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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,968
    There are entire German families who spent their whole lives in cars smaller than an xA. I mean, c'mon Americans, get over it.

    There are also entire families who spend their whole lives living in a 10x10 room. Can it be done? Sure. But why if you don't have to!

    I actually will agree with you though, Shifty, that the xA doesn't need to be any bigger. It's adequate for its target audience, and as long as it sells tolerably well, I say keep it as it is. Besides, if you make it bigger you end up with basically a Yaris or Versa, go a little bigger still and you essentially have a Corolla, Neon, Mazda3, etc.

    "To know a man, one must drive a mile in his xA" (old wise saying) Or just sit in one, and if it feels cramped to you, pass on it and get something that fits you better. Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,722
    There are entire German families who spent their whole lives in cars smaller than an xA. I mean, c'mon Americans, get over it.

    That settles it, we should follow the German example. We should all drive small cars (just forget those Germans driving those big Benz's), speak German, drink beer and invade France (oops did i say that? :blush: )

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

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,968
    Agreed.

    there are also entire American families who spent their lives with the father driving a mastdon back and forth to work solo while the wife drove another mastodon station wagon around to run her errands, but I'm not advocating that everybody follow that lifestyle either.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    Yes, but you can get the S and it has some "wow" factor. And the Mini will be a great test bed for my contention if they do indeed offer the 150HP standard in the next generation with the ability to get the 175 or 180 Hp and the option of getting a 115 HP engine. Would you like to bet a cup of coffee and a Kaiser roll on what the most popular option of the two would be? I realize some body must have objected to the 115 HP motor or they would be planning on dropping it as standard.

    But my friend, what caused then to close their wallets to the Echo? What caused them to close it to the Baja? The problem has never been with the small car advocates. They have always been willing to get a small car. The problem is with the buyers and the sellers. Daysailer's contention is true. They simply stop offering small light weight vehicles at reasonable prices. The ones they do decide to offer are not that small or light or reasonable.

    Small cars will have a hard time being considered a success as long as there are statements made that sound like, "it sells pretty well, considering it is a small car." Or it stops and corners pretty well considering it is a sub compact." Cars like the Mazda3 and the Mini Cooper have shed that "considering" image both to the consumer and to the manufacturer. The sub compacts we have today have a very long way to go before they get close to shedding the "considering" image. Can they? Sure, with some more HP and some suspension upgrades. But the Mini has done that and we know what that costs.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    the powertrain options for the next-gen Mini are already fixed? Both increase by about 5-10 hp over the current offerings (to 120 hp and 175ish hp), and the S/C engine becomes a turbo. Still the same displacement, and in fact same-size car except for 2 added inches on the hood to meet the new pedestrian safety regs in Europe.

    And forget the Echo. While I love it for my own peculiar reasons, the only part of that car that was on a par with the current cars was the powertrain - high-mileage, low-cost, and very clean emissions-wise, with VVT-i to broaden the torque curve and reduce emissions further. Inside and underneath, that car was still stuck in yesteryear a bit. This discussion, I feel, is more about the new crop out there, the much-improved (from 10-20 years ago, even from 5-7 years ago in many ways) cars that actually represent the foundation from which will spring an expansion of offerings in this class. xA (to some extent - it is an older model now, due to be retired in a couple short months), Fit, Yaris, perhaps Versa, the new Accent and Rio, cars that are the equal (or better) of their compact and midsize brethren in interior quality, handling, and performance, only in a smaller size.

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

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    The Rio? You said Kia and quality in the same sentence? :surprise: Just teasing.

    Nippon my friend, I will give you this. There is a chance people will accept the new larger sub compacts. They can call them whatever they like much like small trucks can still call themselves compact trucks. Call all they want neither Nissan nor Toyota makes a compact truck. The Old D-50, Toyota SR, Courier, Luv, and even the S-10 used to be but they are no longer. They have become every bit as large as the first Dakota. The only Compact truck left is the Baja and it is soundly rejected. The Versa is as big as a Civic or Mazda3. If that is what you mean by Sub Compact then you might be correct. The new breed is different and could be more successful than what we used to think of as Sub Compacts. It is much like telling someone your Rottwieler is a Big Black Lab with brown spots.

    Much like daysailer has indicated, you pretty much have to take what you can get. They aren't likely to give you what you are asking for.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,968
    Call all they want neither Nissan nor Toyota makes a compact truck. The Old D-50, Toyota SR, Courier, Luv, and even the S-10 used to be but they are no longer. They have become every bit as large as the first Dakota. The only Compact truck left is the Baja and it is soundly rejected.

