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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?



  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Opinions aside, what I like about the various cars we are discussing here is:

    1) Consumers have more and more choices.
    2) The more the better as it continues to ramp up competition.
    3) The more we talk about pros & cons the better, as the mfgs read these forums.
    4) Fuel companies prove, they are going to push for the highest fuel prices.
    5) Insurance also continues to climb, therefore the small car owners still save.
    6) Safety is not worth debating (IMO) as they are all safer than motorcycles.
    7) People love to talk about safety, but it doesn't sell cars. Think: Volvo
    7) Accident avoidance is a real achievable goal. (just not 100% of the time)
    8) Styling still rules as one of the top influences on what car people buy.
    9) Not everyone is an enthusiast, thus high performance is saved for certain cars.
    10) No one knows better than you, what car best fits your needs & desires.

  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Not seen the "Verve" but the Fiesta's in Europe are all hatchbacks with major dimensions of 3.92m long x 1.68m wide and weigh around 1100kg, (depending on model).

    We now have VW offering the Passat with the 1.4 TSI engine rated at 120bhp/155lbft and a 0-60 of 10.5secs. Smaller more efficient petrol, (gas), engines are starting to appear. At the other end of the scale, of course, we have Audi announcing their new R8 variant with a 5.9 V12 TDi engine giving 493bhp / 738lbft, (at just 1750rpm). Fun and v fast but irrelevant. Opposite ends of the scale from the same folks.

    From what I read and, (think), I understand on this excellent forum I doubt that the 1.4 TSI in a Passat would have much appeal in USA but I think it's a snapshot of a likely future.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Here are some pictures of the Verve

    Looks great to me!
    I simply prefer two door stying and a fresh look in this segment.
    This particular car is also quite appealing with the large diameter wheels and very clean styling with nice window outlines.
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Podred, Like the list, no arguments from here. I drive a Volvo but "Safety" wasn't my prime reason for buying it. It ticked lots of my personal boxes and the high safety perception was something of a bonus. Had Volvo had a very poor safety rating it would have been a no-no, of course. I'm too old and have driven too many "unsafe" cars to get very excited about perceived safety..........but would steer clear of anything actually considered "Unsafe".

    Lotus 7 ? Austin Healey Sprite, (the original) ? Not a lot of mechanical safety in those, so you learn to build safety into your driving. :)
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Podred, Thanks for the "Verve" link. I think WOW about sums up my initial reaction. I could learn to live with those looks very easily. :shades: Size is hard to gauge but it looks more Focus-size than you have any size comparators?
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    In retrospect, my post could easily be interpreted as "anti_Volvo" which could not be further from the truth.

    As one of my very favorite cars in my collection is a V70R, which I purchased because I love the Styling, Handling, Versatility and most of all, it's Buddy's Favorite (my dog). Of all the cars I currently own it's that very Volvo that continues to put a smile on my face every time I drive it.

    What I really meant in my post, was even though Volvo is a very safe car and that is the backbone of many of their advertisements, it's been proven through their owner surveys that it's not always the primary reason people buy the brand. Just like you said, it's a great "bonus".

    Furthermore, I just purchased the new Volvo C30 ver 2.0, and that car is really a tremendous vehicle. One that I believe is very overlooked and under advertised. One of the most innovative and freshest cars in the segment in a long time. Talk about looks, often I get more looks in that car that I do in my F430, however I live in Orange County CA where an F430 can easily be overlooked, a rather interesting observation. And yet, for some reason one car I own that seems to have a very broad appeal and gets the most looks on a consistent basis is my new Aston Martin DBS.

    Austin Healey Sprites, bring back great memories from my college days. Having more time than money, my Sprite was somewhat of a "beater" yet provided 4 years of very enjoyable inexpensive motoring. Which brings us back to economy cars, the very subject of this thread. Thanks for the memories....

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    According to Car & Driver:

    "But when the time eventually comes, Ford’s newest little car could take a really big bite out of the sales of the _like-sized_ Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Honda Fit."

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,744
    and the MG Midget were cars that simply aren't even a consideration anymore. With todays freeways you would be better off on a motorcycle. At least you could split lanes rather than be a sitting duck in traffic with a Excursion rolling up on you. My old Sprite was a fun car but there are places in Texas where flat out I couldn't keep up with tractor trailers in a head wind. If you remember the only thing between the driver and sitting outside was the thickness of the door panel. I don't remember there even being a cross brace in the door.

