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Mainstream Large Sedans Comparison

luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
This discussion would compare and include cars like the Buick Lucerne, Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego, Hyundai Azera, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Kia Amanti.


  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    For the record, the 4.6-liter Northstar is a twister, not a torquer, delivering 275 horsepower at 5600 rpm, with another 1000 rpm available before the redline, but a torque output of only 290 pound-feet at 4400 rpm. Compared with, say, the 390 pound-feet at 4000 rpm of Chrysler’s Hemi, the Lucerne’s V-8 is only mildly energetic.
    a quote from a C&D road test of the 06 CXS
    Sure sounds like the Buick has the same 'problem' (by your way of thinking) as the Toyota and Nissan V6s. The point being that there is more good to be found in our 'twisters' in terms of smoothness and FE, thanks in large part to those efficiencies possible with OHC designs. 'Twisters' I'm relatively sure you'll agree need more gears, simply to keep operating at peak efficiency. Or maybe you would be just better off with that 300C or Impala SS, so you can really own a 'torquer'.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Most mid-size family sedans, I feel, are good for a family of 4, but not enough for family of 5. SUVs and vans are not as economic as they used to be, unless you want to spend more money on hybrid SUVs like the Toyota Highlander.

    I think most people who buy these cars have families. That said, I would prefer the best protection for my family with a tested car like the Five Hundred, which is also price is at the low end of the mentioned cars above.

    The Avalon and the Impala also received acceptable crash scores by IIHS. Avalon is a nice car if you can afford it. The Impala, I think, you could purchase at the lowest price and uses the flex fuel (if you know where to buy it), so sounds like the most economical out of all. Great it provides seating for six but, I wouldn't want my child in the middle, front with a lap belt instead of a 3 point belt and no head rest. I doubt that seat is large enough for an adult. I personally like the styling of the Five Hundred more than the Impala. For example, I like the Five Hundred's "Command Seating." Also Ford has better warranty than Chevy now.

    I know it only has 203 horsepower, but I like it because of space, comfort, great crash test scores, and value. Don't need speed when hauling children.
  • quietproquietpro Posts: 702
    I like the 500 for size but I demand more power. I chose the Impala SS, which, I agree is very conservatively designed (although it has grown on me quite a bit). I also think the 500's styling is conservative but it may be the best choice for family's with larger children.

    As for flex-fueled vehicles, E85 is already showing how unviable it really is. Check out this forum: . It's a huge forum but there is a lot of information in it.

    While I really enjoyed the Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger, both in size AND power, they "skimped" on standard technology. A comparably priced Charger was several thousand more than the Impala. Also, many of the "nifty" little items just aren't available with the other makes.

    My opinion on the leading Japanese offerings is that they are overrated and overpriced. That's an argument that will never be solved here and those who prefer them are just as adamant as I am. :)

    That leaves the relative newcomers, Kia, Hyundai, etc. which are proving to be great values. They don't offer all the toys or power I'm looking for but at least there is a significant discount. While we were shopping, we went to a Toyota/Hyundai dealer. The salesman was on auto-pilot thinking we would jump on the Camry bandwagon. We asked and were shown a Sonata but it just wasn't large enough. We weren't aware of the Azera which may have fit our needs. That salesman's failure in objectivity may have cost him that sale. It serves him right, though. :)

    The bottom line is that there are many factors that play a part in a decision. There are a lot of great choices out there and everyone needs to feel they made their own best choice. :D
  • stevenwstevenw Posts: 18
    Many of the engines in those cars are wheezy and just don't deliver the oomph that I'm used to. Before I bought my 2005 300 Limited I had never owned a car that did not have a v-8 engine. I drove a lot of sedans and found I did not like the size (or lack therof) or the lack of lower they exhibited. The 3.5 L HO engine in the limited delivers almost the same HP as my old Aurora did with the NS V-8. Of course you are talking about the base 300 in this discussion because a Touring or Limited (let alone the "C") are over $30K. I have not driven a 2.7 L base 300 but I'd suspect it's worth the $$ to upgrade the engine to the 3.5 unless you like driving a wheezer.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    You could get a fully loaded Chevy Impala SS V8 that has 303 Hp@5600 rpms and 323 lbs.-ft. of torque @4400 rpms for under $30,000.

