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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • Get a grip buddy.

    Just being here on Edmunds means people have the smarts to find out what a car should cost. That we have differing opinions and brand loyalty has little to do with intelligence or research, just past experience, personal preference and perhaps even ideology.

    There are cars I like from the US, Korea, Japan and Europe that start at under $15K. I lived in Korea for two years and am rather tired of Korean cars (since there is little else over there), but the Elantra GT was EXTREMELY tempting when I bought my Galant two weeks ago, ditto the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Saturn L100 Special Edition ($16,100 with my GM-S employee pricing I get from my retired mom).

    It wasn't brand loyalty or country of origin that influenced my purchase, jsut the car. The Saturn was probably the best value, but my wife already has an L200 (great car). The VW was the coolest-looking inside and out, while the Elantra GT was the most practical and possibly tied with the VW for the most fun to drive. The Galant was simply the smoothest, quietest and most luxurious car I could afford, and despite my previous enthusiast leanings, that is what I wanted this time around.

    As for the tin cans, sometimes those cars are very much appreciated. I had the original 1986 Chevy Sprint (nee Geo Metro) when I was in High School, and to be able to drive 55 miles on a gallon of fuel was a wonderful thing, as were car payments under $160 per month. I could have bought a ten-year-old Corolla or Civic for the same, but purchase price is only part of the equation. That Sprint was a reliable car, and cost next to nothing to own and operate, which was a very good thing.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    The ECHO is the only inexpensive Toyota but a buyer would still get unmatched reliability.
  • No. No way in the world. Compare Volkswagens and Hondas with Toyotas. The Jetta and Passat are downright devastating in price. The Civic is incredibly expensive too. The Corolla is much lower in price and one still gets that "Toyota reliability."
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,924
    So you sell cars? Would you mind telling us where (city and dealership)? I would like to be absolutely sure that I never step foot in that dealership.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    My bias toward the ECHO over the competition clouded my overall perception. I also admit bias toward Toyota superior reliability since we have not personally met a Toyota owner who had reliability problems whereas numerous Accord, Volvo, and Volkswagen vehicles gave their owners many costly, frequent repairs.
    We mostly compared minivans, small SUV's, and family sedans. With comparable equipment the Toyota appeared to be more expensive: Sienna more than Odyssey, RAV-4 more expensive than CR-V, and Camry more expensive than Accord.
  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    a car salesman that knows his product and I'll show you a Playboy issue without the beautiful women.
  • shriqueshrique Posts: 338
    I've also noticed that with Honda and Toyota that they aren't really willing to budge much on price. I've known more than a few people that were really worked over the coals when trying to get a deal. Then again I've known people that bought a Kia where the sales people were doing backflips when you asked them to lower the price. (GRIN)
  • shriqueshrique Posts: 338
    Stop into a BMW dealership sometime. At least Sears Imported Autos in MPLS. Those guy know their product! When your shopping for a higher end car it's a whole different ball game. They expect people to ask intelligent questions and sales people really know what their talking about. Of course when your trying to talk someone out of $50k you better be good. (chuckle)
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "I've also noticed that with Honda and Toyota that they aren't really willing to budge much on price."

    Shrique, I guess some folks call it "arrogance", I call it the "Free Market System". If you have a well run Honda or Toyota dealership in a smaller market, you can sell your cars for smaller discounts. Why should they "cheap sell" hot product? It's truly the American way. PROFIT is not a bad word. Most educated buyers do not get "worked over". Why, because we know the market price and we go for the best deal that is reasonable. My 2 cents. Furthermore, if ANY dealership plays games with me, I'm outa there! :-)

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Honda and Toyota dealers do not often give much discount.
    Notice that Mazda, Subaru, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Isuzu and other low quality Japanese brands were not included in the statement?
    To many people, Kia and Hyundai are now equal to or superior to all Japanese brands but Toyota, Toyota Lexus, Honda, Honda Acura, and Nissan Infinity.
  • Those are not low quality cars. Subarus are legendary for their durability and quality of engineering, they just are not a first tier car company, which has as much to do with advertising budget, market position and export vollume (voluntary quotas from Japan are still much a reality).

    Honda and Toyota are fabulous products which have earned their reputations by a combination of quality and listening to what their customers want. When I lived in Montreal 20 years ago, Subaru was wildly popular on account of giving Canadians (and I would imagine snow-bound Americans as well) what they wanted - front and four wheel drive. Those Subaru wagons are still popular in places with inclement weather, as I just saw in rural Washington state last week.

    Mitsubishi never really understood the American customer, hence their product is soft on the market. The Eclipse went from its first generation as a sporty, inexpensive car with useful technology to an overstyled imitation sports car that is really a family sedan with the many virtues of that bodystyle compromised for styling - overdone styling at that.

    Mazda (now part of Ford) has always been a favorite of mine, making very high quality cars that are more often than not a real ball to drive compared to their competition. The current 626 is a bit underpowered compared to Accord/Camry/Galant/Altima, but handles better and is by no means slow, even with the smallish four cylinder.

