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

patpat Member Posts: 10,421
edited May 2014 in Chevrolet
Get the jump on the editors!!

A comparo is about to be posted on these 7 economy cars - what are your thoughts on how they stack up with each other? Can you predict the winner? How about the loser? What are your criteria for your predictions?

Let's see who can come the closest to what the editors have to say.


  • montecobaltfanmontecobaltfan Member Posts: 18
    what kind of competetors r those, mazda 3 is its closest. spectra-no forenza-no way, just get the impreza spectra- hahahaha elantra- no way for hyand,
    civic, bla and focus-;et go of the good one

    the real battle comes wit in the neon for cobalt base, srt-4 for the SS

    the ion which the original cobalt is built like, or the redline, like the cobalt

    and thr rsx, thats when u face them

    unfortanatly, the cobalt does not win in any oif these except the neon and base cobalt, but the SS does not beat out the 130 hp of srt 4, the cobalt does not beat the lux of the acura, and it doesnt beat the price of the reline

    thopugh the cobalt appeals, in the long run it just doesnt have the HP, doesnt have lux inside and cant even price down to a spitting image f itself the redline.

    but hopefully with in the next year they reintroduce the SS with a higher standard HP like the srt-4 did in 2003, thank you and goodnight

  • cticti Member Posts: 131
    A quick note before I make dinner. It should be the Suzuki Forenza.

    And I predict:


  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    BTW, when is this comparo going to be posted?
  • montecobaltfanmontecobaltfan Member Posts: 18
    u r forgetting the dodge, and subaru and acura, i dont believe this, no one is gonna buy a elantra, whatever, here is how i stack them up


    susuki and kia should not even be a thought they r cheap cats with nothing, people should buy a car cuz they like it with a great price, not because it is cheap and runs good at the time.

    even though i like the cobalt the best i know, acura makes it better woth rsx and integra interior and exterior wise, and dodge has so many aftermarketthings for the neon and the best advanced version of itself, the srt-4

    yea mazdas r sweet now adays, but i wouldnt pass up a mazda 6 sport for a mazda 3, it just isnt worth it, the back end of the car looks too much like i dunno, blaa

    and there is no way susuki, kia or hyundai pass a FORD car, no way. especially kia or susucki.

    i like elantra cuz of wht its got under the hood, but come on ur competing against these highly defined and milded cars, ur not from the nindies, u can just get a used chevy lumina with more kick than the hyundia for way less.

    i like hyundia's motor, but for gods sake u want these type of cars to appeal to teens, and young adultsd with out families and stuff, if u work and have a job and u want the hyundai, u should pass on it and get a cad with kick, mercedes, or somen

    notice, the kia, hyundai and i guess susuki, tried to make there economic car look lux or somen, but no one is gonna buy it, it becomes a mind game with urself,, its like people who buy the base civics and think they r in an EX supped up. no sure ur iin ur 93 hp base civic.... if the hyundia had a better, sportier look to it, then it would be at the top of the list. saturn used to be like hyunia, but luckily the saturns r making ions a more futoristic sporier car with a spoiler.

    as far as kia, in my mind its like a BJ's wholesale special or something, or price club, costco, whater, it is cheap,, period.

    and susuki, is by the worst, where have they been, cars look real bad, and absolutley nothing behind them.. car and driver said for a pro: cheap and gets u from A to B and if all u want is that ur better off buying a used car, heck a used car from back to 1992, they r bad.

    Jim, and id like to say the best non super vehhicle is the cobalt, they r light they fly they look awsome, they are not a lot at all.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    The subject vehicles have been defined by an upcoming editorial review. They aren't really open to change. :-)

    Your message is extremely difficult to understand. This isn't a chat room and chat speak is hard to follow. If you want folks to understand what you are trying to say, you need to use plain English, not all of these shortcuts. Thanks.
  • montecobaltfanmontecobaltfan Member Posts: 18
    The Cars you have chosen to put in order are terrible and not right. There are better cars out there for the buck, and i am just letting people know that. Thank you for your concern.

