Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    If that less-than-one-inch difference (1 cm vs. 3.5 cm) between the Sonata and Accord is important to you, that's fine. Some of the cars you listed are much better than the Sonata here though. My thinking was that a larger, heavier car would do better than a smaller, lighter car like the Fit or Yaris in a crash, even if the larger car has only an Acceptable rating. And some of these cars don't cost any more than the higher-priced small cars. Of those you listed, the base Rabbit 3-door is available for under $16k. All the others are over $16k, most WAY over. That's why I mentioned the Sonata and Mazda6i mid-sizers, since they can be had now for around $16k.

    P.S. Those distances you are talking about are reported by the IIHS in centimeters, not inches.
  • targettuningtargettuning Member Posts: 1,371
    Please note these measurements are in centimeters (cm.) Converted to inches they are less dramatic than you would have us believe due to the OATmeal in the Accents structure. In inches then:
    1.57 inches for the Accent
    2.95 inches for the Fit
    3.54 inches for the Yaris
    and 6.1 inches for the Rabbit/Jetta that is probably significantly wider than any of the above anyhow. So then the difference between the best and the worst is about 2 inches. Geez that oatmeal again...
  • germancarfan1germancarfan1 Member Posts: 221
    Actually, what's important to me is that the Sonata received an adequate rating while the Accord received a good rating. What's important to me is that the Sonata had the worst structural instrusion (tied with the Maxima) of the entire Midsized group. In fact, if you compare the Sonata's injury report with that of the Maxima (which received a Marginal rating), you'll see that the Sonata barely bettered it..meaning the Sonata is probably hanging onto that adequate rating by a thread.
  • germancarfan1germancarfan1 Member Posts: 221
    The difference between the best and worst is a POOR rating and a GOOD rating. That difference could mean life and death. How is it that people need to find way to rationalize Hyundai's poor scores.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    I think we hear how you feel, loud and clear. ;)

    How about we move on?
  • joe97joe97 Member Posts: 2,248
    What's interesting is that the government has recently mandated the use of crash test scores on display of each car sold. The scores would, of course, come from NHTSA, and actually boasts well for Hyundai, specifically the Sonata, one of the few vehicles actually archiving 5/5/5/5.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    And I wonder if that encourages automakers to design cars that do well on the NHTSA tests and not necessarily as well on the tougher IIHS tests.

    Anyway, wrt low-end sedans, we'll have another one available very soon: the Versa. I suppose its IIHS frontal and rear crash test scores will be the same as the hatchback's (since the fronts are the same and they don't actually test the car in the rear test), but I wonder if the side test will be redone? Maybe they will also run the frontal test too, if there's a significant weight difference from the hatchback.
  • w9cww9cw Member Posts: 888
    Backy - Yes, the Sonata GLS would fit into this thread, as it can be had for less than $16K, including the rebates before TTL.

    I really don't know why all of this sniping occurs here on Edmunds' forums. Everyone has their own opinion of course, but statistics are only statistics. It makes me wonder how I am still alive driving my 1985 SAAB 900 for 22 years without airbags, ABS, VSC, and all the other safety goodies on cars today. Heck, my wife and I were T-boned by a large '70s vintage Pontiac sedan when driving an old MG Magnette sedan in the early '70s, and we both walked away without any injuries. The same couldn't be said of those in the Pontiac - strange isn't it. The facts are it mostly comes down to the driver's skill (something quite lacking with many drivers today) - and, luck.

