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Mainstream Large Sedans Comparison

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  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    and the reason why over the years that the Avalon has been 'the best Buick that GM never built' It was in 2005 when the new Avalon got bigger and a whole lot more spunky that it became something more than that

    Take it from someone who owned the previous generation Avalon. Night and day! Also, if you consider what Buick is doing lately with the "super" line they are trying to change their image considerably.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    It develops its torque at low RPMs in exchange for not having 250+HP.(ie - it's all in the gearing).

    I'd liek to add that the 3.8 has plenty of power to get up hills and such. It's the *transmission* that is making it sound like it's struggling. In reality, you can rev that 3.8 all the way up to 5K RPM without hurting it at all.

    And revved to 4K rpm, it moves. Sound like it's going to break doing it, but you just have to learn to ignore its whining about having to work for a living.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    Sound like it's going to break doing it

    I am so glad you said it... because otherwise I would have! One thing about the 3.8 4 speed powertrain is as other posters have mentioned on the highway @ 70 mph or so 4th gear is so tall (for FE) that it constantly downshifts to 3rd on moderate hills or just to go up a few MPH. My 98 Olds 88 did this and so did the '06 Lucerne I drove. Does it make its torque at a lower RPM than the 2 GR or VQ yes, is it reliable and cheap to fix? Yes... is it competitve any longer (even compared to other GM engines) No!

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Also, it doesn't matter that the 3800 makes its torque at a lower RPM than the 2GR or VQ if both the later can rev up to the higher RPM much faster than the 3800.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Posts: 572
    How an engine works in real world driving is not important - it is all about the numbers on a dyno that you can use to brag to you fellow "hot Hyundai" fanatics.

    I'd take the Buick, but to tell the truth neither of them is in the same class as a Grand Marquis - I much prefer old school simplicity for my 10-15 year ownership experience.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    You can get the Grand Marquis and already have a 15 year old brand new car. Low fuel economy along with marginal passing power; things both the Buick 3800 and Grand Marquis offer.
  • cobrazeracobrazera Posts: 352
    It develops its torque at low RPMs
    Torque curves are relatively flat until they drop off at high RPM, so just because the torque peak on the GM 3800 is at a lower RPM than the hi-tech V6s, doesn't mean it has better low end torque than they.
    Let's see, 227lb-ft @ 3800RPM for the Lucerne, versus 257 @ 4500RPM for an Azera, for example. I would venture to say the Azera still has 95% of its max torque down at 3800RPM, doing the math yields an estimate of around 245lb-ft @3800 for the Azera. That is still 20 more than the Buick.
    The most significant factors in torque production are displacement and compression ratio, and since the Azera 3.8 has the same displacement and higher compression ( plus CVVT which changes the cam timing to optimize torque ), it will produce more torque than the GM 3800 - at any RPM. There's no magic here.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    well explained - folks seemingly don't understand the relative 'flatness' of the torque 'curve' (especially with these new VVT systems) and the only thing that ancient engines like the 3.8 really can claim - high torque only relative to a serious paucity of horsepower produced.
    Referencing my earlier post explaining the relationship between HP and torque what you come up to explain not only a marginal amount of torque but also a serious HP deficiency is the inability to accumulate engine speed (rev).
    This is only natural once you understand that the 3.8 started out life as a cast iron 90 degree V8 some 50 years ago, and remains a comparative meat grinder largely because of this. With the notable exception of VW narrow (15d) V6, a little research will yield that all the better V6s properly orient their cylinder banks 60 degrees apart - indeed as GMs own 3.5, 3.6 and 3.9 liter engines do - it is ONLY the 50 year old 3.8 that has been ignoring the laws of physics and paying the price of being the naturally imbalanced 90d V6 that it is. As you say there is no magic here, just an engine that never was what it should have been.
  • 7milehi7milehi Posts: 28
    I thought I had made my mind up then..... I test drove an Azera this morning. I was planning to buy a 08 Taurus Limited in the next few weeks and on a whim pulled into a Hyundia dealer this morning. The Azera definately looks more refined and Euro like than the Taurus. The sound system on the Ultimate package is way beyond the Taurus sound system, in fact I was very impressed with everything on the Azera Limited w/ Ultimate package. Side by side, the Azera bet the Taurus hands down. BUT ............