    This is going more by personal experience than actual published figures, but the Ranger and the Colorado/Canyon still feel like compact trucks to me. At least, I perceive noticeable difference between those to and trucks like the Frontier, Tacoma, and Dakota. IIRC, most of the Colorado/Canyon's dimensions are actually within an inch or so of the old S-10. I think one reason they might look bigger is the beefier styling, plus the fact that most of them are sold these days as extended cab or crew cab models. If you take just a regular, single-cab pickup model, they still seem pretty small to me.

    It is kind of a shame that the automakers abandoned the true compact truck, though. They made a great alternative for people who needed hauling capacity but really didn't need the capacity, or bulk, of a full-sized pickup, and they got great fuel economy. By and large, the current crop of midsized trucks really don't get much better economy than the full-sized trucks.
  • the '76 Toyota long-bed that I once had was big. I think it weighed 2700lb. (I still can't accept that a Mini is that heavy)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,968
    the '76 Toyota long-bed that I once had was big. I think it weighed 2700lb. (I still can't accept that a Mini is that heavy)

    There was a guy here at work awhile back that had an early 80's Toyota pickup that had an extended cab and a long bed. I think they called it a "space cab" or something? I remember him saying that it was a style Toyota no longer offered...you could either get an extended cab or a longer bed, but not both at the same time. It was a neat little truck. He said that he was going to hold onto it as long as it was still giving him good service, since they stopped making them like that.
  • That must have been as long as a Tokyo city block.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    I can live with feel as compared to full sized trucks. Because they are bigger as well. But the Ranger is now one of the smallest “compact trucks.’ But compared to 1990 even? Even in 1990 the standard cab was only 2819 pounds and had a Wheel Base of 107 inches and was only 176 inches long. The Extended cad was 3159 lbs with a WB of 125 inches and it was 193 inches long. The Toyota was about the same. The New mid sized truck was the Dakota. In 1990 it was 4520 pounds with a wb of 112 and it was 185.9 overall for the standard cab. The extended cab was 4750 with a wb of 131 inches and 204 over all. Today the Ranger is heavier at 4380 for with a wb of 111 inches, one inch shorter than the old Dakota. The extended Ranger is 4600 pounds with a wb of 125 inches and 202 inches over all. The Toyota went to 4850 for the shortest cab you can get and a 127 inch wb plus 208 inches over all and the big cab is 5450 with a 127 wb and 208 inches over all. So what happened to the Compact truck market? It simply moved into the spot the mid sized market once had.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,968
    Boaz, I think you might be getting curb weight and GVWRs mixed up. I just checked, and the heaviest 2007 Ranger I could find is the FX4 Level II 4door supercab 4wd, with a 4.0 V-6. Curb weight is 3672 pounds, GVWR is 5000. Wheelbase is 125.7", which definitely ain't compact in a car sense...my '57 DeSoto's wb is 126", and it was considered one of the bigger cars at the time! Length is 203.6".

    However, if you get a 3.0 model with just RWD, curb weight's down to 3171 pounds, and GVWR is 4600. That might be a misprint though, as I'm seeing a base regular cab model with a 2.3 coming in at 3012 pounds. I'd think that the extended cab and V-6 would ad more than 159 pounds!

    If you want to get real stripper on a Tacoma, there's a model wit ha 2.7 4-cyl, regular cab, regular bed, that's 3180 pounds and has a GVWR of 4550 pounds.

    Still, these are a far cry from stuff like the '72 Chevy LUV that my grandparents had as a spare vehicle! It had a camper shell on it, and I remember Granddad wanted to take it off to save weight, but Grandmom tried to get him to leave it on because she thought it made the truck look bigger!
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    Whatever the numbers they post are the new compact trucks are bigger. And they are at least as Big as the old dakota. Because for a year or two they made the Dakota and the D-50 and the Dakota was called a mid sized truck. Today nothing is as small as a D-50, or my First Toyota Pickup.

    You are absolutely correct in that the person that wanted a compact truck has been abandoned. And this is the second failure for Subaru on introducing a compact truck.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,968
    You are absolutely correct in that the person that wanted a compact truck has been abandoned. And this is the second failure for Subaru on introducing a compact truck.

    I thought the BRAT was kinda successful for awhile as a niche vehicle? Ultimately it went away, but I thought it had a good, solid run.