    Nissan had some serious marketing blunders too, mostly due to styling. I bought a 97 Sentra when they were practically giving them away with $2000 rebates. That was an ugly, boring-looking car, that in almost every specification was inferior to the 1997 Civic, Corolla or Protege, but it was also $2000 cheaper, every bit as high-quality, was quite fun to drive (5-speed) and handled well once the stock General tires were ditched for a set of Pirellis.

    I think the Koreans are where that Nissan was five years ago, they have a very high quality product (at least Hyundai does), which in specification doesn't match Honda/Mazda/Toyota, but when value for dollar is figured in, it becomes a very competitive product. I think most of us would take a Camry over a Sonata if they were the same price, but the Sonata is almost as good as the Camry, for the price of a loaded Corolla. Many people would prefer the Corolla with its Toyota reputation, and would be making a wise purchase in doing so. Likewise the Sonata buyer would be equally wise, it depends entirely on priorities and what one wants.
  • shriqueshrique Posts: 338
    Charge what the market will bear. I realize why they charge what they do but by over pricing thier products and making it impossible to get power door locks without buying $5k of other options to get it, They are creating a market for Korean cars.
    If you could still get a "nicely" equipped $8500 Civic that was reliable and solidly engineered, would you still buy a Daewoo? Probably not.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    I should have written "lesser" quality instead of the "low" quality to describe how other Japanese brands are not up to par with Toyota.
  • Quality is rather hard to pinpoint for me. Generally I prefer imports, but that is based as much on the look and feel of the cars as on the quality advantage, which is not always present. The Toyota Sienna van when it first came out had serious transmission problems, and Honda Accords tend to go through brakes a bit quicker than their competition. On average the Japanese tend to make a better car than the Americans do, but of course there are exceptions, with Buick having consistently high quality ratings on many of its models; I even remember the Buick LeSabre beating out the Toyota Avalon one year in the "Large Car" segment for initial quality and reliability.

    The Americans tend to do trucks very well too, which shouldn't be a surprise since that is where they have devoted the vast majority of R&D dollars. The reason cars like the Cavalier are put against vastly superior Civics, Corollas and yes, Elantras, is because GM is neglecting its small cars. The S Series Saturns were revolutionary, if unrefined cars back in 1991, and they still aren't bad, but ten years have passed, and they should have had balance shafts for the engine and a taller space frame that would allow a rear seat that wasn't bolt-upright. Those are pretty major changes, changes that would normally wait for a change in model, but what other models have had ten-year production runs?

    As for the $8500 Civic, that is not possible. An $11,000 Civic with AC, stereo and little else would be quite a bargain, but Honda doesn't see enough profit that low in the sticker scale, and so chooses not to compete there. The Accent for $9000 is a fantastic bargain, is well-made, and represents exactly the same thing tha the Civic hatchback used to in the 1980s. If I was a college kid witih a part-time job, I'd buy one in a heartbeat and have a blast every time I drove it.
  • I have noticed that the quality of my Mazda has been higher then the quality of my Toyota RAV, there are an awful lot of rattles and the plastics are cheaper. But I totally agree with pricing. I payed $23k for my RAV and that seemed pretty expensive.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,924
    Honda dealers DO give discounts--big ones, at least on Civics. As a Civic fan and two-time owner I've followed the Honda Civic forum here for a long time. There are numerous posts from buyers who bought new Civics for a bit over invoice. Corollas can also be had for large discounts, but it's hard to tell if that's due to it being in its last model year. The market is not what it used to be, where Honda and Toyota dealers could tack hundreds or even thousands of dollars onto cars as ADM (Additional Dealer Markup), and get away with it. There is just too much competition now, from Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and even Ford (with the Focus), and of course the price pressure from the Koreans.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,924
    From the Star Tribune, Newspaper of the Twin Cities, January 3, 2002, page D1:

    Toyota Has Big Plans For Smaller Cars

    Toyota Motor Corp. plans to export several low-priced compact cars to the United States to attract younger customers and boost market share, according to a newspaper reported. [sic]
    Japan's biggest automaker is finalizing plans to introduce three or four of the models in the United States, some of which it will unveil at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit starting on Jan. 6, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said, without citing a source. The report didn't say when the cars will go on sale.
    The vehicles are to be based on the Vitz compact sedan--known as the Echo in the United States--and come with engines ranging from 1.5 liters to 1.8 liters. In Japan, the cars are expected to sell for between $7,570 and $15,140, the report added.
  • Oh boy! More cars like the Echo, what more could one ask for.
  • I'm excited about these new vehicles. They will probably what comprise the new Toyota brand, possibly named Genesis. The new Corolla is very nice everyone! /2002/01/03/WKA2002010354867_pv.jpg /2002/01/03/WKA2002010355055_pv.jpg /2002/01/03/WKA2002010355425_pv.jpg

    Those are sport editions. Edmunds won't let me post the whole link for some reason so you will have to copy and paste it where I broke it apart at WKA and /2002. Sorry about that.

    We may now have a new small car in the battle arena for us to talk about. The Matrix base model 5 speed is going for under $15,000! What shock to see it priced at or below Vibe.

