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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    will share the Opel platform. Saturn in 03 and Chevy in 04. The Pontiac version is toast.
  • Principally, I would change the tail lights on my Echo. And the vertical part of the trunk lid. It is an unbroken expanse of metal and I would change it to be similar to the Focus sedan.
  • There is a girl over on AOL that is a Sunfire fanatic. She is so worried that the Sunfire is being canceled that she actually called GM. They claim to have no plans to cancel the Sunfire. Not that I believe them.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Gee, you're not very demanding of Toyota. How about the idiot light for temperature instead of a gauge? Lack of a tachometer? (Practical) unavailability of side air bags? No cruise control?
  • Those things do not really bother me. They are not things that I see everyday. As far as cruise goes, I did not and do not want it. As far as side air bags go, that is more a change to do with Toyota policy and not specifically my car. In other words, I think it goes beyond the parameters you set out.
  • janbeejanbee Posts: 127
    the things that backy suggested are nice to have but are not necessary (for myself)..I do 1% highway driving so cruise control would be a waste, a temp gauge (I couldnt care a less),side impact bags might be a nice feature to have but would I have spent the extra $$$$ for it, prob not...I do wish the ECHO had more after-market accessories but maybe with time..Oh and I also wish they sold the hatchback model in America.. being that my work is 5 min from home along with the mall, grocery store etc, a bunch of extra features is something I didnt need which makes the ECHO a great choice, but If I had to do a lot of driving I might have gone with the Corolla instead.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I could swear you had complained awhile back about the lack of a tach and a real temp gauge (instead of the idiot lights). Has more time living with the ECHO changed your opinion?
  • Wasn't me, Backy.
  • Used cars that have below average reliability are listed by Consumer Reports as ones to avoid. The '99 Hyundai Elantra is just one such vehicle. It looks like it will be having company. The '01 Hyundai Elantra is also said to have below average reliability.
  • I do not personally base any purchase decision based on the questionable value of CR reliability predictions. CR has been wrong on the reliability of most of the vehicles I have owned during the past 40 years.
    Once more I can happily report that CR dismal prediction of reliability of DC minivans has again been WRONG. Instead of self-destructing as predicted by CR, our GC has had ZERO problems as have the DC minivans owned by numerous friends.
    I would select the ECHO over any other sedan but it has nothing to do with my rating of "NOT Recommended for Purchase" Consumer Reports.
  • I think Consumer Reports is just one resource that someone should look at when starting the car buying process. A process that should end with a test drive of any car still in the running after all the other resources have been utilized.

    And people need to understand that being listed as unreliable or reliable does NOT guarantee something bad or nothing bad will happen.

    It just helps you better determine the odds.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    my memory is still pretty good, Major--most of the time anyway. Since I did recall comments from you bemoaning the lack of tach, and the idiot lights (which struck me as odd coming from you, since you rarely say anything negative about the ECHO), I went back and looked at the "Toyota Echo vs ????" forum that you started. Fortunately it is a short one, and the Search feature works pretty well. Here's some comments from you on the subject:

    #64: "The actual speedo is of nice size, but people (not I) might be complaining about the size of the idiot lights. One thing I would have liked to have would have been an actual temperature gauge and not an idiot light."

    #154 (Carleton1 - Question for majorthomecho): "Keep everything the same as with current ECHO but add an LE with padded armrests on the doors, fold down padded armrests on inside of front seats, padded/carpeted doors, cruise control,nice seats as in all Siennas?
    It should not cost very much for these items over the cost of the cheap appearing items they would replace (except the addition of Cruise Control and possibly the addition of a Tachometer.)"

    #155: "I seriously doubt that it will happen. I know there were different trim levels for the Tercel, but the Tercel was a different car for a different time.
    Personally, I don't miss any of those items with the exception of a tachometer."

    This was not an exhaustive search, I just did enough to prove to myself that my memory neurons are still in working order and I did not imagine that you had mentioned these things before.