    In a jocular tongue-and-cheek mode, German cars are some of the safest cars on the road. Why? Because in the long term, they spend more time in the shop, than on the road. I'm sorry, I just had to say that!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Technically I think the discussion is for cars that list for under $16k, but some people looking at cars in this class cross-shop in the next size class up if the price is right. I know I do. :)
  • targettuningtargettuning Member Posts: 1,371
    How is that you always feel the need to dramatize anything negative for Hyundai? Face it, if the vehicle that just T-boned you intrudes to within an inch or two or three of the seat center line you are in trouble in a Yaris a Fit OR an Accent..probably even in a Rabbit/Jetta. Besides you have no statistics to back up the ability to better survive this type of accident in any one of these cars verses another. Any speculation you make on how any of these cars, or any other size cars for that matter might, or might not, keep you alive is just that...speculation. This is a controlled test with exact impact zones and speeds and while useful for overall comparison it is not the "end all" in real life crashes.
  • germancarfan1germancarfan1 Member Posts: 221
    I believe the mod wants the topic back on track. Let's get back there, shall we?
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    In side impact tests, bigger and heavier doesn't mean better, since scores are comparable across weight classes.

    This is to say that you'd better off in a Yaris plus side airbags than you would be in a Crown Vic, even with its side airbags and "substantial" body on frame structure and weight, given the same size, shape, angle etc., of the impeding vehicle.

    Also, I don't think that vehicles are designed to favor one test over the other, and many vehicles do well in both. My opinion though, is still that the NHTSA side impact rating is very flawed, since it discounts BOTH Head Injury and Pelvic injury.

    Interesting correlation to note: The 5 star (NHTSA) side impact rated Hyundai Sonata recieves a 'Poor' Score for Driver Pelvis/Leg from the IIHS. In the NHTSA test, the Sonata had a Pelvic injury rating that was 1.5 times that of the top-scoring (both tests) Camry. (But the NHTSA score doesn't include Pelvis.)

  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    In side impact tests, bigger and heavier doesn't mean better, since scores are comparable across weight classes.

    It seems the IIHS disagrees with you (bold added by me):

    The Institute's side test is especially challenging for small cars because the barrier that strikes the test vehicle represents the front end of a pickup truck or SUV. Side airbags designed for head protection are crucial because the barrier crashes into the side of the car right at the head level of the two dummies that are positioned in the driver seat and in the rear seat behind the driver.

    "The Versa is bigger than the other cars we tested, so it has size and weight on its side as well as good test results," Lund says.


    Maybe I am reading that wrong, but the way I read it, the IIHS is saying that the size/weight of a car does make a difference in side crash protection. I read someplace else recently (can't remember where) that another reason that small/light cars are at a disadvantage in a side crash is that they can be pushed further than a heavier vehicle, and potentially putting the car into another traffic lane or other hazardous position.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,992
    You're both right.

    The IIHS says that size matters in general, but in the IIHS test results for side impacts, some smaller cars do better than largers cars. And the side impact tests are the only ones that can be compared across vehicle class.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    I think the rear tests can be compared also, since only the seats are actually tested.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    And that was exactly my point - with respect to side crashes, because scores are comparable across weight classes, it CAN be said that you are better off (which I'll define as lower likelihood of injury/death) in a Yaris (with Side Curtains) or Fit than you are in a Crown Victoria or a Sonata, or Fusion, or Maxima, etc.

    However, it CANNOT be said that for frontal offset crashes you're better off in the Yaris or Fit (Good ratings) than in a Fusion or Impala (Acceptable.)

    Again, thanks
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    "I read someplace else recently (can't remember where) that another reason that small/light cars are at a disadvantage in a side crash is that they can be pushed further than a heavier vehicle, and potentially putting the car into another traffic lane or other hazardous position."

    That makes sense. But whatever results from that event is secondary or tertiary to the initial impact, which is what these tests consider.

  • micwebmicweb Member Posts: 1,617
    Changed my decision. I bit the bullet and traded in our family oriented PT Cruiser for a car with standard side curtain airbags - the new car cost $12,888 after discount (plus tax and license and $45 doc fee), weighs 2,900 pounds with a stick shift, and got 5 Star (NHTSA) crash tests front and sides. It has four doors, essential for our little (in size, not numbers) family. Can you guess what I bought?
  • lhansonlhanson Member Posts: 268
    I am guessing Hyundai Accent.
  • roxy11roxy11 Member Posts: 27
    even the new hyundai elantra 5 speed weighs in at just over 2700 lbs, so its definitely not an accent. besides, poor gas mileage wasnt mentioned, so accent and elantra are out.
    of course, coming off the gas sucking pt cruiser, anything would be a vast improvement in the mileage department.
  • micwebmicweb Member Posts: 1,617
    Roxy11 said in part,

    "coming off the gas sucking pt cruiser,"

    This comment, unfortunately, is NOT hyperbole.

