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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010

    @uplanderguy said: he took it back and got a '13 Malibu which he liked much better. He's a short guy though. ;)

    Actually, I think the '13 Malibu is fine for seat comfort, up front. The seat went back far enough for my tastes, and seemed to be fairly thick, and padded in just the right spots. It's just in the back seat where the Malibu comes up short, IMO. I remember the seat itself actually being pretty comfortable...there just wasn't enough legroom for me. If I was sitting behind a shorter driver, I'd be fine.

    My Mom is thinking about getting a new Altima. She currently has an '08 with about 61,000 miles on it. I asked her why, exactly, she wants a new one, and she said because they're offering $1K cash back and zero percent financing. And $11K trade on hers. She doesn't really need a new car, just wants one I guess. I think it's a bit of a waste, but to be fair, it's been six years now. So it's not like she's chronically buying cars.

    I get the new car urge every once in awhile, but I'm trying to hold off. I just had my 2000 Park Ave in for an oil change and a general going over, and the mechanic said it should still have a lot of life left. I have a feeling it's going to be a hard car to replace, because I've gotten too used to all that stretch-out room and those thick, livingroom sofa seats.

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,363

    You mean the CVT trans?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057

    Oh I think it's called "Pure Drive"

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,579

    Had to rent a Grand Caravan to go pick up my son from his first year of college at SC; I have to say it was borderline tolerable. A pleasant freeway cruiser but mind-numbingly boring. I consider myself infinitely blessed to have only one child- and thus I never ran the risk of owning one... B)

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,363

    Oh, hush the one child! (Says the father of four...)

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,579

    We might have had another if RB Jr. had slept through the night more than once in his first 16 months. That experience pretty much made the decision for us...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,363

    Ah! Young fezo #1 was a model baby. Made having another an easy decision. Had #2 come first that might have changed everything. Then there's that 9 year gap until 3 and 4.

    That's not the whole story and in terms of difficulty 1 & 2 changed positions early on.....

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,579
    edited May 8

    RB #1 has turned out to be a really great kid from 17 months on- despite my myriad of parenting blunders...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494

    Yes, fezo, the CVT trans was what my friend hated about his rental Altima. For some reason I could not bring that acronym up.

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,363

    Yeah, I can't make myself fall in love with a CVT. I understand the logic of them and in theory an infinite number of gears sounds great. Sadly in practice it doesn't sound great. Or even good. Annoying on the ears.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,859

    @fezo said: Yeah, I can't make myself fall in love with a CVT. I understand the logic of them and in theory an infinite number of gears sounds great. Sadly in practice it doesn't sound great. Or even good. Annoying on the ears.

    IMHO, it's just that most people just aren't used to them and thus dismiss them. I'm not a fan either but in order to improve fuel efficiency, CVT's will replace all autos eventually.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010

    @robr2 said: IMHO, it's just that most people just aren't used to them and thus dismiss them. I'm not a fan either but in order to improve fuel efficiency, CVT's will replace all autos eventually.

    I haven't driven a car with a CVT yet, so I can't comment. However, this is gonna make me sound like a real throwback, but I'm not even that crazy about the 5- and 6-speed transmissions that I've driven. However, my experience is limited to my housemate's '06 Xterra, and my '12 Ram. They're fine when it comes to accelerating from a stop, but sometimes out on the highway when you want to pass, there seems to be a delayed reaction before they downshift. And they usually don't seem to have enough power to simply accelerate in the gear they're currently in, so you have to wait until they finally shift down.

    It also seems like they don't go into gear as quickly when you first shift out of park. But, maybe that's a feature to prolong their life? When those old transmissions would slam into gear instantly, maybe that was rough on them?

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,363

    There's no doubt that CVTs are the future. You can't beat them for mileage. We'll get used to them.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010

    Once you get to enough gears, wouldn't simply going with a CVT make more sense, anyway? I think recent re-issue of the Jeep Cherokee has a NINE-speed automatic! At that point, it seems a little overkill.

    As for additional gears, The Charger/300 V6 offer a 5-speed and an 8-speed. The 5-speed is rated 18/27 while the 8-speed is 19/31. If I was getting one, I admit I'd be tempted to go for the 8-speed, even though most of my driving is local, so I wouldn't benefit that much from it. Even the highway boost, from 27 to 31 mpg isn't that earth-shattering when it comes to saving the bank account. But there's just something psychological about the 30 mpg barrier, I think.

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494

    I'm not a fan of the shift feel in our six-speed, four-cylinder Malibu. I'd long for a four-speed if I could get one.

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,579

    The six speed in the Grand Caravan I rented hunted like Roman Polanski at an all-girl middle school...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,341

    The rental grade Altima is the 2.5 S model. It is a rental grade engine with a rental grade CVT transmission. I wasn't impressed at all. I'd pay much much more for an Accord than I would the Altima. They aren't even in the same ball park in my opinion, so no, the gap hasn't narrowed between domestic and Japanese, unless you consider the Accord a Domestic since it's mostly built here :)

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,341

    By the way, I don't know if it's the extra weight of being a convertible, but the V6 Mustang doesn't impress me either. I think the extra weight is bogging down what would otherwise be a decent V6 engine. The rental grade tall sidewall skinny treadwidth tires don't help. At least the Camaro RS had good rubber, but I've seen a new Camaro on the road that has similar rental spec tires.

