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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?



  • That's hilarious! Would've loved to hear/see the reaction.

    Happy 9000 everyone.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited September 2010
    I totally get the appeal of a 4 seat convertible so you can be sure it was me saying that.

    We rented one in Florida way back when and squeezed 6 people in it. LOL

    What I didn't like about the new ones is the rear window on the hard top models is no bigger than the soft top's.

    I like the 4 door Wrangler, too, and I look forward to Nissan's convertible Murano (that'll be either totally bizarre or extremely cool, or both).
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I actually just read three short reviews (in one article) by auto journalists that actually LIKED the CRZ!

    I will say it's probably the most fun-to-drive hybrid that I've ever been in. The steering is incredibly fast (some may consider it twitchy), the brakes offer decent bite and pedal feel, the transmission is Honda slick and the suspension is fairly sporty.

    I drove the CR-Z for three days and I think I have a handle on what it's really about: The future.

    Nor does it drive like a hybrid. With the manual transmission and its nimble handling, it is engaging and dynamic on the road

    But when you put it in sport mode, the car feels completely different and is a lot of fun to drive.

    Despite the lack of factory moonroof, I think I am going to have to go out and drive one of these things. I have sat in it now, and it has a nice interior with a lot of nifty touches. And I love the exterior styling. I would be looking for an EX stick shift, which has a sticker of $21,5, not really much over $20K and not that high given how prices have risen.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Motor Trend did a test comparing the CR-Z with the Golf diesel, and they much prefered the Golf. Please let us know your impressions after you drive the CR-Z.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Diesel is 25-30% higher in price than regular unleaded all the time in my area, so that Golf would have to hit 50-55 mpg pretty consistently just to match the 40 mpg I wpould get in the CRZ. AND MAYBE IT WOULD. EITHER WAY, I know the CRZ is not everyones cup of tea.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,352
    well, being a 2 seater automatically makes it a niche product. Not thinking too many people would cross shop the Golf to it, but what do I know?

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    edited September 2010
    I just want a high-mpg car that also handles well and is generally fun to drive. Two seats isn't ideal for me, but neither is the weight and soft suspension of the Golf. I prefer lightweight with sharp handling.

    Obviously, the Mazda2 could have much of the same goodness for about $6000 less, but now I have sat in one I think its a bit more basic than I want.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    have you checked out the Fiesta?
  • Its not just the price of gas. I just traded in a Civic hybrid. Honda's IMA system is terrible and the batteries wear out too quickly. If you factor in the cost of the batteries, the Golf is much, much cheaper to operate.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I presume you've driven a Fit?

    I wonder if the CR-Z is more fun. Try 'em back to back.

    It would be nice it Honda built a Fit Si with a tad more power.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I live in a CARB state, so the batteries are warranted by Honda for 10 years/150K miles. It's a requirement to get the AT-PZEV rating the CRZ has (which is another reason I am interested in one vs the LEV-rated Golf TDI).

    It seems that if I am serious about checking out the competition, I need to drive it back to back with a Fit Sport, a Mini Cooper, and a Golf TDI! An odd mix. If I get some time I will try to do so. I have driven the Fit, which is a decent drive for a car at its price point, but the interior of the CRZ is way nicer (for only about $3000 more) and I am hoping the handling and off-the-line pep of the CRZ will be significantly better too.

    Haven't driven the Fiesta yet, am curious to do that also. The Fiesta has the same 37 mpg highway rating the CRZ does, and of course it has the benefit of a back seat as well. Not to mention I could have a factory moonroof in an SEL for the price of the CRZ.

    Reviews say the Fiesta has soft handling and numb steering. The Echo I already have has soft handling and numb steering. I don't want another 8 years of that at any price no matter how low.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I drove a Fiesta but not quick enough to get an impression on those things. It had good pep off the line and I liked the interior. The back seat is a tad small, too.

