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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    Hi aviboy,

    I'm in Trumbull, some 40 miles from Greenwhich and just a few miles from the economically hurting city of Bridgeport.

    We (my 2 man company) bought bought our latest Sonata in Denville, NJ at Towne Hyundai. They're 100 miles from my house. Through word of mouth, Towne Hyundai has sold 8 cars in the last year through our and a friend's recommendations.

    Key Hyundai in Bridgeport is good for service, but they don't have good selling prices. Before I heard of Towne, I flew to Naples, FL in April 2005 and saved (after including trip expenses) $1500. [It didn't cost me anything to stay in Naples because my parents live there.]
  • Robger99 - the TSX is due for a redue, IIRC it has been out for a while in its current guise. The nice thing about it and the TL is the availability of a 6 speed manual transmission, I didn't know if that was an issue coming from the Speed6. The TSX is also smaller than the others you mentioned, and is probably the sportiest of the bunch. It is also the most related to the Accord and has a 4 cylinder while the others have V6s (of course, coming from the Speed6, you probably understand a powerful 4 can be fine). Personally, the TL didn't do much for me. It was very nice but didn't stir my soul or anything.
    I haven't driven the MKZ yet. I did like the interior alot and if the Sync with navigation is a great system. Even without nav, it is cheaper than a lot of stand-alone car kits and allows hands free operation of the audio system and any device connected to it as well. The handling for the MKZ is supposed to be on the sporty side, but I haven't driven it yet.
    Have you driven these 3 cars? Did you have a favorite?
  • Have not driven any of them yet,just starting to research. Want to go to an auto trans. as my 16 year old daughter will be driving it from time to time and she cant drive a stick. will miss the 6 speed in the speed 6 though.Thanks for the insights.
  • It will certainly make me rethink about getting the 2009. My 2006 LX is doing fine, but I was thinking about going for the newer model. I will take the wait and see attitude now.
    van
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Even with the Alabama plant, Hyundai must be really squeezed by the weak dollar. I've seen the autoblog article about pricing challenged, but even if they do peg at this price it might be a play by Hyundai to do the GM schtick of a couple of years ago: price high and give very aggressive discounts.

    I generally buy Korean or GM cars despite the depreciation because the purchase price is so much better. Even though I like my Optima (and Maxx for that matter) a lot. Getting to completely different price points on Korean cars may be a real marketing problem for HyunKia.
  • zzzoom6zzzoom6 Posts: 425
    Keep in mind, I have a Mazda6 v-6 w/ a manual transmission, so many of my comparisons refer to what I own.

    I received a promotion to drive a car with Sync and I'd get a gift card to Best Buy, so thought that this was a good excuse to see the differences. I had a chance to drive a Fusion or the Milan, but since I liked the grill a bit better on the Milan, I chose to take it for a drive. The leather in the Milan seemed to be much better quality than the Mazda6's that I've sat in (my 6 does not have leather), and the dark grey plood was a very nice accent despite my usual impression that plood looks cheesy. The trip computer font looked completely 1980's, but looked to be quite easy to use and see unlike the Impala I had to use a few months back. One of the knocks on the Mazda6 is that the back seat is too small (though I have driven 6 footers in the back who were comfortable) so it was nice to see that there were what seemed to be a couple more inches of legroom back there. As far as the fit and finish of the interior goes, most everything looked to be tight and well fitted with good quality materials. Among the highlights of the Milan, I thought the gauges looked good and were easy to read, the center armrest had a nice damped feel to it, and all the controls were easy to locate with a quick glance. Interior materials were solid and easily competitive. One lowlight though was the analogue clock which had a cheap chrome on plastic look to it...

    While the interior had a more refined upclass feel to it compared to my 6 which leans more on the sporty end of design, the ride quality of the Milan was very similar to my 6 except that it seemed to have dampened the suspension and quieted the interior. Going over bumps had a much softer feel to them, similar in feel to the Accord I drove a couple years ago. And it was quite a bit quieter, especially at highway speeds. To those who prefer a more passive ride, this car has the qualities that they'd be after. But the very nice thing was that the steering feel and chassis control was still top notch compared to my 6. Body lean was minimal compared to other cars in this class, steering feel was very direct with little slop, and the brakes seemed strong and easily modulated.

