Last post on Dec 30, 2011 at 9:54 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Toyota ECHO, Chevrolet Aveo, Kia Rio, Nissan Sentra, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, Kia Spectra, Suzuki Forenza, Sedan
#1356 of 3871 Ceilings, VWs and Bears, Oh My! (long)
Dec 18, 2001 (7:21 pm)
Been reading here for a while and would like to put in my $0.02
Moving the ceiling from $20,000 to $15,000 cuts out many cars that really are still quite low-end by today's definition, and virtually eliminates what to me is a major dillema every time I buy a car: Loaded compact or stripped mid-size. My choice would be $17,000, at which point you get higher-line Civics and Corollas, well-equipped Sonatas and very, very stripped Accords. This is selfish because I just got a new Mitsubishi Galant for very close to that $17K fully loaded (ringer).
Volkswagen Golf (base) is a fantastic car for under $15K which I very nearly purchased - best to keep it in the group.
I like bears, so thought I'd mention them. They it here as well as TVs and boxer grills (they really just paid for his name, he didn't invent it).
Seriously though, I just traded my 1997 Sentra GXE 5-speed for the Galant, and before that owned a Kia Avella (Ford Aspire) in Korea, a Mazda 323, Mitsubishi Mirage, Toyota Corolla, and the much maligned Chevy Sprint, which when it grew up became the Metro.
One thing I have noticed is an almost "national character" to the cars of various countries, with Korean cars a bit hard to pin down. I have driven many Korean cars and came very close to buying the incredibly gorgeous Elantra GT (I love hatchbacks). Japanese cars have become rather sterile, American cars are somehow just a bit cheesy, and Korean cars tend to be close to one or the other, while not quite hitting the mark. German cars are simply gorgeous at any price point, though for mid-sized dollars you only get a compact.
My 1994 Kia Avella (Ford Aspire) was exceedingly Japanese in character, and while small and cheap, drove nice enough and was a generally pleasant ride. It felt just like a small Mazda (which it was), although build quality just wasn't on the Japanese level. The car was very quiet when new, but the rattles came quick, as did road noise, wind noise and a weird moan from the AC. Still, I put 60,000 km on the car before I left Korea, and my brother-in-law drove it for another 45,000 trouble-free kilometers.
A 1994 Mazda 323 was an exceptional small car, though lacking in equipment. It had AC and an automatic but everything else was manual. Still it had decent ride, handled very well, and was almost as quiet when I sold it with 50,000 miles as the Kia was when new. Simply excellent.
I replaced the Mazda with a 1997 Toyota Corolla (stripper) which I bought new. I had always wanted a new Corolla as for almost 20 years I had thought of them as the holy grail of automotive quality and reliability. Needless to say I was dissappointed. My car, I suspect, was wrecked before I ever got it. It had many squeeks and rattles and was constantly going back to the dealership to get them exorcized. I also found small pieces of broken glass about a month after I bought the car while cleaning under the floormat, it was tinted glass, so I knew it came from the car. After initiating arbitration, I received a call from the dealership (6 months after purchase) telling me that they had decided to give me my money back. On my way to the dealership, some a$shole in a full-size GMC pickup drifted across the center divider and hit me head on at a combined speed of 110MPH, totally demolishing my lemon Corolla (thank goodness for gap insurance).
To be fair, my Corolla was a lemon. Here is my impression in general of the 97 Corolla (which many consider a better car than the 98-present model). It was built like a tank - evidenced by my walking away from a passenger cabin that was not deformed AT ALL, had plenty of power from the base engine (100hp - 5 speed manual) and except for the rattles I had, delivered a very plush, smooth and generally EXPENSIVE-feeling ride. If you squinted a bit, it was easy to imagine you are driving a Lexus. The seats were extremely firm and supportive, the controls (what few of them there were - this was a real stripper) all reeked of quality, and generally I felt like I got far more than I paid for. Toyota quality is real people.
After the Corolla was paid off and I had to give the rental back (1997 Plymouth Breeze) I wanted to buy another Corolla, but there were $2000 rebates on Nissan Sentras, and my mind was made up based on $$$. I took delivery of a silver 1997 Sentra GXE, again a 5 speed, and had that car until this past Sunday. The Sentra was rattle free from the day I bought it until I sold it with over 56,000 miles on the clock. It always started up, though at about 32,000 developed a cold start hesitation (always started on second try), which was fixed under warranty by replacing some sort of sensor or another (ECM???).
I had a lot of fun with the Sentra, replaced the stock (crappy) General AmeriG4S tires with a set of Pirelli P400s, and generally drove it as though I had just stollen it. I revved it at every light, dumped the clutch and speed shifted, threw it around corners and generally had a ball, all without attracting much constabulary attention. The car was still completely reliable, and had only gone through normal wear items like tires, brakes and a clutch (my exuberant driving, not the car, is at fault here).
The only problem with the Sentra was that unlike the Corolla, it just looked and felt a bit cheap, which of course at $12,000 + T&L, it was. I felt poor every time I walked up to it in a parking lot, and had serious iron envy whenever I drove my wife's Saturn L200 (midsize, automatic, very nice car for the $16K we paid).
Finally it became too much and I went looking for a new car. I'll admit it, I came to within an inch of buying a compact, 4-door hatchback, a body style I've always really liked. The Mazda Protege5 is really cool and simply a blast to drive. Ditto the Hyundai Elantra GT, which with leather at under $15K is a steal. The Volkswagen Golf was also a delightful car, and despite having crank windows and manual mirrors, was my favorite of the bunch. I decided to check out the new Mistubishi Lancer on my way to buy the VW, and took that for a drive. It was a very nice car, but at $16K the Golf was much better. However, sitting right next to it was a Galant at $18K, and since I had time, I took it out for a ride.
