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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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Comments

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    The Mazda6 s and CX-9 both use Ford's 3.7L V6 (the same one you'll find under the hood of the 2009 Lincoln MKS).

    Not quite. Mazda assembles their own 3.7L in Japan now and while it does share a lot of components it is not the same engine as the Lincoln 3.7L.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Had the opportunity to test drive a few cars yesterday with my girlfriend. Drove a Ford Fusion SE I4 5AT, Moonroof and 6CD and Pontiac G6 GT V6 4AT, Moonroof, 6CD. I must say, I had forgotten just how good the Fusion is. We drove it first, and it blew me away relative to the Pontiac. The G6 had good power, but I'd take the Fusion, considering they were the same price. The Ford's steering is simply sublime, nicely weighted and very communicative, as good as my 06 Accord. The G6 also had weighty steering, but it didn't offer much more feel than the Camry I drove recently.

    The GF liked the Pontiac more, I think, based on power and looks (black on black, tinted windows, with 5-spoke chrome wheels; the fusion was beige with the 16" 5-spoke alloys), but the fact that the G6 had more than one piece of trim falling apart inside I think helped make the case for the Fusion for her. The Fusion has 25k miles, the G6, 35k.

    She's replacing her '01 Saturn SC1, whose transmission is dying at 89k miles, and wants more power, more size, for around $15k-16k. Both of these cars listed for $17,500 but were offered for $15,900.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I think you might be able to get either one for significantly below the $15.9k mark.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yeah, the Fusion's book value is in the fourteens.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Ford made a very unwise decision NOT updating the U.S. market Focus when the Euro version was redesigned.

    Actually they made a very reasonable business decision based on the fact that American's expect small cars to be cheap. For the most part, American's value (or perhaps we can now say had valued) vehicles based dollars per pound. This is why the SUVs and trucks were big profit generators, while Focii (updated or not) were money losers.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    We've reached the point where some 2006 Fusions are now hitting the market below $10k. A couple of caveats, though: side airbags and ABS were optional at the start of production. Unfortunately the Fusion did not fare well in crash tests without the side bags.

    IIRC side airbags were made standard in '07, but ABS was optional till '08.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    To be fair to this Fusion we looked at, it was quite clean, smelled clean, hadn't been wrecked, and it was a low-mileage example, and has exactly the options she's looking for (which is essentially equipped like my 06 EX Cloth Accord). Don't know whether or not it had ABS, but glad to know it had SAB.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    BM (Before Mulally) Ford North America and Ford Europe operated as totally separate entities and only shared platforms if they felt like it. There was no corporate mandate to share platforms or even work together. At the time the Focus was losing $3K per unit and was viewed as a necessary evil to support CAFE. Mulally changed all that and now we have the Fiesta and Focus coming and they will not only be better vehicles but they'll be profitable. Ford no longer views small cars as lost leaders or CAFE boosters.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Ford no longer views small cars as lost leaders or CAFE boosters.

    This is a very good thing. Now if they can just get some of their Euro-diesels certified for the US, that will be an even better thing.

    And I suppose their next midsize sedan for the US market will share some major components with the Mondeo. As much as I like the Fusion, I think greater cross-pollination with the Mondeo will likely improve the breed further.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    Yes, the next gen Fusion and Mondeo will share the same platform. The reason they don't is the same as the Focus. This should yield huge cost savings.

    More importantly, they'll have desirable vehicles across the lineup that will make it more likely for a current Ford customer to remain a Ford customer.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    More importantly, they'll have desirable vehicles across the lineup that will make it more likely for a current Ford customer to remain a Ford customer.

    This is how Honda built its (borderline fanatical) following. I would be delighted to see Ford do likewise. There will almost certainly be a new Fusion in my driveway, as soon as I get tired of my ten-year-old Civic.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Ford no longer views small cars as lost (sic) leaders

    I think that more important is that they believe that they can no longer expect customers to give them huge profit margins on trucks and SUVs. If these small cars are going to be profitable, does that not mean the transaction prices are going to have to go way up?

    If the price of a Focus gets to be too close to the Fusion, I think they will have trouble selling the Focus.
  • tenpin288tenpin288 Posts: 804
    If the price of a Focus gets to be too close to the Fusion, I think they will have trouble selling the Focus.