    I got a Caliber, which in stick shift configuration is about 2900 pounds, the most porkulent of the economy cars, but fortunately lighter than the PT and HOPEFULLY gets better gas mileage. We got a stick shift this time.

    I can't blame the sample PT Cruiser we had for bad mileage nor the reportedly "inefficient" Chrysler automatic, since BOTH of the ones we had with auto got bad gas mileage, yet the same engine and transmission in a Dodge Caravan minivan actually got BETTER gas mileage - on the other hand the EPA ratings in the minivan are better, and the highway rating for the PT is only 26 mpg...the stick shift Caliber, on the other hand,is rated 28/32 - an odd combination since the city rating is higher than I would expect for a car of this weight, yet the spread with highway mileage is less than I would have thought (4 mpg spread vs. the more typical 7 mile per gallon or more spread).

    I will report more on my impressions in the Caliber forum, but my initial impression is that this is much roomier than a Focus or Cobalt.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,992
    Good LUCK...ever try a foreign make, or do you just drive Dodge?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,615
    because he once drove a Scion xA. His reports on that experience can be found in the Scion xA thread here on Edmunds.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • micwebmicweb Member Posts: 1,617
    And also a 2003 Honda Civic coupe, plus two VW Golfs (2001 and 2004), and an Echo.

    The Focii I had, except for the first, were remarkably defect free, as was the second Golf. The Cobalt I have has 3 defects, nothing major, the new Caliber has 2 defects so far (trim panel rattle, and 10% failure to latch on first slam on the driver's door). It will be interesting to see how Consumer Reports rates the Caliber. They rated the Cobalt lower than I would have, and the Honda and Scion higher (Honda one defect, trim rattle in right C pillar, Scion had an aircon damper problem plus one other minor issue). The Echo had four defects.

    Toyota and Honda definitely jump on minor issues better than other makes. Chevy dealers almost dare you to come back until the defect is loud and/or obvious. But all in all the much lower prices on domestics make up for the slight variance in quality. Plus there are feature sets to consider....

    (The only "serious" mechanical defect I've had on an American car was a slight whirring from a front wheel bearing once. On my first Golf the ECM started going quirky on me at 40k miles.)
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I don't know if we are reading the same Consumer Reports, but IIRC, both the xA and xB Scions rate quite lowly, with a whole heap of cars above them. And the Yaris models were rated lowly for tail-happy handling, lack of class-expected interior flexibility, lack of standard safety features, and the stupid center mounted instrumentation.

    This may change, though, with the introduction of the new Scion xA and xB replacements. Production of the current xA and xB, if I read correctly, has already ceased.

    Consumer Reports already tested the Caliber and gave it a mixed review, which is consistent all the reviews on the vehicle that I've seen.

    "The Caliber is pleasant and has some inventive features, but it is outclassed by similar vehicles. Its ride is comfortable, and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) works well. But the car lacks responsive acceleration or agile handling. The interior has poorly finished materials."

  • brucepadgettbrucepadgett Member Posts: 30
    What is "tail-happy handling"? Thanks.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    moreso than one would expect, or want to deal with in emergency situations. Also called oversteer.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    ... but updated with current models, based on a post here from five years (!) ago. Posted for the current "generation" of contributors. (Alas, so few of us from five years ago are still around today...)

    (If anyone may be offended by a tribute to a classic seasonal poem, they should skip this post.)

    T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the 'Hall
    few members were posting--were they still at the mall?
    The driveway was plowed with the greatest of care
    in hopes that new wheels may soon be parked there.

    The drivers were nestled all snug in their beds
    while visions of low-end cars danced in their heads.
    My sweetie in her driving gloves, and I in my cap,
    had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

    When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
    Away to the window I flew like a flash,
    Tore open the mini-blinds and threw up the sash.

