Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • bigcompactbigcompact Member Posts: 33
    Those are all great qualities to desire in an inexpensive car, but who cares about realiability and performance with your knees in the dash? Or do you include space as part of "functionality"?
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I think each of us that owns a low end car would be pushing that car as the "best." I feel that I can make a strong argument based on outside facts, opinions, and my own personal experience for the Echo.

    However, what was "best" for me may not be "best" for you. For one thing, what is most important for you might not have been the most important consideration for me.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    I just grouped together space in the "functionality" department. I guess I would define each department as follows:

    - Exterior body panel fit
    - Exterior paint finish and appearance
    - Interior materials
    - Interior panel fit
    - Sound and temperature insulation
    - Body structure stiffness

    - Ease of maintenance
    - Reliability history

    - Acceleration
    - Braking
    - Handling

    - Interior passenger space
    - Trunk cargo volume
    - Trunk lift-over height
    - Entry/Exit ease
    - Overall comfort
    - Features (fold-down rear seats, for example)

    - Passive safety features (airbags, seatbelts, etc.)
    - Active safety features (visibility, stability, etc.)

    Please feel free to add to this list. These just came off the top of my head.
  • liljonsonliljonson Member Posts: 109
    i didn't know that people get annoyed because i spell the word what as wat. i really didn't think this was english class.
    i don't hold my car as the best. i can truly say hyundai has alot to work on, even though they are doing great right now. they do have weaknesses. they do stupid things just like any other car company once in a while. i just don't think its fair to say hyundai is bad when they already proved they aren't. thats like saying the new celica gts is not fast when thy proved that they can do less than 15sec quarter mile stock.
  • fangio2fangio2 Member Posts: 214
    Waht are you saying?
  • randyt2randyt2 Member Posts: 81
    IMO that last ribbing/bait by littlejonson was not worthy of a response.

    No offense, but I hope that you will also refrain from posting any ribbing/bait to the boards for other vehicle models that you do not own or did not own in the past, unless there is some substance to your post.
  • liljonsonliljonson Member Posts: 109
    fangio, majorecho gets annoyed or something because i type wat instead of what. thats wat i meant by that.
    randyt2 is right because you don't own the car so you can't be saying anything bad about it because you have no experiance with it. i only post because i have experiance with the cars i post on.
    randyt2, my post was worthy of a response so don't start.
  • fangio2fangio2 Member Posts: 214
    I'm not annoyed.In fact i'm all for it.I think people today are way to conformist-especially when it comes to spelling.
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Member Posts: 236

    Good point about the Focus. But Ford didn't exactly rush the Focus design into production. I believe the car was being sold in Europe (where it won at least one major automotive award) for a few years before it was brought to our country.

    So the fact that the Focus evidently still has many bugs in it (6 recalls to date) after a few years of production makes me believe that Ford just doesn't pay attention to details when it builds its cars; even those with not-so-new designs.

    I looked at the Focus and wasn't impressed. Yes, it was roomy, but the Ford quirks (small exterior mirrors, odd-looking interior surfaces, counter-intuitive controls) outwieghed the increased interior space. Add in ho-hum acceleration (110 hp)and spotty build quality and it was time to look elsewhere.

    I've always had one closely held personal belief: if I was looking to buy a small car, I would try buy one from a manufacturer which had some expertise in building small cars. Domestic manufacturers don't have this level of expertise, in my opinion, and it shows in the finished product.

    Now, trucks and V-8 powered sedans, they're another story... :-)

    Happy Motoring!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Recalls happen to even Japanese low-end cars. For example, the 2001 Civic has already been recalled at least three times for the fuel pump, gas line, and radio. (Compare to the 2001 Elantra, a Korean car, which has had one recall to date, for a few early samples to replace the side air bag wiring; most of these were taken care of before delivery to customers). As a former, multiple Civic owner and fan, I follow the Honda Civic Sedans forum and see many complaints from posters regarding the 2001 Civic; for example, the aforementioned gas tank and radio problems; rattles; wind noise; sticky sunroofs; CD track-skipping; and probably others I'm forgetting. The Elantra has had its share of teething problems too, as documented in the Hyundai Elantra forum, although mine has been trouble-free except for the air bag problem (fixed before delivery). But the Civic does not seem to have any quality advantage, based on recalls and Edmunds forum postings, to the Elantra.

