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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • I think if anyone needs to be corrected it is you.

    You mischaracterized the tests and what you can compare. Or at the very least you made it hard to understand.

    You lumped the front impact test results which cannot be compared between the Elantra and the Echo with the side impact crash test results which can be compared between the two.

    The Elantra got a five in protecting the front seat occupants and a four in protecting the rear seat occupants in a side impact crash.

    The Echo got a three in protecting the front seat occupants and a four in protecting the rear seat occupants during a side impact crash.

    I still think the lack of side impact air bags in the Echo tested and the presence of side impact air bags in the Elantra tested might have something to do with the higher rating of the Elantra in protecting the front seat occupants.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,880
    let's just get this straight. What kind of vehicle I prefer and what kind of vehicle you prefer should in no way turn into a competition to the death. Your comment reminded me of the Romans and bloodbaths a bit too much. Although I would feel much safer in a Kia Sportage 4x4 than a Toyota RAV4(without ever having to test drive the RAV4-there's no need-it carries on that ripoff Japanese tradition that makes me want to barf)I would never wish death upon another driver. Your comment "we'll see who comes out on top" reminded me of the ancient Romans a tad too much. Safe driving to all and another Mariner's victory is only hours away.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I agree one reason for the Elantra's better NHTSA crash tests scores compared to the ECHO could be because of the Elantra's standard side air bags. It could also be due to other factors, such as the Elantra's solid body structure, extra weight (about 700 pounds more than the ECHO), etc. I don't know why the NHTSA didn't test the ECHO with its optional side air bags, as they have done with other cars. You'd have to ask them. One possible reason is that the NHTSA buys test cars off dealer lots, and perhaps they could not find an ECHO with side air bags at the time of their testing.

    I don't understand why you are complaining about how I stated the Elantra's and ECHO's test scores. What I stated is accurate, although I organized my thoughts differently than you did. Anyone who wants all the facts can go to the NHTSA web site,, and the IIHS site, At least I gave the full story on the ECHO vs. ZX3, while you only mentioned the one NHTSA test in which the ECHO outperformed the ZX3. IMO, that is misleading. And I also pointed out that the NHTSA scores should not be compared between the ECHO and Elantra because of the weight disparity--which you did not mention in your initial post on this subject.

    We should also consider that the ZX3 is a 2dr hatchback, and many owners will seldom/never carry rear passengers. Those drivers who do carry rear passengers would do well to avoid the ZX3 because of the poor rear side impact results.

    Anyway, if crash safety is a buyer's paramount concern, he/she will likely not buy an ECHO, Elantra, or ZX3, but a Civic. The 2dr Civic with optional side air bags scored 5 stars in all the NHTSA tests and also had excellent IIHS test results. In fact I believe that if the Civic 2dr met the $13,000 bar set by Edmunds for Economy Cars, they would have chosen it as the Most Wanted, based not only on superior crash-worthiness but on other attributes that make it an excellent small car, like reliability, quality, roominess, and gas mileage. They did name it the runner-up to the Golf in the Hatchback/Coupe under $20,000 category. The Civic DX 2dr missed the bar by only $250 ($500 including the side air bags), so anyone who wants a crash-worthy car and doesn't mind a basic vehicle, or mind paying more for an up-level LX or EX, can choose the Civic.

  • randyt2randyt2 Posts: 81
    >>When it comes to the Echo, Edmunds makes cracks about safety<<

    Can you give us a link?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Major, you've expressed your disagreement with's pick for Most Wanted Economy Car based on safety. I am curious as to which car you believe deserves the "Most Wanted" label, based on safety. Recall that the MSRP + Destination must be under $13,000.
  • That little comment you just made in parenthesis is exactly why some on this board snap at your your posts. You add things that aren't relevant to the point and EVERY post you make has some allusion to Kia's supposed being the best.
  • Just a quick FYI.

    My roommate and I took test drives of the 2001 Kia Rio sedan and the 2002 Kia Spectra sedan. The reasons behind the test drive and the details on the test drives including my thoughts on the cars will be posted when I have more time.

    I will also post responses to Backy including my pick for the best car and to Randy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Can't wait to hear your impressions of the new Spectra. I finally saw some while driving past my local dealer on Saturday, but did not have time to take a close look.
  • Iluv, you really got that bassackwards. If you don't drive safely, it is very important that you be in a safe vehicle. If you drive safely, then the actual safety ratings of the vehicle mean less.

    Regarding your questions about not signaling, that is one of my pet peeves. I signal all the time. It is so ingrained that even if I am the only one on the road, I signal. If there is only one way to go, I still signal.

