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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?



  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    Fully loaded Versa with destination charges and tax and license in my area (7.25%) comes out to a total of: $19,200.

    Without T&L, about $17.9.

    Seems pricey for what you get.

    A fully loaded Focus comes out to $21,405.

    Plus, the Versa comes with a lot of items you can't even get on a Focus, such as sat radio, bluetooth, and push-button ignition.

    It's also physically a bigger car than the Yaris or Fit.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    really? 21.5K for a Focus? GEEZ.....

    What do you mean by "push-button" ignition? Do you mean key-less ignition (key in your pocket) or just a push button starter?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    i checked out the latest iteration of the build it site for the Versa. An SL 6 speed, with every option except the sport package (which is how I would get one) comes out to $17,005. Still not bad IMO for all the stuff you get, some of which you cannot get at all on other cars in or near it's class, certainly not the FIt/Yaris.

    I would have to see them all in person, or at least review the specs, but it almost seems that the Versa is 1/2 size above the Fit/Yaris, and the Caliber is at least 1 size up. Although they do seem to have comparable pricing, but not mileage.

    I did sit in the Dodge, and if the Versa gives similar space, it seems to me that those 2 can be considered "real" sized cars, not the undresized "toys" that some subcompacts seem to be (like an Aveo)

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    I paid 24,000 plus tax for mine back in 2004 and I got every option but nav. When everyone else was paying 800-1000 above sticker for their cars I just paid sticker on my custom ordered MINI. At the time it was the only car they had sold in that color combinations with those options.

    With no options it would have been in the 19,000 dollar range. A MINI Cooper would have been 16,000 dollar range maybe less but at only 115 hp was not nearly enough for me.

    It is a premium small car for sure there is no doubt but I bet it is the most fun to drive of all the sub compacts. Our wholesaler would have bought it off of me for $17,500 as it was. I doubt any other sub compacts are going to have a real world 71% Residual value after two years and almost 28,000 miles. If I hadn't kept it in the family so I could buy it back later I could have sold it for between 20,500 and 21,000.

    Lets just say someone really beat me up and I sold it to them for 20,000 on the button. I also put new tires all the way around on it so figure another 500 dollars for the tires plus labor.

    My expenses to drive that car for two years and just under 28,000 miles were aproximately.

    4,000 dollars depreciation.
    720 dollars sales tax
    500 dollars property tax for two years
    220 dollars for registration(I got new plates twice)
    0 dollars in maitnence since MINs have pre paid maintence
    500 dollars for tires
    2,400 dollars 100 dollars a month insurace over 24 months
    Fuel I have to really guess on this since I stopped keeping my fuel log after the first year.

    Life time average fuel economy was about 29 mpg
    Always put premium in it so we will say $2.50 a gallon
    28,000 miles divided by 29 equals 965.5 gallons times $2.50 equals $2413.75 for fuel.

    so add it up.

    About 38 cents a mile which seems a little higher then I thought it would be. I know my insurance throws it up a little bit as I was under 24 and male most of the time I owned the car.

    I am still male by the way incase you were wondering.

    Edit oops screwed up some numbers correcting.
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    What do you mean by "push-button" ignition?

    At the Philly show they explained it as "keyless" (key in your pocket and push a button) ignition.

    About 4-5 weeks until I can take a test drive here :)


    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    Okay thanks for the interesting data on that. I agree, the Cooper S is the only one to buy. With 115hp for the base model, you might as well buy a substantially cheaper subcompact and get the same basic performance (but not the same handling of course). Also the MINI repair record is a bit scary, or was.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    " I doubt any other sub compacts are going to have a real world 71% Residual value after two years and almost 28,000 miles."

    After 2 years and about 24,000 miles, I got $15,000 on trade for my RSX, which I bought for $19,500 + ttl. Isn't that about 75% real world residual?

    Of course, cars like RSX are not really what this thread is about (although it is technically a subcompact), especially since RSX is about to go away forever. :cry:

    I will tell you one thing that is "wrong" with these new subcompacts, though, and that is that they are in such high demand that no-one has any to test drive! Almost eight weeks into Fit availability, and I have yet to find a dealer that has a manual in stock that isn't pre-sold. So, I still haven't had a chance to drive one. :-(

    Have sat in one a couple of times though. Have confirmed that I "fit behind myself" in the rear seat, and that the seats are very comfortable, and a bit more substantial than the ones in the Yaris.

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

  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    Almost eight weeks into Fit availability, and I have yet to find a dealer that has a manual in stock that isn't pre-sold.

    Same problem I've had, and it is the same way with the Scion xAs; they are all automatics.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    buy an automatic one of these cars. Ughh.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,563
    Some people just cannot drive a manual for whatever reason. Some people have drives that make manuals a nightmare (if you drove the commute that I had last year in a manual you would most likely get to your destination and rip that transmission right out of your car).

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

  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    At the Philly show they explained it as "keyless" (key in your pocket and push a button) ignition.

    About 4-5 weeks until I can take a test drive here

    Yeah, it's pretty slick. The only thing you get to start the car is the fob; I assume there is some sort of RFID tag inside, that will make the push-button ignition work. I know the Altima's version also unlocks the door as soon as you touch the handle, but I don't know if the Versa works the same way.

