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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Iron Duke was known for bursting into flames.

    Pontiac's fix? A bigger oil filter. Seriously.

    By the time they fixed it, got it right, they cancelled it.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    "By the time they fixed it, got it right, they cancelled it."

    True, And the came out with a small V-6 that wasn't all that bad. But the market for two seaters fills up pretty fast and sales fall off. The MR-2 was a pretty good example of limited demand.

    Now picture a 1000cc two seater. Just how many people are going to be lining up for that? Once the new wears off it will be a city car and that will fall off rather quickly I believe. Just my opinion.
  • The Iron Duke was known for bursting into flames.

    I thought it was the Fiero specifically with that reputation. I know of too many 200k S-10s with the Iron Duke to think its that engine.

    As far as the getting it right part - it was a Citation front pan turned around and put in the trunk for the back of vehicle, and the Chevette underpinnings in the front. It also lacked a 5 speed transmission for the first few years. In fact, the V6 didn't get a 5 speed until the end.

    The 2.8 was thirsty and not particularly powerful in the application. In 1988, the GT had a nice Greteg 5 speed, the V6, and new front suspension. Then it died.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,425
    Yes, most Iron Duke applications weren't a problem, but I think they had to put a small oil pan on the one in the Fiero in order to fit, cutting oil capacity and resulting in frequent engine failures.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    Against the insight? OK, besides it being ugly. It has a 1000 cc gas motor backed up with a electric motor, or visa versa if you like. But the little puppy got great fuel mileage. In these very forums the complaint was it was a two seater. I never got to drive one but I had a friend that bought one and he did get 60 MPG driving back and forth from San Bernardino to San Fernando. Sometimes he said he did a little better. But you could time his progress coming up to the mountains with a sun dial.

    I have driven some pretty small cars with no more than 60 HP and the specialness wears off pretty quickly when you head up any of the longer passes out of the LA basin. And if you do that enough you get tired of having to drive in the far right hand lane every day or be greeted even by old ladies passing you holding her hand in the air pointing at the sky.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I meant in the context of 2 seaters.

    I don't think the Reatta ever got that engine, that was V6 only IIRC.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    And if you do that enough you get tired of having to drive in the far right hand lane every day or be greeted even by old ladies passing you holding her hand in the air pointing at the sky.

    ROFL!

    My granddad had a 1987 Civic Wagon (2WD) that couldn't maintain 60 MPH up this one particular hill on I-65 towards the end of its life. We always laughed about it when we'd turn the A/C off and everyone in the car had to lean forward to get it up the hill. :) Being an automatic (at least it was a 4-speed!) didn't help.

    It still delivered close to 36 MPG after 250k miles when he sold it for $1,000 back in 2002.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    "My granddad had a 1987 Civic Wagon (2WD) that couldn't maintain 60 MPH up this one particular hill on I-65 towards the end of its life. We always laughed about it when we'd turn the A/C off and everyone in the car had to lean forward to get it up the hill. Being an automatic (at least it was a 4-speed!) didn't help."

    I understand completely. Any of us that have driven some of these underpowered cars, big or small, can remember the benefits as well as the disadvantages. Absolutely everyone that has even seen an old VW bus knows that if you are heading up a hill or long grade you want to get into another lane as soon as you see the VW in front of you. To this day that is an automatic reaction for me.

    I once had a 65 VW Bug I got at a lean sale. On the 91 freeway from Orange county heading to Riverside you could not drive 50 MPH or get it in 4th when the Santa Ana winds were blowing. But it also got great fuel mileage for its day.

    When we see cars like the Smart offered and only get to picture them at first they may seem like a good idea. Even in heavy traffic they might be acceptable for a commuter. But over the long run there are time when it just has to be frustrating to always be the VW bus when traffic opens up.

    I have been reading these forums a long time and have followed many of the reviews given by Edmunds about cars like the Echo, xA-xB and the Yaris. One thing they almost always say is that the cars are a bit underpowered and then add some caveat to make up for it. If the Yaris is underpowered they I shudder to think how the Smart will survive. Like I said earlier, at least the Insight got great fuel mileage, the Smart doesn't even do that. Reasonable but not great for a car that size.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,425
    To put some more history on this, I ran across the 0-60 times for the '74 Datsun B-210. It was 18 seconds, almost as long as the quarter mile time. No one today would put up with that, not to mention the complete lack of safety gear, poor pollution controls, and comfort accessories. Our expectations have brought us where we are today.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    "To put some more history on this, I ran across the 0-60 times for the '74 Datsun B-210. It was 18 seconds, almost as long as the quarter mile time."

