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Midsize Sedans Comparison Thread



  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I feel like I got 98% of the quality for 80% of the price, AND I got a V6, AND the best warranty in the industry to boot.

    Right...I think you are getting my point (you usually do though :)). Value is not completely objective, because we all place different "value" on different things. I prefer the tightest interior, and was willing to give up things like a V-6 engine (I could've had a Sonata V-6 for the price of my top of the line Accord I-4) in order to get it. That's probably absurd to some, but not to me, because I didn't feel I needed more power than I got, plus the economy is a bonus. People value different's personal choice, and we all get to have them, so there's no point in anyone being upset at anyone else's choice! ;)
  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    First of all, in terms of Camry sales, that's a bit deceptive because the new model came out about halfway through the quarter, and even now in many places dealers do not have much inventory. There's still not much "play" on them price wise, and there are still consumers out there willing to pay more than invoice to buy them. Accords, meanwhile, are seeing pretty heavy discounts to keep them moving.

    Luv, my Maxx is a 2004 LS 1SB, which is basically equivalent to today's LT. MSRP was $23100, I paid $16900 for it. There was a significant rebate. There have been two problems. The major one is brakes. The Maxx does not have ventilated rotors which it turns out is a huge oversight because our vehicle is experiencing near-constart warping of the rotors. What happens is that in heavy traffic (which is practically the ONLY kind of traffic in Metro DC!), the brakes end up getting hot, and then in a way melting when they cool. They wear unevenly and cause a heavy vibration and reduced stopping distance. When they are resurfaced, the problem comes back within 1,000 miles or so. The dealer has actually replaced the rotors under warranty, but the same thing happened with the new ones. I just had them resurfaced again (under warranty) last week, this time at a different dealership. We are no longer driving the Maxx as often or as hard, so hopefully we'll be able to go longer without warping.

    The other problem, so to speak, is far less important--its just that we don't feel the interior has held up all that well. We've had three different dash/console pieces fall off. All but one has been fixed (just haven't gotten aroudn to the other one), so it not like a huge problem, but it does speak to the quality of materials used.

    To give you a fair balance, though, I would still recommend this car to a knowledgeable consumer looking for a value. The versatility is astounding. I can't get over what we can fit in that thing. If you've looked at it, you know about the cavernous rear sit that adjusts, the way everything folds down, etc. Perhaps interior quality has improved some since 2004. The powertrain and transmission have been fine. I'm not thrilled with the electric steering, but it has been trouble free and you do get used to it. With side airbags, which ours has, it gets good crash test ratings, insurance premiums are very low.

    My Camry is a 2007 Hybrid with an MSRP of $27500. I paid $26600. There is also a tax credit of $2600 on that vehicle, so I consider my actual purchase price to be $24000. My motivation frankly was to gain access to the HOV lanes in VA. Considering the level of equipment though(bluetooth, 440 watt sound system with 6 disc change and direct IPod plug in, a very sophisticated stability control system (VDIM, not just the standard Toyota system) on my car a sunroof), I think its actually a good deal. So far, I'm driving it exactly like I drove my previous car, an Oldsmobile Intrigue (aggressively), and getting 34 mpg. My Intrigue got about 21 mpg on the same route, the Maxx gets about 23.

    I will just point out to you that while you pay less, your car is also worth less when you trade in. Now whenever I buy a new car, I say that I'm going to keep it a long time so it doesn't matter. I usually end up betraying myself eventually and so do most people--even if they don't intend to (circumstances change, more/less kids, whatever).

    I wouldn't go by CR's performance numbers, I prefer C/D, RT and MT, personally. I think they've clocked the Accord a little faster than Sonata, and I know they've clocked Camry V6 faster than both of them. Not especially important in the real world. When I speak of driving dynamics, I didn't just mean the raw numbers but how the car feels, handles and performs getting there. The Accord is still very impressive in this area--I think the interior design lags behind the Camry and for me, a tall guy with long legs, it wasn't as comfortable. I ended up feeling like the new Camry significantly improved handling characteristics to the point where it was in the same ballpark as an Accord (as opposed to a Buick Regal), and the Camry Hybrid engine was powerful and quick enough to make me choose it over the Accord Hybrid. (Obviously not as quick as Accord, but better economy by far).

