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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Lawman1967: Actually, that Saturn SL special edition is not as cheap as you thought. Someone went down to the dealer to look at one and posted that yea, it's a great cash price or good if you finance on your own, BUT Saturn only offers a semi-high 8% interest rate on the SL. Since the SL1 offers 0.9% interest, it's really a wash as far as payments go and you end up with a better equipped car.

    Majorthomecho: I think you aren't quite grasping my point. Is the Echo in its current form WORTH more then 14k? The Echo is a nice little car and will probably prove to be reliable, but it's not WORTH more then 14k. It just doesn't have the more expensive trimmings you would expect of a car of that price, nor does it exude that high quality appearance. The Echo was built with 10k prices in mind and therefore has the look and feel of one. That's why I said someone would be stupid to pay much more then 14k for one, when there are other cars that get almost as good fuel economy and actually look and feel like they are worth their price. The size of the car has little to do with it. I prefer small cars, just like yourself. I mean I do own an 84 VW Rabbit GTI and a 92 Miata as well. I wouldn't give them up for anything, unless they were destroyed in an accident. Would I buy the new Mini? Probably, if I liked how it looked and drove in person. Is it worth 17-21k? Damn right! It looks expensive, feels expensive, drives expensive, and has options only expensive cars offer. Do you understand where I'm coming from more now?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Major, thank you for clarifying your comment on "overall" superiority of American cars to Korean cars. Before your clarification, I thought by "overall" you were referring to more than just initial quality as measured by JD Power.

    Do you happen to have a URL to the JD Power study that you referred to, that demonstrates this superiority? I couldn't find it. I did find a 2001 Initial Quality Survey on that clearly demonstrates the superiority of the Japanese makes, especially Toyota/Lexus, in initial quality. No surprise there. Honda/Acura took a couple of categories, Nissan too (interestingly, the awards were for the oldest designs of each automaker). But I didn't see any evidence of American superiority over Korean vehicles in that study, because none of the four American vehicles that took honors were in a class that has any Korean vehicles in it. So it's kind of hard to compare initial quality when there's nothing to compare with, right? Also, only one European car took a category, the Saab 9-5; again, there is no Korean car in that category. So I figure you are referring to a different study.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    The ECHO is a nice little car, but I am another person who would not spend $14k on one. If I bought one, it would be via the strippo route: 2 doors, 5-speed, A/C. Maybe power steering. If I'm going to spend $14k for a car, I expect a lot more than what ECHO can give me. For $14k, one can buy (with some bargaining) a loaded Elantra GT, a Protege LX with moonroof and alloys, a Civic LX, a Lancer, a Focus ZTS, maybe even a Corolla LE. All much more car than the ECHO.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Find the list from JD Powers showing where the car companies finished in terms of initial quality for 2001. Add the positions of the American car companies together, the positions of the European car companies together (Jaguar even though owned by Ford and GM's European nameplates even though owned or controlled by GM should be counted as European car companies. Same as any Japanese car companies owned or controlled by an American company should be counted as Japanese), etc., divide by the number of car companies total and you will see where the regions rank. That is what I meant.

    I am sorry but I have trouble posting a link on here. AOL is just so much easier in that regard.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    It is a very simple car, which means there is less to go wrong. It's amazing on gas. The interior is well thought out, surprisingly spacious for such a tiny car. And it is Toyota, which is a big plus for me.
    Maybe it is different here, but every car backy just mentioned starts a couple k higher then the Echo.
    The Canadian Echo comes in at $17k with CD, power locks/keyless entry, AC, and automatic. The only other car I've found that you can roll off the lot for this price is a base Cavalier (yuck)

    It looks very gawky, but I can see past the outer shell of cars.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    And I happen to disagree with your opinion that the Echo is not worth more than 14k.

    And it happens to be my opinion that the Lancer OZ is not worth the premium you pay over the base Lancer ES. What did you get for that price anyway? Pretty much a fancier set of wheels, wasn't it? Did that extra price get you a higher quality in interiors?