    I think the Subaru Baja was doomed from the start though. It just tried to be too many things at once, and ended up not being very good at any of them. And IIRC, it was pretty expensive as well. I'm sure there were a few buyers out there who found the Baja's package of features and utility appealing, but just not enough to keep it viable.

    My grandparents had a D50, too, which replaced their LUV in 1980. Back then gas was scarce, and rumors of $3.00 per gallon gas were looming on the horizon (it would just take 25 years to get there!). Their other two vehicles were a 1972 Impala with a 350 and a 1976 GMC crew cab 3/4 ton truck that was about 21 feet long. So in their case, I guess a little runabout made sense. My grandparents wanted to get a stick, but I think you could only get the stick with bucket seats, and they wanted a bench, like the LUV had.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    It is off subject but I do sometimes miss the bench seats. But My D-50 had one. I remember sitting three across with My wife and sister in law in the truck. But I could be wrong about it being the D-50.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    I saw one today on my way to work. Man, is it small when compared to current trucks!

    I had a friend in HS who co-owned one with his brother. They had ripped out the OEM seats and installed Recaros with 5-point harnesses. We drove it up to Laguna Seca back in the mid 80's to check out the IMSA races up there. Was a long, long ride up and back in one day. We lived just north of LA at the time.
  • mwqamwqa Posts: 106
    This discussion, I feel, is more about the new crop out there, the much-improved (from 10-20 years ago, even from 5-7 years ago in many ways) cars ... that are the equal (or better) of their compact and midsize brethren in interior quality, handling, and performance, only in a smaller size.

    I'm not so sure much has changed. Whenever I defrost the windows in my 1992 Mazda 323, the passenger side defrosts first. Why? Probably because the car was never properly adapted to left hand side, North American driving.

    In the new crops of subcompacts, I look at the Fit and I see indications that Honda has not properly redesigned the car for left hand side drivers. For example, to me there seems to be a lack of space for the left foot in the driver’s foot well. Maybe this is deliberate, but the passenger side's foot well sure feels spacious!

    Many of these subcompacts are originally designed for other markets and right hand side drivers. They are also made outside North America in factories producing mainly right hand side versions of the car. To me, these cars still don’t seem to be properly tailored to North American driving.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Do you mean that the right side of the passenger's footwell is more spacious than the left side of the driver's footwell?
  • mwqamwqa Posts: 106
    I mean, even taking into account the room taken by the pedals, that the passenger's side foot well seems larger in volume than the drivers's side.

    There seems to be more room for feet and for pedals on the right side of the car.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Maybe it's just an illusion because of the pedals? If the gearshift is in the center and the seats are evenly spaced you'd think that the footwells would have to be the same. I guess you could just look and see if there were extra bulges on the drivers footwell.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,968
    I've seen cars where the driver's side footwell is wider than the passenger side. I think most RWD cars are actually like this, but with the cars I've had, they've always been so big that an extra inch on the driver's side isn't that noticeable.

    I first noticed it when I bought a 1969 Dart GT with bucket seats and a column shift. The driveshaft and transmission hump were shifted over about an inch off center from the driver's side. The main reason it was so noticeable was because you could look down between the bucket seats and tell that the passenger seat was closer. With a bench seat though, or if there had been a center console filling that space, it wouldn't have been as noticeable.

    I've also seen cars where the floor on the passenger side is shallower, because in the 70's they had to make room for the catalytic converter, and it was on that side up under there. I think on dual exhaust cars, they just let the driver's side converter hang down more and take its chances.

    I've never noticed the passenger side being noticeably different in FWD cars, though, although with my Intrepid, the passenger side feels a bit shallower somehow. I never measured it or got under the car to look at it to see if it really is, though.
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    I recently visited the IIHS site to check on some test results of various cars, and was somewhat shocked to find no test results on Scion. On other sites, the Scion vehicles are listed under Scion or Toyota, but the brand "Scion" is no where to be found anywhere on the IIHS site. Perhaps this has been discussed here before, but I find it very strange the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn't crash tested any of the Scion vehicles. I wonder why?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,182
    If I remember from time spend under cars in the past, the transmission had the levers for the gear selector on the right side and also the vacuum modules and/or before that the link rod for the accelerator connection to measure demand was on the right side. The hump may have been larger toward that side to accomodate the extra linkages sticking out of that side of the tranny. I think that was true of manual Mustangs that I had.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,838
    One aspect of this discussion that makes me smile is that somehow there's an assumption in here that modern subcompact drivers are "handicapped" in some way, when in fact driving a modern subcompact is no different than driving most other cars aside from the huge luxury liners.

