Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Vibe/ Matrix v. PT Cruiser v. ZX5 v. Protege5 v. Elantra GT v. Aerio SX



  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,141
    Looks like you're shopping the "right way" (if there is such a thing). I'm a Cruiser owner, so you'll see some bias. Outside of the Hyundai, which which fell out of my comparisons early, for many of the same reasons you probably had. Plus, subjectively, the Hyundai, while giving their cars the good ole "college try" still feel a couple of generations behind the rest of those on your list (kind of like an early '90s Celica...which isn't a bad thing). I have to agree with Car and Driver. The Cruiser feels much more expensive than it really is. It's just a very high quality piece when compared to the others. Now, Chrysler just upped their warranty, which is "icing on the cake".

    If "style" enters at all into the equation, that's subjective, but that's where the Cruiser shines. The Mazda is nice, too. I'm pretty ambivalent about the Vibe/Matrix twins, even driving standard and "hot" versions. Same with the Ford. I like the Focus, just wish I could have been more certain of them getting all the "kinks" out of it.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • mrolandmroland Posts: 129
    Here goes the Focus flag waver again, but I have never heard of any Focus owner have something melt under the hood. I could give you a list of common problems that crop up on the website I visit and melting parts has never been one of them. I have no idea why the media continues to pick on the Focus. It is a great car, and a real surprise from Ford. Too bad they keep the well built ones in Europe where it has won quality awards, whereas here it is considered another lemon in Ford's history of Citrus fruits. (Pinto, Maverick, Tempo). At least this one fun to drive.
    Best of luck, I have 9K on my ZX5 with no major issues or RECALLS!!
  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    Maybe the website that you frequent doesn't provide a representative sample of Focus owners. I pulled this report off of Car & Driver:

    "NHTSA Upgraded Ford Focus Fire Probe
    August 16, 2002
    Page 1 of 1

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its Web site that it upgraded its investigation into reports of engine compartment fires in Ford Focus cars.
    NHTSA opened the investigation in March after receiving seven complaints of engine compartment fires near the battery. NHTSA said it has since had two more complaints, and Ford reported 61 similar complaints and 286 warranty claims relating to fire, scorched parts or a burning odor."
  • For those of you who have dismissed the Elantra GT because of Hyundai's bad reputation from the early 90's I urge you to take a second look. Hyundai has come an incredibly long way in a very short time. The GT is definitely on par if not better than every other car being discussed here in this forum. My only grips about it is that the 140hp engine should be upgraded. If your going to call a car a GT it should have a larger, sportier engine than the base model. As well the back hatch lighting needs to be improved. In the dark it is sometimes hard to find things back there with such a small amount of light.
  • bri70bri70 Posts: 147
    I have never driven a Celica. But my sister has an early 90's Camry. The Elantra is a much preferred car. The Camry is solid, but other than that the Elantra is superior in ride, materials and even engine (she has the 4 cylinder)is better.

    I always use the comparison of the two to illustrate how far cars (even economy cars) have come in the 90's.

    Yes, do call me a Hyundai man. If being a Hyundai man means a person who test drove the competition and found the Hyundai to be the best in price, features, with a very good ride and quality. That would be me :-)

  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    The Elantra is a significantly larger car inside than an early 90's Acura Lengend (the largest Acura). It seems quite a bit larger than the last generation (soon to be two generations ago) Accord. Although the Elantra isn't as good a handling car (at least in GLS form) as a Focus, it is significantly more powerful and quite a bit more comfortable. It's also more reliable.
  • biker16biker16 Posts: 26

    Focus #1 in owner loyalty even with the recalls, #1 for the past 2 years and leading half way thru this year.

    "Comparing the 2002 and 2001 models, the Focus improved 17 percent in problems per 100 vehicles after three months in service, according to the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.

    The Focus falls "just slightly below" the industry average of 133 problems per 100 vehicles, J.D. Power said."

    improvements for the 2003 Focus

    better interior materials, a 2Db decrease in road noise, Traction control, heated Seats and mirrors. and the new 2.3l PZEV Focus.

    Fixing the Focus

    What: Squeak, rattle complaints

    Change: 42% reduction in complaints for 2002 model versus 2001 model

    How: New tool more accurately gauges torque when installing nuts, bolts or fasteners

    What: Wind and cabin noise

    Change: 18% reduction in complaints 2002 vs. 2001 model

    How: Thicker cabin carpet, more sound deadening under floorpan and engine firewall, new door handle seals, use of ultrasonic air leakage transmitter on every vehicle, new air leakage test

    official Recall history.


