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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    :) Yeah, i remember it has gotten good ratings from the very start!
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,966
    The Malibu was recommended way back in 97, but knowing of one first hand, I would not recommend it.

    Gee, I knew somebody that had a lot of trouble with an Accord once......I haven't been able to recommend a Honda product since they are all trouble prone according to my vast experience. ;)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Both sides make decent points here. m6 is right, nobody should make a judgment about all vehicles of one model from one particular vehicle, but that Malibu being rated good turned out to be a joke; those years proved to be terrible for reliability for the Malibu and its clones.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    nobody should make a judgment about all vehicles of one model from one particular vehicle,

    Unfortunately, that's what a lot of people do, judge based on experiences with one example: the one they bought and drove. It's hard to give the same model another chance when you got stuck with a lemon. The trick is to have as few of those as possible, since it's impossible to have zero. Honda and Toyota learned that a long time ago. Toyota is starting to forget, but a few years back Ford learned it too. Notice the most reliable seem to be the smaller-volume manufacturers? As Toyota got bigger they started losing their vaunted reliability. Ford is shrinking itself, and now they're "Fantastic On Road Driving" instead of "Found On Road Dead." :shades:
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    We just rented an Altima for a week over the holidays and the 175 hp 4 cyl was great with acceleration to surpass some V-6's I have driven recently, a 2009 Pontiac G6 readily comes to mind. Additionally, in ALL the last several Car & Driver mid-size family sedan comparisons (4 cylinders) the Altima plain whipped all the competition including the larger more powerful 4 from Honda in almost all (if not all) performance categories. In my opinion it does NOT need a more powerful engine to "keep up" with Honda or Toyota since it is already in front of either.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    in ALL the last several Car & Driver mid-size family sedan comparisons (4 cylinders) the Altima plain whipped all the competition including the larger more powerful 4 from Honda in almost all (if not all) performance categories.

    Thanks to the CVT, the engine stays at the power peak when you have your foot to the floor. The Honda's 4-cylinder is 2354cc compared to the Altima which is about 150cc larger, so it makes more torque (but not horsepower, in this case).

    The Altima certainly doesn't need more 4-cyl power, as it has excellent fuel economy and good power (180 lb-ft of torque compared with the competition's 160-170).
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    The Altima certainly doesn't need more 4-cyl power,

    I haven't driven a current Altima, but I think you could say the same about most midsize cars now. In the past few months I've driven an '08 Accord LX-P (manual) as well as an '08 Milan and an '09 Galant. I'd say that all had sufficient power, but managing that power is crucial, and that's where I saw some real differences.

    The 177 hp Accord was particularly well-mannered at all times, and never felt the least bit underpowered. It seemed to get stronger as rpm increased, at least up to about 6000 on the tach. I would have no problem driving this car every day, at least with the manual transmission.

    The 160 hp Galant felt torquier than the Accord up to about 80 mph, just fine for normal driving. Above about 4500 rpm it started to run out of breath, and the four-speed automatic occasionally couldn't find a gear that would keep the engine in the sweet spot. It was fine in all kinds of rural driving, but it was not at home in the high-speed cut-and-thrust of Atlanta traffic. I think this engine is related to those used in the Sebring/Avenger and the Sonata, though each manufacturer does some things differently (different cylinder head design?) with the same basic architecture.

    The 160 hp Milan delivered sufficient acceleration but sounded strained. It was superb when driven gently, but its weaker torque required more frequent downshifts, and the noise level above 3500 rpm made it the least appealing of the three for driving in hilly terrain or in fast-moving heavy traffic. Like the Galant, it suffered from too few ratios in the autobox. From what I've read here, the 2010 model with its bigger engine and six-speed should remedy the problem nicely.

    I think it's a matter of marketing rather than engineering that we seem to see six-speed automatics paired with the larger engines, and the four or five speed automatics with the smaller engines. From what I've experienced, a four-cylinder with either a manual or a six-speed automatic would be perfectly acceptable in a midsize sedan, even with my fairly aggressive driving style.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    Ford is shrinking itself, and now they're "Fantastic On Road Driving" instead of "Found On Road Dead."

    I've always heard "Fix Or Repair Daily" as the explanation of the FORD abbreviation. That's not been our experience though. We currently own three Ford products, a 1997 Thunderbird, a 2000 Focus station wagon and a 2007 SEL AWD Fusion and also previously owned a 1983 and a 1993 Thunderbird.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    Hey Boz - you need that 41 mpg Fusion hybrid. It's tailor made for your driving pattern.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    Hey Boz - you need that 41 mpg Fusion hybrid. It's tailor made for your driving pattern.

