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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Wednesday it's supposed to get down to 32 degrees

    Oh my, better get out the long johns and put a "toboggan" on your head. Really, heated seats in LA...I'd think you'd want seat coolers instead.

    When the low is 32 or warmer, that's called spring here. According to the forcast we might get up to almost 32 one day in the next 10...

    I discovered, when some relatives moved to AL, that people kind of have the same range of clothing but just different thresholds for wearing it. My HS age niece had told me of Alabamians wearing long underwear, heavy winter coats, and "toboggans" (as they say down there) when temp was in, I think, the 30s. Meanwhile when visiting Green Bay, which is 100 miles or so to the north of us, noticed shorts were pretty common when it was in the mid to high 60s.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    My Optima has 4 seat warmer settings.I can't imagine just an on/off system.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Here's how it goes (for me, in Birmingham).

    Jeans/long pants come out when high are 60s.
    Long sleeve shirts/sweaters come out when highs are in 50s, maybe a light jacket.
    The heavy coats don't come out until lows hit the 30s. Long underwear in the 30s? Nah... maybe on a snowy day/night in the teens.

    Seat heaters and coolers should use the Audi/VW design, I think, with a thumb wheel.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Seat heaters and coolers should use the Audi/VW design, I think, with a thumb wheel.

    I agree.

    Mazda just adapted the thumb wheel for the CX-7 (cloth and leather) for 09. Yes, I know, not a mid-sized sedan, so, all who want to comment on that, just save it!
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,766
    With forecast lows this week as low as 8 degrees as far south as Birmingham, AL... I'm beginning to be glad I don't live any further north!!

    Heat wave in So. Caliifornia today. It's supposed to get up to 80F! :shades: :shades:
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,897
    For me, this is a happy, happy development in the automotive world. My most important features in a vehicle list something like this:

    1. Seat warmers
    2. Automatic windows/locks
    3. Steering wheel
    4. Engine

    You get the idea. That's the one feature that makes me consciously happy every day for about 4 months of the year.

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    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • madpistolmadpistol Posts: 126
    You really appreciate it if your car sits outside during the winter. The last 2 weeks I've gotten up for school (college), my car has been covered in frost. I just go out, start the car, turn on seat warmers, windshield defroster, etc. and I go back inside for about 5 minutes. When I come back out, the seat is nice and warm and I can see out the windows in my car!

    I will admit that I'm never going to be able to buy another car unless it has seat warmers now. :P It's the little things that make people happy.
  • I'd like to start another discussion regarding the suspensions in midsize cars. My beef is this.....in recent years, I've found there to be a growing lack of soft suspensions in midsized (and even a few larger) cars. I used to have a 2000 Ford Taurus and that car had a very nice, soft suspension. It soaked up bumps and handled potholes like a trooper and I had no handling issues. I traded it in for a 2007 Accord. What a difference! I knew the suspension was stiffer but thought I could get used to it but, after a year and a half, I'm looking to trade again. Just can't take it any longer. I feel EVERY small crack in the road and forget about potholes. When one of those babies comes along, it feels like the front end is being ripped out (you can't avoid them all). What ever happened to the nice, soft, cushy suspensions like what we could get 20-30 years ago. I understand the newer "sport tuned" suspensions make the car safer and more stable but really now. Family sedans are supposed to be comfortable. I, for one, would like those cars to go back to super soft suspensions and leave the stiff, sporty suspensions to the corvettes of the world. Let's discuss :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,746
    Well, you happened to choose a car with one of the firmest, "feel every pebble" suspensions in mid-sized sedan country. But there's hope! The suspension of the 2008+ Accord is softer than the previous generation's. For what you want, I think you'll find it more to your liking. Other mid-sizers with a smooth ride are the Camry (possibly the best in terms of smoothness), the Fulan (very nice blend of ride smoothness and handling), and the Sonata (GLS or Limited trim; SE has a stiffer suspension). The Malibu and Aura are supposed to ride quite nicely also but I haven't driven them. Personally I also like the ride of the Optima; like the Fusion, a nice blend of ride smoothness and handling. I also like the way the Mazda6 rides and drives, but it may be too stiff for your taste--you could try it and see though.

