Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • bjfrank42bjfrank42 Member Posts: 51
    I think I didn't explain myself well enough. At 7500 it is just what you said. I'm talking about the scheduled maintenance later in the life of the car. These are people who are past 60000 on their cars. All I know is I'm always asked to pick them up from the dealer while it's getting worked on. I get to look at Toyotas and Mazdas a lot that way. Also I don't think I'm as passionate about my Kia as iluv is. I'm willing to admit it's probably not as good a car as a Toyota but then again a Toyota is probably not as good as a Lexus. Once again it comes down to value for your money and everyone interprets that differently. By the way, why do you hang out at the Kia Sephia site? I don't go to the Echo site. Maybe I should have and I might be driving an Echo now (lol). Enjoying our dialog.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I have a great interest in cars, particularly "low end cars" so that is why I am on the Kia thread as well as many other threads.

    I had to go put my sun shield up on my car and so I checked my maintenance log again. As far as routine maintenance goes, I do not see anything that is out of line from any other car (from other makes) that I have had. Before my Toyota, I have owned or co-owned cars made by Pontiac, Dodge, and Ford.

    If your friends are paying for "routine maintenance" beyond what the maker specifies, I blame the dealership(s) and not Toyota. Now if a problem has shown up during a maintenance visit, I do not think that is a maintenance issue and the cost of repair should not be considered when figuring the cost of routine maintenance.

    Would you please talk to your friends and see what it is? If it is a problem that becomes apparent during routine maintenance, I would like to know about it so that I can watch out for it.

    Then again, it might be something I don't have to worry about because at over 60,000 miles, your friends' cars are probably at least 4 years old and perhaps whatever the problem is has been fixed now.

    You are right. I don't think there is anyone as passionate about his Sephia as Iluv. : )

    I agree that a Toyota is probably not as good as a Lexus in terms of quality, but I think that quality and value are two different things. Quality does figure into the value equation, but the two are not synonymous.

    I too am enjoying our dialogue. Heck, I even enjoying bantering with Iluv. : ) If I did not enjoy myself, I would not be posting.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    Perfect summation!!! Tiresome to get flamed because you like a particular car. I love my Cavalier, but wouldn't try to convince anyone else to buy one. My reasons are probably totally different: price, styling, value, yestertech OHV engine, modern 4 speed auto.simplicity and the thing has been built in the same basic form for YEARS now.
    It's familiar and new at the same time and puts me in mind of the Monza 2+2 from 1975.And is the closest size I could find to replace my 86 Olds Calais.I loved my clapped out 84 Citation, this is just a more advanced{though dated} design of a very similar car. There are so many factors that played into my choice, but the idea that it can be worked on by any mechanic in the country, parts are inexpensive and plentiful, repairs easily done and the car has a shape that will still look good 10 years from now ,long after it's paid for, THAT was all part of it too.
    Next time, Korean? I like them too and I'm cheering them on to keep em coming.
    Too bad Subaru left this end of the market. I'd consider them too, but why the would I want or need 4 wheel drive in Hell Ay? I love thier cars, too. Probably the most interesting of the Japanese makes, but the lower end is not where they play currently.
    THX again for the great post.
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Member Posts: 236
    ...for the compliment. I always like to talk to people who dig their cars -- for whatever reasons. We are lucky to have so many choices when it comes to transportation. That's why I keep coming back to this topic. I gotta admit that I've been paying a lot of attention to the Koreans (especially Hyundai) during the last few months, and not just because I bought a Korean car.

    Does anyone remember when Hondas and Toyotas were first being imported to the USA? I was too young to drive then, but I clearly remember my parents and neighbors saying how lousy the cars were, how they would never last, how the Japanese were good at copying but not innovating. Japanese cars were considered very unfavorable then. They were different and Americans weren't accustomed to them. That was well over 20 years ago. Admittedly, the first models imported into the USA did have some flaws, but Honda and Toyota took a cautious and deliberate approach here and they learned from their initial mistakes.

    These days, Honda and Toyota cars are considered by many to be some of the finest vehicles made anywhere. And Americans are buying them in record numbers. No doubt, they are fine cars.