    Still there isn't enough fuel mileage difference between a sub compact and some of the 4 banger mid sized cars to justify down sizing in many cases. With the deals they are offering on most of the compacts sold today there isn't much of a price difference either. And looking at the Versa next to a Mazda3 there isn't much size difference. EPA and Edmunds calls the Mazda a Compact and the EPA calls the Versa a sub compact. The Mazda has a one inch longer Wheel base and weighs 100 pounds more. It has 26 Hp more and gets better highway mileage than the Versa. I have spent more than a $1000.00 to get another 16 HP out of my old PT and I didn't get better fuel mileage in return.

    If I sell my house this year and move to our place in the desert I might be interested in getting a new small car in a year or two. Unless sub compacts improve a great deal in fuel mileage during that time there isn't much real world advantages other than parking that would tempt me to go smaller than a Mazda3.

    However if someone likes smaller just to be smaller more power to them.
  • will share platforms with the new Mazda 2. The Mazda 2 is the closest Mazda ever made that I would consider parting cash for. And the new Ford Verve will share platforms with it. Mazda and Ford have just earned a lot more respect from me as I study these two new vehicles.


    I don't know about you guys but I see a lot to like about each of them. I will follow their development from the Arizona desert and continue to enjoy my Lancer compact and it's RF 650-watt stereo and sunroof. From what I can see this new Verve is the best small car design from Ford since the '65 Mustang. And that '65 Mustang was my first car. Humm...think I might favor small rigs just a bit here? :shades:

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    As a fellow "my 1st car was a 65 Mustang" guy, I too find the Verve quite compelling. However that said, Ford of Europe has always designed and produced great small cars. It's just that they never made it over here to the USA. When you and I were enjoying our Mustangs, in Europe they were enjoying the powerful Coventry Climax Twin Cam Engined Lotus / Ford Cortina. This was a coupe that combined superb handling, lots of power and great fuel economy, all in one tidy package. I had the pleasure of driving one for a week in London and the surrounding countryside, and it was a sheer delight.

    One could order a new Lotus / Cortina with the Coventry Climax engine in various horsepower outputs. The top engine at one point was a 1.5 liter , 170 hp, twin cam engine with dual Weber carbs and the entire engine only weighed 150lbs. All aluminum head and block, it was ahead of it's time. (source)

    Unfortunately the "average American" simply has little or no appreciation for really great small performance cars, therefore little demand. Combine that with the overall "greed factor" mentality of Ford's North American Operations and it's practice of pushing (huge profit margin) Trucks and SUV's just like General Motors and you see where they are coming from. These two mfgs in particular are addicted to super high profit per vehicle numbers. Then add to that, the glee and profit taking of Exxon, Chevron, Shell, etc, and we have one receipt for continued marketing and sales of gas guzzlers.
  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    If Ford can bring it over as is for under $17k, I'll be right behind you in line. If Ford starts Fording in up and de contenting it they will have another Focus on their hands.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    I could not agree with you more, unfortunately all the "good cars" seem to stay across the pond.

    Since I travel over there frequently, I have had the distinct pleasure of driving a wide variety of very interesting and fun small cars. Both in diesel and gas engined configurations, the choices are terrific and from an enthusiasts standpoint it just doesn't' get any better. :)
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Podred, Didn't take your post as "anti-Volvo" in any way, shape or form. I was merely presenting my personal view on Volvo and reasons for buying. Your dog has excellent taste in cars. New C30, eh. Very smart looking vehicle and it nearly got my vote over an S60 but rear-seat access rather spoiled it, (getting older with even-older relatives, so 2-doors not ideal. Otherwise.................).

    As for the other cars in your garage. What can I say, apart from; "Stunning" but I'm not really a Farrari fan. Aston's, though, have always lit my fire from the time I say Graham Gouldman, (10cc), taking delivery of his new DB5, (IIRC), when I was a lot younger - and so was he.

    A C30 D5 may yet replace my S60 D5 at some stage and I'll just apologies to the old(er) folks and tell them it was an "economy" decision.

    Nicely back to the real topic, I think. :)
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    It's hard to talk about the Smart since hardly anyone has even laid eyes on one yet.

