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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,688
    That's not the most important part to me. Styling, features and driving are more important to me than the price.
  • mz6greyghostmz6greyghost Posts: 1,230
    I assume there are more differences than just the hybridness if there is a $10-12K price difference.

    Usually, there is.

    Hybrid models from most automakers include some of the more popular features, optional on lower models, as standard equipment. It helps to soften the price difference.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Actually, while I like the styling of the Fusion a lot, I also happen to like hatches, and wish the Fusion or Mazda3 would come in a hatch version. That's another advantage to the Prius.
  • mz6greyghostmz6greyghost Posts: 1,230
    The Prius is smaller, uglier by far and doesn't drive anything like a normal midsize sedan. The Fusion Hybrid is EPA rated at 45 city while the Fusion gets 41. The Fusion looks better, drives better and gets almost the same fuel economy in the city.

    The only reason to buy a Prius is to show people that you have a hybrid, since it doesn't look like any normal midsize sedan.


    Quoted for truth!

    Having been behind the wheel of a Prius, I can agree with everything here, especially the driving experience. To me, Toyotas are a close second to Buick in terms of putting me in a coma when behind the wheel, but the Prius is beyond pathetic. The low rolling-resistance tires squeal at every corner, WITHOUT being pushed hard, and they also contribute heavily to the numb steering, miserable braking, and the overall disconnected feeling you get.

    I can see why tree-huggers love it, and why anyone with a soul doesn't.

    You forgot the most important part. The Prius cost about $10k less. That's one heck of an incentive to be greener.

    It may be $10K less on paper, but you're going to have a hard time finding ANY Prius at that base price, since they were (and in some cases, still are) going at a premium over MSRP. I've seen listing of USED examples going for higher than that.

    That's not the most important part to me. Styling, features and driving are more important to me than the price.

    Quoted for agreement.

    Kudos to Ford for the excellent press and praise they've been getting for the Fusion Hybrid, which seems well-deserved.
  • mz6greyghostmz6greyghost Posts: 1,230
    Actually, while I like the styling of the Fusion a lot, I also happen to like hatches, and wish the Fusion or Mazda3 would come in a hatch version. That's another advantage to the Prius.

    You mean the Mazda6, right? :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    The Prius really is not $10k less than the Fulan hybrid. The Fusion hybrid starts at $28k. The Prius starts around $23k. I don't know how the equipment levels of these base versions compare, but it's at best a $5k difference. Loaded, the Prius is pretty close to if not over $30k, while the C/D Fusion tester seemed pretty loaded for $32.5k.

    We are forgetting one thing though comparing the Prius to the Fusion hybrid. The 2010 Prius is coming very shortly (will be unveiled officially in Detroit in a week or so). It should be an evolutionary improvement over the current Prius, and is expected to offer more power and also better fuel economy than the current Prius. As for interior room and handling improvements, we'll have to see about that. But I personally consider the Prius, and even the Insight, to be competitors to the likes of the Fusion and Camry hybrids. I don't need as much interior room as those sedans provide, I prefer a hatch configuration, and the 2010 Prius at least (don't know about the Insight) should easily exceed the FE for the hybrid mid-sized sedans--as it should as it's smaller, lighter, and lower-powered. I also like the swoopy looks of the 2010 Prius and Insight better than the mid-sized hybrid sedans. And the payback proposition is better with a lower-priced hybrid like the Prius or Insight. Especially for people like me who don't drive a lot, maybe 10k max per year for my wife's vehicle, which is what I am looking at a hybrid to be a few years out, once we are done with minivans.

    Now, if gas stays around $2 a gallon and Ford et. al. are forced to offer discounts on the mid-sized hybrid sedans to move them, e.g. a base Fusion hybrid for the low $20s, then that could be compelling. But at $28k and up? I'd probably pass. Or maybe buy a 2010 Fusion hybrid in 2012 or 2013. ;)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,664
    i interpreted your post to indicate a hybrid can be driven without gas.
    this simply is not true, other than maybe a short distance.
    obviously, a gas engine won't run without fuel. i think everyone already knows that.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,664
    considering not a whole lot of hybrid fusions are goining to be built for the forseeable future, i don't think there will be big discounts on them.
    there aren't even any hybrid escapes for sale anywhere near me.
    i prefer having a trunk for security reasons. the back of the prius is open, although a tonneau cover is available.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Actually the cargo cover is standard on the Prius, always has been AFAIK.

    Yes, that is one way to keep prices up, by limiting supply. There was a tongue-in-cheek comment in the C/D review about Chevy saying that the Malibu hybrid is "very limited availability." C/D remarked something to the effect of that won't be a problem as not many people will buy it. :P
  • tenpin288tenpin288 Posts: 804
    Not to change the subject from the hybrid debate, but I saw this advertised today.