    I have to agree with you on both counts--I prefer gauges to idiot lights, and I think a tach adds a lot to the driving experience on a stick shift car.
  • They are simply a reference as it was said before. They hate any car that does not have a Toyota logo on the front grill. They love Hondas as well, but not like Toyota. They say the Volvo S80 gets a "Poor" rank for reliability, yet they have not tested one themselves since 1999. How can they say that about the 2002 models? They have real world data on the Hyundai Santa Fe--in 14 categories, it got (if I remember correctly) 11 "Excellent" and 3 "Very good" scores. That was good enough to get an overall rating of "Below Average." The 2001 Elantra got excellent ratings in the 2002 new car buyer's preview, and they called it below average as well--even though it also got excellents and very goods in their categories. Bottom line, unless you drive a Toyota or Honda, they hate the car you drive.
  • You have (unknowingly) exaggerated my feelings on the subject.

    I do not feel that strongly about the absence of a true temperature gauge and the tach. I guess that is why I didn't remember saying it.

    The absence of a tach does not prevent a satisfying driving experience although it would make getting better 0 to 60 times easier. ; )
  • You seem not to know how Consumer Reports gets the data for the reliability results or else you would not complain about "them" giving the Volvo S80 a "poor" rank for reliability. Based on past experience, it is predicted that the Volvo S80 will have much worse than average reliability. Much worse than average is the actual phrasing rather than "poor" as you typed.

    And whose past experience are they talking about? The results come not from the reliability of any Volvo S80s they [Consumer Reports] have owned, but rather from data gathered from surveys sent out to [and returned by] other Volvo S80 owners.

    This is the way it is for ANY model.

    As far as Consumer Reports hating any car without a Toyota symbol on the front; if this was true, no non-Toyota model would be recommended. This is simply not true.

    The BMW 3-series is recommended; the BMW 5-series is recommended; the Buick Park Avenue is recommended; the Chevrolet Impala is recommended; the Chrysler 300M is recommended; the Chrysler Concorde is recommended; and none of these wear a Toyota badge. These are not the only non-Toyotas that are recommended in the 2002 New Car Preview guide, but I think you get my point.

    Also, I want to say a few things regarding Hyundais and how they fared in Consumer Reports.

    Number one is that the key for trouble spots shows that the little marks indicate a range of the percentage of owners reporting problems. A full red circle does not mean a car scored "excellent" in that category. A half red circle does not mean a car scored "good" in that category. In other words, the way you have characterized the "scores" is incorrect.

    Also, the range for the second highest rating (for example) is three percentage points. The number of owners reporting problems could be at the high end of the range and thus it looks like the car did very well, but when compared to the results of other cars in its class [if the results for them were at the low end of the range], it did badly.

    You should check out the Consumer Reports Used Car Yearbook. It has an explanation as to why a car that looks reliable (based on the results in individual categories) gets no check for overall reliability.

    One final word about Consumer Reports supposedly hating non-Toyota cars. If this were true, they would not have given the Hyundai Elantra an overall higher rating (the little bar graph rating) than the Toyota Corolla. Check out page 18 of the aforementioned New Car Preview.

    Clay, you are arguing something with no facts to support your contention. In fact, there are plenty of facts to suggest you are wrong.

