Last post on Jul 11, 2013 at 8:07 AM
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Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, smart fortwo, MINI Cooper
#6720 of 9848 Re: Nothing "Wrong" Subcompacts Are Fun To Drive. [aladdinsane]
Jan 01, 2008 (10:19 pm)
My question is why the American media want us to believe that the Honda Fit is the best subcompact out there when the numbers don't bare that out. The Yaris wins on acceleration, braking, steering feel, fuel mileage, price, crash test and comfort. The Fit has a better dash and flippy back seats. The foreigners picked the Yaris over the Fit. So why do the American media want us to buy the Fit over the Yaris? It's obvious why they never compare hatchback with hatchback. The Yaris would completely embarrass the Fit. Maybe they don't want Toyota to have too much glory in 2007. Who knows. Then there's that insane bit about Toyota losing it's quality and Ford is tops. What crap is this?
#6721 of 9848 Re: Nothing "Wrong" Subcompacts Are Fun To Drive. [ttai]
Jan 01, 2008 (10:46 pm)
Toyota's interior quality is pathetic compared to where it was 10 years ago. Ford's is great compared to what it was 10 years ago. Neither lead or fall to the bottom, but times they-are-a-changin. And I drive Japanese!
#6722 of 9848 Re: Nothing "Wrong" Subcompacts Are Fun To Drive. [ttai]
Jan 02, 2008 (7:17 am)
I have seen at least one auto mag comparison that included a Yaris hatchback, back before there was an 'S'. But since the 'S' is only an equipment package, I feel the comparative driving results would also be valid for the 'S' today. (They did drive a car with convenience package, so it had the 15" rims).
The Yaris came third out of four in that one. I believe it beat out the Accent, but the Rio came second. The Fit won.
Steering feel is something Toyota hasn't been good at in a very long time, and having driven Yaris and Fit back to back, I would have to say that Honda is MILES ahead of Toyota in this category. The media will always choose the driver's car, which is why they have hyped the Fit so much. I would call it the enthusiast's choice between the two, but of course Yaris has many things on its side, most of which you named: price, fuel economy, comfort, acceleration in a straight line (but you can forget the slalom, where the Fit will win hands down), and braking.
I applaud Yaris for still being the American non-hybrid model with the highest fuel economy available, but the choice between these two models is clear: one is "sensible shoes", and one is "fun". I would take the Fit if I had to choose, but right now I have chosen neither, but rather to keep my Echo instead. If the next Fit can get its emissions way down, and its fuel economy up to Yaris levels, it will be my next new car. Otherwise, I will hold out hope that they will put a stick shift in the Honda hybrid sporty car they plan to release for 2010.
#6723 of 9848 Re: Nothing "Wrong" Subcompacts Are Fun To Drive. [texases]
Jan 02, 2008 (9:17 am)
Yep, my '83 GTI, 1.8 l, 90 HP, got 25 mpg regardless because of its short gearing. I remember something like 3000 + rpm at highway speed.
3,000 rpm at 60mph is pretty standard for four-cylinder cars. I've driven cars from 1.3L to 2.5L and that's the typical engine speed in top gear at 60 mph. Six cyilnder cars tend to be in the low-to-mid 2,000 range while V8s are usually in the high teens. I don't think the "short gearing" of the GTI had much to do with the top gear engine speed.
I always wanted a sixth ratio in my Suzuki Swift GT so that I could get the engine to lope along at 70mph, where the engine spins at 3,400rpm, or so. It still turns 35mpg in daily driving, but I just wanted 45-ish on the highway.
#6724 of 9848 Engine RPM @ 60 MPH [hudsonthedog]
Jan 02, 2008 (9:27 am)
3,000 rpm at 60mph is pretty standard for four-cylinder cars. I've driven cars from 1.3L to 2.5L and that's the typical engine speed in top gear at 60 mph.