    You can overlook all small cars except those designed and manufactured by the Japanese, but you will pass up some fine small cars (like the Elantra and Golf/Jetta/New Beetle). You might also have a hard time finding a car to buy, since many cars from Japanese automakers are either built outside of Japan (by non-Japanese workers), and/or are designed by design studios outside of Japan (like Toyota's Calty studio in the U.S.). Just because it has a Japanese label on it doesn't mean it's designed and built by the Japanese. With the increasing Ford contributions to Mazda, who knows how long even the Protege will be designed and built "by the Japanese"?
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    Well, the future of the Protege is this... It will move to the Ford Focus platform, which is one of world's most rigid small car platforms. It will get the Ford 2.0L DOHC ZETEC engine as the base engine and the new Ford 2.3L DOHC as the upper-end engine. Both of those engines are built by Ford in the US and Mazda overseas. They are a joint design, with Mazda taking the lead on them.

    As for the Ford Focus... I test drove one about a year ago and I have a few friends that own them. I have been very impressed with them. They are among the quietest of the small cars out there. They have a very smooth and controlled ride and the engine has decent power (I test drove the 130hp ZETEC). The interior is very roomy and comfortable. There are a few design quirks though, but every car has those... Overall, you can't go wrong with the Focus and I would rate it among the Japanese small sedans...
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    It's funny how you talk about "Ford's contributions to Mazda." A few months ago, a Mazda plant in Japan just celebrated as they completed their 20,000,000th transmission. The majority of those transmission found their way into Ford front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles...
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Someone brought up the Ford Focus, but the problem is that this is low end cars and not small cars.

    Is the Focus a low end car? I guess under the definitions we have been throwing around, it is low end, but not an entry level car although Ford would argue with the low end part. As far as entry level, Ford has the ZX2 aka the 2-door Escort. Although I think you will see that model dropped once the ZX5 hits our shores.

    The Focus was the last car I test drove before buying my Echo and I was not impressed. It was a manual and it felt like it could not get out of its own way. Definitely a change from the Echos I had test driven. Also, the Focus felt smaller inside. Two opinions shared by my roommate.

    Definitely glad I purchased my Echo.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I read over the list of Jstand's standards and I was struck by one thing.

    How many people on this board know how to judge how well their own personal cars measure up in the categories?

    I mean, body structure stiffness?
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Member Posts: 236
    Sure, I'd consider the Focus a low-end car; especially the ZX3 (boy, how I wish I had a chance to drive that punchy Zetec motor - the base motor is a bore). Figure it this way: the Focus is cheap to buy if you go easy on the option sheet, much like Corolla, Civic, Protege, Sephia and Echo.

    Does a low-end car cease to be a low-end car if options are added to it? Isn't it possible to buy a $15,000 Toyota Echo or an $17,000 Civic? Dig what I'm saying, hep-cats?

    Anyway, some makers are more guilty than others when it come to decontenting their products (are you listening Chrysler and Toyota?) but I would still consider those cars "low-end" even if they were bulked up with comfort and convenience options.

    I'm curious - what kind of options do other posters have on their low-end cars? I'd love to hear from Toyota, Ford and Dodge/Chrylser owners. As for me, I eschewed all options on my car except for an automatic transmission. However, the only other options offered were power sunroof and ABS/TCS -- both of which I didn't desire.

    Happy Motoring!
  • randyt2randyt2 Member Posts: 81
    I know how funny you are, but just try to restrain yourself from posting to the Sedan Focus board messages like the one below which only serve to fill-up space on the Town Hall server. I am not asking you to do the same on this "Low End Cars" forum, but only on the boards that are specifically designated to a particular model.

    "Remove the antenna with... by protegextwo Jul 09, 2001 (10:24 pm)

    a hacksaw."
  • randyt2randyt2 Member Posts: 81
    Sorry I didn't read through all the posts but in one of the early posts you categorized "low end cars" as under $20K--has this changed?

    mtecho: if we are including Civics, then IMO we should definitely include Foci.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    As far as options go, here is what I got on my manual transmission 4-door Echo.

    Upgrade Package 1: Sport Fender and Rocker Panel Extensions, black painted B-pillar (four door models)[I think they have gone to body colored B-pillars now], dual remote outside mirrors [they are manual], [non variable] intermittent windshield wipers, digital quartz clock, 60/40 split/fold-down rear seat, and power steering.

    Upgrade Package 2: Deluxe 3-in-1 AM/FM ETR/Cassette/CD with 6 speakers, power door locks, and air conditioning.