    There was a good article in the freep this morning on the Versa, comparing it to the other subcompacts:

    Nissan Versa hatchback offers more room than competitors

    One thing I didn't know is that the seats are made out of that memory foam that they use with mattress toppers, pillows, etc... my wife and I bought one earlier this year in "topper" form, and it is incredible. I imagine the Versa seats are incredibly comfy if that is indeed what they are using.
  • Karen@EdmundsKaren@Edmunds Posts: 5,024
    A national finance magazine is looking to interview consumers who are looking to purchase a or have already purchased the new subcompact cars because of the high cost of fuel. Please send an e-mail to no later than Saturday, June 10, 2006 by 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET containing your daytime contact information and the vehicle you are considering.


    A national finance magazine is looking to interview consumers who have traded-in their larger SUV for a smaller vehicle, because of the high cost of gas. Please send an e-mail to no later than Saturday, June 10, 2006 by 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET containing your daytime contact information and car you traded-in and the current car you own.

    Chintan Talati
    Corporate Communications

    Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

  • First off, I bought a Dodge Caliber before DCX pulled the deals on them to try to slow down sales... I paid $15.2k for an SXT automatic (CVT) model that had a sticker of $17.3k. I like the car so much, I was thinking of getting another one, maybe a stick for MPG, and letting my wife drive the CVT... But, right now, you can't get a stick Caliber, or a good deal on one, so I started looking at other cars.

    I've no idea what planet some of the reviewers live on when they write about the Yaris. One said the interior was "handsome." This is a joke - its terribly low-rent in every way imaginable. The 1.5 liter power plant is smooth but the car is grossly underpowered even considering its light weight. I also drove a Scion 5-speed with the 1.5 liter engine and found it to feel like it had a rubber-band for an engine. Everything about the Yaris felt noticeably cheap after driving a Caliber.

    Price-wise, the dealer had a 4-door auto Yaris without the power package or keyless entry, which I require and it was $14.1k. That sounds cheap, but adding the required options for most people easily takes it to $15.5k for a car that has no style or performance whatsoever- that's not a great deal.

    Frankly, the more I looked at the Yaris the less I liked it compared to the Caliber - the Yaris did not have side airbags either - that would take it to $16k or more... Now we are entering the territory of the Caliber or the Versa. The salesman even agreed with me that a well-equipped Yaris would fall well short of the Cailber in terms of style and driving manners, but be almost equal in price.

    I'd like to have a car that got super MPG, but that's the only thing I could see going for the Yaris. For what you get, its not really a deal in my opinion.

    I'll look into the Versa, which is close to the Caliber in size/style and close to the Yaris in MPG and hopefully can be had for a reasonable price.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    they'd offer a version of the Caliber with the 2.4 and an automatic/CVT, but with just FWD. I'm guessing the added weight of the AWD system probably hurts both economy and performance. I read a test somewhere, where they said that the 2.4 really didn't perform significantly better than the 2.0/CVT, because of the added weight and drivetrain sap.
  • tsgeiseltsgeisel Posts: 352
    I love my Hyundai, but I would love to have a little jellybean car to zoom around in.

    I've got an Elantra Hatchback. So I have a big jellybean car to zoom around in. Seems to be the best of both worlds to me.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    to cars the size of the Caliber, you have to take Matrix into account too - it has the same power (but more interior room) than Versa, costs the same, and lacks a few of the nicest features available on the Versa.

    Thing is, we are really talking about two different size classes of cars here: Caliber is not a subcompact, neither is Matrix, and in fact it appears that Versa is pushing that limit too.

    However, if you load up the subcompacts, they get to a price that crosses over with the cheapest cars of the next class up. And right now, there are a couple of cars worth considering at their lowest price points (Caliber being one, Matrix/Corolla another) if you are looking at a loaded-up B-segment car as the alternative. In most cases though, fuel economy will suffer.

    Versa is a bad example there: it is going to make only 33 mpg combined, which is the same as Matrix. Caliber with the CVT is even lower than both at 26/30, or 28/32 with the 1.8 that you can only get in certain trims (and with no CVT option, I believe).

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

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Caliber weighs about 3000 lbs, so there goes your gas mileage!

    May as well get a larger, somewhat heavier Camry LE 4-cylinder, which is rated at 24/33 with the automatic. Padded (oops...soft-touch) dash standard, unlike the Caliber's rock hard plastic.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    Caliber weighs about 3000 lbs, so there goes your gas mileage!

    The domestics have been making 3000+ lb cars for about 20 years now which can hit 30 mpg on the highway, yet still perform better than a Caliber 2.4! So I'm just wondering if that AWD setup is sapping alot of power?

    Also, the Caliber 2.4 is a new engine, right? A joint venture among Hyundai/Mitsubishi/DCX? Someone please tell me this isn't the old 2.4 from the Stratus/Sebring sedans...the one that dates back to the old K-car 2.2/2.5! :cry:

    Also, why does it seem that CVT's tend to sap alot of power, yet also hurt fuel economy at the same time? I thought they were supposed to improve both? But if you look to cars like the Ford 500, the regular automatic gets slightly better economy. And I think Saturn gave up on the CVT with the Ion, because it didn't perform well, didn't do anything for economy, and was troublesome. Is the CVT just something that works better in theory than in real life, and is better suited to tractors and other lawn equipment?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    I think it is better suited to either very light weight cars or needs to be designed by Nissan. They make more CVT trannys then anyone else.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    Okay! I road tested the new Toyota Corolla and compared driver's room to the Scion xA and there is no discernible difference in head, shoulder or leg room. The leather seats were more comfortable, the power was about the same up to 75 mph at least, the Corolla had of course a generous trunk and a slide through in the rear seats, so it wins hands down in storage (with the back seats UP). Also I thought the Corolla rode better but it was no Lexus.
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