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Mainstream Large Sedans Comparison



  • buzz123buzz123 Posts: 35
    I think you're right about "...large cars in the very near future start using other alternative fuel sources." I think the Chevy Impala is already a "flex fuel" vehicle and can run E85 Ethanol. From what I've read it's a fairly inexpensive process for the automakers to do this. I can't remember exactly, but I think I read somewhere once that it only costs a few hundred bucks. I also read once that Toyota does have plans to make its's vehicles flex fuel as well. However, I can't recall their exact schedule for this. I'm sure every automaker has or will have similar plans. Even though I think this a pretty cool idea and more and more vevhicles will be flex fuel, I think there is a problem with this. From articles I've read, the problem is not with creating flex fuel cars, the problem is the avaiablity of E85 Ethanol. It's going to take a long time to create the stuff in quantities that make it useful. Then, they have to get it to the masses. Consequently, I would not make getting a flex fuel vehicle be my number one priority. If they had a flex fuel version of my favorite vehcile that was only a few hundred bucks more than the regular one, I'd get the flex fuel one just in case. However, if my favorite vehicle was not flex fuel, I would still get it over some other vehicle that was flex fuel becuase of the uncertain future.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    pat, can't see that discussion anywhere in Automotive News & Views.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    I have heard bad things about E85 isn't economical to create. Hybrids I think are the future of engines. I noticed in the NY area most city and state owned vehicles are the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape like they know something. Then there is the Honda Civic GX that's run by natural gas. It's a scary time to be a car buyer in these times because of the unknown future. What if gasoline becomes too expensive in the near future and no matter how well a car depreciates, it will be worthless!
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    E85, as being shamelessly promoted by GM, is nothing but a ruse to circumvent governmental CAFE numbers. Even with a 51 cent/gal government subsidy, however, it continues to be unavailable at a price that would have to be more than 25% cheaper than regular just to equalize the mileage decrease. Corn, furthermore, is not the ideal source for the stuff - it apparently costs more energy to make it than it is worth. Buying an Impala because it can run on ethanol not likely to be a good bet for at least another 20 years. A truly economical hybrid seems to be limited to smaller cars, larger vehicle applications have been limited to 'power assist' with minimal FE improvements.
    Look to diesel/biodiesel for the next fuel source for large cars.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Feel free to create one. My point was that we are here to talk about the actual cars themselves, not so much the manufacturers. That kind of debate is more suited for Automotive News & Views than here on the Sedans board. :)
  • buzz123buzz123 Posts: 35
    I know what you mean about hybrids. They are definitely a great piece of technology! Of course the down side, is the added price. It would be nice if it only cost a few hundred dollars per vehicle instead of a few thousand. I've also seen articles about plug-in hybrids which basically add an extension cord to the car so you can charge it over night. Of course, it's not as simple as adding an extension cord. The major change is replacng the battery with a more powerful one that can handle being charged like that. Of course, that adds a lot more to the price. In theory, they say you could get 100 MPG out of a Prius. I'm sure you wouldn't get that much out of a large sedan, but I'm sure it would be a big improvement over what the cars of today are getting. Of course plug-in hybrids probably won't be cost effective for quite some time.
  • In message #31, I tried to explain why I think there can not be a single best car for less than $30K, but rather several best cars because we each arrange our "list" of priorities differently.In message #95 I said it was not loyality that made me choose this car,I had an open mind in evaluating the other choices.

    My "list" in order of importance to me is:
    Smooth quiet ride, cloth seating, auto-climate control, engine/transmission performance, MPG, cost, and warranty. (Factory high-end audio with satellite radio) (Optional).

    The Car Choices: Nissan Maxima has auto-climate and cloth but only is found in the firm riding SE.
    Ford and Chrysler offer auto-climate but you must take leather.
    Choices now narrowed to three, Avalon, Azera, and Lucerne.

    Now this is not to be taken as bashing but are just my observations and opinions.
    Both the Avalon XL and Azera SE had too firm of a ride for me. I felt even minor road irregularities in each car. This is not a problem for other people, and I know in general, that the firmer the ride, the better the handling, they are engineering trade-offs.
    The Azera had tremendous power upon demand while the Avalon was noisy at idle and hesitated to downshift at highway speeds and when it did, the engine screamed audibly.

    Since a Smooth Ride is Priority #1 I had to eliminate both cars. (The Azera was the best value and both cars met most needs on the "list").

    The Lucerne CX comes with 16 inch tires that compliment it's great smooth ride. When I first drove this car, I actually smiled as I knew that this was it. The Buick Engineers had struck the correct balance of comfort and control for my taste.It also comes standard with an auto-level feature that levels the car when fully or partially loaded,(4or 5 people,possibly luggage too ) this really does improves handling on a long trip.
    For those who want a more controlled ride the CXL has 17 inch tires,firmer struts,and leather seats for about $2K more.
    The Lucerne was recently tested and proven quieter than a similarly priced Lexus! (Yes, it was a GM commercial, but they have the data to back up the claim).