    Did you see that Mazda will put a high-efficiency 2.0l in the next Mazda3? That might be an option. I read it would get 40mpg highway.
  • """". I have driven the Fit, which is a decent drive for a car at its price point, but the interior of the CRZ is way nicer (for only about $3000 more) and I am hoping the handling and off-the-line pep of the CRZ will be significantly better too"""""

    Having personally gone from a 2010 Fit Sport (which I had 2 months) to a 2011 CRZ base with the CVT I can honestly say the CRZ is a blast to drive in sport mode and in normal/econ modes I am averaging 42 mpg.

    I find the CRZ to be more comfortable than my Fit was, and the interior / gauges are totally awesome - you will not be disappointed !

    Check out my CRZ below

    imageSee more Car Pictures at">
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Looks nice - congrats.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 801
    I spent a day driving a new Fiesta a few weeks ago. I took my mom's Explorer in for a warranty repair (yet again) and asked if I could have a Fiesta as a loaner. It was a Fiesta SE 5-door with the 6-speed Powershift automatic, but no other options. I wasn't overly impressed, especially by the transmission. The acceleration and interior quality were better than I expected, but it was nothing special other beyond that.

    The Mazda2 Touring, especially with the 5-speed manual, is actually quicker than the Fiesta with 5-speed manual and it costs quite a bit less also! "Car and Driver" just did a comparison test with the Fiesta SES 5-door, Mazda2 Touring and Honda Fit Sport, all with 5-speed manual. Despite the EPA ratings, the Mazda2 averaged 33mpg over the 1350-mile road test. The Fiesta trailed with 32mpg overall, despite having a 2mpg higher EPA city and highway rating than the Mazda.

    I test drove the Mazda2 with manual and automatic and was impressed with both. The automatic is a little slower than I would want, but the manual version is quick and a lot of fun to drive!
    2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum, 2012 Mazda CX-9 GT
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I sat in the Mazda2 and quickly discovered that the pod where the shifter sits (it's halfway up the center of the dash in this car rather than on the floor) is so intrusive into the driver's area that my knee was much-too-firmly braced against it when I had my foot on the gas. It's a great shame, becaue I liked everything else about the car. Why did they make that shifter pod so needlessly big?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In that case Mazda SERIOUSLY needs to re-think driver ergonomics. The complaints include:

    * shift pod on Mazda2 that bugged you
    * bottle holders in the doors of 2006-08 Miatas that bugged EVERYBODY
    * protrusion in center console of the Mazda CX-9 that rubs my right knee

    Some of those are deal-killer. You just cannot get comfortable.

    I loved the Miata enough that I rigged some padding in that spot with 2-sided tape; it was unbearable without it. For 2009 they changed the door panel, acknowledging their mistake.

    The CX9 was a deal killer. And the protrusion isn't even necessary, it's a styling item in silver-plastic finish. I bought a minivan instead.

    C'mon Mazda, pay attention to the details! :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    The co-worker who I helped pick a Fiesta just had her transmission fail - completely. 320 miles!

    I feel awful because I recommended it.

    Hopefully they replace it and warranty the new one for 100k miles.

    Is this a new trans? Hasn't Ford had it around for a while in bigger cars?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,352
    no, the powershift (that what they call it?) is a pretty new design. Not sure how long it has been out in Europe, but this is the first use in NA. I think it is a dry clutch dual-clutch manual, instead of wet like VW uses? Or I just made that up.

    Actually, 320 miles would bother me less than if it crapped out at 30K (or another early PIT like many Honda ATs). Brand new, it has to be a fluke (some defective part, or manufacturing defect), as opposed to just a poor design that wears out quickly!

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Well, we will see via juice's friend if it was just a fluke or if the powershift is a chronic baddie. This is why I always recommend the manual. Particularly in small-engined cars like this.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    She said she would drop by today to chat, but I was busy. Maybe I'll seek her out tomorrow and ask.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    edited October 2010
    smart is going to sell a rebadged Nissan hatchback in the US in about a year. Supposed to be something "like a Versa", the rendering looks like a restyled K13 March/Micra.

