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Midsize Sedans Comparison Thread

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  • When deciding which sedan was right for me, my search came down to the final two being the Mazda6 "Sport Value Edition" versus the Accord LX (both manual transmissions).

    From the start I favored the Mazda because I have previously owned a 1991 Mazda 626 DX manual and a 1998 Mazda 626 ES-V6 manual, excellent cars in every regard. I still miss them both.

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    The Mazda6 (in my opinion) has a more eye-catching exterior, handles better at the limit, and has a lower initial cost.

    The Accord wasn't too far behind in the above. I also liked the interior better, and (in my opinion) the Accord rides better, accelerates stronger, and has a more refined powertrain (engine, manual transmission and overall noise/vibration/harshness).

    It was a tough call, but for me the deciding factors were reliability and resale value. There is a little too much Ford in the new Mazdas for me; CR rates Mazda6 reliability as only "Average." Too bad, as the older Mazdas lasted forever... Also, the projected resale value in 5 years is much higher for an Accord.
  • I have seen the new concept accord coupe. IF, honda actually does follow those lines and designs an eye catcher for the accord then i may take a second look. I like honda, fit/ finish and NVH are amongst the best. So are the ergonomics. The specs are the same for leg and head room but the altima just sits better for me. For some reason in the accord to get the headroom i need i had to tilt the seat back to far and the gas pedal just seemed to close. I like to sit with my legs pretty much straight with just a slight bend and like to sit straight up in the seat. Being less then an inch from the headliner just does not cut it and it makes it hard to see stoplights when you are first in line.

    Anyway picked up the altima, whooohooooo...the 4 banger is smooth and likes to go. Had to watch my speed on the way home. 80MPH at about 2800 rpm in 6th.

    As an aside the kids, mid to late teens, love the altima think it looks really cool but the wife thinks its ugly. Each to their own; at least she does not want to drive it. :P
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Altima is off my consideration list. One, some recalls in 2006 See => LINK and second, I am looking for an automatic this time, and not really looking for a CVT type. Test drove one and had mixed feeling about the CVT transmission feel. Not sure how expensive they will be to repair. Then I read about the recall for oil consumption. I had known about the suspension thing. After reading about the second issue, I have decided to drop it off the testing list.
    -Loren
  • I have read with much amusement about how the Accord's ultra conservative styling will still look good years from now. I couldn't disagree more. Honda is just too scared to go beyond the box on wheels concept, or I should say , refrigerator on wheels. True, Hondas are well engineered in every other respect and have the appliance reliability to match the appliance look.
    Nissan, on the other hand, has redefined the midsize sedan styling envelope, adding an air of elegance and distinction that did not exist before. That's why Altima sales have increased dramatically in the last five years, since the '02 redesign. For example, the frumpy '01 Altima was not even in the top 10 for car sales in the US. As of last year, the '06 Altima has climbed to #4 in domestic car sales. That's quite a jump by anyone's standards & is largely due to exterior styling & superior powertrains. I still think the '02 Altima body style looks much, much better than the '07 Accord be it in sedan or coupe form. I further agree that the '07 Altima did not change much in regards to exterior syle. Quite frankly, it didn't have to.

    Steve
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    I further agree that the '07 Altima did not change much in regards to exterior syle. Quite frankly, it didn't have to.

    Very nice post. I was trying to keep my mouth shut on this topic because styling is very subjective, but I couldn't agree more. ;)
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    An Accord as a refrigerator? Hummm, pretty good aerodynamic on refrigerators in your neighborhood. :D Personally, I would say the Accord Coupe is as good, if not sleeker than the 350Z or G35. One of the best designs for the eye in a long time. If that is conservative, so be it. I guess conservatives just got sexier. The Altima has more impact than does the Accord sedan, though this doesn't necessarily make the Accord less appealing. Simple, smooth and tasteful, with some good lines to keep the look from being a bar of soap style, such as the '60 Falcons, which BTW don't really look all that bad, is how I would classify the sedans. I guess they could have added another couple feet of head and tail lamps, and hang a chandelier inside to get more impact, but nah, this is after all the king of class. No bling required. :shades: Just smooth lines, like that cool coupe. :shades:
    -Loren
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Nissan, on the other hand, has redefined the midsize sedan styling envelope, adding an air of elegance and distinction that did not exist before. That's why Altima sales have increased dramatically in the last five years, since the '02 redesign.

    I would agree that the Altima has improved substantially in the last 6 years. But I would say it's more about "Flash" than "Elegance". Now the Altima has looks (at least to some) and performance. Before 02, it had nothing going for it. It's nice for Nissan, that the Altima can compete with a 5 year old Accord. Hope they enjoy their ONE year in the limelight.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Honda is just too scared to go beyond the box on wheels concept...

