to buy new or used car?

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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby AltaRed » 25 Jun 2012 15:58

pmj wrote:It's my experience that most cars have engine sizes and capacities that are proportionate to the size and weight - and thus the power demand - of those cars. Relative to driving in hilly or mountainous country, the most significant deficiency of smaller cars in North America is not lack of power - it's older-style automatic gearboxes that limit one's ability to select the correct gear.

Tell that to the econoboxes that cannot maintain speed limit on the mountain grades out West or 130km/hr on 3-5% grades on the interstates. Tell that to the econoboxes that take upwards of 1km to pass another car at highway speeds on 2 lane highways. The damn things are accidents looking to happen. However, I do agree most vehicles today (other than econoboxes) DO have decent size/weight ratios.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby tedster » 25 Jun 2012 16:02

My GF is talking about buying a Smart Car. She does a fair amount of highway driving. Would it be safe? Such a small car, next to an 18 wheeler?
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby BRIAN5000 » 25 Jun 2012 16:37

tedster wrote:My GF is talking about buying a Smart Car. She does a fair amount of highway driving. Would it be safe? Such a small car, next to an 18 wheeler?



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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby tedster » 25 Jun 2012 17:23

Thanks, I saw those before I posted. I was thinking more along the sideways displacement when a large tractor trailer goes by. I remember having a Honda Civic in the late 70s and driving to Ottawa. Anyrime a trailer went by I am sure I moved a couple of feet.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby AltaRed » 25 Jun 2012 17:53

tedster wrote:Thanks, I saw those before I posted. I was thinking more along the sideways displacement when a large tractor trailer goes by. I remember having a Honda Civic in the late 70s and driving to Ottawa. Anyrime a trailer went by I am sure I moved a couple of feet.

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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby Nemo2 » 25 Jun 2012 18:26

tedster wrote:I remember having a Honda Civic in the late 70s and driving to Ottawa. Anyrime a trailer went by I am sure I moved a couple of feet.

There's your problem, right there.....'tis best to be the passer than the passee. :wink:
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby Shakespeare » 25 Jun 2012 18:28

On a two-lane road an 18-wheeler in the oncoming lane can move a small car significantly as it, er, blows by, especially if there is a big cross-wind.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby vince2 » 25 Jun 2012 18:36

AltaRed wrote:
pmj wrote:It's my experience that most cars have engine sizes and capacities that are proportionate to the size and weight - and thus the power demand - of those cars. Relative to driving in hilly or mountainous country, the most significant deficiency of smaller cars in North America is not lack of power - it's older-style automatic gearboxes that limit one's ability to select the correct gear.

Tell that to the econoboxes that cannot maintain speed limit on the mountain grades out West or 130km/hr on 3-5% grades on the interstates. Tell that to the econoboxes that take upwards of 1km to pass another car at highway speeds on 2 lane highways. The damn things are accidents looking to happen. However, I do agree most vehicles today (other than econoboxes) DO have decent size/weight ratios.


Like pmj, I have never understood the insatiable need for massive amounts of torque in North America when the speed limit is (except for small stretches of highway) 120km/hr and proper attention to planning works well enough when the need to pass arises.

It is my perception after driving in Europe and Africa and North America that vast amounts of torque are often used in my neck of the woods to compensate for poor planning skills when driving. I was taught to drive smoothly, and the staccato manner of driving (either full acceleration or heavy braking) locally, seems to indicate a lack of appreciation of the mental aspects of driving.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby pmj » 25 Jun 2012 21:29

Nemo2 wrote:
tedster wrote:I remember having a Honda Civic in the late 70s and driving to Ottawa. Anyrime a trailer went by I am sure I moved a couple of feet.

There's your problem, right there.....'tis best to be the passer than the passee. :wink:

Makes sense to me! Even trucks without speed-limiters rarely travel much faster than 110-120 km/h - so just "keeping-up-with-the-traffic" significantly reduces the incidence of trucks passing. A speed 5-10 km/h faster than the speed at which trucks are travelling is a good guide to an optimum travel speed.