    Try some of those, maybe starting with the 2008-9 Accord to compare it to what you have now, then the Camry to compare with a car optimized for ride smoothness above all else.
  • mz6greyghostmz6greyghost Posts: 1,230
    The only car up your alley would be the Camry, any model except the SE.

    Not to be sarcastic, but have you considered a Buick, notably the LaCrosse?
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    May I suggest a nice Ford Crown Victoria then?

    Soft suspensions went away partially because of the safety factor (as relates to handling and accident avoidance) but also because fewer and fewer people wanted them. Now there ARE some sedans that are softer than the Accord you drove...it's one of the firmer ones, along with Mazda and Nissan (though Nissan is probably a bit softer than the other two). Softies tend to include, as mentioned, Hyundai Sonata (non-SE), Toyota Camry, and Chevy Malibu from what I hear, but even those are firmer than the 20-30 year old cars you're yearning for.

    Fact is, the marshmallowy ride is disappearing because most people don't want it anymore, for the very reasons you mentioned: safety and stability. The more disconnected you are from the road, the harder it is to notice when you're losing control (and the harder it is to stay in control in the first place).
  • madpistolmadpistol Posts: 126
    Buick or Toyota get my vote. Nearly all of the cars in both brands are plush and supple. Any sort of Hyundai usually has very "vague" steering feel and a plush ride as well.

    Both Toyota and Hyundai have "sporty" models on their car lot as well, and you should probably avoid those. They usually have much firmer suspensions.

    On another subject, I'm pretty sure I know why most car manufacturers are starting to tune their cars on the sportier side of driving. One of the reasons is road feel; it gives most drivers a sense of control when they know what they're driving on. It also makes the car more fun for day-to-day driving. The other reason as you mentioned is safety. If the car's driver knows what they're driving on, it will usually stave off hypnotism more because it keeps the drivers interested in the ride.

    This is coming from experience. I used to own a Toyota Solara. One of the biggest problems I had in that car was the tendency to become drowsy while driving. I think this was mainly because I was not focused on the road, and the soft suspension seemed to lull me while driving. On the flip side, I now own a Nissan Altima, which has a firmer suspension and more communicative steering wheel. Because of this, I find it easier to keep myself concentrated on the drive. Thus, I am less likely to become drowsy. From my experience, I believe the Altima is the safer car simply because I'm more involved in the drive than I was in the Solara... Of course, 6 air-bags and a 5-star crash rating don't hurt the Altima's safety either. :P

    That should explain why most cars are starting to strike a balance between comfort and sport. It has also been proven that MOST people like a car that is fun to drive. :)

    BTW, I have an '08 Altima 2.5 S model, and even though it's firm, The car has never bottomed out or boomed on pot holes like you explained on your Accord. It might be worth it for you to take a look at it. ;)
  • Thank you all for your input. I didn't want to make my original post too long to start with, so here's what I've experienced so far with other cars I've test driven.

    2008 Accord LXP 4 cyl
    2009 Camry Ltd 6 cyl
    2008 Azera Ltd 6 cyl
    2009 Malibu LT 4 & 6 cyl
    2009 Impala LT 6 cyl
    2008 Fusion 4 & 6 cyl
    2008 Altima S 4 cyl

    These are the cars that most review sites claimed to have the softest suspensions (maybe except the Malibu). At the time (1-1/2 years ago), the Accord was too expensive and I'm not sure I like it enough to buy another one anyway. The suspensions on the Camry, Azera and Impala were similar and were a little softer but not enough so that would make me lose a few thousand dollars trading my accord in for them. I really like the ride on the Fusion the best but I found the 4 cyl too weak and the 6 cyl had less hp and worse mpg than the others. The Altima, in my opinion, was not much softer than my Accord. I think maybe if they could, at least, put in struts/shocks that have more travel. That might make all the difference. Driving position is also important to me and my accord SE, w/o the power seats, is not comfortable to me. My Taurus had P/S. From the test drives, the most comfortable driving positions I experienced were in order........ Azera, Impala, Fusion, Malibu, Altima, Accord, Camry. So, I'm not sure what I'm going to go with if I can't find something with a ride like a 1967 Pontiac Bonneville. ;) Just kidding....I'm not really interested in RWD's either.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Its not a midsize sedan, but might I suggest a NEW Taurus? My folks wanted a comfortable car for driving from Gulf Shores, AL to Birmingham, AL (a trip they make very regularly). They decided on the Taurus because they could get a Taurus SEL with 263hp, Leather, Sync, Convenience Pkg, etc... for cheaper than the local Honda dealer would sell them an LX 4-cyl Accord. $22k out-the-door earlier in the year.