    The Hyundia Azera seems to be either a love or hate vehicle. Several reports claim Hyundia is really getting their act together to truly compete against the other automobile manufactors, and the warranty is the best out there. Then I check out intellichoice.com and it shows the Azera with a poor value rating, and the Taurus has an above average value rating. Wish I hadn't stopped to look at the Azera this morning, it is a sweet looking and riding automobile.
  • allmet33allmet33 Posts: 3,557
    The Azera does make for a hard decision especially when compared to the likes of the Taurus. I mean...it boils down to what you really need...cavernous amounts of interior space and a trunk you can build a theater room in...Taurus wins hands down. If you want a more luxurious look and feel, better sound system and a worry-free warranty...Azera wins hands down.

    Good luck with your decision...just make a list of pros vs. cons and see which list has more pros and less cons. If they are even, then flip a coin! Just joking...the warranty is great with the Hyundai, but it's really only an issue if it's a car you plan on holding on to for a long time, if not...don't weight the warranty into the equation.
  • 7milehi7milehi Posts: 28
    I forgot to mention I put about 30k miles a year on a vehicle and try to get 225k miles on it before a new one. I wonder how the Azera vs. Taurus will be when they get 150k+ miles on them? How about 225k+ miles? My Volvo S70 now has 223k miles on it and has never had any major problem. I would get another Volvo but need more room than a S60 has, and from what I hear and read the Volvo S80 turns into a maintenance hog above 100k miles.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    Then I check out intellichoice.com and it shows the Azera with a poor value rating,
    you might want to research this a bit more - it appears that Intellichoice' s TCO is based on a $27320.00 purchase price. I'm hearing a number of claims of actual purchase prices in the $23-$24 range (Limiteds). If this is the case that 'value' rating may be skewed by $3 or 4 k (plus the costs of financing that extra money).

    This kinda thing happens when a car with a questionable resale value history is a slow seller and therefore picks up some more discounts as time passes - it's generally not so good for those that did spend the higher price, but can have a significant impact on TCO depending on what numbers are used to determine those costs.

    The thing that would surprise me is why the Taurus isn't effected in the same way - it too is not selling terribly well (nothing really is right now) and apparently can also be bought at a bigger discount.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    any car with 225k on it won't be worth much when you are done with it - why would you care about a 'value rating' that is largely determined by resale values?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Well, if we add the 3.6 to the discussion, it's a whole new ballgame. That engine in the LaCrosse CXS is awesome. It's the same engine as in the Cadillac CTS, just they geared it for torque and not HP. And it moves much quicker at lower speeds - like a small block V8.(max torque is at significantly lower rpms than on the CTS)

    Note - this is for the non DI version, naturally.

    But these engines are fantastic. I test drove an Avalon and it felt like a larger 3800. there wasn't the maximum power at any speed like the GM 3.6. Basically if you are gong over 10-15mph, it's already at that long plateau/near maximum torque. Most of all, though, even in overdrive at 65mph, you're *this* close to it as well. There's no throttle lag at all, which is why it doesn't feel like a "Buick". :P
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    That engine in the LaCrosse CXS is awesome. It's the same engine as in the Cadillac CTS, just they geared it for torque and not HP

    LaCrosse CXS:

    Horsepower: 240 @ 6000 RPM
    Torque (lb-ft): 225 @ 2000 RPM

    Avalon:

    Horsepower: 268 @ 6200 RPM
    Torque (lb-ft): 248 @ 4700 RPM

    Ah yes, you are right indeed... :confuse:

    I don't know what kind of magical thing you were smoking when you went to test drive the Avalon but based on your experience, whatever you drove is not an Avalon. Also, cruising at 65 mph, torque really doesn't matter anymore. If you want to pass at that speed all you need to do is step hard on the gas and the engine will downshift with RPM jump to around 4k, at that point, you'll have all the torque you need.

    By the way, comments like "I test drove an Avalon and it felt like a larger 3800" isn't really helping the credibility of your post at all.
  • allmet33allmet33 Posts: 3,557
    Well..with regular care and maintenance, my '02 Sonata went 105K miles in 4 years with no problems at all. It's still ticking somewhere, but don't know where as I traded it for my '06 Azera.

