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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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Comments

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,695
    If it was a rental car in 2002 (meaning it may have been older than MY 2002), it's probably no longer under warranty. As if that matters at all.
  • The superior handling characteristics of our 2007 SEL AWD Ford Fusion

    Superior to what? There are cars in this class I'd call preferable to the others but none of them start with the letter F. Even then I wouldn't use the term superior in describing their attributes.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    There are cars in this class I'd call preferable to the others but none of them start with the letter F. Even then I wouldn't use the term superior in describing their attributes.

    We all have our own opinions, however, the Ford Fusion does have far better handling to that of Camry, 2003-2007 Accord ann 2002-2007 Altima. I am not sure about the new Accord or Altima. Plus, the Fusion is offered in AWD. There have been numerous comparo's done to prove this. C&D's sticks out in my memory.

    While you may not like Ford as a whole, the Fusion is a huge step in the right direction. SO I ask, "Have you driven a Ford lately??" ;)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    SO I ask, "Have you driven a Ford lately??"

    If you haven't looked at Ford lately, look again!
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    May be not THAT car, but unless rental cars are purposely built to different specs, any other 2002-2003 isn’t going to be any different. And I'm guessing quite a few of them are still on the road as they are new enough to still have half of the original warranty (that Hyundai advertises in big letters). If it were a car from the late 90s, much less from early 90s, then I won't be bringing it up.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,695
    What is the point of comparing a car from 2002, which was designed in the mid-'90s, to today's standards? If you want to go down that route, we could for example compare, say, a 2002 Accord to a 2008 Altima, or even a Sonata. But to what purpose?

    Funny though how you bring up the Hyundai powertrain warranty now. I didn't think you thought much of it.
  • "Have you driven a Ford lately??"

    Actually yes. And not just "driven" one - I bought one. A F150 for my business. On labor day weekend.

    Its a fine truck, but I wouldn't call it superior to the competition, as the guy with the Fusion says of his vs. whatever he's comparing it to.

    I test drove the Fusion - twice - in 4 cyl and 6 cyl form, and found it less desireable than the 06 Accord or Altima I also tested.

    I didn't weave it thru a slalom but after driving for 30+ years, I think I have a good feel for "superior" handling in a vehicle.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If I couldn't talk about a car from 2002-2003, talking about my 1998 Accord makes it worse, right? Interestingly enough, that Accord was about as old in 2002-2003 as the 2002-2003 would be today, and served as a fine benchmark (and still does today). In fact, it feels quite young. :D

    PS. The original intent was to illustrate the point of handling performance. When something feels faster than it is, then there is a problem.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    the Ford Fusion does have far better handling to that of Camry, 2003-2007 Accord ann 2002-2007 Altima.

    Uh...

    I am currently driving a Fusion SE rental car right now for 2 weeks since an 80-year-old decided I have to sideline my car for a while. Anyway, the fusion's handling is nothing to write home about. It is marginally better than my mom's 1999 Camry but worse than the 2007 Camry SE I had on my last trip and much worse than my old 1997 Honda Accord.

    I am not trying to knock on the Fusion, which is a quantum leap compare to the old Taurus. However, comparing to the 10-year-old Honda Accord, asides for a few modern gadgets that it has the '97 Accord is a much better car IMO.

    I would also pick the Camry SE over the Fusion. For all those people knocking on how bad the Camry handles, go try the SE version and it'll surprise you dearly.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    the fusion's handling is nothing to write home about. It is marginally better than my mom's 1999 Camry but worse than the 2007 Camry SE I had on my last trip and much worse than my old 1997 Honda Accord.


    According to many authors, they feel the Fusion SEL AWD handles better. Like I said, C&D's artice trally sticks out in my mind.

    I have driven a Fusion, and it does handle nicely. Last time I drove a Camry, MY 2002-2006, it felt like a grandma mobile. Very comfortable, but, not meant to hit the corners. I used to own a 1991 Accord, and it handled nicely as well, but, it was smaller then the current Civic! My father owns a 2004 Accord coupe, and it has nice power, but, I never really tried to hit any corners with it. The 2006 Accord LX sedan I have on my lot is really nothing to write home about. Very basic. Not great in the corners.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    What if I don't need AWD since where I live rarely (if not never) snows. Why do I need to get AWD for better handling since other FWD sedans in the same class offer better handling? Why can't Ford puts better handling into the FWD Fusion if Honda can do it 10 years ago?