    Now think back 15 years ago. Hyundais arrive on our shores. They are cheap. They sell by the hundreds of thousands and they....are awful cars. As a result Hyundai had several hundred thousand dissatisfied customers. Hyundai's record sales of a substandard product actually helped foster a very negative image of the company in the minds of a vast number Americans, probably more than origianlly bought Hondas in the '70s, and especially in light of the continuing improvement of the other Asian imports (Honda, Toyota) at the same time.

    Now to the present. Hyundai has been importing cars to America for 15 years. Its products have been improved. In a effort to woo buyers, Hyundai offers a generous warranty (remember when VW did the same thing in 1994?). And Hyundai's efforts are paying off...Hyundai is again selling a record number of vehicles.

    Only time will tell how Hyundai fares, but I suspect it will do fine. Hyundai has follwed the same path that Honda and Toyota took almost 30 years ago: introduce a low-cost alternative to existing products, take your initial lumps, improve your wares and keep on selling. With time, people's perceptions of your products will change as they become more accustomed to those products.

    Please don't think I'm a pitchman for Hyundai. I'm really not. But I do appreciate the initial dollar value its vehicles represent. And I respect the company for trying so hard to make a second impression. I'm also happy that Hyundai did not choose to abandon the US market, espcially the "low end" market, as it could have easily done in 1993/1994.

    I will close this lengthy post with a quote from Chung Ju-Yung, the former chairman of Hyundai Corp.:

    "It is failures rather than successes that teach us invaluable lessons. . . . It is not necessary to remember one's success. That should be remembered by others instead. Rather, we should
    remember our losses and failures. . . . Those who forget their failures will fail again and again."

    well, this cost me my whole lunch hour...Happy Motoring!
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    Just had to check out the "beautiful line and curvework" on Kia's site. I still don't care for the styling of the Sephia (prefer the Protege), but that's a matter of personal opinion. But hey, at least they finally decided to paint the bumpers on Sephia! To me, the Sephia looks like a typical small Japanese sedan from about 5 years ago. I prefer the more modern, crisp lines of the Protege and Focus.

    Speaking of updating, Kia needs to do that with their website. They claim the Sephia has more power than the Corolla, Escort, Civic, and Saturn sedan. They're right about the Civic and Saturn, but the Escort has been out of production for a while now, and the Corolla has more power. However, they did have a beautiful picture of the 1.8L DOHC I4 engine!!! What a gorgeous Mazda design!! Apparently Mazda didn't let Kia use their Variable Intake Control System, since the Kia 1.8L puts out so much less torque and gets worse mileage. Oh well. I hear Kia will move the Sephia and Sportage from Mazda engines to Hyundai engines...
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Boy, reading the post that mentioned the '75 Chevy Monza brought back memories because that was the first car I drove when I got my license back in the late 70s.

    It was a hand me down from my sister. I am not sure which Monza it was, but it had a vinyl roof over the back part of the passenger compartment.

    GM did not know how to make small engines so they dropped a 6 cylinder in which was way too much engine for that size of a car. That thing would flat out move.

    My dad bought me a used '76 Sunbird (the Pontiac twin to the Monza) when I went away to college. My mother called me up one day and told me about it, but she got the name wrong. She told me that my father (Mr. Conservative) had bought me a Firebird. Was initially disappointed but the styling and power of the Sunbird won me over. Again, too much engine for the size of the car and again that car would flat out move. It felt like the engine was going to pull away from the mounts when I really stomped on it.

    I guess those two cars and the fun I had with them are why I prefer small, low end cars.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I worked for a guy who had one of the earliest Honda. I don't know what model it was but it was an air cooled engine and the gear shift stuck out of the dash. Quite a learning experience. That thing was TINY! It was so small that it made the Festiva look like a regular size car. Not really, but you get the idea.
  • dado420dado420 Member Posts: 5
    There's alot of good low-end cars. The Hyundai elantra, the Honda civic, Mitsu lancer, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla & echo, Mazda Protoge. All are good cars, of course the Hyundai is probably the worst of the bunch,. I drove a Elantra a couple of weeks ago as a rental, it's a pretty good car. Pretty quiet, smooth riding, comfy, got features, and it's pretty peppy. It ain't no Honda but it is good.

