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Midsize Sedans Comparison Thread

jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
edited March 15 in Hyundai
I thought it would be a good idea to compare the top 6 import mainstream sedans:

Toyota Camry
Honda Accord
Nissan Altima
Hyundai Sonata
Volkswagen Passat
Mazda 6

Moderator, can you add this thread to the Altima, Passat, and Mazda 6 forums? Thanks.

This segment used to be dominated by the Camry and Accord. They're still the top dogs, but other cars, notably the Altima and the Sonata have made some strong gains in the last few years. The 2006 Sonata seems to have grown up to be a serious contender now. BTW, Sonata pricing was released today:

http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2005/04/19/043102.html

FWIW, my wife drives a 2004 Accord EX V6, and we think it is a great car.
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Comments

  • tanya2tanya2 Posts: 29
    A better comparison would be as follows: Camry, Accord, Maxima, Hyundai 350, Passat & Mazda 6. --------I do not think that the Sonata is on the same level as the Accord, Camry or Maxima! ------- Tanya
  • whitecloud1whitecloud1 Posts: 268
    tanya2, on the contrary, the newer Sonatas are meant to compare with this class. Not to say it does, but it is meant to. The Hyundai 350 is meant to compete with Accord EX V6 and Toyota Avalon type cars. Base Accords and Camrys can't hold a candle to a Nissan Maxima either.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    The all new 06 Sonata will have a 237 Hp V6 engine. That should give it a 0 to 60 time of no more than 7 seconds. Of course by then the 3.5L engine could find its way into the Camry giving it a 0 to 60 sprint in the mid 6 seconds. Mazda6 is still behind with its crappy Ford sourced duratec V6 engine. Mazda seriously need to ditch that engine.
  • spinzerospinzero Posts: 91
    Any reason that the comparo doesn't include my favorite midsize car? Namely,

    Subaru Legacy

    It might be a bit pricier than other japanese offerings, but still not nearly as overpriced as Passat. And I'm a firm believer that Legacy 2.5GT is the best performer among the pack.

    BTW, I second that Mazda needs to ditch that crappy duratec V6. It's really slowing down an otherwise well engineered car. They either need to develop a new V6, or drop a small turbo 2.3 instead and call it european inspired.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    IMO, theres more to a vehicle than its performance, more to performance than acceleration, and more to acceleration than the 0-60. With the pricing recently announced, the Sonata looks to be an incredible entry for the features and dollar, just as with Hyundais of the past. However, unlike some Hyundais of the past, this model, if it rides and handles well, and is built to last, has the potential to be a segment leader.

    The Duratec V6 in the Mazda isnt a bad engine at all, and its rev-happy nature is suited to that car's demeanor. This year, Ford added a 6 speed transmission which is said to have sharpened the performance of the vehicle. Although I havent yet driven one, I would like to, as the somewhat unimpressive transmission on the last V6 was one of the vehicles more serious flaws. Do people forget that Toyota is using the increasingly antique and fairly thirsty 210 horse 3.0L V6 that debuted in the Fall of 1991 as part of the Camry Gen 3 lineup? Theres an engine that needs to be ditched. (IMO, Toyota's new engine family 2.5L, 3.0L, 3.5L... all derived from the 4.0L which showed up first in the 2003 4Runner.... should replace the current FWD/AWD V6s as soon as possible.)

    For what its worth, Accord sales YTD are down 9% from the prior year, Altima sales are down 1.2% and Camry sales are up 3%. That said, Honda is spending an average of $750 per Accord in incentives, whereas Toyota is spending $1250, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. I'd expect that the Altima and 6 have slightly higher spending than the Camry. As a point of reference, GM is stuffing over $3600 worth of incentives on every G6 sold. I'd say that given the age of the Altima and Camry (both in the 4th model year of 5 year cycles), they are doing quite well.

    Among models in the 25-27K range, here is my preference order:
    Camry SE V6 (w/ Premium Pkg, VSC, Side Curtains)
    Accord EX V6
    Mazda 6 S Grand Touring
    Altima 3.5SE (w/ ABS&SAC pkg, Leather Sport Pkg)

    Having not driven the Sonata yet, I'm not sure where it would fall, but I'd imagine near the top. That said, theres not a model that tweaks the Sonata for sporting intentions yet, so the above crowd may not be the best place where the NF might shine.