It's worth remembering that the primary purpose of inter-urban highways is for commercial transportation - that they are convenient for personal transport is a bonus to those (including me) who use them in that manner. Accordingly, I'm not convinced that passing standards should be defined primarily from the perspective of the convenience of personal travellers. The passing times for truck vs truck far exceed those for car vs car, etc. Is a truck driver driving in a selfish manner if his passing manoeuvre on a long grade - probably undertaken for the purpose of maintaining a steady speed / efficient power output - delays someone making a personal journey?
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby pmj » 25 Jun 2012 22:19

vince2 wrote:
AltaRed wrote:
pmj wrote:It's my experience that most cars have engine sizes and capacities that are proportionate to the size and weight - and thus the power demand - of those cars. Relative to driving in hilly or mountainous country, the most significant deficiency of smaller cars in North America is not lack of power - it's older-style automatic gearboxes that limit one's ability to select the correct gear.

Tell that to the econoboxes that cannot maintain speed limit on the mountain grades out West or 130km/hr on 3-5% grades on the interstates. Tell that to the econoboxes that take upwards of 1km to pass another car at highway speeds on 2 lane highways. The damn things are accidents looking to happen. However, I do agree most vehicles today (other than econoboxes) DO have decent size/weight ratios.


Like pmj, I have never understood the insatiable need for massive amounts of torque in North America when the speed limit is (except for small stretches of highway) 120km/hr and proper attention to planning works well enough when the need to pass arises.

It is my perception after driving in Europe and Africa and North America that vast amounts of torque are often used in my neck of the woods to compensate for poor planning skills when driving. I was taught to drive smoothly, and the staccato manner of driving (either full acceleration or heavy braking) locally, seems to indicate a lack of appreciation of the mental aspects of driving.
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Passing manoeuvres are excellent opportunities to exercise one's skills in mental differential calculus 8). But right now I have a spreadsheet available - so here's a few assumptions with which to analyze the 1 km passing manoeuvre:

Both vehicles 5 metres long
Clear distance before passing = 5 lengths = 25 m
Length of passee = 5 m
Clear distance after passing = 5 lengths = 25 m

Distance to make-up = 55 m

Speed of passee = 120 km/h = 33.3 m/s
Speed of passer = 135 km/h = 37.5 m/s
Differential speed = 15 km/h = 4.2 m/s
Time to pass = 55/4.2 = 13.2 sec
Distance travelled by passee = 33.3 x 13.2 = 440 m

Interesting.

This calc makes no allowance for acceleration - it assumes that the passer is already travelling at 135 km/h. Is that a reasonable speed in a 100 / 110 / 120 km/h zone? And the five-vehicle length assumed for the lane change represents only 0.75 sec between vehicles - which seems kind of close?

Personally, this manoeuvre feels "tight". And yet it requires 440 m to complete it. Allowing 10 vehicle lengths (1.5 sec) for the lane-change increases the distance to 840 m. And dropping the passing speed to 130 km/h extends the distance to 1260 m.

ISTM that a significant cause of "slow" passing is poor driving skills. Using cruise control probably contributes - I rarely use mine, but when I do I notice that my driving technique changes from adjusting my speed to match other vehicles to "hoping" that I can fit between other cars without touching the gas or the brake :shock: - which is a ridiculous way to drive :oops:.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby westinvest » 26 Jun 2012 01:47

AltaRed wrote:Going a little off topic, it is important to buy according to primary usage. A Corolla might be fine in most situations such as freeways and urban areas, including commuting, but not on 2 lane highways in hilly or mountainous country. You need some real horsepower (torque actually) in the mountains of BC or Alberta.


It can be quite instructional driving Snowshed Hill on the Coquihalla (Hwy 5 from Hope to Kamloops). It's a 4 lane divided highway with a posted speed limit of 110kph, most drive at 120. There is a long uphill leading to the summit, and most cars manage fine for the first part of the climb but immediately after passing through the Snowshed the rate of climb increases dramatically and 80% of the cars in cruise control at 120 start to bog down by 10-15 kmh, which drops the car out of cruise, which means they immediately lose momentum which is very hard to regain on the increasing slope. Automatics shift down to try and regain speed, but at 100-110 kmh most econoboxes max out the rpm at the downshift so a vicious cycle of downshifts and upshifts starts. Of course the right hand lane is full of semi's crawling up the hill, so if you lose speed when maneuvering it's hard to get back. So the bulk of traffic probably drops from 120 to 90 in the course of the first kilometer of the climb. It's too bad it's a bit out of the way, a run up the Coke should be a required part of any test drive...
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby flywaysuzy » 26 Jun 2012 09:29

I have a very steep incline where I test drive vehicles. It has lots of potholes and uneven pavement. Very good for testing power, shifting, suspension, steering- and braking coming down! Best to compare several contenders back to back so you can remember how they feel.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby gouthro » 26 Jun 2012 10:05

It's nice to have power. I once owned a bigger car and passing was a breeze. I find that planning can take the place of power, though.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby AltaRed » 26 Jun 2012 10:07

westinvest wrote:Automatics shift down to try and regain speed, but at 100-110 kmh most econoboxes max out the rpm at the downshift so a vicious cycle of downshifts and upshifts starts.