    FWIW, welcome to the board. Would you mind telling us which car you own and how it has been running for you? I know your profile says you have a Chrysler, but it does not say which Chrysler.
  • My point about Consumer Reports hating non Toyotas was a little off, but based on their Top Picks for 2002. I'm not talking about the cars that say Recommended--there were a lot of those. The top picks are : Best family sedan, VW Passat; small car, Civic EX; best car tested, BMW 530i; Driving "green", Toyota Prius; fun to drive, Honda S2000; up scale sport sedan, BMW 330i; small SUV, RAV4; mid size SUV, Highlander; pickup truck, Tundra; and mini van, Odyssey. Four Toyotas, 3 Hondas, 2 BMWs, and 1 VW. Seven out of ten were Toyota or Honda, that's what I meant by they love Toyota and Honda. If the full red dot is the best score--2% or less of owners had trouble in that area--then it would stand to reason that 11 red dots and 3 half red dots in 14 categories should do better than a score of below average. I find it hard to believe that they would consider excellence to be average at best. You are right that I must not fully understand their scale. I dislike CR so much that I never read it. The only reason I bought this special edition is because I'm going to be in the market for a new car this spring, and I'm compiling research. I bought a Chrysler mini van last Memorial Day. Traded a 1997 Sonata GLS V6 for it. I enjoyed my Hyundai very much--but had to trade it as we had a third child and could no longer fit us all in it. My other car is a 1995 Kia Sephia LS that gives me no trouble at all--that's why I still have it. It's paid for and it cranks up every morning--just what I need it to do. I will be trading it sometime next year. It's basically used for commuting transportation now. About 90% of the time it's used to take my wife to work and back; the rest for running errands. We want to get a little bigger second car--and my wife is getting tired of the 5 speed in stop and go commuting, so we will replace it. Since it is primarily going to be used as a shuttle to work, we were thinking about a Honda Accord DX Value package. They sell for about $15-$16k in Atlanta. Our good experience with our 97 Sonata took us to the 2002 Sonata, though. For less money than the DXVP Accord, we get power w/l/m, 14 more HP, keyless, side airbags, bigger wheels, fog lights, and, yes 3 times the warranty. I know Honda advocates will say you don't need a warranty with a Honda because it's a Honda. Well, since it will be used mostly by my wife driving alone, the 5 years roadside assistance if a tire blows or something is good for peace of mind. Since she will be racking up miles, what does a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty hurt? Certainly nothing if the transmission goes at 90,000 miles. Even Hondas and Toyotas break down periodically, so there are no guarantees! I would get a more loaded Camry or Altima or something, but with three kids, it's always something. So, since 've never had a bad experience with the Korean cars of my past, we're gonna try it again!
  • If you don't like Consumer Reports and don't seem to trust what they report, why even buy the special issue? Just because I and a lot of other people may find them to be a good resource doesn't mean you have to use them.
  • Well, Toyota had a good chance of winning that category. If you count the cars that Consumer Reports categorized as fuel efficient cars in its December 2000 issue, there were 10 cars that could have been the winner and three of those were Toyotas.
  • I bought it simply for the resource. I thought maybe I'd be surprised this time around. I guess that if the Prius had not won, then the Insight would have.
  • The Insight is very impractical though. It's only a 2 seater and doesn't have much real world use besides going long distances on little gas. As for the Prius, its a compact sedan that can seat 5 people. I wouldn't mind owning one. Another point: Has it not dawned on anyone that Honda and Toyota make better cars than other companies? Cavalier vs. Corolla and Civic..Cavalier has poor engine efficiency and teh quality of the materials and ride aren't up to par. Highlander vs. Explorer....I haven't heard of a million lawsuits against Toyota and its Highlander yet.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Major, I don't know how I could have "exaggerated your feelings" on tachs and idiot lights, since all I did was quote you verbatim. I agree, lack of a tach does not prevent a satisfying driving experience (and I didn't say that it did), but it helps. I didn't have a tach on my last car, a 5-speed Sentra, and I missed it. But one can always shift based on speed.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    Where's da man, eneth? Ever since the host put an abrupt end to the Daewoo Bankruptcy site eneth's been gone. Has he posted to the Leganza forum? Tell me so I don't have to go read through them. Eneth withdrawals? Tell me no! Honda and Toyota make better cars. PFFFFTTTTT!!!!! They just don't look as cheery as Kia's and Hyundai's-try as they may and try as they might! Occasionally an aberration like Celica will pop out of the Toyota evolutionary cycle-but they're too far and in-between.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • I am simply saying that you are giving the situation greater importance than I did. The absence of a tach and the lack of a true temperature gauge "bothers" me so much that I forgot I said I wanted them at one time.