    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
    Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
    When, what with my eyes should I see 'neath the stars,
    But a miniature sleigh, and eight low-end cars!

    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
    More rapid than eagles his small cars they came,
    And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

    "Now, CIVIC! now, LANCER! now, FOCUS and SPECTRA!
    On, ACCENT! on VERSA! on, YARIS and SENTRA!
    To the front of the house! zoom right up to the wall!
    Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

    As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
    When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
    So on to my driveway the vehicles they flew,
    With the sleigh full of cars, and St. Nicholas too.

    And then, I could hear from a distance not far,
    The revving and humming of each little car.
    As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
    Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

    He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
    And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
    A bundle of keys he held at his side,
    And he looked like a dealer, ready for a test-ride.

    His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
    His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
    His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
    And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

    The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
    And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
    He had a broad face and a little round belly,
    That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
    And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
    Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
    And laying his finger aside of his nose,
    And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

    He sprang to his sleigh, to his cars gave a whistle,
    And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
    But I saw out my window, as he drove out of sight,
    A new low-end car on my drive--IT WAS MY LUCKY NIGHT!
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Thanks backy - that was fun and a nice memory. :-)

    Merry Christmas everyone!!
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    P.S. Where did you find that? The archives have been missing for a couple of years! (They actually may be on their way back, but haven't made it yet.)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Right here, actually - #2107.

    Merry Christmas to you, too. Working late on Christmas Eve??
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Heh, just visiting one of my favorite topics, and yes, it was late! ;)

    I thought maybe you had some other source since the search did not turn that post up, at least not for me last night, all I got was the current one. Oh well.

    As I said, thank you - I really enjoyed the post and the trip down memory lane.
  • toyoman3toyoman3 Member Posts: 11
    picked one up to drive from Miami to Orlando about 4 hours, it felt more like 4 days with this car, I know is a cheap car but man alive , my back was killing me when I got to my destination, this had never happened to me before and I have rented many cars for even longer trips, besides tha t it was very noisy and not that economical, I would never buy that car
  • litesong1litesong1 Member Posts: 39
    I have a bad back & driving the Accent is OK. The 8 way adjustable driver's seat helps a lot.
  • traffic_tomtraffic_tom Member Posts: 4
    My Sentra which has over 100k and has performed great over the years is having a problem. Some times the idle falls off and the engine stalls out. It happens when I shift into neutal when coming to a traffic light. Doesnt happen all the time but maybe once or twice a day.


  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Do you have a check engine light on? Take it to autozone and they will read the code for free.
  • dakedake Member Posts: 131
    Has it ever been tuned? If not, a very basic tune up may help out quite a bit. Change out the fuel filter, the spark plugs (and wires if they're looking brittle or worn) and check the distributer cap - it may have a bad spot where it misses every once in awhile.

    The other possibility (and easier still) is to check all your air hoses. Flex them around and look for tiny cracks in the bends. That's probably the biggest culprit. The act of decelerating will cause the engine to shift just enough in it's mount that the hose flexes and a crack spreads enough to let more air than the engine computer is prepared for and it can cause it to stall. Until you get a new hose, some good speed tape around the hose will go a long way.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    My folks are considering this car. Thoughts? Pros/Cons?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    First, I really like the Accent SE except in one respect (more on that later). In fact at one time it was at the top of my "consider" list for my next car. I've driven it and it handles great, has a very comfy driving position (with the classic Hyundai two-knob height adjuster), looks good, has all the power toys, has a short-throw B&M shifter, and has decent room in back for a little hatchback.

    But I wouldn't buy one, mainly for one reason: it got a "Poor" on the IIHS side impact crash test. And it got only "Acceptable" on the frontal test. There are several cars available for about the same money as the Accent SE (or will be available soon, e.g. 2009 Fit) with not only much better crash test results, but with ESC--not even an option on the Accent.