    2000 model year

    Recalls: 7

    Units: 834,317

    2001 model year

    Recalls: 3

    Units: 20,073

    2002 model year

    Recalls: 1

    Units: 569

    The BMW X5 has had 11 recalls Where are all the people complaining about it's quality?

    The Focus is #1 in reliabilty in germany there is no reason it shouldn't be the same way here.

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    The Focus is #1 in reliabilty in germany there is no reason it shouldn't be the same way here.

    You are right. Maybe building them in Mexico wasn't such a hot idea.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    you think detroit union labor would be any better? ;-)

    I'd be curious to see defect brake downs by the U.S. made Focuses versus the Mexican made ones.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Maybe it's supplier issues. It seems that Ford gets in trouble when it tries to cheap out production and squeeze everyone and everything but their own big belly. I assume that there is something fundamentally different about Ford of Europe but by appearance it's location, location, location.

    My experience with multiple VWs tells me that it's not the first time a difference has been seen between Mexican and European production.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I really think the difference between U.S. and Europe spec focus is the two different markets they are sold to. I think people expect more quality materials and better options that we might expect in a higher class car. I think here in the U.S. we expect compacts to be cheaper, not as well equipped as the average western european consumer might. I think it's just Ford building to their respective markets. I do wish they would just charge more and have nicer quality materials, and while I haven't had problems with mine, better quality control.

    Of course if you're Ford, you've got to hope the market is willing to pay more for more in this class. I don't know how much the average buyer on the street is willing to pay for a compact Ford, no matter how nice.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    but some hard stats would be nice. I'm sure some six sigma blackbelt at Ford has a filefolder full of good info that we will never see.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    somehow I bet you're right. How's the Pro doing? Treating you well?
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I'm in a truck right now...probably get a P5 in Nov/Dec
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    P5 was my runner up. Good car.

    By the way, and I say this with trepidation, you're the sane one of the bunch over in the Protege topics. Nice to find someone who likes the Pro/Pro5 and hasn't gone insane like some others. Just nice to be able to talk cars with someone.

    back on topic. When does the GT Cruiser come out?

    Oh, also, the Focus will be available in the 2003 model year with a PZEV (special low fuel emmissions model if I remember correctly) with the 2.3 duratec 4 cylinder. Now I know that it makes more power than the 2.0 (especially torque) but will probably be tuned a little "soft" for emissions purposes. However, I imagine that it would only be a chip and exhaust away from some surprising power. Might surprise some. I'm curious to hear more details about this version.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    but I'd love to see the current Protege chassis with that 2.3 in it.

    I guess if we wait a year we'll be fighting on the same side, but for now lets keep the flames high. :-)
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,141
    GT Cruiser Turbo is out. I bought one about 3 weeks ago. The engine puts the Cruiser in a whole new category. Maybe a milisecond of turbo lag (this car goes fast, RIGHT NOW!). Engine was reworked with stronger pistons, block and a hotter cam. It's also got a sophisticated oil and water injection system to keep boost up. temps down and aid in adding even more durability. Then there's the added warranty they added to all Chrysler products.

    Suspension was beefed up and they put 17" wheel/tire combos. Steering is still a bit light for my tastes, but it doesn't detract from the entire package. Instead of the Cruiser being a very nice, uniquely styled car, wagon, mini-van, mini-SUV, whatever you want to call it. It's now a bonafied screamer. Tough combination to beat for the price.

    The down side is that most dealers are asking over MSRP. It took me two hard days of negotiation to get mine under MSRP. MPG isn't great. I'm getting about 20-21MPG in mixed driving. It isn't broken in yet, though.

    Very nice piece all-in-all.

    Still like the P5 as the runner-up however because good deals that can be had (well under MSRP).
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    By the way, and I say this with trepidation, you're the sane one of the bunch over in the Protege topics. Nice to find someone who likes the Pro/Pro5 and hasn't gone insane like some others. Just nice to be able to talk cars with someone.
    by seminole_kev
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    ProX2, is this a critique from someone who called me a troll? Yes I probably should have tempered my statement, but I am appreciative of the fact that I can talk to a Protege fan who won't knock on my door on the weekend and ask me if I heard of the book of protege.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    You're still not keeping me from liking the Protege/Pro 5 by the way. I'll still like that car no matter how you act ;-)
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Hey, whats wrong with a good family car? Cripes, I love this car.