    So...if you're turning 30K miles a year, it might even be in your best interest to pay the extra money for the extended warranty that bumps all the other main warranties up to the same 10yr/100k miles as the power-train. Not sure if that's something you can do with a Taurus. Also, not sure about the build of the 3.5 in the Taurus, but I know for a fact that the 3.8 in the Azera uses a timing chain, so that's one aspect you don't have to worry about (like I did with my '02 Sonata).
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    Huh? The 3.6 HF GM engine is almost exactly the same engine as the other better V6s available here - only that it is not quite (almost) as 'advanced' as the Toyota engine. This is the engine a number of us have been saying all along 'belongs' in the Lucerne.

    gearing BTW has very little to do with anything in this context - the reason why that 'fantastic' 3.6 moves quicker at lower speeds is all about HP the product of your precious torque and the ability of that particular engine to increase engine speed freely - the same thing you'll find in the Toyota 2GR, the Nissan VQ, and FTM the Hyundai 3.8.
    Reread post 6090 and maybe you'll understand that torque is worthless (it's a STATIC measurement) without an engine's ability to turn it into HP. The engines in this group that you can (and do) efficiently use the torque they produce include your 3.6, the Toyota and Nissan 3.5s and the Hyundai 3.8 (among others) - the engines that don't are things like your 3.8 liter dinosaur along with some slightly more recent pushrod v6s found in Impalas.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    the engine will downshift with RPM jump to around 4k, at that point, you'll have all the torque you need.

    That is just where the 2GR becomes really sweet! :)

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • cdmuilecdmuile Posts: 152
    I've had my Azera Limited Ultimate for over 2 years now. This is the first new car I have ever had that has not been back to the dealer (but once...chipped steering wheel trim) for warrentee work. It's really an incredible vehicle. Couldn't be happier.
  • cobrazeracobrazera Posts: 352
    According to the Buick website, there are 3 versions of the LaCrosse now. The two lower trim models are CX and CXL, which both amble on with the antiquated 200HP pushrod 3.8.
    The top model is the " Super " which comes with the 300HP pushrod 5.3. If you drove the " Super " it's no wonder it felt like a small block V8 - it is one.
    Apparently GM has allocated only one camshaft per LaCrosse, so the 4 cam, 3.6L V6 is gone.
  • scwmcanscwmcan Niagara, CanadaPosts: 393
    I would guess you Volvo comment might have some impact on the Taurus direction, sincde it is basically a Volvo platform with a ford body and drivetrain. I guess I would have to say,(as others have) figure out what you need out of the car and buy the one that best fits your needs. You may find that hyundai parts (out of warrenty which is a fairly long time of course) may be higher priced than the ford ones (you will need to check this out yourself, I haven't looked in a long time, I just know that the prices of hyundai parts used to be fairly high, this may no longer be the case, and of course you have a longer time before you need to buy any so it could even out). I would say get the car you like best and don't let anyone change your mind, you are the one that will be driving it for a long time. I think with proper care either one will meet you requirements.
    Scott
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    If you actually put 225K miles on it, you are correct. However, if you get in an accident and the car is totalled, then residual value may become very relevant....

    When I was much younger, I purchased a car that would have been perfect for me, except that I was hit 5 months afterward, totaling the car. Since it was a model with a high up-front devaluation (similar to Hundai's and Kia's at this stage in their development in the USA market), I wound up being upside down in the loan after payoff. It was a financially difficult time, when to me, a nickel was the size of a Conestoga wagon wheel.

    Not any disagreement here, but just one more thing to consider when buying a car...
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    However, if you get in an accident and the car is totalled, then residual value may become very relevant....
    True enough - but an odd perspective - worrying about a car's value just in case it is totalled. In this case I would guess that you would have a 'value' problem almost regardless of what you bought, Ford or Hyundai, or even had you 'sprung' for the more expensive Avalon with usually higher resale values.
    When I bought my Avalon (with a substantial (5 figure) down payment) and financed the rest - the dealer was 'disappointed' that he couldn't justify selling me some additional 'upside down' insurance - something that covers the difference between a car's market value and what you might owe on it. The point being that it is possible to insure yourself against the 'upside down' stuff, and while it may be more likely to happen on cars with traditionally higher depreciation, it also happens to the Toyotas of the world. Some added peace of mind I guess in that unlikely event that you total a new car.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Well, that's a shame, then. The 3.6 was their best engine by far.

