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Midsize Sedans 2.0



  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,665
    I like it. Now let's see what Ford can do with their 09 Fusion refresh.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The RX center stack looks like it was birthed from a Transformer, then beaten with the ugly stick.

    Or not.
  • Other than the wood trim I like my Otima EX dash as well or better. It's new,but nothing all that unique.(and I am a big Hyundai fan)
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    IMO, the nicest looking center stack in a ~20k sedan is the '08 Malibu's. I drove one on Saturday and was impressed with every aspect of the car. I could see myself replacing my 2003 Maxima with one when the time is right. The 3.6L V6 in the LTZ had about the same amount of power as the Maxima, but the shift points were bizarre to say the least. They really need to work on those. Otherwise the car was fantastic.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,952
    Spent some time with the new 'Bu at the Chicago Auto Show last week. I am in the market again as the 07 Mazda6 that I bought for me last year has been taken over by my wife. She really likes the way it handles and the gas mileage/large gas tank combo. Now her SUV sits the driveway. I plan on trading it in this year for another new for "me". Anyway, I wasn't impressed with the Bu even tho I was hoping to be. Everything I had read was pretty much positive but I found it to look too long, the rear end was plain and kind of ugly IMO. I was expecting a lot inside the car but was disappointed there too. It reminded me of a cheap version of the Aura. Same steering wheel and very similar door panels. Don't know why I expected different but thought they would differentiate a little more between the two on the inside like they did on the outside. I don't like it. I may end up buying another Mazda6 or possibly a Sonata this year.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    The Malibu's dash is pretty nice (LS shown, i.e. the $20k Malibu)...


    But I like the dash in the 2009 Sonata better.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It LOOKS just fine, no doubt. In the Aura as well.

    How it FEELS is where I found fault, especially the feel of the steering wheel itself. A rough grain of plastic that isn't as good as the top of the dash in the Accord. The Aura Hybrid basic model I sat in had a similar steering wheel feel as that of the plastic wheel on my Snapper Rear-Engine Rider. Since that's something you touch 100% of the time when driving, I was put off in a major way by that.

    Thanks for posting the pic, by the way.

    TheGrad :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    What trim gets you the leather covered wheel in the Malibu? On the Sonata, it's standard on SE and Limited, and comes in the "preferred package" on the GLS, which adds important stuff (for me) like a power driver's seat. Or there's those lace-on wheel covers...

    Not sure though why you are comparing the plastic on the Malibu's wheel to that of the top of the Accord's dash. Maybe the Accord's wheel to the Malibu's wheel?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    What trim gets you the leather covered wheel in the Malibu? On the Sonata, it's standard on SE and Limited, and comes in the "preferred package" on the GLS, which adds important stuff (for me) like a power driver's seat. Or there's those lace-on wheel covers...

    Not sure though why you are comparing the plastic on the Malibu's wheel to that of the top of the Accord's dash. Maybe the Accord's wheel to the Malibu's wheel?

    Because you'd think the plastic used in large swaths on a $20k car's dashboard would be of lower quality than that of a steering wheel in a car costing the same. In this case, it isn't. The Aura had a sandpaper-y feel that isn't comfortable to touch, much less hold on to for hours.

    The Accord's wheel has (well, I think the '08 had the same, I know my '06 has this:) a grippy dimpled pattern with a thick-ish rim. The Aura wheel feels much lower-class than that of the base Honda Fit and not nearly as nice as that in the Optima or Sonata.
  • I think 2LT and up Malibu models get a leather wrapped steering wheel. LS and 1LT models do not.

