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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Looks like Consumer Reports will have a comparo of the Fit, Versa, Yaris, Rio, and Accent in their December issue, based on a note in the November issue. Should be hitting the newsstands and mailboxes in a few days. It will be interesting to see their take on these new small cars, since they don't weigh things like 0-60 performance as heavily as the car mags.
  • jacksan1jacksan1 Posts: 504
    I'm also looking forward to that paricular CR issue. By the way, the December issue which covers those economy cars is due out in early November.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628 just published a first drive of the 2007 Aveo LT sedan:

    There is one curious thing about this review I think. They go on and on about the lack of standard ABS, yet only one four-door in its class, the Fit, has ABS standard. It's optional on Accent GLS, Rio, Yaris, Versa, Spectra, and Forenza. It's even optional on more expensive cars like the new Sentra and the Corolla. So why ding the Aveo on this point?

    IMO what they should have hit Chevy on, and hard, is the lack of side curtain airbags. They aren't even available as an option! Yet they are standard in the Accent, Fit, Rio, Spectra, and Versa, and available on the Yaris. I think that omission is unforgivable on a new-for-2007 model.

    But Chevy did make features like cruise, aux input jack, lumbar support, and even a sunroof available. So at least drivers in the Aveo can be comfy if not safe. :P
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    I finally found a store that had CR's December issue with its comparo of the Accent, Fit, Rio, Versa, and Yaris. They tested 11 cars in all, including a Focus ZX3 MT from the next class up just to see how the low-end cars compared to it. They tested an AT and MT version of each of the other five cars.

    I thought it was one of CR's better comparos. They hit just about all the plusses and minuses I've experienced when I drove these cars. One thing I wished they had done is test an Accent SE instead of the GS. The Accent SE has standard ABS and better handling than the two Accents they tested, and price-wise it would have fallen mid-pack among the tested hatches. It also would have eliminated some of CR's gripes about the GS, e.g. lack of ABS, not-particularly-agile handling, and lack of a rear-window wiper.

    I thought it was interesting about how close the top four finishers among the AT cars were. Just 3 points separated the Versa SL, base Fit, Rio LX, and Accent GLS. Also interesting was how the rankings were in order of price, with $2445 separating the #1 car from the #4 car. The Yaris was the 2nd-most-expensive AT car tested, but wound up ranked 6th (behind the previously-tested xB), 13 points behind the Accent GLS. What that tells me is that a buyer can pretty much select from any of the top four cars based on personal preferences and price and still get a very nice small car. And those who want top fuel economy, don't want (or can't find) a Fit, and can overlook the Yaris' shortcomings can go that route.

    On the MT cars the ratings were more clear-cut. The Fit Sport was the runaway leader with 75 points, beating the next-best car in the class (the xB) by 20 points. (The Focus ZX3 got 62 points.) Below the Fit and Focus, the next four cars--xB, Rio5, Versa S, and Accent GS--were very close, with 3 points separating the xB from the Accent. The Yaris hatch 8th in the group, between the xA and Aveo LS, at 36 points. The rankings of MT cars also followed pricing order pretty much, with the three most expensive cars taking the top 3 spots, then two more cars a little over $14k, then the last 4 cars at $13k or just below. The Yaris was the lowest-priced car at $12,569, and one has to wonder how it would have done with more equipment. (However, the Yaris sedan had much more equipment including ABS but still finished last among the tested AT cars.)

    CR "recommended" only the Fits, the xB, and the Focus. The Fits performed very well and CR has some reliability data on them, since the car debuted here last April. The xB and Focus performed well enough in CR's tests and have at least Average Predicted Reliability (xB is Much Above Average). CR would have recommended the Versa, Rio, and Accent but can't yet because they are new designs and they don't have reliability data. They didn't recommend the Yaris because it didn't perform well enough in their tests (nor did the xA, Forenza, or Aveo tested previously).

