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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Back from the auto show, but the comments about the cars on my list will have to wait as I really need to get home.

    I will say that the car that impressed me the most, the one that made my mouth fall open when I saw it was not a sedan. It was the new Dodge Magnum. Very nice modern re telling of the station wagon.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    I am wrapping up a two-week business trip to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Melbourne tomorrow. It's fun seeing all the small cars available in other lands that are not available in the U.S. From the looks of it, Toyota is cleaning up in these locales, especially HK and Singapore. All the taxis in Hong Kong and most of those in Singapore are Toyota Crowns. Tons of Yarises, Corollas (with different front and rear styling than in the U.S.), and other small models not seen in the U.S. While not a small car, I thought the Previa minivan was really good looking, with sleek, modern lines--about the size of a MPV. Wish Toyota still imported the Previa to the U.S. Second most popular make seemed to be a toss-up between Honda (lots of Jazzes and Civics), Hyundai (lots of Getzes, Accents, and Matrixes), and Mitsubishi. I thought the Getz was a sharp-looking little 5-door hatchback--wish that were imported here too. I don't know how Hyundai gets away with calling their tall wagon "Matrix"--or maybe they had the name before Toyota. Mercedes Benz is very popular in Singapore as a luxury make, but with smaller engines, e.g. E200 vs. E320 or larger. Saw a lot of A-Class cars. I saw almost no SUVs until I got to Melbourne, but there were some small ones, especially CR-Vs.

    In Melbourne it's mostly Holdens, Fords (e.g. Falcons), and the usual mix of Toyotas, Mazdas, and the rest. The cars are generally larger than in Singapore and Hong Kong.

    One thing about buying a car in Singapore: you first need to buy a certificate that allows you to buy a car. The certificate costs almost as much as the car! Needless to say, lots of people use the excellent mass-transit system rather than own a car. The result is that even during rush-hour, the traffic didn't seem too bad. The taxis have bells that go off if the drivers exceed 100 kph. The drivers don't seem to mind the incessant ringing, but it got on my nerves a little. In both Singapore and Hong Kong, taxi fares are quite low, so using taxis to get around is feasible. There's also buses, ferries (Hong Kong), and trains (HK and Singapore).

    Have to get to bed, and get ready for 18 hours in the air tomorrow.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Notes on low-end cars from the Greater Twin Cities Auto Show:

    * Best car for least money: Aveo 5-door. Surprising passenger room and comfort, and interesting styling; available for under $8500 with current incentives.

    * Best interior: Kia Spectra LX. Very upscale interior, especially in tan, with high-quality materials and two-tone color treatment. Less plasticky than the Mazda3, which also has a classy interior for a (barely) low-end car.

    * Best exterior styling: Mazda3i. Looks like a 3 Series for 1/2 the price.

    * Best value: Hyundai Elantra GLS. 138 hp VVT engine, comfortable and roomy interior, smooth controls, clear displays, SABs, remote locking/alarm, and full power all for under $11k with current incentives (including $500 Auto Show rebate).

    * Most unique (tie): Scion xA and xB. Teenagers and 20-somethings were swarming all over them. Looks like Toyota hit its target market.

    Some other notable low-end and near-low-end cars there were:

    * Chevy Cobalt: exterior is pretty bland, but the interior looks sharp and a huge step above the Cavalier.

    * Elantra GT: just misses the low-end cutoff, but a huge bargain; fully loaded with automatic, moonroof, ABS/traction, MP3, alloys, leather is under $15k with current incentives. Almost as roomy (and in some cases roomier) than midsized hatchbacks like the Prius and Mazda6.

    * Kia Spectra: a huge step above the old Spectra inside and out, but not a great value IMO. The LX is just a little less than the Elantra GLS but has no A/C or power windows/locks/mirrors. It does have four-wheel disc brakes and side bags/curtains however. No hatchback on display--won't be for sale for a couple of months yet according to the Kia rep at the show.

    * Suzuki Forenza S: an appealing car styling-wise, and lots of passenger room and features for the money. Too bad powertrain doesn't match the rest of the car.
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    Most unique (tie): Scion xA and xB. Teenagers and 20-somethings were swarming all over them. Looks like Toyota hit its target market.