    The V-6 engine is old school but it is smooth and has abundant low end torque that meet my demands for every day driving and delivers 28 Mpg.highway. Over 25 million of the type 3800 engines have been sold with many going over 200,000 miles without major repairs and my Buick Park Ave. has 157,000 and still runs great. That = Dependability.
    The Lucerne CX starts at $26K MSRP (24K invoice) and mine will have every option except sunroof, by choice and will invoice at $27.7K.

    The HOST has asked us to write about what we do not like about the car as well.
    1. Install a door pull in the upper front part of the door as you have to lean outside the car to close if fully open.
    2. Upgrade the cloth seats, they do not look well in Buick's Flagship Sedan.
    If you must keep the MSRP low, to attract customers, offer a "Cloth High-End Seating Option" as Buick now offers 5 or 6 leather options.
    3. Why are the seats wider in the MID-Size Lacrosse? (20 inches in width both front and back of the seat's surface area).
    The Full-Size Lucerne seats, bucket or bench, measure 20 inches in the front but taper to 18 inches at the rear of
    the seat.

    No car is perfect, but the Lucerne exceeded expectations on the most important items on my "list".
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Very good post, enjoy your Lucerne.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    I like to think I'm unbiased but either the Japanese products aren't as great as others make them out to be or I just don't see it

    They aren't as great as they make them out to be . . AND, many of the American vehicles aren't as BAD as they make them out to be.

    My brothers have owned Toyotas and Hondas, while I've owned Fords. Over 15 years, the only difference is that they pay more for them up front, and get more from them at the end. The net cost, though, is about the same. We've all had about the same amount of problems that have required repair at the dealer . . which is to say, not all that much.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    When I asked the original question, my purpose behind it was to try to get people to chime in about the Chevy Impala or Chrysler 300 or Dodge Charger of Ford Five Hundred or in an off way about the Amanti.

    Go climb into a Five Hundred and take it for a spin. Be sure to climb in and out of it, many times. Then go do the same with the other vehicles. Then see which you prefer.

    If you like to step DOWN into your car, then you probably won't like the Five Hundred. If you prefer to just SLIDE OVER into your car, then the Five Hundred is what you're after.

    I got mine with the AWD/CVT. Mainly, I wanted the CVT, but I also wanted the AWD. It was possible to get the CVT without the AWD, but not nearly as easy. With the AWD, you *had* to get the CVT.

    This combo made it a perfect match for my Freestyle (basically, a tall station wagon version of the Five Hundred).

    I have fully loaded versions of both (2005). Navigation wasn't an option then, so I don't have that. Also, the rear entertainment system wasn't an option on the Five Hundred, so I don't have that. I'd almost certainly leave that off my Freestyle if I did it again. Actually, I had intended to do that, but that particular vehicle never came in . . until about a week after I got the one with the DVD player. LOL.

    I'd probably forego the moonroofs next time, too. But this was my first time for owning a vehicle with one . . and my first time ever for getting ALL the factory options on a vehicle. Probably be my last time, as well.

    I love the vehicles . . . just as nice as any Toyota / Lexus / Honda / Acura whatever I've ridden in. And I have many friends and relatives that drive those.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Great to hear you like your vehicles. I've heard a lot about problems with the Freestyle, have any?

    What trim and options does your Five Hundred have? Did you buy new? What was the MSRP and final buying price? What was your negotiating strategy?

    I like the 2006 SE. I don't need to spend on higher trims just to pay for extra options I'll have to pay even more for and a few added decorations. If higher trims came with an engine upgrade like the Impala or 300 I could see the reason.

    The CVT is supposed to be the better trany. I wouldn't want the AWD, no need in NYC and save a little gas. I like the perfect crash ratings and ergonomics for the family. My desired options would be the safety and security and traction on the 2WD SE trim in gray, black, or silver. Hate the wood grain trim in interior. Would have to be shale interior. I think my target negotiated price would be around $20,000 with the $1,000 rebate. Car isn't selling that well, right?

    I think it's the perfect family car. Ergonomic, affordability, safe is what I'm looking for. Wish I could add fuel economy into the equation but I'd have to sacrifice a priority or 2. :sick: :cry: :surprise:
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    No issues at all with the Freestyle, nor the Five Hundred.

    Both are Limited trims (2005), and had every available option.

    I bought both of them new. The Freestyle was bought in Jan 2005 using X-plan pricing (a few hundred above invoice), and there was also a $1,000 rebate program at the time. The Five Hundred was bought in Jul 05 using the "employee pricing", and I believe there was also a $1,000 rebate on that one. The Freesytle was financed for 36 months at 1.9% . the Five Hundred was 36 months at 0%.

