about safety and make it tops on their list. My entire comment from that post is below:

    "So bottom line is if safety is something you worry about, forget about anything in the subcompact or compact, or even mid size class for that matter.
    Go out and buy yourself the biggest, heaviest, gas guzzler available, feed that beast at 12mpg and you'll have the best chance of surviving an accident. No worries"

    Me? I'm a sports car fan and love small cars. Thus I will simply take my chances and enjoy!
  • If you are running into a stationary object, having less mass is a good thing?
  • If you are running into a stationary object, having less mass is a good thing?

    F=MV^2
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,676
    And what is the Tahoe's rollover rating relative to a Versa?

    Be truthful, how many rollovers have you ever seen? I can only think of two in the last two decades and both have been sports cars.

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

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,744
    Your explanation of Toyota's success aligns pretty well with my take on the subject. But there very success is achieved using the same principal that has limited sub compacts and small hatches from becoming popular in the US for more than 30 years. Unless you care to include SUVs in the hatchback family.

    every time they try to introduce a new sub compact or a hatch the American consumer shows some interest but nothing to write home about. Then they add a few ponies and maybe a few pounds and a few inches and the new and improved sub compact starts selling. Only now it is a compact or the size of a standard compact. even the Mini only looks like a mini but is bigger. Having driven one of the originals I can attest that the new mini has about as much in common with the old mini as a new Thunderbird has with the origional 55-56. Yes it looks like an old cooper but it is way bigger and has a lot more in the inside than the old one.

    I used to run Auto cross in a 1963 sprite and I can not tell you how happy I was when the 64 cooper S was moved out of the 1 liter class. It was bad enough getting waxed by the 970 cc standard S. When they went over 1000 cc and finally to 1275 cc they had to race with the bigger MGs and Triumphs. Still the only options might have been floor mats. However the origional was only 120 inches long 80 inch Wheel base and something a bit less than 1500 pounds. So what has happened to sub compacts? The BMW mini is a bit more than 2 feet longer and 1100 pounds heavier and has an additional 100 HP. The Sub compact only sells well in the US when it starts to look more like a standard compact. Or when people are afraid of gas lines.

    I will give them this, they keep trying to release sub compacts but the consumer keeps leaving them as soon as someone offers more HP, or more comfort, or a bit more room. It always happens and ten years from now we will see a whole new crop of Sub compacts to replace the ever increasing size of the Reo or the mid sized xJ that replaced the origional xA. The American consumer can be slowed but hardly ever stopped from wanting something bigger than a sub compact. Unless it is for a second or third car then people will buy just about anything.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,744
    I have seen a few more, living in the mountains. But the last one was a Saab. However like you I see more sports cars over on their sides. Once again that is because mountain roads seem to cause sports car drivers to make mistakes they shouldn't make.
  • Be truthful, how many rollovers have you ever seen? I can only think of two in the last two decades and both have been sports cars.

    It snowed pretty good Monday night/Tuesday and the roads still weren't so good on Wed early morning...

    1 upside down Dodge Ram, 1 Hyundai the one smaller than a Sonata but bigger than an Accent in the ditch right side up, 1 upside down Trail Blazer tangled up with a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and 1 upside down Explorer tangled up with a Volvo I couldn't tell what it was.

    We got a good snow one Sunday night in December, and that Monday going to work I saw 3 SUVs with the rubber up, 2 pickup trucks, and a few midsize sedans parked at the guard rail.

    My commute is ~35-45 minutes in good weather depending on traffic, these were both over an hour (mostly because of the accidents). I saw no passenger cars inverted (crunched and stuck, yes, but all were shiny side up).
  • However the origional was only 120 inches long 80 inch Wheel base and something a bit less than 1500 pounds. So what has happened to sub compacts? The BMW mini is a bit more than 2 feet longer and 1100 pounds heavier and has an additional 100 HP. The Sub compact only sells well in the US when it starts to look more like a standard compact.

    While the new Mini is considerably larger than the original, it's still a subcompact. Nobody's going to confuse it's tiny (compared to most of the rest of the US market) size with any compact or midsized car. It LOOKS like a subcompact because it still IS a subcompact...no matter how much it weighs (because of safety regulations) or how much larger it is than the diminutive original or how much you may pine for a 1,500-pound, 10-foot long car.

    Oh...and it sells in the US as a subcompact. Hmmm...kinda takes the wind out of your argument, doesn't it?
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Kudos for the great post!

    You bring up a lot of very valid and interesting points.

    I too had one of the original Mini Cooper S models, and as you said, they were a lot smaller and simpler than the current version. No doubt about it.

    Every time I go to Europe on business, or to Italy, or for that matter Germany, I simply drool at all the great cars there. The public has such a different outlook there than the people in the US. The get all the good cars and they deserve to. However that said, it's a shame that the US buyers make it impossible for those same cars to be shipped over here and enjoy the type of sales numbers it would take to keep them here.
  • ttaittai Posts: 114
    3 this year. All suv's.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,676
    Oh I see cars in the ditch all the time after bad winter storms. But thats not the same as a roll over.

