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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    I saw at least one dealer. It was a Toyota dealer crammed onto a street corner in some part of greater London.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I didn't spend a lot of time analyzing English retail methods. (I was on vacation!) I did notice a few dealerships as I was travelling around (mostly in the Midlands, near Manchester) and saw a few ads in local papers. One thing I noticed at a Suzuki dealership was a car sitting on the corner of the lot with a huge "4995" (pounds) on the windshield (couldn't tell if it was a new car or not). Otherwise the dealer lots looked like those in the U.S., just smaller and more crowded. The ads were subdued, as I would expect in England. There seemed to be more facts/figures on the ads than on a typical U.S. ad. But these looked to be ads sponsored by the car makers, not ads for a particular dealership. One gimmick I saw that I have never seen in the U.S. is an offer of free insurance with some new cars. Now it's possible that "insurance" in this context meant "warranty", but it seemed to be offering free casualty/theft insurance. This would be a big benefit to car buyers in England, where car thefts are a huge problem and I presume that insurance rates are pretty high.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    I here you! ;-) I always heard that many things in Great Britain are accomplished with a tad more civility, as compared to the "American way"? Thank you for taking the time to post your brief impressions of the British "way" of selling cars. BTW, did you get to drive on the "left"?

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    No, the only vehicle I had the chance to drive on the left was a Vauxhall 4x4 (an Isuzu Rodeo here in the States), with a 5-speed, on narrow city streets. I declined the offer, as I decided that by the time I got the left-handed shifter down pat, I would probably run into someone or something. Besides, it was much more entertaining watching another guy in my touring group give it a go (he did pretty well--we have videotape for evidence).
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    "I always heard that many things in Great Britain are accomplished with a tad more civility, as compared to the "American way"?"

    Oh please...
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    Isn't that the one where you do a half-baked job and call it finished? Hmmm...I guess it is if you consider Ford's use of it in its recent models. Did anyone see the Sherry Bobbins episode of the Simpsons? Sweeping toys and junk under the bed and into the closet to clean the room...that was the American way. They proclaimed it in a song.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    Never posted as Fxashun.

    I have had several experiences in Great Britain, and other parts of Europe, and I was only stating my displeasure with the ridiculous 'civility label' that was tossed at Great Britain, and the implication that America is somehow less civilized.

    Actually, in a recent magazine (name escapes me) Americans were rated the world's second best travellers, and the English were the worst. (and this was not an American magazine) And now that I think about it, if you ever pick up a British written car magazine, you will have the opportunity to see just how civil they are in addressing American offerings.

    I didn't see you saying anything about coolguyky7's equally worthless, and somewhat offensive comments. I mean, seeing as Ford _is_ America, I guess, that as an American, I do half [non-permissible content removed] everything!

    All that being said, I suppose that what you said did not really deserve any sarcasm, it was very mild. But in general, I'm sick of the constant America bashing that takes place in car forums, it's everywhere. People take GM and Ford, and all of the sudden, it's America's shoddy workmanship, and America half assing everything, and America can't do anything worth a damn. I over reacted to you because of other people, my apologies.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I'm just going to interrupt for a minute to say that we are NOT going to get into that sort of bashing here - against any country or its residents.

    Let's talk about cars, please.

    Sedans Host
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Well, Britain can rag all they want about our cars. Who owns Jaguar? Who owns Rover? Bentley? Rolls Royce? Is there ANY British owned car companies anymore? I wonder why?

    Pat, I am not bashing, just pointing out facts.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Well, those are "facts" that aren't exactly on topic here.

    All kinds of those types of discussions have occurred or currently are underway over in News & Views.

  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    (just to stay on topic)
    The British don't produce any _low end cars_, if they did, we could change the topic name, because "European" is so vague.

    (off topic)
    The British also no longer produce Lotus, which I think is owned by a company in Singapore. However, they still produce TVR, and maybe one other very small and specialized maker.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I saw some really small, inexpensive-looking Vauxhalls and MGs while I was over in England. I didn't find out how much they cost new, but I'd be surprised if they weren't "low-end" cars.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    Opels are called Vauxhalls in England (from what I understand), and BMW had gained control of MG a few years ago, I think they sold it, but I'm not sure who controls it now.

    So as far as British made low-end cars, not Vauxhall, maybe MG. Anyone know?
  • dannym11dannym11 Posts: 18
    MG and Rover are both now British owned, again:

    ...and they both have low end cars, as well as some nicer ones higher up the range.

