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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • the buyer gets a tax break,

    Only for a short while, then they start disappearing. Wrong snakeweasel, they only BEGIN to DECREASE in 3Q of this year for Prius, and will be in effect for some time after that...

    Smugness doesn't account for 1/4 million sales

    How long did it take to get to the 1/4 million mark? 10 years? Wrong again, the first hybrids were sold in the US about 6 years ago, and the current generation of Prius has only been out for two years and is now outselling BRANDS that have been in the US for much longer

    Smart has no economic incentives,

    Yes it does, it has better gas mileage and it doesn't have costly components that could break. Plus the Smart goes for 6,775 UK pounds, that translates to 12,800 USD, if it costs that when it gets here it would be thousands less than the Prius even with a tax rebate. Snake, did you do ANY research on this? The US version will be priced significantly higher due to modifications to meet US safety standards, so your budget is off, also Prius has been one of the most reliable cars in it's segment and the Hybrid powertrain is warrantied for 8 years...

    Its costs less, costs less to run and most likely be less expensive to maintain. Thats a strong economic incentive to me.

    so that's why it won't sell very well.

    Yeah 3/4 of a million over the past 7 or 8 years is very bad.

    Being hard-nosed about it, the economist would say: "what would motivate someone to buy one"?

    Ok since I have a degree in Economics I will answer that, if it is less expensive to acquire, run and maintain (which it looks like it could very well be on all three accounts) and it fits your needs thats motivation enough.

    Where's the payoff for them?

    Thousands of extra $'s in your pocket.

    Let me ask you this, you have a choice between two cars, both will fit your needs for what you will be driving it for both will cost the same to maintain and insure.

    Car 'A' costs you a total of $21,000 and gets 45 MPG.

    Car 'B' Costs you $13,000 and gets 50 MPG.

    What car do you get?

    If you say car 'A' (and you are) I have a wonderful deal for you (but please, cash only as checks can cause trouble in deals like this). As there is no real economic incentive for car 'A'. Again, you base this on a price that is incorrect, and you base your gas mileage off the Euro version, the US version geared to run at higher speeds that we require will likely get significantly less, and will also be a speed bump for 400hp Escalades getting on the freeway unlike a Civic Hybrid or Prius. Besides, for your extra $$ you get a car that can actually carry several adults AND a set of golf clubs with luggage.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    will also be a speed bump for 400hp Escalades getting on the freeway unlike a Civic Hybrid or Prius.

    Umm, to something like an Escalade, whether it's a Smart or Civic or Prius is irrelevant...they're ALL speedbumps! :P
  • A speed bump implies that driver of said Escalade would have to slow down first before running over them.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    It just occurred to me at Border's yesterday that $15,000 for a rig that you can pop into 4WD, AWD or gas-saving 2WD makes some serious sense.

    If true, that would make the SX4 more attractive. On the Suzuki site, it says that it will be permanent AWD.

    Swell feature for some, but I personally am not a fan of AWD. I would rather FWD in a compact like the SW4.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Snake, did you do ANY research on this? The US version will be priced significantly higher due to modifications to meet US safety standards,

    Are you sure about that?

    Currently the US versions cost more than their EU counterparts because bringing them up to US standards requires going to the aftermarket.

    The next generation SMARTs that Daimler will be selling in the US are designed to meet US and EU standards coming off the factory line.

    All things being equal, a next gen US or EU SMART should cost the same.

    I am in the middle in this debate. I really liked the SMART I rented in Italy. While I was in Rome, anyway. It is not a good freeway car. But for much of the East Coast, where people either live in dense cities, or live in suburbs where they drive to a train station that takes them to a big city, a SMART may be a real option. Same in Chicago, and quite frankly, San Francisco area and even LA.

    A lot of people complain about storage in the SMART. One thing you notice in NY is we in the US are on the cusp of many people discovering the joys of fresh groceries. Rather than buying processed stuff once a week and throwing it in the freezer, more people are buying fresh stuff a couple of times a week.

    My theory is that big vehicles are an impediment to living a more day to day existance. Even if modern technology improves gas mileage, you are always faced with trouble parking. After too many trips where half your time is spent looking for a parking space, you just stop trying.

    Small cars like SMARTS (or going car free - but that is for another forum) enable going out more and being part of the social fabric.

    I think as people discover this, it will pay off. I note even GM has been working on research on making SMART like cars that park by interlocking together in long chains.
  • new 2007 Suzuki SX4 unusual. You can pop it into 2WD(FWD)to get better gas mileage. Otherwise the car runs as an AWD vehicle and can also be run in 4WD mode. If Suzuki can pull this off for a low $15,000 price it can truly be a useful vehicle, IMHO.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Again, that is not how Suzuki describes it on their website. They do not have the full data there though. Maybe when they update.

