Buy/Drive/Burn: Compact Five-door Hatchbacks From 2007

buy drive burn compact five door hatchbacks from 2007

Our Buy/Drive/Burn today is yet another reader suggested trio, this time from SoCalMikester. Mike wants to take a look a three quite affordable compact hatchbacks from 2007. Honda, Nissan, and Scion are all on offer today, but which one’s worth your limited number of 2007 dollars?

Note: Though 2006 was the model year suggested, the Fit was first available in North America in 2007. We’ll also play the leftovers game with the xA.

Honda Fit

Honda introduced the “new” Fit to North America this year, though the first-generation model has been on sale since 2002 elsewhere, and is due for replacement. Available only as a hatchback, all North American Fits are also front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is available in the Japanese market.) Honda offers two trims this year: Base, and Sport. We’ll opt for a manual transmission Sport today, but the trim is also available as an automatic. One-hundred and nine horsepower are generated by the 1.5-liter inline-four, and travel through the front wheels via the five-speed. Fit asks $15,170.

Nissan Versa

The Versa is also new to North America for the 2007 model year, but has been on sale in Japan since 2004. Unlike the Fit, Versa is offered in hatchback or sedan guises. All-wheel-drive versions are offered outside North America, though Nissan brings only front-drivers here. Trims are limited to the base S or upmarket SL, with sedans and hatches at both levels, as well as manual and automatic transmissions. Our choice today is the SL hatchback with a five-speed manual, which is priced at $14,550. Interestingly, Nissan asks the same money whether a buyer chooses the hatch or sedan, and the CVT adds another $1,000. All cars are powered by the same 122-horse 1.8-liter inline-four.

Scion xA

Scion is in between small hatches in 2007: The xA was officially finished last year, and its replacement the xD is not available until model year 2008. xA was imported through December 2006, so we’ll be buying a leftover today. xA was offered from 2004, and the five-door hatch shared a platform with the unpopular Toyota Echo (2000-2005). In its final year, xA was available in one trim, an unnamed base version. All examples were powered by the same 1.5-liter inline-four from the Echo, which produced 103 horses. A five-speed manual or four-speed auto were available – we’ll go with the manual today. The bargain of our trio, xA asks just $12,780.

Three discount Japanese hatchbacks for the economy-minded buyer. Which one goes home with you?

If you have a B/D/B trio you’d like to see, leave it in the comments!

[Images: Honda, Nissan, Scion]

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  • BSttac BSttac on Nov 30, 2021

    I loved this first generation of Honda Fit. Wish Honda made a fun, small hatchback still. Definetly would buy and drive that one

  • Theonlydt Theonlydt on Nov 30, 2021

    Easy. Buy - Honda Fit - drove well, reliable as anything, many still on the road today. Any built in Swindon or Japan were the best of the Fits, Japan especially. Drive - Scion, by process of elimination. Burn - The Versa. I test drove one of these. I thought it'd be a winner, lots of space, 1.8 looks good on paper, and drove it with the six speed manual because that's what I wanted. It was utter shite. Coarse, the gearbox felt like the very worst of French gearboxes (very imprecise), handling is extremely poor. I'd hoped it'd be soft and comfortable, instead it was floaty and poorly resolved. It's a shame as the car was roomy, and a fuel efficientish engine with a 6 speed as a hatchback it had potential. Instead it can burn merrily on the pyre and good riddance.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.
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