    I live right on the border between two states and the state that I don't live in seems to use turn signals less. It could just be the county I travel to in that state. It is a very upscale county and I guess the people think they are too important to use turn signals.

    Iluv, I believe Duel was Spielberg's first movie as director.
  • The Spectra sedan was the first one that my roommate and I test drove. Before getting in, I asked the saleswoman if Kia had done anything about the smell that my roommate and I were subjected to at the auto show in March. She claimed to be unaware of what I was talking about.

    I soon got an indication that nothing had changed. I was on the passenger side when the saleswoman opened the driver's door. A very unpleasant odor reached my nostrils.

    What the saleswoman did next I could not believe. She reached in and turned the car on. No, that is not a typo. She did not get in, she simply reached in. Also, I was very surprised that she did not ask to see my driver's license and did not ask to see proof of insurance. I walked around to the driver's side and my roommate went to the passenger side. We got in and the saleswoman did not go with us. Another surprise. The final surprise was that she did not slap a dealer's plate on the car.

    I turned on the air conditioning to see if it would help with the smell and also I wanted to see how the acceleration was. It definitely helped the smell.

    The Spectra was an automatic and as I accelerated onto the highway, I felt myself wishing the car had a few more horses or it was a manual. Definitely felt underpowered. Feelings shared by my roommate. It also felt like it was balking at changing gears.

    I can't really say how the car reacted to bumps because we were in that very upscale county in the next state and potholes and bumps don't exist on the highway we were traveling. The seats did feel fairly comfortable. I felt the driver's seat was more comfortable than the passenger seat.

    After getting off the highway, traveling down a city street for a while, I pulled into a parking lot to switch places with my roommate. Steering feel was similar to my Echo.

    Remember I said that my roommate felt the acceleration was lacking and felt underpowered? She likes automatics and had wanted her next car to be automatic, but if she were to get a Spectra, she would want a manual.

    One thing I noticed when getting into the passenger seat was that the smell seemed a little stronger. I turned up the A/C even more and it did not seem to help.

    One thing both my roommate and I noticed when we got back to the dealership and out of the car was that there was a burning smell coming from somewhere. I did not really associate it with the car we were just in, but my roommate did. I hope nothing happened because I forgot to mention it to the saleswoman.

    Stylewise, I think Kia did a pretty good job. It is a nice looking car. Qualitywise, I think they have room for improvement. My feeling comes mainly from looking at the exterior of the car.

    I am pressed for time and must end this. If there is something more you want to know, just post it and I will deal with it in my next post. If no questions, I will probably post about the Rio test drive next instead.

    But I want to leave you with the word for the day (in regards to that Rio test drive). The word for the day is buzzy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I am glad you got the Complete Driving Experience of a Korean car, smell and all. If it helps any, the smell does go away pretty quickly (half-life of about 1-2 weeks). I suspect the "burning smell" you experienced was related to the other odor. Korean car makers use a sealant on the car to protect it during the ocean crossing. So you probably smelled the sealant burning off the muffler or converter. (Or it could have been undercoating overspray, a common problem I've seen/smelled before on even Japanese cars.) I smelled much the same thing with my brand-new Elantra. It too faded quickly. Now my car just has that wonderful new-car smell--even after one year.

    If you have time I'd be curious as to details on the quality (fit, finish, materials) and also how quiet the car was, overall and engine noise.
  • I would say that the fit and finish were below that of my Echo. The hood looked to be off for one thing. No, I did not try to open it, but I should have. I felt the materials were comparable to what is in my Echo. The road noise was about the same as with my Echo, but the engine was much louder in the Spectra. I will go into more detail on its own review, but the Rio was the LOUDEST!

    One thing I was the most disappointed in was the fuel economy numbers of the Spectra, but I guess my Escort and Echo have left me spoiled. I get about 36mpg with the Escort and around 41mpg with the Echo.

    Speaking of fuel, the sales lady told us the Rio had a full tank of gas and I joked that we would be back when the tank was almost empty. She did not seem to be joking when she said that would be fine.

    Sorry if my review is not up to the standards or detail of a professional review, but those guys get to be with the cars a lot longer than I did. Also, I did not take notes during the test drives. When she gets home, my roommate and I should be going to take a look at Hyundais and I am going to take a pad of paper to jot notes down. I will take this pad of paper with me on all future test drives.

    We are taking these test drives because her son is in the market for a low end car, but she will be in the market for a car soon too. I am having her write down all the things that are important to her such as safety, reliability, quality, resale value, etc., and then I am having her rate the importance of each on a 1 to 10 or 1 to 5 scale.

