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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    The rear end of the sedan was always the car's strongest point IMHO. In the hatch they got everything pointing in different directions, I would have preferred that they build off the sedans general lines. The front end of the Elantra was always a bit weak, but I prefer the side of the Elantra to the Spectra sedan.


    In both cases the hatches are far better looking from the side then the sedans. The Elanta a bit like a 90's Saab, the Spectra like the Mazda Pro5.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866


    Not quite as good looking as the European Focus, but it's a start. Same US prohibitions agains small upscale cars will probably apply-- of course I love hatches.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Styling is a subjective thing--very personal. Heck, some people even like the styling of the ECHO. I don't like the rear end of the Spectra--I think it's too stubby and too derivative. At least the rear end on the Elantra--sedand and hatch--is unique. I also love the profile of the Elantra hatch (sedan is OK but not the best), and I like the front-end styling of the Elantra with the nose job it got for '04. I like the Spectra's nose too, but not any more than the Elantra's.


    BTW, the rear end of the Elantra GT you pictured is NOT the current model. The '04-05 GT hatchback doesn't have the big wing spoiler, but a smaller, integrated spoiler which I happen to prefer (it doesn't scream, "hey, look, I got a spoiler!"). Also I think the Rally Red GT is particularly sharp (of course, because I have one).
  • Here Here! I second and third that... Why is it every time I see a car I LOVE it is some car that will never be sold here because it isn't dull like a Malibu or Impala. Then there is the dread that if they do build it here they will ruin it by "Americanizing" it for Billy Bob. I find the Opel drop dead sexy.
  • I agree that each person has his/her likes/dislikes.

    I use to like the Elantra until this last styling update. I dislike the front. I really like the spectra. I walk buy a silver blue one in the office parking lot everyday. Very sharp. I would buy the spectra 5 door because I am a hatchback lover. If I were to buy a sedan it would have to be the model with the darker cloth seats. I really dislike the extremely light gray cloth in the standard spectra interior. I know that basically they are the same car under the skin. I'm sure each will be a good car. My sister and brother have both owned Kia's and have had no problems. My sister drives 60000 miles a year for her job. Her Kia has held up well.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I picked up the March issue of CAR Magazine on my way home from London today. I love their capsule reviews. Their take on the Cerato:


    For: Looks like a European car

    Against: Milksop engines

    Sum up: Could be Kia's best yet


    They must not have driven it because they didn't give it a "star" rating. BTW, the Cerato can be had with both a 1.6L and 2.0L engine in the UK.


    Their reviews on some other low-end cars are hilarious, e.g. the Accent:


    For: Cheap

    Against: And that's it

    Sum up: Please don't do it, please


    They rate it "Worst in Class". Well, personally I think that's a little harsh, but they do have lots of great small cars over there--most of which we don't get here in the States.


    Oh, and on the Elantra (since we were doing Spectra vs. Elantra earlier):


    For: Lots of kit

    Against: Lots of depreciation

    Sum up: Lots of reasons not to


    They gave it one star--same as the Accent. But it appears to only be available in a 2.0L diesel in the UK, if the magazine is accurate.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Segue to Iluvmysephia who I predict we'll hear from within one hour... ;-)
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I'm sure the Brits have more interesting cars available but I've always thought they were a bit too tough...
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    that 'rally red' is really subtle :)


    btw.. pat, ctrl+z would have been my friend. thanks for the info!
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Subtle? It's not supposed to be subtle! It's called a GT, for gosh sakes--all 138 hp of it! :-)


    Here is my car:




    (Yes, that is actually MY car--not just one that looks like it.)
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    When I bought my '01, everything was pretty muted and dull. Car looks good in red. The lens shapes (which I don't particularly like) seem to merge into the body with that color.

    Followed a GT hatch today and still wish they had sedan lights. If I was a Hyundai product planner I would have put on some Ricer-Nissan Altima type clear lenses to differentiate the GT's.
  • So, let me saw this red GT, fell in love, made a deal on the spot, and then spent the rest of the auto show guarding it. ;-)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Not quite. I did fall in love with it, but I didn't know the GT I bought was actually the one from the Auto Show until AFTER I bought it. But that is a long story, one that I documented ad nauseum in the Hyundai Elantra 5-door discussion.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    "Subtle? It's not supposed to be subtle! It's called a GT"

    that's why i thought it was funny that you thought a rear spoiler was too 'showy'!
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,874
    Not quite within an hour, yes, I had to rest up a bit after a grueling schoolweek. Nice to catch up on my 'Low End Sedans' reading.

    After looking at everyone's pictures(I already knew how those rigs looked like anyway but it's fun to re-browse through them for freshen-ups, eh?)I gotta tell ya somethin'. Kia body designers are tops in the business. No kiddin'. For all of rroyce's constant putdowns of any type of HyunKia vehicle I still like Kia the best. I've been Kia-sizing since May of '99 and whenever a car comes along to make me want to stray(be thinking Scion tC here, I really like that new rig)Kia produces a new vehicle that I latch back onto for futures lists(here's where all of your minds ought to be thinking '05 Kia Sportage 2.0L 4cyl. w/5-speed tranny!!)