Needless to say my compact plans were out the window and I began researching mid-size cars, something I had already done a year before when my wife bought her Saturn. I did all the rounds again and checked all the magazines and owner forums, and came to the same conclusions I did a year ago - Japanese are best in this class, and Saturn is best value (I get the GMS employee pricing). Not wanting a car exactly the same as my wife's, I started working down my list trying to get the best value I could. Camry and Altime (1st and 3rd choice, respectively) were both VERY expensive, with no dealers having base models and completely unwilling to deal on these very new models. The older m
#1357 of 3871 major that seems overly dramatic
Dec 18, 2001 (7:25 pm)
-accidently shifting into lower gear and blowing the engine?Well,yeah,if you are doing about 130 and shift to 3rd instead of 5th that would make a racket alright.To be honest ,the interior of the Spectra may be quite spacious compared to an Echo;but hardly large enough to afford an inordinately long shift throw.You can probably roll the passenger window down from the drivers seat without unhooking the seat belt.
#1358 of 3871 To lawman1967
Dec 18, 2001 (8:46 pm)
Thanks for your story--hope to see you back here frequently. As for upping the low-end max to $17,000, IMO that puts us into a class of distinctly non-low-end cars, like the Sonata you mentioned. But it would also open up the discussion to non-stripper versions of the Japanese compacts, and just barely get us into VW territory also to add more European cars to the group. So I could go for it if that's the consensus. It would give us more to talk about and that is a good thing.
Coincidentally, my previous car was also a silver Sentra GXE 5-speed that I got for a too-good-to-pass-up price (actually a great lease deal, $110/month). My Sentra was also very reliable, although I thought it was pretty "thin" for a $15,000 MSRP car. Now I wish I had upgraded the tires on my Sentra--that was probably its weakest link. I am much happier with my '01 Elantra, a far superior car that actually cost less than the discounted price of the Sentra. Good luck with the Galant! (I had a used '92 Galant that was a good car, but when I got it, it had 100,000 miles on it and things started breaking. I dumped it seven months later for the Sentra.)
#1359 of 3871 low end cars?
Dec 18, 2001 (9:35 pm)
Hyundai is my favorite automaker right now. why? They have style, decent enough power, and the price is right.
Japan,Inc looks uniform, boring. USA stuff ? Had it with them abotu 11 years ago.
#1360 of 3871 Countries of origin....
Dec 19, 2001 (9:14 am)
Here is a quick list of countries that I would buy a car from in order from the most likely to the least likely.
Japanese: quality and reliability
German: Style and feel
British: Status symbol (in the US at least)
Italian: Pure driving machines but spendy! (the ones that we can get here in the US that is)
French: Not an American car.
Yugoslavian: Not an American car.
Russian: Not an American car.
Chinese: Not an American car.
Vietnamese: Not an American car.
Luxembourgean: Not an American car.
Turkyean: you get the picture.
American: Self propelled transport.
Now this is strictly for brand spankin new cars.
Dec 19, 2001 (11:32 am)
You would buy an American car ahead of an Iranian car! That ought to be worth something, huh?
Dec 19, 2001 (2:08 pm)
hummmmmmmmmmm, I don't really see style and feel in low-end german car......... What is a low-end german car anyway? a striped Jetta?
Dec 19, 2001 (2:49 pm)
I am just calling it like I see it and it was not a matter of making the shift from fourth to fifth and ending up in third. It was a case of shifting from fourth and not being sure what gear I was in. I might have been in first or third. I just knew I was not in fifth, but since I had not let out the clutch, I went back to neutral and searched for fifth.
And the worry that I was going to blow the engine came from not knowing if the Spectra had a rev limiter. I have no idea what would have happened if I had accidently shifted from fourth to first and let the clutch out.
And I guess you, lleroi, have never heard the terms long throws and short throws?
Dec 19, 2001 (2:55 pm)
Since it looks like we have some new blood, perhaps we should tell them why we set the $15,000 ceiling and how we figured which cars would be included.
I will let someone deal with the former and I will try to deal with the latter.
To be considered, a car must be available in base form for $15,000 or under. A car is not eligible for consideration if it is substantially different from a car of the same model even if the latter is eligible for consideration.
Thus the Neon R/T is not eligible for consideration because it is substantially different from the base Neons that are eligible for consideration.
FWIW, our self-imposed ceiling is higher than the one that Edmunds set when determining their most wanted low end cars.
#1365 of 3871 Re ceiling
Dec 19, 2001 (4:19 pm)
>>> To be considered, a car must be available in base form for $15,000 or under. <<< Hmm, I don't recall that particular restriction, but it's been awhile and a lot of posts since we talked about the limits. I had the impression that the car had to have an MSRP including destination of less than $15,000 to qualify as one of our "low-end" cars. I don't recall anything about "in base form" or "substantially different." That would lead to all sorts of interpretations as to what a "substantial difference" is. For instance, the Neon R/T has pretty much the same hardware in the critical areas as the Neon ACR, which does come in under $15,000. So why doesn't the R/T qualify? And the Protege LX and EX have lots more/different equipment than the DX, but the same body and engine--so should they qualify or not? Is the Civic EX substantially different than the DX, since it has a different engine, ABS, moonroof, revised interior, etc.? I think it would be a lot more straightforward if we make it a simple limit; if the car has an MSRP including destination under the limit, it's in. If not, it's out.