  • nornenorne Member Posts: 136
    Of all the cars mentioned above, I would pick Mazda3 as a the overall winner assuming the editors stick to the current model year vehicles. The 2nd place might go to civic or elantra based on the excellent previews of the past and followed by focus, cobalt, spectra and forenza.
  • blaneblane Member Posts: 2,017
    I'm afraid that this new forum is going to turn into one of those "He says, she says" two sides to every story situations where each of the seven brands will have their advocates calling the other members names and calling other than their favorite automobile brand junk, etc. That's why I won't be visiting here again. There is too much of that kind of drivel in a number of these forums, with the Hosts trying to calm things down and having to delete posts.
  • biggus3biggus3 Member Posts: 32
    from the look of the cars, this is an entry level car comparison. hence you can forget about subaru, acura, cobalt ss, and neon srt4. the 3 in here is probably the i not the s. regardless, my guess goes something like this:


    on a side note, and not to flame too much, but can you please take some time and form coherant sentences. i feel like im reading writing from my 9 year old.
  • montecobaltfanmontecobaltfan Member Posts: 18
    i was just trying to state an opinion, and all i was trying to do was state the order of cars and why. and biggus from uzbec or whatever, the subaru is a cheap econo, im not talkin the sti or wrx. The only person you r flaming is yourself, so one time would have been enough from Pat (boy or girl)

    but this Board is not that good if people just stae what they think and flame, you have to have thought on what you picked and why, just a little. I stated my thoughts and i get flamed. whats it going to be like when there are a million list, the idea should be, you make a list of what you think and match it up with someone else that posted before and see their pros and cons, and see if you messed up on something or whatever. im just trying to help here
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Again, the subject vehicles have been defined by the upcoming article from the editors. Please do not continue to argue about what vehicles should or should not be included here.

    You are getting "flamed" because your posts are difficult to understand, as I explained earlier. If you keep to the subject and speak to us without all of the hard to understand "chat speak", I'm sure we'll all get along fine, regardless of our differing points of view.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Member Posts: 1,467
    And what are the details? Is the NEW Civic being compared or the old one?

    Right now my vote goes like this.

    1) Mazda3 i OR s
    2) Honda Civic EX
    3) Kia Spectra EX
    4) Hyundai Elantra
    5) Chevy Cobalt
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    I'm sure it would be the new Civic ... not sure when it will be posted, but it should be soon.

    Where are you putting the Focus and Forenza, at the bottom of your list? I'm leaning in the direction you are, although I want to put the Elantra over the Spectra.
  • ctalkctalk Member Posts: 646
    1) Mazda3
    2) Honda Civic
    3) Hyundai Elantra
    4) Kia Spectra
    5) Chevy Cobalt
    6) Ford Focus
    7) Suzuki Forenza
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421

    Did I leave anything out?

  • montecobaltfanmontecobaltfan Member Posts: 18
    Chevrolet cobalt

    Best bang for your buck,,

    isnt that right Pat
  • jkobbjkobb Member Posts: 51
    I have 2 lists. The first list is not considering price at all it goes like this ,Mazda,Hyundai,Focus,Civic, Spectra,Cobalt, Forenza. The second list is taking sell price into consideration. It looks like this Hyundai Elantra, Spectra,Focus,Civic,Cobalt,Mazda,Forenza.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Member Posts: 1,467
    REVISED list...

    1) Mazda3
    2) Honda Civic
    3) Ford Focus
    4) Kia Spectra
    5) Hyundai Elantra
    6) Chevy Cobalt
  • igor2igor2 Member Posts: 148
    Edmunds didn't like Coablt when they reviewd them, they will not like it now... and I don't like it either...

    I would say:
    Mazda3 will take the win.
    Elantra and Focus are 2 and 3. Elantra for value, Focus for all around excelence.
    Civic and Spectra will be 4 and 5. Civic for being a honda and Spectra for being a good value.. but crippled by poor-er performance/and outlook.
    Forenza - daewoo never built good cars, and I don't see how rebranding it as Suzuki will make any difference.