    That could happen even without pricing issues if this IIHS test gets a lot of play in the public's eye.

    SubCompact vs MidSize Crash Test

    :(
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,675
    Sharing platforms will cut out a lot of the cost of both the Focus and Fusion platforms, and they will now offer more options and features. A fully loaded Focus will cost the same or more than a base Fusion, but I'm pretty sure that's how Honda has operated with the Civic and Accord.

    The problem with the Focus isn't the MSRP - it's the $3K incentive that's been needed to sell them the last few years. Having a better car with more options and class leading fuel economy should eliminate those big incentives (along with right sizing production volumes). That plus the cost savings from shared platform development should easily yield a profit without raising MSRP much. Besides, it's ok to have overlap between a loaded model and the next higher base model. Doesn't Honda do that now with the Fit/Civic/Accord?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Well, of course I am talking about similarly equipped cars. If they end up with a comparable Fusion costing, say, $1k more than a Focus a lot of buyers will, I think, move to the larger car. My understanding si that this was one probelm they had the last time they tried a "world car" strategy...the Contour price was too close to the Taurus.

    If the idea is the average $3k inncentive for the focus will go away, then the average transaction price would increase by $3K....that'd be a big price increase.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,627
    some of it depends on fuel prices. i traded my '04 focus on a fusion. a couple of weeks ago, i got an 08 auto focus (kind of a joke there) as a loaner.
    when pushing some buttons, i came across the avg mpg. it read over 36.
    i thought to myself, that can't be right, so i reset it.
    when i turned it in, it read 33 mpg, which pretty much gave me something to think about.
    the car felt a lot heavier, not as much fun to drive, but the mpg was an eye opener.
    a non hybrid fusion is not going to get anywhere near it.
  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    A co-worker bought an 08 Focus SEL in the darker blue color. This little car is pretty nice. I was surprised how quiet it was inside. Interior was very tight and well put together. Not a bad car in my opinion.
  • mikemartinmikemartin Posts: 205
    When I took my RX-8 in for a TSB on the battery, they gave me automatic Focus (2008) and it the transmission was a slushbox, the seats were extremely uncomfortable, the trim was industrial grade, and the suspension was sloppy especially by Civic standards.

    However, it was great on gas and it was very quiet on the inside at speed, with well weighted steering. And even though the trim was industrial grade, fit and finish was very decent for the econobox league.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,627
    although this is really a midsize discussion board, i agree with most of what you say about the focus. 2 questions, did you check the tire pressures and did you drive it at night?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,695
    A friend showed me her "new" (new for her anyway) 2008 Passat 2.0T mid-sized sedan this weekend. It has only 6000 miles on it and has five years and 68k of warranty left, and she got a great deal on it. It's black/black with leather and moonroof. Very sharp car, really a notch above most other cars in this class--and priced like it (MSRP on this one was about $28k). It had little touches you don't find on cars of this class such as sunshades for the back side windows and a ski pass-through under the rear center armrest. Typical VW blue/red IP; that and some of the secondary controls reminded me of the Jetta/Rabbit. Great active/passive safety and a huge trunk to boot (no pun intended). Great performance (more like that of a V6 than an I4) and handling also. I can see why MT put the Passat at the top of the mid-sized sedan heap when they tested 10 of them awhile back. But unless you get a deal like this person did (it was around $19.7k), it gets pretty pricey for the class.

    One odd thing though is that the car has a timing belt, with a scheduled replacement interval of 105k miles. (Someone who knows VWs can check me on that.) If true, that's a reasonable change interval, but it seems strange that the 2.0T wouldn't have gone to a timing chain like other VW engines have, including the 2.5 in the Jetta/Rabbit. Most of the other cars in this class use timing chains, with one exception I know of the old 2.7L V6 in the Optima.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,682
    but a little bug told me to avoid new VW's like the plague. Because they don't hold up mechanically over the long haul. I would trust Mitsubishi products and even Kia/Hyundai products to be better-made and better Warrantied, and indeed they are. When I think VW, I think over-priced and lesser-backed by the manufacturer, not a good combo.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,695
    If I were to buy a two-year-old Hyundai or Mitsubishi, I would get only 3 years and the remainder of 60k miles of bumper-to-bumper warranty. I got four years and the remainder of 74k miles of bumper-to-bumper warranty on the two-year-old VW I just bought. My friend got five years and 68k miles of b2b warranty on her one-year-old Passat. Which is better backed? The Hyundai/Mitsubishi or the VW?