    And the Chevy Cavalier is probably the worst. Along with the Neon.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    I take a lot of ribbing about my Cavalier.It's quiet comfortable has a good ride. Just seems to be what flavor you want. It's a little out of date, a little crude,but has a pleasant personality over all and cleans up nice....just like ME!
    cjccetta:I don't think you're a Hyundai salesman, just someone who's fallen in love with his car...like everyone else on these boards!!!
    I know what you mean, major, about smaller cars being more attractive to you.I learned how to drive on a 1966 Mercury Montclair 4 door sedan [my first love]. It took me TWO days to wax it once.Always huge cars around. They are just too big to be personal, smaller ones are more accessible somehow, more intimate to start with.
    And intimacy.....isn't that what everyone wants in a relationship, even with the cold rolled???
    The Sunbird was one of Pontiac's best designs asw far as I'm concerned. Same stuff as the Monza, but they managed to get a totally unique Pontiac character to it with very little change.
    I think Kia and Hyundai are here to stay and hope GM will give Daewoo a chance to continue here in the states.Stylingwise, the Hyundais are among the best in this particular segment.And I'll admit it, if no one else will: it's STILL a primary reason to pick one make over another[though not as great as it once was].If I'm going to commit to paying for it for 3,4 or 5 years, I'd better be certain I still like looking at it mid way between the first and last payment! *>)
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,615
    Jstandefer-what kind of gas mileage do you get in your Protege? I'm not at all unhappy with what my Sephia's getting. Sure it doesn't have that part you mentioned in it's engine but Kia could've done much worse than they did on this 1.8L DOHC 16-valve 4-banger. I'm getting around 32 mpg mostly highway miles. To me that's plenty. I get concerned if my car's not getting at least 30mpg. Protege looks better than Civic and Corolla and any Subaru model but not better than Sephia. The Sephia's taillights alone have more design and style in them than Protege's head and taillights. Oh, I forgot. Looks are subjective. Yeah, right. I don't want a car that I have to ignore looking at for 4 or 5 years as I drive and enjoy. Not saying Protege doesn't look good. It does-just kinda chunky and blocky in it's design flow for me. But one's perception of looks are subjective. Right?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • cjaccettacjaccetta Member Posts: 236
    dado 420 -- nice that you mentioned the Mitsubishi Lancer. I'm surprised that builder hasn't really been discussed here yet. Is Mitsubishi the "forgotten" Japanese nameplate? I looked at the 2002 Lancer at the New York Auto Show last April and I came away shocked. It's a hell of a nice car; much more impressive than the Mirage. If the Lancer had been avaialble in June, we might have bought one.

    Dweezil...you're right, I have sort of fallen for my Hyundai. But it is my first new car so I think I'm entitled to a little puppy love! I really hope the Koreans can maintain a US presence. I think Kia has the right attitude but I feel bad for Daewoo. Some of their misfortunes can be traced to poor management. I think Deawoo's cars are lovely, though. Especially the Leganza.

    I'll fire up another debate here. Let's pretend we're having a beauty pageant to determine "Miss Low-End Car". Who gets your vote for most attractive entrant? Personally, I prefer Miss Mazda Protege. Classy, sophisticated, more than meets the eye. Miss Congeniality award to Miss Daewoo Leganza. Voluptuous, curvy and exotic.

    Happy Motoring.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,615
    glad you asked. For it's curvy, sexy but yet cute and perky personality my vote would be for Kia's Sephia. Takes a licking from it's constant critics yet keeps on ticking! A delightful delicacy of car candy. By the way, yes, you or your kid can buy a soft and pliable candy and push it through a car mold maker and it'll stamp out an edible matchbox-sized candy car for you! Saw it last night at the store. Candy cars? I've heard of dumber ideas before!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    takes the prize for me.VERY elegant,and I like the way the XG300 is a larger version of the family theme they've been pursuing.The tail is beautifully done and that shadow line that runs from the front fender, up and along the side is a nice detail. Looks pricier than it is.
    The Mazda,I just can't get past that idiotic ad campaign to think I wouldn't be embarrased to be seen in one, no matter HOW good looking it is.Sort of like the "Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" stupidity from an earlier era.That's a little hard, I think, but truth be told I haven't seen enough of them on the road yet to make a judgement.Are they simply NOT selling? Just a couple at the lot over on Roscoe, and a dark colored one at that.
    Personal pick is my own Cavalier, which still looks good even as a 1995 model in 2001.
    Runner's up:Sonata,Rio,Sentra[though it looks to me like a rip of an 84 Topaz/Tempo]Leganza, Focus 4 door[but NOT in urine sample gold metallic UGH!].
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 368
    "I agree that a Toyota is probably not as good as a Lexus in terms of quality, but I think that quality and value are two different things. Quality does figure into the value equation, but the two are not synonymous."

