Last post on Jul 16, 2009 at 4:31 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Fit, Mazda MAZDA3, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Sentra, Sedan
#1040 of 1205 Re: Cobalt XFE [backy]
Jun 13, 2008 (12:03 pm)
Agreed on all of your points. I've recently driven two Cobalts (fairly tarted up versions that were rentals), a Civic, a Mazda 3 and a Rabbit, and while the Rabbit is significantly more fun to drive than any of the above (although the M3 ain't too bad), mileage will suddenly become a huge issue if I take this contract.
Looking at it from a $4.00 per gallon basis, and with my current commute hack as the reference point against which all others are judged, I find the following annual fuel costs for these cars:
MPG Ė Annual $
- 22 ---- $9,090.91 -- 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan (long since paid off)
- 29 ---- $6,896.55 -- 2009 VW Rabbit Coupe 5-Speed (about $16,000 out the door)
- 32 ---- $6,250.00 -- 2008 Mazda 3 5-Door 5-Speed (about $18,000 out the door)
- 34 ---- $5.882.35 -- 2008 Honda Civic LX 5-Speed (about $17,000 out the door)
- 36 ---- $5,555.56 -- 2008 Chevy Cobalt XFE Sedan 1LT 5-Speed (about $14,000 out the door)
The Rabbit and the M3 5-Door have an advantage because I frequently need to schlep our 75 pound Labrador (who loves to swim and get muddy and who sheds A LOT) around and I'd rather not stick him in the back seat. That said, the Cobalt is so inexpensive and gets such good mileage that it would be cheaper to keep the 1998 DGC for dog duty than it would be to peddle the old girl and get the Rabbit or the M3. Hmmmmz.
#1041 of 1205 Re: Cobalt XFE [shipo]
Jun 13, 2008 (12:26 pm)
Another option to look into would be a used '04-6 Elantra GLS (sedan, or hatch for the Lab) with 5-speed. You could get one pretty cheap, they have a very smooth, quiet highway ride, a great driver's seat with 8-way adjustment, and I got over 40 mpg on the highway when I kept it around 60 mph (upper 30s at 65-70). The only big negative on the car is lack of side curtain airbags, but driving long distances on highways that may not be a huge concern.
A used Corolla or Yaris (hatch for the Lab!) would be another option--more pricey than an Elantra, and the driving position is not as adjustable, but high FE and a pretty nice highway ride.
#1042 of 1205 Re: Cobalt XFE [backy]
Jun 13, 2008 (1:28 pm)
I drove a couple of Elantra rental cars last year and am decidedly not impressed. I find their ride, handling and responsiveness to be rubber-bandishly numb; I mean, even our two Caravans have more road feel than the Elantras I drove. I'm quite sure I could never be happy in one of those cars.
As for the new Corolla, I have yet to drive one, but all reports indicate that it's pretty numb and unresponsive as well. FWIW, both my mom and my mother-in-law have Corollas, and they're nowhere even near the Civic or the Cobalt in that department, and those two are handily trumped by the Mazda 3, which in turn is less responsive than the Rabbit. I mean, I gotta have some fun.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, "Act your age!" Geez, I'm over 50 and still insist on driving a stick shift wherever and whenever I can. I guess some folks never grow up.
At this point, Iím thinking that itís between the Rabbit and the Cobalt, and over the course of the first 50,000 mile year, the Cobalt will cost me about $2,000 less than the Rabbit to buy and save me another $1,400 in fuel. The flip side is that if I opt for the Rabbit, Iíll save roughly $1,000 by not having to insure three cars, and I might be able to get say $1,500 out of the old Caravan, $2,000 max, so the first year would be between $400 and $900 cheaper if I keep the old van and buy the Cobalt. Now I have to decide whether having a little bit of fun is worth $900.
Hmmm, thinking as I type, if I sell whatever I buy after the contract is over, will a 1 year old Rabbit with 50,000 miles on it have a higher percentage resale value than a 1 year old Cobalt with the same mileage? Donít know the answer to that one.
#1043 of 1205 Re: Cobalt XFE [shipo]
Jun 13, 2008 (1:36 pm)
The Elantra GLS (and GT) hatch has a sport-tuned suspension and steering that might be more to your liking. I've never seen those as rentals.
But I think it's interesting you were not impressed by the Elantra yet like the Cobalt's ride and handling enough to seriously consider it.
I've driven the Mazda3 on the freeway and I love how it handles, but I don't like the firm suspension and tire noise on bad roads--which there are too many of where I live. Civic also is too noisy for my taste for a long drive; for around town it would be fine though.
If I were you I'd seriously consider the "buy used' play, run the car into the ground, and buy another one. Instead of $14-18K up front, it would be about half that. The car would be worth diddly after 2-3 years, but who cares?
#1044 of 1205 Re: Cobalt XFE [backy]
Jun 13, 2008 (1:52 pm)
I rented a Cobalt and an Elantra back to back during two consecutive weeks of traveling a a while back, and the Cobalt was easily the nicer of the two to drive. That said, I like a firm ride, sharp steering, and stiff tires, and the Cobalt had that in spades over the Elantra.
As for the buy used play; I guess I'm just too picky, I don't like other people's cast offs. Call it a character flaw, but there it is.