  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Here's a direct link to Edmunds' road test of the 2003 Pontiac Vibe GT. Thanks for your comments!



    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards

  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    I'm drawing closer to a decision in my search for a car that combines style, utility, and reliability, and I think that I have narrowed my choice down to 2 options: the Protege5 and the PT Cruiser. I am a 30 year old teacher who drives minimal miles (8k per year) and plans to buy this next vehicle with the hope of keeping it for 7-10 years. So, my question to the forum is why should I choose one over the other? Thanks in advance for your responses.

  • fgaydosfgaydos Posts: 319
    I only test drove the P5 and sat in the PT on the lot.
    I thought the P5 was noisy and rough and storage space small and the PT I thought was cramped inside.
    That and the poor front crash test rating put me off the PT.
    I owned a ZX3 for three years and was happy to unload it for a Hyundai GT hatchback. The GT has
    lots of room and is perky with leather and power everything and for your situation, a ten year warrenty!
    I paid list for an '03. Best deal I ever made.
    I urge you to test drive one at least.
    This is a nice car and a great value.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    but not as comfortable as my Elantra GLS. Drove a base PT cruiser and although the idea is great, I wasn't that crazy about the execution. The base car handled poorly and seemed a bit crude.

    I agree that the GT is probably better than either of these--certainly for the money, but that fact will probably have little bearing on the great majority of potential buyers who would never, ever purchase a Korean car no matter what.

    Of the two cars mentioned, I'd pick the P5 if I didn't need the space. I think it would be the more pleasant car to live with day in and day out.
  • fgaydos: see

    for the current PT crash test results.

    The PT Cruiser is now a 4 star rating for the driver (it was 2 star for the 2001 model) and remains 4 star or 5 star for the other seating positions and roll over.

    Where do you find the PT cramped inside? I'm bigger than average and there is plenty of room for four of me. Everyone that rides in it comments on how big it is inside.

    I do agree the Hyundai GT is as you describe, a better dollar bargain and a nice car too.

  • Well, I found it cramped as compared to my ZX3 which is very easy to get in and out of due to it's large door and raised seat. I think it also felt lower seating compared to the Zx3.
    I actually like the style and love the colors.
    Thanks for the update on the crash ratings.
  • jontyreesjontyrees Posts: 160
    Just as an FYI....I just picked up a Suzuki Aerio SX, (wagon), and I'm finding it excellent. I'm a long-time Car & Driver subscriber, and I'm amazed that they rated it so poorly in their small-wagon comparison test. I didn't test drive the P5, (not enough cargo space), or the PT Cruiser, (too slow and I'm just not comfortable with the retro look). I did test the Matrix though, and I thought the Suzuki was far better - better engine, more space, I can actually read the gauges, better seat, don't need long arms and short legs. Plus the Aerio was several $thousand cheaper than the others, and has the best warranty.

    It may not be to everyone's liking, but I'd urge you to take a look. 2002s are still available with $1-$2k off dealer invoice and $0 down 0% for 60 months. You should check it out. I wrote a complete review of my first week with the car over at the Suzuki Aerio forum.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    C&D disliked the looks and the dash, on both of which counts I concur. But Suzuki makes really great cars that last a long time, and as such are a bargain. The C&D test was as skewed as every other car mag comparo...

    All thru that particular article they went on and on about rear seat room and comfort, then they rated the Mazda number 1 for being most fun to drive, even though they called the ride hard and harsh, and the rear seat uncomfortable. Basically, the only cars that will ever be highly rated by them are sports cars, which are only suited to about 5% of the buying public, if sales figures can be trusted to tell the story...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • jontyreesjontyrees Posts: 160
    The dash is a little wierd at first, but it's actually very easy to read. The speedo numbers are large, and the tach is a curved rising bar that is also easy to read. The main advantages are the ease of reading and the very small space it takes up. When you think about it, an analog dial with a sweeping needle shows all the speeds all the time, although only one of them is being pointed at by the needle. I honestly don't miss them.

    If the P5 had a little more space, I would definitely have given it a long look. Are they doing a MazdaSpeed wagon? I picked up a large washing machine in the Suzuki on Sunday, in it's packing case. No problems sliding it right in. My wife and I were able to get it out easily, too.
This discussion has been closed.