    All-Weather Guard Package: Heavy duty battery and rear defogger, and rear seat heater ducts.

    I also have the rear spoiler, carpeted floor mats, and the cargo net.

    MSRP was $13,950 although that is not the price I paid.

    Additional options available include: ABS with Daytime running lights, side air bags, remote keyless entry (w/alarm), alloy wheels, and wheel locks.

    Mine is a 2001 model year Echo. More recent Echos have Upgrade Package 3 as an option which includes power windows and keyless entry. Another option is the Roxy package which is Upgrade Packages 1 and 2 and some ROXY related items.

    If you were to select every option available (excluding the ROXY package), the MSRP on a four door Echo with automatic transmission would be $17,195.

    Definitely pricey for a low end car, but I would argue that it is still a good value.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    The definition of a low end car is one item we are discussing. I think we agreed that $20k was too high of a cap for low end cars. $15k has been bandied about.

    Yes, I agree that if a Civic is a low end car then the Foci are too, but is the Civic a low end car? That is also another subject for discussion.
  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    The only problem is that loading up an Echo to the gills is a theoretical exercise, being that the combination of ABS and side air bags may exist as "potential" options in the promotional brochures only.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    I definitely believe the Civic and Focus should be included in the "low-end" category:

    $9,390 Kia Rio
    $10,394 Hyundai Accent sedan
    $10,980 Toyota Echo sedan
    $11,035 Saturn SL
    $11,340 Kia Sephia
    $12,129 Daewoo Nubira SE
    $12,189 Nissan Sentra XE
    $12,994 Hyundai Elantra sedan
    $13,023 Toyota Corolla CE
    $13,205 Dodge Neon
    $13,220 Ford Focus LX sedan <<<<<<<<<
    $13,245 Mazda Protege DX
    $13,400 Honda Civic DX sedan <<<<<<<<<
    $13,679 Suzuki Esteem GL
    $13,900 Chevrolet Cavalier sedan
    $14,147 Mitsubishi Mirage ES sedan
    $15,090 Pontiac Sunfire SE sedan

    These prices reflect the base MSRP plus destination for the sedan version of the vehicle with no options added. Consequently, the VW Golf was thrown out because the cheapest 4-dr version is nearly $17k and the Golf is a hatchback, not a sedan. This goes for the Kia Spectra and Daewoo Lanos, which are both hatchbacks as well.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Why throw out hatchbacks simply because they are hatchbacks?

    I can see throwing out the Golf based on cost, but I can't see throwing out the Lanos and Spectra simply because they are hatchbacks. The Spectra and Lanos are definitely low end cars.

    And the title of the thread is low end cars and not low end sedans.
  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    At 13,999...it is most high end of the low end lot if you consider hatchbacks and all of the standard equipment.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Misspellings make it harder for someone to read and understand other people's posts.

    That is why I pointed out my problem with Lil spelling what as wat.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    I just figured we are talking about sedans since we are in the Sedans board.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    This IS the Sedans board. :-)

    Sedans Message Board
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    The Civic is Honda's entry-level model in the USA (maybe in other countries, too, but I don't have that information--maybe posters in other lands can comment). The Civic's price in the USA starts at well under $15K for the DX 4dr (thanks to jstandefer for that useful price summary). So equipped, the Civic is a classic "econobox" (although quite a refined one) with little feature content. I think these facts qualify the Civic as an entry-level model for this forum.

    Now with the Focus, the only issue seems to be that Ford offers another car that sells for under $15K, the ZX3. Ford's marketing of the Focus (note the ads featuring young, hip folks) cleary targets the entry-level market. Is it not possible in this forum that we consider more than one vehicle from a manufacturer as "entry-level"? If not, we'd have to eliminate the Focus, Corolla, Sephia, Spectra (if not already eliminated due to the "sedans" focus of the forum), and Elantra.