    If so, the vehicle is more than just good looking (and you will find a while back on this very thread a number of us came to the consensus that Suzuki has made a rather attractive hatch to go along with the attractive XL7)
  • I really liked the layous of the Aerio hatch, which the SX4 is replacing. What I didn't like was that the height, which also affected the volume, affected the handling. There were also road-noise and engine-noise issues as reported by many review sites.

    If the new model can answer the concerns of the older ones, this is going to be a great deal for people.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057
    ...subcompacts have gotten, go torment yourself and rent a Monte Carlo like I had to do for two days...you'll come back to hug your little whatever after that experience....

    the "Smart Barrier" is easy to figure out...you pay a lot of money for very little car. It's not worth a penny over $8,000 IMHO and won't sell at a higher price point in America. ZAP is nuts with the $24,000 price tag. I'd be amazed if they sold their 250 car quota at that price, but I wish em luck because I like those guys. The Smart would be a good buy at $8,000 because that's what a good quality road motorcycle would cost you--and I think the Smart is really competing with motorcycles and off-beat electrics, not with "real" cars.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Several car mag reviews of the SX4 have mentioned it is a 3-mode system - FWD, AWD, or full 4WD. For $15K, I call that a bargain. But the version I would want with some of the little things I like (cruise and a stereo upgrade, A/C) is going to push $18K. Which is still a decent price.

    What's all this Prius debate? It isn't close to a subcompact. For the record the tax credit is $2600 for the remainder of this quarter. That's the equivalent of a rebate of $2600 - it is not a tax deduction, but an actual credit.

    It still costs a lot more than most of the subcompacts, most of which will get within 80-90% of its fuel efficiency in daily use, I should think.

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057
    Oh I brought up the Prius as an example of how incentives (economic, social) are motivators to people and influence what they do...e.g., if 2nd children were taxed heavily, birth rate might drop, or if someone paid for empty bottles, bottles would disappear from litter.

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  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    Truly an eclectic response when you threw in "car C". You are right on the money on that one. An old car that you own outright and have already amortized considerably, that admittedly gets low mileage, can still be the best answer for X period of time at sub $3 per gallon gas. Do the math. For example, $15K for a new high mileage car is not an advisable purchase if the same money was spent on gas for the old car and it ran for several more years.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,753
    Only for a short while, then they start disappearing. Wrong snakeweasel, they only BEGIN to DECREASE in 3Q of this year for Prius, and will be in effect for some time after that...

    isn't that what I said? FWIW we are already in the 3rd quarter of this year.

    Snake, did you do ANY research on this? The US version will be priced significantly higher due to modifications to meet US safety standards, so your budget is off, also Prius has been one of the most reliable cars in it's segment and the Hybrid powertrain is warrantied for 8 years...

    No one knows what the pricing will be yet so I am going by how much they are going for in other countries. I could have used Canadas prices which puts it at about 2K more but still significantly less than the Prius. And didn't the Prius have a issue when it just died on the highway?

    Again, you base this on a price that is incorrect, and you base your gas mileage off the Euro version, the US version geared to run at higher speeds that we require will likely get significantly less

    First off we don't know what the price will be yet, I may be low or I may be high. Yes modifying them to US standards will cost but then we don't have VAT to increase the price either. As for gearing them for higher speed, do you have a source for that?

    for your extra $$ you get a car that can actually carry several adults AND a set of golf clubs with luggage.

    Again if I don't need to carry several adults and golf clubs then why spend the extra cash? My daily drive hasn't had more than two people in it in three years.

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

  • I mentioned earlier that safety perception will be the first major hurdle of the Smart - even beyond "it only seats two".

    But the real test of it will be the engine. I mentioned acceleration to freeway speeds, and while people say it's not really meant as a commuter car, the reality is that in some area, "around town" means you'll need good accelaration.

    And then someone mentioned how it might be an easier sell in San Francisco, given the miniscule amount of parking that's available. And yes, that will be a selling point.

    But if that car can't hill climb at a reasonable speed, maybe 5 people will buy one before word gets around. There are streets in the city that even experienced mountain climbers would pause and reflect on. And if you've got a car that can't deal with that, you've lost a large part of your demographic.

    The US public cares about 3 things in their car: perception of safety, perception of image and perception of power. If you can sell two of those, you've got a hit. If you can only sell one, you've got a niche car. If you can't sell any - you've got an AMC Pacer.