    Oh, I still like the Kia Spectra body wrap better than Elantra. The rear of either rig is kinda plain, though I prefer Kia's pushed-up treatment better than the Elantra's look. As for the front end, well, it's all Kia Spectra up there IMO. Kia body designers have done it right, ever since the lowly '88 Ford Festiva hit U.S.shores with that cute little styling body, eh? Keep it up Kia!

    Y'all know that Ford engineers assisted Kia with original Sportage undercarriage design, right? It was that "real truck-like" ladder frame Ford helped them produce. Nice little relationship those two companies had in the 80's. Of course y'all know that Kia designed and built the Ford Festiva, right? That car still holds a pretty decent reliability reputation even to this day.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I think you mean Ford Aspire. I'm pretty sure the Festiva of the late 80s wasnt a Kia.

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,874
    what was it's introduction year to the U.S., 1988? Anyhoo-it was built by Kia Motors of South Korea. Yes, that Kia. It's true.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    i agree with you. i rented an 'aspire' one time.
    i did not enjoy it at all, but that's old news.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    At that time Kia was the best of the three Korean automakers. They had the goods when the Lemans (Daewoo) and Hyundais were sucking.

    The Festiva was engineered by Mazda and was essentially a Mazda 121. The Mazda 323 of the same era had a very similar dash layout to the Festiva.
  • The Aspire was also largely designed by Mazda, again the 121 rebadged. The Aspire was really just an example of a new model getting bloated and ruined by changing regulations, kind of like MGBs with big rubber bumpers.

    I owned a 1994 Kia Avella (the Korean name for the Aspire) in South Korea and it was a terrific little car. It didn't have the fun and tossable handling of the Festiva (Kia Pride in Korea), but it was just as quick, far more stable at speed and generally went about its business as well as any small Mazda would, only a bit smaller.

    The Korean model lacked airbags and doubtless other heavy safety gear, and in Korean trim, did 0-60 in I'm guessing about 10 seconds with the 5-speed. It also had power windows and a tachometer in the dash, options I don't think were offered on American Aspires.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The late 80s Festiva was a Kia, then I stand corrected. But I was under the impression it was more Mazda.

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,874
    largely a Mazda design(per posts #2935 and #2936-great to get input from those that owned those rigs!). I was going on my own feeble memory. The 1988 Ford Festiva was the first car I seriously considered buying for my first new car. I didn't end up buying one but almost pulled the trigger. I ended up buying a used 1986 Mercury Lynx station wagon in 1989 from Budget Rental Car for $4995 with only 10,000 miles on it. Decent car but nothing standout-ish about it at all. It actually caught fire in the steering column on me. Insurance largely picked up the tab of rebuilding my Lynx.

    My first new car purchase ended up being a 1994 Ford Escort wagon(the only problem ever with it was a cracked manifold gasket at around 50,000 miles-fixed for free under Ford's warranty). Decent rig it was, really.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • The Aspire "SE" hatchback could be had with a tachometer. You occasionally see the clusters for sale on eBay. The 1995 base Aspire I had was terrific, but alas, a rebuilt wreck, and the dealer could not produce a title after nearly 3 months, so he had to buy it back. Gave me a nice 1997 Accent GS for the same price, also rebuilt, with a title, but alas, I wrecked IT 6 days later. Ended up with a 1988 Colt Vista wagon after all was said and done, go figure.

    I like the new Rio. Local dealer is offering the stripper (5-speed, no PS, no AC, no radio) for $5888. They have several. The other dealers have the same cars, same MSRP, but want $7995 or similar. So I bit, and lo and behold, my credit SUCKS, so I still need $3000 down. But the buyer's order shows $5888 as the sale price and the only questionable fees were the $43 for the title (title fee is $33 in this state), $50 for a documentary fee, and $289 for a "consumer services" fee. The $289 one is supposed to include some oil changes and tire rotations and offers bird-dogs if I refer someone who buys a car, $50, $100, $150, stuff like that. All in all, $6751.31. Wish I had it in cash, I'd be driving a Blueberry Rio right now.

    Here's the rub. This dealer says to add AC to the car is $2500. I figure it this way. Buy the $5888 car, take it to another dealer, have the AC put on for what I hope to be half that. I wonder if they'd even do it to a car sold by a competing dealer. I mean, the one dealer got screwed by having his bluff called on a non-AC equipped car, used for bait & switch tactics (no one in Texas buys cars without AC), but the other gets to make labor and parts profits on the AC install. Everybody wins, except the selling dealer, right?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,874
    It will debut next month at New York City's Auto Show. I just looked at a picture of it from the rear-side view and it looks great. It will offer a 1.6L 4 cyl. engine only but, thankfully, a 5-speed manual tranny or an automatic. It is a tad wider and a tad higher than previous Rio's. Check it out and see what I mean.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I immediately thought of you when reading tonight!