    You are right, Allen. I have been reading everything I can about that model and it sounds great. Just what the doctor ordered. Now if I could just find some money. :-) :D
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    If it was that easy then the Camry V6 would still be on there, but it's not
    wrong - in that same issue CR notes that the V6 Camry had recovered from its original teething problems, was now 'better than average' and now 'recommended'.
    It will be interesting to see whether those Mexican products can maintain their high reliabililty ratings in consideration of finally getting some badly needed upgrades. Any manufacturer (even Toyota) will likely suffer from a reliability perspective if they are truly developing new products, something Ford, in particular, las lagged on.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The real reason that the older cars did fine and the Altima does as well is because of weight. The Altima is made like a typical late 90s car in terms of size and weight. Just over 3100 lbs with the 4 cylinder engine and manual transmission. is very quick. The Pontiac weighs almost 300 lbs more. That's a huge problem because it needs larger tires, larger brakes, and generally handles like the lumbering pig that it is. Unfortunately this is a trend now. I can't honestly think of any normal sedan that's lighter now than it used to be.

    The Milan is fairly light at 3150lbs but it also seems to be the exception to the rule.

    2002 Galant: 3031 lbs
    2009 Galant: 3395 lbs

    2002 Accord: 2943 lbs
    2009 Accord: 3213 lbs

    2002 Grand Prix: 3384 lbs
    2009 Grand Prix: 3477 lbs

    2002 Altima: 2983 lbs.
    2009 Altima: 3145 lbs.

    Oh, and for fun - in the spirit of upsizing:
    1996 Park Avenue: 3536 Lbs. Note - this is a huge car!
    And even more fun:

    1959 Mercedes 220S 2976 Lbs. (first Mercedes "S class" sedan)
    This is a Chevy Bel Air(or current Altima) sized car with wood dash, heavy steel doors, and acres of glass. It makes you wonder exactly what in the world all that extra weight in these more modern smaller cars is for?
    http://www.heckflosse.nl/220sse.htm

    Oh - neat fact - these were the first cars built like modern vehicles. They drive like anything from the 70s or 80s. They also gave away almost all of their safety ideas, which Volvo copied. Crumple zones, safety glass, side impact reinforcement... its a large list of firsts. Drive one sometime if you can :) It took GM until 1987 or so to make a better car. (W body sedans)
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    The real reason that the older cars did fine and the Altima does as well is because of weight.

    Plekto, I think you may have missed the point I was making (or you meant to reply to another poster). The cars referenced in my post #11329 were all current designs, and all felt as though they had sufficient engine for the job.

    I agree with you that the MB Fintail sedans were superb vehicles, though I think you'd find they weren't quite the size of the Bel Air you mentioned:

    The '59 MB 220S had a 108 inch wheelbase and was 191 inches long (www.heckflosse.nl/dim4.html) and 70.6 inches wide. The current Altima is dimensionally very close to the 220S: 109.3 inch wheelbase, 189.8 inches long, 70.7 inches wide (www.nissanusa.com). But in 1959 the Chevy Bel Air had a 119 inch wheelbase and was 210.9 inches long and 79.9 inches wide (http://www.chevy59.com/data.htm).

    I prefer the next generation of the MB sedans (W114/115, aka the "/8" sedans introduced in 1968) because of their more sophisticated rear suspension. Back in the '80s I did a lot of driving in a gold '74 280 with very impressive space efficiency, handling, and comfort. That car really set my expectations as to what a car ought to be able to do. Only in the last few years have most midsize sedans been able to exceed those expectations.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    .....and the Ford basher chimes in.

    I guess it's impossible for some to realize the Ford has made tremendous strides to better their product.

    For years, Ford, and all domestics, have lagged behind in the passenger car market. If you have not been living under a rock for the last decade, you would know this. By Ford's own admission, they were concentrating on pick-up trucks and SUV's during this time. The Japanese (Toyota and Honda included) still do not know how to build a pick-up truck that is actually a work horse. Who lags there? Japan. The Tundra still lags behind in durability and functionality to the F-150 and Sierra. Don't get me started on the Oddesey...ahem... I mean Ridgeline....whatta joke of a pick-up.

    Let's get off the Ford bashing because it is obvious those who asses these cars for a living know what they are talking about. It's really getting so stupid about the same things said over and over and over that are just not true anymore.

    "extra, extra....read all about it....Ford builds a good car!!!" welcome to 2009....
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    The 2006 Fusion was a nice start but was done well before the current leadership got on board. The 2010 Fusion is an example of what the current Ford team can do when given the right incentives and management support.

    Give Ford credit for not waiting for a new platform to make huge changes:

    New IP and center stack
    Manumatic shifting
    6 speed auto and manuals across the board
    upgraded 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder engines with more power AND better FE
    new hybrid and 3.5L V6 powertrains
    new features - blind spot, cross traffic and rear view camera
    new front and rear styling
    capless fueling

    I'm sure there are a few more. And Ford did all of this just 3 years and 4 months after the Fusion first appeared in dealers. That's unheard of (but also necessary), even for Honda and Toyota.

    Time to give kudos where they've been earned.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    my only point is that for all those features you mention (what the h--- is 'capless fueling') All and/or almost all (depending on the mfgr.) have been available for a number of years on competing models. Ford is simply playing a bit of catch up.

    The fact that Ford has managed to improve quality in the face of their financial problems is certainly worthy of note, even if it has cost a bunch of Americans their jobs.

    This is what I find hard to forgive. Ford has been doing what it has needed to be doing in the last few years and may just be the lone survivor of the 'Big 3'.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    have been available for a number of years on competing models. Ford is simply playing a bit of catch up.

