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Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, smart fortwo, MINI Cooper
#9178 of 9838 Re: drove [plekto]
Dec 16, 2010 (2:21 pm)
Of course, it wasn't until 2009 that Toyota gave the Yaris 6 standard airbags and ABS, which would put it on a more equal footing with other models. And of course the IIHS data is for 2006-08 Yarises....
I drove a rental Versa recently and would put to the absolute bottom of the class except for Aveo. I would take a Fiesta over a Versa. But you are right, the price is a good one. Was looking at a 6-speed Versa with power package recently, which had a sticker of around $16K. Take away the $2000 rebate and get another $1000 off it from the dealer, you are down to $13,000 which is a very good price, if still $1500 more than the Yaris. Either way, the drive in the Versa is the least pleasant if you have my priorities, so it's not in contention.
I do think that if I manage to drive a Fit Sport this weekend, I should drive a Mini again to get the back-to-back impression. The Mini is such a great car, but of course the price they are asking reflects that.....
#9179 of 9838 Re: drove [ateixeira]
Dec 16, 2010 (2:19 pm)
Trying to stick to a right-size car here, not creep up to compacts like the Mazda3, thanks! But it's a good recommendation - the Mazda3 is easily the best car in its class for people who like to drive.
The only car in the compact class that might get close to the 40 mpg I am looking for is the Civic, and there are what, 40 BILLION of those on the road? Talk about seeing your car everywhere. Not for me. Besides, I test drove one of those a few months back and I think the glow is definitely off the rose at this point - that is a model overdue for big updates.
Don't buy any car I don't love? I like that advice a lot, but the problem is I am fairly convinced there isn't anything sold today I would love. In every class of car, control is being taken away from the driver, road feel and driver controls are receding, being computerized, everything made robotic. One of the advantages of the subcompact class it that because it is under such price pressure, the fewest of those types of changes have crept in thus far.
#9180 of 9838 Re: drove [nippononly]
Dec 16, 2010 (3:44 pm)
Yes, there are 40 billion of them. You can also customize it quite a lot if you feel the need to do so.
Yes, I know they Yaris has more airbags. It still doesn't change the data much, as what we're interested in is injury rates and not fatality rates which is the interesting part of that site. It doesn't use "stars", but instead closely follows what physics tells you is likely to happen(though there are exceptions of course). 30% of all accidents involve a SUV or commercial vehicle. All that matters is how your car does versus one. And sub-compacts are honestly too small, IMO, to be considered any more.
Stepping up to the size of a Civic/Fit or a Mazda 3 or similar offers you a world of protection by comparison.
Note - you might consider dropping a couple more MPG and getting a CPO or similar Civic Si. Few people have one and you'd be looking at the previous body style. Or get the CNG Civic. Free carpool access for life, essentially zero emissions, and a cost-adjusted 70mpg combined.(being that CNG is half the price of gasoline) Almost nobody has one, either.
They are 25K new, but half the fuel cost ads up quickly:
172 "gallons" of CNG (price adjusted to equal gasoline)
That's $550 a year fuel savings at today's prices(and trust me, they're NOT going down) The home fueling device drops it to roughly 1/3 the cost of gasoline.
You also can get a hefty tax credit for the home fuel device as well as the vehicle itself. It's a complete win-win unless you absolutely must "commute" more than 250 miles a day. There are about 1000 or so CNG fueling stations in the U.S., and the car comes with them programmed into the GPS. (it's a Civic EX with NAV)
The reason you get one is simply that you can keep it for twice as long as a Yaris and laugh at the idiots trying to eek out every last MPG in their microboxes.
edit - also, you could "settle" for 35mpg in a CNG Crown Vic/Grand Marquis. These are easily available for 10-12K a couple of years(3-5 max) used. Getting 35-40mpg equivalent out of a giant boat like that is awesome. And proof that we're simply using the wrong fuel in our vehicles - CNG is awesome. Save the planet and do so in a giant armored tank of a car that can fit 6 people in it - and still have nobody inside
#9181 of 9838 Mazda 3 may give you a good...
Dec 16, 2010 (11:43 pm)
riding dynamic but that face is so clownish I'd never even test drive one. Besides Mitsubishi makes a better driving car than Mazda, anyway, end of this particular battle. Period.
#9182 of 9838 Re: Mazda 3 may give you a good... [iluvmysephia1]
Dec 17, 2010 (2:04 am)
That is true. The Lancer is the basic for the top rally racing car out there. Of course, it's also really not good unless you get the AWD version, and that's way out of the budget.