    I went to the Chicago Int'l Auto show yesterday and I spent some time checkin out the new Malibu, 09 Sonata, Accord Camry and Aura. I even spent time in the new Altima. I was impressed with the exterior styling of the Malibu. I've driven several basic models (LS and LT) but had yet to really get a chance to sit inside and play around with the LTZ models. I hope GM hurrry ups and offers the LTZ I4 model because I'm a big fan of the Cocoa/Cashmere interior color scheme. I didnt think I'd like the Ebony/Brick interior found on one of Dark Gray LTZ at the show but I was fairly impressed by it and that particular combination used on the Malibu looks better than the Fusion's Sports Apperance pkg red/black leather interior. Back seat room was a bit more cramped than my Altima (05) or the new Accord but it would do for someone of my height of 5' 9". I still find some fault in some of the interior materials, specifically the door panels and lower dashboard plastics but they are notably better than the plastics used in my Altima. What I found funnhy was the fact that the Aura and Malibu have similar dimensions yet the Malibu somehow felt roomier. I also found that while the Malibu's color schemes were nice the materials used inside of the car were no better quality wise than those found in the Aura, they just LOOK better. Perception is something else.

    The Accord was mah, I see them everyday and everywhere here in Chicago. I still think it has the best interior materials in this class but those buttons on the dashboard can be overwhelming. I can see why some would rate the Malibu's interior higher than the Accord's simple because the Malibu has a simplistic elegance to it's interior design and those LED lit blue gauges look very classy in the Malibu, but from a quality standpoint, the Accord's still got it over all other cars in this class, including the Sonata.

    Which brings me to my next point. I sat inside the Sonata. A couple of weeks back a Hyundai exec claimed the new Sonata, even in base form, would have a better interior than the new Malibu, I respecfully disagree. In the pictures the Sonata's interior looks very impressive, especially in beige but the Limited V6 model I sat in yesterday didnt impress me much.

    From a design stand point it's much much better than before and it's integrated audio and climate controls looks simplier to use than say the Accord's. But some of the interior materials were not high quality. For example the lower dashboard panels were rock hard, hollow sounding plastics. The "metal" looking trim is just glossy looking plastic trim and so is the so called "wood trim". But all automakers are guilty of that one. I also noticed that wood trim is used throughout the front of the Sonata's interior where its found on the dash board, and on parts of the door panels yet the rear doors have no wood at all. I found that kind of strange.

    Two other Sonata's where there as well, an SE I4 and the GLS. The cloth used in the GLS has a "buick century" feel to it. It's very soft and fur-like in feel and appearance. Really reminded me of my great uncles old Buicks from back in the day. And the cloth/leather trim on the SE didnt do it for me either. For a "sporty" sedan I didn't find the Cloth/Leather in the SE evolked what I'd called "passion" looks kinda cheap to me.

    SE models keep the same ole 17 inch wheels from the 06-08 Sonata's, Limited models get the better looking newer wheels. The from the front looks similar tot he Azera, which to me looks similar to the previous generation Acura RL. The chrome bits up front on the Limited model are basically plastic strips on the GLS and SE models and they look tacky. The all-red taillights at the back should have been left alone...they looked better than before and really make the Sonata look like an Accord from the rear..but this time like the 05 Accord, which had the "All Red" horizontal taillights instead of the red/white o
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    SE models keep the same ole 17 inch wheels from the 06-08 Sonata's, Limited models get the better looking newer wheels.

    Just shows how much personal taste comes into play on the looks of a car. I don't like the new Limited wheels at all, but love the 5-spoke alloys that are still available on the SE. And the little chrome strips on the Limited's bumpers don't do anything for may at all.

    Have you noticed though that just about every car below $30k these days (and some over $30k) uses hard plastic on the lower dash--and some on the uppoer dash? (Did you knock on the uppoer dash of the Accord, for example, and notice that it's all hard plastic?)

    The main thing I find cheap looking on the Malibu's (LS at least) interior is the controls on the center stack--they look cheap to me, black plasticy looking. Maybe they look better in person?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The picture does not do the interior justice. When I scoped out the $20 Malibu, I thought the interior was horrible. The base Camry has a better interior.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,952
    How it FEELS is where I found fault, especially the feel of the steering wheel itself. A rough grain of plastic that isn't as good as the top of the dash in the Accord.