    I agree that the Hyundai XG/Azera and Nissan Maxima do not belong in the same comparison circle as the others, and I dont think the new Passat does either. Like the Jetta, its price will be signifcantly inflated, and the incoming car is significantly larger than the old. Jrock, I think this was a great idea.

    ~alpha
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The problem with the Legacy is that the GT Limited exacts a premium of about 3-4 grand over the others mentioned here (when similarly equipped).

    We love ours (a 2.5i Sedan 4EAT), but its not without flaws, and the AWD exacts a toll in efficiency and pricing.

    ~alpha
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Mazda6 is still behind with its crappy Ford sourced duratec V6 engine. Mazda seriously need to ditch that engine.

    I second that Mazda needs to ditch that crappy duratec V6.

    You guys haven't driven one. There is no way that you could drive the Mazda6s and think that the engine is "crappy". If you come back here and tell me that you have driven it, I'm going to call you a liar.

    I don't even have the V6, I have the 2.3L with a manual, but I've driven the V6 a few times and it is not a crappy engine. It is smooth, sounds GREAT, and it the tach needle just loves to fly to redline. My parents have a Camry V6 and an Infiniti I35, so I have driven other good V6s to compare it to.

    This year, Ford added a 6 speed transmission which is said to have sharpened the performance of the vehicle.

    The 6 speed is an automatic, and it's Aisin, not Ford sourced. Aisin supplies Toyota with transmissions also.

    FWIW, my favorites in this class are the Legacy, Mazda6, and the Altima with it's new interior.

    The Accord sedan just looks nasty but I like everything else about it, the Camry looks too big and boring, the Passat is a VW and I would never buy a VW, and the jury in my head is out with the Hyundai. Just my opinion of course.
  • bklynguybklynguy Posts: 275
    The Accord could use better styling (and may get it with the 06 refresh) but everything else is great, especially the interior. We liked the Legacy but didn't feel like paying a premium for AWD. We rented a 05 Camry for a few days and didn't like the light steering. The poor reliability of the Passat & 6 kept them off our list.

    The Altima wasn't bad but doesn't feel as refined as the Accord to us. Of course we didn't have a chance to take a test drive of the 06 Sonata which we plan to as soon as they arrive.
    These are just our opinions.
  • spinzerospinzero Posts: 91
    Yes, I have testdriven Mazda6s, and while the car handled very nicely, I was quite unimpressed with the motor. The duratec is crappy because it is at best mediocre compared to its competitions.

    Nissan Altima: 250HP / 249TQ 20/30
    Honda Accord: 240HP / 212TQ 21/30
    Subaru Legacy: 250HP / 250TQ 19/25

    Mazda 6: 220HP / 192TQ 20/27

    As you can see, Duratec makes the least amount of power, by far the least amount of torque, and still gets the lowest mileage among front drivers. As far as being "rev-happy" goes, Duratec wasn't too bad. But I suggest you drive the Legacy GT and feel how EJ25 revs up. Accord's V-TEC is also a nicely revving engine, and there isn't much needs for VQ35 to rev high, when you have that much torque all over the rev range. (and again, still gets better mileage.)

    And no, being sportier than Camry is not much of a compliment.

    I'm by no means bashing 6, it is my favorite FWD sedan on the market. Please take it as constructive criticism. Now, you can call me liar all you want.
  • fitguyfitguy Posts: 222
    I've owned (not just driven) 3 of the bunch, here is my spin:
    2000 Passat 1.8T: nice when new, a fussy piece of crap as it aged. Only runs well on premium, many problems including the infamous "oil sludge" issue even with fanatical maintenance. Would not recommend to an enemy.

    2003 Accord Coupe 2.4L: Bought because I hated the looks of the sedan but wanted a Honda (3rd Accord) after owning the disaster above. Excellent in almost every category; 0 problems, 34 mpg hwy on 87 octane. Still excellent cars, but PLEASE fix the looks of the sedan!

