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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • 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!

    Here's where I start to sound like those guys who complain that the "good old days" were better than today...that U2 "used to be good"...things like that.

    My Swift GT is cool because it's small, lightweight (1,800 lbs), cheap to maintain, and fun to drive. The new one is considerably heavier...I'm all about the power-to-weight and keeping the weight to a minimum is key.
  • From the beginning I have stated that the new sub compacts to survive have to get bigger or add HP.

    Your point is well-taken but I think it's misplaced. Each generation of most vehicles grows. Each generation of Civic, for example, has become larger and more powerful than the previous one in order to become more vehicle than the one it replaces. This is different than saying "subcompacts can't compete without getting larger."

    Honda, Nissan, and Toyota all noticed that their growing small cars left a vacant spot in their lineups so they added the Fit, Versa, and Yaris below their formerly subcompact Civic, Sentra, and Corolla. As they fill in all of their niches, this growth will slow or stop, just as it has in the established Big3.

    Vehicles like the Mini, fortwo, and the like can remain small by adding models around them. Making a larger "Mini" or fortwo doesn't make much sense but adding a "Maxi" or a forfour (I know...both did exist) would compliment the smaller vehicles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree with the exception of Toyota, who had the Tercel in the lineup below the Corolla all along.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    well it will remain to be seen I guess. I remember how small the Origional Accord was. I even remember the CVCC. It just seems that once the consumer shows any interest in a competitive car the manufacturers start doing just what Scion did. And now where is Scions 108 HP sub compact? It is simply dropped. Maybe I should say anything is wrong with the new sub compacts but rather that they don't inspire the American consumer like larger more powerful cars do.

    I have been to Europe as well. Not Italy and I do find their choices somewhat refreshing. I found it quite ironic standing at a corner by the British Museum with a Smart at the light in a obvious effort to save fuel while a Ferrari sat right behind it reving its big motor to give us all a show of sound. But I remember when we did have the choices many have suggested. I once even owned a NSU Prince and had friends with English Fords and a Saab Sonic. But while those cars seems to do well in Europe they simply couldn't muster the support in the US to survive. Even my friends with the origional Mini would have to go to Canada for parts once they were driven from our shores.

    My take on the whole issue is that the Civic, Corolla, and the Sentra are about as small as the American consumer will accept on any mass scale. After 30 years the scale of the consumer has pretty well settled on Accord/Camry sized cars. entry level seems to be Corolla/Civic. Unless Sub Compacts can offer a lot better pricing or considerably better fuel mileage I can't see them winning any great number of converts. They will always have their advocates I realize but I never expect them to reach 15 percent of the market. All I can do is sit back and wait.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    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.

    Mass is a factor, in that momentum is greater for a more massive vehicle than a lighter one, and that energy has to be dissipated. Simply put: would you rather roll 3 times or 5 times?

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

    It's the center of gravity vs the "stance", (wheelbase and track) that determines the inclination to roll. The great Pyramids have a high center of gravity, but they rarely roll due to their wide track. :P

    Weight can be a factor, (and this is a reach), in that a high-mounted load will have a greater impact on the center of gravity of a light weight vehicle than a heavy one.

    Now if you want to talk about buffeting in sidewinds, THERE heavier is an advantage! :)

    james
  • I don't think the pyramids have a high center of gravity, though.. Assuming they were solid, I believe the COG would be less than 1/4 of the way up.. (didn't do the calculation.. of course). ;)

    Doing some rough estimates (thanks, Google), it looks like the COG would be a little lower than 1/4 of the way up...

    Maybe, if you propped it up on a frame with 4 wheels?

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,423
    a high-mounted load will have a greater impact on the center of gravity of a light weight vehicle than a heavy one.

    They found the big 15 passenger vans were surprisingly tippy, because the test work was done without all those passengers in place. Once they added 15 bodies, high up, even these heavy vehicles proved to be quite rollable :surprise:
  • I agree with the exception of Toyota, who had the Tercel in the lineup below the Corolla all along.

    The Tercel and Starlet were added after a few generations of Corollas had been on sale in the US..and filled the gap at the bottom of the lineup as the Corolla grew.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I don't think the pyramids have a high center of gravity, though.. Assuming they were solid, I believe the COG would be less than 1/4 of the way up.. (didn't do the calculation.. of course).

    1/4 of the way up a 482 foot pyramid = 120+ feet. Higher CG than an Explorer, I'd have to say. Yep, it's all relative. Just think how tippy those things would be if they didn't have the "Wide-track Pontiac" base! :surprise:

    james
  • Well, sure... I didn't know we were speaking in absolute terms... ;)

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,423
    I believe the COG would be less than 1/4 of the way up

    Boy, you're good, if I did my math right it's about 20% of the way up...
  • Finally... those high SAT scores paid off... and, it only took 35 years..

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    I own an industrial park in Southern CA, where I've dedicated one of the buildings located in the center of the complex to my collection. It's climate controlled and heavily guarded, and from the outside it looks like just any other building there. It's also staffed by my mechanics, detailers, and a few other part time employees. This assures the cars do not sit and rot. They get constant scheduled inspections and are driven on a predetermined test route once a month, then put back on racks to keep the tires from flat spotting. This assures that they are ready for me to drive whenever I have time, which is always the challenge.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,913
    My '82 was a "Toyoto Corolla Tercel."

    I'm not sure how much cachet Toyota thought would rub off on the Tercel by cramming Corolla in there.
  • Centripetal Force. Fine, for an inanimate object. But, we are talking about human safety in those inanimate objects. Not only does the physics book need to be opened but the medical book also. Not much "whiplash" can be experienced by a human without injury or death.
    I'll stick with the larger and heavier cars.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It would take more energy to roll a Suburban 3 times, vs. rolling a Samurai 3 times. It evens out.

    The Samurai is still far more "tippy", probably because it is so narrow.

    To calculate the SSF (static stability factory), they used width, COG (estimated), and weight.

    Of course that's static. They really should measure it dynamically. I doubt an Escape would beat an Expedition, though.
  • My '82 was a "Toyoto Corolla Tercel."

    I'm not sure how much cachet Toyota thought would rub off on the Tercel by cramming Corolla in there.


    It wasn't so much "cachet" as it was government regulations. Some regulations are easier to get through if you use a carryover nameplate. Ever notice that the Toyota Solara is, technically, the Toyota CAMRY Solara...and the Nissan Altima began life as the Nissan STANZA Altima. Similar ideas probably came with the Honda Civic CRX, Toyota Celica Supra, Datsun 810 Maxima, and the like.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,913
    I've occasionally wondered if Toyota stuck Corolla on there to insure that the Corolla would become the best selling nameplate in the world.

    But the #1 title didn't come until 1997, so I guess Toyota was that calculating.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    "The stylish Versa economy car completed its first full year on the market in 2007 with sales of 79,443 units, up from 22,044 sold in 2006"

    http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080104/FREE/524399880/1528/- newsletter01

    What with Yaris, Versa, Fit, and Aveo, the little subcompact segment with just four models matched sales for all of VW including Audi for the year! :-)

    Which means they also topped sales for all of Subaru by quite a bit.

    Thrown in Mini if you like - I didn't check their numbers, but I assume they managed to move 20K or so as they have been doing in past years...their sales will increase when the Clubman arrives, I am sure.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Subaru NEEDS the new Forester. Badly.

    Remember its wheelbase is unchanged since 1998, more than a decade, and the new one will debut at NAIAS this year and appear in dealers soon after.

    Also, it's their #2 seller in volume.
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