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Chevrolet Malibu vs. Toyota Camry vs. Honda Accord

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  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I think 'Detroit' effectively gave the car market to the Japanese starting in the 80s because of some really crappy products and an inability to build smaller engines - and may never be able to recover.

    Don't look now, but I'm not sure that they aren't in the recovery phase. Vehicles like the Fusion (with early statistics looking very promising for reliability - very important) that are fun to drive and nice to look at, Ford may at least stay in the game and strengthen moderately rather than dropping out altogether like so many predicted not too long ago. If they'd do the same with their compacts and full-sizers Ford could make more than a meager comeback like they are attempting right now (Focus is older than Moses, and will continue to be for years - Europe is about to be on design number three, while we are getting a facelifted version 1.0 Focus next year - the power increase will help the Five Hundred/Montego greatly in the game). With more all-around good vehicles like the Fusion, Ford will do just fine.

    For GM, the revised Imapala sure looks nice, with much-improved interiors and several engine choices. The Aura, the Lambda Crossovers (Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, etc..) are all strong if not bar-raising vehicles. Reliability is still not necessarily a strong suit of GM vehicles according to several record-keepers like CR, but it doesn't seem to be in the basement with many vehicles like they once were, either(exceptions according to CR being the Midsize Pickup Twins Colorado/Canyon and the Cobalt Compact Car).

    Chrysler...what an enigma. In the late 90s, it was absolutely pitiful. Some pitiful excuses for quality came from that company (transmission troubles anyone?) Then, along comes the Chrysler 300 sedan (Car and Driver COTY). Reliability inches upwards in some models (importantly in the minivan market which Chrysler DOMINATES in sales). Then they release some real cheapo-feeling cars... Caliber, Jeep Compass/Patriot, and the styling-riddle Sebring Sedan. I think Chrysler can't win because of shooting itself in the foot. Hopefully that will change.

    In the end, I'm of the opinion that domestic vehicle manufacturers (i.e. the Big Three) will not be THE dominating force ever again, although I also believe there won't be a single dominating force(s) like the "3" to take their place. Carmakers have gotten good folks, really good.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    The Camry 3.0 v6 was known for oil sludge in the early 2000's. Instead of redesigning the engine, Toyota slapped undersized head gaskets on it to raise the head temperature for a more efficient burn, trying to gain fuel efficiency and a ULEV rating, causing the problem and then denied it was their fault. GM re-engineered the 3.8 in 1996 and it was voted one of the ten best engines in the world. Smoothness, refinement and willingness to rev were necessary to get that award from Ward's. Torque is what you feel when you slam the gas pedal and that is the force that rotates the tire in that engine. You sound like your talking about engines you haven't driven. I have a 3.8, test drove a 3.9 last week and rode 800 miles in a 3.5 in October. They are all very smooth, economical, powerful, and they will be very reliable as is the 3.8. It took well over a hundred thousand miles before you could even hear my 3.8 idling from inside the car. At 156k, you still can't tell if it's running or not without a tach peek. Get with the program? You make it sound like you would buy GM if only they had OHC. "The 3.9 is part of an all-new family of advanced overhead valve, 60-degree V-6 engines. The engine is designed new from the block up and in addition to variable valve timing, incorporates a host of advanced, premium features, including a variable intake manifold, piston-cooling oil squirters, and an advanced 32-bit engine controller. The variable valve timing system incorporates a vane-type camshaft phaser that changes the angular orientation of the camshaft, thereby adjusting the timing of the intake and exhaust valves to optimize performance and economy, and helping lower emissions. Within its range of operation, it offers infinitely variable valve timing in relation to the crankshaft. The cam phasing creates "dual equal" valve timing adjustments. In other words, the intake valves and exhaust valves are varied at the same time and at the same rate." (Popular Mechanics) It is also Displacement on Demand.

    The biggest impediment to GM not turning around their market share erosion is misperception that Japan is offering something better. Many people buying a new car judge the engine by a test drive. The 2005 numbers on this 3.9 DoD engine are 240 horsepower at 5,900 rpm and 245 pound-feet of torque at just 2,800 rpm, which are commendable. What really makes the engine satisfying is that 90 percent of that peak torque is available from 1,800 to 5,800 rpm, since torque is what you need in the daily duels of urban driving. The 265 HP 3.9 I test drove didn't have an instantaneous mileage readout but the 5.3 liter did. The 5.3 gave about 35 mpg criusing at 50-60 mph and gave 31 mpg at 70 mph. In the 2005 trucks, the all-aluminum V8 will be rated at an estimated 290 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. The 2007 Impala I drove had 303 HP as well as Hwy mileage possible in the 30's. With leather and sunroof and lots of other options, sticker was 30,200 for the SS. Rebate and a little haggling bring that down to 27,300 USD, which is even with the Accord V6 with auto and leather after a little haggling. GM needs no Japanese 'program'.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    GM re-engineered the 3.8 in 1996 and it was voted one of the ten best engines in the world.