    I live near Houston, so I opted for the lighter leather interior. I, too, would've rather NOT had the fake wood-grain interior. However, it HAS grown on me. The cheap little analog clock on the Five Hundred, though, still annoys me. LOL

    I have no real "need" for the AWD, either. However, I do think it might (VERY) occasionally "save my bacon" when it's raining. It does cost 2 - 3 mpg and adds a couple hundred pounds to the weight of the car. However, it's a tried and true system (Haldex from Volvo), and the way it's implemented minimizes both extra weight AND the effect on gas mileage. Basically, the car is always in FWD mode unless traction is needed at the rear tires. Combined with the 'traction control', the whole thing is one very slick combo, IMO.

    Sorry, I don't remember the actual final prices of either vehicle. I do know that the Freestyle was over 30k . . and I think that the Five Hundred was closer to 25k.
  • wamba2000wamba2000 Posts: 146
    Barnstormer, the ingress/egress was one criteria, but with my past Ford experiences, it was a non-issue. Plus the Azera content and style has it over the 500 IMHO
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    All Fords are NOT created equal. Neither are Toyotas, it would seem.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    In another year I'm thinking I'll buy the new car. But I think WITHIN the next 10 years, there will be a transition to an alternative fuel source. I'm afraid of buying a new car unless I knew it could use the alternative fuel.

    I know about the Chevy Impala. Would it really be a mistake to buy the E85 version? It has the ability to use E85 or gasoline, right? Hybrids are just too expensive right now for me to consider those. My next vehicle I'm trying to keep out-the-door under $25,000. I don't think that would be possible since all hybrids are going for sticker price and according to Edmunds some cases over sticker! Looks like the cheapest hybrids is also the smallest, the Civic which MSRP is $22,150. The Camry Hybrid's MSRP is $25,900. Imagine how much a Avalon Hybrid would run! :surprise:

    Large sedan hybrids would be out of my price range. So what's left as an alternative fuel source? E85, diesel, or hydrogen maybe? VW Jetta has a diesel version which starts at $22,680, but VW's are all expensive. That's why I'm considering the 3.5L Impala. The alternatives right now are too expensive or just aren't out yet.

    The only other new alternative I think is left is 4 cyls. The only large sedan that has a 4 cyl is the Hyundai Sonata, which reviews aren't bad.

    Otherwise I'll buy used. So when the time comes for the transition I won't lose too much money replacing it with a sedan that isn't too expensive and uses the future fuel source. Imagine if you bought a Toyota Avalon and in 2-5 years gasoline became too expensive. What would happen to residual values? I think they would be nonexistent because no one would want to buy one. Of course this would be the same for any vehicle that runs on gasoline. These are scary times for new car buyers my friends! :surprise: :cry: :sick:
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    No, you buy the Impala because you like it, the price is right or whatever - not because it can or cannot run on alcohol. E85 will not be available in sufficient quantities or at a cheap enough price to make it an alternative within any reasonable lifespan of the car you intend to buy.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Do you really think that gasoline prices won't jump to some ridiculous price like $12 a gallon within the next 5 years or so given the number of fuel thirsty vehicles out on the road today. Not to mention do you think that the number of cars on the road will increase or decrease? Also the usage of all these cars will increase or decrease? While all this fuel consumption is going on for 5 to 10 years down the road, what will be left of the diminishing fossil fuels? We will have no choice but to change to an alternative. I just hope it's one that will benefit everyone.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    GM sales down 22%: trucks down 31.2%, cars down 2.7%

    Ford sales down 35.2%: trucks down 44.8%, cars down 6.7%

    Chrysler sales down 37.4%: trucks down 40%, cars down 23.5%

    Toyota sales up 11.7%: cars up 19.8%, trucks up 1.3%; Toyota out sold Ford by 17,000 vehicles!

    Honda sales up 6%: cars up 6.4%, trucks up 6.8%; Company was unable to keep up with sales for small cars.

    Nissan sales down 19.5%: trucks down 24.9%, cars down 14.5%

    To GM, Ford, and Chrysler the key words are FUEL ECONOMY!
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    To GM, Ford, and Chrysler the key words are FUEL ECONOMY
    Well, yes and no - the current variety of G,F,C cars while generally underpowered are more competitive when it comes to FE. Just like loyalbuickfan's Lucerne - 28mpg highway (his number) on a car that size and weight pretty darn good and in the same neighborhood as most other V6 cars in that category. Two reasons for the sales drops: 1) people don't trust US branded cars and, 2) given a choice between power and economy, people want both - a technology issue that the 'US' makers are not equipped to handle!
    Keep in mind also that a much, much larger portion of the 'US' mfgrs. 'sales' end up in fleets and the rental car lots - places where car are not sold, but rather acquired from the lowest bidder.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I like the looks of the previous generation Impala over the new one. If I were to pick between the Impala and Ford 500 for looks, the Impala even with its Camry type styling would get the edge. The Malibu is more distinctive in looks than most of the above mentioned cars. For longevity, I would take the Chevy's.
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