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Best visibility car-can't find one to buy

starlink starlink
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 04/07
Posted: 04/16/07
04:06 PM

hello to all!
Currently i am driving Toyota Corolla, 1987, it has the perfect visibility, where when changing lanes, I am always looking at the side and back window first, instead of using the side mirror, and then change lanes. I am just used to it, and find it safer too.
I test drove several really nice new cars-Toyota Scion XB, XA, Nissan Versa and others, but I feel almost panicked when I have to change lanes, because I can't see anything in the back window of those cars.

Does anyone know or can advise a good reliable car, without timing belts, with good fuel mileage,13-16.000 price range or about. Preferrably among wagons. But the car must have good visibility, large window on the back, nothing blocking it. Who ever drove Toyota Corolla, of 1987, knows perfect visibility it gives. Is there anything similar? Close?

thank you in advance for your advice.

speedracer1407 speedracer1407
User | Posts: 151 | Joined: 03/07
Posted: 04/16/07
11:33 PM

your criteria for a new car (timing belts, price, fuel economy, and visibility) is both a best-case and worst-case scenario.  

First, the bad news:  It's a sad fact that modern cars simply don't provide the same level of visibility as those produced 15-20 years ago, but for good reason.  Toyotas and especially Hondas of e 80s and 90s had amazing visibility due to a low "beltline"--the height of the top of the door sill, rear deck, and dashboard--as well as thin pillars holding up the roof.  As conserns of safety, handling, and a "solid feel" have become top priority, carmakers have utilized sophisticated computer modeling to engineer body structures that utilize every part of the body to maximize structural stiffness.  Thus, thick pillars, and a higher beltline have become the norm for pretty much any car, and while visibility suffers, passive safety has been drasticaly increased, along with the overall quality of the ride, handling, and "feel."  Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "no timing belts," but any car you buy, especially in that price range will have a timing belt.  It's a findamental necessity to piston-engine operation.  The only exceptions are engines with timing chains, which serve the exact same function, but tend to last longer than belts.  Chains are infrequently used, and only in expensive cars.

The good news:  The price range you've specified, at least for new cars, is exactly the range that will offer the best visibility, the best fuel economy, and the greatest range of wagon/hatchbacks available today, or indeed, for the past 10 years.  I'm surprised that you find the Nissan Versa to lack visibility, as my recent drive in the car reminded me of the old-school low beltlines and thin pillars.  The reality is that you won't find much better, especially if you've already sampled the Scions.  But consider a couple other options: the Honda Fit (my personal favorite in the category), and the Toyota yaris (which is a vailable as a 4dr sedan or 2dr hatch).  I don't know if either will meet your expectations of visibility, but they're likely candidates, with upright, boxy proportions, and the usual excellent economy and reliability.

Also consider the fact that your driving style might be more benefitial to your habits than to actual safety.  It's a widespread misconception that any reasonably proportioned car has a blind spot.  Bad driver instruction has informed generations of American drivers that side mirrors should be aimed such that the driver can see the side of the car through the mirror.  Not so.  If you adjust your side mirrors correctly, you will be able to see cars in the next lane in your mirrors AND see them in your own periferal vision.  Some people feel uncomfortable angling their mirrors so far to each side, but the reality is that you eliminate the blind spot, and can use your rearview mirror to check traffic behind and at your rear quarterpanels, and your side mirrors to chekc traffic riding along your rear doors.  Properly adjusted mirrors should allow you to see ALL traffic around you without ever having to look out of any of your side windows--it's not a myth.

Finally, this is probably the most "exciting" time to buy a new subcompact car in decades.  No, die-hard enthusiasts don't shop for econoboxes under $20K, but sensible enthusiasts who appreciate ALL automotive categories realize that the most recent offerings by Nissan, Toyota (scion), and Honda in that category represent revolutionary advances in small-car techonogy and quality.  Honda infuses spirited performance, fun, and Acura-like interior quality into its Fit.  Toyota and scion are intelligently packaged.  And Nissan's Versa offers luxurious touches previously expected only of expensive luxury cars.  In addition, the very computer-aided structural considerations that diminish visibility also serve to maximise interior space and comfort in such small packages.  So forget 1987 visibility standards, and revel in the fact that 20 years of automovie advancement have served to improve the smallest cars  every bit as much as it has served to improve the biggest, most obscene examples of automotive excess.  

starlink starlink
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 04/07
Posted: 04/17/07
02:42 PM

We did research the timing belts. Sadly, the Korean companies still use the timing belt. Toyota, as if it were a big mistake of the past, admitted to using the timing chain in all their lines. Nissan, too, (our '96 has the chain) claims to use only the timing chains today, as does Honda.
I wish to thank you for your response; your answer confirmed my selections, almost to a "T". I found the visibility of versa "4", Yaris "4.5" and I am yet to try the Fit, before I make my final choice. (Well, there is the "gas-hog" Suzuki Wagon, only 25-30 MPG!) The Fit and Suzuki are harder to find, here.

ash2dust ash2dust
New User | Posts: 30 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 04/19/07
04:21 PM


Excellent post! I can write 5 sentences per post max Smirk  

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