    We are going to use that to pick the best car for her and we are also going to use your (Backy's) push/blocker system and see what the answer is that way.
  • ichem1ichem1 Posts: 11
    Backy and others: Suspect wife and I went to local Mazda dealer and checked availability of Protege equipped as my wife wanted it. There are no Proteges in the U.S as of now that fit the description my wife wants. The sticking point is the side air bag and ABS brake package we demand along with the lack of a sun roof. They call them moon roof here in Florida since any mention of the sun would send any real Floridian running. Estimated delivery date early Jan. or Feb. I understand that there are brochures with pictures of the 2003 Corolla available. The person I work with bought a Corolla in Feb. and he got an advert. in the mail today for the new Corolla. He will bring it to work with him in the morning. Will let you know.
  • Iluv, the Mariners losing is not a bad thing. It's a good thing. After all, you can take solace in the fact that they got closer to the World Series than Ken Griffey Jr.

    Now what was that about world series pie? ; )

    Oh btw, I did not get to the Hyundai dealership. Had more important things to do. Might not be until this weekend.
  • I take it you missed the infamous looking like spam after a crash in an Echo crack made by Edmunds.

    I am not sure if that remark is in a review that is still reachable because I think Edmunds may have revised it due to protests that it was in bad taste.

    If I can find it, I will point you to it.
  • On the Spectra, the fit and finish (at least on the car I drove) had improved quite a bit. I did open the hood and it seemed to open and close while retaining its fit. The smell started to diminish after several miles. My primary concern was the seat cushion and seat back. Being short, the seat simply doesn't fit me. Like yourself, I found the engine noise when accelerating normally to be a bit annoying. Overall, the car has been improved over the previous model. On the Rio, I drove a Cinco and didn't find some of the faults such as a loud engine (at least on the example driven)that you did. The ride was good. Much better than my neighbor's BMW 325. The workmanship appeared to be very good. No wind noise etc. Both cars appeared to be of good value for buyers who want to avoid overpriced 100,000 mile used cars or those of limited means. One neighbor has a 98 Sephia that has just crested 83K and still seems to be running well. The long warranty will probably offset any aggravation caused by repairs.
    My friend, the dealer tells me that he is selling few to the bruised credit crowd, and a goodly number of senior citizens are purchasing both Rio and Sephia/Spectra models.
    There are still a large number of Ford Aspires (Kia) and Pontiac LeMans (Daewoo) on the road in this area, Metro Detroit, and an increasing population of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. BTW happened to see a Daewoo transit bus on a Detroit street. Believe it was on a test route. Interesting..
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Most owners of small sedans apparently are not concerned about sitting a few inches off the road. The ECHO, Prius, and PT Cruiser are the ONLY sedans that feel comfortable to my wife and I after owning 2 pickups and 2 minivans. Our last sedan was a 1980 Impala purchased NEW in October, 1979.
    The ECHO is the only comfortable sedan for us within the price parameters set for this forum. Now, when will Toyota offer an ECHO LE with padded armrests on front doors, fold down armrests for driver and front passenger, soft and padded material on the doors, quality seats like in even the least expensive Sienna, and Cruise?
    P.S. We have no grudge against Kia. We test drove the Sedona and were VERY impressed with the comfortable, quiet ride with nice acceleration. It was as comfortable, quiet, etc. as either the Sienna or Odyssey. The Sedona also had the most leg and foot room for driver and front passenger of all minivans we have driven.
  • The Mariners lost! I've been sobbing ever since..

    Iluv, how would I know how to spell sayonara in japanese? I ain't japanese, next time, say: Ahnyoung! to say hi and Ahnyoung! to say bye..
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,880
    Humm...are you Korean? Don't answer if you don't feel like it. I've picked up some hints along the way, but, you know what, iluv's been wrong before. AHHHH!!!! Now that that's outta da way-mr. major-check out my Mariner's comment on the 'How Are The Koreans Doing?'site, OK? I don't feel like retyping. A parting comment for now. Mr.major-your Kia reviews leave a good impression on me. What a fantastic car company! I want a new car and I want it to look great. I don't want it to cost too much. After all, we Washingtonians are the 5th highest taxed state in the U.S. AND WE HAVE LARGE REAL ESTATE COSTS. Whether we rent or own. Just the way it is. I also want my car to be backed by a manufacturer's warranty that is rock solid. Did I mention GREAT LOOKING CARS? Oh, OK. I also want the car to run great and run great for the long-haul. Kia's still passing the grade. Oh, fair insurance costs. Still Kia passes the test. Reliable? Yes, Kia's are reliable. Hummm...I guess I agree. The obvious new car choice(or used for that matter)is Kia. Bye.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • So what you are saying is you want a smelly car with a loud engine that lags behind in build quality?

