Author Topic: Comparison Test: Compact Cars  (Read 20497 times)

Offline Autos_Editor

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Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« on: May 22, 2012, 04:05:53 am »


 Nine cars in, one car out - read our latest comparison to find out who we think makes the best compact car.

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Offline tpl

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 06:22:04 am »
I thought that was a very good report.  Many "applauds" to the people who took part and to the writers.

Some things I thought about it:

One could save some money on the Focus by having a manual transmission. Can the Cruze get a manual as well.
No comments about the headlights. I guess you'll just have to redo the tests at night.
I winced at the thought of buying snow tires for 18" wheels on the Cruze.
The 1.4 litre turbo engine is the way of the future I hope. By the sound of it most of the other cars would have been improved with that engine and transmission.

There are only two golden rules for attaining a mature age: first, always give way to temptation; and second, go easy on the fruit and veg. No other measures are required.
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Offline JohnM

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 06:27:54 am »
The fuel economy numbers seem to have come from the cars computers rather than from actual fillups except in the case of the Mazda.   My faith in fuel computers is very low and you can easily be looking at a 10% window here.

Otherwise great test and great effort!

Cheers,
John M.

Offline Mike

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 06:29:20 am »
I thought that was a very good report.  Many "applauds" to the people who took part and to the writers.

Some things I thought about it:

One could save some money on the Focus by having a manual transmission. Can the Cruze get a manual as well.
No comments about the headlights. I guess you'll just have to redo the tests at night.
I winced at the thought of buying snow tires for 18" wheels on the Cruze.
The 1.4 litre turbo engine is the way of the future I hope. By the sound of it most of the other cars would have been improved with that engine and transmission.



Yes, the Cruze is now available with a manual on LT trims.  Tomorrow there is a test drive by Greg Wilson driving the exact same car we reviewed in this article, but with a 6-speed manual.  18" snow tires and replacement 18" in general would be painful.

Offline sailor723

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 06:47:11 am »
I'd second the comment about relying on trip computers to get mileage numbers. Not only are they often inaccurate in my experience but the error varies between manufacturers making comparisons difficult.

Otherwise a good article. I am a little surprised at how badly the big guns (Toyota and Honda) did.
So, why can't the Germans make electronics work in cars?

Offline JohnM

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 07:28:42 am »
So the Mazda has gone from basically the least fuel efficient to the most fuel efficient in its class by way of their new design approach.  Good for them!

Also, was there a fuel number for the Focus?

Several of these cars are almost midsize.  I wonder how a base Accord, Camry or Sonata would stack up for reference.

Cheers,
John M.

Offline Mike

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 07:58:56 am »
So the Mazda has gone from basically the least fuel efficient to the most fuel efficient in its class by way of their new design approach.  Good for them!

Also, was there a fuel number for the Focus?

Several of these cars are almost midsize.  I wonder how a base Accord, Camry or Sonata would stack up for reference.

Cheers,
John M.


The Focus was 8.9 L/100 km

Offline airbalancer

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 08:10:42 am »
So the Mazda has gone from basically the least fuel efficient to the most fuel efficient in its class by way of their new design approach.  Good for them!

Also, was there a fuel number for the Focus?

Several of these cars are almost midsize.  I wonder how a base Accord, Camry or Sonata would stack up for reference.

Cheers,
John M.


The Focus was 8.9 L/100 km
Wow, that a lot for a small car

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 08:16:15 am »
Well I have to say that they picked the right category to review.  The competition in the compact segment is really getting good over the past couple of years.  I'm glad to see the Mazda do so well.  I know it's the first car to get the Skyactive engine but the technology is not just for the engine.  The next generation will feature more technology to make it a better vehicle.  I fully expect the next generation to be lighter, bigger, more attractive, stiffer, and offer better driving dynamics, oh and of course a bit more fuel efficient. 

It will definitely be interesting to see how the Dart does against this group.  As for the Cruze winning I'm a bit surprised, personally I'd be more worried about reliability after 5 years of ownership than the rest of the lineup.  Then again the two worst vehicles will probably the top two most reliable vehicles.

Offline OliverD

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 08:19:16 am »
I winced at the thought of buying snow tires for 18" wheels on the Cruze.

That would be stupid. Much smarter to buy 16" steel wheels and winter tires. It might even be CHEAPER to do that, plus you save money by not having to mount tires each time. Plus you get the added benefit of a taller sidewall and a narrower tire, which is advantageous in deep snow.

Offline OliverD

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2012, 08:21:00 am »
Otherwise a good article. I am a little surprised at how badly the big guns (Toyota and Honda) did.

It's been a long time since the Corolla and Civic brought anything new to the table. They are boring appliances for people who don't care about cars.

Offline wing

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 08:23:32 am »
Stop beIng skeptical of trip computers in my experience over hundreds of cars, nearly all are dead on after 300+ km if reset when filled.  The only car in the last 5 years that was wrong was the scion iQ it read 6.8 but I actually measured 5.8 at the pumps.