    Sure that wasn't "ten oldest engines in the world?" :P Just messin with ya.

    You say $27,300 for an EX V6 Accord after you haggle and get rebates on the impala. How come you don't give Honda the same benefit in your post? I saw just today an internet quote of $23k and change for an Accord EX-V6 on the Accord prices paid forum. The Accord has factory incentives going on right now. You may not have known all of this, which is why I'm filling in your holes. :)
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    But they did not change the intake manifold in 1996 on those 3.8 engines which can fail at just past 70,ooo miles. Pity. Other than that, the old boy is not a bad work horse engine. Not the equal of the Honda or other top line V6 engines however. GM has the 3.6 DOHC V6, so give it a try. Try it - you'll like it! Same for the new 3.5 OHV V6 from GM, which is good enough, but not all that great.

    Unless you have a serious need for torque steer excitement, there is little need for the Impala V8; certainly not for over $27K = ouch!
    Loren
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    That depends on which country's dollar you are both speaking of ;)
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    When I drive my 03 Accord V6, I can feel the refinement. From the way the doors close, to the solid feel of the controls. When I drive down the road I feel the way the suspension soaks up the bumps without complaint, handles curves with precision, and stays steady as a rock at speed. The engine is quiet and effortless as it propels you with smooth power. Unfortunately, my wife was rear-ended, and I had to drive an 06 Impala for two weeks. The doors and controls are not nearly as solid feeling, and some controls are hard to see, much less operate while driving. While the Impala soaks up bumps very well, there is significant body roll when cornering. The highway ride is giggly, like the car is nervous, or cold (brrr). The interior feels much smaller than a large car should. I keep hearing that the quality of GM products has improved, but I did not see, or feel, the big improvements.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    Get with the program? You make it sound like you would buy GM if only they had OHC.
    the Toyota 2GR is easily the best engine available in this class - and is wonderful - great FE, extremely powerful, smooth and willing, it is very easy to get it up to 6000 rpm without even knowing it (or feeling it), and further, thanks to its advanced intelligent continuously variable valves on both intake and exhaust it does a pretty fair job providing that flat torque curve you are talking about. Comparable engines at this point the VW 3.6, the Nissan VQ, and that great Honda V6 - although only SOHC. Does the GM 3.6 or the Ford 3.5 come close, on the spec sheets yes - in terms of refinement - have a sneaking suspicion they are both short on those refinement issues that I value so highly. Would I buy a pushrod V6 specifically, not a chance, because look at those alternatives available - I submit to you that there never has been or will be a refined pleasant pushrod V6 or I could challenge you to name even just one? And BTW those gimmicky 'instanteous' FE readouts are about the most worthless info you can find - that old Aerostar I was talking about could show 100 mpg! The truck actually did about 15 and was, of course, slow as molasses with that fine pushrod V6.
    Detroit pushrod V8s, OTH, I have no problem with and is representative of that 'Detroit' approach, attack the problem with displacement - been going on ever since they slapped a small block V8 in a Ford Falcon back in 1964 and called it a 'sports car'.
    And those V8s have no business in FWD cars - too much weight, torque steer, and understeer. GM may have an alternative if they can properly build that Impala in Australia and still manage to put a trunk in the car. If GM (or the other two) are ever going to build a competitive (and pleasant) sedan I'm afraid its 'back to the future' with RWD and torquey V8s (ala the Chrysler 300/Charger), and then all they need to worry about is if the market for them still exists when gas hits $4 or $5/gallon. Or they could learn to build proper smaller engines, that indeed, don't have those precious pushrods, or DOD either - you wouldn't perchance remember Cadillac's flirtation with this back in the early 90s, lead to a recall (and forced warranty extensions) on every car so equipped.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    misperception that Japan is offering something better.
    IMO, don't believe there is any question about this today or for the last 20 years or so. I think the real question is whether those 'expensive' Japanese makes can justify those extra $ over a defineable period - something that, at least, to this point, they can. And you should also consider the financial efficacy and engineering acumen of the cos. involved - areas in which the Toyotas/Hondas/Nissans have it all over the US brands. As long as GM/Ford continue to lose money faster than they can print it or borrow it, they will have a helluva time developing anything innovative or competitive and will continue to sell what amounts to 20 year old+ cars. Maybe what GM 'needs' is to learn that 'Japanese program' called making money - done by developing products they can make money on instead of selling everything to the lowest bidder...
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    My Indy Honda dealer sent me this along with internet quotes of about 1100 off of the 25,895 LX. (USA dollars)
    The LX is not leather and you can't just add it as an option. You have to bump up to 28,095 for leather and automatic trans. Take off 4% for internet price and you are at 26,901 for the Accord in the US. That is with the same amount of haggling as the Impala SS at 27,300. Looks like more haggling could be done on both prices. The difference here is $400 more for a monster engine that is conservatively rated at 27 mpg hwy -vs- a much lower 'real driving Torque' Honda. There would have to be $5000 in incentives on the Honda EX for $23,000. It may not have been a V6? It may be Canadian $?

