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#320171 - 08/26/10 10:53 PM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: tomtuttle]
michael_d Offline

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4114
Loc: Up yonder
Hey, cup holders are pretty damn important! I use mine every day, and now that Bob brought it up, I absolutely hate the F'ing things that GMC decided to "re design". The previous cup holders worked just fine. Now I get friggin coffee all over the place every time I hit a stinking pot hole! I'm trading the bitch in for a Dodge. Thanks Bob! And I was going to actually keep this truck till you just had to mention the damn cup holders.

#320182 - 08/27/10 01:22 AM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: tomtuttle]
HomeDad Offline

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 3301
Loc: Central,California
I might be down to these:

Civic Si (substitute Porsche boxster) smile

Looks good!
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.

#320187 - 08/27/10 02:09 AM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: HomeDad]
2x6spds Offline

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2820
Loc: CA, USA
350Z, big V6 cobby at high rpm.

RX8, torqueless down low, rotary reliability questions, terrible gas mileage.

Miata - the avatar like second coming of the British sports car, terrific handling, spritely acceleration, awful grill which appears to be smiling for no reason, starts even in the rain (not British).

S2000, better with the smaller 2.0 liter engine and 9000 rpm red line.

Civic Si, best exhaust note and engine music of the crowd, great handling, roomy, comfortable and Honda ergonomics, excellent fuel economy. Honda reliability. Snickiest stick shift and clutch this side of the S2000.
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

#320188 - 08/27/10 03:02 AM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: 2x6spds]
ClubNeon Offline

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3453
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: 2x6spds
RX8, torqueless down low, rotary reliability questions, terrible gas mileage.

I swear rotaries have the same problem with oft repeated misconceptions outside of their owner group as does Axiom.

Yes, the engine has very little torque off of it's 750 RPM idle. But that's because it revs to over 8 grand. It's more like you have your choice of three different engines, depending on how you shift (which is why one should always have a manual transmission mated to a rotary).

Keep it below 3500, and you've got a mild-mannered, grocery getter, that will turn out 35 MPG around town easily. You're not going to win any 1/8 mile drag races, but you'll also not sit and spin in the rain or snow (my brother test drove the last model year of Camaro--before they came back; without traction control it'd turn the tires to smoke if you did anything more than crack the throttle--unused torque is unused torque).

From 3000 to 5000, you've got a sprightly car that moves around in traffic in such a way you'll be smiling all the while you're behind the wheel. This is where I spend most of my time. Averages about 25 MPG driving like this.

Above 5000, and the engine becomes an entirely different beast. The throttle response is so crisp, that if you wiggle your little toe you'll gain or loose 5 MPH. It's hard to keep from bumping the red line (I don't like warning beep of the RX-8 as much as the buzzer of the '7) the engine revs so easily from here up. Do this all the time and you'll be looking at 15 MPG.

Reliability question? Are you still living in the '70s? My 1986 GLX coupe has over 200,000 on the clock. My '91 convertible made it to 193,000 before popping an apex seal. The RX-8 is even more refined. Also, it isn't like piston engine where if it breaks you've probably damaged it really badly. A lost apex seal will run about $1500 for a rebuild.

The reason people think the rotary gets poor fuel economy, is because Mazda lists it as a 1.3L. It should really be compared to a high-revving 2.6L V12. 4-stoke engines only move half of their displacement during one revolution. So a 2.6L V12 would have 6 combustion events, and displace 1.3L of volume for every 360 degrees of crank travel. A 2 rotor engine on the other hand will displace it's entire 1.3L and have 6 combustion events (3 faces on each of the 2 rotors) for each rev.

The characteristics of a rotary are not for everyone. But stop saying the highs will make your ears bleed, and their impedance is so low it'll blow up your amps.

Edited by ClubNeon (08/27/10 03:14 AM)
Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
Axiom M22s, VP150, QS8s
Sony PS3, surround backs

#320201 - 08/27/10 08:59 AM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: ClubNeon]
St_PatGuy Offline

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7463
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Tom, I have been enjoying this thread immensely! I hope you find a car that suits you. So far, all the suggestions have been great.

