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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    Small cars really aren't my thing, but there were a few things I actually liked about the Cobalt. First off, for me at least, it had about the best seating position of any small car out there. Maybe the seats weren't contoured and bolstered like a Civic Si or Mazda 3 or whatever the benchmark is in small cars. But it had enough legroom to more than make up for that. And, even though the interior took a lot of flak I'm sure, for being too plasticky, at least it all lined up fairly well.

    If I ever got into a situation where I needed to do a really long commute for work or whatever, a Cobalt would actually suit me better than a modern Civic or Corolla, as the seat goes back far enough for me to be really comfortable. I'd have to test-sit again to make sure, but I think the Cobalt actually fit me better, up front at least, than its Cruze replacement!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 9,754
    It is possible that no CR subscribers owned the first year and no complaints or praises were available. Does CR ever state how many vehicles their advice is based on?

    I'm not aware of them posting that information. My guess is, I bet they have information on the '05 Cobalt, being a high-volume car even in its first year. The vehicles they have insufficient data for, usually seem to be ones you'd expect...oddball Isuzu products, etc.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,866
    Maybe the seats weren't contoured and bolstered...

    Actually, the only thing I didn't care for on my last Equinox rental was "over" bolstered seat bottoms. Sometimes with all the heat they are taking, I think there can be a tendency to take Car & Driver stuff too seriously. Most people don't buy for the same reasons as the car mag reviewers get into. Often the Asian seats have two big issues, particularly if you are driving for any length of time, or in heavy rush hour traffic - short seat bottoms and inadequate leg and headroom. Doesn't seem like as big of a deal until you're tired or stressed behind the wheel.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,866
    My guess Uplander, either CR data or your ownership was a statistical anomaly. My complaint with Cobalt rentals was that I felt like my [non-permissible content removed] was on the ground driving it. Otherwise, it drove better than the interior quality would have led you to believe.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I've noticed that as long as a seat can support my thighs and my lower back, I can pretty much drive until I fall asleep behind the wheel. Side bolstering is nice to hold you in place in spirited cornering, but in generic day-to-day driving, if my thighs are left hanging, and the seat puts me in a slouching position, that's what kills it for me.

    And yeah, I've noticed that about some Asian cars. IMO, it seems like they'll sometimes take what should be a compact car seat, and slip it in a midsize. I noticed that with the 2013 Accord, and as a result wasn't overly impressed.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    too cumbersome, and it sits up too high and is a bit hard to get into.

    That's pretty much the story with all new pickups we get. And don't forget trying to get something in or out of the truck bed.

    My brother's newish F-150 doesn't feel too stiff but I don't have too many hours in it, and most of those hours were with four of us inside. If you don't care about the mpg hit, you could try tossing (er, forklifting) eight or ten sandbags into the back and see how it rides a bit loaded.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,866
    Some years back, my wife and I were in the UP. I was parked in a grocery store lot waiting for her when this big old Dodge pick-up truck pulls in the space next to me. Much to my amazement, the passenger door opens, a stool gets lowered on a rope and this little old lady gets out, stuffs the stool and rope back in and heads to the store. They beat my wife back and she reversed the process. American ingenuity!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    That's pretty much the story with all new pickups we get. And don't forget trying to get something in or out of the truck bed.

    Yeah, that's one thing I learned with my Ram...don't try to lift anything over the sides of it...just drop the tailgate and go in from behind!

    I really wish they could have kept full-sized trucks about the same size as my old '85 Silverado, which I held onto even though I bought the Ram. My friends refer to it as the "real" truck because I use it for dirty stuff, while the Ram is still too new and purty to muss up like that! :blush:

    But, the Silverado is actually better for 3 across seating. It gives up some shoulder room, but both are so wide it's ridiculous. We're talking like 66.5" here versus 65", while I don't think there's a car out there anymore, now that the Crown Vic is gone, that has more than 60". But, the old Chevy has a much better seating position. Lower floor, less intrusive dash, and thicker seat cushion.

    And, at 6'3", even I have to climb up into the Ram, a bit. With the Chevy, it's more like just stepping in. And it doesn't sit up so high that it's hard to lift things over the side, hop into the bed, etc. On the plus side, the Ram has better legroom, more storage behind the seat, and I'm sure a MUCH better crumple zone. But it's also 233" long, whereas I think the Chevy is only 212".
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    lol, have to confess I use a sturdy 8" step (really and old drawer) when we haul the mother-in-law around in the minivan too. She's maybe 5'2". Maybe. :)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,134
    And, at 6'3", even I have to climb up into the Ram, a bit. With the Chevy, it's more like just stepping

    My Nissan Frontier is just perfect for getting in and out of. So we drive it more than the other vehicles. I like to sit on the side of the seat with my feet flat on the ground. Then swing my feet in. The Sequoia is just a bit to tall. The LS400 is WAAAY TOOO low. No more sedans for us. The mid sized SUVs like the Touareg and ML350 are just about right.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's one reason people are flocking to crossovers - they're the perfect height, you don't step up or down, you just slide in.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    That's one reason people are flocking to crossovers...

    That's true. The hip point of crossovers is perfect for those aging boomers.