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,341

    @fintail said: A friend of mine suffered the problem on an 03 Accord at ~60K miles, and had no resistance either. I think it was more like a 2 week job for him though. It also failed on him a few hundred miles from home, so that was fun.

    Maybe related to American cars, that Accord started having constant little issues at around 140-150K, so it might not have aged better than a modern American car.

    That doesn't surprise me, I had the same 03 Accord V6 Coupe. It was overall reliable the first 65K miles which is how long I kept it, but it was far from perfect (several little warranty issues plus the big one - Tranny at 42K). Honda did handle it like a reputable car maker should (Dodge/Chrysler would be disreputable here in comparison). That is one of the reasons I sold it at 50 months and 65K miles, I felt it had too many warranty visits for a Honda, and wasn't up to Built in Japan standards. The Japanese built Civic my significant other has is an '07, with low mileage (I think around 65K). It hasn't visited the dealer since its warranty was in effect, and even then only once. That's my experience with built in Japan Honda's; less warranty issues.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,866
    edited May 9

    Losing count, but in the last 3 days I've driven a CX-5 (6 speed automatic), Escape (6 speed automatic), Equinox (6 speed shiftable automatic), Soul (6 speed automatic), Forester (CVT) and a Prius V (CVT). The Equinox was the worst but can't say that it was the transmission or the engine, or if it really takes a long time for Chevy's computer to learn the shift points. The Escape was the best with the CX-5 a close second (best overall handling though). Except for the disappointing 'Nox, all of the transmissions were certainly livable for us.

    Also drove a manual 5 speed xB and didn't fall back in love with shifting.

    Liking the Prius V again. Sigh....

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010

    @uplanderguy said: I'm not a fan of the shift feel in our six-speed, four-cylinder Malibu. I'd long for a four-speed if I could get one.

    Part of my problem might be that I held onto those old mastodon-class cars with their antiquated 3-speed automatics for too long. Often you could just stomp it from a dead stop and it would hold first until around 50-55 or so. My '67 Catalina will even chirp one of the rear tires on the 1-2 upshift. Then, let off the gas and it goes right into 3rd, and it's almost like they didn't really need second gear at all. Of course, those were older, torquier engines.

    Also, what I consider a nice, crisp shift, most people probably consider harsh. And what I consider a sloppy shift, most people consider smooth...

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738

    @andres3 said: By the way, I don't know if it's the extra weight of being a convertible, but the V6 Mustang doesn't impress me either. I think the extra weight is bogging down what would otherwise be a decent V6 engine. The rental grade tall sidewall skinny treadwidth tires don't help. At least the Camaro RS had good rubber, but I've seen a new Camaro on the road that has similar rental spec tires.

    The V6 Mustang is fine if you get manual. It's a turd with automatic, though. Just hideously slow and no fun at all. The Camaro and Challenger base models are also the same. Manual is the only way to go if you want any sort of fun.

    An interesting tidbit about the Camaro and Mustang is that they have about the same power to weight ratio as an early 90s 911.(non-turbo) They are actually quite respectably fast once you get the slushbox out of the equation.

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,579

    Right. The autobox just ruins them...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010

    Suddenly, my view of Nissan isn't so rosy anymore. My housemate took his '06 Xterra to the dealer to get some brake work done, and they're telling him it's going to need a new timing chain soon! He's always been pretty good about taking it back for regular oil changes, not letting it run low, etc. It has about 124,000 miles on it.

    Now, it could just be the dealer telling him that, so I'm trying to get him to take it to my mechanic for a second opinion. Oh, as for pricing, both the dealer, and the mechanic said about $1800. Ouch! A far cry from the ~$250 it cost to do the timing belt on my ex-wife's old '88 LeBaron. Although that was 18 years ago...

    I wonder if the timing chain is a weak spot on the Nissan 4.0? It just seems odd to me that it would need it so soon.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,866

    My '99 Quest's original timing belt lasted to 182,000 miles. 124k sounds awfully young for a chain. Another opinion would be good.

    We really aren't shopping Nissan this time around. Only the Rogue is in the style of cars we're mostly looking at, and the CVT isn't getting good reviews.

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,271

    @andre1969 said: I wonder if the timing chain is a weak spot on the Nissan 4.0? It just seems odd to me that it would need it so soon.

    I found this. http://repairpal.com/noise-from-the-front-of-the-engine-139

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,866
    edited May 12

    Good find and ouch - $1,800. My timing belt was bad enough at $525.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057

    RE: $1800---welcome to the Brave New World of auto repair. This is why a lot of decent used cars are going to be scrapped in the future. Recyclers are now becoming used car lots, offering 'broken" cars that are otherwise intact, and often very nice looking.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,866

    Should have dumped my van a year ago when the belt broke.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010

    Thanks for that link, Imidazol97! I passed the info along to my housemate by text and unfortunately got back simply, "what?". Had to call him and explain to him what it was, and the first thing out of his mouth was "will you do it for me?"

    What's that old saying about leading a horse to water, but not getting it to drink? Anyway, thanks again for the info, and I'll let you know if it does any good. I wonder if a dealer will do a TSB for free with it being out of warranty? My housemate did buy an extended warranty on the thing, but it was up at 8 years/100K miles. 8 years came up sometime in April, I think, very early May at the latest. And, well, it's around 123K or so now.

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