    No wonder you like Kias. Especially if smell is your first criteria. ; )
  • As has been discussed, comparing the side impact crash test results between the 2001 Elantra and the 2001 Echo is not an apples to apples comparison because the Elantra has side impact air bags while the Echo does not.

    However, comparing the results between a 2000 Elantra and 2001 Echo is an apples to apples comparison because neither one had side impact air bags.

    In that comparison, the Elantra scored three stars out of five for protecting the front seat occupants which was the same as the Echo.

    If I was going to be a rear seat occupant in either the 2000 Elantra or the 2001 Echo, I would choose the Echo.

    The Elantra scored one star out of five while the Echo scored four stars out of five.

    But I guess not too many people bought the Elantra so people could ride in the back. ; )

    Isn't that the justification you used for the poor showing of the Focus ZX3 in the same test, Backy?
  • What car would you be driving if Kia, Hyundai and Daewood didn't exist?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    If you believe comparing the previous generation of the Elantra, which debuted in late 1995, to the current-generation ECHO is fair, then go right ahead and compare to your heart's content. IMO it is not a fair comparison. With each new generation of cars, automakers are improving crash-worthiness. The Elantra is no exception to this.

    I did not "justify" the poor showing of the ZX3 in rear side crash test results. I'll leave that to Ford. I only pointed out that many buyers of the ZX3, a 2-door hatchback, will seldom/never carry rear seat passengers, so for them the rear side crash test results are moot.

    Since you have apparently decided not to directly answer my question about which car you would have selected as's Most Wanted Economy Car, based on safety, but would rather compare the ECHO to the past-generation Elantra, allow me to provide some food for thought:

    * As a group, the cars eligible for the Economy Car Most Wanted award are not stellar performers in the IIHS and NHTSA crash tests. These are small, light, cheap (under $13,000 with destination) cars.

    * The ZX3 is the only eligible car that scored a Good in the IIHS crash tests. It also had excellent results for driver and passenger front impact (5's) and front side impact (4) in the NHTSA tests. It showed poorly only on the NHTSA rear side impact test (1).

    * No vehicles in this category scored all 5's on the NHTSA tests. No vehicles scored three 5's and one 4. Only one vehicle scored two 5's and two 4's: Elantra GLS ('01 model of course). However, the Elantra scored Poor overall on the IIHS crash tests due to premature air bag deployment and seat track movement problems. It did score a Good on structural integrity.

    So, what choice should the editors have made, based on safety, instead of the Elantra and ZX3?

    P.S. Note that the '01 Elantra has a better rating (5) than the ECHO (4) for front impact, passenger side, on the NHTSA tests, and the side air bag on the Elantra does not come into play there because it's a straight-on impact in which the side bags do not deploy. Driver's side ratings for front impact are the same (4). Would you agree that is a fair comparison?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,880
    if Kia,Hyundai and Daewoo weren't around at all I'd be real tempted to buy an early 60's Chevy. Either get one close to ready to rock and ride or get one fully restored. I'd love a '63 Chevy Nova SS. Red with wide tires in back and not as wide meats in front and Cragar mags(really there's so many nice wheels made today the wheel picking would be SUPER FUN)all around. If it were that car I wouldn't even mind the shift on the column Chevy installed in that car with the 6 cylinder engine. 3-speed on the column? Or a floor shifter 4-speed tranny and a beefier engine. That's what I would want. I would go with yellow for the exterior color and a black top(if I could score a convertible). If not I'd buy one in deep cherry red. 2-door or 4-door would both be fine. That's probably what I would do if the three from South Korea weren't doing such a sweet job leading the automotive industry right now. Humm...kinda get me to thinkin' about those early Chevy's some more. Or a Ford Falcon of some gumption. I'm a storin' the idea on my back burner for now!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • Sorry, I did not intentionally not answer your question about my pick for Most Wanted Economy Car. It slipped my mind until after I had shut off the computer for the night. When I thought of it, I deemed it as something that could wait until this morning.

    I don't think that Edmunds made it really clear why they even have the under $13,000 category. To them a low end car is anything under $30,000 and plus they have four categories for cars under $20,000.