    And it's already taking a hit on that second category.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,738
    funny thing is... prius has a 9.5 smog rating in ' california' states. rating is 8 in all others. pzev focus is rated at 9.
    ghg rating is pretty linear according to ACTUAL gas mileage.
    it depends on what your real world mileage is.
    overall, prius is a pretty practical, although not exciting car to drive and it does make a statement.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Several car mag reviews of the SX4 have mentioned it is a 3-mode system - FWD, AWD, or full 4WD. For $15K, I call that a bargain. But the version I would want with some of the little things I like (cruise and a stereo upgrade, A/C) is going to push $18K. Which is still a decent price.

    Thanks.

    I'll look out for the reviews.

    Wonder if you can fit a bike in the back (seats folded, of course) without breaking it down.
  • read some reviews, and they sound good(overseas reviews).
    fathe rin law just trashed his jeep grand cherokee laredo, and wants something smaller. Trying to talk him inot taking a trip to Suzuki and looking at the SX4(he "must" have 4wd/AWD... and wants better than 22-25MPG hwy, and must not be too costly).
    will he look? who knows. He wants a Sorento last Oct, but owed too much on his (not totalled) vehicle.
    He also spoke of the Santa Fe, but it's MPG is not so great, either.

    Hmmm... this little thread I started sure has legs!
  • A/C in as standard equipment on the brand new 2007 Suzuki SX-4, nippon. So far I see everything I would need included as standard equipment on this car.

    That would mean $15,000 would still be $15,000.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,753
    and while people say it's not really meant as a commuter car, the reality is that in some area, "around town" means you'll need good accelaration.

    I would say that driving around town the actual need for good acceleration is few and far between, and then most of the time its pulling bonehead moves. The majority of the time you can only do a slow steady acceleration in "around town" traffic especially in rush hour traffic (which most people commute in).

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

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    ...subcompacts have gotten, go torment yourself and rent a Monte Carlo like I had to do for two days...you'll come back to hug your little whatever after that experience....

    that's probably more because you're used to little cars and prefer them, than any failing in the Monte itself. Take a Monte Carlo driver and force them to rent a little whatever for a couple of days, and they'll probably go back and want to hug their Monte Carlo after the experience!

    Simply put, there are big car people and there are little car people (although IMO the Monte isn't that big of a car) and the two will probably never come to an agreement on the perfect car.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    I'm a little car driver, and whew! From my perspective the Monte is a BIG car, believe me. And all that space is wasted by a lack of four passenger doors.

    Oh, BTW, there are also hatchback/wagon people and sedan/coupe people, and THOSE two groups will never agree on the perfect car either! :-)

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

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    Going even further, there are coupe people and sedan people, but I think that distinction is starting to go away. For one thing, it's not like there's a coupe and a sedan version of every car out there anymore. I used to prefer coupes because of the sleeker styling, and the larger doors made it easier to get in and out of the front seat...provided that you weren't in an ultra-narrow parking spot! Also, I usually found visibility to be better out of a coupe because the B-pillar was further back and didn't block my vision to the side.

    However, as the years went by, sedans have gotten larger doors that make entry/exit better. For instance, I can probably get through the back door opening of my uncle's '03 Corolla better than I could a 1974 New Yorker. Now the New Yorker is going to have a much bigger back seat and be more comfortable for me, but the door opening is also lower, the window curves in further, and the seat actually sits pretty far back between the C-pillars, making entry/exit a bit of an acrobatic maneuver. A lot of cars were like that back then. And in many cases, that puts the B-pillar a bit further back. And in many cases sedans have gotten slicker over the years, to the point where a coupe version really wouldn't be much sleeker.

    Also, since the hardtop went away, it's very rare to find a coupe these days with roll-down rear windows, and I prefer fresh air.

    In general, coupes sacrifice comfort and practicality for style. And maybe that's why the Monte Carlo might not make sense...because it's NOT that stylish! I think they found a way to make the car "feel" bigger than it really is, too. Looking at the stats, it's only about 197" long and about 73" wide. That's about 6" less than my Intrepid and probably a couple inches narrower, but somehow it comes off bulkier looking. And it's like a FOOT shorter than my '76 LeMans, but I don't think it looks that much smaller. But then my LeMans is lower, mostly hood, and has a severely sloped, almost fastback rear, which might take away a lot of the visual bulk.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057
    good argument in general andre, but the Monte Carlo is a great example of a car that is not "intelligent" in design. I actually ,sincerely, honestly, felt that as I got back into my subcompact that I had UPGRADED in seating (Monty's the WORST yet I've found in a 2006 car), headroom, ergonomics, economy (for sure), AC, storage, build quality (I love the sound of a door rattling with a tweedy THWANG when you close it, don't you?) sound system, visibility (silly wing on the trunk) and fun factor. What I lost was power, a quieter highway ride, and some of my short term memory from bashing my head against the Monty's roof every time I got into the car. :cry:

    Oh, I liked the Monty's cruise control, wish I had that.