    I will admit that even though my 11 Explorer is a crossover, the hip point is high. Even with my 33" inseam, I find it high.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,216
    I like stepping down, just not too far down.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In the Miata I'm pretty much an inch from scraping my butt on the road. ;)

    An inch and a quarter with the new tires.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,216
    That would be too far down :shades:

    I like sitting low, but not so low that a Civic towers over me, or that I have to avoid roads with speedbumps. I don't mind sitting high as a passenger, but as a driver, it always feels tipsy.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    Brought my DeVille in because I didn't want to mess with replacing a power window regulator. Besides the window fix, they told me it needed some other stuff.
    rear lower control arm rubber bushings were worn a little. They can't be replaced without new arms too....$1106 to do both sides
    Front axle brgs were not perfect. New ones were $910 for both sides.
    rear brake pads had 2 mm left . New rear disc pads installed for $486 or OEM pads for $562.
    At that point, he went into the ride quality loss if I didn't do it all. I said that I would ask my son who takes home $5 an hour if he had a couple years worth of future income to give to ease the hardship of having to endure such ride problems. In effect, the car was nearly totaled as a quick check showed it has a book value of $3100 and needed the window repair and had 90% worn out front brakes.

    I saved myself over $900 by changing the front and rear brakes Saturday. One side of the rear were actually down to 1 mm left at the low point.

    Did an oil change too and it took 9 qts. for '01 DeVille to refill.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Speed bumps are tolerable now with the bigger tires.

    I'm basically staring at exhaust pipes, though. :D
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Tell me about it. I have a Z4 Coupe, and I "roll" out of the car when exiting... It's a fun car, but I could never accept it as a daily driver.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    I sat in the FR-S at the auto show back in January. I thought to myself "what the hell are you going to do to get out?"
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    If you think that's fun, try getting into and out of a Lotus Elise in a rapid fashion.

    It's not a model for those with back/spinal issues...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,387
    >rear lower control arm rubber bushings...

    What year is the DeVille?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    That's one reason people are flocking to crossovers - they're the perfect height, you don't step up or down, you just slide in.

    If you have very, very old senior friends or relatives that need your help to get places, such as doctors, hospital tests, or visiting others, the ordinary sedan is the best. These folks are usually short, not very flexible. They can easily back into the front seat of a sedan. And, if they are in a portable wheelchair, the only way to help them into a seat is with a sedan car seat. For these folks, suvs, pickups, some minivans have seats that are way too high.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had a back injury and my wife's Forester was a Godsend. Perfect height plus heated seats.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I think it might depend on the sedan. I remember my grandmother complaining about how hard it was to get in and out of one of her friend's cars. And her friend drives that archetype of old-people cars...a Mercury Grand Marquis!

    She doesn't do too badly, getting in and out of my 2000 Park Ave. And odd as it may sound, my '76 LeMans is actually easy for her to get in and out of. You wouldn't think a low-slung 70's coupe would be senior-citizen friendly, but its seat is pretty high off the floor and the sill is narrow, and close to the edge of the seat, so it's fairly easy to enter/exit.

    For the longest time, it was easiest to just load her into my '85 Silverado, because it was just high enough that she could slide into, rather than down into. But, in the past few years, as she's aged and shrunk, it's gotten to be too much.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The dearth of small domestic pickups may be ending sooner than anyone thought.

    "Rising fuel prices have General Motors Co. GM and Chrysler Group LLC taking a second look at peddling smaller pickup trucks—vehicles that the Detroit Three auto makers abandoned in the U.S. amid weak demand.

    GM is planning to revive its Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon in late 2014, and Chrysler is considering a replacement for its Dakota. Both see the vehicles helping them to hit higher fuel-economy targets and to regain market share from Toyota Motor Corp.'s Tacoma, the current top-selling small hauler."

    Detroit Rethinks Small Trucks (WSJ)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,134
    Ford builds the best mid sized truck on the Planet. They do not want to risk undercutting their cash cow F150. The T6 diesel would be a killer truck if they built it here and went head to head with the 3rd rate Tacoma. Which by the way is not as good of a truck as the Frontier. Just has a loyal following. I know, as I bought a Tacoma for an ex wife and it was a POC gas hog 4 cylinder stick shift. I also bought one for my son and it cost me a fortune to maintain. Datsun/Nissan builds a much better small/mid sized PU truck.
  • scwmcanscwmcan Niagara, CanadaPosts: 399
    Apparently so does Toyota, just not in the US or Canada.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,134
    I have the feeling the World Market is no longer dominated by the US and Canadian car buyers. The Toyota diesel PUs sold all over the World are great trucks. The Tacoma is a foo foo truck for Americans. They still use drum brakes on the rear. Not great for stopping with a 3 ton trailer in tow. Less power than the competition sold here. And more expensive. Datsun/Nissan has sold a better small truck in the USA since forever. Yet Toyota seems to get the loyalty.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 9,754
    My elderly Mom could easily get into and out of my '63 Lark Daytona when I'd drive it over to see her--chairlike seating and nearly flat floors. I think she'd have done well getting in and out of my daughter's PT too. She did have trouble getting out of my old Cavalier coupe and I suspect she'd have had trouble getting up and out of my Cobalt or our Malibu. I used to actually have to pick her up to get her in and out of our vans. She was 5'2" and about 100 lbs.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think it might depend on the sedan

    In 2005, in a Subaru thread, we were discussing this, so I broke out a tape measure and actually measured the hip point of several cars:

    NA Miata: 13"
    Legacy 2.5i sedan: 17.5"
    Impreza RS sedan: 20"
    Outback XT: 22"
    Tribeca: 26"

    So you can see there are pronounced differences from a low slung sports car to a high up crossover, exactly double in this case.

    Sedans varied a lot. That Legacy actually had a surprisingly low hip point. The Outback would be far more comfortable to get in and out.

    My friend's Altima is also very low slung.

    My Sienna minivan is higher than my wife's Forester.

    It all depends on the model.
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