    LX V6 $25,895.00
    EX V6 6-SPEED $28,095.00
    EX V6 $28,095.00
    EX V6 6-SPEED NAVI $30,095.00
    EX V6 w/ NAVI $30,095.00
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    They should be able to offer more than 1,100 off. Should be more around 1,600 off in US dollars. Some people are doing better than that. Depends on the area you live. Don't know your area in Canada. In USA they sell the SE model, which is a really good deal.
    Loren
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Those are high prices! You have to grind them! See the negotiation thread! See how Jeffyscott got a great deal. Your beginning offer sb Dealer cost less 3% holdback less all incentives to dealer= starting point offer. "Your mission,should you decide to accept it,"is to let the dealer make no more than 75% of the holdback. See edmunds for Dealer costs and Mfg. to dealer incentives and rebates. Don't pay more!
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Who is going to buy these V8 Impalas? A heavier, torque steer inducing, low reliability engine, in an already front heavy FWD car. Hope Chevy doesn't plan to dig out of the hole, with ideas like this one.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    I live in US. These are US prices. They DO NOT SELL an SE in my area. You didn't explain the $5000 difference I questioned. Then out comes your misperception. You called an engine you know nothing about unreliable. Based on what data on that engine? You need to cut down the car based on pure opinion and misperception. You haven't driven the SS car. It's an all aluminum engine. You didn't know that either? Don't you know the Chev has a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty that far exceeds the powertrain warranty Honda offers. Would they be offering that on things unreliable? The '05 Impala ran ahead of Mercedes' latest SUV on the Baja race course to clear it for the Mercedes test drivers. The Mercedes gave the Impala a 1 minute head start and couldn't ever catch the Impala. That should answer handling questions.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    The fact is, the "V8 engined Impala" has below average reliability in CR ratings ( like just about every other V8 model car GM makes). I am not the only one with this perception. Check it out for yourself.
    I can copy and paste it for you, if you like, sir.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Those prices are outrageous.

    There would have to be $5000 in incentives on the Honda EX for $23,000. It may not have been a V6?

    It was an EX-V6.

    First of all, invoice on the Accord is $24,820. Subtract $750 in incentive money and you are right at $24,070. Subtract 3% holdback, ($722) and you have $23,347. With these figures, a $24,000 or lower price shouldn't be hard to negotiate, especially when financing through Honda. Add to the fact that dealers want to move all the 2007 models they can so they get the most ultra-profitable 2008 models allotted to them as possible.

    By the way, Destination is $595. Your prices reflect a $695 destination? (27,400 is MSRP for EXV6, destination si $595 = $27,995 Sticker). Small difference, but hey, if you could save $100 wouldn't you?

    By the way, is the Impala included in this forum? It is a full-sized car, these are all midsizers. Seems like the Malibu is the competitor here sizewise.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    No they won't -- New Impala to be a RWD, which may have a positive impact.
    Looks for 2009 model as being a turn-around. Not that Impalas in FWD do not sell. Have no idea why one would want a V8 in one. It was designed to have a V6 from day one.