    Too many unanswered questions.

    Fusion is a decent effort from Ford but close, no cigar yet.

    Last time I drove a Camry, MY 2002-2006, it felt like a grandma mobile.

    Didn't you read my post before replying? I did say that the Fusion handles better than my mom's old Camry but the one I said that's better is the 2007 Camry SE.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Handling is nice, but not most important. The suspension a car has, can make a big difference to me, in other ways. Some cars are not very stable at speed. They handle bumps very well, but will feel floaty or jittery, even when the road is smooth. In some cars, if you want to take a turn quickly, the front of the car feels like it dives, and the car leans a lot. I do appreciate a smooth ride, but not at the expense of everything else. I also can appreciate good handling, but not if the ride is harsh, and everything in the car vibrates and rattles. It's a fine line, and my Accord rides it very well.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    As Mickyrom knows, we're both old farts with Optimas. I haven't read all the responses but I'll make a case for the joys of 60 series and handling mediocrity.

    I have the Michelin 50 series tires that came with the appearance group. The dealer was all out of 60 series tires and gave me an excellent deal.

    I think the handling is definitely better but the comfort certainly isn't. I find my 05 Malibu Maxx with 60 series tires to be more comfortable. Plus, replacement costs will be a lot higher on the Optima.

    Then again, I'm not 25 years old and I'm not Car and Driver.
  • zzzoom6zzzoom6 Posts: 425
    Although the US will likely only get the 2.5 liter and a new v-6 (3.5 or 3.7 liter...don't know for sure yet), it seems pretty much everything has improved. I'm glad mazda hasn't softened the Mazda6 too much while increasing the quality of the interior, the size of the interior and HP and reducing weight and road noise. Of course I'd still would like to know more about the US version, but this will have to do for now.

    My favorite quote:

    The biggest compliment we can pay the car is that it's totally consistent. Whatever you do with the accelerator or steering won't upset it.

    With taut body control, strong, progressive brakes, minimal tendency to run wide in hard cornering and even the ability to tuck tighter into bends if you ease off the throttle, it's predictable, but enjoyable to drive.

    Japanese style with European dynamics? It works.


    2009 Mazda6 preview
  • mz6greyghostmz6greyghost Posts: 1,230
    I would also pick the Camry SE over the Fusion. For all those people knocking on how bad the Camry handles, go try the SE version and it'll surprise you dearly.

    I have. A 2007, to be exact. Handling is good, and leagues better than the regular Camry.

    Better than the Fusion? Not really IMO. Both the Milan and Fusion have very good handling, and the SE feels about the same, with a slightly softer ride.

    Most impressive in terms of handling was the Altima and the Aura. The Altima has always handled well, but the '07-up is more refined. The Aura was a BIG surprise, taking corners with great confidence and a smooth ride.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Not to mention one has to pay an extra $1200, over the Camry LE price, to get the SE. Many other cars come with good handling standard on all trim levels.
  • PS. The original intent was to illustrate the point of handling performance. When something feels faster than it is, then there is a problem.

    Its more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, given that it would be basically the same speed.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Didn't you read my post before replying? I did say that the Fusion handles better than my mom's old Camry but the one I said that's better is the 2007 Camry SE.

    Yeeeees. I was adding my own .02 Am I allowed to do that?
  • Some cars are not very stable at speed. They handle bumps very well, but will feel floaty or jittery, even when the road is smooth. In some cars, if you want to take a turn quickly, the front of the car feels like it dives, and the car leans a lot.

