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Economy Sedans (~$16k-$20k)



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Actually, a few years ago Hyundai dropped the clause that allows you to transfer ownership within the immediate family and keep the part of the powertrain warranty after 5 years/60k miles. Since there's a very easy way to get around that (i.e. the original owner in the family retains ownership of the car until the warranty is used up), not a big deal. Because I am in the mode for several years of buying cars, driving them for a few years, then handing them down to my kids for late high school and college, keeping the cars in the family for at least 10 years but not putting more than 10k miles a year on them, the 10/100k powertrain warranty from Hyundai/Kia (and Mitsubishi) is a big plus for me, compared to cars with lesser warranties in length and/or miles.
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Then let me put it for you in more clearer terms, CR or not, Elantra > Cobalt, without any hesitation. Do not even try to convince the Cobalt is a leader in terms of ride, comfort and quiteness. It's not.

    I posted the CR excerpt because they rated the Cobalt a lot lower that I would have. I was just surprised...FWIW, I have my own road experience in both the Cobalt and the Elantra to conclude the winner of the two. I never once said the Cobalt was a bad car, but rather just an average automobile.

    As far as the statement Hyundai doesn't lead in anything - shows me you haven't driven one at all, espeically its recent portfolio.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Then let me put it for you in more clearer terms, CR or not, Elantra > Cobalt, without any hesitation. Do not even try to convince the Cobalt is a leader in terms of ride, comfort and quietness. It's not."

    Personal preference. I have no horse in this race, that said, I've driven both, and based upon my yardstick, the Cobalt is greater than the Elantra. The Hyundai is just way too isolated and squishy for my tastes. I could be wrong, but configured as like for like as possible, I'd place my bet on the Cobalt if the two were racing around a tight road course.

    So, while you value a quiet and cushy ride I value responsiveness and feel. Who's right? We both are, the Elantra for you, and were it not for the Rabbit (which drives like it's in a class by itself compared to the rest of the cars in this group), I'd be looking at either the M3 or the Cobalt.

    Best Regards,
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Agreed and that's perfectly fine. Everyone's different :)

    That said, I still much disagree with the statement made by the other poster 1) Cobalt is the leader in _____, when it clearly is not. 2) Hyundai has nothing except the warranty, when it clearly is not true.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    "Since you don't respect CR, have you looked at what other pro reviewers e.g. have to say about the Cobalt?"

    So you think CR is a Pro reviewer. Boy are you lost big time. No I don't follow Edmunds either and they are not a Pro reviewer. They seem to be biased and I have seen it in their reviews. You have to go to car related magazines like Car & Drivers, Motor Trend, etc.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Yes, CR and Edmunds are "pro" auto reviewers. Their staff reviews cars as part of their paid jobs, that makes them "pros" whether you agree with their findings or not.

    All car reviews are biased, because they are done by humans. There is also an editorial bias to consider, e.g. the organization's point of view in their car preferences. The trick is knowing what the editorial bias is. For example, C/D's is well known to have a clear bias towards crisp-handling cars, above any other consideration. So they down-rate cars like the Corolla and Elantra that do not have on-rails handling, and prefer cars like the Mazda3, Rabbit, and Civic that have sharper handling.

    Note however that, on this topic, the regular Cobalt rated so low to C/D and MT that they have not included it in their comparos of small sedans for some time.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Have you driven the Elantra SE, 2007+? I would not say it has a "squishy" ride at all, although it is more isolated and softer than cars like the Mazda3. But I think the SE has a very practical blend of safe, secure handling and ride comfort. Not to everyone's tastes of course.

    The Focus used to have what was generally consdered (and I agreed) one of the best if not the best blends of ride and handling in this class. Unfortunately, I have read that this balance has been compromised for 2008. I haven't driven the 2008 Focus yet though to see what that means for myself.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Why do you keep pushing the Elantra? I mean, I know that you like it, but come on, it seems that you have more than an unusual agenda to "dis" every other car in this class and put the Elantra up on a pedestal. Personally I find the Mazda3 to be too soft and squishy, and if by your own admission the Elantra is softer and squishier, then why would I even bother driving the SE? Then there's the Elantra's anemic engine which delivers up one of the worst power to weight ratios of any car in this class.

    For my needs, wants and desires, the Rabbit ranks as follows (categories ranked in order of importance to me):
    - Drivability (i.e. handling, braking, acceleration, and road feel): Gold standard of the group
    - Utility (i.e. passenger and storage space): One of the best (if not the very best) of the group
    - Fuel economy: One of the worst (if not the very worst) in the group

    If I go for driving enjoyment, the Rabbit will win hands down, however, if I opt for fuel economy (due to the contract that I'm bidding on), then the Cobalt and the Civic would be my top two candidates.