    The Hyundai you are thinking of is the Elantra.

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "However that said, it's a shame that the US buyers make it impossible for those same cars to be shipped over here and enjoy the type of sales numbers it would take to keep them here. "

    You can say that again! If GM winds up bringing the Corsa over here intact, I will be very interested to see how many they can sell here.

    We really need to get the new Suzuki Swift GT on the market here, then the Cooper would finally have a proper competitor to butt heads with!

    And thanks, by the way, for your comments on the Civic SI v Mini Cooper. My intent was never to criticize or question your choices, but merely to wonder aloud at the motivations one might have for purchasing three seemingly similar vehicles. I think that was before I had quite figured out the extent of your personal car collection! May I ask how many you currently own?

    Civic SI and the Cooper S are on my B-list for my next purchase in a couple of years, when transaction prices have perhaps come down a bit....

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

  • Oh I see cars in the ditch all the time after bad winter storms. But thats not the same as a roll over.

    Oh, if its in a ditch on it's wheels it doesn't count, if its on its head, it counts. The last time I saw a car on its roof was going down 101 by Gonzales some lady in a Lancer hit the ditch and flipped. The passenger compartment was almost totally intact.

    Thats the difference between cars and SUVs, cars require a "trip" to roll, they have to hook their wheels on something, or fall off of something while SUVs don't require a trip to roll.

    The Hyundai you are thinking of is the Elantra.

    Yes, thats what it was, it was a 5 dr hatchback with three confused looking foreign nationals hovering about it.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,676
    if its on its head, it counts.

    I wouldn't say that it counts in every instance. A lot of ditches around here are deep enough that if a car goes in at a direct enough angle it will naturally end up on its front end.

    Yes, thats what it was, it was a 5 dr hatchback

    Ah a wannabe station wagon, why oh why did Hyundai stop making the wagon?

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

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    And thanks, by the way, for your comments on the Civic SI v Mini Cooper. My intent was never to criticize or question your choices, but merely to wonder aloud at the motivations one might have for purchasing three seemingly similar vehicles. I think that was before I had quite figured out the extent of your personal car collection! May I ask how many you currently own?

    Your Welcome, that's the only reason I mention my collection is in the event that someone has a question and would like to hear from someone that actually owns and drives a particular make and model, I'm more that happy to pass on my experience.

    Thanks for the clarification regarding your question why I have three similar vehicles, a question that by the way is not unusual to hear coming from my wife......ha....ha...ha....bless her, she puts up with my auto obsession. But then again, she gets jewelry..... I take good care of her. The joke in my family is that I don't smoke, drink, or cheat on her..... I simply buy a large number of cars. Which brings me to your question of how many. I hesitate to state that number as I really don't want to be flamed but hey........ my current collection numbers 64.

    Cheers.... :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "I hesitate to state that number as I really don't want to be flamed but hey........ my current collection numbers 64."

    Hey, the more the merrier, I always say! :-)

    (spoken like a true CCBAer)

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

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    You should create a Carspace.com page! :D
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,744
    "Oh...and it sells in the US as a subcompact. Hmmm...kinda takes the wind out of your argument, doesn't it?"

    Oh not at all. The mini cooper is only one example. And it is also a vehicle that has a niche almost all to itself. Still it is bigger than the origional. From the beginning I have stated that the new sub compacts to survive have to get bigger or add HP. In most cases they do both sooner or later. Scion has proven the point as has the Mini. To the Mini's credit it has only gained 200 pounds or so and the S has maybe 9 or ten more ponies. But 172 HP isn't bad for that size car. Just maybe best in class. The Scion on the other hand went from the 108-109 HP xA to the 128 HP xD and the xB went from 108-109 hp to 158 HP. It is almost a natural trend in what is bought by American consumers. I even predict that the fit will have more HP by the next generation presented to the US. I believe the xD had to get extra ponies because the Versa already had more HP than the old xA.

    A better test to how Americans will accept sub compacts with 100 hp motors will be when the Smart hits in full stride. I just don't believe a sub 100 HP car will make it with todays American consumer. If the Smart survives two generations it will have to get more ponies and bulk up a bit other wise they will continue to lose money as they have every where else they are sold.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,141
    my current collection numbers 64

    Good grief! I can understand your hesitation. My and my wife's families make fun of me for having 5!

    Where the heck do you keep them all?

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think more mass hurts rollovers. A high center of gravity does, but not necessarily mass. You would need more energy to roll it, i.e. higher speeds.

    Think about it - some of the worst cars are the lightest ones - the Suzuki Samurai for instance.

    Also, the Smart ForTwo tipped in that moose-avoidance test, so they widened the suspension and made stability control standard.

    In crash tests the Ford Escape tipped over in a side impact.

    It's the LIGHT cars with the high center of gravity that most often roll.
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