    BTW to acknowledge my bias: I am blue oval all the way: I own 2005 Focus ZX3 and even mazda scores high in my eyes BECAUSE it is with ford. I deeply dislike everything GM, and I am tired of people thinking only the japanese can make cars, so I would like to see more reviews truthfully showing that while they are fine cars, they are not on top anymore.see the sonata-accord-camry shootout.

    Recap for fquick scannings:

    1. Mazda 3
    2 -3 Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra
    4-5 Hinda Civic and Kia Spectra
    6 Forenza

    BTW ATTN EDMUNDS: I would like a new type of comparison based on the full line oferred. IF you select only a singe build of the line there is a bias... My point: Civic, Spectra, Mazda3, and Elantra all offer the stupid idea that hatchbacks are for masculine youth only. Only Suzuki and Ford understand that some people do not buy econoboxes as second cars, and need the trunk in the back. I want a hatch (or a wagon) but I do not need a 150 hp engine and flares on the side.(and 18k starting sticker).. If a "utilitarian comparison was made across the whole model line, the order would be as follows:

    1 Focus (nothing beats 4 body styles)
    2. Forenza (finally a wagon)
    3 4 5 Civic, Elantra, Spectra - at least there is a hatchback, but get over the sports hype.
    6. Cobalt - I would like a trunk with my car, thank you.

  • ctalkctalk Member Posts: 646
    Isn't the Suzuki Forenza also in this comparo?
    LOL i think you left one out...

    If its the new Civic, (2006) I think it I would put it first.
    1) Honda Civic
    2) Mazda 3
    3) Hyundai Elantra
    4) Kia Spectra
    5) Chevy Cobalt
    6) Ford Focus
    7) Suzuki Forenza
  • dialm4speeddialm4speed Member Posts: 110
    Dodge SRT-4
    Chevy Cobalt SS
    Ford Focus to bad there's no more SVT

    Send the rest of them to the crusher!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    It ain't hard to see who's "BUY AMERICAN" all the way here!

    Me, I have no such blinders on!

    I like the Mazda3 best (after all, I do own one), but the Cobalt ain't a bad car either! Now if Ford would've just gotten the Focus right the first 20 times, we'd have one in our driveway right now instead of the 2002 Protege5 that's parked there.

  • igor2igor2 Member Posts: 148
    1. Mazda 3
    (edmunds likes it and that will overpower small trunk and higher price)
    2. Civic
    (it';s a well build honda, good resale, asseptable on all counts. if the 06 is tested
    (which I doubt) it will win over Mazda)
    3. - 4 Elantra and Focus
    (Both well built, with several years of tweaking done, good track behind them, and
    good value, good reliability, and ford has fun to drive factor)
    5. Cobalt
    (I stand behind my first claim Edmunds didnt like how it drove the first time (mostly
    suspension and electronic steering, they will not all-of sudden channge their
    6 - 7 Spectra and Forenza
    (both try hard, but they have weak body, low mileage and I expect an unrefined
    engine they will not like.)

    And to add a personal note: In my personal list Cobal falls last BECAUSE it is too american in its driving - i test drove it before buying focus - I agree with Edmunds: the suspension is too soft and the steering it too separated from the road.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    Sedans are 50 years gone everywhere but US, BECAUSE they are impractical: just compare Focus ZX4 has cargo capacity of 14 The ZX3 and ZX5 have

    Wow, my Mazda3 hatch is INCREDIBLE! It's got 17 cubic FEET!!!

    (I know whatcha meant!) :P

    Hear hear on the cargo-swallowing capabilities of a hatch. Thank God Mazda brought it back in 2002. My wife drives a Protege5 hatch and I just bought a Mazda3 hatch. I've already been able to carry loads of stuff that would never have fit in my Protege -- seats folded or not -- because of the trunk opening. I really wish I'd had my 3 hatch two Christmases ago when I bought my 3-year-old son a Power Wheels electric four-wheeler -- the box that thing came in would not fit in my Protege's trunk. With the 3 I can put our humongous suitcases in the trunk, standing on end! I've also carried our lawn mower to the repair shop in it. Now I no longer need the Protege AND a mini pickup. The 3 does it all, and also serves as sports car!

