FIT or Yaris - Element or xB

I need some wheels. Cost is the primary determinant, but I want to spend my money wisely, and a couple thousand more for a vehicle that gives me more utility may be money well spent. Second determinant is
fuel economy. I don't haul anything, it is just me going many miles. I have looked at the Fit and Yaris and they fit for cost and economy. But I have read some real horror stories about the FIT.
This does not HAVE TO be a determinant, but it would be nice if the vehicle could pull say a 1000# trailer, little fishing boat. But that is just a nice to have.
I like the looks of both the Element and the Scion xB.
Of those 4 vehicles, and understanding my determinants, and hopefully YOU knowing a whole lot more about these vehicles than I do, which would you buy and why?
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Horror stories? Please tell.
The Fit has been around in Japan and Europe for about 4 years. It's come top 5 (sector or overall) of most owner surveys it's appeared in. Obviously I'm a biased Honda owner, but 'horror stories' doesn't imply impartiality either. I do hear that they're a bit hard to come by in the US at the moment, and that's about as bad as I've heard.

I'd buy the Fit. They are a lovely little car, IMO. I carry bikes about and the magic seats work amazingly for 1-2 of them. I wouldn't know about towing. I do have the tow-bar, but only to fit a 4 bike rack on.
Skippy E&OE
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I went to carprices.com, followed the compare link, put 4 different vehicles in, then read the many things people had to say about them. A common thread seemed to be how the quality with Honda has really gone downhill. That's surprising. I owned quite a few Civic Hatchbacks and Accords that I always bought new and they were flawless. But buyers of FITs and Elements reported some bad problems with transmission failure within 1000 miles, engine failure, reports that the problem wasn't covered under warranty, and various other problems.

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On Mon, 02 Oct 2006 14:58:35 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@new.rr.com (Chris Lamb) wrote:

Well, I have 7200 miles on a FIT with no issues. I got mine new for around $14k. I get about 40mpg with mostly highway driving. Fit and finish seem ok for a 14,000 dollar car. It's not a pocket rocket but doesn't pretend to be either.
If you're looking to tow things you might be better off with an Element though I don't know what the different towing capacities of any of the vehicles you mention.
Finally, Honda has taken some grief in enthusiast circles for dumbing down the design on some of their vehicles. The last generation Civic switched from a double wishbone suspension to some other setup that was supposed to be less than optimum. The Accord has gotten bigger, the Ridgeline looks like an Avalanche, etc. To each their own, I guess. I think any of the vehicles you mention would probably be fine.
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Santos, as I have done more research I am leaning more toward the FIT. For the difference in price between it and an Element for instance, I can RENT a lot of row boats to go fishing, and probably pay for the rental with the gas savings alone. Don't have a boat, just was thinking of one, and it doesn't have to be a priority in anyway.

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If a sporty ride is a priority Fit might be better choice. If saving a few bucks is a priority and you like boats Fit might not be as fitting. I think Yaris has more boat-like properties. Or that's an impression I derived from reading the C&D subcompact comparo. The little parody on Lexus might be more reliable though.
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We drove Yaris(2), Fit(sport), Scions(2), Hyundai - and the Fit stood out as more solid-feeling when stressed. 45 years ago I raced SCCA (all RWD), and it's my inclination to push a car pretty hard. The Fit did great, the Hyundai was flaky, and the several Toyotas were in between. I'll go further - pushed hard, the Hyundai was so scary at the edge that I pulled over to check tire pressure. The Fit came loose gently and predictably, and never felt out of control. The brakes were about the same but I didn't measure. Overall, the Fit seemed safest in emergencies and with its superior handling and adequate engine would win most Class H or so of the early 60s.
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Off topic -- but you probably remember the Sunbeam Tiger given your background.
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I'd go with the Element, solely for its safety and four-wheel drive. You could definitely tow a boat with this one, it's safer than the Fit (both in side-impact and front-impact), and the AWD system is a necessary componet where I live...I don't know about your location, but that's just my opinion.
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Robert wrote:

Why exactly is AWD necessary in your area? If you are referring to winter conditions, all you need is a good set of winter tires.
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I live in northwestern Connecticut, and my other car is a 1993 Volvo 940 -- excellent in the summer, but it has a huge weight bias and rear wheel drive...even with winter tires it is one of the worst cars I've ever driven in winter conditions (unfortunately, I overlooked this when I bought in the summer, and I fell in love with it ever since.)
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Robert wrote:

But that's a rear-wheel drive car. An Element is front-wheel drive, so it's still better in snow than a rear-wheel drive car.
I live in central Canada, so obviously I've experienced winter weather too.
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I'm in North Central Wisconsin. I have a Grand Cherokee now and the AWD does come in handy. Problem with the Element, which I like, is that the price goes into the low to mid 20's with AWD.

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tww wrote:

Wasn't exactly SCCA, but what a rocketship. And even further from topic was a friend with an MGTC sporting a (gasp) Studebaker V8. Hopefully, someone somewhere has returned that car to its proper state... Those were the days... Now, how to get a V8 into a Fit, and back on topic.
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I too raced SCCA. I know exactly what you are talking about. Problem in this part of Wisconsin is that no one has any FITs. One dealer in Appleton yesterday said that everyone they were getting in until the end of 2006 was already sold, but when the shipment came in he would call me and let me sit in one.
Oddly we stopped at Saturn and I was very impressed what $16000 would buy in a 2007 Ion 2. It may wind up being the winner. Stopped at Chevy dealer just for kicks to check out an Aveo. I understand they are made in Kora. For $9400 it was too tempting not to look at. I have two bids in on bank repos. That end tomorrow, If I don't win one of those, I am inclined to go Saturn at this point, just because it is available and quite a decent car.

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Chris Lamb wrote:

I would avoid Saturn and the Aveo. If you cannot wait for a Fit, I would suggest to spend the extra bit of money to get a Toyota Yaris which is much more solidly built and much more fuel efficient than Aveo and Ion.
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On Thu, 05 Oct 2006 11:15:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@new.rr.com (Chris Lamb) wrote:

I liked the Saturn VUE which, I admit, is more money - and the 2006 6 cyl has a Honda engine in it; don't know about the 2007. Even liked the 4 cyl VUE with 30 mpg Just replaced 88 Civic hatchback with 2006 Civic 4-door. Need to replace 1994 Mercury Villager with something. So far the VUE is out in front
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FWIW - I bought a 2006 used Saturn Ion 2 with all the options, sunroof, 11000 miles. It just came off 1 year lease. I was very interested in either a FIT or YARIS, however every one of those vehicles coming into this area until the end of the year is already sold. I had the option to buy one sight unseen, and I would have received it in January. The Saturn I got, in a new 2007 version costs $17000. I got it for $12000. It will be garaged and cared for so even though I would agree F/Y are better quality, this vehicle should certainly provide satisfactory service to us. Also, it will tow 1000# in case we want to pull a small fishing boat to the lake, which is only 3 blocks from the house. Thanks to everyone for your input. It was valuable information in making my decision.
On Mon, 02 Oct 2006 14:58:35 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@new.rr.com (Chris Lamb) wrote:

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