    If you were to choose to pocket some cash upfront and buy a Sonata, I would never tell you were making a bad decision. I'd say you were getting a lot of car for the money. I also would argue with you, however, if you were to suggest that the Sonata is objectively a better car than either Accord or Camry.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    As has been noted here several times previously the past yrs Camry figures held about 11-14% fleet sales while sales for this year are very likely nearly all retail due to the new model. Thus there are a significant number of new retail buyers going toward the Camry.

    The Impala shocked me as well. ( Fleet or retail? )

    The Accord despite it's age ( see Altima ) is doing very well with reportedly low fleet sales.

    The F/M/Z situation is interesting since the Taurus will reportedly be finished within a few months. Wonder where these sales will go?

    The Sonata is doing very well albeit coming from a relatively low base.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    So the 2007 Camrys I saw at Hertz in Austin, TX a couple of weeks ago were figments of my imagination?

    If Ford don't open up the Fulan to fleet sales, I can see GM, Hyundai, and Kia benefitting a lot from the Taurus/Sable's demise.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    while sales for this year are very likely nearly all retail due to the new model

    We have an '07 Camry or two in our rental office but that's down from 6-10 units in the past.
  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    There are some rental Camry's, all 4 cyls...but not that many.

    I live next door to people who only are in town once or twice every 2-3 weeks. They own a place there but don't have a car and rent from the same agency. I always note with interest what they end up with.

    Their last group of rental cars were: Chevrolet Uplander, Malibu, Malibu Maxx (twice), Impala, Ford Fusion (twice), Mercury Milan (twice), Hyundai Sonata (twice).

    I'm not positive what agency they go with and that mix makes it tough to tell. I would imagine they have seniority at whatever agency it is and therefore get among the better cars available in their class.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    Altima's age has had an affect with sales being down, but the major recall on I4 Altimas and Sentra SE-Rs did have a major affect on sales this month.

    We still have a boatload of Altima's sitting at the back of our lot that cannot be sold becaue of the recall.

    Considering that the recall was so major for some automakers, I'm surprised the sales weren't lower.
  • driverdmdriverdm Posts: 505

    What may be going on in the numbers is simply the "Rule of Small Numbers". What that means is basically quite simple. Smaller numbes show a larger growth percentage with smaller increases. Examples show this best.

    Let's say you sell 400,000 units and improve 3%, now you are at 412,000. 12,000 unis more. Now let us say that you were at 65,000 units and improve to 75,000, only 10,000 units more but a 15% improvment percentage wise. When you are talking large numbers, a lower percent is harder to achieve. I don't know what Camry sales were last year vs this year YTD but it is something to consider when looking at the numbers even the fact that the Camcord sell in relatively large numbers compared to its competition.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    You are correct. Per centages are often used in a misleading fashion (intentional or unintentional). Many people do not understand per centages.

    One of my favorites is: if you make $50 profit on day one and then make $100 profit on day two, your profit has increased 100%. If you make $50 profit on day three, your profit has decreased 50%.

    You should be able to check Camry sales this YTD vs last YTD at Then click on "Toyota" in the right hand column.
  • ace35ace35 Posts: 131
    Can anyone explain to me why nissan seems to be pushing the new altima right into maxima territory. I understand with the release of the new camry, nissan wants to remain competitive with the class leader, however, it seems like the altima and maxima will have the similar feature content,same V6 engines and transmissions, While only looking slightly different. You even get cool turn signal mirrors on the altima and not on the max. I for one just dont understand nissans strategy, i can clearly see the altima canobilizing the Max's sales easily. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this for me.
  • bobadbobad Posts: 1,587
    I for one just dont understand nissans strategy, i can clearly see the altima canobilizing the Max's sales easily. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this for me.

    Isn't the Maxima a larger car than the Altima? If so, the 2 can never be compared.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    If was the head of Nissan, I would forsee the end of the Maxima as it is today. Perhaps they have a RWD version, with a whole new body in the works for 2008? Or is that the G35? As the Altima upscales, the need for Maxima, may be Minimal ! Now a less expensive G35, in the skin of a Max would be cool. Say one starting around $27K, with RWD, and the fine V6 they have.
  • goodegggoodegg Posts: 905
    The Maxima has never really fit into a defined market segment. I checked one out last fall when the 06s came out, but the price tag on it was pushing the TL's price-range - and that was with a cloth interior and not mucho bells & whistles.

    The Maxima may be on its way out as is, so a RWD 6er from Nissan would definitely be sweet. Keep it under $30K and it would sell better than the Maxima.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Before the Altima grew into such a big and powerful car with the current generation, I think the market segment for the Maxima was better defined.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Sonata is up 65% from last year. Meanwhile, Camry and Accord sales are treading water (although they were already strong) yet the Accord has a refresh for '06 and the Camry is all-new. Could it be that mid-sized buyers are turning to lower-priced alternatives?