    Also, re spelling errors--I agree that spelling errors can make a post harder to read, but I think we can usually figure it out (or ask for a clarification if we can't). I think we need to show some tolerance--and respect--for those who speak a language other than English better than most of us can, but who still make the effort to communicate with us in our native language.
  • randyt2randyt2 Member Posts: 81
    I agree with what you're saying, with one exception. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you meant the Ford Escort ZX2. The Z3 is a Ford Focus - a hatchback. The Ford Escort ZX2 is a coupe. So if we're talking sedans only then IMO the Focus fits the discussion.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    If you notice in my price summary post above, I have labeled vehicles available in more than one body style as sedan. A good example is the Ford Focus which is available in 4 different body styles:

    Focus ZX3 (two-door hatchback or "3-door")
    Focus ZX5 (four-door hatchback or "5-door")
    Focus Wagon
    Focus sedan

    That is one reason the VW Golf is pretty much eliminated. The two-door Golf barely squeezes in under $15k, but the 4-door starts at nearly $18k!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Thanks for the catch, I did mean the ZX2 in #291. (Too much camping with Cub Scouts, too little sleep this week!)
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I objected to non sedan low end cars being excluded because the title of the thread is Low End Cars and NOT Low End Sedans. Yes, I know the thread is contained in Sedans, but I think the title should be the controlling factor.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    If it's on this board, it needs to be primarily focused on sedans. I can make the title "Low End Sedans (etc.)" if it really matters and if no one objects.

    Sedans Message Board
  • carleton1carleton1 Member Posts: 560
    Our daughter and son-in-law looked at the ECHO and were completely turned off by the cardboard trim in the trunk. After shopping around, they bought a NEW 2000 Chevy Malibu and got a nice quiet sedan with a V6, comfortable interior for them and 3 children, nice large trunk, quality stereo with CD, etc. Our son in law likes Honda, but says they are not worth their inflated purchase price.
    Although the Malibu, Neon, etc. may be boring to many people, to some the extra room and quiet comfort of an American sedan mean more than OHC engines with buzzy, raspy little 4 cyl engines.
    BTW, our son-in-law owned a 2 door Honda Accord when they got married and our daughter owned the 1981 Chevy C-10 pickup we gave her in 1987. He soon gave the Accord to his brother and got a used Mercury Sable. Our daughter traded her C-10 in on a used 1988 Plymouth Voyager LE when they had their 2nd child. Unfortunately, some teen age jerk illegally made a left turn into the Voyager and totalled both vehicles. The Sable was costing them too much to keep running so they used settlement money from Voyager for down payment on the 2000 Chevy Malibu.
  • fangio2fangio2 Member Posts: 214
    This sounds like a "major"drawback.
  • carleton1carleton1 Member Posts: 560
    My good buddy kidded me about the cardboard trim and other less impressive items of the ECHO at the Annual Auto Show. However, he was very impressed with the ECHO after sitting in every vehicle there.
    His brother recently purchased a NEW 2001 ECHO 4 door sedan and he was even more impressed with the comfort riding in the back seat. His wife has a 2001 Accord EX after they traded in the 1999 Maxima that had many problems in the 2 years they owned it after buying it NEW. He has a 1994 Mazda Miata convertible for pleasure and a 1986 Ford F-150 SB 4WD pickup with fancy black and silver paint.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Neon actually has an OHC engine--and quite a buzzy, raspy little 4 cyl engine at that, IMO. :]
    Now, Malibu has the tried and true OHV technology--but I don't believe Malibu qualifies as an "entry-level" sedan per the parameters of this forum. It's more in the mid-size class with Taurus, Stratus, Accord, Camry, Sonata, Altima etc.
  • fangio2fangio2 Member Posts: 214
    I haven't driven or sat in an ECHO.It just doesn't look "right" to me.I must admit tho-the owners seem quite happy with them.Echo owners exhibit an almost Leganza-like fanaticism.Any car tha inspires obsessive behavior like that can't be all bad.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Yes, we could have the name changed to Low End Sedans or we could link the thread to all the rest of the boards. ; )
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Having read the post about cardboard trim in the trunk of the Echo, I had to run out to my Echo and check something out. I have come to the conclusion that my dealer ripped me off.

    My dealer did not include any cardboard trim in the trunk (or anywhere in the car). I even checked the tray that sits over the spare tire. No cardboard there. Its a hard plastic.

  • randyt2randyt2 Member Posts: 81
    The Echo may be a good car, but the looks did not appeal to me. I've seen one close up on the road, and I still don't like its appearance. I usually rank function over form but in this case it was an exception. To me its just like the color ____ for a car. Say pink for example -- No flames please. Some people will consider that color, some people think it's great, and some people don't like it at all.

    My impression, without doing much research was that it had a smaller interior passenger space than a Focus sedan, but yes mjrtecho I didn't really try it so I don't know for sure if the useable space and the experience was different than the numbers.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I would say that the Neon would be considered low end, but the Malibu definitely not.