    Best Regards,
  • I agree with you about Consumer Reports in terms of those Reliability surveys for both cars and other products. They are the result of surveys in which the respondents are self-selected--which is the most unscientific survey method in the book. However, CR's actual car reviews are true reviews and are done rigorously, on cars CR goes out and buys and without fear of offending advertisers. The reviews I find pretty trustworthy and valuable.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Honestly, I don't see backy "dissing" any cars; he's expressed his distaste for the Cobalt, but I think that is certainly in-bounds of what is allowed here, as the points are backed by reasoning. His reasoning may not match yours (or mine), but it doesn't have to do so.

    Backy's a reasonable character, and tends to produce pretty darn objective posts around here. He's pushing the Elantra for the same reason you push the Cobalt; you feel it is really worth a look, and you want readers to take it into consideration.

    I'm an avid reader of this thread, and all I really see are two different opinions that should agree to disagree. I have an opinion on the Cobalt and on the Elantra (and I'm not sure either of you would agree with them!), so I won't bring it up right now. :)
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    if I opt for fuel economy (due to the contract that I'm bidding on), then the Cobalt and the Civic would be my top two candidates.

    Agreed on the Civic but Cobalt? Based on my drives in the Cobalt (note I haven't driven the XFE trim yet), the fuel economy - borderline disappointing for a compact sedan.

    The reviews I read on the Cobalt mirrors my observations also.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If any post of mine can be construed as "pushing" the Cobalt, then please accept my humble apology, that is not now, nor has it ever been my intent. Sure, I'm more than happy to compare it on a one-to-one basis with any other car, but to promote it above all others, no, not even remotely my intent.

    That said, if I do end up with a contract that has me on the road for 50,000+ miles per year, I'm going to have to find a car that makes financial sense and at least somewhat caters to my opposing needs for both drivability and utility, and right now, the Cobalt seems to be the best balance of those criteria.

    If I take the economy angle out of the picture, then the Rabbit and to a lesser degree the M3 5-Door have it in spades over the rest of the cars in this class.

    FWIW, I like the Civic, however, Honda chose to gear the 5-Speed so that the engine sounds a bit busy at highway speeds, and while that doesn't bother me too much, it does hurt the car from a fuel economy perspective. That and the 8th generation Civic seems to be plagued with way too many problems (engine block failures, air conditioning issues and rear suspensions causing tires to prematurely age among them), something that I'll admit is uncharacteristic for Honda, but there it is.

    I used to like the Focus until Ford eviscerated the suspension to make it more compliant for American drivers.

    I cannot get past the looks of the Yaris, Fit and Sentra to even give those three a go, and we all know how I like the Elantra, so it's ruled out too.

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The XFE models are the only ones that I'd consider for that application. That said, if real world reports start coming in that suggest that the XFE is no better from a fuel economy perspective than the previous version of the LS and LT1, then I'll be looking at other alternatives for sure.

    Best Regards,
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    My folks actually have a 2007 Civic which had the suspension problem, and yes, their tires were worn by 30k, and Honda won't pay part of the replacement cost. The car has since been fixed. The car now has 47k miles on it (yes, it IS an 07 with that many miles ;)). They really like the car, and almost bought a second one, but are now going with a much nicer '08 Ford Taurus, for similar money. Should make a better highway car than the Civic.

    I have never heard of an engine block problem, or an A/C problem, though.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Have to agree with Shipo here about Backy and his "Hyundainess"...he does push it a little to much. I decided long ago just to read his posts and respond as little as possible because of that single minded "Hyundainess" and how nothing else compares.
    After driving the Sentra with the CVT, I think anyone looking in this segment should check it out. It's an outstanding driver even with it's quirky looks. Shipo should really put it on his short list. I used to own an '03 Sentra and wasn't real happy with it towards the end there, but the '08 has changed my mind.
    My oldest has here mind set on the Elantra and won't look at anything else no matter how hard I push to check out all the competition. So we'll probably have one in the fold.
    Just got my new Dell computer...need to set it up. See y'all later!

    The Sandman :)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "After driving the Sentra with the CVT, I think anyone looking in this segment should check it out. It's an outstanding driver even with it's quirky looks. Shipo should really put it on his short list."

    I suppose if I was inclined to drive a car with an automatic transmission, I might be willing to look at it, however, I am a self-professed manual transmission bigot. Period, full stop, the end. From my perspective, unless there are three pedals under the dash, I ain't buyin' it, and that means no CVTs, no SMGs, no DSGs, no sequential shifters, and certainly no slushboxes.

    Right, wrong, or stupid, I belong to the crowd whose motto is "They're gonna have to pry the stick shift from my cold dead hand." :shades:

    Best Regards,
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I don't recall reading a car review were the Cobalt had disappointing mileage other than from an occasional forum poster. If you look here on Edmunds you will find Cobalt owners meeting or exceeding the posted mpg. So, from what I understand from reading this forum and others the Cobalt is very fuel efficient. Taking the XFE out of the picture a lot of people are getting the mileage figures or better for this car. Going back a couple years I still recall the July 2006 edition of Car & Driver where the Cobalt edged out the Corolla 28.02 mpg overall compared to Corolla's 28.04.