    I own two Accords, and recommended the Taurus to them. Its obviously a softer car, with lighter steering and a softer suspension, but it is also very very quiet, and a "safe" handler, if not a canyon-carver.

    Check it out.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,746
    Wait a few weeks... then the 2010 Fusion and Milan will be out, with a more powerful but more economical I4--plus a hybrid variant with power between the I4 and V6 and great fuel economy for a mid-sized sedan.

    OTOH, if you liked the Impala, you can get a super deal right now on a closeout 2008 or, better yet, a slightly used 2008 (which I have seen advertised starting around $11k--you can likely get more than that for your 2007 Accord!). Another option is a 2008 Sonata, again available for around $11k with low miles and 3+ years of warranty left. So price should not be an issue if you want a smoother ride.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,367
    I'm glad to read the discussion about the good and bad of various suspension types. I too prefer a suspension that doesn't tranmit each pebble through the tires to the car seat. I like to travel for 7 hours and arrive feeling comfortable.

    The tire profile and type of tire is also a big factor. I dread picking a next car because many have lower profile tires which transmit more road shock. I like a suspension that has control but is able to absorb. But when the wheels and tires are low height, a lot more is going to come through.

    In some brands, going up to fancier, better equipped models also means a change in tire profile and ride.

    I had a Mustang Pace Car that had the early Michelin TRX tires that were lower profile and I realized then how much the tires contribute to the irritation of tar strips and slight bumps that get tiring after a while, and that's only my opinion.
  • I couldn't agree more about the lower profile tires. I guess that's another beef I have with the more recent cars. I prefer a good 6"+ between the wheels and the road. 17"+ wheels are just too big for my liking. My Taurus had 16" and that's as big as I want to go.

    Backy, I knew I forgot a car that I did test drive a couple of years ago, which was a Sonata, both the 4 & 6 cyl. I remember the ride being smooth and I liked the power of the V6 but still had the same issue with strut travel.....bottoming out with potholes and also sometimes going over speed bumps, etc. Also, I've been reading about too many people having issues with noisy suspensions on these cars. Not really sure what's up with that, though.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,746
    I know what you mean about feeling every pebble and low-profile tires. I happened to get a Mazda3 when I rented a car in LA recently, and at first I said, "Yay, a Mazda3!" But after being punished by LA's freeways for a couple of days, I wished I had a smoother riding car. I almost wished I had rented a Camry. Almost. :)
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    In that case I would seriously recommend to you the Lincoln Town Car or Mercury Marquis. That seems to be the road feel you're looking for if you find a Camry too firm (most of us who have experienced Camrys associate them with the old Buick plushie-ride...BTW Buick is a lot more road-connected these days too).

    When the 2010 Fusion comes out in a month or two it's going to have improved horsepower on both engines, but I DON'T know if they're making changes to the suspension. Also, test-drive the BASE wheel size in a vehicle...a lot of times upgrades get plus-size wheels which lowers the tire profile.

    A CAMRY too firm...now I've heard it all.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    My Optima is a bit too firm for me too,but one gets used to it.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,367
    >Also, test-drive the BASE wheel size in a vehicle...a lot of times upgrades get plus-size wheels which lowers the tire profile.

    >A CAMRY too firm...now I've heard it all.

    But be sure to test drive in the model you intend to purchase. If I understand, the Camry LE is softer and more Buick-like (I own two) while the SE is firmer. I had driven an SE when last shopping in 02.