    Loren
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Well, I have no idea why Honda would not sell the SE in your area. The Accord is the best car one can buy. That said, if you want an Impala SS, by all means go for it! That will be the car you are most happy with. The hot Impala is going to be the RWD one. Those with FWD and a V8 will have little value once the RWD cars hit the market place. I would think the V6 in the Impala would be the way to go, until the RWD hits the market. With a heavier foot, don't expect the 8-4 engine to give all that good of gas mileage.
    -Loren
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    No they won't -- New Impala to be a RWD,

    RWD sounds better, for a V8 powered car. Following Chrysler's lead on this one (300/Charger), I guess. I don't understand why though. The Impala is Chevy's best selling car, the way it is now (FWD V6).
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    if I'm not mistaken the Impala is #3 behind the Camcords with the Altima holding 4th. You have to wonder, however, how many of those 'sales' are to corporate/governmental fleet buyers and/or rental cos. Last time I heard GM was losing $2500 on every car they 'sold'.
    I agree with you, if GM needs touse that wealth of experience they have in V8s it is better placed in a RWD chassis somehting they already have - then Australian Holden. Haven't been able to figure out why they haven't put the 3.6 (the best engine GM has right now with less than 8 cylinders) in the FWD Impala though - may be a question of keeping some old pushrod engine plants running to keep the UAW happy, as well as a lack of production capacity.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    The Impala is a bit larger inside, and is now priced at or below $20K for starter cars, with some sale prices below $19k. So it makes sense as something to buy for say a company car. Haul people around, and is a bit larger than a Honda or Toyota. The new car looks better inside and out, as in closer to the competition. This helped sales. Certainly looks better than the current Malibu. It did lose some of the Impala look, but what the heck, we are talking making a sale now, while waiting for the New Impala which is a totally new car. Yeah, there will be NEW cars coming. At least cars we currently can no buy in the States, are arriving soon. And the Impala is going to have NEW skin... totally new, yeaaaa!

    I got a Honda Accord, so I guess I won't need another car for a few hundred thousand miles ;)
    Loren
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    CR is a Japanese car buyer's club. They can't even have much data on the 303 HP Impala all aluminum V8 with DoD. 2007 is the first year. They berate all American cars to the extent that only Japanese car buyers will subscribe to CR. That has led to only Japanese car owners doing surveys for CR and since they all love their cars so much, they under-report their problems with them. People who are happy with their American cars are not represented in their surveys except when they get so angry with a car problem that they subscribe just to do a survey. There are not many American car owners who are represented. Japanese car owners love the magazine because it praises all their Japanese cars. CR constantly berates a new American model that is new from the ground up based on prior models. How is that justified? CR is worthless. Japanese car buyers are probably upset by J.D. Powers, who rate the Chevrolet models as better than the average of all Japanese models in the first 3 yrs of ownership. They probably think JD is lying. CR is definitely not a impartial judge of any all-new American car.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Then I guess you would say just about all of the magazines that do car testing are bias against "American" cars too. Like Car & Driver, Edmonds, and many others, who mostly rate the Toyotas and Hondas higher. When CR (or any other car reviewer) does not have enough information on a new car, all they can do is predict the reliability. When a certain car has been proven reliable over the past 15-20 years, it's safe to say the new model will also be reliable. When a car has a history of average reliability, you can reasonably predict the next model to be about the same. Dave, are you saying all these car comparison tests, and car reviews are simply false, and we are being lied to? Do all these car reviewers really think "the Malibu is better than the Accord" but are somehow forced to say otherwise? It's a conspiracy, right?
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    You may have thought too much about this.
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    I got a Honda Accord, so I guess I won't need another car for a few hundred thousand miles

    You make it sound like ALL Hondas and no other vehicles go to several hundred thousand miles. Both are completely false. I've had several go that distance, and never owned a Honda. Any car to go that distance needs good care and a good driver. Even so, it's a man made mechanical device, things will break.

    How many cars have you owned Loren? And for how long?
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    13 cars, I do believe. But I may have missed one or double counted one along the way and I ran out of fingers. Never owned a long lasting American make. And the Opel did not last too long, as I got a bum motor. Normally, they were good cars, from what I hear. Best so far, all the Japan cars. Most woes, the Oldsmobiles. Ford Mustang was so-so. This is my first Honda car, though I owned a couple Honda motorcycles. Anyway, it is getting late, and the mind is not as sharp. I will have to write down each car and rate each one some day.
    Loren

    P.S. Dad had a good Olds Cutlass Supreme '71 or was that '72. Pretty cool looking car and farily reliable. All his car overheated on vacations though. All sucked gas. But the Cutlass and Buick LeSabre were sharp looking. I got into the sad era though for GM cars. :cry: Not to say I did not have fun driving. Hey, driving such wonders as the Starfire '76 :D
    Loren
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    13 cars, I do believe. But I may have missed one or double counted one along the way and I ran out of fingers.