I understand how you feel about convertibles--i got bit by that bug earlier this year and have yet to shake it. Of all the cars you have test driven, I've only had experience in the Miata. Yes, it was a snug fit, too snug at the time (JohnK says the newer models offer more room), but it was a blast to drive. No, not a horsepower monster, but instead a well-balanced FUN car to drive.

Other than that, it's been fun reading about your experiences because you've hit most of the cars that I want to try out if and when I buy a new one!
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

#320203 - 08/27/10 09:06 AM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: St_PatGuy]
Adrian Offline

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6771
Loc: It's all about the location.
I would also add the Boxster to the mix. A low mileage '03 "S" model goes for near $20k US, or a non "S" model, could get one a little newer.
Half of communication is listening. You can't listen with your mouth.

#320204 - 08/27/10 09:06 AM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: ClubNeon]
Murph Offline

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
Oh, over-steer vs. under. That's another thing that freaks me out about FWD cars, is that they're all set up to under-steer (heck, most American designed RWD cars do too). If I come into a corner too hot, I'd rather have the tail coming around, where I can correct with the throttle, than have the nose push out, where I go off the road.

Trailing throttle steer is something that takes a little getting used to. The first time I did get my RX-7 sideways from bit too much welly, I panicked, and lifted completely. Yeah, that was bad. I went from tail-out, to a complete spin in the opposite direction. Best thing to do, is stay on it, apply a little reverse lock of the wheel, and modulate your foot as needed.

The other problem with suddenly letting off the gas in a corner is that it changes the weight distribution of the car just as suddenly and that can also be catastrophic. Especially considering many people are driving cars with soggy suspensions built for a smooth ride, not tight cornering.

Unless of course, you are doing it on purpose to initiate a 180 because you just noticed you drove by a Tim Hortons.
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

#320207 - 08/27/10 09:15 AM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: Murph]
Adrian Offline

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6771
Loc: It's all about the location.
Originally Posted By: Murph

Unless of course, you are doing it on purpose to initiate a 180 because you just noticed you drove by a Tim Hortons.

LOL, good one Andrew laugh . Of course, there's probably another Timmies at the next intersection anyway....
Half of communication is listening. You can't listen with your mouth.

#320235 - 08/27/10 12:25 PM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: Adrian]
tomtuttle Offline

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8462
Loc: Tacoma
Sean, I'm glad to see your post. I've missed your participation lately. Hope your life is wonderful and satisfying.

I'm not sure about the Boxster, guys. That's one car that I didn't get an insurance quote on (and which could very well be in a different league). Plus, I do have to get a ~3-5 year older model to get into my budget. And honestly, I'm scared of the expense for maintenance and repair. My perceptions may not be accurate, but color me leery (or Leary, for the weekend) at this point. I'll keep an open mind.

Chris, that's great information. I've perused but not studied some of the forums (which was a Fantastic suggestion, btw). My understanding is that plugs/wires/whatever-ignition is a frequent and fairly costly maintenance item (whole bit every 25k miles or so for $300 if I DIY). Comments?

I LOVED RX-7's, especially the last generation. But I'm not into a "hobby" car at the moment.

2x6, I enjoyed and appreciated your concise observations. I don't have a frame of reference for the pre-1994 S2000, but I'm still undecided about the raw sports car personality as my daily driver. The others on my list seem a bit more, I don't know, "comfortable"?

Something else has started to nag at the edges of my mind lately. I've had some cars in the past that - while not "rare" - were not sold in high quantities. Consequently, the availability of parts and repair expertise was somewhat limited locally. It was sometimes inconvenient. Likewise, the availability of after market products is proportional to the volume of similar models sold over time. In that regard, I wonder if the RX-8, S2000 and Boxster might be somewhat less desirable TO ME than the other models I listed.

Butt warmers are starting to matter. I'm sick.

Edited by tomtuttle (08/27/10 12:27 PM)
Edit Reason: fixed typo
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

#320238 - 08/27/10 12:36 PM Re: Small Car recommendations... [Re: tomtuttle]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18029
Loc: NoVA
My coworker had an S2000 about 10 years ago. Loved it.
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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