    If safety were my ONLY consideration, I would bend the Under $13,000 category slightly and get a 2002 Honda Civic DX 2-door with side impact air bags. The MSRP after destination charges is only $13,500.

    Now, you may say no fair and I guess you would be right, but FWIW if you bought an Elantra GLS sedan and wanted floor mats (and most people do), the MSRP would be over $13,000. MSRP would be $13,072.

    This means that Edmunds left out what most people would consider an important item perhaps so that the Elantra would fit under their self-imposed guideline.

    Personally, I think if $30,00 is the diving line between low end and high end cars and you have categories for cars under $20,000 also, I would make the price barrier for economy cars to be $15,000 which is our self-imposed price barrier here on this board.

    And Backy, no I don't think that comparing the front impact crash results between the Elantra and the Echo is fair. As we both have stated, they are in different categories and cannot be compared. A fact that I knew about regarding the IIHS test, but I did not make it clear. I was more concerned with someone asking how the Echo did and I wanted to point out that no tests have been done as of yet.

    You might be right in not thinking you can compare the 2001 Echo with the 2000 Elantra except for the fact that for all intents and purposes the 2001 Echo is the same as the 2000 Echo. Thus even though there were no crash tests performed on the 2000 Echo, it is reasonable to believe that the test results would be the same between the two cars.

    If this is in fact the case, would you have an objection to comparing the 2000 Echo and the 2000 Elantra? This is basically what we are doing when we are comparing the 2001 Echo and the 2000 Elantra.
  • Half of the selecting people having families or not, whoever voted for the Elantra sedan and the Focus Zx3 did not have safety at the top of their list.

    The fact remains that both the Elantra sedan and the Focus ZX3 have failed miserably in certain safety tests.

    And if someone who voted for the ZX3 has a wife and kids, it is a safe bet that someone would be riding in the back seat. On Ford's behalf, I must say that they did a recall for this safety reason, but we have no idea on how well they fixed it. For all we know, that one may now be a two. Still pretty bad.
  • I have made reference to the fact that Edmunds seems to complain a lot about safety when it comes to an Echo.

    An example of this is what they say in the Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars article. You have to read between the lines, but they say [paraphrasing here] that instead of an Echo, they would rather have a gently used Protege, Sentra, or Civic. They make reference to these three being larger.

    You have to read between the lines because they don't come out and say that these three would be safer than the Echo, but a similar statement about safety was made in one of the reviews about the Echo.

    However, the truth is that in side impact crashes, any Echo is as safe as a 2000 Protege (the most recently tested Protege); the Echo is safer for the rear seat occupants in a side impact crash than the 1999 Sentra which is the most recent Sentra tested for side impact crash worthiness (and it is just as safe for the front seat occupants); and the Echo is safer for the rear seat occupants in a side impact crash and as safe for the front seat occupants as a 2000 Honda Civic. A 2001 Civic is safer, but at the time of the writing of the article, the 2001 Civic was not considered a used car.

    Yes, those three cars are probably safer in a front impact crash, but there is no telling one way or the other definitively.

    What is definite is that Edmunds did not tell the whole story when it comes to the Echo and they mislead people.
  • I just noticed something when I was reading Edmunds' Top 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Cars. They make reference to the economy sedans at the bottom of the list being close together in fuel economy so they had to use some means to determine their final placement on the list.

    What does this have to do with Edmunds' Most Wanted List? Well on the Most Wanted List, an economy car is presumably one with an MSRP of $13,000 or under. However, that is not the same criteria used for determining if a car is an economy sedan for the purposes of the Top 10 list. On that list is the Mazda Protege and it is toward the bottom of the list, thus presumably Edmunds considers it a economy sedan. But it can't be an economy car according to the Most Wanted category because if the $13,000 is a hard ceiling, the cheapest Protege goes about $245 above it.

    What makes the Protege an economy sedan on one list and not an economy car on the other?

    In case you miss my point, it is that Edmunds uses the word economy selectively.
  • With Mazda redesigning the 626 and cutting the name down to simply 6, does anyone know if there is any truth to the rumor that the next Mazda Protege will have a similarly shorted name? The Mazda P? ; )
  • randyt2randyt2 Posts: 81
    What if Edmunds changed a word in that line in the most fuel-efficient cars from "economy" to "fuel-efficient" would you object to that?

    I agree with you in that most of the voters in the Most Wanted probably didn't have safety ranked at the top. They probably had styling ranked higher than safety, after all they stated it was guided by passion, not science.

    Personally, I don't put a lot of weight into a somewhat 'popularity' type contest (Most Wanted), but that's just me. :~)
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