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hobbie2k
10-04-2007, 06:22 PM
We've had it sitting out in the lot for the past few days teasing me, but they finally got the tracking device installed so I was able to take it out yesterday. It's a brand new '07 Corolla (very base), replacing the '04 Kia Spectra (with 150k) I used to drive for work.

First impressions are generally positive. Seems well-built, some of the interior surfaces seem higher quality, it has a couple bins that are perfectly sized for my paperwork, phones, and CDs. It drives nice, rides smooth, the engine seems to run smoother than the Kia's and is much smoother than my Chevy's. The Corolla's auto tranny also seems to be well programmed, on par with the Spectra. The Rios I occasionally have to drive always seem to be in the wrong gear.

There are some dissapointments, though. I find it hard to get comfortable in the Corolla. It's nice and firm at first, but after an hour or so my legs and back start getting sore. I also find that the steering wheel is too far away and doesn't seem to have a reach adjustment (I problem I noticed with the Echo I drove for work in Australia), so I have to scoot my seat forward to reach the wheel, which puts my legs too close to the pedals. I find I have to adjust the seat as I would a minivan's, rather than a car's.

Also, there isn't a consistency with the interior lighting. The instruments are a pale blue with pale red needles, but the centre console is green, and the radio and clock numerals don't look like they belong together. The instrument panel also suffers from a lot of "bleeding" light. It doesn't look like a proper backlit instrument panel, instead it looks like the old frontlit ones where you can see light reflecting off the panel, curves, etc...

Here's how I would rate the five compact cars that I have had current or recent experience with ('04 Kia Spectra, '05 Kia Rio, '06 VW Jetta 2.0T, '07 Chevy Cobalt LS, '07 Toyota Corolla) in order from best to worst...

Engine Power:
Jetta, Cobalt, Spectra, Corolla, Rio

Engine NVH:
Jetta, Corolla, Spectra, Cobalt, Rio

Auto Tranny:
Corolla, Spectra, Rio

Manual Tranny:
Jetta, Cobalt

Handling:
Cobalt, Corolla, Jetta, Spectra, Rio

Steering:
Jetta, Corolla, Spectra, Cobalt, Rio

Suspension Comfort:
Jetta, Corolla, Cobalt, Spectra, Rio

Exterior Style:
Jetta, Corolla, Cobalt, Rio, Spectra

Interior Style:
Jetta, Cobalt, Spectra, Corolla, Rio

Interior Comfort:
Jetta, Spectra, Cobalt, Rio, Corolla

Overall Quality:
Jetta, Spectra, Corolla, Cobalt, Rio

Keep in mind, the Jetta did cost about 6 to 10 thousand more than the others, but they all are compacts technically :) .

T-spoon
10-04-2007, 10:46 PM
What you say about the seating position is true for the Yaris too. It's intentional IMO. They want them to feel like larger vehicles, more like a mini-van than a car. On the Yaris I've noticed this means the seat is up higher and the car has a high roof. Since I'm used to driving celicas, supras and MR2s, for me it feels exactly like driving a minivan. My arms feel funny and I feel like I am sitting up on a bar stool or something, but I think it's the way Toyota wants their small cars to feel.

davmac
10-04-2007, 11:01 PM
^ agreed. I found similar feel in Ford Focus I have rented. I guess I'm in the minority because I think (and like) that small cars have a "go-kart" feel - especially if they have good handling. I just can't get used to the high center of mass feel that these small cars with high seats impart.

T-spoon
10-04-2007, 11:24 PM
^ agreed. I found similar feel in Ford Focus I have rented. I guess I'm in the minority because I think (and like) that small cars have a "go-kart" feel - especially if they have good handling. I just can't get used to the high center of mass feel that these small cars with high seats impart.

Exactly. The MRS was a blast because it was tiny, but seating position was correct (IMO). The "non-sporty" small cars would feel decently sporty given their typically good turn-in from narrow tires and short wheelbase if they weren't so high (and of course, if the suspension wasn't so ooooooozy).