    2004 Mazda6S Hatchback: Bought for the fun, utility, and so as not to have to look at an Accord sedan in my driveway :P . Strong Points: Driving atttributes, overall build quality in terms of body "tightness", good looks. Weak Points: Gas mileage, road noise, some cheap interior/component parts (heater fan, for example), transmission (5 speed auto, hear '05 6 spd much better) not a great match for the motor. Overall: A more enjoyable car overall than the other two; if the reliability holds out, the better choice by far if you like to push a car to it's handling limits once in a while, and with the hatch- if you need to load a bunch of bulky stuff in it once in a while.
    Of course, looks/body style are subjective- but reliablity is quantifiablle and some cars are just not.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Owning a 2004 Passat has been a great experience so far (fingers crossed), but from reading these posts, VW has allot of work to do to fix the perception (reality) as far as reliability is concerned. It really is a shame, because they do build great driving cars. Maybe the new Passat will be a big step forward in reliability.

    Has everyone forgot about the Mitsubishi Galant(do they even make those anymore) ;) ?
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Yes, I have testdriven Mazda6s, and while the car handled very nicely, I was quite unimpressed with the motor. The duratec is crappy because it is at best mediocre compared to its competitions.

    Nissan Altima: 250HP / 249TQ 20/30
    Honda Accord: 240HP / 212TQ 21/30
    Subaru Legacy: 250HP / 250TQ 19/25

    Mazda 6: 220HP / 192TQ 20/27


    The only engine that really stands out there is the Honda.

    As far as power is concerned, the Honda stands out, but the Nissan is a bigger engine and the Subaru has a turbo, so that's not a surprise. Your mileage numbers are off too.
  • spinzerospinzero Posts: 91
    As far as power is concerned, the Honda stands out, but the Nissan is a bigger engine and the Subaru has a turbo, so that's not a surprise. Your mileage numbers are off too.

    Well, no one is stopping Mazda from increasing the displacement, or slapping on a turbo. Do people cross shop only among midsize sedans with 3.0 N/A motor?

    Plus there's a good reason as to why Nissan VQ-series engines have been constantly praised as one of the world's very best for many years. In my mind its performance and efficiency is no less impressive than somewhat gimmicky Honda V-TEC.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I just checked the mileage stats again, and the Altima automatic gets better mileage than the manual. Wow. That's pretty impressive.

    Anyway, I like the VQ. Like I said, my parents own an I35, and I've driven it quite a few times.

    I just don't agree that the V6 in the Mazda6 is "crappy". The others are more efficient and powerful, but that doesn't make the duratec "crappy". It's a really nice V6 and it's smoooooth. It's even smoother than the VQ in the I35.

    Also, Mazda did slap on a turbo, but on the 4cyl. It's the Mazdaspeed6. It's a couple grand more than the Subaru turbo, but the Subaru turbo is a couple grand more than the Altima, Accord, and Mazda6s. It's going to have AWD, 274 hp, 280 lbs-ft of torque, but the ride might be too sporty for some folks.
  • tenpin288tenpin288 Posts: 804
    The only engine that really stands out there is the Honda

    Why? It has neither top HP or TQ and gets the same mileage as the Nissan. Why does the Honda engine stand out?
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Because it gets the same job done as the VQ with less displacement and it's a smoother engine. Regardless of the hp and torque numbers, the acceleration numbers for the automatic Altima and Accord are very similar. I think a few mags have the auto Accord actually being quicker.

    But anyway, I don't want to get in the middle of an Altima and Accord pissing match. I'd take the Altima over the Accord just because it looks better.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Spinzero- which transmission did you test in your said Mazda 6 drive? The new 6A makes a world of difference vs. the old automatic, from what I've read.

    ~alpha
  • spinzerospinzero Posts: 91
    Yup, I agree the new Mazdaspeed6 will be very hot. I'm not a big fan of the bulging hood, but it's got a very nice direct injection turbo motor, along with AWD.(albeit a heavily FWD based one) It should be a good choice for people that are looking for something inbetween Legacy GT and STi / Evo. Now if they can just detune that engine a little and put it on Mazda 6 s like what Subaru did with their STi EJ25 -> LGT, it'll be even better.

    This is such an exciting time to shop for a car!
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Now if they can just detune that engine a little and put it on Mazda 6 s like what Subaru did with their STi EJ25 -> LGT, it'll be even better.

