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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Two questions about Mazda's "extreme attention to design":

    1) With Mazda's extreme attention to design, why can't they come up with a bumper design that protects the car from major damage in a 5 mph impact? According to IIHS' tests, the Protege is more than twice as bad as the lowly Elantra on this score ($521 average damage per test vs. $213). The Protege is also ranked below the Neon, Civic, Saturn, Sentra, Corolla, and Prizm on this test (of cars in our forum's scope). Of these, the Saturn ranks best (nice engineering on the space-cage perhaps), followed by Elantra. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to design a decent bumper.

    2) Why can't Mazda design a body structure for the Protege that rates better than "average" in the IIHS crash tests? Now this one does take some engineering prowess. Perhaps the clay models don't help here--computer modeling may be more useful.

    I'd love to go on here and ask other questions about Mazda's attention to design, e.g. how they can design a minivan that can't zoom-zoom out of its own way, or a sports car that can't deliver its advertised horsepower, or a compact sedan (626) that is a lesser vehicle than its previous generation, but that's outside the scope of this forum.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,919
    of late. Not enough profits for those whom have financial stake in them. The Miata is nice and the 4-door sedans are sleek looking. The minivan appears to be a bit of a bust. Protege tries to look as good as the beautiful Sephia and looks way better than Toyota's Echo and looks somewhat better than Toyota's Corolla(though the 2003 design currently being sold in Hong Kong looks much better to me). In short, too many similar mundane-looking Japanese cars to fill and clog our nation's highways and biways dudes. Time for a little merge or aquisition action again.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    You'd be better off in a Sequoia, based as it is on the Tundra (rather than the F150, as is the Lincoln Navigator).

    Remember -- mass and interia aren't the whole story. Structure plays a huge role as well.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    "Mazda's a cash-drain"...

    Yeah, that's why Ford got rid of Kia and kept Mazda. Mazda's financial loss this year was from a one-time corporate restructuring (early-retirement payoffs) that completes Ford's restructuring plan at Mazda. Look for a total revamp of the Mazda line-up in the next three years with the return of the venerable rotary engine.

    "extreme attention to design"

    I was referring to exterior design. However, the 5mph damage tests conducted by the IIHS is hard to read. The repair costs (unless $0) only shows how much it costs to repair the car. Mazda parts are traditionally higher in cost. Another thing is that for some strange reason, Mazda uses a slight textured pattern on their bumper covers. You can't just repaint the damaged section; the whole bumper cover must be replaced to look new. Why do they do that? I don't know. However, I've been rear-ended twice in my '99 Protege at speeds between 10-15mph. Damage? Some paint chips...

    Only two small sedans get "Good" body structure ratings on the IIHS offset frontal crash test. Those are the 2001 Honda Civic and 2001 Hyundai Elantra. Both of those vehicles are brand new designs, as where the Protege is going on it's third year. When the Protege is redesigned for the 2004 model year, it will get significant structural reinforcements. What I find interesting, is that the IIHS grouped the 2001 Protege with the 1999 and 2000. For 2001, Mazda made structural reinforcements to the engine pan, suspensions mounts, and safety cage. Why didn't the IIHS retest the Protege? Another question... why can't Hyundai use airbags that work?

    The 2.5L Duratec used in the MPV is a parent company decision... with the Contour going out of production, Ford had to stick that engine in something. However, the 2002 MPV will get the much more powerful 3.0L Duratec. Have you driven the current MPV? I have always found it to be quite adequate if you let it rev up. It is certainly better than the 4-cyl DaimlerChrysler vans, or the anemic Quest and Villager.

    The Miata? I can't explain that one. However, I'm sure Mazda will rectify the situation this coming model year. At least they came out and stated their error. Ford didn't do that when the same thing happened to the Mustang Cobra.

    How is the 626 lesser than the previous generation? The new 626 is roomier, quieter, more powerful, and smoother than the previous generation. It doesn't really matter though, since the new generation is just around the corner and will be powered by a 3.0L DOHC V6 with S-VT and variable intake control.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    The offset crash test by IIHS is like the full frontal crash test by NHTSA. Results from both can be compared ONLY within the same class.

    Now, the results of the side impact crash test done by NHTSA for any car can be compared to ANY other car.

    Strange to say this, but the Echo scores as well in that test as the Buick LeSabre although the LeSabre weighs 1,600 pounds more.

    And sorry, I cannot be Frank. I am Steve. ; )
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,919
    between my Sephia's rear end and the Toyota Echo's rear end. Yes, the Echo is so homely that I think Toyota engineers have a pretty good sense of humor. Similar to Pontiac Aztek. I know it's an SUV but homely is next to....whew! No, I'll take the aesthetically pleasing lines of the Sephia and it's good attention to design over any Japanese 4-door sedan. That goes for German(except Jetta)and all American sedans. The Protege is my favorite looking Japanese sedan available as I type this. A sporty look and good positive appeal to it. Corolla's hopefully changing starting in 2003 though word is they're not going to sell the design they're now selling in Hong Kong but the Corolla Altis design
    If this is true it's off of my future consideration list. Too Corolla-typical for me.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    They'll be selling a version developed specifically for the US market by Calty. We haven't seen it yet, so I have no idea what it's going to look like -- but enough people have hollered over the styling of the home-market car that hopes are high it will be much edgier and sportier.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    The link to the next style Corolla that we will be getting can be found in the Corolla thread. It is a site for Toyota of Japan, but from what I have seen of pictures and renderings this is the model we will be getting.

