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
#820 of 1205 New CR comparo
Sep 01, 2007 (3:00 pm)
There's a comparo of economy sedans (well, and one wagon) in the October Consumer Reports. The ranking order, from top to bottom, is:
Hyundai Elantra GLS
Mitsubishi Lancer ES
Nissan Sentra 2.0S
(All cars had automatic transmissions.)
The Elantra now trails the Civic EX and Hybrid, Focus ZX4 SES, Mazda3i, and Jetta in CR's rankings of Small Cars. The xB is 2nd in CR's rankings of Wagons and Hatchbacks, behind the Mazda3s Grand Touring.
I thought CR's review aligns pretty much with my impressions of the three cars I've driven--Elantra, Lancer, and Sentra. I would rank them in the same order. One thing I like about CR's reviews is they are matter-of-fact; they don't try to get clever or cutesy like the automotive mags and web sites do sometimes. That makes the reviews dry to read, but that's OK for what they are.
One thing I don't understand is how they can rank the old Focus so high. The only good thing about the current Focus IMO is that it has a nice blend of ride and handling. But that's about it. I certainly can't see how they can rank it above the Mazda3i, the Civic Hybrid, the Jetta, and even the Elantra, Lancer, Sentra, and Spectra. I think CR needs to re-test the Focus directly against some newer designs and see that the Focus has lost ground in the past few years. Maybe the 2008 Focus will make the car more competitive.
The other thing that frustrates me about CR's comparos is that they don't test cars with comparable equipment. That is in itself not a big deal, as it's hard to align equipment levels on several cars. But what I don't like is that they jump on things that would be addressed by a different trim level, had they chosen it, and they praise features of some cars that are available on others, but don't mention those features are available on the other cars.
For example, in this comparo, CR chose the Elantra GLS with AT, preferred package, and moonroof. So the Elantra's MSRP was $17,555. For the Lancer, they chose not the DE, but the ES and w/o a moonroof. For the xB, they added options such as overhead console, lighted doorsills, and rear spoiler. And for the Sentra, they chose the 2.0S and added alloys and Intelligent Key among other options.
So, why not choose the Elantra SE, w/o moonroof, which would have been a much closer match in trim level for the Lancer ES and Sentra 2.0S? It would have cost about the same as the GLS with moonroof, but it includes bigger rubber and a telescopic wheel. CR carped about the Elantra's tire grip, lack of sporty handling, and lack of a telescopic wheel--the SE would have probably eliminated or at least reduced those issues. They also praised the Sentra's leather steering wheel, meaning they probably gave it some points for that. The Elantra SE has that feature.
If CR is going to compare cars with different trim levels and options, I think they should list the most comparable trim levels with prices in the review, or at least clearly state the cost of the cars they tested w/o options, so readers don't get the wrong impression on prices ("Gee, the Elantra is the same price as the Lancer", or "The Jetta is $6000 more than the Elantra and Lancer").
#821 of 1205 Re: New CR comparo [backy]
Sep 01, 2007 (4:33 pm)
Hey, Backy. I just got my CR and figured you would have already made a post!
One thing I was very surprised to see that you didn't mention was the performance numbers for the Elantra vs. the Lancer. The Lancer has that new 2.0L from the "global alliance" or whatever with the CVT, compared to the old Hyundai 2.0L with the 4-speed auto that we all griped about. Yet it was only marginally slower 0-60 than the Lancer, *faster* than the Lancer from 45-65, and offered 27 mpg versus the Lancer's 25 mpg. And the Lancer was only 50 pounds heavier. That was very surprising to me. Apparently the dated powertrain in its newly tweaked version is more competitive than we thought.
I too am surprised with CR's consistent praise of the Focus. They feel it's easily the most fun car to drive in the small-car segment and don't rate it down nearly enough, in my opinion, for its obvious lack of safety features. Regardless, they're the professionals. And all the CR haters who are convinced they treat American cars unfairly always forget how much they looove the Focus. But I digress.