    The other thing that CR made clear in the review was the value of ABS, at least with these cars. They tested some of the cars with and w/o ABS, and they recorded much longer stopping distances in both wet and dry conditions without ABS. They mentioned this prominently in the review, and noted that ABS is hard to find on the Versa, Accent GS (not offered at all), and Yaris. The Fit was the only tested car with standard ABS on all trims, and I think that must have garnered some points with CR.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    It's funny how the manual Fit was so much of a clear winner, but the Fit auto was #2 in a close race. I think one of the reasons was that the Fit auto was a base version, and the Fit manual was a sport version. I'm guessing if they picked a Fit auto in a sport version, then it might have been the leader in the auto category as well. But I agree that it was a pretty fair comparison, and similar highs and lows to my experience and other reviews I've seen.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Yes, a Fit Sport auto might have picked up a few more points, but I think it's clear anyway from the review that CR feels the Fit is the head of the class in this group of cars, with the Versa, Rio, and Accent all pretty close together--pick one for whichever best meets your requirements. I'd tend to lean to the Fit, Accent, or Rio if for nothing else just because it's easier to find them with ABS than the Versa or Yaris, although I have a personal preference for the Accent vs. the Rio.
  • If they tested a Fit auto sport and an Accent Auto SE, I actually think the Accent would have won the whole comparison. It has many more extra features than the difference between the base and sport Fit, plus it adds 16" alloys and a special sport-tuned suspension. If those things add up to points, it'd stand to reason the Accent SE would have topped the ratings.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    I still think the Fit would have won the MT category, if for nothing else because of better shifter feel and more flexible cargo-hauling. But I think it would have been a lot closer than it was.
  • I guess of these the Fit would be the winner IMO. It looks good, it drives good, and it's a Honda. Why not?

    I can't get over the beautiful front end and the HIDEOUS rear end of the 2007 Aveo sedan. I guess I don't like the Altima type taillamps with the chrome reflector visible. I'd swap the bulbs out for clear and put red translucent film over the lenses. And then worry myself into a drunken stupor over resale value and Daewoo quality.

    The Yaris has the odd center-mounted instrument cluster, so it's out. I'd buy a no-options Corolla CE before I'd touch a Yaris.

    The Versa is a great looker, kinda like a micro-sized Quest minivan. Too bad it isn't a 3-row seater like the Mazda5. It's great in everything but gas mileage. And the only reason to get a tiny car is to try for 40mpg on the open road and know you'll get about 30 in town.

    The Accent and Rio are the cheapest, and have the best warranties, but at what cost? What good is a ten-year 100,000 mile warranty if it spends half that time in the dealer's service department?

    The Rabbit is cute, but the electrical troubles worry me.

    But for $16,000 would buy about 53 20-year old beaters. Cavaliers, Escorts, Neons, and who knows what else comes up that cheap in the future. If I get only three months out of each of them, that's just over 13 years of service.

    Will the little new cars hold up that long, being driven 2000-3000 miles or more per month? Will the clunkers lose their clunk? Will the Steelers go back-to-back in the Superbowl?

    If someone held a gun to my head and made me buy new, I'd go for the Corolla CE 5-speed and be boring but reliable.
  • boring in automobiles. Yikes that is one vanilla-plain looking car.

    The Steelers may not even make the playoffs, much less win back-to-back Super Bowls. They needed a huge assist from the unscrupulous ref's to even win the 2006 Super Bowl, too.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    The Accent and Rio share's Editor's Most Wanted Award for Sedans under $15k:
  • that is because they do not make the Echo any more. we have 2000 Echo & 2004 Echo they are both 5 speeds. 2000 Echo has 146000 trouble free miles. 2004 Echo has 38000 trouble free miles on it. try that with a Accent or Kia Rio. :P
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    They do make the Yaris, which is the replacement for the ECHO, but it still didn't make Edmunds' Most Wanted list, or even the runner-up (that was the Versa). CR also rated the Yaris behind--WAY behind actually--both the Accent and Rio in their recent comparo test.