    If you read the latest CAR magazine you'll see that they're not exactly blasting the US in it. They gave the GMC H2 a great review.

    There's also a great article where they shipped a Smart Car over (the funky two seater) to NY and drove it to LA.

    And for the record, I travel to the UK at least once a year, usually more. People are generally very polite and civil. Compare driving in London to NY (or any large, congested city like Paris, Rome) and you'll see what I mean.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Sorry it took me a couple days to read your post about England. I have a similar experience, albeit four years old.

    My wife and I flew to England in April 1998. We were staying with friends, who picked us up at Heathrow and drove us the 1-hour drive to Ashford, Kent. They had to use two cars (I invited my parents to come with us, nice guy I am) and we took turns in a BMW, a Vauxhall Cavalier (not a Chevy Cavalier by ANY means) and a Renault something-or-other. I was very impressed with the Vauxhall and the Renault; I think the British, or those who supply cars to the British, have really designed these diminutive machines much better than the ones we get here. I'm a big guy -- 280 pounds and 6-1 -- yet I was quite comfy in the rear seats of both of these subcompacts.

    I was extremely impressed with their highways and the condition of their cars. Everyone seemed to know what LANE they were supposed to be in, even on the M5, an eight-lane highway out of London -- and everyone obeyed the speed limit. Despite the fact that it was afternoon rush hour and the road was busy, I saw no one speeding, tailgating and darting in and out of traffic. To top it off, in the 10 days we were there, even taking the car on Le Shuttle (the "auto train" that follows the same track as the Eurostar under the English Channel, but "lopes along" at only 130 mph) to drive around France and Belgium, we never saw one traffic accident or even a highway cop.

    My hosts told me the traffic laws are MUCH more strict over there than they are here. And it was quite evident. She never really gave me any details on the law, but after witnessing how people drive over there, they must have the death penalty for a moving violation!

    I saw a Porsche dealer when I was there, and doing some quick arithmetic, I learned I could drive a 4-year-old 944 off the lot for the U.S. equivalent of $18,000! I seriously considered moving to England at that point ... ;-)

    We flew Icelandair at the suggestion of a lady I work with who flies back to England to visit her parents four times a year (boy was she right for her suggestion!) and we had to stop for an hour in Reykjavik. I got to see a new Toyota Corolla hatchback then -- completely unlike any Toyota model in the States. It was gorgeous. So then I wanted to move to Iceland!

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Funny how they seem to get better small cars in England than we do here. GM doesn't try to sell the Cavalier/Sunfire--they have the Vauxhall/Opels, much nicer. Ford does sell the Focus, and a lot of them from what I could see, but they also offer several other models including the cute Ka. Toyota's models look different than in the States, including a different Corolla and a slick mid-size that's far nicer looking than the Camry and has a 5-door variant. They also get the Yaris hatchback, while we have to make do with the ECHO. No Sentras to be seen--Nissan sells other small cars there. The Civics look different, a bit more upscale than their U.S. counterparts IMO. Hyundai offers some roomy, if boxy, minicompacts. Then there's the slick-looking Renaults, MGs, and Peugeots--the 307 hatchback was particularly nice looking I thought, also the small MG hatch and sedan. If these small cars are as good as they look, it's a shame they aren't offered here.

    I only ran into one traffic accident over there--and it caused a HUGE pileup on one of the motorways, I think the M1 but not sure. I was in a tour bus, and the driver didn't even try to fight it, just detoured down some picturesque side roads. Speedwise, I noticed a lot of fast moving traffic in the right-hand (fast) lane, but not a lot of weaving. City streets were another matter--cars seemed to be going much too fast for those narrow streets, but drivers also showed a lot of courtesy and let each other in, waited for cars to pass where there was one driving lane, doing the finger waves to each other.

    Also, I didn't notice a lot of old (seemingly more than about 10 years old) cars there, even though body rust should not be a problem (and I saw no rusted cars).
  • Wow, this thread has been pretty idle for a while. Well, to shake things up, check out the 2003 ECHO.

    I like it!