    If performance was the overriding factor in your purchase and I know it was not, but if it was, there are better small cars out there. And the Echo has a better 0 to 60 and quarter mile times.

    And it doesn't matter if it is an inch or a mile, winning is winning. ; )
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I want to point out that I know you get more than fancier wheels for the price difference between the Lancer ES and the Lancer OZ. I was being sarcastic in case you missed it.

    And while the quality of the materials in the Echo may be inexpensive, the way they are put together is top notch. Witness the Echo being in the top three of small cars in the JD Powers survey of initial quality. And how do you put a [exact] price on that? That quality of workmanship is something that attracts a lot of people as it attracted me.

    So what if I can get an Elantra GT for 14k, it won't have the same [build] quality as a Toyota Echo of the same price.
  • zigliflerziglifler Posts: 99
    just wondering have you ever driven a elantra gt ?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    As one who has driven both the ECHO and the Elantra GT, my impression is that the build quality on the GT is superior to that of the ECHO. Some examples:

    * Fit of body panels top-notch on the GT (Hyundai uses the same type of assembly robots as does MB); huge gap between front and rear doors on ECHO (may be planned that way, but it looks cheap).

    * Solid thunk from doors on GT; much tinnier sound from ECHO.

    * Thick, solid sun visors with solid plastic flip doors on large vanity mirrors on GT; thin, flimsy sun visors with tiny vanity mirrors covered by floppy velcroized doors on ECHO.

    * Smooth rotary and electronic push-button HVAC controls on ECHO; cheap-feeling manual controls on ECHO.

    * Padded armrests on GT; hard plastic arm rests (on doors only) on ECHO.

    * Beautifully stitched leather seating surfaces on GT; typical econobox cloth on ECHO.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    >>> Maybe it is different here, but every car backy just mentioned starts a couple k higher then the Echo. <<<

    Quite true, but that's not what I said. I said that one can <i>buy those cars I mentioned at around $14k (that's USD, to be clear), with some negotiating. Actually, I was being conservative. In my town, one can buy the cars I listed at around $14k with no negotiating, because I've recently seen the cars at those prices in local ads. If someone prefers a basic econobox like the ECHO to a refined compact car like the Corolla, Protege, Elantra GT, or Civic, that's great. But when it's my hard-earned money I'm spending, I expect something more for it.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Sorry about your problems posting URLs, Major. I'm still having trouble finding the study you mentioned. Maybe you could at least give me a hint, e.g. the URL for the home page, and some directions on what to click on to at least get in the ballpark?

    Here is the URL for the list of Initial Quality studies on

    There is only one study I've found on that covers worldwide Initial Quality for 2001; the URL is:

    If your URL is too long to be copied in one piece, you could copy it in segments and then it's a simple matter for others to copy/paste to reassemble it.

    On this topic, here is the URL for a story from today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution that talks about the improving quality of Korean cars vis-a-vis American cars (among other things):

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    see pat "Lost in the Town Hall? Ask the Sedans Host for directions!" Apr 13, 2002 10:25am. You might want to start a couple posts prior to that one.

    Hope this helps.

    Sedans Host
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Nice of you to join us from the News And View board. Yes, I have test driven an Elantra GT. Not a very pleasant experience, but had very little to do with the car and a lot to do with the salesman who rode along.
  • supremesupreme Posts: 38
    ZIP 54914

    TOYOTA 2002 ECHO 1415 SEDAN 4D
    RETAIL: $10585 + 485 (DESTIN) + 1020 (UPGRADE#1)=
    $12,090 {+22%}

    KIA 2002 SPECTRA 24401 SEDAN 4D
    RETAIL: $10995 + 495 (DESTIN) - 2000 (REBATE)=

    RETAIL: $12568 + 495 (DESTIN) =
    $13,053 (+28%}

    Your allegation of quoting Spectra before destin
    & Echo after is not valid. I did not originally'
    quote destination; however, I have now. Emperical proof, of whatever it means, but you can reproduce the results yourself. Be my guest.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    The things you ask me to do, I swear! ; ) It took me a while to get the URL, but I did it. It wasn't always like this, but when I click on the following URL, another page pops up before the first page starts loading and I have to "X" the second page to be able to see the page I want to see. The URL left in the little box on AOL is for the second page that I did not want to see.