    These numbers (percentages) are very misleading. (and just the kind of thing a Sonata owner will quickly jump on). A 65% increase for the Sonata is easy to obtain. When you consider they sold next to nothing last year. The Sonata wishes it could tread water (as you put it) at the level of the Accord, and Camry.

    And I am not bashing the Sonata. It was a major improvement (in sales), from last year. I just don't like it, when some of you say people who buy an Accord or Camry are wasting money, and the Sonata is the only smart choice, because that's far from true.
  • bobadbobad Posts: 1,587
    the Sonata is the only smart choice...

    Maybe my memory is not so great, but I can't recall ANYONE actually having said that. Can you refresh my memory with a post number? ;)
    I would guess the Sonata owners are all willing to say that your car is a wonderful car, and you made a great choice for yourself. We are happy for you! Instead of listening, you get these wild ideas in your head that we think the Sonata is superior to your car. I don't think anyone is saying that.

    I think the Sonata's greatest strength's are that it has no major weaknesses, a surprising amount of refinement, the best warranty in the industry, and a refined V6 engine... for $16500 +TT&L. A lot of people find that combination remarkable and pleasing. Others are suspicious, saying "where's the catch?" Well, I'm here to tell you, there is no catch so far.

    As for the 65% sales jump, I agree with you. The jump is not significant except as an indication Hyundai is on the right track. A couple of more years of those 65% jumps, however, and Hyundai has captured a significant share of the market. :surprise:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Even if a car sold "only" 100,000 units in a year, a 65% increase would mean 65,000 additional sales. A 1% increase on top of 400,000 sales means an additional 4,000 units sold. Are you saying an increase in 65,000 units sold is easier to do than an increase of about 4,000? I have to disagree with you on that one. There's a reason (probably multiple) why tens of thousands of more people are buying non-Camcordmas this year than last year. The competition in this segment is heating up!

    Once the Sonata reaches 400,000 units sold a year, maybe Hyundai will be glad to "tread water" at that level. Maybe not. Good story in the August R&T about the race between companies from Japan and the Republic of Korea in building the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Worth a read. It helps explain why Hyundai may not be satisfied to tread water when they reach 400,000 annual sales of the Sonata in the U.S.

    As to whether people who buy an Accord or Camry are wasting money, that's their decision to make. If they feel they got good value for their money, then they didn't waste it. I think that is the prevalent opinion you we seeing here--not that the Sonata is the "only smart choice", but that it's an option in this field that allows buyers to spend thousands less up front and still get a lot of car. Same thing with the Fusion and Milan, and also the Impala and Malibu for folks who like those cars.

    P.S. I don't own a Sonata. I wouldn't mind owning one, though.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Kool Aid drinkers don't think at all. They just buy what the others buy, and bash everything else. Some day they will probably be sorry. From post 5101

    Ok, what this says to me is: I bought an Accord because everyone else has one. And I will be sorry later.

    For one thing, I don't drink Kool Aid. Second, I bought my first Accord in 91 because I wanted a good, reliable, car (did my research, and test drove two other cars, Camry and Grand Prix) not because I wanted to be like anyone else. I was so impressed with it, I bought a new one in 03. I think that if you had been treated so well by a car (for 12 years) you would have bought another one too. And would also be defending it (and yourself) here today. And the chances of me being sorry later are slim.
  • bobadbobad Posts: 1,587
    Here's the whole thing in context:

    I respect anyone that considers all choices and makes an informed decision, no matter what they buy. Kool Aid drinkers don't think at all. They just buy what the others buy, and bash everything else. Some day they will probably be sorry. I wish them well.

    How you got "I think Sonata's are the only smart choice" out of that, I'll never know! Your mangnificent jumps to illogical conclusions are real beauties! :blush:

    If you thoroughly researched your car before buying it, you probably made a smart buy, and will probably be satisfied with your car. Me too. ;)

    Good night Elroy.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    You seem to make the numbers reflect what you want them to (not reality). When you sell 400,000 cars, any INCREASE, in that number, is great. When all you sell is 165,000 cars, and it is an increase of 65%, that only means this crappy sales year, was preceeded by a terrible year. 401,000 is still much more than 165,000. Neither the Accord or Camry lost anything to the competition. They sold even more this year, than last. Which is pretty amazing.
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