    Lexuses ARE Toyotas. They just have more insulation, leather, wood and other amenities that make them luxury cars. Same manufacturer, same processes, same engineering, same warranty. And in Japan, until this year, same name (they didn't even use the Lexus name there because it wasn't necessary -- they know their cars).

    As for the Koreans -- they are doing their dead level best to provide excellent value, and their quality and engineering improve every day. They have labor rates that the Japanese can't compete with, and I think that's a great thing for consumers here and elsewhere. Hyundai has made some really exciting show cars for over 15 years, and I'm waiting for them to actually produce one -- I think they'd just kill the Miata and MR2 in the marketplace if they could sell one for about $5k less than their Japanese competition. Might be tough, though, and maybe that's why they haven't tried (as yet). Actually, I think they were ready to try back in the early 90s, but then the Excel took such a dump they probably got scared off. Maybe things will change now that they're starting to get their reputation back.
  • carleton1carleton1 Member Posts: 560
    And when Hyundai, Daewoo, etc. contain the quality and reliability of Toyota the price will be about the same.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    LOL!!!! Thanks for the laugh. Still waiting to see the new Protege on the road. I'm glad you like em.......and that they gave a small mentally challenged kid a chance to be a star!!
    Was going to stop by to check out the Mazda dealership this a.m., but wound up doing stuff around the house. Got up late and don't like looking at cars when there are sharks in the water so I usually go before they open. Besides I don't want to waste anyone's time.Zoom zoom.....ugh...now I'll NEVER get to sleep!!! Dave
  • liljonsonliljonson Member Posts: 109
    i think hyundai pretty much has the qualitly of the competition but nobody will buy them lol. i kind of like that not alot of people drive huyndais my age, i feel like i'm driving some kind of limited addition car =). i think as soon as hyundai/kia and deawoo raise their prices i will start to hate them too and move on to the next upcoming car company hehe.
  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    Well...I bought one, the new Elantra GT, and yesterday a guy in a parking lot asked me where I got the Saab! He was flat out shocked when I told him what it was, and even more impressed when he looked it over. Now here come the Saab posters to tell me how dare I compare a Hyundai to a Saab. I didn't. He did! LOL!
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I know that Toyota and Lexus are the same company as are Honda with Acura and Nissan with Infiniti.

    What I am saying is that the build quality (and I am basing this on personal observation) of the most expensive Toyota is not as good as the most inexpensive Lexus.

    Just because Lexuses are rebadged Toyotas does not make their quality the same as Toyotas that don't carry the badge. If they were considered the same, J.D. Powers would not list them separately when it came to surveys.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I don't think that you will get too many barbs from Saab owners because this is the low end car board and I don't think they would be slumming. : )
  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    I think you got that right. Does look a bit like a Saab from the rear though.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    iluvmysephia- Look at the EPA ratings for the Protege LX 2.0 & ES 2.0. They get better city and highway fuel mileage than the Sephia.

    Quality is a lot more than just how they built the car. It goes into the overall design. The Elantra and Sephia both have good build quality and good fit-and-finish. However, their body structures are significantly weaker than cars such as the Protege and Echo. This is evident in how much their bodies flex over rough road surfaces. Another rather expensive part of development is vehicle dynamics. The Japanese vehicles, in general, handle and ride better than the Korean cars of the same class. The Koreans will figure this out over time, but the development is costly and the price gap between the more expensive Japanese and bargain Koreans will start to close.