    How about a Dodge Caliber RT(not fully loaded) that has 340 Hp @ 5000 rpms and 390 lbs.-ft of torque @ 4000 rpms.

    Not included in this comparison but a Pontiac Grand Prix GXP V8 fully loaded w/out Navigation that has same Hp and torque as Impala for under $30,000.

    Right now there is a $1,000 manufacturer to Dealer incentive for a 2006 Buick Lucerne CXL V8 that has 275 Hp @ 6000 rpms and 295 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpms for under $30,000 (also not fully loaded).

    Your best bet with these cars would probably be the Dodge. It also has the best styling of the 4 above. My point is you could get a V8 for under $30,000, though it sounds like your more used to more upscale sedans.

    One of the reasons I started this forum was to see how one could buy a near luxury car at a reasonable price. For example, you could spend equal amounts for a V6 Camry or Accord as the 4 cars mentioned above. They probably aren't as refined as the Camry or Accord but definitely more spacious and more comfortable.
  • stevenwstevenw Posts: 18
    Although I don't consider a Caliber to be a "large sedan". Maybe a Magnum would be more fitting in this comparison. I think a base Magnum is under $30K as well.
  • buzz123buzz123 Posts: 35
    Great suggestion for a new topic! My vote is for the Avalon. Consumer Reports ranked it number 1 in the Large Sedan category. As they said, "The Avalon offers a lot of car for the money. It has a limo-like rear seat that can even recline. The quality of the cabin materials is almost as impressive as that of Toyota's luxury Lexus line. The Avalon rides very comfortably and quietly." Those are consumer reports words, not mine, but I definitely agree with them. Not to mention the engine which is a V6 with 268 HP @ 6200 RPM and 248 ft-lbs @ 4700 RPM. All this with a mileage rating of 22 City/31 Highway. In fact, I just returned from a 357 mile trip visiting the in-laws and I actually got even better than that. I got 31.9 MPG and that was driving mostly 70 MPH. Of course you can't get a fully loaded Avalon for under $30K, but you can, and I did, get one that has a lot of great features for less than $30K including the reclining rear seats (great for passengers on long trips) and dual zone automatic climate system (so the wife can set the temp to what she wants and I can set the temp to what I want). Also, as someone else pointed out already, "The Avalon and the Impala also received acceptable crash scores by IIHS." All this made the Avalon the vehicle for me!
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    I like the Avalon, too. I just bought a 2006 RAV4. The engine performs the same and so does the 2007 Camry. I think they all share the same engine. Great performance with descent fuel economy. I just hope either of us don't get a recall.
  • buzz123buzz123 Posts: 35
    Yep, you're right about it being the same engine in the Avalon, 2006 RAV4 and 2007 Camry. I know what you mean about all this recall stuff they've been talking about. I hope either of us don't get a recall, too. Actually, we've been thinking of getting the RAV4 to replace my wife's Corolla. Since I got the 2006 Avalon, we'll probably wait another year or two before getting the RAV4 to space out the vehicles a bit. Looks like they did a great job with the redesign. How has your RAV4 been so far?
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Excellent! The drive is smooth and quiet. We bought the V6 4x4 (part time) w/following options:remote start, curtain side airbags, DTR lights, 3rd row seat (children only), roof rack, mud guards, tow prep, and carpet floor mats. It was hard to find the V6 with the third row. Had mostly 4 cyls with 3rd row in NY/NJ area. With the extra weight, you'd want more power, right?

    I think the 3rd row is better than Highlander because 3rd row is 50/50 folding and the bay of where the seat folds in to gives you more room for luggage. There really isn't a whole lot but the Highlander's luggage space is nonexistent when seat is up. We payed $25,400 for it.

    I recently went to and saw Consumer Reports has rated it finally. It's the top rated small SUV now beating the previous winner, the Subaru Forester scored 71, RAV4 4cyl scored 77, V6 scored 83.

