I heartily agree. I used to drive a friends '91 infinity G20 5 speed. it had more power on paper, LOTS more power in fact, and got the same mileage as my fiancees 03 mazda protege does. I also fit a 36" CRT in it that didn't fit in my mom's 03 lesabre. older Jap compact cars FTW!
FE stayed the same, power and longevity have gone up massively, emissions and maintenance requirements have gone down massively. It's all about the consumers. yea, a lot of people on this forum would love to drive a late 80s/early 90s 50+ mpg (stock w/o trying) civic boosted with 20 years of engine advancements to get even better mileage with the same (low) power and light car but really, it's a niche market. not enough people would buy it to make money and that's what it's really about.
1991 Toyota Pickup 22R-E 2.4 I4/5 speed
1990 Toyota Cressida 7M-GE 3.0 I6/5-speed manual
mechanic, carpenter, stagehand, rigger, and know-it-all smartass
"You don't get to judge me for how I fix what you break"