    It's one thing to have 20-somethings swarming over your product, it's another for them to put their hands in their pockets and buy one. I hope for Toyota's sake they do. If they don't Toyota will just try again with something different. Anybody know what sales of Scions are like where they are already on sale?
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Are exceeding expectations, and within the brand, the xB is outselling the xA by slightly better than two to one. I'm not sure about the demographic distribution, but I believe I recall reading that its much younger than the 'Toyota' buyer, but above the super-low 20s that Toyota originally targeted.

  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I have to agree with Backy on his thoughts about the new Spectra. I came away with the impression that the interior was very upscale and a huge step up from the old Spectre. One drawback was that it still had that same old smell.

    I thought the Mazda3 looked great until you got to the backend. The placement of the center brake light just looked wrong.

    I did see the Aveo five door and was sorry to see that there was not an Aveo sedan to take a look at. I don't recall seeing the Cobalt, but from what I have seen in pictures, the sides remind me of the Cavalier while the front and back look to have an Integra influence.

    At my autoshow too, there were a lot of younger people swarming around the Scion display. There were a number of people my age too. I hope the Scions succeed because if I decide to keep the Major and tune him, the success of the Scions should mean there will be upgrades for them that I can use on him.

    Foremost in my mind is still the SRT-4. If I get one, I will get yellow with no sunroof and the R/T seats.

    Does anyone know if GM is going to do the driving tour this year?
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    There have been no posts since mine back on the 22nd which is nine days ago. I wonder why this board is not more popular because a lot of people drive low end cars and I wonder if it is the name.

    Perhaps we should change the name to Entry Level Autos: Japanese vs. (you know the rest).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Maybe offer a $50 coupon for the next 10 posters? ;-)

    Although low-end, or entry-level, cars are popular, I wonder if the majority of devotees are after the big and/or fast iron. Maybe we could get more interest in a board named "Big SUVs Over $30k."
  • 280hp280hp Posts: 36
    For the same price s a japanese or german, they seem 2 b able 2 deliver more value.

    the aveo is ok. hate the spectra.

    favourite is accent.

    if i were in australia and knew how 2 drive a right hand drive car, i'd pick the ford falcon v8 s my favurite low end car. the price for the base model after discounts converts back 2 less than 20k usd, and, imho, is a low end bmw 5 v8 wannab.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    I rode in the Falcon (as a taxi) a couple of weeks ago and it is a good-looking car. I saw some prices advertised on dealer lots that I think would translate to below $15k US. Maybe that was for a stripped model.

    Have you seen the redesigned Spectra? It's lightyears ahead of the old one IMO.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Actually, I don't think the name of this discussion is why there's not much going on here. I think it's because it wasn't showing up in any of the Make/Model searches because it was only categorized as a discussion about "Sedans" and not linked to any specific vehicles.

    All discussions can be categorized in such a way that they will show up in specific make/model search lists. However, the categorizations are limited to six vehicles.

    I put two Japanese, two American and two Korean vehicles in the categories - you can see this by looking at the header here.

    And on that note, I will propose a title change. There are no European vehicles under $15k - how about if we drop that from the title?

    I don't want to get too caught up in discussing the discussion :-) but if any of you feel strongly that I haven't picked the most representative 6 vehicles, tell me about it over the next couple of days. Then we'll get back to talking about the cars and see if we don't get some more input than we've had lately.


  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    I looked at Edmund's own Sedans under $15k and found that of the five most often researched you have only included two, Sentraand Elantra. I think it might be a service to those people researching sedans under $15k to at least include the 5 most frequently researched.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Also what is the price point for the Smart cars due here soon from Europe?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I was trying to spread them out to fit the title of the discussion, and also trying to remember what has been talked about here vs. what hasn't. If we categorize this as those five that are currently the most researched, we'll have four Japanese sedans and one Korean.

    Maybe we should just call this Low End Sedans without regard to the so-called nationality of the brand? After all, that's pretty much a red herring these days, anyway.
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    I didn't mean that you should use the five most researched exclusively, only that they should be included. Is there any reason why all the cars (hatchback and sedan) under $15k may not be included? That would seem to me to be the sensible (and equitable to all the manufacturers) thing to do.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    As I mentioned, a discussion can only be associated with six vehicles, no more.