    I went back to the list of pages I have seen recently and highlighted the description for the page I wanted. The second page did not pop up so I was able to see the URL for the page I wanted.

    I originally posted the URL, but after I posted this message, I clicked on the link my giving the URL generated and I got the message that the page could not be found. I then tried editing the URL and clicking on the edited version, but again it told me that the page could not be found so I have deleted the URL.

    The link SHOULD have taken you to the story that appeared in USA Today about the 2001 JD Power survey results.
  • lawman1967lawman1967 Posts: 314
    The Echo is still EASILY worth $3000 more than the Spectra, just as the Corolla is worth $4000 more. Wow, $13K for a Corolla, that has to be one of the best values on a new car going! Is that with AC (essential)?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I wouldn't need to ask you to do anything if you wouldn't make statements such as Korean cars being, overall, not the equal of American cars without any substantiation, then when I ask you for clarification, you base your statement on a report from JD Power on initial quality. So naturally I wanted to take a look at that report. If your rating of Korean cars vs. all others is based solely on a JD Power survey of initial quality during the first 90 days of ownership, you are of course entitled to your opinion, but to me it seems that other factors should be considered when saying which cars are better "overall." There are, for example, other recent studies (Auto Pacific's) that show Korean makes doing very well. There are reviews by sources like, CR, AutoWeek, and C/D that show that Korean cars compare very well to American cars, and even to many Japanese and European cars. So can you see how someone could take all these sources, plus personal experience, together can come up with a different conclusion about overall equality of Korean and American cars?
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    Who finances through the dealership anyways? I always take the rebate, and use my home equity line of credit, (currently 4.25% and tax deductible, making it a little over 3% tax effected).

    The Saturn sounds like a great deal to me. I would take one of those long before a Kia.
  • lleroilleroi Posts: 112
    The best home equity rate i could get was 7% with USAA who are generally very competitive.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Sorry, I did not make myself clearer in my initial post, but in initial quality, Korean cars, as a whole, come in fourth behind American cars, European cars, and Japanese cars.

    Happy now? ; )
  • supremesupreme Posts: 38
    When I suggested that Echo was giving 41mpg I was just using MTE shared information on your experience. And of course, 41-38=3. So I simply said Echo was getting 3mpg better that Kia Spectra at 38mpg & that I wouldn't spend an extra $3000 for the extra 3mpg. BTW 3d Spectra tank of
    66/33 town & country driving yielded 27.5mpg.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Happy? No, I'm tired and I wish my wife would come home from the hospital one of these days.

    I think you were pretty clear about the standings of the JD Power survey in your earlier post, so why beat it into the ground? I can read. It just amazes me sometimes the reasoning some people use to justify their opinions. I guess that's why these forums are like a box of chocolates--you never know what you're going to get.
  • zigliflerziglifler Posts: 99
    u said a mouthfull...
  • lawman1967lawman1967 Posts: 314
    JD Power quality surveys are rather neutral things, hitting everyone soon after they buy a new car. The neutrality is probably best evidenced by the fact that Saturn, a maker of inexpensive cars, competes neck and neck for satisfaction with Lexus.

    The other truth is that people tend to vehemently defend what they buy, considering a negative opinion about their personal choice of wheels as an insult to them personally.

    The fact is, Korean cars are much better than they used to be, as evidenced by reviews here on Edmunds, in the magazines and yes, in JD Power. That said, they still have yet to equal the Americans, Europeans and Japanese, which is backed up by those same sources.