#1045 of 1205 Re: Cobalt XFE [shipo]
Jun 14, 2008 (3:59 am)
Almost every compact car in one forum or another has achieved 40-mpg by an owner-Cobalt, Civic, Corolla, etc. The Cobalt XFE-Xtra fuel economy from my understanding is more than just a few models and is more than just a name.
If you want ride, comfort, and quietness then the Cobalt leads the compact class in those regards. The seats were specially designed to provide comfort on long commutes. The seat designer is well known and tested the seats to go in the Cobalt well before production started. They are firm but the comfort is good for all day driving.
I don't see how a Hyundai got put into the top of the conversation because its not quite there for that status. There is no bad compact car so its a question of what you like and want to live for. Keep in mind if you go the Hyundai way that the powertrain warranty is non-transferrable to those outside of your family.
#1046 of 1205 Re: Cobalt XFE [poncho167]
Jun 14, 2008 (6:07 am)
I've read several reviews of the Cobalt and I've driven some as rentals. I think the ride smoothness is its greatest asset. Is it as quiet as others it its class, e.g. Corolla, Elantra, and Rabbit? It's OK, but I would not put it above those cars in quietness. As for the seats, the reviews I've read--and I must agree with them based on my experience--put the seats as a weak point of the car, except for the top-trim model with sport seats. Those were strongly praised as nearly Recaro-like. But for the "normal" Cobalts, I personally didn't find the driver's seat more comfortable than several others in this class, e.g. Civic, Elantra, Mazda3, Rabbit, and Sentra. And the back seat, even in the sedan, is near the bottom of the class, both in room and comfort. That is excusable on the coupe, since there can be some sacrifice for styling, but not in a 4-door sedan in this class IMO.
As far as Hyundai, not sure about your comment "how a Hyundai got put into the top of the conversation" , but the Elantra is a solid entry in this class, and in the minds of some professional reviewiers leads the class. IMO it has class-leading interior room and comfort, a high-quality interior that is far above what Cobalt offers (not just my opinion, read the reviews), safety features including standard ESC on the SE (optional on Cobalt), six standard airbags (Cobalt offers just 4), and standard ABS (optional on Cobalt and hard to get from what I've read on the 5MT). It also has a very quiet, smooth ride for the class, a smooth powertrain (although not as high-powered as the Cobalt's), excellent braking (4-wheel discs with ABS standard), and good handling especially on the SE. Add to that the class-leading (shared with Spectra and Lancer) warranty and good reliability, the Elantra is one of the top choices in this class IMO and significantly ahead of the Cobalt in most areas.
Jun 14, 2008 (11:30 am)
Personally I'd lump cobalt and elantra both down, although I'd put cobalt lower. I'd definitely prefer the Civic or Mazda3 in this category.
Also I just looked up this LFE thing and it's only for 5 speed manuals on bottom 2 trims. That's pretty disappointing. They should have engineered it for all cars using the same engines including the automatics. GM had better do more for the next model year. Looks like it's perfect for you though shipo.
#1048 of 1205 Re: Cobalt XFE [poncho167]
Jun 14, 2008 (11:44 am)
"If you want ride, comfort, and quietness then the Cobalt leads the compact class in those regards."
I don't think I've ever stated that I was looking for comfort and quietness in any car I've every bought, and with regard to cars in this size range, I despise a soft comfy ride. While I agree that the Cobalt has better seats than many in this class, the Rabbit seats fit my body far more comfortably than the Cobalt.
Regarding the Hyundai and it's warranty, since the Elantra was crossed off my list before I even started shopping in this segment, the warranty is kind of moot. In fact, given that I turned a pretty fair wrench in a former life, I personally could care less about a warranty, so much so that if they were to offer me more off the price of the car if they shortened the warranty to a 12/12 version, I'd take it.
#1049 of 1205 Re: Meh to Both [moocow1]
Jun 14, 2008 (2:52 pm)
I agree the Civic and Mazda3 are excellent small cars. It all depends on what you are looking for in a car. One of my main requiremetns in my next car is ESC. I can't get that on the Civic today (except the Si, which is way more car than I want my daughter driving at a young age) or the Mazda3i. So that one requirement knocks both cars way, way down on my list. Also, I like a roomy back seat because two of my kids are tall teenaged boys, who have like-sized friends. The idea of being able to take a small car on a long road trip (e.g. MN to TX) if I want to is appealing. That would never work with the Civic or Mazda3--rear seat is pretty tight, and I'd never put someone back there for 600 miles a day. I'm also looking for a quality new car at the lowest possible acquisition cost, which puts the Civic at a disadvantage since they are high priced for the class to begin with and there are no rebates. The Mazda3i is more reasonably priced, but still significantly more expensive than a car like the Elantra SE, after deducting rebates (currently $1500-2000) and discounts. And one more thing I need is a smooth-riding car, because the roads in my area (Twin Cities) are pretty bad, with lots of potholes and patches. So a car like the Cobalt, Corolla, Elantra, Impreza, or Sentra has an advantage over the Civic and Mazda3 there.
On the Cobalt XFE, the big difference between the 5MT and 4AT on fuel economy is interesting. That is pretty rare these days. It's more common for the MT and AT numbers to be pretty close, or even for the AT to get slightly better EPA FE numbers than the MT. I wonder what Chevy did to the MT coupe to allow it to achieve those really high FE numbers--much higher than the AT? Or maybe the AT on the Cobalt is just inefficient?