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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Since when is 3,400 lbs (the curb weight of the current TSX) "almost 4,000?"

    Since some folks can't tell a TSX from a TL from an RL. Either that, or the TSX the previous poster drove had three corpses in the trunk.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Well, I might be willing to give your theory a try and consider RWD, but since I am not willing to pay BMW or Mercedes prices or drive a Miata this does not seem to be an option.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,851
    edited October 2010
    I'm going with the latter.
    Daman92, please use your own words, posted on this site (not linked to another) to discuss your feelings about vehicles.

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

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The 4 cylinder is 3400 lbs dry weight, but add in a normal driver, fuel, and so on, and the weight is at 3700+ lbs going down the road. The 6 cylinder is just approaching 4000 pounds and with the V6's power, it's got all of the FWD issues associated with it. Note - the Camry, Accord, and many others also suffer the same fate with their V6 versions, so it's not just a problem with this vehicle.

    The previous generation came in at just over 3500lbs using the same standards. It's heavy but barely tolerable, IMO. Though, closer to 3000lbs would be better.(does anyone even make a 3000lb mid-size car any more?)
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I don't think there are any midsize cars under 3000 lbs. I believe IIHS categorizes cars strictly by weight and 3000-3500 pound is their "midsize", while 2500-3000 pounds is small. There are no midsize cars in their list of 2500-3000 pound cars:

    http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=40

    In fact, their midsize category includes some compact sedans: Audi A3, VW Jetta, Volvo S40.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I think the lightest of the major midsize players is probably the Sonata, with a base curb weight just under 3200 lbs.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,295
    edited October 2010
    even smaller units like the Cruze and Jetta (big compacts/small mid size) are pushing 3,200#s curb weight now. Tiny things like a Fiesta are probably in the 2,600-2,700 range.

    Safety and gizmos add weight.

    The 1991 626 I mentioned the other day, at 179", also only weighed about 2,600-2,700#s depending on model, and that was not stripped either.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,966
    Actually, according to Edmunds, the Altima 2.5 I4 auto weighs less than the Sonata GLS by 19 lbs. 3180 for the Altima vs. 3199 for the Sonata.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    And AWD is a worse situation in most cases as it imparts a false level of security, which leads to stupid decisions more often than not. At this point, it makes little to no difference.

    AWD does not forgive the need for using common sense when driving, but, it provides far superior drivability on both wet and dry pavement. To even think of discounting the benefits of AWD is complete ignorance.

    I have owned FWD, AWD and RWD, and I would take an AWD car in the snow every dave of the week and twice on Sunday's over a RWD car. Having snow's on a FWD or RWD does help with traction, but, still not as good as AWD.

    RWD was never an issue for generations until little 2000lb and under cars came out and lacked the mass to dig down and hold onto the snow without FWD.

    Name 1 RWD car over the last 30 years that are a "little over 2000lbs". I can only think of one....the Mazda MX-5 Miata.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,295
    well, going back a ways, one of th ebest cars ever in the snow was the VW beetle. RWD and way less than 1 ton! Of course, the engine in the back probably helped.

    But, someone above mentioned the advent of really wide wheels/tires as helping. If anything, that is a negative in the snow. Wide tires become tobaggons. Skinny ones (like on a beetle) dig in and head for traction.

    as to the QWD debate, it is usually argued as FWD/RWD with snows vs. AWD with AS tires. And in that case, I am taking the tires. But, logically, winter tires on an AWD car should be the best option.

    Keep in mind though that while AWD helps in certain conditions, you are always dragging around extra weight, friction losses, and paying more for the privilege!

    so the best choice probably depends on where you live and what conditions you drive in. And if you really need significant snow mobile abilities, might want something other than a mid size sedan!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,234
    I think friction losses are far less than they used to be. My CUV gains 144 pounds and loses 1 MPG going from FWD to AWD. Those are small enough differences that they aren't worth worrying about. Using the EPA combined MPG estimates and assuming 12K miles/year the loss in efficiency costs less than 3 gallons of gas a year. Other than the upfront cost of the AWD system I'm not paying particularly much for the privilege of having it available.