    You don't like the current Mazda Zoom Zoom campaign? Oh well. You can't appeal to everyone at once! Does that mean I have to take the Zoom Zoom sticker off my car? But, you have to admit the zoom, zoom song is quite catchy and it's putting Mazda out in the spotlight.
  • carleton1carleton1 Member Posts: 560
    Satisfied customers are the most effective advertising. Toyota is #1 in this department.
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Member Posts: 236
    protegextwo -- good post. I'd add that owner care also factors into the long-term reliability equation. If you abuse your vehicle it will find its way to the scrap heap quickly. The most reliable vehicle I ever owned was my last one -- a 1993 Geo Metro which I took good care of. I only hope every other car I ever own is as durable as the Metro.

    jstandefer -- I recently drove Protege, Corolla, Civic and Elantra during my shopping experience. We've got plenty of rough roads in Northern NJ and I can say that the Corolla fared worst (oldest design?)...otherwise, the Korean and Japanese offerings felt very similar in rigidity.

    mpgman -- I've been asked the Saab question, too. Also Nissan and Lexus (?!?)

    By the way, is it just me or does the Toyota Echo flat out haul [non-permissible content removed]??? I've been blown away at highway speeds by these little buggies. And I mean BLOWN AWAY. Speeds probably exceeded 95 mph. Major, any thoughts? That power-to-weight ratio must be great. I'd love to get one as a second car but my wife thinks they're ugly. I prefer the term "inner beauty"...
  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    In the same boat looking for car #2 and considering the Echo and the Golf TDI...and now....maybe even a second GT only this one would be a manual for me. At these prices, you get 2 for the price of a Maxima. Want a high mpg second car though for all the short hops.

    As to rigidity, consider that the Elantra was found by CR to have the best 5 mph bumpers. I think you have to ride in the GT.....it's different from the sedan that other posters may be comparing it to.
  • liljonsonliljonson Member Posts: 109
    i thought it was a saab when i first saw it on the internet like half a year ago, my friends still think its a saab. but we have not seen ONE gt on the road in Long Island, NY which sucks.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,615
    Well, I question the post about the Korean car makes being shakier in body movement to rough roads. I doubt whether the Korean makes differ much at all to Corolla or Civic in this respect. I don't walk around with numb hands and forearms as a result of spending a lot of time driving my Sephia. You feel the bumps and I don't aim for them but I don't worry about shaking silly over them either. About two weeks ago I was rearended on the highway early in the morning. It was a two-lane each way highway and our southbound side was narrowed down to one lane so they could work on the other side. Stop and go slowed-down traffic and as I let the clutch out to creep forward, bonk! I pulled over and the Ford Explorer that hit me did, too. I went to the back bumper fearing at least a small dent, but NOTHING! Not even a little scuff! I was thinking 50-50 chance of a mark or a dent. Just for kicks I looked at his Explorer. Naah! Not a scratch! Didn't think there would be, but, 'ya never know. He said "Sorry, I was fumbling with the coffee I had spilt!" Now, he was probably not going much faster than 5mph but the Sephia came through unscathed! The low-end Kia Sephia rocks again!!!!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    that the Mitsubishi Mirage has never entered the discussion??? Or has had only had a passing reference made to it? This seems a shame, as it's price has been right there with the Korean stuff and the design is clean, though almost to the point of being sterile.I almost couldn't remember the name of it, but saw one today.Anyone have one out there? How well do they stack up?
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    Something I've noticed about the Sephia that I never realized. It appears so much larger than it really is. Didn't really like the tail lights because they're upside down to me:you use the brake and turn signals 1000 times moe often than the back up lights....why have manufacturers put them ABOVE the most important ones? It's really the only flaw in the design for me personally.If I bought one I'd want to switch em around.Just a personal pet peeve. Dave
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    When they refer to rigidity in automotive terms, they are referring to the unibody's resistance to twisting and bending under strain. The Korean vehicles, particularly the Accent, Sephia, and Elantra, have had their less rigid unibodies mentioned by several publications. Rigidity does not make much of factor in collisions, but rather vehicle dynamics. The purpose of a vehicle's suspension is to keep maximum tire contact with the road. The better the contact, the better the handling. If the vehicle's unibody flexes, the suspension cannot work as designed, resulting in lesser handling.