#9183 of 9838 Re: drove [nippononly]
Dec 17, 2010 (8:34 am)
I forget the publication, but they tested a bunch of fuel efficient cars and Mazda3 2.0i stood out as being the most fun of that bunch. Was it Edmunds?
Agree about control being taken away. Electric Power Steering is a good example - too numb for my tastes.
#9184 of 9838 Re: drove [ateixeira]
Dec 17, 2010 (10:13 am)
Yeah, I remember the comparo you are referring to, but I also don't remember whether it was Edmunds or someone else.
Unfortunately, they and I differ on what can be considered fuel-efficient. The Subaru gets me 29 mpg, which I would call mediocre and unacceptable for a commute car. Likewise, the high-20s mpg they manage to get from most of those compact cars with 2L engines is not good enough for me, even if I would probably average 30-32 mpg in such a car. Very average.
As for Lancer vs Mazda3, I have driven both and I beg to differ vociferously. The base FWD Lancer has clunky controls and clunky handling by comparison with the Mazda, which has more fluid, precise controls and a very nimble manner for its size. Had a rental Lancer that I really came to dislike after a few days, although that probably was partly due to the CVT in that model - I really despise CVTs. I thought the way the engine and CVT were programmed to behave was notably more obnoxious than the way Nissan sets up their CVT-equipped cars.
If I were willing to replace the Echo with a car that got worse gas mileage, the Mazda3 would be a top contender in the 3i Touring trim level. I can get a stick and a moonroof in that trim, and still maybe make 33-35 mpg as a running average.
But since I'm not, the pursuit of a right-size car continues, and I have just discovered that both Honda dealers near me have taken delivery of a single manual shift Fit Sport this week, so it may yet be possible to drive one of those again for the back-to-back impression.....
#9185 of 9838 marginal benefit
Dec 17, 2010 (10:15 am)
bringing up EPS reminded me of another pet peeve. Making changes with negative results (overall) to try and get a fractional improvement elsewhere (in this case, as is often the case, in the MPG on the sticker).
Honestly, how many real world additional MPGs can EPS add? is it enough to offset the inferior functionality, and the added complexity 9and who knows about safety issues with teh system vs. traditional hydrolic). Given how many cars have been roasted for lousy steering feel, it is hard to see the true beenfit.
I put keyless start in the same catagory. Seems like a solution to a problem that did not exist, with other consequences.
meanwhile, the ral culprit to improving MPG is the fact that cars keep getting porkier. In the latest car magazines (I get them all) there was a test on the new 5 series BMW. Basically they did not like it, and said that it had gotten fat, bloated, and not fun to drive. IOW, it was losing the traditional BMW values, and was now a shrot wheelbase 7 series.
and not hard to see why. The "mid size" 5 series (about the size of an acord?) weighed in at about 4,400 pounds! And the SUVs (X5) are pushing 2.5 tons. I think the new X3, a compact, is pushing 4,500.
simplify a little drop some tonnage, and you won't need 350HP to keep up with traffic, and guess what? better MPG!
at least the Miata seems to be going the right direction. They had a piece on the upcoming new design, and it is supposed to weigh 2-300#s less (down to about 2,200). With I beleive a smaller engine.
Dec 17, 2010 (10:24 am)
well, I had a nice rant there, but I guess none of th e cars I discussed were sub compacts. The Mazda 2 seems to be the one that is the most dedicated to small engine (100HP) and light weight, but it does not seem to really get very good mileage relative (must be efficiency or gearing). I wonder though if the stick will beat handily the EPA #s?
the cruze is another gross offender. 3,200#s? Mid size weight, compact back seat, and a dog with the sub compact engine.
The elantra for a compact seems to be setting the standard. Plenty of room and power, and 40 on the highway. ANd various reports have indicated that it is a realistic number. Wonder if it has to do with being only about 2,600-2,700#s?
and given the comparable price, a heck of a lot more car (room, comfort, etc.) for similar money and comparable gas mileage to a mini car.
I guess Nippon is used to an Echo, but you couldn't pay me to spend significant time driving a Yaris.
#9187 of 9838 Re: marginal benefit [stickguy]
Dec 17, 2010 (12:55 pm)
I read the same thing, so I'm also looking forward to the ND Miata.
They could even offer a 2.0l tuned to run on regular, the engine from the Mazda3 2.0i basically.
May not be worth it for the small volumes, though.