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "Honda and Toyota dealers do not often give much discount.
    Notice that Mazda, Subaru, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Isuzu and other low quality Japanese brands were not included in the statement?
    To many people, Kia and Hyundai are now equal to or superior to all Japanese brands but Toyota, Toyota Lexus, Honda, Honda Acura, and Nissan Infinity.

    Carleton, do you ever read and think about what you are saying/posting before you click on the post button? OK, re-read your above post. Yea, that post. OK, now think about what you wrote. Is that really your opinion. Unbelievable, really.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    You know what, Santa is still poised to take back both of your new toys!

    Chill please! It is entirely possible to disagree agreeably, so could you both just give it a shot? Thanks, that would be very nice, and would be compliant with your Membership Agreement, you know?

    Coolguy, your problem (actually Town Hall's problem, not yours) is the multiple links in one message. Next time try adding "(br)" after each of your links, but look at how you really have to do it - replace the "(" with "<" and the ")" with the ">" and lose all of the quote marks in my examples here. I couldn't get my actual example to post; if this makes no sense email me, and I'll try again.

    That may allow you to post them. (But I don't promise a thing, I must say!)

    Sedans Message Board
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    What's your point? It isn't like Mazdas, Nissans, Suburus and all the other "low quality" japanese brands are pieces of crap. Well, maybe Mitsubishi and Izuzu. My parents have a Camry V6 that was built in Japan and it needed two fuel injectors at 9000 miles and water leaked into the interior. It took the dealer a week to find the leak. It needed new shocks at 35,000 miles and the cv boots went at 40,000. OTOH, my old integra had the original CV boots until 90,000 miles and the shocks never needed to be replaced. Of course I know that Toyota cars have been consistantly the best as far as reliability. My point is that there are other cars out there that are reliable AND they are fun to drive (unlike almost all Toyotas). I drove a newer V6 Accord and IMO it is much more entertaining to drive than the appliance-like Camry sitting in my parent garage. Same goes for the new Altima. I had a 2002 Corolla rental when my 2001 Protege was in the body shop (bumper scuff) and that thing is downright *boring* compared to my Protege ES which isn't anywhere NEAR "low quality". If your whole deal is reliability, point A to point B driving and nothing else, then get a Toyota. If that's the case, then you really aren't an auto enthusiast. Toyota used to make cool cars; their current line up stinks IMO. What ever happened to the Corolla GTS, MR2 Turbo, Supra Turbo, Celica Turbo all-trac? The old RWD Corolla GTS and supercharged MR2s were a blast to drive. I wouldn't have minded buying a Toyota, but they don't make anything cool anymore (the new Celica is just too weird). Now, Toyota's only fault is boringness.
  • Thanks, Pat. I was wondering how I was supposed to do that.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    I apologize Carleton. I will try to be more civil in the future. Pat_Host, thanks you for the heads up.

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    ....Reason I ask is the Sedona w/3.5L V6 gets 15/20 while Odyssey 3.5L gets 18/25.
    Kia Rio with 1.5L gets 25/30 while Honda Civic with 1.7L gets 30/38, Toyota ECHO with 1.5L gets 32/38.
    Kia Optima 2.7L gets 18/24, Honda Accord 3.0L gets 20/28, Camry 3.0L gets 20/28 and the larger Chevy Impala 3.4L gets even better 21/32.
    All of the above are with automatic transmissions.
    What seems to be the problem with Kia engines/transmissions?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,924
    It's pretty simple I think: Kia has not put as much time and money into the refinement of their engines, including fuel efficiency, as has Honda, Toyota, and others. There are reasons why Rios cost less than ECHOs, Spectras less than Civics, Sedonas less than Odysseys, and Optimas less than Accords and Impalas. This is one of them. VVT technology such as that employed by Honda and Toyota is not cheap, and takes time to perfect.
  • In the economy or compact car segment I think you have 3 types of buyers here. You have your buyers that will buy what is trendy or what someone else told them to buy with no real regard to price or value. Usually these types have little or no knowledge of cars in general or other cars other than the "trendy" car they want to buy. You have your performance or luxury orientated buyers that would rather buy driving a ferrarri or a BMW but financial restrictions are getting in the way. Usually they check out the different cars and know quite a lot so they can find the best car for themselves. I guess you could lump the value buyer in here as well since they do alot of cross shopping and they do their homework. The last group you have is the best deal or the absolute cheapest car types. This does not mean that they will only pay $9000 for a car. People will be willing to put up with questionable build quality for extra options.

    This being said, I don't think any of these strategies is wrong. As long as you are happy with what you bought as a consumer, that's fine.
  • I don't really know why Kias get bad mileage--compared to their competitors. You could say it is lack of refinement or whatever, but I don't know if that's it. I have a 1995 Sephia with a Mazda engine. I only get about 25 around town and about 33 on the road. That may not be bad, but it doesn't seem to be in line with other small cars like it. The mpg has really been my only complaint with the car.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Good answers to my question that may seem silly to you who knew the answer.
  • Toyota has its site updated. Bye bye old Corolla.

    Looking good!
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