    Umm, exactly WHICH automobile in the class has blind-spot detection? Capless fueling? 6 speed trannys on ALL engines?

    Trannys...GM did 6 speeds, Honda only has 5, Toyota maxes at 5 speeds (weren't they using a 4 speed on the 2.4 liter recently?).

    Blind spot stuff, NONE of them have it. Ford has SURPASSED the competition in several areas, get over it. You hate Ford, that's fine, but try and at least be objective. I hate GM but I'm not going to deny the fact that THEY were in fact the first ones in the class to put 6 speed auto trannies on ALL engines in the Malibu except for the "hybrid" one.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    "It’s not immediately apparent that the Ford Fusion would be more reliable than the Toyota Camry, but it is, and the Fusion is one of the more reliable family sedans on the market.”

    That was worded so oddly it needs to be highlighted that CR is saying that the Fusion is more reliable than the Toyota Camry. That is a huge victory for Ford.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,622
    i am a ford guy and i really like one feature they have that none of the others do, the keypad entry.
    i like not having to carry my keys with me when i leave the vehicle.
    drop the keys somewhere inside and retrieve them when you need them.
    if the kids need something out of the car, they know the combination and can get in to get it without the keys.
    right now i am using it because the garage door opener remote in my car isn't working for the most part.
    i back out of the garage, walk over to the explorer which is always parked outside, punch in the entry code, use that remote to close my garage door, lock it back up and drive away in my car. i don't need to carry the explorer keys to do this.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    You forgot AWD and Sync - neither of which is available on the Camcordimas.

    Ford didn't just catch up - they've leaped ahead in every category that I can see (with the 2010 model).
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Well, they haven't surpassed in warranty...Hyundai still has it. :) SYnc is very good, though Chrysler has MyGIG.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    True, but a warranty is just an insurance policy and has nothing to do with the vehicle itself. They're purchased, not engineered. And while Hyundai has made huge strides they're still not as reliable as Ford, Honda and Toyota - yet.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    "Blind spot stuff, NONE of them have it. Ford has SURPASSED the competition in several areas, get over it. You hate Ford, that's fine, but try and at least be objective. I hate GM but I'm not going to deny the fact that THEY were in fact the first ones in the class to put 6 speed auto trannies on ALL engines in the Malibu except for the "hybrid" one"

    Ford is really putting a lot into the new Fusion. I look forward to seeing one.

    I have a 6-speed 3.6L Malibu and the transmission is amazing. Ford is using the same one, the factory that makes them is a joint venture Ford/GM.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    though Chrysler has MyGIG.

    Ford does now offer a hard drive with their Nav system. However it is not like MyGIG where you can get it without the Nav so it's not quite as readily available or affordable.

    I'm not a big fan of the whole hard drive in a radio thing but I do know a few people with new Chrysler vehicles and they love their MyGIG. Maybe I need to play with one to truly appreciate it.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    Does mygig allow you to copy mp3s from usb drives or only from audio cds? Lincoln's 10G hard drive only allows you to copy audio cds, but then again sync also lets you use plug in mp3 players or thumb drives with mp3s in addition to the hard drive recorded songs so that's the best of both worlds.

    And sync can call 911 in an accident - without a built-in phone, extra phone line and national call center to relay the call.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,622
    a new model malibu owner! tell us more. i think you are the first one.
    we know you like the transmission.
    what are your other likes/dislikes?
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Blind spot stuff, NONE of them have it.

    Mazda has it in the 2009 Mazda6 and has been using it since 2008 in the CX-9.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I prefer the next generation of the MB sedans (W114/115, aka the "/8" sedans introduced in 1968) because of their more sophisticated rear suspension. Back in the '80s I did a lot of driving in a gold '74 280 with very impressive space efficiency, handling, and comfort. That car really set my expectations as to what a car ought to be able to do. Only in the last few years have most midsize sedans been able to exceed those expectations.
    ****

    Well, I did mention the older ones to make my point more than anything. IMO, a 250SE was about the best of the lot - and the first of the 2nd generation W114/W115 era). Astounding cars, even today, and also why that era's SL roadsters still command a hefty premium. Drive an early 70s SL and it's just amazing how it doesn't show its age. IMO, a trick only a few cars have managed. The 2002Ti and the Porsche 928 are in this group. They seem to defy age in how they drive. And the sedan versions also are very good and under appreciated.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Mazda just joined the midsize class, and that's basically a Fusion anyway. Saying CX-9 has it means nothing since we are specifically discussing the mainstream midsize class: whatshisname was saying Ford was just playing catch up and everything they'd done, someone else had first in the midsize class.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    i back out of the garage, walk over to the explorer which is always parked outside, punch in the entry code, use that remote to close my garage door, lock it back up and drive away in my car.

    Hmm, I guess I'd just put the remote that works in the car that actually goes in the garage, rather than leaving it in the one that sits in the driveway. :confuse:

    If I ever needed to steal a car, I guess I'd start by smashing the windows of the ones with that keypad...figuring one of you guys probably left the keys in the locked car. ;)
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