    I guess it is an indication that the Echo is relatively boring and all I could think of to change were cosmetic things.
  • Save yourself the few bucks next time. I think a quick perusal of the magazine would have told you if you wanted to buy it.
  • New this year in the above mentioned issue is a listing for the maximum mph a car ran during Consumer Report's accident avoidance maneuver.

    Edmunds has claimed that the Echo is not very stable. Well, if this were true, it would be reasonable to assume that the result would be a low speed in the accident avoidance maneuver.

    Here now is the maximum speed for the Echo and other low end cars.

    Toyota Echo - 51.5mph
    Chevrolet Cavalier - 53mph
    Daewoo Nubira - 53.5mph
    Dodge Neon - 53mph
    Ford Focus - 53mph
    Honda Civic - 52.5mph
    Hyundai Elantra - 51mph
    Kia Spectra - 50.5mph
    Mazda Protege - 54mph
    Nissan Sentra - 51mph
    Saturn S series - 50.5mph
    Toyota Corolla - 51mph

    The Echo does not go as fast as some of the other models, but I think one hold back was the tires on the Echo. I think a change in tires would enable an increase in speed.

    One thing that I was really surprised how the Echo compared to a non-low end car that you would think would blow the doors off the Echo (and the rest of the cars) in this maneuver. The other car was the Subaru WRX. Its maximum speed was the same as the Echo - 51.5mph.

    The Echo - more stable than it looks.
  • Another indicator of stability is the speed achieved in a slalom test.

    I have the results from tests run by AutoWeek on a couple of low end cars. The slalom was four hundred and ninety feet.

    Daewoo Nubira - 42.1mph
    Dodge Neon - 43mph
    Ford Focus - 43.7mph
    Toyota Echo - 42.1mph

    FWIW, AutoWeek said that they felt the little tires on the Echo hobbled it during this test. FYI, these were the same tires on the Echo that Consumer Reports ran through its accident avoidance maneuver.

    Like I said in the previous post, the Echo seems to be more stable than it looks.
  • The Focus comes in many trims. Could you give me the trim level for at least the slalom tests?

    For the CR accident avoidance manuever, were these manual trans?
  • When you can't think of anything you'd really like to change about a particular car or come up with anything overtly positive/negative to say about that car, then perhaps that's a signal that the car is of good design. To call a sub-$15,000 car "boring" is kind of a compliment, no?

    I think Robert Bowden said this better at his website, but you get the idea.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    When and other reviewers complain about the ECHO's "stability", they typically mention how the ECHO is affected by crosswinds or buffeting from trucks. This is a different measure of stability than what is demonstrated by accident avoidance maneuvers or slaloms, which IMO are more a measure of handling than stability.

    Also, while the ECHO does have narrow tires, it is also by far the lightest of the vehicles listed in the previous posts on stability. That means less weight delivered to each contact patch. If the ECHO had wider tires, it might do better in these handling tests, but the added friction of the larger tires could also reduce gas mileage. The argument "if only Car X has this feature, it would do better in Y area" is getting a little tiresome I think. If we put wider tires on the Corolla, Elantra, or Sentra, or on any of the other cars, they would likely get better results also. If Toyota thought wider tires were necessary to meet their goals for the ECHO, they would have shod wider tires. I will bet that most ECHO owners don't go out and replace their tires right away, so they will not get any benefit that may occur from wider tires.

    How do the AutoWeek tests prove anything about ECHO's stability? It came in tied for last in the group.

    I can't wait to see the posts from the Daewoo fans about the handling prowess of the Nubria, being narrowly edged out for top honors in the low-end class by the Protege in the accident avoidance test. Maybe Nubria owners will be singing the "zoom zoom zoom" song now. :-)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Boring = good especially in terms of reliability. The fewer problems a car has, the more boring it is. Boring is not as good in some other respects, e.g. boring to drive, boring to look at.
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