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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • His postings are very unrevealing of his age. Backy....I'm so sorry to hear that your office was destroyed in these terrible acts.
  • If you mean me, majorthom, I luckily left my job in the WTC just a few months ago. I work in suburban NJ now so I was not directly affected. But I worked in the WTC for seven years and I know many people who still work(ed) there. Two died in the attack. The rest are OK.

    I am glad for things like Town Hall, baseball and the NFL for helping to occupy my mind during the last two weeks. It's been very rough here in the tri-state area.

    Well, back to cars...I just saw a picture of the 2002 Kia Spectra sedan in Auto World Magazine (formerly Auto World Weekly). It looks more mature than the current Sephia. I like it. Reminds me of the Mitsubishi Lancer.
  • Last night I was just thinking about this problem I have with Kia...their ads. They need to be a little bit more tasteful and "mature". Attacking Toyota (what's with that...the RAV4, Corolla and Camry) is not what they need to do to be successful. Their commercials lack something that Honda, Toyota and other company commercials have. I really like those new Toyota Camry professional.
  • No, my post was directed at Backy. See the title? Sorry to here that you knew people who worked there.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Major - I have no idea how many of the complaints about sludge are valid. But there were some pretty scary stories there. Do you have any idea how many of the Kia Sephia brake complaints were valid? Oh, and thank you for the concern about "my" building. I live in Minnesota, but I've been to Windows on the World a couple of times. Besides the horrible human loss, I will miss the those towers; they had special memories for me.

    But back to cars. What's so bad about Kia's ads? I always thought the Optima ads (some at least) are pretty clever, and the Sportage ads in the parking lot are kind of cute (although they glorify anti-social parking lot driving behavior). The Sephia ads tout the long-term reliability of the car--certainly something they need to stress given the reputation of Korean cars. If Toyota's Camry ads seem more mature than Kia's, it may be because Toyota is going after an older market with the Camry than is Kia with most of its vehicles. Since Kia's sales are way up this year, maybe the ads are having their intended effect.

    Re the 2002 Spectra sedan, all I can say is the car looks even better up close than in the photos. The rear end is particularly classy, part Jag, part Taurus, and the front has a sharp, modern appearance. More interesting styling, more curves, than the Lancer IMO. Haven't seen the interior yet--no units yet at my local dealer. Now if the car drives anywhere near as well as it looks and the price stays down, Kia could have a real winner there.
  • Check out the October issue of Smart Money. They have an article about the Top 10 Deals On New Cars.

    They chose twenty-nine finalists. There were ten categories with most categories being defined by price.

    The categories were Under $18,000; $18,000 - $25,000; and so on. There were also categories for station wagons and minivans. The SUV categories were broken down by price and they had one final category for Sporty Cars under $35,000. Most categories had three finalists, but some had two finalists while a few had four finalists.

    Value was made up of two parts. Quality as measured by the Total Quality Index. This is something Strategic Vision came up with. The other half of value was cost over five years and they used the services of IntelliChoice for that.

    The twenty-nine finalists were selected on the best combination of these two factors.

    To get to the winners, they dug deeper.

    Number one in the under $18,000 category was a Honda Civic LX which they said would cost $15,450. The thing that kept the other car in this category, that would fit our definition of low end cars, out of first was the lack of options compared to the Honda Civic.

    This car cost $10,980 and no it was not the Kia Rio, no it was not the Hyundai Accent, and no it was not the Kia Sephia.

    The car meeting our definition of low end car and determined to be a good deal was the Toyota Echo.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    The Sedona may be a great value in a minivan, but it stickers for $19,000, way over the threshold for "entry level cars." If it can be considered a car.

    The Echo, on the other hand, is a bona-fide entry level car. I'm not surprised it would rank high in a study like Smart Money's, in which the cars were ranked by the "Total Quality Index" and cost over 5 years. When you start out at one of the lowest prices of any of the cars tested, e.g. some $2000 below the Elantra GLS, and have the resale value of a Toyota you should come out well. And if you like driving a bare-bones car like the base model Echo, then you can't do better.
    Realize that the Total Quality Index actually says more about how well a car meets the owner's expectations than quality or performance on an absolute scale. And of course that is important, because if you meet or exceed a customer's expectations you will have a happy customer. But it also means that if a car owner has modest expectations, and the car meets those expectations, the car can have a high TQI. That would explain why a car like the Echo, listing under $11k, could have the third-best TQI after the more expensive Golf and Prius, and why cars that are as wretched to drive as the Sunbird and Saturn SL have high scores. I have to question any "quality index" that ranks the Hyundai XG300 far ahead of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry (with the Camry not even scoring above average), does not even consider the Mazda Protege in its rankings of small cars (it should be near the top), and ranks twins like the Dodge/Chrysler Neon far apart.
  • Comfortable to sit in, great performance, good visibility, easy to enter and exit, great fuel economy although perhaps one of the ugliest to look at sedans now made. The interior looks and feels cheap but overall the ECHO would still be our first choice for a sedan with the PT Cruiser the only other serious possibility.
  • I had thought that perhaps Smart Money was listing the winner in each category first and then the rest of the finishers in order of finish. However, the finalists are listed in alphabetical order with the winner in orange type. Honda Civic just happens to be the winner and also the first car alphabetically in the Under $18,000 category.

    However, while the Honda and the Toyota are listed in the body of the article, the VW which is shown in the box as a finalist is not mentioned. This makes me think that the Echo did come in second.