    Have you seen the Civic? Or the Accord Coupe "concept" unveiled in Detroit? They don't look like "boxes on wheels" to me.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    Yeah I agree, the lack of VSC on the Mazda must have held down its speed on the slalom
    Huh? you completely misunderstood what I said which was - the Mazda should be a better handling car that the others it was tested against. I hinted that it might actually be the standard traction control that might be hindering its performance in the slalom test results you cited, a manuever that will weight and unweight the front drive wheels and in the process possibly cause the traction contol to disable throttle.
    VSC is NOT going to do anything but HURT performance in something like a slalom speed test. That's how it works, you pay a little in terms of ultimate vehicle capabilities, in exchange for some protection from your own 'dumbfootedness'.
  • OK, gotcha, not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that. Anyway, so the Mazda6 not having VSC and still coming in behind the Accord becomes even more mysterious. Everybody who drives the M6 (including me) considers it to have more road grip and be more tossable than the larger Accord.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Everybody who drives the M6 (including me) considers it to have more road grip and be more tossable than the larger Accord.

    Things are not always as they seem (feel). Some cars have a more sporty feel to them than the Accord, but not many can actually out handle it. That's one of the reasons why it wins so many comparison tests.
  • I actually much prefer the 1990-1993 Accord to the 1994-199(6 or 7?) in every way. I have spent a lot of time with both and in terms of driving dynamics, visibility, comfort, etc I prefer the earlier version. The 94-97 felt like a blob.

    I looked at the 98-'02 version before a purchase in 1998/9 and I ended up with something that better met my needs/wants.

    In 2005 we went to look at the '03-05 style and it felt more elegant than the last 94-02 but still less fun to drive than the 90-93. Again, there was another vehicle that better met our needs.

    In the market again, the Accord is the same bland self, the Altima looks nice but buying a French car in its first year is double asking for it, IMO, I don't care for the Camry styling, and new stuff from everyone else will be out next year. Maybe the old car has another year and I'm not so in the market after all.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I actually much prefer the 1990-1993 Accord to the 1994-199(6 or 7?) in every way.

    The handling was the best ever (90-93). In 94 they had to make the car larger, and heavier, to accomodate the newly available V6 engine. In 92 the Accord was too small for a V6, now it seems to be too large for the I4 IMO.
  • I've brought this same topic up on VwVortex (The Car Lounge) and the consensus there seems to be that slalom speed and road handling capability do not equate. I'm no techie and I don't understand why that is but the example was given as to how a Mini can outperform a Ferrari on the slalom but there's no way it handles better on the road. (The Mini is a lot smaller and more nimble than the Ferrari.) But that still doesn't explain to my satisfaction how/why the Accord outperforms the Mazda6 on the slalom.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    It's all about spring rates, and suspension geometry. A suspension can be soft (not a lot of feel), but tighten significantly as it is compressed (some more than others). Honda has been making suspensions for Motorcycles for a long time, and have the dampening down to a science. They have to be pretty good at spring rates, to make something as light as a motorcycle ride smooth.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Nissan, on the other hand, has redefined the midsize sedan styling envelope, adding an air of elegance and distinction that did not exist before. That's why Altima sales have increased dramatically in the last five years, since the '02 redesign. For example, the frumpy '01 Altima was not even in the top 10 for car sales in the US. As of last year, the '06 Altima has climbed to #4 in domestic car sales.

    I would attribute more of the increase to the fact that the car changed size classes (compact to a solid, grown-up midsize), and added a 240 horsepower V6 (something unmatched in 2002), as well as a more powerful 4-cylinder engine. The Altima became a competitor with the big boys, like the Maxima used to be back in the late 90s, early 00s. Now the Maxima takes on the full-size crowd, and the Altima hits the meat of the midsizers. I don't think the styling is particularly dazzling on the Altima, Camry, OR Accord, but since we're talking taillights lately, I'll say I would MUCH rather have the LED brakelamps on the Accord over the mirrored "aftermarket" looking taillamps on Fusion or Altima.

    Its personal preference though, neither of us is really "wrong." How's that for being PC? :)
  • I am also of the opinion that the styling of the current Accord will age better than the syling of new Altima sedan.

    Remember back a few years ago when those "black-out" or "smoke lense" head light and tail light covers were very popular as aftermarket add-ons? You don't see many of those anymore, that trend was pretty much replaced by xenon or HID head lamps and the new clear, mirrored Euro-syle "Altezza" tail lights as the more popular aftermarket visual enhancements.

    Will the new lights still be as trendy and fashionable in 5 or 10 years? Or will they look very dated, like the black-out covers look now?