    Watch the tire pressure on the vehicle you test drive. Having the tires low or high can confuse your perception of whether the ride and drive is as you yourself would prefer.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    A CAMRY too firm...now I've heard it all.

    and yet he said "I really like the ride on the Fusion" :surprise: :confuse:

    I did not even test drive a Camry, as my assumption has always been that it is among the softest riding and vaguest handling cars (I also did not like the seat, anyway...so no need to drive one).

    I'd have guessed the Fusion would be above (or below, depending on your desires) the Accord in terms firmness of ride. In any case, whatever the order between those two, I'm very surprised that someone who feels an Accord is too stiff and did not find the Camry to be different enough from the Accord, would like the Fusion's ride.
  • ventureventure Central PAPosts: 463
    Watch the tire pressure on the vehicle you test drive. Having the tires low or high can confuse your perception of whether the ride and drive is as you yourself would prefer.

    That's a mouthful.

    When I picked up my Mazda6s GT it rode very firm. Now I like a firm ride, but this was starting to worry me. Every pavement joint was a jolt.

    I checked the air pressure and each tire had 43 pounds of air. I lowered them all to 32 psi, which is what they are supposed to be, and now it's juuuust right.

    I would guess that many cars driven on test drives have not had the complete PDI done yet, or they missed that part.

    2014 Fusion, 2013 Impreza, 2011 Forester

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,822
    as a ford guy, i would say wait a bit longer then try out the fusion with the 2.5 4cyl with the 6 speed auto.
    i have an 07 awd and i really like how the 6 speed works.
    the fusion ride is a bit soft for me and rolls too much in the corners. between my wife and i we had 3 taurii, but they were all sho's. :shades:
  • Now now. If everyone had the same preferences in ride quality, everyone would be buying pretty much the same car, wouldn't they?? Everyone has their own perceptions and opinions of what is soft and what is firm and I respect that. When I read reviews on Edmunds, KBB, Car & Driver, etc and read that they concluded the ride to be very plush on cars like the Camry, Impala, Azera, etc, and that these cars had the tendancy to bounce and bob going over dips on the highway, my perception was that they would be similar to the cars of the 80's. I was just a little suprised (and maybe a little disappointed) that they weren't really that soft, that's all. I really don't want to go the large car route, like the Grand Marquis or the more expensive Town Car. That's really too big, even though I would probably come closer in achieving my objective, plus I don't want RWD. As far as Buicks go, I haven't actually driven one in probably 15 - 20 years. They have never been a car I've been drawn to but maybe I'll try one out. And, bpizutti, I never said the Camry's ride was "too firm". I said the ride was a bit softer than my Accord but not enough so that I would be willing to lose a few thousand trading it in. Reading everyone's input and opinions, it looks like I won't find that perfect ride but will have to make some compromises instead. I do appreciate and respect everyone's input in this discussion. Thanks :)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,822
    after all that, you better let us know what you decide! :)
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,266
    The Chevy Malibu LS (16" tires) comes close to the plush and quiet ride you are so desirous of. Unfortunately, the 2009 Mallibu comes with 17 inchers so I not sure if the ride characteristics are the same as the 2008.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    they concluded the ride to be very plush...these cars had the tendancy to bounce and bob going over dips on the highway, my perception was that they would be similar to the cars of the 80's. I was just a little suprised (and maybe a little disappointed) that they weren't really that soft, that's all.

    If you are looking for a land barge, maybe an older car that was soft to start with and has softened up even more with age would be appealing. My 1997 Windstar floats and jiggles and jostles it's way down the road, I like to make barge-like foghorn noises while driving it :) . I'm sure it was always soft, but I think it is even more so now than when it was new.

    If a new Camry doesn't do it, maybe a 10 year old one would give you that (lack of) feel that you seek ;) .

    You could look into softer tires, some who like a soft ride have referred to Goodyear Comfort tread tires.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    New article on Edmunds shows that the Fusion Hybrid got far less then their EPA estimates and was actually beat out by the Camry by almost 6mpg city. They did say lousy weather could account for a bit of that.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,719
    And a bunch of reporters BEAT the epa estimates, getting as much as 52 mpg.

    Not surprising from Edmunds, given their past track record.

    I can't find a link to the article.......
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