  • Looks pretty nice, I like it.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    It definitely looks better. This is what the car should have looked like from the beginning. And they are now offering 15" wheels as an option!! Now if they could just improve the interior design.....It's not enough to put the Echo ahead of the Accent or Rio though. Both have improved exterior looks for 03. Looks like the entry-level class is becoming more competitive and gaining classier looks in the process.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Well, it's definitely an improvement, but I still think the Yaris is the looker of the family. Did you notice that with the more squared-off quarter panels, the new ECHO looks like the '02 Accent, especially in profile?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    From today's Star Tribune, Newspaper of the Twin Cities - names of a few of the cars at a Tokyo car show in 1996:

    Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal

    Subaru Gravel Express

    Daihatsu Rugger Field Sports Resin Top

    Nissan Prairie Joy

    Suzuki Every Joy Pop Turbo

    Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear Cruising Active

    Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard

    Daihatsu Town Cube

    Nissan Big Thumb Harmonized Truck

    Isuzu Giga 20 Light Dump

    Other interesting names of real cars:

    Mazda Bongo Friendee

    Mazda Scrum

    Mitsubishi Minica Lettuce

    To be fair, America brought us the Studebaker Dictator--in 1936 no less.

    (Relevance, you ask? At least some of the cars listed above, like the Daihatsus, have to be low-end cars.)
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,880
    rugby crazy town or country. Town or country? Hey, didn't Chrysler make a Town and Country full-size wagon about 30-35 years ago? What's in a name!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    In the late sixties I had a friend with an old Datsun Bluebird. The owner's manual said the dash "has a green light which will give you great joy".
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    "...will fill your day with sorrow." Or something like that.

    On another note... anyone notice that there are probably more new or redone cars in the low-end class than in any other for '03?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,880
    that has seen better days? A sudden return to fuel economy *and* the continued surge of popularity of Hyundai and Kia vehicles? I posted a link several months ago of the new Nissan March that American Nissan dealers have been pressing the home company to hurry up and bring over here ASAP. It has a very small engine, is a very small car and gets very good fuel economy. I wanna see that one shake out! Seems too dangerous for our fierce highways over here, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    The aftermath of September 11 may have something to do with the popularity of low-end cars. I think a lot of the changes to low-end cars this year are directly attributable to the rising popularity of Hyundai and Kia models. The other automakers need to offer something competitive. Witness all the new and changed models for '03, many of which were on the drawing boards years before September 11 of course:

    Chevy Cavalier - major update
    Ford Focus - tweaks
    Honda Civic - updated again!
    Hyundai Accent - major update
    Hyundai Elantra GT Sedan - new model
    Kia Rio - major update
    Pontiac Sunfire - major update
    Saturn Ion - new model
    Toyota Corolla - redesign
    Toyota ECHO - major update

    It's nice to see GM putting some investment into its low-end cars, with a long-overdue replacement for the Saturn S series and a major tweak to the Cavalfire.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    (Sorry about two posts in a row, but I thought I'd share the results of my test drive of an Aerio S 5-speed today.)

    Test car: 2002 Suzuki Aerio S (sedan) 5-speed
    Options: floor mats
    Color: Black/black
    Mileage: 80

    Pros: Interior space, truck space, comfortable driving position, good power, easy-to-read speedometer, comfortable ride, good handling

    Cons: Feature content, hard-to-read tach, rattles and squeaks

    Summary: Good choice for anyone looking for a comfortable, roomy small car. Competitive value-wise with Corolla, Civic, Protege, and Sentra, but not with Elantra.

    The first thing I noticed about the Aerio is its size. It looks big. And it is big inside, and in the trunk. It's like an ECHO on steriods. Anyone who likes a high seating position and needs maximum interior room in a small sedan should like the Aerio. The seats are easy to get into and out of. There's lots of room in the back seat for at least two good-sized adults (I'm 5' 10" and fit fine), with good toe space. I would have liked a bit more thigh support in the back, but that's a nit. The driver's seat and seating position was very good, with the only quibble being that again I wished for more thigh support (the GS model has a height adjuster). But everything else felt just right, unlike the '03 Corolla, in which I couldn't find a comfortable driving position. The digital speedometer makes it very easy to see exactly how fast you are going. I had more trouble with the other readouts, especially the tachometer; it was hard to tell at a glance what the RPMs were to within 200-300. The switchgear and HVAC controls had a quality feel. The center air vents were positioned about mid-way on the console, a perfect position for effective cooling. The shifter was smooth enough, but did not feel as precise as shifters in the Civic, Corolla, and Elantra. There's a big glovebox but no center console, or center armrest. I didn't like the mostly black interior, as it seemed too austere, but I'm not a fan of black interiors. (This black car was the only 5-speed on the lot.) The S model has power mirrors and windows standard, but manual locks--a strange omission on a 4-door car that has the other basic power accessories.