    Both Hyundais I have owned, a 2001 and 2004 Elantra, have given dependable service. My sister bought the 2001 from me last spring and she loves it. I drive the 2004 and it still looks and drives like new. So I have tried "that." :)
  • people's creakily slow acceptance of Hyundai and Kia. I know that Kia is still scoring lower than Hyundai on quality reports overall but they are vastly improving. The perceived value of these South Korean rigs should now start moving upwards.

    I'd say Hyundai's and Kia's since, say, 2000 and on should now be worth about double what they are on the resale open market and dealer market.

    I have gotten really nice longevity and value out of my 1999 Kia Sephia and my 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4. I traded the Sephia in on the Sportage 4x4 in Sept.of 2001 and the Sportage 4x4 now has 123,933 miles on it and purrs like a baby kitten idling.

    I am really impressed with the South Korean rigs. As time moves on I am thinking that a Suzuki SX4 or a Kia Optima or a Kia Rio LX or Rio5 might be nice as my next new rig.

    I saw an Optima in steel grey today in downtown Tucson that really looked sharp. The 4 cylinder Optima's only go for about $16,399 too, for the 5-speeders. Last I looked the mileage expected was 24 in the city and 34 on the highway. Since the Optima's price exceeds this thread's boundaries I'll hold any more comments on them for the appropriate columns. ;)

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    On reliability alone, I'd put Hyundai WAY above VW, and better than the domestics as well.
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 323
    How about the Focus ST? I think there are 2500 in rebates. I priced one on carsdirect andt the price was approximately 14,750. I think that is a lot of bang for the buck.
  • New IIHS scores are out for "mini-cars"

    Yaris, Fit and Versa scored highest (Versa receiving "good" in all 3 areas)

    Accent/Rio received embarassingly low scores for cars equipped with SAB: Acceptable, poor, poor (Hyundai should be ashamed selling a 2007 model that does so poorly)

    So, do these scores change anyone's opinion? Does the fact that the cost difference between a safe car and the unsafest car is so small matter?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Definitely moves the Versa up on my list (still don't like the clunky shifter, but the CVT is an option) and solidifies the Fit even with its problems in seating position. And eliminates the Accent and Rio.

    For the record, here is a summary of the scores. Note that SABs and curtains are standard on the Versa, Fit, Mini, Accent, and Rio, and optional on the Yaris. The Aveo has only SABs, not curtains--I'll bet that didn't help. The xB has no side bags, so its score isn't surprising, and it doesn't have long to live in its present form anyway (I'm actually surprised the IIHS published its results--in the past, it held off publishing results if a car was due for a redesign in the near future, e.g. they did that with the Civic before the 2006 model came out).

    (Note that the Versa is actually in a different weight class than the other cars, so frontal impact scores should't be directly compared with the other cars.)

    Car - Front/Side/Rear
    Versa - G/G/G (SAB)
    Yaris - G/G/M (SAB)
    Fit - G/G/P (SAB)
    Mini - G/A/M (SAB)
    Aveo - A/M/P (SAB)
    xB - G/P/M (no SAB)
    Yaris - G/P/M (no SAB)
    Accent - A/P/P (SAB)
    Rio - A/P/P (SAB)
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Yes, in addition to what backy stated, please note that ONLY the Versa received the top rating in all 3 categories the Fit and Yaris (side curtains) did not.

    Really surprised at the Hyundai scores? The side impact beams and structure between A, and C pillars are made of what? Quaker oatmeal?

  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    From the IIHS Website on rear impact tests:

    "For each seat/head restraint, rear-end crash protection is an assessment of occupant protection against neck injury in rear impacts at low to moderate speeds. Although such injuries usually aren't serious, they occur frequently."

    So I think they're looking at the movement of adult heads when the car is hit from the rear at about 20mph. It seem that this is really a test of the head restraints, but remember that it also depends on the person's seat position and how they position the headrests. So for kids, short folks, and kids/babies in carseats, the rear tests don't mean much.

    To me, the front and and side tests are the most meaningful to passenger safety.
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