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A reporter wants to interview people who are focused on achieving 30mpg or better in their next car puchase. Please reply to by Fri, Oct 15, 2010 with your daytime contact info and a few thoughts on the subject.
    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited October 2010
    Update: my friend had the Fiesta for 7 days when it would not go into reverse and eventually stalled in the middle of the street. She had to get it towed to the dealer. Not good.

    First they said it was some wiring that got too hot and was damaged.

    They changed that but it didn't help, the computer was fried.

    They changed that and it still didn't help, so now they are replacing the entire transmission.

    They gave her a loaner for now (Sentra), but she's had the loaner longer than she's had the car, and she's still making payments. Bummer.

    She went to meet the GM of the dealer today, and I advised her to ask for either a new car, or at the very least a 100k mile warranty on the transmission once it's totally sorted out. The dealer told her there is one other similar case in NM.

    Thing is - it does not yet qualify as a lemon, because she only took it to the dealer once (even though they're on the 3rd fix).
  • lhansonlhanson Posts: 268
    The Ford dealer gave her a Nissan Sentra loaner? What happens if she likes that better than the Fiesta? Very interesting situation, keep us updated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Minor Update: she met with the GM, they showed her the brand-spankin' new trans.

    She's being offered a 100k powertrain warranty, too.

    So looks like Ford is stepping up. Hopefully this is a minor hiccup, and not a common issue, and she'll keep the warranty as a bonus when this is all sorted out.

    She's still in the rental, though.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    edited October 2010
    According to this article, the total labor cost to build an Aveo is less than $500. Despite the cost being low, GM has an agreement with the union to bring in low-cost workers to make the overall labor cost for an Aveo even lower, so they can be built in the U.S beginning next year:

    Small cars, smaller wages: A precedent?

    Automotive News -- October 11, 2010

    DETROIT -- To lure a low-profit small car to the United States, the UAW agreed to staff about 40 percent of a Michigan assembly plant with workers who earn $14 an hour -- half the regular UAW wage.

    So is this a practice that will spread to other assembly plants, further lowering wages in the industry but making U.S.-made vehicles more competitive?

    ........General Motors Co. and the UAW revealed terms of the lower-wage agreement last week for GM's Orion Township (Mich.) Assembly Plant. That's where GM will build the next subcompact Chevrolet Aveo and a new Buick compact called the Verano. The current Aveo is assembled in South Korea.

    Cole said small cars' low stickers can't offset the cost of a traditional $28 an hour wage in Detroit 3 U.S. assembly plants. That's why, for example, Ford Motor Co. is building the Ford Fiesta subcompact in Mexico and Chrysler Group plans to build the Fiat 500 subcompact there starting in December.

    "I do believe this agreement sets the stage for dealing with small-car plants a little differently," Cole said.

    Manufacturing consultant Ron Harbour says the lower-wage workers will generate modest production-cost savings for GM.

    His math: The lower-wage workers will account for 40 percent of the work force, or 8 hours of the 20 or so needed to assemble a car at Lake Orion. With lower-wage workers earning $14 less per hour, that's $112 per car. The savings will be slightly higher, because benefits will be lower for some of the lower-wage workers, he says.

    .........Bragman, a senior analyst with IHS Automotive, said that was the price of bringing to the United States a small car that normally would have been built in a low-cost country such as Mexico. GM ranks Mexico as low-cost, meaning it pays workers less than $15 an hour in combined wages and benefits. -

    I wonder if the currency squeeze and the sheer cost of building a subcompact will collide in the next few years with the low sticker price Americans expect subcompacts to have, eventually squeezing them out of the market.

    I sure hope not! Toyota reduces importation of the Yaris because the Corolla sells for very little more and is built in North America. Honda does the same with the Fit, because of the Civic. Nissan builds in Mexico, and except for this unusual GM experiment all the "domestics" build their small cars in Mexico or elsewhere. VW keeps saying it can't make the case to bring the Polo here because of cost/price ratio, and they already build the Jetta/Golf in Mexico.

    And I find that all of the automakers do a poor job of overseeing quality control on their products built in Mexico, so they are always significantly worse. It is one thing that gives me pause about looking at a Fiesta, actually. The same-platform Mazda2 seems like a better bet, built as it is in Japan. But how long can Mazda afford to do that?