It is the same thing for manual shifts on that stretch. There is not much one can do trying to maintain speed working between 3rd and 4th gears with the pedal full down and/or keeping the tach below circa 5500 rpm. Econoboxes simply are not practical on high speed highways in the mountains.

Added: Try to maintain speed in that stretch in this kind of vehicle (130 HP in a 3352 lb 5 speed manual) http://autos.yahoo.com/kia/sportage/200 ... tions.html
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby tedster » 26 Jun 2012 10:19

This is what one should buy. Unfortunately the commentary is all in Chinese. Don't ask me to translate. :rofl: VW concept car
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby pmj » 26 Jun 2012 13:11

AltaRed wrote:
westinvest wrote:Automatics shift down to try and regain speed, but at 100-110 kmh most econoboxes max out the rpm at the downshift so a vicious cycle of downshifts and upshifts starts.

It is the same thing for manual shifts on that stretch. There is not much one can do trying to maintain speed working between 3rd and 4th gears with the pedal full down and/or keeping the tach below circa 5500 rpm. Econoboxes simply are not practical on high speed highways in the mountains.

Added: Try to maintain speed in that stretch in this kind of vehicle (130 HP in a 3352 lb 5 speed manual) http://autos.yahoo.com/kia/sportage/200 ... tions.html

Indeed! Several hundred pounds over-weight, extra rolling resistance of 4-wheel drive, and just 127 lb-ft torque. Much closer to the concept of econobox than was the 2002 Corolla with pretty much the same power and torque, but a whopping 429 kg / 945 lb / 28% lighter: http://www.auto123.com/en/toyota/corolla/2002
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby FinEcon » 26 Jun 2012 15:38

westinvest wrote:
AltaRed wrote:Going a little off topic, it is important to buy according to primary usage. A Corolla might be fine in most situations such as freeways and urban areas, including commuting, but not on 2 lane highways in hilly or mountainous country. You need some real horsepower (torque actually) in the mountains of BC or Alberta.


It can be quite instructional driving Snowshed Hill on the Coquihalla (Hwy 5 from Hope to Kamloops). It's a 4 lane divided highway with a posted speed limit of 110kph, most drive at 120. There is a long uphill leading to the summit, and most cars manage fine for the first part of the climb but immediately after passing through the Snowshed the rate of climb increases dramatically and 80% of the cars in cruise control at 120 start to bog down by 10-15 kmh, which drops the car out of cruise, which means they immediately lose momentum which is very hard to regain on the increasing slope. Automatics shift down to try and regain speed, but at 100-110 kmh most econoboxes max out the rpm at the downshift so a vicious cycle of downshifts and upshifts starts. Of course the right hand lane is full of semi's crawling up the hill, so if you lose speed when maneuvering it's hard to get back. So the bulk of traffic probably drops from 120 to 90 in the course of the first kilometer of the climb. It's too bad it's a bit out of the way, a run up the Coke should be a required part of any test drive...


I agree with you and AltaRed completely on the topic but in my view passing ability is needed not so much on the Coke or any other 'freeway' but on the vast majority of mountain goat trails that are labelled provincial highways in BC (Crowsnest, Yellowhead, 16, John Hart, 97 south of Kamloops, Alaska, Trans Canada through Boston Bar, etc). Alberta is much much better in this regard probably on account of having about 0-1% of its road miles on any appreciable grade or corner but BC is full of absolute rubbish roads where driving with an extra 150+HP makes a world of difference. Nothing like being stuck behind a trio or quad of RV driving seniors in the south Okanagan where there are nearly no passing lanes, an 80/km speed limits and the whole road is a series of long winding curves. If you have 300hp you are free.....if you have a Corrolla or an Accord (more appliances than a true car) you can be stuck at 60-80km for 15-20km or more. Serentity Now!
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby vince2 » 29 Jun 2012 02:33