    That's exactly what I noticed about the "feel" inside the Malibu. Believe me, I drove a lot of GM products, from a 1960 Biscayne to a 1993 LaSabre Limited and a lot of others inbetween. I always liked the materials used in the interiors. Mechanics and dependability in the 80s and 90s are something else again, however. Anyway, I was looking forward to liking the Malibu and possibly considering for a purchase later this year but have now pretty much ruled it out. Haven't drove it but from the overall looks and interior quality, I don't think I will.
  • Attending the local Auto Show this past weekend yielded a different set of opinions from me. The Malibu (in LTZ trim) had a very nice interior, IMO better than the Aura XR interior. The leather was supple and comfortable, and everything was nice to the touch, including all the switchgear and the steering wheel.

    Sitting in the Accord only reinforced my opinions that I formed from observing my co-workers '08 a few months ago, disappointing. I personally can't stand the switchgear in the center stack, no sense of order or flow at all. It looks to me like they mixed all the radio/HVAC controls in a hat, then threw them on the center stack. The dashboard itself felt cheap as well, almost as bad as a Chrysler product. The seats were nice, and the other materials looked and felt good, but IMO the current Accord is worse than the previous-gen in the interior and looks department.

    The Sebring/Avenger? Didn't bother to sit in them, since the plastic screamed CHEAP from 20 feet away! No amount of heated or cooled cupholders can change how bad Chrysler has gotten with interiors.

    The Fulans were the same to me as before, a great effort from Ford, although strangely, they're now just as nice in terms of materials and fit-and-finish as the current-gen Accord...

    BTW, m6user, can you wait for the second-gen 6 to be released for '09? That'll really make your wife jealous... :)
  • Yea I noticed the Accord's hard materials on top of the dash, but here's where I note the differences. The Accord's materials are harder to the touch, but have a more sold feel to them, from the graining of the dash board plastics to the tactile feel of the buttons (the only button that felt remotely cheap on the Accord was the ugly looking audio volume control on non-Navi models) other than that the materials had a higher quality feel to them than any other car i sat in.

    As far as design and colors I think the Malibu is best...can't beat the Cocoa/Cashmere but some of the materials, especially those door panels look plain. I feel the same way about the Sonata's rear door panels. Some wood trim or even metal trim would go a long way toward giving it a better look back there.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,952
    Yeah, I can wait but not sure if I want to. I wish I had more details on overall size, powertrains and availability date of the new Mazda6. We have three cars for the two of us so I'm not pressed for time except for a depreciating vehicle that neither of us wants to drive that much.

    I really like the current size/shape/looks and price of the current M6. So much so that I would consider having two in the garage which is something I've never done before. It kind of seems like "steady sweaters" or something and not sure if I would like it or not. However, I really like the Mazda6 as it presently stands. The pics I've seen of the Euro 6 are pretty sharp though. Decisions, decisions!
  • Wow! This is Sonata interior?!? IT looks AMAZING!!! :surprise: The only thing I would change is the a/c vents on the center stack. I like the traditional placement(i.e. horizontal) better.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    That's kind of funny, because one of the things the 2006-8 Sonsta got ripped on was the placement of the center-stack vents. :sick:
  • Well, the 06-08 vents do look a little odd. What I am saying is it would look better if they placed the a/c vents, with this new design, horizontally(instead of vertically) at the top or near top of center stack. Just like pretty much everything else in this class does ie. Accord, Camry and Altima etc... I don't know, could be just me. Maybe they want to attract some of those Lexus RX buyers? :D
    Regardless, this new Sonata design certainly looks a lot better and is a major improvement over its predecessor(or I should say unrefreshened predecessor)!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Last time I checked, Altima uses round vents.

    Whenever there is anything on the Sonata remotely like the Camcord, there are those who are quick to point it out. So in this case Hyundai went in a different direction, and that doesn't work either apparently. I don't see any advantage to the boring, same-old, rectangular vents used by the Camcord et. al. compared to the vertical, tapered vents of the new Sonata.
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