    My hope remains that there is a gradual shift away from midsize to compact in the U.S. - they are running neck and neck now - and that subcompacts see a boost from that trend. If they were much higher volume than they are today, I think that automakers would be more willing to sell subs here, because narrower profit margins are OK if the volume is up.

    Fingers crossed......

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,236
    edited October 2010
    and being sold as a Dodge. It's called the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Apparently Alfa Romeo is owned by Fiat and since Dodge is basically owned now by Fiat, too, and the Caliber has been a flop, Dodge needs an influx of small cars to sell in the U.S. And according to, this Alfa Romeo is going to be badged and sold in the U.S. as a Dodge. Whoo-hoo! I like it.

    And Elko, NV, has a Dodge dealer. So if the 2012 Scion FR-S comes as only a Scion to the U.S., the closest Scion dealer to me is some 192 miles away, but Dale White Motors of Elko, NV, sells both Toyota's and Dodge's. This car is FWD and is great in the snow, which also fits Elko's harsh winters. In fact, the car is great fun in the snow. The Scion FR-S is RWD, not as good in the snow. My '08 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is also FWD and should be fine in the snow as well.


    I configured one on the main Alfa Romeo website, getting a manual transmission, Bose stereo, foglights, 17" turbine wheels with 225/45 R17 tires, black leather seats, red stitching on the seats and the steering wheel and gear knob, rear spoiler, cruise control, dual zone automatic climate control, power front windows, front armrest with storage compartment, side skirts, sports dials with white illumination, 6 airbags, ABS w/EBD, Alfa code immobilizer and alarm system, Vehicle Dynamic Control (ABS+ASR+Brake Assistant) with hill holder & electronic Q2, aluminum kickplates, sport pedals, dark brushed aluminum trim inserts, darkened headlights and 40 mpg. This is a 5-speed manual transmission and the car's engine is a 120hp 4-cyl. Wow.

    It does take a little getting used to that weird grille shape but that's done already. I like it!

    Hey, alltorque, tell me this. The main website gave me the price in British pounds, if I recognize the symbol they used. The website address of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is this, if you want to check it out.

    Configuring the Giulietta just the way I've described will run me 21,995 in what I believe is a British pound symbol. What does that translate to in US dollars, might I ask?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    edited October 2010
    NO NO NO NO NO !!!!!! Putting a Dodge badge on that is wrong on every conceivable level. :cry:

    Aaaaaaarrrrgggghhhhh. Sacrilege. :sick:

    Please tell me it's a joke. :confuse:
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,236
    edited October 2010
    this is truth, man. Here's where I found it. - - - - - - dodge-caliber-replac/

    The Dodge Giulietta will be built at the Belvidere, IL, Chrysler plant.

    According to numerous reports, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta will serve as the foundation for a 2011 successor for the aging, lackluster Dodge Caliber. USA Today cites Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Fiat and Chrysler, with throwing out the words that stirred up a slew of reports. The Detroit Free Press adds more fuel to the story by indicating that this new model, based on Fiat's C-EVO platform, will hit 40 miles per gallon and possibly even resemble the Giulietta in its final form.

    Jeff Schuster, J.D. Power and Associates' director of global forecasting, points to the possibility that Dodge may not be the only brand to receive this upcoming 40-mpg model. Schuster believes that Chrysler could get a version, and, are you ready for this, the mighty Jeep brand might as well. Suppliers and consultants familiar with the project say that the vehicle will roll off the lines at Chrysler's Belvidere, IL plant late next year. Yesterday, Chrysler formally announced that it will invest $600 million to retool its Belvidere plant. Reports claim that this retooling will ready the site for production of a new generation of Fiat-based, fuel-efficient vehicles.

    What does 21,995 in British pounds come out to in USD, alltorque, roughly?

    FWI's W, everybody, I have already read up on this before, about a month ago. This is reality, it is going to happen, and the small town in NE Nevada I live in is going to get this car at a local dealer, and I like it. I like it a lot!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

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