3000 at 60 MPH seems awfully short. My old 4-speed 2.2L 4-cyl Accord runs 2350 RPM at 60 MPH. My dad's 1.8L Civic runs 1950 RPM or so at 60 MPH. My 2.4L Accord runs similar to the 1.8L Civic, right at 2000 RPM at 60 MPH.
The Mazda 3 is the only vehicle I can think of with gearing that is close to being that short.
#6725 of 9848 Re: Nothing "Wrong" Subcompacts Are Fun To Drive. [hudsonthedog]
Jan 02, 2008 (9:28 am)
I did some checking, it was more like 3400 rpm at 60, 4000 rpm at 70. They put in a taller final drive in '84 to partially address this.
#6726 of 9848 Re: Nothing "Wrong" Subcompacts Are Fun To Drive. [ttai]
Jan 02, 2008 (9:40 am)
Regarding the American media raving over the Fit and all but ignoring the Yaris, first one must understand the publishing business and the influence of the advertisers. Toyota does a lot of advertising but does not "expect" anything in return other than seeing their ad. Honda on the other hand rides on the edge of unethical, passing favors to the editors and road testers. I know this as I have friends at the top level of that business. Honda also leans on it's dealers to push certain models, to the point of holding out on shipping them the current "hot model" so as to motivate them to sell what Honda wants them to sell. So I'm not trashing Honda, just sharing what I know. Especially since I like both Honda and Toyota products.
That said, what's important is what "we think" about the various models and vote with our wallets. Here is my take. And from the perspective of being (with all due modesty) very experienced, as I am not only and ex racer of 30 years, but an enthusiast that buys several new cars a year, I would offer the following.
A bit of background, I currently own the following cars in this general category:
1) 2007 Honda Civic Coupe Si.
2) 2006 Mini Cooper S hatchback
3) 2008 Yaris S hatchback
After doing a lot of research, then going out to the dealers and road testing several Fit's and Yaris's over a period of a month, I found the Yaris has the features that fit my requirements the best. What were my requirements? Sporty looking. Two doors a must. Good ergonomic seating position, with good leg room as I'm 6'3". The right "balance of handling, acceleration, and braking.
It also must be noted that I have set my expectations according to the reality, and characteristics of each car. I.E. These are not true "Sports Performance Cars" , but rather a pair of cars that are designed to appeal to a very broad customer base, and mostly be inexpensive. The "Fun Factor" is a bit higher on Honda's priority list than on Toyota's. This is revealed in the massive growth of Toyota over the last decade and their world class success as a manufacturer. Many people have no idea just how large Toyota is and how well the company is run. Honda is much smaller, also well run but broken up into several divisions. Power Products, which sell boat motors, generators, lawn mowers, etc. Honda Aviation which sells the new Honda Jet, Honda Motor Sports, which sell the ATV's quads, and motorcycles.
Back to my thoughts and experience comparing the Fit with the Yaris.
While I enjoyed the fun of driving a Fit, there were many things that I did not like (and many features I did like), that again, is nothing more than personal opinion and what I wanted in the car I would be choosing. I did not like the "station wagon look" of the four door body style and I have no use for four doors, nor the extra length. Conversely many people do have requirements for four doors, thus I can see the appeal and the sales numbers support the fact nearly any model if offered in a sedan or wagon form factor, will sell a much higher number of vehicles.
The second thing I did not like about the fit which one will only discover if you do a back to back road test, or tests, as I did, is the power band of the Honda engine is at a higher rpm range than the Toyota. For me this was not a surprise as I have raced Honda road race motorcycles and am very familiar with how Honda builds their engines. An example of that is my 07 Honda Si Coupe, a car which has very little torque and power until you exceed 5,000 rpm after which it comes into the power band and rockets off. Fun to drive on the track or back roads but just average as a daily driver in traffic, or when constantly accelerating from 0 to 40 as we do in city driving. Compare that to my Mini Cooper S which has all the torque delivered beginning at 1600 rpm. This car is a rocket from the moment you press the accelerator. It's more fun to drive in town than my 911 Turbo Porsche. Again in the "in town" type of regular driving. As far as the Fit vs Yaris, the Yaris has better "off idle" response, more torque at a lower rpm and provides a snappier feeling of acceleration off a stop while accelerating to 40 mph as compared to the Fit which is rather soft and slow under the same conditions. A small point to some, but a big point to me, as I like to have a car that feels lively at less that full throttle, when being driven in town.