    I don't know why that is, I just know that it IS. :)
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    Sorry, I missed that point.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Changing the name to just Low End Sedans is fine with me. And linking this discussion to the Echo is fine although some might wonder why not the Corolla. Well, if memory serves, the Corolla has not been discussed that much and with my having an Echo and being a frequent poster here, it makes some sense.
  • 280hp280hp Posts: 36
    >Have you seen the redesigned Spectra?

    no. i havent. though without seeing it, i would say it wouldnt change my opinion.


    in the kia range if i were after low end, i would probably gravitate towards the rio...


    Ford Falcon

    15k usd. wow.that would b great if it were the base model 8 cylinder manual...

    now if only ford would bring the car here @ that price point...

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Well, if you're looking for a V8, then the Spectra won't excite you. But if you like the Corolla and Civic, you might just like the Spectra. Yes, it's that good. Time will tell if it's as reliable.
  • 280hp280hp Posts: 36
    u're right. i dont like the civic or the corolla anymore.not since the echo and accent became available.

    i still have some doubts about the accent because its korean, and the echo's styling doesnt sit well with me.

    the spectra just doesnt seem right as a 2nd car. possibly the rio. but it would have to be a fair bit cheaper than the accent to be attractive.

    ps- currently we have a corolla and a maxima. both are base model stick shifts. im looking to upgrade the maxima, hopefully to something german and 8 cylinder, while downgrading the corolla, either to echo or somethin korean...
  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    As the originator of this board a looooong time ago, I think the name change to just "low end cars" is a good idea. I say have at it.


  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Done! :)

    But I did make it Sedans rather than Cars, since that's the board we're on.

    Carry on!
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    "Mazda3" <- on topic :)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    my screen by just typing in a "c" in the searchbox, then selecting on and ultimately searching for "Chevrolet Aveo"! Glad to still this one's still here and I agree-it's a good name change, indeed. Question:wouldn't the Mazda 3 be excluded from this discussion? Isn't it gonna run more than $15,000? The new Kia Spectra for 2004 1/2 will run around $12,750, IIRC. That doesn't include A/C but I'd add it in with my order for a red 2004 1/2 Kia Spectra with a 5-speed manual tranny and factory 4-wheel disc brakes and side curtain airbags. Still it will not top over the $15,000 mark, before T & L are added. Point being is that this new re-design is a nice, new substantial car with a nice, new shape. It's those curves up the sides of the front wheelwells I like, among other things, those other things would include it's nice overall shape and slant-angle slightly downward. D'ya notice that, too? Looks sharp to me. It has the HyunKia CVVT engine, too, for improved gas mileage and emissions.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    What, exclude the car that the editors of voted "Most Wanted" car under $15,000!? Even though the only car you can get at that price has 4-65 A/C and roll-down windows? Technically, the 3 does come in under $15,000 so we need to include it. But maybe only the 3i sedan, since the 3s stickers way over $15k?
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    The new Spectra looks promising, although I still like the Echo HB - a bit weird looking (and very tiny), but a great 5spd unit and not too noisy (for its size).

    The 3i has to be put on the list. If you just chose A/C does it come under $15K USD? In Canada it retails for under $17K+$1000 A/C - still a good price, although TOO close to a well-equipped Elantra sedan with A/C+all power.

  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    about Kia having two completely different '04 Spectras on that board, so I won't beat the dead horse that hard here. Can't for the life of me figure out what they're thinking about. Kia used to have good marketing and bad cars. Now that the cars are improving they're making marketing blunders left and right.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    When I bought my ECHO three years ago I considered a Korean car, but I rejected them for the following reasons:
    1) Korean car companies are often on the verge of bankruptcy.
    2) The "dealer" always seemed to be primarily engaged in selling something else. The KIA or Daewoo line appeared to be just an afterthought.
    3) My experience with Korean cars that friends owned was that they were not well made and broke down often especially after 30 or 40 thousand miles. These were cars made in the early 90s.
    4) I thought the Korean cars I looked at were not as well made as the Japanese cars.
    5) The cars were ridiculously low to the ground and difficult to get in and out of.
       In spite of that, Korean cars are what low end cars are all about. Luckily I had enough money to buy an ECHO, the high end of the low end scale. But I wonder what the experiences of people who own Korean cars made recently is. How do they hold up? (examples please) How is service? Can they get parts? Do they honor the warranty?
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