Caveat Emptor: Small-Car Buyers' Big Regrets

John Horner
by John Horner
caveat emptor small car buyers big regrets
Buyer’s remorse is setting in for many of this year’s sudden converts to the gospel of fuel efficiency– if Jonathan Welsh of The Wall Street Journal is to be believed. Of course, some of that might have to do with buyers’ choices. “Fran MacDonald got better fuel economy and maneuverability in traffic when she downsized from her Buick sedan to a tiny Chevrolet Aveo. But the small car was noisier and didn’t ride as smoothly. And then there were the hand-crank windows. ‘I was driving with my mother, and she asked me to put the window down,’ Ms. McDonald says. ‘When I told her she’d have to do it herself, she said, ‘Well, I don’t see a button.'” Once again, a craptastic GM vehicle disappoints and discourages. Fran obviously did zero research before making her purchase. Has there been ANY source which doesn’t rate the Aveo the class dunce? Another unhappy camper is ex-Chevy Suburban owner Blake Schomas, who went for a slightly more efficient Chrysler Pacifica– only to discover that their family of four (plus a friend or two) means no room for luggage. Kind of hard to take the gang on a skiing adventure that way. Others like Rebecca Lindland ditched her Chevy Trailblazer for a MINI, only to discover it was way too small for her tastes. Tacking back the other way, she traded the MINI on a BMW X3. Mr. Schomas, on the other hand, is probably stuck with that Pacifica for a long time. The moral of the story? Darwin wasn’t kidding.

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  • Oldyak Oldyak on Nov 06, 2008 comment on an 'affordable' Mini or a Stripped 'Beetle'.... This must part of the 'American Dream' thing that 'real' people don't buy cheap cars. Maybe not on this forum....... and as to the comment about roll up windows being 'passe' try $300 when they fail... "Whats in your wallet" I guess snobs rule the internet now... and as to the the comparison to a 'Fit' Get real.. Could these people get financed on one??????

  • Davey49 Davey49 on Nov 06, 2008

    When I sat in an Aveo I was fairly impressed. I guess people have different perceptions. My Saturn ION has crank windows. Suburban all the way crank windows fail about as often as manual transmissions do, almost never.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Nov 06, 2008

    Back when I bought my second Miata, I didn't want power windows but they came with the package I wanted. They never failed on me, but the previous miata had the cranks and it took about 3 revolutions to get the tiny window down. Also, if you haven't tried some of the really nice manual seats that come in some of the cars these days, you are missing out. They can be easier and smoother than the powered ones.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Nov 07, 2008

    Judging by the article and some of the comments the market for cheap, plain economy vehicles big ro small will not likely rise again in America unless our economic depression makes them necessary. I don't mind manual adjustments to seats, mirrors or windows. I wouldn't mind an Aveo if the darn thing got 35 mpg and would last 150K miles without many failures. Tough to live in a country where the dumbest citizen affect my future through bailout programs, tax rates, poor shopping habits, and poor credit choices. No wonder Wal-mart is doing so well selling Chinese stuff to us regardless of what that is doing to our economy long term. No sympathy from me for these people. I've got big miles on our vehicles and remain quite content with them - I knew what I wanted and I knew what i was getting and where there were surprises I have learned to cope. Road/wind/engine noise are the only things I'm unhappy with and this has increased with the age of the vehicle as the door seals have shrunk. Mileages are: 155K, 167K, 198K, 121K.