    Despite this car having the same engine that's in my Mazda6, I found the way it drove completely different, probably due to the fact that my car has a manual while the Milan had an automatic. Although the Milan was not slow and sluggish, it did not have the responsive acceleration that my Mazda6 has nor did it seem as quick as the Altima (last gen) or the Accord (also last gen). I had no problem passing people quickly and safely on highways and side roads, but found myself wishing I had either more control over the gearing or an extra 30 horses. But I figure if a buyer was looking for a mellow/ refined ride, having enough horsepower for drag strip would probably not be that important.

    All in all, while the Milan is largely based on the Mazda6 with a similar engine and chassis with solid handling characteristics, it added a nice dose of serenity and composure by making the ride quieter and smoother without going overboard and making the ride feel like a sponge. While not being my cup of tea, as I lean a bit more toward sporty handling cars, I was impressed at how a few changes in the interior and suspension bits could transform a Mazda6 to meet the needs of a more mature and refined buyer.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    Thanks for a very enjoyable review, Zzzoom6.

    ... I was impressed at how a few changes in the interior and suspension bits could transform a Mazda6 to meet the needs of a more mature and refined buyer.

    Maybe my age, 64 at the time (a more mature and refined buyer) had something to do with our decision to go with a 2007 Ford Fusion SEL AWD in December 2006. My wife was 54. We traded a 2000 Mazda Miata MK5 with only 7,000 miles on it. We wanted a sporty mid-size sedan and the Fusion fit the bill.

    More than a year later, we are still happy with our purchase. The Fusion, like the Milan, is a really terrific car. The 3.0-liter, Duratec V6 with 221 horsepower is not drag strip ready but more than adequate for this 3,400-pound car. The ride and handling are outstanding and the car has a number of amenities usually found on cars costing much more than the $27,105 MSRP.

    We would recommend the Fusion/Milan to anyone in the market for a mid-size sedan.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    This Camry belongs to my dad's first cousin. I thought I'd share a few thoughts after an hour's drive in it today.

    Interior -
    Not as bad as I had first felt. It was an LE with limited options, but the quality overall was above average, if not stellar. All the stalks and buttons moved fluidly. The grey on grey scheme inside was quite dreary though.

    Steering/Handling -
    The steering felt electric. The weighting was a bit light for my tastes but definitely liveable, but the overall crispness that I've gotten accustomed to in my Accords was just not there. On the highway I found myself making little corrections at 70 MPH because the path I thought I was on, I actually wasn't. The brake pedal made me panic at first because it took so much travel (easily twice as much as the Accord) The handling was marginally better than the previous gen, but I think I'd have to take an SE to be sold on the Camry's handling.

    Ride -
    This car is the opposite of the Honda. If you say the Honda is a tradeoff for 75% sport/25% ride, the Camry is the other way around, 25%/75%. It's spongy, but not completely floaty. Good for driving in the bumpy subdivision we left from, but not so great for the highway, since directional control suffered somewhat.

    Engine -
    Above 3000 RPM, this thing is a monster. TONS of usable power, and highway speed has no effect on it seemingly - it pulls as hard at 20 MPH as it does at 70 when you give enough throttle for a downshift or two. Interestingly though, around town the Camry felt slower than my 4-cylinder Accord, and I'm sure this is due to the lazy throttle response programming on the Toyota, and the sharper programming in the Honda. The quiet in this car is serene, but I'd rather hear a little more of the 2GR!

    Overall -
    I think the Camry is the Rodney Dangerfield of these boards; it gets no respect. Being the frontrunner in sales makes it seem like the Patriots, the bogey that other people love to hate. It's actually a great car for people looking for a luxury feel at a mainstream price.

    For the record, I have a 2006 Accord EX, 2.4L, Automatic.