Another benefit of the Yaris for me, is that you sit higher up in the vehicle which is nice for visibility in town. Especially since I already have the Mini and the Si, both of which are low slung and sit lower, thus feeling a bit sportier in that regard. Moving on to steering I find there is far too much critical banter going on and on about how superior Honda steering is. I will be the first to agree there is a difference and the Honda is the best, but the difference is so minuscule that only people like me and the road testers would notice the difference, and like I mentioned in the beginning of my post, I'm taking everything into consideration and each cars unique characteristics. I can assure you that the steering on the Yaris is very good and certainly much better than a lot of other cars in the segment. Plus again, we are not racing here, we are buying economy cars that are being offered at prices which prevent them from having everything we might wish to have. In fact, setting price aside, that could be said for any comparison. All cars are a compromise of choices, features and benefits.
So in my experience, these are both very good cars which quite frankly are excellent deals when purchase price is focused on. I purchased the Yaris because I found it to be the most fun to drive around town under normal conditions (not racing around) and to be more relaxed and less frenetic than the Honda which required a lot more throttle to keep up with traffic. The Yaris has very good acceleration from a dead stop, thus is more fun to drive.
At the end of the day I would encourage all of you to take your time and do at least one or more back to back test drives. This way you will find the car that is the best for you. Neither of these cars are losers. They are each the "best", it's simply up to you to find which one fits your needs accordingly.
#6727 of 9848 Re: Nothing "Wrong" Subcompacts Are Fun To Drive. [podred]
Jan 02, 2008 (9:52 am)
The "Fun Factor" is a bit higher on Honda's priority list than on Toyota's.
That's the understatement of the year. Toyotas are typically as exciting to drive as dishwashers. Any Toyota I've ever driven (Two Lexus vehicles, a Corolla and Camry) has had zero steering feel. Great for grandma, but not for me - I felt too disconnected and had too little control. It's no driver's car, and certainly not fun.
Until you can post some proof about Honda's unethical practices, I'll be ignoring statements regarding that. It's just heresay and I've never seen proof of it, not that it matters (I bought what I liked, not what I was told to like ).
I can't help but wonder - if you indeed have all of the cars you state - why? Vehicles like the Yaris are pretty pointless when you have two other inexpensive sporty cars - one with a hatch, one in coupe form.
Jan 02, 2008 (10:15 am)
yes, I am also curious - how come you have three such similar vehicles? I can actually see having a Yaris and one of the other two, given the contrast in ride comfort and height, etc. I guess mainly it seems a little redundant to have a Civic SI AND a Cooper S. Do tell - are they very different drives besides the torque curves?
As for Fit v Yaris, I hear you on the very broad torque peak of the Toyota 1.5. The Fit is an old model at this point, STILL not outfitted with i-VTEC. I expect the next Fit, due in the States late this year, to have it, and to have a much flatter torque curve as a result.
#6729 of 9848 Re: Nothing "Wrong" Subcompacts Are Fun To Drive. [podred]
Jan 02, 2008 (10:19 am)
I think you make an interesting point and one that might be at the dividing point of this forum. The needs of the consumer when it comes to a small car. I live in the mountains and do very little city driving. If I drive off of the mountain I am going somewhere that requires some freeway time. For me a city car isn't as ideal as it might be for you.
But I will confess the mini-mini van look of the Fit isn't my favorite. I do like the Mazda3 Hatch however.