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    Notice that it looks like Nissan will use different tail lights on the upcoming Altima Coupe? I like these tail lights much better.

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  • mf15mf15 Posts: 158
    The other main reason Altima sales where high is the 1500 rebate that you could get for many years,which resulted in the final price about 1500 below invoice. My son has an 05
    Se V6 which he got for about 22000. Nisson has announced that it will not try and sell cars with heavy rebates, but the 07 Max now has a 1500 rebate. When all the 06 altimas are gone watch 07 altima sales if they drop then the rebates might start. THe 07 Altima priceing for the V6's is quite high when you start adding options, perhaps way too high. My Jeep lease is up in August, and I might want an 07 Altima but now might have to wait for the 08 Accord. Old Mike
  • The V6 Altima is so expensive that I could see more people just opting for a Maxima at that point. And now a Sentra looks like a half Altima, which I think just waters down the Altima lineup some. The tails on the Altima are not to my taste but still a billion times better than the ones of the Fusion IMO.

    Nissan styling doesn't seem to last the test of time... the older Altimas look bleh now. The initial G35 and G35 coupe looks just as bland nowadays. I think the Altima coupe's lines are going to grow old faster than the sedan.

    The Accord coupes need a big bold step forward though - which seems to be what Honda is doing for the next model. The current Accord sedans are much better looking that the coupes to me. Though I wouldn't complain if Honda ditches the Accord coupe totally and brought the Prelude back.

    One of the reasons I never looked at the new Altima though is the CVT only now... curious to hear what people think of this CVT. I think Nissan probably has one of the best CVTs out there now, but still, I like the feel of gear changes and engines revving up.
  • One of the reasons I never looked at the new Altima though is the CVT only now... curious to hear what people think of this CVT. I think Nissan probably has one of the best CVTs out there now, but still, I like the feel of gear changes and engines revving up.

    Actually the base transmission is a wonderful 6 speed manual. Thats the main reason this car gets to stay on the list and why I don't see it as a direct competitor to the Maxima which is Slushie only (and generally too big for me). We will see if I wait another year or not.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    well, it may be that the tested Accord had neither stability or traction control, I believe it not even available on the lower trims lines. But, that said, the Accord is not (nor never has been) a slouch in the handling dept.. Yes, softness (ride) generally equates to sloppier handling and hardness something a little better, but there is more to it than that. The American buyer has shown a history to prefer the former to the latter.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    The high Camry sales tell me MOST people want the "Smooth Ride" above all else. I am willing to give up a little smoothness, for some stability, handling, and feel for the road. The Accord is a pretty good combination, for me at least. Everyone wants something different.
  • Man, those two new coupes look alike from that angle. As they stand now I like the Accord more because: 1) the shape of the side window; 2) the style of the side windows with the chrome edging; 3) the less bulbous more muscular side panels; 4) tail lights; 5) larger size and shape of the rear window. Last time I looked I still had a problem with the horizontal chrome fascia of the lower front grille. I hope that gets modified.
  • Good answer! I hope you don't mind if I use this information on TCL. One fellow over there called the V6 suspension "flaccid" but you've explained why a suspension can be (relatively) forgiving and also quite efficient in the slalom.
  • Luckily most of those needs can be met in the aftermarket. Shocks with firmer valving, slightly more taught anti-sway bars and replacing selected rubber bushings with graphite impregnated poly bushings did a lot to wake up the car.
    I think for most people that would be about a $700 investment but would do a lot to make the car actually fun (not changing the springs or ride height makes for a good highway ride and acceptable in winter weather).
    My problem is its hard for me to justify buying something brand new and then spending additional money to make changes to it. German manufacturers typically offer a sport suspension package bundled with tires and wheels for about $1000. I think this would do a lot for their performance and also how they are perceived.
  • Don't forget about also going to high performance summer tires to replace the stock all-season grand touring Michelins. Also, Honda does offer a sport suspension for around $700, as I'm sure you know, but I guess that's aftermarket.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I think the V6 6speed comes with the factory "Sport Suspension", or something close to it.
  • I wouldn't hold my breath for a contemporary mainstream Honda to have a sporting suspension out of the box. They have to appeal to too many people and I am a very small market. Also, at that point, I think spending 30k and not getting something exactly what I want would frustrate me even more.
    That said, I drove a WRX with the STi aftermarket suspension package (shocks/springs/bars) and I found it a little to stiff to cope with the roads around here. Driving these roads makes me understand how the domestic cars of yore got that way.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Well actually that would be the VW company, which originated the style used by Nissan. I really like the Accord Coupe style. And yes, the Altima is a good knock-off of a Euro style.
    -Loren
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Wishbone suspension doesn't hurt too!
    -Loren
This discussion has been closed.