    So if your folks are considering a car in this class, I would steer them to a car like the Versa (excellent crash test results, very roomy), Fit (excellent front and side crash test results, great cargo hauler), or Yaris (excellent front and side crash test results with side airbags, excellent FE) or if they can wait a few months, the 2009 Fit which will offer ESC and be roomier and smoother than the 2008 Fit. Also the Matrix/Vibe and Impreza offer ESC, as will the upcoming Elantra Touring--if they want a hatch.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    The looks of the Accent are what drove them to test-drive it. The lack of cruise control may have been a deal breaker, but I can tell you knowing the crash results, they'll not consider it now. They intend to look at the Fit (they already have a Civic) as well as the Versa (I really like it). I wanted them to like the Elantra, but as they said it, it was just "butt ugly" and they wouldn't consider one. They aren't looking for a hatch per-se, just a gas-sipping second car for a low price (less than the $17k a Civic was).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    They'd need the Fit Sport then, as the base doesn't have cruise.

    How about a slightly-used Civic, or Corolla (with the optional SABs? Since it's a 2nd car, they could save a bundle on a used one. They might really like the previous-gen Corolla--very plain-Jane looking, nothing there to turn them off. Just make sure they are comfortable in the driver's seat--that can be a problem.

    The Versa isn't the greatest "gas sipper" in this class, from what I've seen on it. But it's got limo-like rear leg room!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    How about a slightly-used Civic, or Corolla (with the optional SABs? Since it's a 2nd car, they could save a bundle on a used one.

    In the area (Coastal Alabama) the used Civics offer no real price advantage versus a new one, and after being in my ex's 2004 and seeing the new 2009 Corolla, they don't want one... the "nothing to turn them off" that you state is actually the problem - it has no personality - Something that can't be said of the boistrous Civic they have!

    I'm pushing for the Versa since it would have more room than the Civic. My dad is 6'3", and they have best friends at the coast, one of whom is tall as well. I think they'd enjoy the room more than they realize.
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Member Posts: 1,207
    I'm pushing for the Versa since it would have more room than the Civic. My dad is 6'3", and they have best friends at the coast, one of whom is tall as well. I think they'd enjoy the room more than they realize.

    Sounds to me like your parents are doing a pretty good job of selecting a car for themselves. Did they ask you for your help? Don't get me wrong, I have helped my parents in the past with car selection, but you have to be very careful to present them with information and allow them to make up their own minds rather than trying to impose your own preferences on them.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    I noticed yesterday that, at least in my area, Nissan has 1.9%, 60 month financing on the Versa. you do give up a $500 rebate for this...so it is effectively more like a 3% rate, still a pretty good deal.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Member Posts: 1,694
    Thats a GREAT deal! But a lousy car! (should get better mileage!)
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    I was mistaken...it's actually a $1000 rebate that you give up for the financing. Still not a bad deal for those who need to finance...giving up $1000 plus the 1.9% is probably equivalent to paying around 4% for 60 months.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Yeah, in fact my dad called me from each dealership they visited (Nissan, Honda, Hyundai). He knows I tend to be fairly up on things in the car world, and asks me to tell him stuff he needs to know about the vehicles they are interested in; things they might miss.

    I'll tell ya, a 27/33 economy rating, midsize interior legroom, and a well-equipped $16k pricetag make the Versa pretty appealing.
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Member Posts: 1,207
    Balance is everything - sounds like you have it about right.

    Mu Mum had a Renault Clio - same car as the Versa underneath it all (but smaller engine). The Clio used to be a small car, but it sure has grown in size and refinement.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Unless of course your folks can't stand the looks of it--ala Elantra. But maybe they'll like the Versa in all of its weirdness. Maybe they won't like the fact that they can't lay the rear seat flat, if they go with the hatch. To me, that is a big issue on the Versa hatch.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Living in a condo, they don't carry big stuff often (except if they have to evacuate for a hurricane) so interior room is likely the priority here. I'll keep you posted on the shopping - I'm heading to the gulf this weekend, maybe I'll go look with them.
Sign In or Register to comment.