    As I have said before, it has the tall greenhouse, sloping hood, and back end is higher than the front end look of the Echo.

    The next Camry will be sportier and edgier.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    We thought the ECHO was ugly until we sat in one and drove it. ECHO has good performance, great fuel economy, is easy to get in and out of, has a comfortable seating position, feels large inside, and the list goes on and on and on....
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I just found this, but in June of last year Popular Mechanics did a round up review of 12 of the lowest price cars available in America. Here is the link.

  • fangio2fangio2 Posts: 214
    I dated an ugly girl once and your defense of the Echo's looks echoed my defense of her.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    As long as you were happy, that is what mattered.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    But the comfort, performance, reliability, fuel economy are living proof that real beauty is more than skin deep.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,919
    as long as there are subjects, dumb wannabe car magazines like Clodsumer Retorts will continue to rake in American bucks. Like I've said before, Kia is supposedly the newcomer in America but they have the fat veterans Toyota beat BIG time in styling. Mazda too. If Protege is the best styling Mazda can come up with in a smaller 4-door sedan, there probably is something then to the fact that the Japanese car companies poo-poo spending any time and money with small cars that don't make them big money. Kia designers decided to stop and think first. Hey, if we style our cars with a nice looking design we'll sell them to an American public STARVED FOR NICE LOOKING SMALL CARS. Rio, Spectra and Sephia are pulling away Civic, Corolla and Protege shoppers when the people get a look at the body styles. No problem, Toyota's got the Calty Corolla on the books and up for sale in 2003. Gotta get a look at that thing. I KNOW TOYOTA can still design a nice looking small 4-door sedan.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Toyota has the best reliability in all vehicles. True, some may not be as stylish to some people. DaimlerChrysler minivans greatly outsell Toyota Sienna and probably because of more attractive styling. Kia is like DC in that styling is emphasized over reliability. Neither have yet developed the reputation equal to Toyota for reliability.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    As long as there are people such as yourself who are willing to overlook issues like safety and reliability and buy their products, Kia and Hyundai have no reason to change in those areas.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    Sephia design... I can sum that up in one word: outdated.

    Most modern designs use the wedge shape, meaning that the front end of the car is lower and overall profile escalates from front to rear. This is done for three reasons: profile gives the vehicle a sense of forward motion; profile is more aerodynamic; increased trunk volume.

    The Sephia's profile has a sloping hood and sloping trunk. This design was used unsuccesfully on the Contour/Mystique and 96-00 Taurus/Sable. As a result, the Sephia has only 10.4 cubic feet of trunk space. That is small considering that most of its competitors have right around 13 cubic feet of trunk space.

    The Sephia uses a straight character line which appears from the fenders to the rear quarter panels. However, the Sephia's hood and trunk profile are rounded, contradicting the character line and giving vehicle a bulbous appearance.

    The window frames are painted body color. Traditionally, this is a trait of a base model vehicle, with the upper models having black window frames. Black window frames give the vehicle's greenhouse a more integrated look. The Sephia's monochrome treatment of the window frames lend to a choppy look. However, monochrome window frames can be done successfully if the monochrome treatment is carried throughout the design. However, the Sephia's black plastic sail panels on the rear windows and black plastic mirror-base treatment add to the awkward look.

    The interior is just plain outdated. Those door panels? Exact replicas of the 1995 Protege. The switchgear? Exact replicas of the 1995 Protege. The steering wheel? Exact replica of the 1995 Protege. Or are they? I wouldn't be surprised if they are Mazda parts, just like the engine and platform. Everything's based on a design Mazda got rid of years ago.

    Here's a 2001 Sephia and the same car with the character line removed, trunk redesigned to achieve the wedge shape (and two more cubic feet of trunk space), and window frames blackened:


    I prefer the modified version. What do you guys and gals think?
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    Looks like PhotoPoint isn't sharing anymore. Well, for the Sephia photos, go here:

    Then click on the Vehicles album and then click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Jstand, thanks for auto design 101. I had to pick up my roommate and your post had me looking at cars all the way there. After I picked her up, we both were looking at cars. You are right, the pillars look better black as opposed to the color of the rest of the car. Would improve the looks of the Sephia if they did what you showed.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,919
    I'm finding it much more entertaining than watching Gary Condit duck flying accusations. From Sephia's finely shaped headlights with just the right amount of mirroring inside to the lines gently sloping back from the inside edge of the headlights back towards the windshield she's nicely appointed all the way around. Beats the blocky chunkyness of Protege which conjures up images of Mitsubishi's Mirage or Mitsubishi's whatever. Feel free to post something that actually starts to argue against the fine body design of this hot-selling Korean import. So far it all adds up to one painstakingly long wait for Shaq to put up another UGLY free throw attempt that bounces desperately off the top of the backboard and over the top out of bounds.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Having looked really closely at a lot of cars since Jstand's post about the Sephia, I have come to the conclusion that the best looking cars have black b-pillars as opposed to body color pillars.

