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Thread: Econobox/sub compact choice

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGS View Post
    So, given that American cars aren't the piles of shit they used to be, how do the contemporary offerings from Chevy and Ford fair against the Honda Fit?
    I haven't owned a Fit, but I own a 2013 Ford Focus SE hatchback 5spd. I purchased it new in 2013.

    It hasn't been a total POS, but it's not up to the normal quality standards of Toyota or Honda. It rattled from the start, though most of them were from the backseat latches. A bit of tape around the metal loop the catch hooks to solved that. The radiator needed replacing at around 45k miles. Did you know the radiator isn't part of the engine, isn't covered by the drivetrain warranty, and requires complete disassembly of the front end to replace? Neither did I. The Sync system is buggy (doesn't always respond to voice commands) and the mic is positioned where it picks up a lot of wind noise, making the hands-free feature all but useless. Gas mileage is well below expected and less than any other manual transmission 4cyl car I've owned (mid 20s around town, mid 30s on the highway). It needs a 6th gear for the highway as it's turning about 3k rpm at 65mph. The engine doesn't idle smooth at all and reminds me of a diesel.

    Warts aside, it's fun to drive and peppy. I replaced the rear sway bar with a stiffer one, making it handle better, and installed a short shift kit to get rid of the shifter slop and vagueness. Better tires were installed when the factory ones wore out. It's fun, flingable, and has been reliable other than the few issues mentioned above. I wouldn't buy it again, but I'm not tempted to get rid of it either.

    Chris

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkr View Post
    ... I own a 2013 Ford Focus SE hatchback 5spd.

    The engine doesn't idle smooth at all and reminds me of a diesel.

    Chris
    A few years ago when we were helping our daughter shop for her post college car, we seriously looked at the Focus hatchback. I thought it was a really good looking car and had some nice features, but as you mentioned, the engine was rough. She ended up with a Honda Civic that has a very smooth and elegant engine.

    Rough four cylinder engines has been my take on US economy cars.

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by TGS View Post
    So, given that American cars aren't the piles of shit they used to be, how do the contemporary offerings from Chevy and Ford fair against the Honda Fit?
    Well, they might be better than they were, but in general they lag far behind in these compact categories. Ford also discontinued passenger cars in the US, so it's truck, SUV, or Mustang only from them.

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by TGS View Post
    So, given that American cars aren't the piles of shit they used to be, how do the contemporary offerings from Chevy and Ford fair against the Honda Fit?
    In 2016 I got a Focus ST and have put about 107k on it so far. I currently use it for my sales job, and I cover ten states. With 254hp is it obviously a lotta fun, and still pulls 27-30mpg on road trips. It ate through a couple sets of plugs, and as member @JRB recently indicated, running lower octane fuel forces the sensors to constantly dial it back in reaction, something that is hard of the systems and shows up in rapid plug wear. The current set of plugs is due for replacement, the new ones are sitting here but I haven't changed them yet, lately I have been more diligent about running 93, and the mileage stays up and I think the plugs have lasted longer.

    And the thing is comfortable enough, I frequently do 1200-1500 miles a week in it. We have had it to the southern gulf coast several times. And since we are talking about the Fit, I have been surprised how much the things can hold:
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    But bummer, as mentioned, they are not building/importing them anymore (they still are doing the Fiesta ST, I think).

  5. #45
    I find the Focus RS more fun to drive than even a new 911.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTQ View Post
    A few years ago when we were helping our daughter shop for her post college car, we seriously looked at the Focus hatchback. I thought it was a really good looking car and had some nice features, but as you mentioned, the engine was rough. She ended up with a Honda Civic that has a very smooth and elegant engine.

    Rough four cylinder engines has been my take on US economy cars.
    Thing is, it runs smooth above idle, including while driving. It doesn't stumble, hiccup, or show any bad manners. It pulls fairly hard above 2200rpm, making it a joy to drive on the interstate. It just idles rough.

    Chris

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkr View Post
    Thing is, it runs smooth above idle, including while driving. It doesn't stumble, hiccup, or show any bad manners. It pulls fairly hard above 2200rpm, making it a joy to drive on the interstate. It just idles rough.

    Chris
    This is probably not relevant, but that is what mine exhibits when it is needing plugs. And after the original plugs in our last Suburban went over 150k I was thinking modern cars just must never need new spark plugs, then my car went through a set in ~34k.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by RevolverRob View Post
    Stick or auto?

    I wouldn't be stuck driving an automatic equipped econobox if I could avoid it.

    But with the stick you can hammer it hard and get it going. The Fit actually has more HP than the Mz2. I can, and do, pass people in the Mz2 at highway speeds, sometimes in excess of 90 mph. Around 95-100 it starts getting a little hairy...but no problem completing a pass at 70 in 3rd gear or 90 in 4th.
    It was an auto. Mrs. car and all that.

    Two more things that soured our experience, then I will give it a rest.

    We decided it would be a Great Idea to take the FIT up north, from Tampa to Canada (north of Toronto.) So we were going through Cincinnatti to visit some friends, and were approaching town from the South going up I75. If you are familiar with the area this is a fairly long climb, up hill. The Fit struggled quite a bit with hills (it was just us two with luggage) and on the approach to the summit near town the AC gave up. Meaning, there was no more cool air coming out of the register. Mind you this was summer so it was pretty uncomfortable. We turned off the AC in an attempt to reset it but no avail. We kept going, and made an appointment at the Honda dealer in Cincy the next morning. They took it in while we waited. It turned out they didn't do anything, really. The service advisor basically told us the AC compressor (?) was too small on these cars and it had "frozen up" (my words, I may have this wrong.) At any rate, the AC was working, and we kept going at a more moderate pace, and did not have any further issues.

    The other (and main) reason we got rid of it was that awkwardly on a a visit to Miami (we think) a feral cat got into the car. The cat (we think) left a series of biting insects in the carpet / seats that we never could get rid of. We had the car treated and bug bombed professionally, and disclosed it on the sale, but we were not really trusting that it had been dealt with. Totally not the car's fault, of course.

    Anyway, we ended up selling the Fit and bought a Civic, which had more oomph, albeit in a sedan form was not as versatile. It kept up better with traffic though.

    I hasten to mention I've probably have 9 Honda's of various kinds, and they all were very positive experiences, with the exception of the Fit, and our most recent negative experience with a brand new Honda Accord, but I'll leave it at this point.

    But as say, if you wanted a reasonably good size urban run about and didn't mind the relatively low power, a Fit is a great option.
    Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught. J. C. Watts
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkr View Post
    Thing is, it runs smooth above idle, including while driving. It doesn't stumble, hiccup, or show any bad manners. It pulls fairly hard above 2200rpm, making it a joy to drive on the interstate. It just idles rough.

    Chris
    We test drove two or three of them. Admittedly, they were all used, but all were relatively low mileage and very clean. They all were rough and relatively crude through the entire RPM range, at least relative to Honda's and Toyota's we were comparing them with.

    If I were buying the car for myself, I'd have picked the Focus and lived with crudeness, and probably embraced it, mostly because I think they are really good looking vehicles, but my daughter couldn't pass up the serene ride of the Civic in comparison.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmc45414 View Post
    This is probably not relevant, but that is what mine exhibits when it is needing plugs. And after the original plugs in our last Suburban went over 150k I was thinking modern cars just must never need new spark plugs, then my car went through a set in ~34k.
    Worth a shot. The car has just under 70k on it and the plugs are good for at least 100k, but I may swap them out for shits and grins.

    Chris

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