    I wouldn't rule out the Forester because of crash test perfect rating. Back seat is a little cramped but plenty of luggage space. The RAV4s rear seat adjusts forward or back which helps 3rd row leg room.
  • lweisslweiss Posts: 342
    Can you really get a Nissan Maxima for under $30K? If so, I think that it would be very viable for my purposes (rarely more than 4 people in the car). I thought that they went for $33K-$35K, more like an Acura TL. Plus it seems more like a 4 door sports sedan, not in the category of the Toyota Avalon or Chevy Malibu or Chrysler 300.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    If you get it fully loaded, no! If you get it say with 18" chrome wheels, sunroof, VDC w/full size spare, floor and trunk mats, and colored splash guards the invoice comes to $28,889. Edmunds TMV for these options is adds up to $30,809. If your a good negotiator, I think you could. Did you know the 2006 right now has a rebate of $1,500?
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    2006 Chrysler 300 2.7L base/103 cu ft interior/24 cu ft luggage/MPG 21c, 28h/190 hp@6400 rpm/Invoice $22,238-$24,858/ G,M,A

    2006 Dodge Charger 3.5L SE/103 cu ft interior/24 cu ft luggage/MPG 19c, 27h/250 hp@6400 rpm/Invoice $20,983-$29,330/ G,M,-

    2007 Nissan Maxima 3.5L SE/104 cu ft interior/16 cu ft luggage/MPG 21c, 28h (premium gas)/255 hp@6000 rpm/Invoice $25,648-$34,831/ G,M,P

    2006 Kia Amanti 3.8L base/105 cu ft interior/15 cu ft luggage/200 hp@5500 rpm/Invoice $25,510-$27,505/ G,-,A

    2007 Chevy Impala 3.5L LS/105 cu ft interior/19 cu ft luggage/MPG 20c, 29h/211 hp@5800 rpm/Invoice $19,618-$20,968/ A,G,P

    2006 Toyota Avalon 3.5L XL/107 cu ft interior/14 cu ft luggage/MPG 22c, 31h/268 hp@6200 rpm/Invoice $$23,921-$27,880/ G,G,P

    2007 Hyundai Azera 3.8L SE/107 cu ft interior/17 cu ft luggage/MPG 19c, 28h/263 hp@6000 rpm/Invoice $21,901-$24,424/ G,A,A

    2007 Buick Lucerne 3.8L CX/108 cu ft interior/17 cu ft luggage/MPG 19c, 28h/197 hp@5200 rpm/Invoice $24,041-$28,512/ G,A,P

    2007 Ford Five Hundred 3.0L SEL/108 cu ft interior/21 cu ft luggage/MPG 21c, 29h/203 hp@5750 rpm/Invoice $20,966-$26,340/ G,G,G

    Right now for 2006 Maxima has a rebate of $1,500, 2006 Amanti rebate $3,000, 2006 Impala rebate $2,000, 2006 Azera rebate $1,000, 2006 Lucerne rebate $1,500 and Incentive $1,000, 2006 Five Hundred REBATE $1,000.

    Invoice prices listed above refers to the lowest trim only. Probably possible to get higher trims under $30,000 but not if it's fully loaded and how good of a negotiator you are.

    Note that EPA city mileage isn't accurate but can be used as a guide.

    Also The only large sedan listed with a fully loaded invoice above $30,000 is the Nissan Maxima SE.

    All test scores are with side curtain airbags.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Sorry it was a typing error. I ment to print CHARGER!
  • wamba2000wamba2000 Posts: 146
    I was pleased to see that CR rated the Hyundai Azera one slot below the Avalon, since it is a new model, it can't get the "recommended" designation. It's ranking was surprising, being higher than many of the cars listed here.