    I don't think any disrespect to the Sephia was intended.
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Posts: 236
    I always thought the Protege was a nice-looking, classy car (sort of like a miniature Audi A-4). Personally, I think Kia would have done well to imitate the 1999 Protege body redesign, especially considering the Mazda bloodline already imparted upon the Sephia. Although I have to admit that I also think the Sephia is friendly-looking, too.

    Lately I've noticed a real bloom in Kias on the road, especially in the Rio and Spectra 5-door. The Spectra, IMO, gives 5-door buyers (all 36 of us, it seems) a nice styling alternative to the Elantra GT. The GT is kind of odd-looking by comparison, whereas I think the Spectra styling is cleaner. I should know, because I have to look at the but-ugly back end of my GT every morning when I go out to the driveway! Woof!!

    I read in USA Today (7/27) that 35% of Kia owners are under the age of 35. Food for thought.

    Happy Motoring!
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331 has released lists of the safest cars in almost every market category.

    I am providing the link for anyone interested in checking where a particular car ranks.

    Of the currently produced sub-compacts, I believe Echo ranks first. I say believe because they rank the Escort as #1, but that is not produced anymore except by Escort they might mean the ZX2 which is still produced.

  • lgoldinlgoldin Posts: 90
    this is very suspicious result. Civic is runked low, while latest Civic is a top in safety. I don't think you can trust "smart"motorist.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    I don't know who came up with those safety ratings... they totally contradict the findings of the NHTSA and IIHS who actually crash the cars.

    iluvmysephia1... Hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you love the styling of your car, then more power to you. I personally think the Protege is still one of the best looking cars in its class. The Sephia is not ugly, but IMO it could use some easy improvements to spruce up the styling.
  • jarednoahjarednoah Posts: 20
    IMO, Korean cars are generally attractive to most people. But it just ends there. Otherwise, who would give a second look considering their reliability and resale value. This is exactly what in the Korean car designer's mind. Build something attractive, then worry about anything else. Look at the Hyundai XG, it certainly is attractive in a retro kind of way, with all the near luxury gadgetry thrown in for just a price of an Accord EX 4cy. But it just ends there, now as in other Korean cars, things starting to fall apart. Just visit XGs forum in the Sedan section and you will see what i am talking about.
    Bottomline is, if i am a gambler, i would choose KIA or Hyundai because they have the coolest looking cars (according to Iluvmysephia) regardless whether they last or not. Whereas if i am frugal and i need to make a very wise decision, i would go for the Hondas and toyotas, probably the civic or the echo. They maybe funny looking or bland or whatever, but the thing is- they have bullet-proof reliability. They may have issues but mostly minor. While Korean auto owners worry about engine problems or something major- Japanese auto owners are worried about things like, cupholders, disc changers, etc.. Get my drift. Koreans are improving but they are just not there yet. Honestly, i will buy something from the big three but not anycar Korean.

    Buyers buy car for their specific needs. Whether to go from A to B, or just to have some extension to ones ego... etc. But as they say, the car you drive speaks a lot about you. So if ever i would have to choose, I would go for Japanese (excluding Mitsus) then American, then if there really is no other choice, then maybe Korean. or I would rather buy a bike... LOL
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Interesting post about vehicle safety.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Your profile says you own a BMW, you are looking to purchase a Ferrari, and your dream car is a Land Rover. What are you doing here?
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Saw a Rio and I noticed that the pillars are black. Yes, I have seen Rios before, but this is the first time I paid attention to the pillars. Are the pillars on all Rios painted black? If all Rios come with painted black pillars, why doesn't the Sephia?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,919
    if they didn't it wouldn't make a bit of difference to me. The Sephia is still the best looking Asian 4-door sedan available on the market (yes, this does include Mazda's Millenia and 626 sedan)so if Kia wants to black out the next-generation Sephia side pillars they may as well have at it. If they paint them the color of the car I'll still be as happy as a clam with my purchase. Oh, Mr.major I just thought of a question I wanted to ask you. On the Daewoo bankruptcy site you mentioned something about the "name it and win it Daewoo U100 contest" and how it doesn't matter now what it's named (or something like that. I'm going on short-term memory here). Do this mean that you've heard something eternally dooming about Daewoo that I missed? As far as I know Daewoo is in bad shape but the huge sledgehammer has not quite hit Daewoo on the middle of the head quite yet. Naming should go on until Daewoo has declared the contest null and void, don't you agree? They're still alive (on life support) and looking for a buyout/bailout as I type this.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

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