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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • mtnman1mtnman1 Westerville, OhioPosts: 383
    I was just over at my local Kia Dealership getting a recall taken care of on my 2011 Sorento. They had a loaded Optima EX on the showroom floor. Had everything: Heated and Cooled front seats, Heated rear seats, Heated Steering Wheel, Nav, Panaromic roof, Etc. Was Pearl white with the beige interior. Fantastic car for a Msrp of $27,500 I think it was. I would have loved to taken a test drive, but I knew it would be a bad idea. I have a 2009 Ford Fusion SEL V6 that is loaded with only 28,000 miles on it, so it will be awhile before I'm in the market again. Probably another 4 years after my youngest graduates from college. With tuition and room and board at the school he wants to go to it's about $47,000/yr. Even with the scholorship money it's going to be expensive. Too bad. This car is going to be hot for Kia. Of course, by not driving it I can't really judge whether I would actually buy it.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I have a Fusion Sport now, and hands down it is a far better car than the Camry. With the Toyotas, after a year of driving them I was eager to get rid of them, I don't feel that way about the Fusion, and that is saying a lot.
    ***

    Vanilla with sprinkles is better than vanilla. ;) Ford is making a lot of good vehicles lately, and the year end discounts are quite attractive. Toyota simply never offers them, of maybe it's a once in a blue moon $500 incentive.
  • Toyota simply never offers them, of maybe it's a once in a blue moon $500 incentive.

    That used to be the case, but not anymore. Ever since the bottom fell out of Toyota's "quality" reputation (via their recalls and their admitted deception to the government and customers), I've seen a lot more rebates/incentives offered for the Camry for '11 than ever before. In fact, Toyota in general has had a lot of TV time lately, promoting rebates and incentives that were unheard of only 2 years ago.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,221
    $1500 on the hood of every '11 Camry here in western PA right now. I think it was about $1k more around the holidays for the '10 models.
  • ...6 months driving my 2010 Mazda6 iSport. Still loving it. Never once felt it was underpowered. Still get a thrill any time I use the steering wheel at speeds above 40, due to the fluid response. Continually impressed by the smooth, solid braking.

    If it isn't the perfect family sports sedan, at least it is the perfect family sports sedan for me.
  • I recently bought for one of my daughters a fully-loaded (everything but nav) 2011 Fusion Sport for just under $25,000 (cash price). This car is more fun to drive than my other daughter's Audi A4 and has more technology than my A6. It is a lot of car for the $$. Ford has a winner.
  • azorglubazorglub Posts: 43
    in the US, it'd be great. I had a 2004 Mazda6 hatchback, and it's so much more practical than the sedan. They still produce the H/B for other markets. I wish they'd sell it here.
  • ctlctl Posts: 123
    edited March 2011
    A copy of older Mazda6 is better than A4 and A6? says much about Audi or the last gen Mazda6 maybe? :)
  • How are the reliabilty on the new Mazda 6's? I'm looking @ the 2010 2011 models
  • Initial fit/finish was flawless on my 2010 Mazda6.

    Zero problems of any kind in my first 6 months of ownership.

    But I think The Truth About Cars has a reliability check webpage, along with real gas mileage results.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    The April C/D has an interesting article that details the US/Canadian content of all vehicles made in North America. It says that for a vehicle to be considered "domestic" by Uncle Sam, it needs to have at least 75% US/Canadian content. By that measure, there's only 4 "domestic" mid-sized family cars available today: Accord, Camry, Malibu, and 200. Accord and Camry have the highest percentage, 80%. Only a few vehicles, and only one car, have more US/Canadian content than that: Explorer/Mountaineer (85%, but 2010 Explorer had 90%), Dakota (84%), 2011 Focus (84%), and Grand Caravan (82%).

    Lowest US/Canadian content of the mid-sized family sedans built in NA: Fusion, with 20%.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    This is obviously not the same as "U.S. Made", either, since Shipping jobs and money to Canada is really no better for our economy that giving the money to China. Once it's across the borders, it's a job that's lost.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    edited March 2011
    Based on the figures in C/D, there is no "U.S. Made" vehicle today, if your criterion for that is all parts and manufacturing from the U.S.

    Anyway, your comment is somewhat off-topic, as there are no mid-sized family cars made/assembled in Canada.
  • acdiiacdii Posts: 753
    So my Flex is Domestic but my Fusion isn't, that's crazy. It doesn't matter, the end result is the dollars that go to the company end up in the US, where the toyota and honda dollars end up in Japan.

    Now if it weren't for the Unions with their overly high priced workers, more domestics would be built here in the US, and not in other countries where labor is cheaper. I read somewhere the average worker in the UAW costs the auto manufacturer something like $80 an hour after all the wages and healthcare and retirement plan are added up. An average work day of an 8 hour shift with say 250 workers adds up to $160,000 a day, pretty damned expensive.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,037
    So there is no profit for anybody in the manufacturing process of a car but the car company itself? Very simplistic view. Wages would be considered a profit to the worker. Most of the material and parts that go into cars are not made by the car company so there is profit on each and every pound of steel and plastic part etc that goes into it. If the wages and 80% of the material to build the car are not US, then yes, I would say that most of the profit doesn't come or stay here either.

    They say that for every car manufacturing job in the US there are 4 other jobs supporting it from parts to lunches(and beer and pot in Chrysler's case...wink, wink). All those profits and jobs disappear when the jobs are moved offshore. Like the Fusion built in Mexico. Who supplies all those workers with health care, food, housing, etc. etc etc.? Not Americans.