    I hope readers find this review helpful and unbiased; I have nothing against Toyota, and I'm not a Honda loyalist - I've looked long and hard at the new Altima for my next car, and haven't ruled out an SE Camry. For now though, I have no reason to think about getting rid of my current car.

    Happy motoring! :)

    TheGrad
  • exshomanexshoman Posts: 109
    Ya know, there's a pretty easy solution to this. Teach her how to drive a stick. I did that last year and now she's a pro at it. After her first couple lessons, she was calling it, a 2006 Accord 5spd, the "demon car". But by the third lesson, she was getting the hang of it, and she actually likes driving it now.

    Figure it's a good skill to have.

  • Engine -
    Above 3000 RPM, this thing is a monster. TONS of usable power, and highway speed has no effect on it seemingly - it pulls as hard at 20 MPH as it does at 70 when you give enough throttle for a downshift or two. Interestingly though, around town the Camry felt slower than my 4-cylinder Accord, and I'm sure this is due to the lazy throttle response programming on the Toyota, and the sharper programming in the Honda. The quiet in this car is serene, but I'd rather hear a little more of the 2GR!


    I think they have this figured out, I have never felt the 2.4 in the Accord down for power, especially with the manual transmission. I have also been happy with the fuel economy. Of course, I was fine with the 93 Accord and the 93 Civic as well, power and economy-wise.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    It is a skill that everyone needs, but do you really want a teenager focusing on shifting when they need all their attention on steering, accelerating and braking? Teach them how to drive a stick but give them a 4 cylinder auto for at least the first two years.
  • Bought a 2006 Hyundai Sonata GLS (I4) in Dec. of 2005 and thought I would post an update for all the Hyundai doubters.

    I now have 40,000 trouble free miles on my car. Not even a single shake, vibration or squeal from the car yet. The interior is still the same as the day I bought it. Outside of a car that I t-boned (not my fault), the exterior is also still the same. Had to replace the front grill, bumper and hood from the wreck.

    Have had a lot of people ride in the car and said something like, "What did this thing cost about $25,000 or something." You should see the shock in their face when I tell them $17,000. They can't believe a car can be this quiet, ride this nice and be hassle free for the price I paid.

    The only downside is that Hyundai doesn't hold their value as well as others, but like all my cars, I will keep this car until it at least has close to 200,000 miles on it at which point all cars are worthless.

    Just thought I would post as a lot of people said see how that Hyundai holds up when you get some miles on it.
  • Good that you like your Sonata. I had one just like yours and I loved it. The only reason I traded it was that I needed a power seat and wanted leather.Not available with an I4 engine at the time from Hyundai. So...I bought a KIA Optima. Very similar but with a tauter suspension.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I learned to drive, driving a stick. There is nothing wrong with it.
  • karsickkarsick Posts: 312
    Good point.

    I'd guess most of us on this forum learned to drive on a manual tranny. My dad just made sure we were on rural roads away from traffic when he let me drive the first time.

    Don't give your kid a "crutch" that will keep them from enjoying cars as they were meant to be.

    Your kid will get a HUGE ego boost knowing something that their overprotected echo-boomer friends have been shielded from (IMHO, natch ;) )
  • I disagree. I think focusing on shifting is better than focusing on the radio, text messaging, cell phoning or various other in-vehicle distractions. I think shifting actually helps young drivers learn to drive because it provides a strong connection to the vehicle and control.
    Then again, myself and all of my friends learned to drive on manual transmission cars, and have only had sticks since then.
    There was a study done in Israel that said it takes 5 years to learn to drive a stick, but that is based on Israeli driving habits, so based on time in vehicle and mileage, it would be more like 2 years in the US. By learning to drive a stick, they mean there is no additional cognitive load.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Interestingly though, around town the Camry felt slower than my 4-cylinder Accord, and I'm sure this is due to the lazy throttle response programming on the Toyota, and the sharper programming in the Honda. The quiet in this car is serene, but I'd rather hear a little more of the 2GR!