    I understand. I had a B-210. Got it from my mother in law after we got her a new car in 92. It was one of the most disappointing cars I have ever owned. Sold it to woman who wanted to get something for her daughter to drive to school. I believe I may have promised the woman her daughter would never get a speeding ticket on any freeway in California as long as she had the B-210.
  • kyfdx@Edmundskyfdx@Edmunds Posts: 25,979
    You can't get a B210 to rev up to redline, even in neutral.. :surprise:

    You can drive it all day with the accelerator pedal floored... you don't even have to let up to shift... It may be the only "modern" car that is slower than a 240D...

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • "To put some more history on this, I ran across the 0-60 times for the '74 Datsun B-210. It was 18 seconds, almost as long as the quarter mile time."

    Its amazing the 510 was in the same category as the BMW 2002 in starting the concept of the sport compact car, and they follow it up with what had to be one of the ugliest, slowest, miserable cars around. This is how Chevrolet managed to sell the Vega.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    "If the Yaris is underpowered..."

    But it isn't. :confuse:

    It can do 0-60 in half the time or less of those 60s and 70s VWs and Datsuns you have been talking about.

    In fact, I would be prepared to hear the argument that Yaris is OVERpowered. It is primarily a single-occupant commute-and-errands car, after all. Why does it need to be at 60 mph in 9 seconds? Better it save another gallon of gas every 100 miles and make the 60 mph sprint in 10 seconds instead.

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

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Ha -talk about slow? A family friend buys and sells old cars, flipping them for profit. His latest buy is a Suzuki Samurai - he told us he couldn't get it up to anything over 60 MPH with the pedal floored! It sounds like only about 30 of those 66 horses are left from the early 90s.


    :)
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,574
    Truth be told for a commuter car I would gladly sacrifice 2-3 seconds off the 0-60 time for 10-15% better mileage.

    There are three types of people in this world. Those who are good at math and those who are not.

  • Yes, I agree with Mr. Shiftright.

    When you break in an aircraft engine, the manufacturer specifies in writing that the engine MUST be run at 75% power or better for the first 50 hours of operation. That's a bit of a wake-up call isn't it? The objective is to keep the cylinder pressure UP. By doing that, the burning mixture (pressure) will get behind the piston rings and force them outwards against the cylinder walls which will ensure a good break-in and a good seal of the rings to the cylinder wall. This works in any engine, and the harder you run it, the better the break-in process, and the more power it will develop. Babying a new engine is the absolute worst thing you can do for it. Some aircraft owners do just that, babying the engine along, dreaming that they will have an engine that will last forever. What happens then, is that the rings do not seat, and the engine must be torn down because of excessive oil consumption, the cylinders re-honed and new rings installed to start the break-in process all over again. Run 'em hard, and you will be happy.

    My Fit has only 8000 miles on it but it seems to have about 20% more power than when new. My mileage has increased too. I have used synthetic oil since the first oil change and it is staying clean with an AMSOIL filter which filters out everything down to 15 microns absolute. These AMSOIL Eao filters are dynamite and I use one on my F-350 7.3 liter turbo diesel. The filter will keep my diesel oil clean until about 4500 miles which is pretty darn good.

    Cheers, Pete
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Totally agree. 0-60 sprint times for a commuter car are largely irrelevant - provided it's not totally silly and can keep up with traffic flow. Still get impressed by really low numbers; in the 4 - 5 sec bracket but pointless in a commuter. Now more interested in 40-70 and 50-80 times as a mark of real world usefulness, (hence love affair with diesels).

    Most of the small Euro cars are aimed more at economy than dash which makes sense in city/busy urban driving in 30mph & 40mph limits.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    it is a pleasant surprise to find support here at Edmunds for the notion that some cars would serve their purpose if they were a bit slower and saved some gas. :-)

    That's one of the reasons I was somewhat disappointed by the Fit - it IS a bit slower (although not that much slower - it could stand to be even slower than it is), yet can only pull mid-30s for mpg? It's great in all other respects, but I AM hoping fuel economy improves substantially this year when the new '09 arrives. The new model will have all of Honda's bells and whistles under the hood, which should improve things greatly, FE- and emissions-wise.

    Meanwhile, GM is trumpeting the news that it will be introducing turbos smaller than the 1.6 in its Aveo, to comply with CAFE standards in the future. I say, what about a smaller NA engine for the Aveo? It is certainly no fuel economy champ.

    High fuel economy is certainly not the only reason to buy a small car, but it can and should be part of the package.

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

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    "High fuel economy is certainly not the only reason to buy a small car, but it can and should be part of the package."

    As you pointed out with the Fit you don't get the kind of fuel economy you would expect with a slower car. If we "must" sacrifice power we should gain fuel mileage and that simply isn't the case with many of the sub compacts offered today.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had a Chevy Sprint (48 furious horses) and 0-60 came in 3.2.

    Minutes.

    And yes that's fine for a commuter car.
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