    I've lived in the snow belt (Illinois & Indiana) all my life. I grew up on RWD cars but have spent most of the last 25 years with FWD cars. I've never done chains or winter tires. If the roads were so bad that those would be required I'd simply stay home. Now that I have AWD, my definition of "so bad" has shifted but the same rule applies. If the weather doesn't want me on the road, on the road I shall not be.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,674
    AWD gets you going in slippery conditions and prevents you from getting stuck. However, it does nothing to help you stop or steer. A lot of people overdrive their traction with AWD and 4WD vehicles and that leads to problems. It's not the vehicle - it's the drivers.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,622
    Here in New England, many people are willing to trade off some lost performance/fuel mileage for AWD.
    Snow tires are nice, but you never know when you will need them.
  • xmechxmech Posts: 90
    I know this is sponsored by Subaru, but it's still very enlightening. Be careful what the maker of your car defines as AWD...

    Subaru AWD test
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,234
    Yeah, but as noted in the comments, for the Honda & Toyota vehicles Subaru left traction control on which means wheel spin was stopped before the transfer of power from front to rear could occur. That pretty much invalidates the test.

    Of course, I'm not saying that CR-V and Highlander drivers understand AWD systems enough to know that they might need to turn off TC/VSA in their quest for traction since it's somewhat counter-intuitive, but Subaru should have known better and at least shown the test with TC both on & off.

    Subaru's Marketing Dept. at work...
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I think AWD is oversold, but my understanding is that Subaru, Audi, VW do have a superior system to others.

    As for traction control, if I am driving, the traction control is going to be on...especially if there is ice and snow. The only exception would be if you want to spin the wheels due to being stuck in snow. I don't understand this system that does not work with traction control, I'd think if front wheels lose traction power should automatically shift to rear wheels. I should not have to turn traction control off for this to happen.
  • I guess I don't really understand reviewers.

    The following is what I recall from my own research from all sorts of sources, so I can't provide a link.

    The 2009 Mazda6 is just barely smaller than the largest car in the class (the Accord).

    It has the biggest trunk in its class.

    It has the tightest turning radius in its class.

    Some reviewers complained that getting bigger made it less maneuverable...I have to wonder if they actually drove the car, because other reviewers said it had the steering precision you come to expect from Mazda, and I myself thought it was every bit as nimble as the 2010 Mazda3 despite its larger size.

    Reviewers complained that the 4-cyl was underpowered, even if it got gas mileage similar to its rivals.
    Then reviewers complained that the 6-cyl got slightly worse gas mileage than its rivals, even though it had plenty of power and torque.

    The Accord does get better gas mileage than the Mazda6, but it attains the better mileage by cutting sound insulation so road noise is significantly louder in the Accord than the Mazda6. And the Mazda6 is universally praised as being more fun to drive. So the Mazda6 is the car to look at if you want large size, good handling, and relatively quite noise, if you are willing to accept slightly worse gas mileage as a trade-off.

    Despite the previously-mentioned complaints about the larger size negatively impacting handling and lack of power in the 4-cyl, reviewers almost universally agreed the Mazda6 is the 2nd sportiest vehicle, exceeded only by the Altima...but most reviewers agree the Altima's ride is far more harsh, as well as significantly smaller. (and some reviewers HATE the Altima's CVT). So the Mazda6 is the car to look at if you want a sporty car that is still smooth over bumps.

    Exterior styling is according to personal taste, but lots of reviewers think it looks the best. In any case, it is clearly better than the Accord, and a toss-up with any other car.

    Interior styling is less subjective, and the Mazda6 always gets high marks for materials, layout, and appearance.

    If that weren't enough, Mazda has apparently done a great job packaging options into the trim levels, so you can get base luxuries like cruise control, auto, door locks, and traction/stability control at a cheaper price than most.

    So if you want a low-priced car that handles well (nearly best in class), is smooth over bumps, has plenty of size for passengers and cargo (class leading or too close to matter), is relatively quiet on the road, and has a decent record for reliability, the Mazda6 should be on your short list.

    That it isn't recommended more by reviewers is inexplicable to me.

    The Mazda6 is up 48% over last year's sales. Unfortunately, last year's sales weren't all that hot.

    By now, however, it is 2 years old. Newer competitors (like the Hyundai Sonata) have newer technology. But the 2011 Mazda6 (due in the Spring, I think?), should be a strong candidate for good sales.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    edited October 2010
    "you can get base luxuries like cruise control, auto, door locks, and traction/stability control at a cheaper price than most."

    Luxuries? I don't think these are considered luxuries any longer. Aside from the automatic, aren't these items standard in even the lowest trim level of any midsize car?

    As for the auto, that would always be available as a separate add on to the base trim level.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    AWD gets you going in slippery conditions and prevents you from getting stuck. However, it does nothing to help you stop or steer.