    As for reliability, the '08 Passat my friend just bought is rated "above average" in reliability by CR. (My Rabbit is also "above average".) The Galant? Not even enough of them sold to be able to rate for reliability. But CR ranks the Eclipse as Average and Outlander as Above Average. I don't see a big difference there.

    Anyway, if I were to buy a Mitsubishi (a Galant, for this discussion), then I'd have to drive it every day. :( :sick: :cry:
  • berriberri Posts: 4,159
    Believe it or not, I've actually gotten a couple of VW as rentals. Fun to drive and nice interior, maybe the quality and reliability has improved, but the prices seem steep compared to the competition. That may not be a problem in Europe given the heavy unionization there, but I think may become a problem selling in Asia and western hemisphere. The again, they seem to be going the Toyota route and building factories in their overseas markets so that may overcome the obstacle.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,966
    V'dub is just slightly behind Toyota in worldwide sales and is poised to overtake in the near future. They are huge in China, South America and have shown a smaller drop in sales in the N. America market than most. I think the quality has gotten better from what I've read but has a long ways to go to overcome the perception of low quality (Ford is fighting same battle). Also, if you read the VW forums, it seems VW dealers are pretty much abhored from both the sales and backshop sides. The dealers may end up being their Achilles heel in the U.S. if they don't address them as well as increasing quality.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    The again, they seem to be going the Toyota route and building factories in their overseas markets so that may overcome the obstacle.

    Actually VW pioneered this approach in Latin America where protectionist policies made it difficult for vehicle importers to gain a foothold. VW's Brazilian arm was established back in the early 1950s. (Of course, we could call it the "Ford route" since Ford established its first UK assembly plant in 1914. . .)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Also, if you read the VW forums, it seems VW dealers are pretty much abhored from both the sales and backshop sides. The dealers may end up being their Achilles heel in the U.S. if they don't address them as well as increasing quality.

    Excellent point. Even if people buy a car knowing it doesn't lead in reliability, they at least expect good customer service when having maintenance and repairs done. My Accord (the 2006) had quite a few quality problems early in life (minor things... loose rear-view mirror glass, stuck fuel flap, CD Changer malfunction), but the fact that I was so well taken care of comfort me for down the road if/when other things crop up.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,966
    Exactly. I had a 93 LeSabre which I really liked and felt gave me good service(kept 13 years). When I had "Kars for Kids" tow it away I pulled out the maint folder from my desk and went through it.
    Wow. I had a lot of repairs both under warranty and out of warranty over the years. The Buick dealer treated me so well and I enjoyed the car so much that it didn't bother me all that much. If I had had a hassle every time I returned to the dealer my whole experience would have been tainted big time.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,159
    I sure haven't been impressed by Honda service and it is way too expensive compared to Ford and Toyota (around here at least).
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The oil change on my 4-cyl Accord is cheaper than that on my parents' V6 3.5L Taurus, so the prices are fairly similar here. $34.95 compared to $37. Of course, I always have a coupon for a $24.95 one that I use.

    I was really talking about the personal customer service, though, not the price or actual parts. The local Ford dealer has been good, although with only two services so far, its hard to say how it'll be. We've got high hopes though.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,695
    If I had to rank the mid-sized cars by the experience I've had at dealer service departments over the years, here it is (best to worst):

    Dodge Avenger
    Chrysler Sebring
    Mazda6
    Hyundai Sonata/Mitsubishi Galant
    VW Passat
    Nissan Altima
    Toyota Camry
    Honda Accord
    Mercury Milan

    Not enough experience with dealer service to rate:

    Chevy Malibu, Saturn Aura, Kia Optima, Subaru Legacy, Ford Fusion

    If I were rating the cars based on the cars vs. dealership service, the list would look much, much different.
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