    It takes a lot of experience and time and money to develop a particularly rigid unibody while keeping weight to a minimum. The Korean manufacturers will get there, but probably in the next redesign and certainly not without price increases. Actually, Kia and Hyundai now have the advantage of being under one corporate umbrella. To save costs, vehicles like the Sephia and Elantra, the Optima and the XG300, and the Santa Fe and the Sportage can use the same platforms. Most manufacturers have been sharing platforms for decades to cut costs. Examples include the Mitsubishi Galant and Dodge Stratus/Chrysler Cirrus, the VW New Beetle and the Audi TT, and the Mazda 626 and the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute/Mazda MPV.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    To the poster that asked about the Toyota Echo. Yes, the car is amazing in the sense of acceleration and its actual acceleration. I have had my car up to 95mph. Doing 80mph was simply to keep up with the flow of traffic and it felt very solid and sure footed at 80mph and at 95mph. There were a couple of times when traffic was either somewhat ahead and somewhat behind except for myself and another car. I was showing off a bit when I kicked the car into a lower gear and sprinted away before shifting back into a higher gear. Going from fifth to fourth and back to fifth even at high speeds is very smooth and pleasant.

    Now on to the Mitsubishi Mirage. I guess nobody owns one so that is why it is not being brought up. It is considered a low end car though. I looked at it, but it did not push enough of my buttons.
  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    Not that reading your posts make me think that you drive with a light foot and try to squeeze every mpg out of your 5 speed, but what kind of mileage are you getting? If I can get over living without all of the amenities of the Golf TDI, the Echo will be at the top of my list for car #2. Do you know what real world difference in mpg there is in the Echo between the manual and the automatic besides what the window sticker says.....and....do you miss not having a tach?
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Member Posts: 236
    Major, as our resident Echo Expert, do you know if it's possible to add an armrest/center console to the Echo? That's the one feature I missed the most about that car. Even the Accent has a little flip-down armest bolted to the driver's seat. The tall seating position of the Echo really made me desire someplace to put my elbows.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    I have a few friends that have '93-'95 Mirage's. They all enjoy their cars and have not had any major problems with them. One of my friends totalled his Mirage, so we went to look around at the new ones. The new Mirage 4-door sedans were highly upgraded from the earlier models. The engine was peppy, the handling pretty decent, and the interior quiet and comfortable. However, extensive use of black plastic inside, and very bland styling outside gave the appearance of a "cheap" car. The 2-door coupes have nice, clean styling on the outside and a little bit of sprucing up inside. It was much more appealing.

    We also looked at the Hyundai Elantra. I came away more impressed with the Elantra than he did. A friend of mine used to have a late 80's Excel, and let me tell you, the Elantra is a much improved vehicle. Pricing was amazing too. It still lacks some refinement that other competitors possess, but at that price it's hard to beat.

    So what did he end up with? A 2001 Mazda Protege LX 2.0. Sure, it was the most expensive car we looked at (well, except the 2001 Civic, which is the definition of price-gouging, and also shows that Honda is living on reputation now), but Mazda's 0.0% financing for 48 months made the payments cheaper than any other car at 60 months, plus it was the car he liked the best. He's been lusting after a 626 for four years, but the V6 models are a bit out of his price range.

    Anyways, his Mirage was a good car up until the accident. However, the Mirage has a tendency to just fade into the background. It is a competent car and I would recommend it to anyone looking for good transportation, but it doesn't stand out in any category. The new Mitsubishi Lancer should fare a lot better, but it has fallen behind on power and handling.
  • tazerelitazereli Member Posts: 241

  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    The Suzuki Esteem was mentioned in my list, but no one has mentioned it otherwise. Come to think of it, I can't think of the last time I saw one on the road or even at a Suzuki dealership!!!

    The Subaru Impreza has been previously ruled out. We have determined that a "low-end" car must have a starting MSRP of $15,000 or less and must be a subcompact or compact vehicle. The Impreza is a compact, but it's too expensive. We must keep a price cap on these vehicles, or we will be comparing cars like the Mercedes Benz C-Class or BMW 3-Series, since those vehicles are "low-end" for those manufacturers.

    I plan on seeing "The Fast and The Furious" probably Friday. Have you seen it? I don't know about the plot, but I'll take any chance I can get to see a flame-spitting, tire-shredding RX-7 in action any day!!
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Actually, I am pretty light on the gas, but I have my moments especially since I got my Echo. I have been averaging over 40mpg and that is in combined driving. I have no idea what percentage was city and what percentage was highway. I have heard tell of people actually getting better gas mileage with the automatic. My best was one tankful where I figured I got around 44mpg. I do not miss not having a tach or an idiot light.

