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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    edited May 2012
    I have now reached 15,000 miles on my 2012 Acura TL Advance SH-AWD. I have had two oil changes and at the second change the SH-AWD "fluid" was changed (very expensive.) The tires have been rotated twice.

    I keep the tires cold inflated to: front 37, rear 35. I decided to stick with the somewhat crappy OEM tires that came with the car, since they are all-season UHP's and I wanted to go through winter (very light even for Cincinnati) with the OEM's kind of to allow me to "testify" about the OEM selection.

    I added 4 splash guards and the backup sensors -- otherwise the thing is bone stock.

    I bring my own oil -- Mobil 1 -- for the changes, and all service has been performed by the dealer, Lindsay Acura, Columbus, OH.

    This is one boring car from a service perspective. It did, however, seem peppier after the second oil and "fluid" change -- in that respect it reminded me somewhat of my experience with Audi's -- they feel more powerful at 5,000 and again at 10,000 miles.

    I am not used to paying for service (Audi and BMW spoiled me in that regard) -- so $230 oil changes including tire rotations are painful. But in fairness, the reason for the expense on the last one was the SH-AWD fluid, which won't be changed again for a long time.

    This car seems almost freakishly unfazed by miles and time. There are NO rattles, no wear and tear (inside or out) tells that could give away the car's age (in miles.) Most of my German cars -- my 2005 Audi A6 3.2 quattro being the ONLY exception -- have always started to either feel or (upon examination) show their age by this point.

    The last two BMW's developed rattles in a similar time / miles situation. The Audi seemed to be a dirt magnet -- and I wash my cars twice weekly (including vacuuming the interiors), so it is not due to some change in my auto-hygene regimen that I tell you the Acura at 15,000 miles feels totally new, looks new, drives new, etc etc. The only difference is it gets somewhat better mileage now and it has a bit more pep in its step.

    Yet the TL remains a compromise car -- it is "in the ballpark" with the Germans I have been used to (and by in the ballpark, I mean broadly: features, content, power, price, etc.) but it is about 9/10ths. Now considering it's VALUE quotient, perhaps it is more than 9/10ths; but, when I push it hard through a curvy back road it makes me think, "this is soooo close, but just not quite there." Of course my lease payments are $100 per month less than the outgoing 2009 A4 2.0T quattro sport and the Acura still feels the same as it did (as noted above) the day I got it. The Audi, on the other hand, at 15,000 miles had already gone through a set of tires (and very expensive ones at that) and just seemed a bit more worn.

    I have come to a conclusion, perhaps incorrectly so, that like the hyper expensive tires that came with the A4 and pooped out young (they turned to powder in an effort to make the car feel as if it were on rails), perhaps the German cars perform better for a shorter period of time. The Japanese -- perhaps -- don't perform as well from the get go, but they "take a lickin' and keep on tickin'" with minimal fuss and care.

    The sales manager of the Acura store came from an Audi store and he remarked that the Germans make the best performing cars, period, but that they require the owner to take much more of an active role in maintaining that ultra high performance standard.

    I have a Sheltie -- very low strung, very low maintenance (groomed about every 8 weeks and that's it) -- perhaps the Sheltie analogous to a Japanese ELLPS or LPS car. Now, then, there are some other breeds which seem to be high maintenance, but win a lot more "best in show" awards -- perhaps the German cars are like a high strung high maintenance dog breed.

    Beats me -- the Acura certainly has been superior at one thing, though: not aging. :surprise:
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,687
    Why does markcincinnati get his car serviced in Columbus?

    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,577
    Mark: Thanks for the report. Happy to hear your Acura is not showing the interior wear and rattle problems I had with my previous generation TL and my two other Acuras.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,415
    edited May 2012
    15,000 miles is LITERALLY nothing for a Honda Product (nor should it be for ANY CAR at this price point). My 10 year old (146,200 mile) Prelude is extremely well screwed together. I'm still on the original shocks.

    Thanks for the 15K report. I'm glad you are enjoying the car (the 9/10ths of it anyway;) & the $100 per month in your pocket.

    You are bringing your own oil & still getting a $231 bill for an oil change? Your dealer seems to charge an awful lot of money.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,108
    I've had a car for 30k and I dont think I've spent 231 bux total on oil changes and I use oil the dealer puts in.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    I bought the car using -- the Columbus dealer gave me a 13% off sticker price.

    I drive to Columbus twice weekly, and I am always in Columbus on either Saturday or Sunday. The time between cities is 100 minutes.

    When the change oil reminder comes on, I call the dealer that I bought the car from and make a Saturday appt. I ask for the car I want as a loaner, an MDX or ZDX, etc and I get to test drive that car for the day whilst the car is being serviced.

    The $230 oil change was due almost entirely to the fact that at the second oil change the SH-AWD fluid has to be changed -- and it is very pricey.

    While 15,000 may be "nuthin" for a Honda (which is another reason the Acura is only 9/10ths), an Audi with 15,000 miles on it is middle aged. I have kept ONE German car more than 50,000 miles. The German cars drive great, perform great, look great and their features and functions are the standard by which the other guys measure themselves (or so I assume.)

    Yet ONLY this car feels new at 15k miles -- the German cars seem to begin the aging process by 15K miles.

    Now give me the choice of the Acura or the Audi and get rid of the price issues, well, at this point I would still go with the German despite my belief that it will age faster than the Japanese car. In fact I am starting to believe that an American car will also age more slowly due to the fact that we Americans think nothing of making two round trips to Columbus Ohio from Cincinnati per week, whereas a German would take a train for such a distance if at all possible (which it almost always is, in Germany and most of Europe.)