I too thought it was disappointing they didn't pick the Elantra SE, especially since all the other cars had 16" wheels. I'm too lazy to look myself, but perhaps you can't get ABS with the Lancer DE and base Sentra? Even so, I'm guessing the test numbers wouldn't have been much different, maybe not even enough to bump it past the Jetta. But it did aggravate me to see that they added the totally unnecessary sunroof, especially when they make it a point to compare the prices of the vehicles. And that irked me to see them complain about the lack of telescopic wheel (only in the GLS) and the bad tire grip. But it was still faster in the avoidance maneuver test than the sportier Lancer and the "sloppy" Sentra. Come to think of it, Hyundais always seem to post very high speeds through those tests despite having "soft" handling in most of their models. Oh, and they always have braking that wins the comparisons, too.
Oops, I rambled again.
#822 of 1205 Re: New CR comparo [herotakesafall]
Sep 01, 2007 (4:43 pm)
ABS is optional on the base Sentra and the Lancer DE. But I think ABS is optional on the Sentra 2.0S also?
Maybe Hyundai made the right decision keeping the old Beta II around for awhile longer. Maybe they are waiting until the new engines are competitive or better in fuel economy.
#823 of 1205 You want a car review, buy a car mag
Sep 01, 2007 (7:00 pm)
I can't believe people actually base car buying on what CR says. Newsflash-you want a car review, pick up a car mag.
CR knows toasters and microwaves, not cars, not stereos, not computers.
CR is basically worthless for anything other than home appliances, IMO.
#824 of 1205 Re: You want a car review, buy a car mag [steve333]
Sep 01, 2007 (7:09 pm)
I pick up a lot of car mags. I don't buy a car based on what CR says, although maybe there are some people who do that. But I find their reviews useful, because they take an analytical, dispassionate approach, and their biases are different than those of the car mags, so I get a different perspective from CR than I do from the car mags. But it's just one opinion and one data point in my car buying process.
#825 of 1205 To me CR is the last car mag
Sep 01, 2007 (7:57 pm)
I pick up. Sometimes I don't pick it up at a store at all when there is a C&D around or a MT around. CR is slow at picking up car changes in Kia's, something I learned long ago.
I agree, CR is fine for washing machines or toasters, but woefully lacking in reviewing cars. It just seems that they can't see the forest for the trees in too many ways. I usually regret picking one up after I pick it up. After a while too many "negative" beans get thrown in the CR basket in my head, and, hence, they're eliminated from usefulness for me. Just my opinion, and opinions are like noses, everyone has one.
#826 of 1205 Re: You want a car review, buy a car mag [steve333]
Sep 02, 2007 (4:10 am)
"CR is basically worthless for anything other than home appliances, IMO."
I agree, that rag is garbage other than the tractor, weed whip, and non auto related items. This is a magazine that outsources tests including that big blunder this past spring with the child safety seats that the company that they paid gave 9 out of 11 bad ratings, only to find out later they didn't know what they were doing. CR comes out and apologizes because the public found out and they were trying to save their name for those who actually subscribe to this misinformation. Like you said, stay with auto magazines.
#827 of 1205 Anybody want to talk about
Sep 02, 2007 (6:49 am)
Like how about, if you don't agree with how CR rated these four cars, how would you rate them? What did you think when you drove them?
#828 of 1205 Re: Anybody want to talk about [backy]
Sep 02, 2007 (8:13 am)
Good comment, Backy!! Maybe they'll report back to us after they drive the four cars........
#829 of 1205 Re: Anybody want to talk about [bprenderson]
Sep 02, 2007 (9:00 am)
I'll get my reviews from the major car mags-there are at least 4 of them, then test drive each one that I'm interested in. Mitsubishi is autolatically off my list, the ones i would consider are the mazda 3, Chevy Cobalt, Ford Focus, Suzuki SX4, Elantra, Spectra, and thats about it unless Honda brings the Civic interior down from Planet Pluto.
I'd line my birdcage with CR (if I had a bird)