    You can get an armrest for the Echo through J.C. Whitney. If you look back through the Echo thread itself, you will find posts that talks about which armrest to order. Several Echo owners have installed it. I came from a '93 Ford Escort which does not have an armrest either so I don't miss it.

    I can see considering the Esteem a low end car and it is, but not the Impreza. I guess it would be considered the low end offering from Subaru, but it is hard for me to think of any Subaru as low end.

    Time to do dishes.
  • supremesupreme Member Posts: 38
    You referenced kia sephia tail lites & chided the upper clear plastic 1/4. The clear plastic houses the turn signal which is a yellow bulb. The back-up lite is a clear circle of plastic within the 3/4red frame in lower inner corner.
    Now if you examine the toyota corolla, i believe,
    you will find the same arrangement with the exception that the turn signal plastic is yellow & ill guess the bulb is white.
    IMHO the sephia (my 2000) tail lite looks crisp, distinguishable from the pack of lookalikes, and maybe even a bit erotic. But isnt that what the designers attempt to do? And as for the sephia looking bigger than it is, well its exactly 174" in length which is bigger than most low enders & and an adult can actually sit comfortably in the rear, which you cant do in most low enders.
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 368
    (sorry this is late).....

    Re "What I am saying is that the build quality (and I am basing this on personal observation) of the most expensive Toyota is not as good as the most inexpensive Lexus." I assure you -- the build quality is the same; the materials and some of the engineering are not. Remember, the ES300 and RX00 are built off the Camry platform; the IS300 is a Toyota Altezza in its home market; and the LX470 is a Land Cruiser with some extra spiffs. Well worth the price difference in every case -- but not in terms of manufacturing or build quality.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    That wasn't a dig.Neither was the comment about the size.All well and good you like them. I want them to do well here too. It's a sweet looking car. The only thing that jarred in the design for me was the tallights.I still think it looks larger than it really is; which is a skillful thing to pull off on small cars.That';s why I was so surprised it was so small.It seems about a half foot larger and a couple inches as well until you get up on it.
    I could get to like the tail; but I'll worry if YOU get to liking the tail too much....well...you know what kind of weird laws out there, just be careful!!! :-}
  • bri70bri70 Member Posts: 147
    I'm looking at the Elantra sedan, Elantra GT, Protege and Protege5. I already own an 2000 Elantra.

    You stated that the Elantra was less refined. If you do not mind, how so? I just want to be aware of it when I test drive these vehicles.

  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    seems to be a buzz word these days to describe any aspect of a particular make someone else doesn't like.If it feels good to you, trust your own judgement, you'll get 1000 different answers from 1000 different people.
    Sort of like the obscenity hearings in the 80's. One Senator was quoted as saying: I can't describe it [what is obscene], but I know it when I see it.YOU decide whether you like the feel of one vehicle over another, how it drives, how quiet it is, how the buttons and controls work and sound.YOUR perceptions are the most important, not someone's else's definition of what is "refined".
  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    Went through the exact same drill. Recommend you drive the Elantra GLS and then the GT. You will think you are in 2 different cars, even though under the skin they are basically the same. The GT's suspension, tires, leather interior, etc., give it a different feel. Do the same for the Protege sedan and then the P-5. I liked the "airiness" of the GT. I thought the P-5 cost too much for what you got....no traction control (package 2 in the GT with ABS and moonroof...side air bags standard), no leather, no trip computer, etc. Good luck. Any of the 4 should serve you well. An Elantra with package 5 (ABS and traction control with no roof, plus keyless entry and cruise) should be around $14,000. The GT around $16,000. Both for automatics.....deduct around 700 for the stick. More $$ for the Pro.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    I have to agree with dweezil's response to the refinement issue. I have found build quality on the Elantra to be quite good. For me, the refinement issue would be mainly in the vehicle dynamics. The Protege transitions weight in a much more refined manner than the Elantra. The Elantra has a softer ride, and thus, generates body roll much quicker due to its softer suspension. The Protege goes into body roll at a slower, more controlled pace and can transition in sudden direction changes much smoother and with less drama. But this all comes down to personal preference, as the Protege has more of a sports car ride (firm), but gives superlative handling and control. The Elantra has more of a family sedan ride (softer), but gives lesser handling and control.