    That sounds like a good idea. Detune it a little, and offer it in a model that doesn't have 18 inch wheels and a stiff ride. It'd sure be different than the Accord and Altima then. I wonder if the turbo 4 is a more expensive engine to build than the V6 though? I'd bet it is.
  • carzzzcarzzz Posts: 282
    Altima & Accord both have similar on 0-60 time. However, VQ has more low-end torque. For instance, try a 0-60 time trial with under 3000rpm and see who is gonna win!
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I don't know how you'd do that with an automatic. Besides, who cares? Both of them are pretty darn quick for family sedans.
  • bklynguybklynguy Posts: 275
    According to another website, the 2006 Accord will get a 10hp increase for both engines.
    170hp 2.4 / 250hp 3.0
  • cosmocosmo Posts: 203
    How about replacing the Passat and Sonata with the Legacy and Galant in this discussion? Just rename it the Midsize Domestic Sedans Comparison Thread.
  • bklynguybklynguy Posts: 275
    Why replace the Sonata :confuse:
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    2006 Hyundai Sonata Manufacturer Suggested Retail Pricing:

    Sonata GL 4-cyl, 5-speed manual $17,895
    Sonata GL 4-cyl, 4-speed SHIFTRONIC A/T $18,795
    Sonata GLS 4-cyl, 4-speed SHIFTRONIC A/T $19,395
    Sonata GLS 3.3-liter V6, 5-speed SHIFTRONIC A/T $20,895
    Sonata LX 3.3-liter V6, 5-speed SHIFTRONIC A/T $22,895

    Destination charge (not included in above): $600

    Options:

    Sunroof: $850

    Sonata GLS (2.4L 4-cylinder engine): Premium Package: Power sunroof; 8-way power driver seat; auto-dimming inside mirror with integrated HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and digital compass - $1,350

    Sonata GLS (3.3L V6 engine): Premium Sport Package: 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/50R17 Michelin® tires; power sunroof; 8-way power driver seat; auto-dimming inside mirror with integrated HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and digital compass - $1,500

    Sonata LX: Sunroof & Audio Package: Power sunroof; premium AM/FM audio system with MP3-compatible in-dash 6-disc CD changer and 6 speakers plus subwoofer and external amplifier - $1,400
  • And also why replace the Passat........plus, if you are going to add the Legacy and the Galant in with the Accord, Altima, et al, why are you going to call it "Midsized Domestic Sedans Comparison"?

    I have an '05 Passat GLS TDI, it replaced an '02 Galant ESV6. I love the Passat, it rides great, handles pretty darn good and the fuel mileage rocks (now averaging 37mpg in mixed driving). And, yes, alpha there is more to performance than acceleration and 0-60 times. The Passat might only have 134HP, but 247TQ helps it get out into traffic with ease and it really shines at 30-60mph. Besides, I don't drag race this car.......I drive my family around in it. For me, performance means getting the maximum mileage out of each tank of fuel....and handle good while doing so.

    I can't say I miss the Galant too much, the Passat is a much nicer car than the Galant was (and I chose the Passat over an Accord-Hybrid). There is my $0.02

    So really it just depends on what it is that everyone is looking for in a car......we can debate this 'til the cows come home and still not get anywhere..... :)

    -PR-

    03 Ford F350 SuperCrew KingRanch 6.0L Powerstroke
    04 VW Jetta GLS TDI
    05 VW Passat GLS TDI
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    why do i get the feeling you are a diesel fanatic. :P
  • What's a diesel? ;)

    Okay, I guess I'm busted....I guess you can consider me a diesel fanatic :blush:
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    Well nothing wrong with that. Honda and Toyota does offer diesel engine for the European market. The Euro Accord with the 2.2L diesel engine have gotten rave reviews. But for some reason the North American market doesn't seem very receptive to diesel technology even though today's diesel engines are vastly superior to what we had 15 years ago.
  • big_guybig_guy Posts: 372
    The lack of diesel powered vehicles here in the states is more to do with the dirty diesel fuel here in the states than it is with people not being receptive. The emissions controls that are required on diesel cars here in the US make it difficult to successfully market them here. The feds have implemented a law that is supposed to clean up the diesel fuel but big oil is so entrenched in Washington politics that I am not confident that the required changes will make it into production of cleaner diesel fuels. :cry:
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