  • igor2igor2 Member Posts: 148
    "Wow, my Mazda3 hatch is INCREDIBLE! It's got 17 cubic FEET!!!

    (I know whatcha meant!) "

    Well.. (if you can't tell by now) I am from europe, so give me liters and I'll get it right .. but thanks for the note..

    And thanks for the support on hatchbacks - really if the Mazda 3 5-door came without the big engine, body flares and the hefty price I drive it ( I am still jealus that we won't get the all-new european focus)... and finally, the reason why drive 05 zx3 is that I it was better value than mazda (and with the insane rebates this summer I drive one with over 5k off)..

  • igor2igor2 Member Posts: 148

    yes. The thing is it took me a whil;e to realize this comparison is going to be on the sedan versions, so I went on to argue about overall value etc...
    Hence my last post =- about the sedan comparison..

    And I know that the US prference for sedans drives the market, and it just means I will have a harder time finding my car...
    and don't even get me started on "image" and "design" eurpeans while caring about versatility and utility completely don't care about reliability (see VW, Mercedes BEnz, BMW etc.... and brands like itroen, Fiat, Renault are notorious on problems, while being beautiful and practical..
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Hey folks, we're comparing the seven economy sedans in the topic -- please keep to the subject.

    Some off-topic posts have been removed.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    Pat -- Please do let us know (if you can) when you find out when this comparison will run. I really can't wait to read it!

  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    You will all know as soon as I know! :-)
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    I'm told it will be posted Monday! :D
  • allfiredupallfiredup Member Posts: 736
    Here's how I'd rank them-

    1- Mazda3
    2- Civic
    3- Forenza
    4- Cobalt
    5- Focus
    6- Elantra
    7- Spectra

    The Mazda3 is the class least until the '06 Civic takes the first place spot (if it does). The Civic is still a heck of a car (does everything well if nothing exceptional). The Forenza is an amazing value, great warranty, decent performer. Cobalt is decent looking, fairly strong performance and (I think) a pretty nice interior (it's better than most give it credit for as I think the '05 Saturn Ion also is). The Focus has great handling but a little weak on power and it's just plain old and outdated. The Elantra is also a good value...but god is it ugly! Spectra- have nothing good to say, so I'll say nothing at all.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    Which editor do we kill if the Mazda3 doesn't make no. 1?


  • jkobbjkobb Member Posts: 51
    I have 2 lists the first list is if they were all the same price ,i t goes mazda,Elantra ,Focus, Civic, Spectra,Cobalt , Forenza. The second list is if you figure the actual cost of the vehicles it goes. Elantra, Spectra,Focus,Civic,Cobalt,Mazda3,Forenza.
  • smith20smith20 Member Posts: 256
    I think having two separate lists such as you made is a wise way to look this since, particularly in economy cars, not everyone's idea of "best car" is the absolute best performer. The "best car" doesn't seem so great to me when I consider that it might cost me 20-30% or maybe even more than some of the competitors.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Indeed, the article will be an "economy car" review and we'll probably change the name of this discussion when the review hits the site.

    So the economy factor is indeed an important criterion.
  • jkobbjkobb Member Posts: 51
    For me it is not a real easy task to rate these in order. I consider all of them to be at least average in reliability , they all get good to quite good gas mileage and they all as far a I`m concerned decent looking cars . There is not one on the list that I would say I absolutely would not want. If some one were buying any of these cars I wouldn`t criticise their decision , we each have different opinions , as to what looks good and doesn`t . In a nutshell you can`t go to wrong buying any one of these. :)
  • kingsalmonkingsalmon Member Posts: 97
    My list in terms of value...
    1&2 Elantra/Spectra (tied) essentially the same car (newly discovered reliability)
    3 Civic (reliable)
    4 Cobalt
    5 Focus
    6 Forenza
    7 Mazda 3

    My list if I was Bill Gates...
    1 Mazda 3 (I think Mazda is overrated and their mpg is below avg. but I'll give it up)
    2 Elantra (I like the unique looks)
    3 Cobalt (Actually looks sporty)
    4 Spectra (looks good but a notch below Cobalt)
    5 Civic (bland)
    6 Focus (blah...)
    7 Forenza (cheap, but do they have reliability? Not yet...)