    Hyundai Assurance program

    What do you think? Will this help spur sales? Would this or maybe something similar from another manufacturer make a buying decision easier for you if you were on the fence? Just curious. ;)
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Sounds like the perfect program to introduce for the state of the economy right now.

    Two ad spots:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVAWviuVmK4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c_nAmJbjvw
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    I think it might help in cases where people are worried about losing their jobs--which is likely quite a few potential car buyers. Regardless of how much it increases sales of Sonatas et. al., I applaud Hyundai for offering this program. To my knowledge, no other automaker has offered anything like it. I am wondering if any other automakers will respond with a similar program, as some did after Hyundai first offered their long warranty in 1999?
  • tenpin288tenpin288 Posts: 804
    I am wondering if any other automakers will respond with a similar program, as some did after Hyundai first offered their long warranty in 1999?

    That's what I am curious about. If Hyundai were to see a significant sales bump from this in the next month or so compared to other manufacturers, will the others offer something like this? I would think that they would at least have to consider it.

    Also, I wonder if this will have any effect on the dreaded new car depreciation. Any thoughts on that aspect?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    I don't know about affecting depreciation, since the program only kicks in if the owner loses his/her income, and from what I've seen the program is not transferable to a 2nd owner.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,664
    unlike you, i checked the toyota website before posting. ;)
    it is part of packages 2 and up.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    That's good to know. When I ordered a 2004 Prius in late 2003, the only option on it was SABs and I could swear it had the cargo cover. I suppose if you bought a base Prius you could just buy a cargo cover on eBay etc.--but maybe that would blow the entire value proposition of the car in your eyes? :)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,664
    can't get a moonroof, it's not on my list.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Some don't like moonroofs. There may be some that don't want a cargo cover. ;) Hard to believe, isn't it?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Actually I have read posts from people who don't like moonroofs---consider them a safety hazard. Personally I like them but I can do without them. I like cargo covers too, but it's one of those things that's easy to pick up later if a car doesn't have it. Not a big deal. For that matter, a moonroof can be added to a Prius. Now, something like ABS or ESC or airbags, those are impractical to add to a car after the fact, so it's more important they are there if they are important to the buyer.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Yes I do...sorry, my own Mazda3 must have popped into my hands at the time. :)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,664
    i have a convertible, i don't consider a moonroof to be much of a safety hazard.
    my mid size sedan doesn't need a cargo cover, but i do like the moonroof.
    i would like to see a prius sunroof, if someone can post a picture or a link.
    the roof design would make it a very expensive item.
    maybe enough prius have been sold to provide a market for it.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Try a Google on "Prius moonroof" or "Prius sunroof". Here is an example...

    http://www.toyotaoptions.com/Prius.htm
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,664
    great! one of those aftermarket leakers.
    i only want a factory designed and installed one.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Having a little fun tonight, eh? Since you have checked toyota.com re available options, you already knew that Toyota doesn't offer a factory designed and installed moonroof on the Prius. When I noted that a moonroof can be added to a Prius, you asked for a picture of one--which I provided.

    I think we all get the message: you really don't like the Prius. Cargo covers and moonroofs have nothing to do with it. That's fine. But enough of the games, OK?

    P.S. Did you know that factory designed and installed moonroofs can leak also? Some nighttime reading for you, if you are interested...

    http://autorepair.about.com/library/faqs/bl897e.htm

    http://www.ford-forums.com/ford-fusion/3477-ford-fusion-sun-roof-leaks.html

    http://www.nissanclub.com/forums/new-2007-nissan-altima-discussion/278131-altima- -moonroof.html

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ef0feec/2026

    Good night, moon (roof).
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,664
    i could be wrong, but i think the prius has higher that usual voltage wiring that runs through the roof. i will take a toyota designed sunroof, not some aftermarket 80's design.
    thanks for trying to convince me, but no sale.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Ha, I'm not trying to "convince" you of anything. Just trying to provide you with information that you requested and trying to have a civil discussion about mid-sized cars, hybrid variants in particular.

    Please feel free to share with us any links to info about high-voltage wiring in the Prius' roof. As for moonroofs being designed in the '80s... yes, I think it's true that basic moonroof design hasn't changed much since then. I remember a moonroof on a girlfriend's 1983 626 that worked just like they do today.
  • I had the opportunity to test drive both the Accord and Mazda6 over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been working so much that I haven’t had time to post my reviews, but since we just had a holiday I figured I’d post the review now. Remember this review is simply MY Opinion…but feedback is always good.