    Starting out, the car lurched a bit, but probably only because I had to get used to the clutch. Noise at idle and on the road was good for a low-end car, about the same as the Elantra and a bit noisier than the Corolla. There was faint wind noise starting at around 40 mph (10 mph winds) around the A pillars. That is not surprising, as this is a tall car with big A pillars. There was an annoying rattle from the driver's B pillar and another rattle from the passenger side when going over bumps. There was also a buzz from the passenger side when the radio was turned up past mid-way.

    The car had good pep from its 141 hp 2.0 L engine (145 in '03 models), but it seemed a bit less peppy than the 135-hp Elantra or even the 130-hp Corolla. However, I didn't push it to the limits as it was a demo car. The ride was quiet (except for the rattles) and compliant, at least as comfortable as Elantra and Corolla. The body structure seemed solid. I didn't get a chance to take the handling to the limits either, but in the few sharp turns I made on city streets it held the road well, with minimal body lean, and no tire squeal from the 14" tires. The stereo was the base Clarion 6-speaker AM/FM/CD. The unit had some nice features, like a midrange tone control and changer controls, but did not sound any better to me than the 4-speaker base stereo on the Elantra. I didn't test the CD.

    Fit and finish of the car looked fine. The quality of the materials in the interior was good, if you like black plastic and cloth.

    I was not impressed with the sales rep. About the only thing he knew about the Aerio was that the 7-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty is transferable to other owners. He didn't know if the GS has a seat height adjuster (it does), or if the S or GS have a center arm rest (they don't), and he didn't know his competition (e.g., he stated that none of the Hyundai/Kia warranty was transferable, and he didn't know what an Elantra GT was).

    Overall, I think the Aerio S is a good alternative for people who might be looking at a Corolla CE (or even an ECHO), Civic DX/LX, Protege DX/LX, or Sentra GXE and want a low-end Japanese car with lots of room. But those looking for maximum value would do better with the Elantra GLS, priced $1000 less than the Aerio but with more equipment (such as 15" wheels, power locks, seat height adjuster, center console, overhead console, and side air bags). To get more equipment on the Aerio, you can move up to the GS, which for $1500 more has 15" alloys, power locks, seat height adjuster, and a spoiler among other goodies. But for $200 less, you could get an Elantra GT sedan with all of that plus moonroof, 4-wheel discs, leather interior, and side air bags. Plus the Elantra has two more years of bumper-to-bumper warranty and three more years of powertrain warranty.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,880
    the answer to some of your questions nor more about HyunKia and their warranty, etc. He's a salesman but *not a car enthusiast*! There is a large difference and it's noticed whenever I go take a Hyundai or a Kia out for a test drive. I'll say this much, when I was test driving the '03 Tiburon the salesman knew a decent amount of info.on this re-designed offering from Hyundai. Those of us on the Internet who spend a lot of time here researching and chatting know *tons* more than most salesmen IMHO. They're not all enthusiasts or they're semi-enthusiasts at best. If they're really quiet at the comments you make about other cars or even other cars that they're selling on the lot there you'll know they're not wanting to head that direction(they don't know what to say)and they'll clam up! One thing that's really useful is the fees that they are and are not allowed to charge consumers. We can get info. on pert-near anything automotive ahead of time on the web.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Let me put it this way: if it were my job to sell a particular line of cars (and a relatively short line at that, with Suzuki), I'd make darn sure I knew everything about those cars and their competitors. I'd take advantage of all the information available from my company and from public sources like the Internet. I'd test drive competitive cars so I'd know firsthand their strengths and weaknesses. I'd make sure that before I make a statement to a prospective customer about my cars or the competition, that I knew what I was talking about.

    This particular sales rep brought up the warranty thing, then pointed to the Kia dealership across the street (which is owned by the same company as the Suzuki dealership) and started making inaccurate statements about the Kia/Hyundai warranty and disparaging remarks about the quality of their cars vs. Suzuki. Then when I mentioned the Elantra GT, he didn't know what it was. And this is a car that is a direct competitor for the Aerio 5-door. This was no youngster, the man was at least 40, so you can't blame it on youthful inexperience. The man obviously lacked even basic sales skills. He didn't qualify me when I walked in and asked for a test drive (he made no attempt to find out what kind of car I needed/wanted so he could decide if I was a solid prospect and could recommend the right model to me), he did not know his product or his competitors, and he didn't know how to handle objections. How he got a job selling new cars at this dealership is beyond me. Or maybe the fault is with the dealership for not training him.
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