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Cars That Could Have Been Great, But Missed

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    The current Maxima is also pretty old now, hasn't been updated much, and is a fleet queen - I bet 2/3 of them or more go to rental buyers. Find a used late model Maxima with no sunroof, probably an old rental. I remember looking at one when I rented last year, the ICE was pretty old school. That doesn't help, when you can get an Altima with nicer toys for similar money.

    Maxima might sell now to bargain seekers who want the engine and maybe better looks or image than an Altima. Every now and then I'll see a blowout deal on them. I think I have read it is due for update/replacement very soon, maybe it'll fit in better now that the Infiniti Q50 (G replacement) is a bit more expensive than before.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,337
    edited November 5
    andre1969 said:



    "...the current Altima and Maxima both have a 109.3" wheelbase. I wonder if that's coincidence, or if the two are based on the same platform?"

    Yes, the Altima and Maxima share the same platform, just as the Camry and Avalon do, and the Sonata and Azera, plus the Impala and the XTS. Yet, the Altima is a big seller while the Max languishes.



  • texasestexases Posts: 5,698
    The Altima has moved so far upmarket, with about the same size and performance as the Maxima, there's not much reason to spend more for the Maxima. No more '4-door sports car'.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    The Altima sells because it is perceived as a good value.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,972
    That would be a good ad for an Encore or Enclave.

    More Bang for Buick.

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    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,152
    One of my friends got an Altima as a loaner when his 2006 Xterra recently had to go in for some maintenance and repairs. I rode around it it some. Pretty nice car, on the inside. I'm not too crazy about its exterior style, though, but I could get used to it.

    It seemed pretty quick too, for a 4-cyl. I just looked up a Car and Driver test of a 2013...0-60 in 7.6 seconds. It's amazing how far these cars have come, too. My Mom and stepdad had a 1999 Altima, which felt like a crap-box, although to its credit it went about 330,000 miles before they finally got rid of it. So, it was a good car. It just reeked of that "You may hate it now...just wait til you DRIVE it!" aura.

    I really liked the 2002 Altima when it first came out. Enough that I briefly considered trading my 2000 Intrepid in on one...until I saw how far underwater I was with that car. I didn't like the '07-12 style as much though. My Mom has an '08, and it seemed pretty low inside, and a bit cheaper, somehow. I think the current style is a bit roomier, but I just don't care for its style.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    I don't know if "Bang" is something the typical driver wants associated with their car :)
    stever said:

    That would be a good ad for an Encore or Enclave.

    More Bang for Buick.

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,337
    edited November 28
    I always liked the styling of the '84 Fiero. Too bad its out-of-date, unrefined 4-cylinder engine was out of sync with the car's looks. I guess the whole Fiero episode defines the old GM.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/automobiles/fixes-came-too-late.html?hpw&rref=automobiles&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    " but disappointment set in quickly as the Fiero developed a reputation for a stiff ride, lackluster quality, clunky handling and, worse, some engine failures and fires."

    Didn't GM even bother to TEST these things before they built and sold them? GEESH!

    Let's see---if I wanted to build the worst possible sports car for the 1980s, what qualities would I put into it? Why, I"ll imitate a 1954 MG!

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,337

    " but disappointment set in quickly as the Fiero developed a reputation for a stiff ride, lackluster quality, clunky handling and, worse, some engine failures and fires."

    Didn't GM even bother to TEST these things before they built and sold them? GEESH!

    Let's see---if I wanted to build the worst possible sports car for the 1980s, what qualities would I put into it? Why, I"ll imitate a 1954 MG!

    Hadn't thought about the 1954 MG in a long time. The MG excelled in looks too, in a retro way. It had a stiff ride and lackluster quality, but didn't it handle okay? I also don't recall that it was plagued by engine fires.

    I drove my brother's manual shift 1984 Fiero numerous times, and it rode okay for a small car of that period. It was also reliable over the several years and ~70,000 miles he owned it, and the engine never caught fire. I think the engines were vulnerable to catching fire if too much oil was poured into the crankcase. The crankcase of the Fiero was smaller than that of other GM cars that used the "Tech-4" engine because the car was so low to the ground. As a result, some grease
    monkeys overfilled the crankcase. Also, because the crankcase had more limited capacity, the engine was more sensitive to running low on oil. As long as you didn't overfill the crankcase or let the oil run low, engine fires weren't a problem.

    Handling was okay, even good, I'd say, as long as you didn't push it real hard. If pushed too hard, the back end could come around. But, isn't that an issue with other mid-engine cars? Let's remember that this was a low priced sporty car, not a high end exotic.

    My main objection to the 4-cylinder Fiero was its coarse, agricultural engine. It just hated to rev. Tech-4, whew, what a misnomer!


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    A 1954 MG handed okay for a 1954 car, by American standards, but pointing it in a certain direction was no guarantee that you would actually steer that way, especially on a rough road. It's a pretty primitive vehicle, athough way fun.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,555
    edited December 4
    You could get the later six-cylinder Fieros in the original styling, as opposed to just the Ferrari lookalikes. One rarely saw those it seems.

    A longtime friend of mine had an '85 four-cylinder. His only complaint was that groceries in the 'trunk' were warm by the time he'd get home.

    He did say that the girls liked it. He said he wished he could have picked it up and put it under his arm when he went into a bar. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    Perfect for pizza delivery!

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    What I remember most about the Fiero is that my little brother (born just a couple years before the Fiero debuted) confused it with "Ferrari" when he was a little kid, and he was disappointed when I told him the truth, and that many of them were saddled with a less than sporty engine.

    I had a remote control Fiero like this:

    image

    It wasn't an expensive toy, but is actually a real good scale model.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,337
    Shifty, I enjoyed your tribute to your father in Collectible Automobile. It was interesting, well written, and had a lot of feeling. Good job!

    Too bad Packard didn't make it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    edited December 9
    thanks for that!

    Ah, well--- there were lots of very worthy cars that didn't make it. The Auto Biz is cut throat and not always based on the merits of the product. Think of Duesenberg, Peerless, Pierce Arrow--these were magnificent cars.

    Sometimes car companies fail from mismanagement, from economic uncertainties, and in Packard's case, even from internal and external corruption. It was a very ugly and ignoble demise, that's for sure.

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