    This was one of the reasons I went with the EX vs the VP, as the VP lacks the rear sway bar, which adds stability in crosswinds. It also has a slightly larger footprint as each tire is 10mm wider (of course the size and style of tire kind of neuters the car, but thats neither here nor there). My Accord has gone back once to have the suspension checked because I couldn't believe the amount of body roll, I thought a sway bar end link had been damaged or not connected or something.
    In hindsight, I could've gotten the VP and added a suspension kit and aftermarket tires and wheels and still come out ahead, but bygones.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    there is definitely a relationship between a 'tightened' 'go-kart' type suspension and the perception by the autobuyer that this in itself is indicative of 'good' handling, which may or may not be true. One reason the Mazda6 doesn't sell well is that it is simply too tight for the average US autobuyer, the ride/handling compromise that Honda has generally done a good job finding, and that Toyota has usually been on the 'soft' side of. The Camry easily outsells the other cars in this group because this is what American drivers have shown to prefer - with their pocketbooks. Nissan has done the best job attacking the other end of the market as also evidenced by sales numbers, ever since inventing the term '4 door sports sedan'. So diss the 'soft' characteristics of a Camry LE or XLE if you will - Toyota seems to know something about buyers of cars in this class that we don't. A soft boulevard ride sells better (at least in this country) than perceived (or even real) handling qualities. It simply matters more to the guys who count, the autobuyers.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    What exactly is your point? That Camry is the biggest selling car in the US? That a soft boulevard ride sells better than good handling qualities in the US? I think we already knew both those things. :P
  • One reason the Mazda6 doesn't sell well is that it is simply too tight for the average US autobuyer,

    and thankfully, they support the market that is looking for that type of vehicle.

    Nissan has done the best job attacking the other end of the market as also evidenced by sales numbers, ever since inventing the term '4 door sports sedan'.

    Until they lost some competitiveness in their pricing and made it all but impossible to get a manual transmission.

    So diss the 'soft' characteristics of a Camry LE or XLE if you will - Toyota seems to know something about buyers of cars in this class that we don't. A soft boulevard ride sells better (at least in this country) than perceived (or even real) handling qualities. It simply matters more to the guys who count, the autobuyers.

    While I admit I am not a mainstream buyer, I did just buy one of the sedans in this class and it wasn't the "boulevard ride" vehicle.

    Honestly, I really don't care what "the public" wants, I care about what I want and a pillow soft boulevard ride or excessive body roll or a rubber band transmission aren't it.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Also, the Camry has an average buyer of 55 years old. I think that age group also prefers a "soft boulevard" ride to a tighter, sportier ride.

    The 30 yr old Mazda6 buyer seems to want the sportier, tighter ride.

    I do not see the Camry getting knocked off it's high horse anytime soon. If it is, it will be by the 2008 Accord IMO.
  • zzzoom6zzzoom6 Posts: 425
    there is definitely a relationship between a 'tightened' 'go-kart' type suspension and the perception by the autobuyer that this in itself is indicative of 'good' handling, which may or may not be true. One reason the Mazda6 doesn't sell well is that it is simply too tight for the average US autobuyer, the ride/handling compromise that Honda has generally done a good job finding, and that Toyota has usually been on the 'soft' side of. The Camry easily outsells the other cars in this group because this is what American drivers have shown to prefer - with their pocketbooks. Nissan has done the best job attacking the other end of the market as also evidenced by sales numbers, ever since inventing the term '4 door sports sedan'.

    For handling like a go-kart, you'd need to go to another class of car altogether... nothing in this segment is even close to that. Remember these are midsize sedans not sports cars. Some are sportier than others for certain, but all cars in this segment need to find that balance between comfort and handling.

    As to the difference between Mazda and other makes, I found on my test drives that the Mazda6 and Altima (previous generation) were very similar in how smooth they drove with the Altima less able to handle big bumps without feeling as though the suspension ran out of travel. Going into corners, though, the mazda6 felt much more composed with better steering feel giving me a lot more confidence. Really, in terms of ride comfort, I thought the Altima, Accord (both previous generations) and Mazda6 were on par with each other. Some people have said they thought the Accord was a bit on the harsh side, but I think that exagerates the difference between the Accord and say the previous generation Camry way too much. Having road feel does not always mean harsh. Take a look at BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Infinity, Acura, Mazda, even Cadilac sales and I think you'll see that there are many buyers in the US that value a "connected" driving experience over vague feel and a valium like driving experience.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Not to mention one has to pay an extra $1200, over the Camry LE price, to get the SE.