Fuelish
10-05-2007, 01:32 AM
Exactly. The MRS was a blast because it was tiny, but seating position was correct (IMO). The "non-sporty" small cars would feel decently sporty given their typically good turn-in from narrow tires and short wheelbase if they weren't so high (and of course, if the suspension wasn't so ooooooozy). My wife has an '05 Corolla S, and, quite truthfully, it handles quite well in normal to mildly spirited driving.....when you hit the "uh-oh" point, it's light weight betrays it, however. It's great for scooting around town and for highway trips (seating position is no problem for us....I'm short, so seat is fwd anyway...and she LIKES to drive with her legs crammed in under her...heh.) But, on back country/mountain roads that are quite common here in east TN, gimme my Celi any day (lower center of gravity and additional weight are definitely more confidence inspiring when it gets twisty). I've never compared them side by side, but the butt dyno tells me that our Corolla (auto) is quicker to 30 mph or so (feeling "lively" around town) but feels gutless above that. My Celi (auto as well) you can definitely feel the additional torque above that speed. I think the current Corollas are fine small cars (although I agree on the "tall" feeling, which suits my wife just fine - she's taller than I, and grunts and groans gettin' in and out of my car...LOL). We bought it new, and it's serviced regularly, so I KNOW it's gonna be reliable :) To the OP - man, you could definitely have a much worse company car, that much is certain...heh

PLapping12
10-09-2007, 01:18 AM
seems like your a fan of the jetta, they are nice cars. A relative has an 06 camry and that rides nice

hobbie2k
10-10-2007, 03:45 AM
seems like your a fan of the jetta, they are nice cars. A relative has an 06 camry and that rides nice

I am a fan of the Jetta (and the 2.0 FSI Turbo motor is like well-lubed sex molded in aluminum :hehe: ), but like I said, the model I had MSRPs for about 10 thousand dollars more than all the others, so it's not like it's a completely fair fight. Even the base model Jetta is a few thousand more than all the other cars.

I'm beginning to get used to the Corolla, but it's still pleasant to get out of it's hard, uncomfortable driving position and into the much better (but still not great) position in the Cobalt.

davmac
10-10-2007, 06:02 PM
Jetta and so many other VW models are so nice out of the box, but I find few owners who are still happy at 100K miles and above. I guess if it was acceptable to me to buy new every 4 - 5 years I would be a bigger fan of the Jetta then I am.

hobbie2k
10-12-2007, 02:09 PM
Really, I know one owner who is very happy with his '95 Golf. He bought it in high school with 76,000mi, now it has 180,000mi and is still going, all it's had replaced is a muffler and a timing belt. And my friend is not one to baby his cars...

In fact, the VW has proven less problematic than his wife's '99 Camry.

T-spoon
10-12-2007, 03:41 PM
In fact, the VW has proven less problematic than his wife's '99 Camry.


Heh, I would imagine that's a complete fluke, honestly. Not to put down the VW, but camrys are notoriously dogged in continuing to do their job with horrific maintenance records. I know you just mean to point out that not all VWs have crappy reliability, just saying.. maybe not the best example ;)

Playfortoday
10-12-2007, 09:23 PM
Careful, those tracking devices do more than just "track" the location of a vehicle. I hope your *cough* test drive was within the legal limits.:hehe:

hobbie2k
10-13-2007, 08:50 PM
Heh, I would imagine that's a complete fluke, honestly. Not to put down the VW, but camrys are notoriously dogged in continuing to do their job with horrific maintenance records. I know you just mean to point out that not all VWs have crappy reliability, just saying.. maybe not the best example ;)

Yeah, I know that he's been exceptionally lucky with his, but it goes the other way, too. My Camry blew it's motor at 88,000 miles, I know that's a fluke, but it's still led me to avoid another one (though I haven't yet given up hope of owning another 2nd gen Celica coupe).

I do know that those tracking systems can track more than location. I do speed a little (usually just to prevalent traffic speed or 5mph over), but I'm a far less aggressive driver than some of the others at the company, which may be why I got the new car.

I do find it annoying that other drivers say they don't speed to avoid tickets, but try and make up time by driving extremely aggressively, while critisizing me for admitting to slight speeding. I personally think an aggressive driver going the speed limit is far more dangerous than a patient, careful driver going 5mph over...but I suppose the police are more concerned with giving out easy fines than protecting the populace...