    Exterior:


    I hear folks say the previous generation Accord looked better, and I just don’t get it. I came very close to buying an 04 Accord back when I purchased my 05 Altima but declined the offer simply because I hated the styling. I love the aggressive blunt nose of the new Accord. V6 models look especially aggressive with the front lip spoiler and fog light cut outs. All EX (not just the V6) models should come with the fogs IMO because without them the front end looks a bit naked. I find the side profile of the Accord to be quite nice and I’m a big fan of the standard 17 inch alloy wheels found on EX models. I also like the Acura TL-like character line that goes from the front fender to the back taillights. The one weak aspect of the Accord’s styling is the rear end. It looks a bit bland, especially next to the 06 and 07 Accord and the Mazda6 GT which have LEDs.

    At first I didn’t like the front end of the new 6, but its grown on me a bit. I still have issues with the lower grille and its “Braces” but otherwise the car looks good from the front to me. I especially like the Xenon headlamps found on GT and some Touring models. I drove a Black GT model at night and I was impressed with the exterior lighting and I thought the manual leveling xenon headlamps were a nice touch. In profile, the only real issue I had with the new 6 was the RX-8 inspired fender flairs. On V6 models with 18s it doesn’t look too bad, but on models with 17s and especially those with 16s, the vehicle height to wheel ratio makes the car look tipsy looking. The 17s should be standard on base models and the 18s on the S models should be standard on Touring and Grand Touring I4 models. I think if I’d never seen the Euro and Japanese-based Mazda6 I’d probably like the our new 6 more…but after seeing those models, the US-based 6 looks a bit too stretched (from the side) for its exterior styling. It’s a bit too big for the styling theme its trying to pull off.

    Winner: Accord…it just looks more cohesive (I know I’m going to catch heck for this!)

    Interior:


    I still think the Accord has the best interior materials in the midsize sedan category. The only car that exceeds the Accord’s materials is the Passat and for what VW charges for the car it’s materials should be better. Honda just seems to get it right in the areas where people pay attention. From the padded door panels, gathered leather upholstery and overall feel of the interior materials, the Accord’s interior just comes off as more upscale and more matured feeling than the interior of the 6. I’d say the Accord’s interior design feels a generation or two older than the new Mazda6, which isn’t particularly a good thing. One major negative for the Accord is the abundant use of buttons throughout the interior. It can be daunting at first glance, but after about ten minutes or so of driving I quickly became accustomed to the layout. Base models with manual climate control look less impressive than models equipped with the automatic climate control and navigation system. Hondas were always known for having very user friendly simplistic interior designs, that’s changed quite a bit over the last two generations and I hope Honda will go back to their roots in future generations because the current Accord has a very minivan like interior layout. The bottom line is that when I sit inside the Accord, it feels more refined and more matured. The level of quality is higher, the tactile feel of the controls is better and the overall ambience inside of the Accord is that of a much costlier vehicle. For some it may be a bit too mature but it works well for me. Of course this assessment is based on driving Accord EX-L models, EX models with cloth aren’t bad, but LX models have their fair share of cheap interior materials as well. In base LX and LX-P form, I’d be inclined to go with other choices…the Malibu and the Aura IMO have better interior materials in base models in comparison to the Accord…but when you dress the Accord up in leather, wood trim and the works, its hard to beat the Accord’s interior materials and overall feel.

    The Mazda6 on the other hand just feels sportier. There is no denying that. I drove one particular GT model at night and I came away very impressed with the interior’s design. The gauges in particular were very, bright and sporty…maybe a bit too bright since I had to adjust them after a while. I also liked the ambient interior lighting found in the 6 which is very BMW-like. But while the interior design of the 6 is better than the Accords, I don’t believe the materials are better. Several areas throughout the interior are marred by cheap interior plastic. The area around the interior gauges and the interior door panels felt very cheap. I also noticed a lack of padding for the interior armrest and some interior panels that didn’t line up well. While the leather inside the 6 has a nice perforation pattern the leather quality itself wasn’t that great, especially next to the Accord’s gathered, more upscale looking leather and in base form, the cheap looking (and feeling) cloth upholstery matched up with the cheap looking black plastic didn’t’ impress me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the 6 has bad materials, but next to the Accord, the 6’s materials are lacking in texture, quality and feel. The 6 in upper trim levels competes favorably against the Camry and the Aura and Malibu but I feel the Accord and Sonata have better materials overall.

    Winner: The Accord buy a significant margin

    The Drive:

    I only got to take the Accord out for a short test drive, so I can’t say much about the it. But what I do know is that the basic LX model I drove had one of the slickest feeling manual transmissions I‘ve ever driven. I was hoping to drive an EX or EX-L model but the nearest model with a manual was over 90 miles away. Power was abundant, even in the base LX model I drove and the shifter itself felt very light, very crisp and very predictable. I drive a truck for a living and the shifter in the Accord felt refreshing next to the clunky, awkward feel of the shifter in my Peterbilt. Yet for a car with such a slick shifting manual, I must say that the Accord didn’t seem nearly as fun to drive as previous generations. It’s almost as if the car has gotten to big to warrant a stick shift. The Handling was sound, but never sporty, the ride itself was very Camry-like and the steering felt a bit on the light side. Overall the drive, just like the interior felt a bit more matured than the Mazda6. The car just felt big...
  • ...and even though its only a mere .4 inches longer than the new Mazda6, it handled like a bigger, more sedate car.