Of course higher torque and less vehicle weight = faster acceleration, I have no problem in agreeing to that. However, I have lived long in countries where the cost of gas influenced human behaviour and IMHO V8 gas engines (very popular in north east Alberta) without any justification - too many trucks with no real evidence of a need for a truck - seems really wasteful. Frankly, a truck is a work vehicle and justifying its existence with a gas V8 is IMO impossible. Nobody who uses a truck for work purposes needs 300+ horses and a 0-60mph time of <10 sec, a diesel powered truck would do just as well and the reluctance to provide a 5/6 cylinder diesel engine with a capacity of 3-3.2 litre for a truck or SUV mystifies me. A work truck needs torque and a diesel engine provides that in spades.

I have done a significant of driving in Italy, and crossing the Apennines from one coast to the rest is a normal event and the ability of vehicles with an engine capacity of 2l or less does not appear to impede their ability to cross the mountains and pass slower moving vehicles, on roads which are not dissimilar to those single lane mountain roads found in BC.

As far as econoboxes are concerned, I drove a camry 4il 130 hp (manual) in the early 1990's with about 197 Nm torque as opposed to the 2012 econobox 1.8l Corollas with 130 hp with 174 Nm of torque and could regularly cover 430km of mountainous and twisty riverside road in 2h30minutes to 2h40minutes at an average speed of 155-160kmph - I knew the road like the back of my hand and there were no speedtraps. The road was about as quiet as the Coquihalla the last time I drove it.

I realize that our experiences define us and the way we regard things, I see a large V8 gas truck as wasteful and am sympathetic to the European love of vehicles with diesel turbo engines, especially for SUV's and trucks.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby kcowan » 29 Jun 2012 09:41

We rented a Renault Megan diesel and were very impressed with its smooth shifting and torque. We drove it from Paris to Nice by way of the Loire, Bordeaux and Provence. They have come a long way from the smelly noisy diesels that would stale easily.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby zinfit » 29 Jun 2012 22:29

A Chevy Cavaliar or Dodge Neon would make a Corolla or Civic look like a rocket ship. That 2.2 push-rod GM four banger was a disgraceful image for Detroit engineering. The Corolla had a 1.6 overhead cam which beat this GM engine in every department.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby AltaRed » 30 Jun 2012 10:49

zinfit wrote:A Chevy Cavaliar or Dodge Neon would make a Corolla or Civic look like a rocket ship. That 2.2 push-rod GM four banger was a disgraceful image for Detroit engineering. The Corolla had a 1.6 overhead cam which beat this GM engine in every department.

Agreed although almost all vehicles have gotten better the past 5 years. Seems a number of manufacturers are now competing to make their 4 bangers more powerful.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby zinfit » 30 Jun 2012 11:52

Agreed Detroit has discovered in recent times that overhead cam engines are more efficient and superior to pushrod engines. The Japanese companies knew that 50 years ago.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby Insomniac » 30 Jun 2012 14:33

zinfit wrote:Agreed Detroit has discovered in recent times that overhead cam engines are more efficient and superior to pushrod engines. The Japanese companies knew that 50 years ago.


50 years ago the Japanese were making cars with Austin engines.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby zinfit » 30 Jun 2012 20:38

That's news to me. Certainly by the early 70's their vehicles were all overhead cam. The Datsun 240z was certainly not an Austin engine, the Mazda equivalent even used a wankel engine. The Honda cvcc engine was so advanced that it exceeded tough new emissions requirements and didn't require a catalytic converters. It took Detroit 20 years to meet those standards. They were also leaders in adopting and refining front wheel drive. I guess I should have said 40 years instead of 50 years. All wheel drive, and multiple valves were standards the Japanese adopted in the 1980's. In recent times Ford has been on the frontline in stepping up to the plate in challenging the Asian imports. GM and Chrysler have picked up their sox's but have a fair ways to go to match Toyota, Honda, Subaru products.
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Re: to buy new or used car?

Postby AltaRed » 01 Jul 2012 10:36

I agree. The early '70s Toyota Celica had a 2 litre OHC engine. I owned a 74 model for over 10 years. I believe the Datsun 510, etc were OHC since their '60s introduction. The bodies rusted off long before their power trains cratered.
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