    As the Captain has pointed out, Camry's core buyers are those who want a soft, comfortable boulevard cruiser that'll probably never corner faster than 20 mph. The Camry LE and XLE did all those to the perfection and since that group of buyers seem to be the majority thus Camry's sales title.

    However, for those who want a little bit more fun but still a Camry (maybe it's due to the look, powertrain, quality perception or whatever) they have an alternative in the Camry SE. I wouldn't knock on Camry for not offering stiffer suspension on all models since they have a core buyer group to think of. As matter of fact I would give credit to Toyota by offering the SE version so people on both side of the fence can be pleased.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,674
    I do not see the Camry getting knocked off it's high horse anytime soon.

    The number of disgruntled Toyota owners is rising quickly thanks to the engine sludge and transmission problems in the Camry and the myriad of recent Toyota Tundra problems. Since most people buy Toyotas based on the perception that they are bulletproof I think those problems will have the biggest potential affect on future Toyota sales in general and specifically for the Camry (and Tundra).
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Yup, that'll be a big problem if Toyota decided to treat it like the way GM did back in the 80s and 90s. Toyota will turn into GM very quickly if that happens. However, I don't think Toyota will become GM ever so I am sure the quality issues should be resolved fairly quickly.

    Toyota is going through growing pain and perception takes time to crumble.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I wouldn't knock on Camry for not offering stiffer suspension on all models...

    I wasn't...I only made the point that those who want better handling can get it in several other cars, without having to pay extra.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Let us take JD Powers word on overall dependability, in that it represents a typical buyer and a real scenario. This is how some of the midsize sedans stacked up:
    Honda Accord: 4/5
    Nissan Altima: 3/5
    Toyota Camry: 3/5
    Ford Fusion: 3/5
    Hyundai Sonata: 3/5
    Saturn Aura: 2/5
    Mazda6: 2/5
    VW Passat: 2/5

    The only car that is said to be better than Camry is the Accord. But, Accord isn’t something that every Toyota buyer will find appealing. It rides firm and doesn’t isolate folks as much as a typical Toyota buyer would fall for. They are certainly not going for Mazda6 or Passat or Aura for quality reasons.

    That said, quality issues and overall perception of the car itself are big deal to companies like Honda and Toyota. If Camry is not as good as it has traditionally been (these cars, BTW, have never been flawless, quality issues come and go, consumers stay), the bet should be on Toyota taking it seriously. These companies thrive on reputation and for good reason.

    Just look at what Honda did to Civic with the redesign. 2001-2005 Civic was immensely successful in terms of sales, perhaps the best years in Civic’s sales history. But, Honda knew the car needed more than just sales. 2006 Civic hasn’t really thrashed sales of the old (it has exceeded but not so much to make a big deal out of it), but the perception around the car has changed immensely, compared to previous generation.

    OTOH, look at Ford’s take on Focus. A few days ago I spotted the latest model, but it took me a few minutes to figure out what it was. It gave me an impression of a car that may be sold in Mexico, but not here (I see quite a few cars driven from Mexico here in Dallas area, that aren’t sold here). It is another lost opportunity. It doesn’t stand out. It feels like a car that Ford (again) designed to be a rental queen. What is different about it from very first years of Focus which I thought was going to give Civic and Corolla a run for their money.

    Also worth noting is that a typical buyer is going to care less about issues that arise as a result of model change or anything that comes during the warranty period (first 3-5 years). It becomes an issue after the honeymoon is over.

    For example, based on the design, the approach and sales projections, for the new Accord, Honda seems to be targeting 1998-2002 Accord buyer base first. These are more likely to buy a new Accord than the folks that have 2003-2007. Now, these folks would return (I would) based on their experience with their Accords over last 4-5 years when their car was completely out of warranty, and how it held up to their abuse (or lack of).

    Thinking “now” may work “now”, but to be successful in the longer term, there needs to be a plan and proper execution that sticks to a formula.
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