    The Ecotec's are arguably the best engine in its class and its racing history has proven its durability because it is the one to beat and frequently on top. The Guiness book of World Records will attest to the Cobalts achievements and those who follow racing no what's happening with small cars.

    I would rather have the Saturn Astra, but the Cobalt overall has to be one of the top on my list because its a solid all around car.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    What I see you saying is that you object to my talking positively about a brand, and a car, that I've had a very good ownership experience with over the past 8 years, and also that I talk positively about a car that I have determined through much research to be my #1 choice for my next car? Even though I routinely make positive comments about other cars, not only in this discussion but many others?

    How is this different than the frequent (and that is a kind word) positive comments you make about the Civic and Mazda3, which you happen to own? I guess I could complain about that--that you "push" too much about those, and consider any negative comment about them to be a personal attack. But that would be rude and off-topic. And also it's none of my business which cars you happen to love because they fit your needs better than others.

    Hope you continue to get much enjoyment out of your Civic and Mazda3--and your Dell computer.
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Edmunds 2005 compact sedans test - the Cobalt finished around 22.5 MPG - it was just the middle of the pack (among those participated the test) in terms of fuel efficiency.

    CR posted an observed overall mpg of 24 for the Cobalt in its latest comparo, which was at the tail end of the compact class group.

    Would you like more?
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    The thing I don't get is my '07 Accord was in that price range (sub-20k), gets mileage in the 30s (my mostly highway commute in spring/summer/fall is about 34 mpg), and really isn't much heavier than the compact cars.
    I understand that more doesn't equal better, and there are certain intangibles about smaller, lightweight, tossable cars (ask Colin Chapman) but given that they are just smaller and not lighter or more tossable, what is the argument against it?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Sub-$20k gets you a loaded-to-the-gills compact that can get close to if not above 40 mpg on a "mostly highway commute." A sub-$20k Accord would be, today, a basic LX. If you need the interior room but also good fuel economy, there are less expensive options than the Accord. Some people want the size, others want more feature content and/or fuel economy. And some people want 260 hp drag racers. What a wonderful world of choices in the $16-20k (or just over) range!
  • zippy8zippy8 Posts: 1
    I am about to buy a Civic, but after test driving the Astro I'm thinking of getting the Astro. Primarily like the feel and handling of the Astro better. My overall concern is lack of safety test ratings, maintenance track record, and reliability, to compare the cost of owning the Astro over 5 years, vs the civic. The civics are flying off the lots, making the prices premium, but I've always owned Hondas because they are always on the road and not in the shops. I'm not a car geek, and tried to do as much research as I could. Any comments on ease and cost of repairs, or known problems.
  • no_oneno_one Posts: 29
    The only common repair that people have had is to replace the gas tank cap. In some vehicles, it is seated improperly and will trigger the check engine light. However, this version of the Astra has been on the road in Europe for four years now, and has had above average reliability. There were a few problems in the early Opel/Vauxhall models, but these problems have long since been rectified, and most related to the diesel variant.

    A German magazine recently did a 135k mile comparison test of the Opel Astra and Volkwagen Golf. Neither had any problems in the first 100k mile, but I think the Astra had a minor breakdown at 115k miles or so. As good Germans, they thoroughly tested and disassembled the cars at the end and found both to show very little wear (good for another 100k miles, they said). In fact, both had more HP than they started with!

    With regards to crash testing, the Astra has had no USA crash tests, but it was tested in the European NCAP tests, which are just as rigorous. It received 5/5 stars for adult crash protection and 4/5 stars for child safety, and was highly praised for its safety. The detailed test is available here.

    The resale value is rather uncertain at the moment. On the one hand, it's not been selling particularly fast. On the other hand, the next generation will be built in Mexico, rather than Belgium, which might make this generation more desirable.

    Anyway, hope that helps!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Just make sure that when talking to the dealer, that you call it an "Astra" and not an "Astro." A dealer is less likely to screw with someone that appears to be a better-educated shopper.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731

    Or, Astro? ;)

    All in good fun. Good luck with Astra shopping!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Hopefully no one will be upset by an implication that the Astro/Astra is a dog. :)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I've been in an Astro Van, and trust me, it IS a dog. The Saturn Astra hatchback on the other hand, may not be (never seen one!).

  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    Joe, as I said before look at the Edmunds drivers forum and see what those who own the car get. The majority of them meet or exceed the sticker.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    A Chevy Astro is not even close to being a dog performance wise. How many mini vans do you know of that can do burn outs or tow 5000 lbs?
This discussion has been closed.