    You can get a Neon for under $15,000 and it is the entry level vehicle for Dodge while the Malibu is not available for under $15,000 and there is a Chevrolet model (actually two) slotted underneath it.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    The Focus is a foot longer and has a ten inch longer wheelbase than the Echo. According to the EPA, the Focus has a passenger volume of 95 cubic feet while the Echo has a passenger volume of 87 cubic feet.

    However, the measurements for leg room, head room, hip room do not reveal a decided advantage for the Focus. And the Echo beats the Focus in certain measurements.

    For whatever reason, both my roommate and I felt the Echo was roomier.

    Price wise a nicely equipped Echo compares to a Focus, but exterior size wise, the Focus is one slot up.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    So I wonder where those 8 extra cubic feet in the Focus went, if the Focus and Echo have almost the same interior measurements and the Echo beats the Focus in some measurements? That leads to another question: just how does the EPA measure interior volume?
  • randyt2randyt2 Member Posts: 81
    Where did you get that information?
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    I say, I say, that was a joke, son.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Member Posts: 1,331
    Not having found the cardboard in my car and worried I got charged for something I did not get ; ), I posted a message on the Echo board.

    As I understand it, Echoes without the fold down rear seat have a cardboard divider at the back of the trunk. My car has the fold down rear seat so I don't have that.

    Carleton, is that what you are talking about?
  • carleton1carleton1 Member Posts: 560
    I thought the ECHO was about the ugliest car I had ever seen...until we sat in one and drove it. WOW...comfortable seating position, peppy, quiet (for a small car with 4 cyl). Four months later at the Annual Auto Show, we sat in all cars and the PT Cruiser and Prius were the ONLY sedans that were as comfortable for either my wife or I to sit in. We do not like the low seating position of most sedans that was formerly had on only sport cars.
    After owning 2 pickups and 2 minivans, we like the higher seating position with better visibility. The ECHO, Prius, and PT Cruiser were the only sedans that had this seating design.
    majorT: I will ask my daughter to be more specific on the "cardboard" issue. I prefer the ECHO to their 2000 Malibu.
  • fangio2fangio2 Member Posts: 214
    part of an option package.Do the cars with the cardboard also have ABS?Also is it true that a JACK-IN THE -BOX moonroof will be offered on the 2002"s?
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 368
    but in reply to "You can overlook all small cars except those designed and manufactured by the Japanese, but you will pass up some fine small cars (like the Elantra and Golf/Jetta/New Beetle)," I agree (although the VWs you mentioned are way down on the list in JD Powers -- near the bottom, in fact).

    "You might also have a hard time finding a car to buy, since many cars from Japanese automakers are either built outside of Japan (by non-Japanese workers), and/or are designed by design studios outside of Japan (like Toyota's Calty studio in the U.S.). Just because it has a Japanese label on it doesn't mean it's designed and built by the Japanese."

    They don't have to "built" by the Japanese in the literal sense of the word -- they simply need to be engineered by, and use the manufacturing processes of, the Japanese -- specifically Toyota and Honda (Toyota actually started the process, and everyone is doing their best to learn it). Part of it is a cultural phenomenon, but the largest part is due to Toyota's need to find a way to save their company from financial ruin by using lean manufacturing (necessity being the mother of invention, and all that). Anyone can learn it, given the desire and the intestinal fortitude to see it through. NUMMI proved that.

    "With the increasing Ford contributions to Mazda, who knows how long even the Protege will be designed and built "by the Japanese"?

    If they dedicate themselves to kaizen, it won't matter. GM has begun to learn it through their relationship with Toyota, and they are already ahead of Ford and Chrysler in that regard.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,615
    Hey, just a thought from out of the posts. Who thinks that Daewoo will enter it's U100 crossover mini-SUV whatchamacallit to the US market soon? Yes, it's the one that Daewoo is having the contest to name it and win the first one in the US. This would almost have to be classified a "Low End Car-Korean". From looking at it I would price it in Daewoo-common prices at about $12,000 or so depending on option packages, of course. They'd probably load it with most of your common non-option things in it at a price in this ballpark. It has that foreign look to it. I could just see it in Europe somewhere dodging pedestrians and cruising through narrow streets. What'cha think Edmunds.com low-enders-does this little fighter have a chance what with Daewoo's shaky financial situation?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

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