    It's really the transmission. It has such tall gearing with the automatic that short of flogging it, it'll never willingly stay in the 2500-3500 rpm range. Thankfully I hear the 5 speed automatic solves a little of that.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Actually, the gearing was just fine in the 6-sp Camry, it was the throttle response that was sluggish. I was in 2nd gear by 12 mph, and 3rd by 22 or so, and that' typical RPM ranges. Pretty short to me.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    I got my driver license in Spring 1965. Very limited availablity to drive the family cars (unless with my parents). Fall of '65 my father bought me an 1960 Ford Falcon. It was my car, with serious restrictions put on my usage.

    Way under powered 6 cyl engine, maybe 85 HP, with sloppy 3 speed manual shift on the column. Paid $350 for that junk, but that was 1965. My parents were away on the day we picked it up. Grandmother drove me to the used car dealer to pick it up in the city. I had to drive it home, stopping on hills, and had no alternative transportation. Within a couple days I could drive that underpowered thing, no 1st gear syncro, quite well.

    That car was so pigged out it whinned like crazy at 55 MPH and probably couldn't go over 65 or 70 MPH. I think I had it up to 65 once and had to back off because it sounded like the engine was ready to blow up.

    It was a base model complete with steering wheel, manual tranny, and heater. Had to install my own radio as the car did not come with it and the previous owner did not install one.

    Point is, if someone know how to drive, they can learn to drive a manual shift in no time at all.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    computer 'controlled' electronic throttles and tranny shift programs that are designed to maximize fuel economy as well as minimize the effects of torque steer/engine braking created by all that power you enjoyed - all will have that effect. Having the Avalon with the 5 speed, the same kind of thing happens, higher than normal gears are held (or selected by the car's computer) , thereby reducing engine speeds and increasing fuel economies at almost any given speed (or normal throttle position) . Not rocket science, of course, but without the CVVTi doing its job, the engineers are not able to take the same advantage of the engine's flexibility - which is, as you note, remarkable. My wife's 240hp 03 Altima 'feels' quite a bit more 'responsive' (it really isn't) but it is an older (and smaller) car thru an 'antiquated' 4 speed tranny so it also returns less FE and more torque steer, and overall might be a tad less 'driveable' overall.
    The Camry will 'get no respect' (your words) in enthusiast mags and/or forum sites like this in large part because of the 'softness' of the car in general, and despite that by producing the best power AND FE, it likely has the best V6 engine in this class. The 4 banger isn't too shabby either but faces some stiff competition from that small company in Ohio for those honors. The wild card in all this is perhaps the Altima, as it too does quite well under the hood, but is also relying to some degree on public acceptance of the CVT.
    Toyota, however, understands this and will take about half a million sales to the bank every year. They make what people seem to want.

    PS. am starting to see a bunch of new Malibus on the streets and it seems that many of them are 4 bangers. Overall a good looking car IMO although I don't like the front end styling at all - interior looks pretty good as well. Maybe GM has a 'winner' - heaven knows they need one.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The Camry will 'get no respect' (your words) in enthusiast mags and/or forum sites like this in large part because of the 'softness' of the car in general, and despite that by producing the best power AND FE, it likely has the best V6 engine in this class.

    But, with the computers getting in the way and making the thing upshift the instant it can if you're over 1500rpm or so... Short of flogging it on a dragstrip, you'll never see half of that power.

    Fantastic engine. Transmission just destroys it. The computers and nanny-modes finish the job and put a stake through its heart for good measure.

    If you want an eye-opener, check out the new Pontiac Vibe in a few weeks when it comes out. The 2.4 engine and transmission in the upper trim model is lifted from a Camry. But with a manual and no computers trying to out-think you, it's very quick in traffic(So far I've seen one review and it was glowing).
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    Fantastic engine. Transmission just destroys it
    don't believe I can argue the point too successfully, heaven knows Toyota (and several other mfgrs.) have been taking their lumps lately with this 'computer garbage'. Who would have thought not too long ago that we would have TSBs on how to 'reprogram' a car so that IT might more successfully do what we want it to? But the fact does remain that few drivers would ever know the difference and it does produce some excellent fuel economy as well as some 'safety' enhancements. I guess FE and Safety sell better than basic driveability. In the Camry, and several other cars in this class, we have cars that will easily outrun many of those 'muscle cars' of times passed - and burn just a fraction of the gas - a whole lot more cleanly. Progress any way you want to look at it?
    The era of the simple 'mechanical' tranny is gone and further don't be surprised if you don't start seeing electronic 'interference' on MT cars as well - like on the current M3. The 'Powerglide' is dead!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Still, Toyota doesn't HAVE to start making cars that drive like Buicks.