    So there you go...
  • igor2igor2 Member Posts: 148
    sad car :cry:

    j/k but I am anxious tosee it finally posted.. :-)
  • z71billz71bill Member Posts: 1,986
    My list would look like this:


    The hard part would be which COLOR Ferrari do I feel like driving TODAY!


    I could always just take the limo - or the CHOPPER (not the Harley) - OR the LEARJET

    A train load of money comes with some hard decisions!

    The how much does it cost factor is always an issue - impossible to do a valid review on two cars that have a price that is 20-30% apart.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Igor2, it's barely 9 am in California. No one ever said putting this one article up would be the highest priority of the day for the web staff. ;) :shades:

    Z71bill - um, nice list, wrong topic!! :D :P
  • igor2igor2 Member Posts: 148
    I forgot Edmunds is in Cali (I got it mixed up with Car and Driver - they are in Michigan...

    SORRY.. :-)
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    No problem! But "Monday" could mean anytime at all today, not right off - just thought I should mention that!

    I'm watching for it so I can link it here.
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    I'm actually in the market to buy one of these cars. The only thing is I need a hatch. Given that, I would choose


    Elantra is currently at the top because it has the best balance of giving me what I want at a good price. A lot of overlap between Spectra & Elantra, with the tradeoff for me being smoother ride of Elantra vs. better styling of Spectra.

    I would rate Focus higher, but for hatches they only come with oppressively black interiors.

    I drove the Forenza's hatch version, the Reno, and really felt it was a step above most cars in its class and price range, from a styling and fit-and-finish standpoint. Also, its ride is much smoother and quieter than most others. I think it is important to note that most commuter driving does NOT include a lot of fancy handling; So I give the Suzuki points for smoothing out my ride even if it doesn't do too well in the slalom. Knocks against it are poor gas mileage with poor power and the secondary status of the Suzuki brand.

    Mazda3 is clearly the class of this group, but the question is whether it is worth the higher price. For my purposes I've decided it isn't.

    I put the Cobalt and Civic at the bottom of the list because they are not available in a hatch with AT, so I haven't really looked at them.
  • forzaforza Member Posts: 36
    Which editor do we kill if the Mazda3 doesn't make no. 1?

    Well, mdaffron, I guess there's no need to kill any editors. :P

    That's the second comparison test that the Mazda 3 has won. Wow!
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Thanks for the link, forza! :-)
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Member Posts: 1,467
    would win.

    Especially considering the 05 model Civic was used. But I think even if the 06 Civic had been factored in, the Mazda3 probably still would have won.
  • igor2igor2 Member Posts: 148
    Wow, besides that and the surprising low finish of Elantra, I am happy Edmunds confrmed my dislike of GM (Chevy and Suzuki) :-)

    (now without the GM jokes) great review, great reading. Thanks

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,903
    i think it's kind of funny that there is a 'cupholder' catagory, but not 'tmv'.
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • allfiredupallfiredup Member Posts: 736
    I'm a little surprised the Civic placed as high as it did. I guess it just goes to prove what a solid design it has been all along. The same can be said of the Focus as well. I'm also shocked the Kia placed third....I still hate it.

    Wonder why they used the base model Cobalt with no power windows or cruise or numerous other convenience items. The LS model would have compared more favorably. Might even have placed a little better.
  • cticti Member Posts: 131
    I was off by one. I had the Cobalt ranked several places too high, but otherwise the order was correct. A couple other people did the same.

    And do we know the Edmund's editors or what? We all get lollipops for picking the Mazda!

    Now it is off to read the article...

This discussion has been closed.