    We purchased an Azera about 1.5 months ago and I am very pleased with the vehicle, performance, ride, handling etc. I think the Azera gives the Avalon a run for the money, and if Hyundai continues to maintain and improve quality (Bet large sedan by JD Power) just a month or so ago, it will give Hyundai a foothold in the large car market.
  • buzz123buzz123 Posts: 35
    Glad you like your RAV4! That is odd about the 4 cyls with the 3rd row. You're right, it makes sense that with the extra weight you would want more power. Glad you were able to find what you were looking for! Sounds like you got a great deal! I think you're right about the RAV4 being a better than the current Highlander. It'll be interesting to see what changes they make to the Highlander. That's great about the RAV4 being rated the top small SUV! Haven't decided yet if we want the 3rd row, but it's good to know the rear seat adjusts forward or back which helps 3rd row leg room. Thanks for the info! Enjoy your RAV4!
  • buzz123buzz123 Posts: 35
    Glad you like your Azera! I purchased my Avalon before the Azera was released, so I wasn't able to consider it in my decision. However, from everything I've read, Hyundai really has done a great job turning things around with their new vehicles, including the Azera. You definitely get a lot more features for the price with the Azera over the Avalon. I think the biggest negative I can see about the Azera is mileage. The Azera is: City 19 MPG, Highway 28 MPG and the Avalon is: City 22 MPG, Highway 31 MPG. However, it's not a huge difference and if it was around when I was buying, I definitely would have given the Azera a test drive. I've got a bad back and if the Azera was more comfortable than the Avalon, then I'd be willing to sacrifice a couple of MPG and go with the Azera. Unfortunately, since I've had bad luck with American cars, I only considered something from Toyota or Honda but next time I'll probably add Hyundai to that list. If the American companies can turn things around like Hyundai, I may even add them back to my list. It'll be interesting to see if Hyundai can keep this up. I think you're right when you said "...if Hyundai continues to maintain and improve quality (Bet large sedan by JD Power) just a month or so ago, it will give Hyundai a foothold in the large car market." I look forward to testing driving an Azera when it comes time to trade in my Avalon. Of course, that won't be for another 10 years or so, but at least by then it should be clear how Hyundai is really doing. Enjoy your Azera!
  • buzz123buzz123 Posts: 35
    Now I see what you meant earlier when you said "...I would prefer the best protection for my family with a tested car like the Five Hundred..." Looks like the 500 has the best IIHS test score! That's definitely a big plus for the 500. At least my Avalon came in second. Are you thinking of getting a 500?
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    You bet! I love the roomy interior and huge trunk. I also love styling. Many critics say the Five Hundred lacks styling but I love the VW Passat and Jetta's look but if I'm spending that kind of money I'd prefer size. I read somewhere that a VW designer helped with the Five Hundred's making.

    Also the Five Hundred shares its platform with the Volvo S80, which is why I'd expect how it got those test scores. I think if Ford wants to stay in the business of selling cars, this strategy is the way to go. Down sizing and taking the best parts from each make and create one "super sedan". Say for instance, Mazda 6 sportiness, Five Hundred's interior, trunk and price, Volvo platform, comfort interior from Mercury, a refined engine and trany from Lincoln or Jaguar. I don't know. Just an idea.

    For now I'm happy with the Five Hundred. What I like about it the most is its price. I think it's a lot of car for the money and so is the Hyundai Sonata, another sedan I've been considering.

    Sonata's government test scores were all 5's. Like styling. gave it G,A,G, which is better than most. Can't beat price especially with current rebate of $2,500 for the GLS V6 or LX trims. You could easily get a GLS V6 for under $18,000! All safety features are standard (6 airbags, traction, and stability). As they say, "Best Warranty in America." The Sonata offers 105 cu ft interior and 16 cu ft trunk. V6 engines put out 235 hp@6000 rpms. Consumer Report's doesn't rate it since it's a new design but recent previous models have had good reliability records (2003-2005). CR did give the Five Hundred its highest recommendation, though. ;)
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    you'll be pressed to find a reasonably well optioned Avalon for under $30k and they are still selling well enough that there has been no need for all the rebate/discounts available on the lesser cars. But, the base XL and perhaps even the sportier Touring can get to this kind of number - other than that (XLS/Ltd)you are looking at 33-40k, more competitive with things like TLs etc.
    The Azera is interesting in that Hyundai has done a great job with its new V6s - but, it is certainly 'Buick' soft and needs to lose a little weight to improve FE. Resale value, of course, figures to be horrid. It surprises me that they are already starting 'Detroit style' discount programs on such a competent entry in this field.
    The Maxima - wonderful powertrain, smaller than many here, certainly available in the higher 20s, and as is Nissan tradition a sportier, harder edged feel.
    The 'American' entrants - hard to take seriously, they have yet to figure out how to build a competitive V6 engine. GM's 3.8 has been around for 50 years, and while it should durable, it is rough-as-cob and well behind in FE. The 3.6 in the Lacrosse/CTS (and Chrysler 3.5) better but still behind even what 'little ole' Hyundai has done - never mind the truly superior efforts from Toyota/Honda/Nissan. The Ford 3.0 DT a joke in what is otherwise a well designed (Swedish) car.
    IMO, the best car in this range, the Avalon without a doubt - although you will pay a premium for it - the best value, probably the Azera. The 'Detroit' cars - better get them while they're hot (and cheap), some of them may not be available much longer!
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