    I lived in South Korea for two years (94-95) and have seen the progress of the Korean industry. I owned a Kia Avella (Ford Aspire) at that time, anddespite niggling quality issues, was pleased with it. That experience is typical of Korean cars. The engines, transmissions and other hard parts are fine. Simple, a tad less sophisticated (usually shown in poor MPG), and rougher around the edges (notchy transmissions, etc), but they work reliably.

    Todays Korean cars are much better, especially the Hyundais. Cars like the Sonata, Elantra GT and Santa Fe show very high build quality, provide well-controlled rides and pleasant interiors. They still lack in sophisticated road manners, but are much better than they used to be.

    Problem is, Europe, the US and Japan (usually) get better too. My 2002 Mitsubishi Galant is a huge improvement over my classmate's 1997 model (one generation). A colleague at work has a 2001 Nissan Sentra, which likewise is a huge improvement over the 1997 Sentra I just traded in last year (also a one generation difference). We look at how much better the current Elantra, Spectra, Sonata or whatever is than the previous one, but forget that with the possible exception of the Civic, the Japanese show equal or greater improvements as well.

    Go drive a Mitsubishi Lancer. This car replaces the Mirage, and is so vastly superior to what it replaced that I even considered it instead of the midsize Galant - it is that good. Ditto the Focus, Golf, Corolla, etc.

    The whole industry keeps moving, and playing catch up is so much harder against a moving target.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    With those economy numbers and the percentage of town to country driving you gave, sounds like you need to do more country driving. ; ) But according to the EPA numbers, your Spectra is getting 1.5 miles to the gallon more than what they say it should given those percentages.

    Supreme, do you mind giving us a rundown of what additional equipment you feel is necessary to equip an Echo like a Spectra? I went to and added the equipment I felt made up the difference and came up with the numbers I posted.

    HOWEVER, I then went back and compared the two base vehicles (with no additional equipment) and made careful note of the differences between the two. I then went back to the optioning part of Carsdirect and optioned an Echo to be as close of a match of the Spectra as I possibly could using this new information. I came up with a third number.

    So, again, I ask, what options did you add to the Echo?
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I don't take negative opinions about my Echo personally. I know the styling leaves a lot of people turned off.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Which is the worse of two evils? is a better question.
    At the rate Korean cars are improving they will surpass American cars and catch up to Japanese in the near future.
  • zigliflerziglifler Posts: 99
    "I don't take negative opinions about my Echo personally. I know the styling leaves a lot of people turned off"

    I don't think anybody said anything about "YOUR" car . but your sure do blast anybody that says anything going against what you think of echo .

    like lawman said "The other truth is that people tend to vehemently defend what they buy, considering a negative opinion about their personal choice of wheels as an insult to them personally."

    thats why i said it just doens't matter.. people are very closed minded . they like what they like and even if someone makes a valid point they will trash it because they can't be wrong . we all buy the cars we like for whatever reason we like them . major tried to make the resale of the echo sound way better than the accent when his #'s showed they were only 6% different. and both sucked at about 50% . i claimed at 12 k you could get an echo and it was striped . i was mistaken , major made sure to point it out rather harshly i might add calling it a lie . but i was wrong and stated that . but the fact is the echo is a nice car if you want to get a high mpg car from toyota . but for what it cost and what you get i think there are better cars out there for the money ,if mpg isn't the most important part of the car .
  • jimbeaumijimbeaumi Posts: 620
    If Koreans are improving in both initial and long-term quality at a seemingly faster rate than American brands, and if a brand like Chrysler shows good initial results but deteriorates more quickly than other domestics, and if a quality gem like Civic is capable of slacking off, then the "lesser of two evils" becomes a matter of "how much more market share do the domestics lose?" And soon, how much do the Japanese lose?
  • lawman1967lawman1967 Posts: 314
    Actually my comments about negative opinions were directed at people who own cars liket he Spectra, which have important issues like quality criticized, styling is totally subjective.

    That, and I like the Echo. My friend bought one of the first ones here, 4-doors, with power windows in front only, and powerlocks (aftermarket, I think). The central instruments are a bit weird to me, but I've never seen another vehicle that makes such excellent use of space.
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