    The maximum torque for the 3.6 is roughly 2000rpm, but that is literally 2-5% higher - a slight blip - than the rest of the torque curve. ie - you get roughly 200 lb-ft at 1600rpm. That's right where the thing is in overdrive at 65-70mph. You don't need to drop a gear to pass someone.

    LaCrosse CXS:

    Horsepower: 240 6000 RPM
    Torque (lb-ft): 225 2000 RPM(roughly 200 or so at 1600, and stays above 200 until redline)

    Avalon:
    Horsepower: 268 6200 RPM
    Torque (lb-ft): 248 4700 RPM (1600 rpm is closer to 150lb-ft)

    You have to rev it really hard to get that power. The problem is that with its mega-speed transmission, it has two modes. Grandmother and drop down several gears to pass. Getting it to do a normal roll-on from 40-60mph is not something that it wants to do without down-shifting. GM's mating the older CXS with the 3.6 and their 4 speed transmission means it will stay in a gear to utilize that power for longer.

    It really does drive much better in city traffic as a result. Other than it being FWD, it actually was better than the CTS 3.6 as well. Oh, and it had the same basic suspension as the last generation CTS.(2007 CTS base vs CXS = about the same)

    Why they dropped that sweet engine/trans combination I just don't know. The V8 is front-heavy, gets poor gas mileage, and doesn't drive really much differently due to it being an old pushrod they yanked from their truck division. Maybe it pulls a little harder than the 3.6, but in traffic, power comes on much slower.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Torque (lb-ft): 248 4700 RPM (1600 rpm is closer to 150lb-ft)

    Do you have the torque curve to back that up? Last I checked the 2GR has a rather flat torque curve so I would say 1600 rpm is probably more likely to be 200 lb-ft. Also, what's wrong with down-shifting when I have the taller gear at cruise which returns better FE than that ancient 4-speed?
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    at 1600rpm. That's right where the thing is in overdrive at 65-70mph
    do you know that or just guessing ? Not that GM is above some 'gearing tricks' (they've done that for years and years with the 3.8) - it is really low (the Avalon turns 2100 at 70) It would figure that the EPA highway mileage would be better than it is if your 1600 rpm is right. :confuse:
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Buick has just announced the prices for the Lucerne Super and CXL special edition and here are the summaries:

    Lucerne Super:
    - 4.6L Northstar V-8
    - 292 horsepower
    - 288 lb.-ft. of torque
    - MSRP: $39,395 (including a $765 destination freight charge)

    Lucerne CXL Special Edition V-6:
    - 3.8L V-6
    - 197 horsepower
    - 227 lb.-ft. of torque
    - MSRP: $32,150 (including a $765 destination freight charge)

    Lucerne CXL Special Edition V-8:
    - Northstar 4.6L V-8
    - 275 horsepower
    - 295 lb.-ft. of torque
    - MSRP: $33,850 (including a $765 destination freight charge)

    Source: Buick Lucerne Super finally arrives, brings CXL Special Edition with it

    $40k for a Buick? $32k for a Buick with an ancient V6 that produces less than 200hp? What the heck are they thinking? To be honest, at $34k the V8 CXL Special Edition is not that bad of a deal if one is into V8 American land yachts but that brings up the question: Who the heck is going to buy the Super given that the CXL Special Edition has similar performance with $6k less? :confuse:

    If Buick is tired of selling sedans they should just tell us...
  • allmet33allmet33 Posts: 3,557
    It really seems like Buick is really getting the shaft when it comes to powerplant technology. The sad thing is...GM has a V-6 that's capable of producing the same numbers as the 4.6 in the CXL Special Edition. That's sad, truly sad!!!
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    In all fairness there is a $1500 rebate on all Lucernes and the dealer will sell at probably a couple hundred above invoice... so that puts the price more in line. However, at MSRP I truly see your point. You know whats even funnier? The Lacrosse Super has more power than the Lucerne Super. I know the Northstar in the Lucerne is certainly more refined than the 5.3 in the Lacrosse, but still how does your flagship have less power than its baby brother?

    Its amazing the thinking that goes on over at Buick.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Its amazing the thinking that goes on over at Buick.

    What thinking? :surprise:
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