    GM also has this exact same problem. World-class engines mated to bland packaging, tall gearing, and a philosophy that seems to be the exact opposite of performance.

    But the 2.4 i-4 is a great engine, no argument there. I just get tired of hearing how much HP a car has from everyone here without the rest of the drivetrain being part of the equation.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,047
    Sorry if this may be of limited interest to others. My first car was exactly this car you've described. I turned 16 in summer of 1966 and my father bought the 1960 Falcon new. It was rear ended badly in 1965 and totalled by insurance company. Dad bought a totalled by front end collision from a junkyard and my brother and I cut both cars in half. Over the winter of 1965/66 we welded the two good parts together, put in new seats, floormatting(no carpet), new headliner(what a pain of a job), painted it red with white top. I got 4 new tires for my 16th birthday and I was good to go. What a first car. Every time I hit a dip in the road I was nervous that the thing would break in half but it held up fine through a lot of rough treatment. I lived in the country and used to spin out on the gravel roads a lot. Anyway, sorry to bore others but your post brought back a lot of memories.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Still, Toyota doesn't HAVE to start making cars that drive like Buicks.

    start?... :confuse:

    Hasn't Toyota always made soft riding, vague handling cars? Has the Camry ever been anything but that? Being that it is the top seller, I'm not sure what the motivation would be for changing the character of the vehicle.
  • I disagree. I've either owned, or currently own, a late model Camry and an Accord. The current gen Camry's handling and ride, especially in the SE trim, is very acceptable. It's a nice combination of compliant ride and decent handling. On the other hand, the Accord is superior in the handling department, but inferior in the ride department.

    I also just spent a week with a "brand spanking new" 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS from Hertz (6 miles on the odometer), and although the ride is decent, the suspension is simply not in the same league as either the Camry or Accord. I've been a supporter of Hyundai on these boards, and I have no basic qualms with the Sonata's front suspension setup, but the rear suspension suffers from several dynamic problems, including under dampening, and shock control. I know they are addressing this in the 2009's, and well they should.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Still, Toyota doesn't HAVE to start making cars that drive like Buicks.

    start?...


    The previous ones were kind of still "Japanese", but the recent generation Toyotas are solidly GM clones. Or vice-versa. It's hard to tell which is copying which anymore.
  • karsickkarsick Posts: 312
    It's always been my contention that, as far as luring away domestic car owners, the Asians (especially Toyota), tailored their cars SPECIFICALLY to the Buick/Olds/Mercury/Chrysler spectrum. They've even been building USA-only models for several years (the bigger,floatier USA-model Accord vs the "TSX" Accord for the rest of the world).

    The European makes' attitude here has primarily been one of "take it or leave it :surprise: " when it comes to attracting Americans. As one who favors nimble handling over advanced cupholder technology, I was a sucker for light, responsive Saabs, GTI's, Triumphs, etc.

    I'm happy that in the past 15yrs or so, the Asians have seen fit to offer models that appeal to people trading out of Euro-cars (IS300, WRX, Evo, TSX, TL, newer Civics, G20, G35) while still making models that attract former Land Yacht owners (Avalon, Amanti, Pilot, Highlander, Endeavor).

    Now we can have a mix of Euro-flavor :shades: without the headaches of poor reliability and expensive "Jag-You-Arrhhh" or "Bring My Wallet" servicing :sick: !
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    GM also has this exact same problem. World-class engines
    OK I'll bite - what engines would those be?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The 3.6L DI is a nice one, and the 6.2L in the Vette isn't bad at all.
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