Offline Mike

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2012, 08:27:17 am »
Stop beIng skeptical of trip computers in my experience over hundreds of cars, nearly all are dead on after 300+ km if reset when filled.  The only car in the last 5 years that was wrong was the scion iQ it read 6.8 but I actually measured 5.8 at the pumps.

You beat me to the punch, I was about to say the same thing...but with only a few dozen vehicles of course.  Our issue too is when we get the cars from manufacturers, 9.9 times out of 10 it is not 100% full.  If we can't get to a gas station right away, then our manual calculations are out the window, or we are forced to use a smaller sample of mileage.

Offline tpl

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2012, 08:39:28 am »
I winced at the thought of buying snow tires for 18" wheels on the Cruze.

That would be stupid. Much smarter to buy 16" steel wheels and winter tires. It might even be CHEAPER to do that, plus you save money by not having to mount tires each time. Plus you get the added benefit of a taller sidewall and a narrower tire, which is advantageous in deep snow.
Indeed. I presume that there are 16" wheels available of correct bolt pattern and offset that also clear the brakes.   BUT in provinces that do not have mandatory snow tire laws, how many people will just look at the cost of 18"ers and without further thought, just  drive all winter on the all-seasons that came with the car.   Even on this forum there have been a fair few people who insist that they can drive safely in Southern Ontario with all-seasons, whether for cost reasons or whatever.

Offline theonlydt

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2012, 08:43:23 am »
I still couldn't trust a GM product; maybe if the next-gen, or facelifted Cruze still performs well in tests and reliability of the current Cruze seems solid then I'd consider it.

The Civic is a huge disappointment for me; much like most of the Honda range. Losing my business was an impressive feat. Losing my parents' and my in-laws' proves they've rested on their laurels far too long.

Were it not for the junky powershift I'd be tempted by a focus.

Car for me right now... the Mazda.

Offline Oldsguy

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2012, 08:48:04 am »
Wow, I just turned on Newsworld to get the report about the obvious takeover of the Autos.ca offices since clearly there are some outside forces now in charge there. A Chevy beating a Mazda, a Hyundai, a Subaru? It must be the work of terrorists since that never happens. :)

Seriously, thanks for the balanced report. Glad to see the naysayers (see previous post) don't hold sway here. Obviously the sales success of the Cruze is due to some pretty solid engineering and design. It is interesting to read the comments about the automatic transmission since many criticized it heavily upon introduction. I wonder if it has been reprogrammed?

Offline Mike

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2012, 08:49:00 am »
I still couldn't trust a GM product; maybe if the next-gen, or facelifted Cruze still performs well in tests and reliability of the current Cruze seems solid then I'd consider it.

The Civic is a huge disappointment for me; much like most of the Honda range. Losing my business was an impressive feat. Losing my parents' and my in-laws' proves they've rested on their laurels far too long.

Were it not for the junky powershift I'd be tempted by a focus.

Car for me right now... the Mazda.

I cannot argue with any of that.  I really want to try a Cruze LT Manual and a Mazda3 Skyactiv manual as well

Offline dougjp

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2012, 08:51:59 am »
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Many thanks! I shake my head too that Toyota and Honda, year after year, can get away with their "I can't be bothered" smugness, created by history. 
" A car can be a tool but it can also be so much more. It can be a heart-starter, it can be a drug, it can be a piece of art, it can stir your soul " ....Jeremy Clarkson

Offline CanuckS2K

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2012, 09:06:44 am »
Great article, I enjoyed reading it.   I'm not surprised one bit about the Corolla and Civic finishing back of the pack.  I was surprised though about the Cruze finishing first.  I haven't driven it, but it looks like a great package.  Good for GM!

Regarding the trip computers, I too have found them to be quite accurate in all the vehicles I've owned that have come equipped with one.  Worst difference I've seen was .2L/100km. 

Good job on the comparos, keep em coming!   :)
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Offline nlm

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Re: Comparison Test: Compact Cars
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2012, 09:07:10 am »
Good comparison of a good selection in this category. Three surprises for me:

1.) where the Honda finished, particularly behind the Sentra. The NVH must've been the tipping point between the two? Still, that forgettable huh?

2.) where the Impreza finished: I read the article in order and after the Corrolla I kept expecting the Impreza to show up when clicking next. Agreed about the exterior looks: that front looks better than the Elantra to these eyes. But that rear end....yawn...

3.) where the Chevy finished. After seeing the Mazda take second and knowing that the Elantra finished in a tie for 4th and the Honda was way back I wondered what finished first then? I knew the players from the first paragraphs but my mind could not come connect the Cruze with a question on a first place finisher. If it's as good as this report concludes and it has at least average reliability, it solely becomes a marketing problem for Chevy.