    Far as I'm concerned, I didn't lose much going back to the subcompact...or should I say, I gained more than I lost...yeah, that's more fair.

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  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Oh, I liked the Monty's cruise control, wish I had that."

    The xA doesn't have CC or does it just operate better in the Monty?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057
    No cruise available on the xA, that's right. You can buy it aftermarket however. That bugged me when I was shopping but it wasn't a deal breaker. Other negative I had heard about prior to purchase were "no power" and "excessive engine noise" but these proved to be unfounded speculations---since neither "defect" is subtle and anyone would notice them if they were real.

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  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,753
    No cruise available on the xA, that's right. You can buy it aftermarket however.

    Yep for 29 cents at the local landscape supply center you can buy a brick. :blush:

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

  • With all the competitors this year, I suspect the Scions will get it next year. Haven't looked at the US site, but I'm sure that the Yaris in Canada already had CC.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    Other negative I had heard about prior to purchase were "no power" and "excessive engine noise" but these proved to be unfounded speculations---since neither "defect" is subtle and anyone would notice them if they were real.

    Again, here, anybody who's ear is tuned to a bigger, slower-revving, car is probably going to notice the "excessive engine noise". Is it REALLY excessive? Depends on who's listening to it I guess. I think my buddy's '06 Xterra has excessive engine noise compared to my '85 Silverado. It certainly lets you know it's under the hood, and being a V-6 it has a different type of sound from a V-8. Somehow it comes off as not sounding as powerful as it really is.

    As for the "no power", most people coming from a big car are used to that feeling where you just barely tap the gas and it goes. Even if the car really isn't that fast from 0-60 or the quarter mile, you don't have to give it much gas to get it going. People like this have to "re-learn" how to drive a high-revving engine, because if they try driving an xA with the same amount of pedal pressure that they drive their Monte Carlo, they're going to get themselves killed the moment they try to merge onto an expressway!

    I even notice this with my buddy's Xterra. For having something like 260 hp and being able to do 0-60 in 7 seconds or whatever, if I've been driving some fairly large, loafy OHV V-8 for awhile and then drive it, I find that it just feels sluggish...because you have to put your foot into it more and rev it to get anything out of it. Not a defect, but just something you have to get used to.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    It still sounds like your objection to the Smart is the same as my objection of the Echo or even the Rio. It isn't like the ZTS is a big car or even the PT but both are about the right size for most American buyers. Traditionally the Civic, Sentra, Corolla, Focus, Jetta, Mazda3 have been about the bottom limit to what people will buy in any great numbers. But like everything else we shall see. I have listened for quite a while about how the rising gas prices will cause a mass movement towards sub compacts. If that is a driving force how does the drop of 70 cents a gallon over the last month going to effect sales? Today I paid $2.89 to fill up the car. Last month I paid $3.59 a gallon. The news reported that by Thanksgiving it could drop to $2.50 a gallon. At $2.50 I might consider that dry NOS system I have been looking at for so long. Just haven't been able to drop the hammer on that yet. Cold air and exhaust system yes, lower with new suspension yes, but I just worry about adding NOS because much like a Turbo or Supercharger they are hard to keep your foot out of. But looking at the bright side I might be able to get one of those electric Gem or whatever they are to drive to the local store and back in. One thing about living where I do, electricity is dirt cheep because we don't need central air. A big heater we need, air conditioning isn't necessary except for a very few days in mid summer.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Other negative I had heard about prior to purchase were "no power" and "excessive engine noise" but these proved to be unfounded..."

    You know, I COULD make a crack about the age of the ears of the driver and the apparent lack of engine noise....

    ...but that would be crass. So I won't.......;)

    I'm glad you enjoy your xA. I'm thinking though that when it comes time to FINALLY sell my Celica, I'll probably be looking a something a smidge bigger (Mazda3 hatch has my eye) with a bit more verve (like a Speed3).

    I know that an xA probably has all the room I really NEED in a car. But for some reason the proportions in the styling just seem a bit too odd for my tastes.
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