    Correct. And this is why it's a trap. Transferring power back and forth just doesn't work at all. They all it all-wheel-drive, but it's really a part-time FWD/RWD transfer system. So of course it gets nearly the same mpg. It's in 2WD mode 99% of the time. Compare that to a 4X4 or full-time system which really does work to keep you on the road in snow and bad weather.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,674
    Not sure about other systems but Ford's system doesn't just transfer 100% of the torque from front to rear so in most cases there would be torque on both the front and rear. Also remember Ford's AWD system is 100% electronic and can therefore transfer torque in anticipation of slippage before it occurs - such as accelerating while cornering.

    Ford's system could split torque differently if needed since it's all electronic (note the 2011 Explorer - same hardware) - but in a passenger car it's not at all necessary most of the time.

    It would be nice to be able to lock in a 50/50 torque split for slippery conditions. I'm sure there's a reason they don't do it.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,234
    Not quite. These systems don't move from FWD to RWD. They move from FWD to a blend of split power between front & rear wheels. They're still typically front-biased but even sending, say, 30% of the power to the rear can help move the vehicle. Maybe not uphill on ice as simulated in the video but through more common conditions like a slushy parking lot.

    Some systems also include side-to-side differentials. On my vehicle the FWD power can also be split between either of the front wheels. Which is how it can also help you steer in adverse conditions. It also offers an electronically controlled 4x4 Lock mode but I doubt I'll ever use it as I've no need to do true off-roading.

    I do agree, though, that AWD doesn't help when it comes to braking. Engine braking, perhaps, but not normal braking. And I think there's a general consensus that the AWD systems in the CR-V and Highlander (and RAV4) aren't exactly the best. They're easily more primitive than Subaru's system.

    But little of this discussion is germane to midsize sedans since few offer AWD.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,674
    On my vehicle the FWD power can also be split between either of the front wheels. Which is how it can also help you steer in adverse conditions.

    On dry pavement that can help by causing the outside wheel in a turn to get more power.

    But in adverse conditions moving the torque side to side won't help. Either the front tires have grip or they don't and that's what affects steeering.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    edited October 2010

    But little of this discussion is germane to midsize sedans since few offer AWD.


    Fusion
    Legacy
    Kizashi
    LaCrosse (though some would call it full-size)

    I wonder if we will see others soon? Or is the cost of developing an AWD system so high that it doesn't pay off at this price point?
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,234
    I don't think the R&D is too onerous. Like the engines and many other components, the AWD systems can be adaptations of the systems developed for the CUV that runs on the same platform. For instance, if the Edge & Fusion run on the same underlying platform I'd wager their AWD systems were related (though probably not identical). Likewise the Legacy/Outback and probably Tribeca.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Then it shouldn't be too hard for there to be

    --a Camry All-Trac with Highlander/RAV components
    --an AWD Altima with Murano drivetrain
    --an AWD Mazda6
    --an AWD Sonata (borrowing heavily from the Santa Fe)

    Etc. I know my friends in Canada and upstate NY would appreciate having these choices.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,234
    It isn't hard from a technology standpoint. The hard part is the same as it is for manual transmissions in family sedans: Convincing the automakers that enough sales would follow to make the move profitable.

    Of the above AWD midsizers, Legacy aside, what percent are sold with AWD? I see plenty of Fusions around, for instance, but it's pretty rare to see one with AWD badging.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    You're probably right. It wouldn't be hard to develop AWD variants of these sedans.

    But I'm not sure that this would make much business sense. These AWD sedans, if they were available, would only cannibalize SUV sales. Why go to the trouble & expense of building an AWD Altima for a customer who would have bought a Murano anyway? I doubt if you would see a significant net sales increase.

    Something else to keep in mind is that many buyers in rural areas (upstate NY comes to mind) want the increased ground clearance that an SUV provides.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,622
    You do have a point about poaching your own sales, but i think an AWD Altima would take sales from the Infiniti Gx models.
    On the other hand, Hyundai wouldn't poach from other sedans they sell.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,622
    Interesting video, although I think it was produced by a Subaru dealer, not corporate.
    I wish they had compared against the Ford AWD system, since I have a few of those in my driveway.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    You do have a point about poaching your own sales, but i think an AWD Altima would take sales from the Infiniti Gx models.

    From Nissan's corporate perspective, that's an excellent reason not to bring out an AWD Altima. Why tempt a customer with a cheaper alternative if he's willing to pay for the premium model?

    Having AWD sedans in the lineup is one way that Infiniti dealerships can differentiate themselves from Nissan dealerships.
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