    I have found the Protege's engine to be more refined, particularly when you rev it up during hard acceleration. The Protege's engine "sings", while it seems the Elantra's engine "groans". Again, this is personal preference and all depends on your driving habits. Mazda drivers are typically a bit more aggressive and drive their cars hard, and the cars have been tuned for this. Even the Tribute SUV pretends it's just a really big Miata!

    The interior of both cars have nice touches. I like the way Mazda has provided cloth on the doors that cover all the way up to the window, giving you arm's a nice surface to rest on. I like the Elantra's padded center armrest and dual level storage. I prefer the Protege's flat door armrests, where the window and mirror controls are horizontal, since the wrist does not naturally bend upwards when resting. Also, I prefer the Protege's overall interior styling, with it's chrome accents and cleaner layout.

    It's a hard decision between the two cars and all depends on your personal preference. Car and Driver said "This Mazda tops the charts for driving fun. Its chassis muscles are athletic, its engine is sweet and strong, its controls are precise and direct, and the look is classy inside and out. This is a car that does everything well. And it has spirit. BMW verve for less than half the price. What's not to like?" I came out of an RX-7 and am perfectly happy with the Protege's performance. However, if you prefer a softer ride over sharp handling, the Elantra may be your way to go. Just drive both of them and see which car you like best. Good luck!!
  • bri70bri70 Member Posts: 147
    I agree that Korean cars have depreciated more quickly than their Japanese counterparts. I would not go so far as to say they are unsaleable. Far from it. I plug in my 2000 Elantra on Autotrader.com and some dealers are asking for over 12 grand. Considering that you can get a brand new Elantra for nearly the same price, they must be outta their minds.

    The depreciation issue is kind of evened out when one considers that you are paying less for the vehicle in the first place. The quality difference between the Japanese makes and Korean makes are now negligible. The fit and finish of the Elantra GT is impeccable. When closing the door you are greeted with an authoritative thunk. Very solid. I would be surprised if used Hyundai's (2000 models and up) don't sell.

    People are catching on quick and unfortunately for bargain hunters such as myself, Hyundai and the other Korean makes are likely to raise their prices.
  • bri70bri70 Member Posts: 147

    I certainly don't deny that a Honda Civic will hold its value more than a Hyundai Elantra. Actually I thought that the Elantra would be worth less!

    I would be surprised if that figure holds true for the 2001 Elantra- a new and more refined model. I'm not saying it will depreciate less than the Civic, only that it will do better than the 2000 Elantra.

    Anyway, Korean vehicles give you more standard features for less money with 90% (or more) refinement. If you plan on keeping your vehicle for more than 5 years- resale value really does not matter much.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    What a dealer wants for a vehicle and what it is worth to him in trade are two different things.

    There is a thread in the Smart Shopper Section of town hall about real world trade in values.

    The trade in values I have seen for Korean cars are not a pretty sight.
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Member Posts: 236
    Hey, what happens if you trade in a used Korean car for a new Korean car? Whoa, man....far out!

    I saw what I think was a 2001 or 2002 Daewoo Lanos 4-door sedan on the road today. It looks like it got a rear-end treatment from the guy who designed the Chevy Monte Carlo. But it was certainly eye-catching. Anyone else see any new Daewoos or have the funk-o-riffic interior smells of my new Hyundai finally affected my brain?

  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I think it is the latter. ; )
  • supremesupreme Member Posts: 38
    BOTTOMING OUT. i find it hard to accept your low end definition of $15,000. heck get a one year old or two year old upper tier car for that. when i talk about low end i mean $8600 w/t&t for a new then current model Kia Sephia 2000. In 1972 i purchased a Datsun 1200 coup @ $2400. It lasted 79000 miles over four years and i traded it for a 1976 yellow Mazda coup which had sat on the lot for a year & i stole it from the dealer who took the remains of my Datsun. And i mean everything was shot/ radio, wipers, wrecked & rebuilt, & more that i cant remember. we ran the Mazda for four more years until we couldnt fit all the kids in it & had to move up. The art of value is fine tuning the purchase and disposal of the vehicle; and as i learned with the Mazda, i got a hell of a deal then flubbed it up at the bank when i coulda gone to a credit union and saved another bundle on financing. The art of the deal remains, buy low, trade before it costs you money and youre on the road to success. remember someone is always waiting to buy the other guys lemon, sad but true.
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