    In an upcoming issue, the Hyundai Elantra GT will go head to head with a Chevy Cobalt LS, a Ford Focus ZX4 SES, the Honda Civic EX, and Saturn ION 3.

    The full reviews are not available yet, but members can view the overall scores of all compact sedan for rankings/ratings. The Elantra tested struck me as fairly pricey: $17,589. I'm guessing that was the only way that ABS found, with a high option pkg. Hyundai seems to be all about passive safety, but has been very reluctant with ABS- heck, the Accent just added it to the options list this year.

    Personally, I would have liked to have seen a Mazda 3 S and Suzuki Aerio in the mix, as the 3S has never been tested and the Aerio is a good deal different than when CR last visited it.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Well that's cool. I suppose it won't be before the May issue, since the Annual Auto Issue is next. And of course the Elantra is due for a redesign later this year, so it might be a long time before CR gets around to testing it again. But it will be interesting to see how the older designs (Civic, Focus, and Elantra) compete with the newer GM cars.

    It looks like they will be testing automatics, given the price of the Elantra. Too bad for us stick lovers, but I guess it's best for the majority of the marketplace. The GT is available with ABS/TCS sans moonroof, but for whatever reason they decided to go with the fully loaded models--maybe other cars besides the Civic EX had a moonroof. If they equip all cars equally (actually impossible given leather and TCS are not available on the Civic), the Elantra could still end up stickering lower than all the others. But that doesn't matter in CR's ratings.

    Since they are testing sedans here, it wouldn't make sense to include the Mazda3s. But I expect the Mazda3i will still rank at the top of CR's list after this review. It's already bested the Focus, Civic EX, Elantra GLS, and ION. I am very curious to see how they rank the Cobalt. They usually put a lot of store in rear-seat room, so it will get dinged for that. Here's how I predict they will rank the cars:

    Focus ZX4 SES
    Civic EX
    Cobalt LS
    Elantra GT
    ION 3

    The Focus beat the EX before and the Civic hasn't changed significantly since CR's last test. I think the Cobalt and Elantra will be very close in their rankings, but they will probably give the Cobalt the edge because of its exceptionally smooth and quiet ride. But who knows, the Elantra could offset that with better seating accomodations.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    A few points- my guess, and what I posited in my last post, is that to get an ABS equipped Elantra, they probably had to go with a fully loaded, top option pkg model. ABS is extremely rare on the Elantra in these parts.

    I'm not sure I understand your comment on the Mazda 3S. Its a sedan or hatch, and although I didnt state it, I meant sedan. I would just like to see how they view the sharper handling, stiffer ride, stronger acceleration of that model compared to the 3i they tested. Due to the bias toward practicality, the basic trim/engines of some models are preferred. And, I would have like to have known the overall MPG for the 2.3/auto.

    You were almost right about the ranking. The Elantra finished ahead of the Cobalt, which fared only midpack overall- the synopsis (which Im guessing will appear in the April Auto Issue) pointed to the Ecotec's raucous sound, somewhat disappointing fuel economy (but also very strong acceleration), as well as a cramped backseat. The highs for the Cobalt were listed as Ride and Acceleration, and the vehicle's score for Materials Quality/ Fit/Finish (whatever CR calls) was a big improvement over the Cavalier.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I have been told by Mazda salespeople that the 3s has the same suspension as the 3i. I suppose it's possible they didn't know their own cars, but if true I don't see how the ride and handling would differ signficantly between the 3i and 3s--unless you go for the 17" wheels option on the 3s sedan. I don't recall if the 3i that CR tested had 16" or 17" wheels.

    I've had no problems finding Elantra GTs with ABS in my area. In fact, I've seen more with it than without it, in both the ABS and ABS+moonroof packages. I've even seen several GLSes with ABS. It's a lot better than a few years ago, when CR first tested the Elantra. Back then, ABS was very rare on the Elantra GLS.

    I agree with CR's comments on the Cobalt. I'm not surprised the Elantra topped it--I did say I thought they'd be very close and maybe the Elantra would edge it based on factors like seating.

    P.S. Apparently the pages you are looking at are for members only, I can't find them on the CR site.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Backy, indeed, I was under the impression that the s and i had different suspensions. Still, given the different engine, gearing, tires, equipment... for the same reason that you wanted to see the GT tested, I would still politely request CR to test the 3s. The 3i (both 5M and 4A)tested by CR actually had the 16 inch alloys.

    I guess ABS is still unpopular in the NJ/NY/CT area as compared to the Northern Middle US.

    Yes, the pages I am looking at are members only, which is why I wrote: "The full reviews are not available yet, but members can view the overall scores of all compact sedan for rankings/ratings"

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