    On the flip side, the 6 was a lot more fun to drive. I went to a dealership in Anderson, SC that allows you to test drive cars on your own so I took the 6 on an extended test drive. Outside of having a pushy salesmen who knew nothing about his product and who acted like my brother and I weren’t worth his time, I must say the experience with the 6 was fantasitc! From the interior layout, to the handling and steering feel the 6 was just more fun to drive. I felt like I was connected to the car, not just driving it. It took some time getting used to the shift pattern but once I warmed up to it, I felt right at home in the 6. I took the 6 all over the Anderson area…from the back roads leading to Clemson University to a short stint up Interstate 85. The 6 was up for every challenge. In areas where the Accord simply met the challenge, the 6 seemed eager, more poised and ready for any task given to it. Surprisingly the 6’s ride was more composed than the Accord’s and it never felt harsh. The 6 also had less wind and engine noise. As a matter of fact, while sitting at a red light I thought I’d actually stalled the 6 because it was so quiet. One area where the 6 lagged behind the Accord was in power. The Accord, even in base LX form just seemed more powerful despite its slightly bigger size. I’m sure the 6 weighs more too. The lack in power isn’t a real concern but it is noticeable in the few passing maneuvers I attempted on the interstate. While the 6 didn’t feel as sporty as the previous generation, its sportier than anything currently available in this class.

    Winner: The Mazda6 by a wide margin.


    Features:

    I’m one of those folks who loves features. One of the few things I like about my current Altima is its list of standard and optional equipment. In the feature content arena, the 6 easily beats the Accord and everything else in this class. Xenon headlamps, LEDs and push button start are just a few of the features the Mazda6 GT I test drove had.

    Memory seats are a nice touch too, but I don’t think I’d use them much. I didn’t drive an EX or EX-L but I spent a few minutes inside an Accord EXLV6 inside the dealership showroom and it became clear that Honda missed the boat on interior gadgetry and innovation. Bluetooth is only available on navigation-equipped models, there is no push button start, no LED tail lamps or electroluminescent interior gauges. For the price of a GT model, I’d be better off moving up into Acura TSX or Audi A4 2.0t territory, but a loaded Touring model with Convenience and BOSE/Moonroof pkgs lines up very closely with the Accord EX-L model all while having xenons, rain-sensing wipers and many other features not found in this class.

    Winner: Mazda6 by a wide margin

    Overall:

    While I do find the styling of the Accord to be better than the 6, I cannot deny that the 6 is overall the more sporting and more fun car to drive. From its racy, cool looking gauge cluster to its sporty handling and fun to drive factor the 6 just seems like the more engaging car. The Accord, while feeling predictable, just feels a bit mature, even a bit Spartan in LX trim (which is to be expected given its base price) so I’ll have to make the trip to Asheville to drive the only EX-L manual sedan in my area (coincidently a Mazda dealership in the Asheville area also has an I GT manual as well) On the safety front the two cars should be very similar and at this point I’ll give Honda a slight edge over the 6 for reliability (considering Honda’s track record) but overall the 6 just fit me better. I’d like to stay loyal to Honda (since that’s all my family has ever driven) and because I find the interior materials to be a great deal better than those found in the 6, but the 6 draws me to it and considering that it seems easy to find a loaded manual Mazda6 in comparison to a loaded manual Accord and the fact that Mazda will probably give me a better discount, I’m going with the 6 on this one. If there were a few things I’d change about the new Mazda6, it would be its available color combinations for manual models. You can only get four exterior colors (Red, Black, Silver or Gray) with one interior color (Black) while in Canada you can choose any color 6 you want, even with the manual transmission. I would love a Kona Blue Mazda6 I GT with Gray leather!

    Overall Winner: Mazda6...until I get more seat time in an EX-L manual Accord.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,867
    Speaking as a regular ol' driver rather than a host, I LIKE this car. A lot. People can argue over the origin of the technology and whether it is/isn't a true hybrid - whatever. The fact is that Ford has made a great decision to build on a strong product by offering it in a version that maximizes fuel economy. To most of us, that's the essential information.

    For the first time in ages, I'm excited about a Ford product. The Prius, for a variety of reasons, doesn't do it for me, but I think this is a great move for Ford.

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  • mz6greyghostmz6greyghost Posts: 1,230
    Excellent and very thorough review. I agree with most points you've posted, but IMO the interior materials between the Accord and 6 aren't that much different, if at all. The biggest drawback (by far) is the 60-something buttons stacked all over the dash, as you've mentioned. Too busy. I'm driving a car, not flying a 747.
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