    At one time there was this vast universe of difference when you jumped from a subcompact into a "regular" car, just like there was once this vast universe of difference between a "sports car" and a "regular car" (can you imagine going from a 1965 Alfa Romeo to a 1965 Impala???).

    Now all those lines are blurred. A modern subcompact can perform just as well as 95% of the cars out there in 95% of the situations.

    Aside from the heavy feeling of a luxury car, or a few radical sports car, and a few decibels less interior noise, I really don't feel any difference when I jump from one modern passenger car or small pickup to another. They are remarkably uniform in experience these days.
    Corolla, Ranger, Eclipse, Solara, Civic, Focus, Mazda3, Subaru....it's all the same most of the time.

    Modern cars are all merging to uniformity of experience except for the top 'o the line cars. It seems to parallel the trend in "fashion jeans" and other "once-luxury, now mass-consumed" items.

    MODERATOR

  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    Interesting observation. I've noticed that every Honda and Toyota that I have driven has a lift to rest the left foot. This makes full extension of the left foot impossible (ie your leg is always bent and can't be extended). It is not an illusion. The driver has less leg room than the passenger, especially for the left leg of manual transmission vehicles. I do not like this feature.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,838
    I'm going to check that out. That IS an intersting observation.

    MODERATOR

  • I like the idea of a dead peddle but it needs to be far enough back so that you can have some leg extention or idealy adjustable.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,968
    I always thought the only purpose of a dead pedal was to make the area where the wheel well intrudes into the passenger compartment into something useable. If they just kept the rounded shape of the wheel well, it wouldn't be a useable spot to rest your foot.

    This is mainly an issue with FWD cars though, I've noticed. RWD cars usually have the front wheels far enough ahead that they don't intrude into the passenger compartment, so the floor/lower part of the firewall area is flat. I would not benefit from a dead pedal with any of the RWD cars I've ever owned, although a shorter driver might, as the firewall might be too far away to rest your foot on.

    If I was to put my left foot under the brake pedal of my Intrepid, I could stretch out pretty nicely, but that's not exactly a safe way to drive! :surprise:
  • mwqamwqa Posts: 106
    I was sitting in an auto transmission Fit last weekend. The pedals seemed to be flush with the lift for the left foot. The lift felt too far forward to me and I found it more comfortable to put my left foot under the brake pedal than on the lift.

    I may just be used to the positioning of the pedals in my 1992 Mazda 323. The pedals are forward of the lift and the lift itself seems to be located more deeply in the foot well.

    I also sat in the Toyota Yaris hatchback and thought the pedals were somewhat recessed, like the Fit. However, resting my left foot on the lift was a bit more comfortable.

    I think part of the problem with the Fit is that lift is not shaped, so when you rest your foot on it, the angle is wrong. The fabric ‘bump’ seemed to be sticking out more at the top than at the bottom, so the angle works against the natural positioning of the foot. I felt that my foot was being forced into an 80-degree angle, instead of a 100-degree angle (if I remember my high school geometry correctly!).

    Anyway, that was my impression. :confuse:
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Mr. Shiftright: Now all those lines are blurred. A modern subcompact can perform just as well as 95% of the cars out there in 95% of the situations.

    Aside from the heavy feeling of a luxury car, or a few radical sports car, and a few decibels less interior noise, I really don't feel any difference when I jump from one modern passenger car or small pickup to another. They are remarkably uniform in experience these days.
    Corolla, Ranger, Eclipse, Solara, Civic, Focus, Mazda3, Subaru....it's all the same most of the time.


    Very true, but that is because most of the old subcompacts got bigger and heavier and faster, which means that they are quieter, more comfortable and easier to live with on a day-to-day basis.

    Several posters have decried that very trend.

    Last night I was behind a 1978-79 Chevrolet Chevette four-door sedan at a red light. What struck me was how diminutive that car looked today. It was short, narrow and low (but despite a height lower than most modern sedans, it somehow came across as "spindly" in its basic proportions). It seemed like a Matchbox car in traffic - even compared to a Civic or Mazda3.

    It struck me that my 1977 Honda Civic was about the same size (if anything, probably smaller). That car was great at the time, but I would not buy anything that small today. I would, however, consider a new 2006 Civic sedan.

    I seriously doubt that Honda would be selling 300,000+ Civics today if it had not reguarly enlarged the car for greater room, comfort and safety.
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