We reached a conclusion to the first Ford Festiva (or Kia Pride, Mazda 121, SAIPA, etc.) in our last installment, which saw the little hatchback finalize its Ford duties in 1993 and its Kia responsibilities in 2000. And while it continues life today as a Wallyscar in Tunisia, our coverage here moves on to Ford’s not-so-anticipated follow-up entry to Festiva, another Festiva! It’s an Aspire to you.
We return to the Ford Festiva once again today, as the subcompact Mazda-designed hatchback stormed North American shores. It did so wearing a Ford badge and a South Korean VIN, courtesy of a Kia factory. But North America wasn’t the only place it landed.
As we learned last time, the Festiva was built in several different countries and assumed many identities over an extensive history. The Festiva still has not reached the end of its life, but we’ll cover that in a separate article. We pick up today in North America, circa 1987.
We return to our Rare Rides Icons coverage of the Ford Festiva today. An important world vehicle for the likes of Ford, Mazda, Kia (and eventually many others), the Festiva arrived at a time when rear-drive subcompacts were being replaced by much more efficient models that were front-drive. And the Mazda-designed Festiva was certainly more efficient and more front-drive than the Fiesta it replaced.
We embark on the important and global tale of a subcompact hatchback today. Your author referenced it last week in Part I of our Kia large cars series, and now it’s time for the promised comprehensive Rare Rides coverage! Manufactured in various places around the world, our subject vehicle lived a long life and had no fewer than 10 identities over its impressive 17-year span. We’re going to party, karamu, Festiva, forever.
In our last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we took a look at three subcompact American CUVs competing at the $25,000 price point. Most of you seemed to agree they were all terrible, but the Trax edged out the Buy in the comments.
Let’s see how you feel about the Japanese competition.
U.S. Subcompact Car Market Share Fell by Half Since 2016; Subcompact Crossover Segment Tripled Since 2013
No Yaris. No Fiesta. No Sonic. No Mazda2. No Fit.
America’s subcompact car segment is decimated. According to Tyson Jominy, the vice president of data and analytics at J.D. Power, 40 percent of last year’s subcompact sales are gone. Jominy doesn’t mean “fewer sales.” He means that the nameplates responsible for 40 percent of the sales are gone.
And is it any wonder? As recently as 2014, subcompact cars produced 3.8 percent of all U.S. auto sales. Collectively, the few remaining subcompact cars now account for just 1.4 percent of the American light vehicle market.
At the current rate of decline, fewer than 1 percent of the vehicles sold in America in 2022 will be subcompact cars. But we all know the current rate of decline is hardly an accurate harbinger. If subcompacts own 1 percent of the market in 2021, we’d be surprised.
Just when Toyota’s Yaris finally adorned the name of a fun car, the brand kills it.
It was once the Scion iA, but a couple years ago, Toyota bestowed it with the Yaris moniker after retiring the Scion brand. Once attached to underwhelming subcompacts, the name was now slapped on the side of a more-fun small car.
It’s not shocking that the brand killed the Mazda 2-based Yaris sedan. The culprits? Slow sales and new regulations.
Slow sales is a big story in the subcompact class, and in 2019 the Yaris was down 5,000 units from the year before. Coronavirus may have ushered the Yaris out the door, too, since Toyota planned to limit North American production to adjust to the difficulties posed by the pandemic.
This was a long time coming. In fact, Wednesday’s announcement of the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact was expected to arrive by the end of last year, not halfway through the present one.
Regardless, the small hatchback and sedan that greeted buyers near the outset of the 2010s will not last more than a year into the 2020s. It’s dead come October.
Bad news to share — especially for those of you enamored with cheap, entry-level passenger cars. The Toyota Yaris sedan and hatchback will vanish after the 2020 model year.
Reworked versions of the Mazda 2, the guppy-faced Yarises greeted North American buyers in two phases after the “real” Yaris bowed out, first as a sedan and later as a hatchback. Get one while you can.
This should help sweep every last thought of the Ford Mustang and its hip new sibling out of your mind.
Teased not long ago by an excited Mitsubishi, the newest Mirage is now ready for a round of eye feasting. Get your fill. And, while the subcompact model hasn’t adopted a new platform or anything like that, it has donned its largest grille to date, plus some additional finery to drive cost-conscious boys and girls wild.
Christmas just came early for many of you. The Mitsubishi Mirage, a truly inexpensive vehicle sometimes seen wearing a worrisome shade of magenta, will soon be even better than before.
That’s because the subcompact hatch and sedan is about gain an even more dynamic and expressive exterior. Brace yourselves.
Honda last revamped its subcompact Fit hatchback for the 2015 model year, tossing the entry-level model a styling refresh for 2018. Now, there’s a new Fit on the block (or Jazz, depending on market), but its availability in the U.S. remains a question mark.
Sales of most subcompact cars have followed a trajectory traced by their compact and midsize stablemates, and it points nowhere but down. If Honda feels it’s worthwhile shipping the Fit across U.S. borders, what you see here could be yours.
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- ToolGuy The [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]XJ platform[/url] is super interesting to me, more so after owning one and working on it some (but not a lot, because it didn't need a lot). The overall size is almost perfect; add more space to the back seat (and carry it to the wheelbase) if we are starting over.One could argue, if one knew anything about vehicles, that the 4-door XJ is a major reason why U.S. fleet [all of everyone's vehicles averaged together] fuel economy is so bad in 2023.
- ToolGuy ToolGuy can't solve all the issues raised here tonight, but this does remind me that I have some very excellent strawberry jam direct from Paris in the fridge.
- ToolGuy Cool.(ToolGuy supports technology advancement, as well as third-person references)
- MaintenanceCosts Oddly enough, I bought a metal-roof convertible for a bit less than $20k last year. But it's not on your list; it's an E93 335i, manual, Sport package. Really really nice car to drive, and (while it's been a short time) it's been flawless so far.
- FreedMike IS350 all the way. The Benz and the BMW are going to be money pits.