    Another example, I do business in Chicago -- 275 miles from Cincinnati. I used to fly. Now the 5 hour drive to Chicago is about identical to the time it takes to make the trip on Delta (all things considered.)

    And I can drive there in an Enterprise rental for a fraction of the cost of a plane ticket. These days I am probably putting 18-20K per year on my car because it is more prudent and pragmatic than the currently available alternatives.

    In any case all of these things seem to support driving cars that think 15K miles ain't no thang.
  • billyperksiibillyperksii Posts: 198
    Mark- just say "rear differential fluid" not SH-AWD.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    Will do -- I was just quoting the dealer's lingo.
  • jeffm5jeffm5 Posts: 107
    Markcincinnati, I find your posts very well written and informative. I just bought a Volvo S60. It will be a 2013. I will not take delivery until July. My recent cars have been Avalons and Subarus. At 15,000 miles those cars still felt like new. In you opinion, will the S60 be showing signs of aging at 15,000 miles like the German cars? Thanks.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    Both of my 3 series are Manuals.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,415
    Flightnurse - That's awesome!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,100'll find that your TL won't require much in the way of maintenance at all. I still have a soft spot for the one I had. They really are very good cars. What people lament is that they aren't the "outstanding" cars that their Legend predecessor was. That doesn't change the fact that TL's can stand in their own spotlight.

    Keep us posted on your ongoing experiences.

    flightnurse....the diesels I've driven have varied from very nice (the Jag), to painful (an old Benz). Still, I'd have a hard time making a case for one in this country....unless, as is true in the U.K., diesel prices = gasoline prices.

    It seems the U.S. is going with plug-in hybrids or VOLT type vehicles rather than diesels. I haven't heard any hydrogen updates in quite some time. I don't even know if any of the major manufacturers are still developing them.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    Mark I fully understand why you go back to the same dealer for service, this is what I have done with my 05 330 and the 328i. Building the relationship with a dealer makes the whole dealership experience worth while, like you when I take my cars in for service, I normally get the loaner I want.

    Want to talk expensive for service, Nissan CVT transmission fluid change, my partner has a Nissan Rouge and at 45K miles service the CVT fliud needs to be changed, $450..... That is just for the fluid, and not the other service items. His 45K mile service was over $500... Like you, I am spoiled on BMW''s free service.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,593
    edited May 2012
    You're entitled to your opinion but Audis and BMWs I've owned have barely been "broken in" at 60K miles and I've never bought a brand-new one.

    A well-cared for example can easily break six digits with no major problems.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    Graphic when you talk "old" diesel my father bought a 79 Peugeot wagon new and let me tell you, my grandmother could walk faster then that car could go. I had a 86 MB 300SDL (ok I lied I had 5 Vehicles that had autos) and was impressed with the power of that car, it was quieter then the Peugeot but not as quiet as the VW.

    Now I can only speak for what I have seen, in Phoenix the price of Diesel is less then Premium that we German car owners but in our cars. Here on Island Island the price of Diesel is roughly 30 cent more then diesel. So getting a diesel wouldn't make sense.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,415
    The Shell station I fill up at mostly right off I95 in Stamford, CT had 93 octane & Diesel at the exact same price.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    NYC is that is the case then a diesel would be a better choice...
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    I couldn't even begin to answer your question. Historically, Volvo's live very long lives -- and are expensive to maintain and repair like their German cousin's.

    Today, I would EXPECT, any car (virtually any) to make it to 150,000 miles with normal maintenance and a few repairs.

    Now then, the issue is what is the definition of normal maintenance?

    My wife's last BMW (a 2008) could only have an oil change (that was free) when the car said it needed it -- once this was at 19,000 miles. Since the car was leased, we changed the oil and did the other things when the book called for it. To me BMW's service recommendations aren't "normal," since the miles between service intervals seems impossibly long.

    Audis want oil changes every 10K miles -- and there is no computer inside that is determining when the maintenance should really be performed. I would think that would make a used, late model, Audi perhaps less prone to the wear that a BMW might have with its very very long service intervals.

    I repeat, I have no clue how soon it will be -- in miles -- before you will notice your Volvo isn't "new" anymore.

    I turned in my 2009 A4 2.0 with just under 55,000 miles on it -- it needed new tires (what would have been its third set) and the sport suspension seemed to be a bit "worn" feeling. Also it used a quart of oil every 2,000 miles, which seemed excessive, although the dealer told me there was a TSB on it that essentially cured that issue.

    Of our 29 German cars, only my 60,000 miles young 2005 A6 3.2 still felt "young-ish" after 30,000 miles.

    The difference in the German cars is they drive like no other -- so what you get are cars that "die young and leave a good looking [driving] corpse."

    One more time, for the same money, I'd still take the German car even though I believe it will be breathtakingly expensive to keep young.

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    Mark I like reading your post, however, I'm not getting this "young feeling" you talk about. My 05 330ci feels better today with 47K miles on it then it did when I picked it up in Germany in 05. When I slide into the 330 the feeling I is like visiting an old friend, everything feels right. I haven't gotten that with my 11 yet, since I have less then 4K miles on it. I do know that the German cars get better with age and miles. Now my 330 I have gone through 5 set of tires, and yes, I have taken it on a couple of track days, but it is the price of driving my BMW to 8/10 when I can.

    The biggest difference between the Japaneses and German cars is personality the Japaneses cars lack personality. They are great appliances..
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