    Hey, 'bout the same as me then. But on the opposite side of each other. Funny how things go. All my vehicles have been North American. Reliable, trouble free and long lasting.
    One exception, I do now own a 96 Escort which isnt really a Ford, it's a Mazda Protege. Tis my 1st foreign car!

    I think all we're proving here is that any manufacturer has the potential to make exceptional vehicles and has a history of good and bad vehicles. In the end, I still dont believe there's alot of difference between a good GM model and a good Honda or Toyota model. Or has Honda been using some of that metal from Mars which I'm sure HAS to be better than earth's metals. Nobody can say that those 2 havent made crappy vehicles, they've had their share as well as anyone.

    I know it's not part of this topic but just wanted to say...
    Last year at this time when I was shopping, I came very close to buying a brand new 06 Sonata which after all was said and done came to about $25,000. I noticed the other day a few 06's for sale at about $15,000. That depreciation is the same as most North American cars. I have to be extra happy now that I didnt go for it.

    Oh but wait, perhaps if I had, I could just say, sure I lost $10k in 1 year but hell, I'm drivin a foreign car, and it's GOT to better than anything made here....right? You may ask, then why didnt I go for the 03 Accord with 80,000Kms for $20k? Hmmm :confuse:
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    CR constantly berates a new American model that is new from the ground up based on prior models. How is that justified? CR is worthless. Japanese car buyers are probably upset by J.D. Powers, who rate the Chevrolet models as better than the average of all Japanese models in the first 3 yrs of ownership. They probably think JD is lying. CR is definitely not a impartial judge of any all-new American car.

    What's the problem here? You think CR is lying, so you assume the Japanese think JD is lying?

    Not EVERYBODY drinks the kool-aid and goes ONLY by what magazines say.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    I guess the problem is that the 'just assume the American car is a bad choice, don't even bother to verify this for yourself' mentality is run rampant now, especially on the coasts. Even though there has been tremendous improvement, there is not enough successful marketing strategy being implemented by the Detroit 3 to get consumers to give them a fair shake. The recent higher fuel costs have GM rethinking it's plan. Profits only came from trucks and cars were a hobby. Now they see truck sales drop and suddenly they are losing billions. Gas prices are not going back down so they now have to become a car company again. They will be putting their best efforts into car design after a decade of that being a secondary concern. If we let CR be our judge and jury "When a car has a history of average reliability, you can reasonably predict the next model to be about the same" then far fewer will ever discover the improvements. The new '08 Malibu will be a very good car and instead of 15% of the value coming back to this country, 85% will. That is the opposite ratio of a Civic built in Ohio. I will take the other side and ask people to find real proof that the all new American car is unreliable before concluding it so. It can't be found except in biased opinions so far on here.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    I guess the problem is that the 'just assume the American car is a bad choice, don't even bother to verify this for yourself' mentality is run rampant now, especially on the coasts. Even though there has been tremendous improvement, there is not enough successful marketing strategy being implemented by the Detroit 3 to get consumers to give them a fair shake. The recent higher fuel costs have GM rethinking it's plan. Profits only came from trucks and cars were a hobby. Now they see truck sales drop and suddenly they are losing billions. Gas prices are not going back down so they now have to become a car company again. They will be putting their best efforts into car design after a decade of that being a secondary concern. If we let CR be our judge and jury "When a car has a history of average reliability, you can reasonably predict the next model to be about the same" then far fewer will ever discover the improvements. The new '08 Malibu will be a very good car and instead of 15% of the value coming back to this country, 85% will. That is the opposite ratio of a Civic built in Ohio. I will take the other side and ask for real proof that the all new American car is unreliable. It can't be delivered.
  • goodegggoodegg Posts: 905
    I agree the domestics are good cars. But the Japanese cars are still better and offer the tactiles and ergos that somehow the big two and a half can't nail.

    Why Detroit hasn't done what the Japanese did to us years ago - copy designs and tweak them - is beyond me. I'd love to buy another GM someday.

    Bought 3 vehicles in the past year and a half. A Honda, an Acura and a Nissan. Each time I gave Ford and GM a chance to earn my dollar and each time neither did. C'mon Detroit.
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