    Does anyone have a link showing the TQI survey results? I used to have it, I thought, but I cannot find it anymore.
  • I see now that you did make the post about the WTC that I was responding to with my condolences.

    Someone posted a message to Backy just under it and made the title, "Backy." Somehow my brain transferred that to Backy being the writer of your posts.
  • Backy, my point abou the posts were that people seemed to make a complaint about sludge and were never heard from again or they vanished when hard questions were asked of them.

    It has been some time since I read the Kia Sephia brake posts so I don't remember if they fell into this category of posts too.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    The Strategic Vision site with the TQI details is at:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    >>>...people seemed to make a complaint about sludge and were never heard from again...<<<

    All right, now, I've heard of cases where a company took offense about someone complaining about their products, but THIS is a little ridiculous! 8)
  • ...but does that still mean that you don't always agree with me.....? ;-)

    I have a question for Echo owners. How do the interior plastics hold up to scratches and scuffs? When I tested the car I thought some of the plastic bits seemed lower-grade (not unexpected at that price) and I was wondering what they might look like after a year's use.
    Also, if any Echo owners have the plastic body and fender cladding, let me know how that's doing, too. Lately I seem to see fewer Echoes with this option.

    Happy Motoring!
  • Engine sludge is made of complaining people! (with apologies to Charleton Heston. ; )
  • CJ, I think your opinions when they aren't exactly like mine are wrong, but I still love ya. ; )

    I have only had my car for nine months. It will be nine months to the day on Saturday, actually.

    Anyway, my interior plastic and the body moulding are holding up really, really well. Still very, very close to what they looked like the day I bought the car.

    I have done nothing special to the body moulding, but I make sure that I do not get wax on it. I have seen some cars with a milky build up. I understand it to be from when wax gets on the moulding. There is a product to use when this happens, but the name escapes me. It has been posted about a couple of times on the Echo board.

    As far as the interior plastics go, I take Armor All Cleaning wipes and wipe down the interior. I let it dry and then I take Armor All Protectant. Wipes (the ones that give a gloss) and rub the plastic again. I do this when the temperature is cool and the car is in the shade.

    I must admit that the wipes leave some lint so when it is dry after the protectant. treatment, I take a clean cloth and rub the lint off.
  • Thanks Backy, I have it bookmarked now.
  • janbeejanbee Posts: 127
    In 2 weeks I will have had my ECHO for 1 year and I keep it imaculate, it looks the same as it did the day I drove it off the lot. I have body side moulding and it is in the same shape as it did 1 year ago, same with the interior. I dont put anything on the moulding and I just use armor all UV protectant on the dash, I keep it as simple as possible.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    As the GT rolls through 9,000 miles, it continues to deliver a solid quiet ride. After the fuel gauge was fixed and the rear seat release button popped back into place, the car has been problem free. I can't speak for past years, but it looks like they got it right this time.

    CJ--You sent shivers down my spine with your WTC story. Glad you made the switch....condolences on the losses.
  • I appreciate your concern.

    Glad to hear your GT is running fine. I keep my eyes open for you when I'm on the NJ Turnpike and the GSP, but no sightings so far. I still haven't seen another GT yet. BTW, how did you fix your fuel gauge?
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    Every time I pass the Enrite discount gas station on Route 9 North near Sayreville, I have to top the darn thing off. Gas today was $1.059! Whenever I top if off, the gauge needle stops around 7/8s. If I stop at the auto shut off, it eventually creeps up to full. Sometimes it actually rises as I use a gallon or two of fuel. I had it to the dealer once, and it worked perfectly for a while. I use the trip computer anyway. When I go back for the free 15,000 mile servicing that I got as part of my deal, I will ask to have it checked again. You need to bring it in with virtually no gas left in the tank. I have yet to see another GT on the road as well.
  • fangio2fangio2 Posts: 214
    I never pay attention to the flags-would not know an afgan flag anyway.It does kinda bother me tho.WHY?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I live in Minnesota and so sticks a U.S. flag on my posts. According to his User Profile, Carleton lives in Kabul, so of course his posts get the Afganistan flag. Not a very safe place to be right now--are you OK out there, Carleton?
  • I dont think that cars even exist there...
  • I think his choice of flags is a joke as is his city of residence. Carleton used to fly the Israel flag.

    And you will notice that the car he is shopping for is a Daewoo Leganza. Now for someone who talks up Toyota products, it would not make much sense for them to be searching for a Daewoo unless most of their profile (including that part) was a joke.
  • J.D. Powers does have a website geared toward the consumer and it is now up and running. I have known about it for sometime, but every time I tried to access, the site reported back as being down.

    The site can be reached at

    Highlight and click on the word automotive to get to the area most appropriate for our purposes. ; )

    What is coolest about this site is that you can pull up IQS info on multiple cars at the same time. And this IQS info is broken down into components.

    Pretty handy comparison tool.

  • I put the 2001 Echo against Sephia, Accent and Rio. ECHO beat both the Sephia and Rio in every category. It tied the Accent in performance and creature comforts. Not bad. Go ECHO Go! lol
  • I should point out that the top three categories are taken from the IQS and the bottom three categories are from the APPEAL survey.
  • fangio2fangio2 Posts: 214
    imformative as well as fun.Some things are out of whack though-the Sonata initial power train was a 2 or 3 rating,the intermediate was a 5(tops).Are Sonata's like burbon in that they get better with age?
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