  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Well, over here in Europe we've all seen lot's of Smart ForTwo's and we're a little underwhelmed, I guess. A great idea not particularly well executed. Great idea for a small car in the big city, but not really rated outside that envelope is, I think, the general concensus.

    However, I do recall being overtaken by one, (Pink over Charcoal - sweet!!), at 80mph+ on the E40 approaching the Brussels Ring Road one afternoon and thinking; "There's a brave lady - or a very foolish one". To my mind there is no comparison between the Smart and the other cars in the "Learn More" panel to the right.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Nice post, boaz47

    I enjoyed the points you made, especially the visuals created by your "Excursion rolling up on you" example....YIKES! Then your comment about the MB Midget door panel made me laugh so hard, as you are right, there was no cross brace whatsoever. My how times have changed...You also brought up some very valid points regarding the sub-compact / compact / mid-size comparisons as well.

    Myself? While I enjoy and appreciate the ability to have a modest collection of sports cars of various sizes, if I were limited to just one, it would be small. I simply love the "experience" of motoring around in a fast, maneuverable, car. I live close to the mountains and my " vice" is to drive through the winding roads every chance I get.

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Although I haven't had time to research it, I understand that Roger Penske is now behind the Smart car effort in the US and I find that very interesting.

    As you so aptly put it, the Smart ForTwo's are underwhelming, and I could not agree more. Even though I live in the US and have not seen one here yet, I was in London on business a few weeks ago and noticed a few. However I did not have an opportunity to see one sitting still. And yet I personally cannot imagine exposing myself by driving one in the midst of the average American "drivers" out on the freeway. Madness at it's finest.
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    It just struck me that your Nissan Versa bears a striking resemblance to the Nissan Note we get in U.K., albeit with slightly different nose treatment and quite different tail treatment, (hatch only here). Comes with 1.4 or 1.6 gassers or 1.5 dCI. 5-spd MT on the diesel and 1.4 and choice of 5MT or 4AT on the 1.6. It's based on the Renault Modus but isn't selling in great numbers - it's a fairly crowded sector.

    Over in Ireland, the same car is called the Tiida. Don't know what it's called in the rest of the EU, sorry.

    The other cars in the panel are as per U.K./Europe models,,,,,,,,,,,,,,other than you guys & gals will insist on putting the steering wheel etc on the wrong side. :)
  • under-development Ford Verve? And what looks to be a glass-covered ceiling as well. That is probably part of what I find appealing, as my wife and I enjoy the sunroof in our Lancer GTS.

    I read a review of the SmartForTwo in Automobile magazine. The guy started out in Phoenix and took one to the Grand Canyon to see what all the stink was about. Pick it up and read the article if you are at all interested in the new Smart. I too have read that Roger Penske is getting involved in selling the Smart in America.

    As for the article, he said that yes, the small car did get buffeted fairly well from semi-trucks on the highway but, he was surprised how he felt like he was driving a larger car than he really was driving. He loved it's parking and manueverability, as we might expect, too.

    He said that town driving was great and that on the freeway it was a rig that he had to concentrate on in keeping the small buggy in the right openings while steering. He didn't say steering was not true, just that steering seemed to take both hands and some concentration.

    He said that at one stoplight in Tempe a couple of girls were sitting next to him and laughing hard at him. He blew it off and reasoned that they just don't know. :shades:

    He wasn't particularly pleased with gas mileage, I believe he said 31 mpg(same that I get in my Lancer!!) and that acceleration was adequate with the little RWD tranny and 3 cyl motor. IIRC he also had automatic tranny paddle shifters to play with for changing "gears". Check me on that if you want. It was I believe the Jan.'08 Automobile, the little Smart car has it's picture on the front of the magazine with the article I'm talking about in it. I mention that just in case it was the Feb.'08 Automobile magazine, I've read so many in the last week or so. You'll benefit from it if you're interested in the car.

    I give it a big thumbs down for my driving desires and needs. :D

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    The other cars in the panel are as per U.K./Europe models,,,,,,,,,,,,,,other than you guys & gals will insist on putting the steering wheel etc on the wrong side.

    Thanks....that's the best laugh I've had today!

    And speaking from personal experience of driving a friends right hand drive Renault Megane Sport Hatch (Great Car!) the last time I was in Ireland...I felt like a fish out of water.... :confuse:
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