    As far as the unions go, the car manufacturers agreed to all those wages and benefits at a time when they were raking in the money because there was no real competition. They agreed to avoid strikes and a blip in their tremendous cash/profit flow. It came back to haunt them and us, the US taxpayer. There is enough blame for everyone to take their fair share.

    I personally don't care for most modern day unions either but at one time they were necessary. The greedy took them over just like the management in the early auto companies did and here we are.
  • altima1altima1 Posts: 4
    I saw the 2012 Passat at the Toronto Auto Show last week. Wow, what a disappointment! It looks like the old version of the Hyundai Sonata - with a cheap interior, poor seats, no rear heat ducts, made in Mexico and an outdated, underpowered and uncompetitive base engine (170 hp). How is this supposed to compete with an Optima, Accord or Altima? As a Passat owner, what will this mean for my resale value as the whole brand has been dragged downmarket with the new Jetta and now the new Passat. I know VW wants to dominate with sales ... but selling cheap cars over innovative design is not the way to do it! Are VW and Hyundai destined to trade places?
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,774
    So my Flex is Domestic but my Fusion isn't, that's crazy. It doesn't matter, the end result is the dollars that go to the company end up in the US, where the toyota and honda dollars end up in Japan.

    This is such an old and trite argument, and is mostly incorrect.

    The dollars spent on a vehicle go something roughly like this:

    Dealer profit - 5%
    Cost of manufacturing - 70% (includes workers, plant, suppliers (whether domestic or foreign), utilities, local plant services such as food, etc.
    Transportation, advertising - 15%
    Profit to parent company - 0-10% (if company is profitable at all)

    So if a car is assembled in the US, most of the manufacturing costs are spent here. The parts which are domestic are bought here. Only the foreign-sourced parts have money going somewhere else, and even that might not be to the parent company's country in many cases.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Actually, your Flex isn't "domestic" either--only 65% US/Canadian content.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    I would rather the union members get the money,than the stock owners and executives of the American brands.BTW those assembling Hondas,Toyotas and other Asian brands in the US are not in unions.
  • samm43samm43 Posts: 195
    I drove a mid trim 2011 2.5 Jetta yesterday. The seats were fine. Good in fact. It had a manual height adjuster that didn't try to tip you out of it the higher you went, as so many others do. The doors have 3 distinct and well weighted opening and closing detents. Closing the door is vault-like from outside or inside the car.

    There were the usual VW idiosyncratic switch gear oddities inside (cruise control and intermittent wipers for example) but generally most had good feel. EXCEPT for the mirror controls in both electric and manual trim levels. They felt vague, rubbery and when turning to get mirror heat, they made you feel like you are on the road to break something. They reminded me of the mirror switches from their models from almost 20 years ago. There were also a couple other things that reminded me of some stubbornness that VW has been known to carry on with even though those same design flaws can be found broken in used car lots.

    The heater controls were excellent in that they were mechanical and you could adjust any number of preferences and still get lots of air on the windshield without triggering the A/C compressor by the defrost mode. Vents were well positioned, had good air flow all were on/off adjustable.

    Steering, ride and handling were well weighted with good feel and directness, compliant yet very confidence inspiring, and extremely quiet and well composed. It is here where you reap the rewards of compromises made elsewhere. In order to hear any wind noise I had to go 75 plus and there was just a hint of air rushing around the mid windshield area near the roofline. Road noise was practically non-existent. Heard no pebbles hitting wheel wells which stood out right away in the Subaru Legacy I had driven a few days ago.

    Saved the best for last. I'm sure the TDI would impress equally but I drove the gas yesterday. This 2.5 litre 5 cylinder engine was nothing less than spectacular, in smoothness, responsiveness, torque, ability to rev and noise under cruise was barely audible, yet when revved with aggression had a wonderfully intoxicating growl, that, combined with pinning you in your seat created a smile that didn't go away for minutes. I will be driving the 2.0 to refresh my memory, but so far that 2.5 seems worth the premiums you would incur with it.

    The steering, ride, handling, lack of all noise and the engine were standouts.

    In reading this quote "outdated, underpowered and uncompetitive 170 hp" I have no choice but to determine we must not be thinking of the same engine, and probably not even the same car.

    Sam
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    I compared all the latest mid-sized family sedans at the Greater Twin Cities Auto Show today. I spent the most time on cars I hadn't sat in yet, namely the Passat, Optima, and Kizashi, but also checked out for comparison the Malibu, Fusion, Mazda6, Legacy, and Camry.

    The Optima is very impressive and was getting a lot of traffic. I was disappointed that Kia didn't hook up power to the display cars so I could adjust the driver's seat--it was set way back and very low, so I felt I was sitting in a tub. But the interior is great--I think it would look at home in an Acura. The exterior is sharp also. I noticed they didn't have any of the Vegamatic wheels on the display models. Good decision! I was also disappointed they didn't have an LX there--just EX and SX, and a hybrid. But I've seen an LX at a dealer so I have an idea what you get at that price--and it's a lot. Kia has come a long way with the Gen 3 Optima.

    The Passat was a pleasant surprise. If one can overlook the Impala-esque C-pillar, I think the exterior is quite sharp--very clean, with some attitude in front and hints of Audi in back. The interior (a 2.5 SEL) was quite attractive, with real-looking wood trim (and maybe it was real?), padded plastics, and soft leather. And the rear seat is limo-like, a big improvement over the old Passat. So there's a lot of car for the money. The biggest knock I have is the 2.5L base engine isn't competitive in FE with most of the I4s in the class.

    The Kizashi is an odd duck. There was one model on display, a loaded one for $29k. It was nice enough inside and out, with adequate rear seat room (although the Jetta is roomier and Elantra about the same room), but for the size and price of the car, I'd rather go for something like a TSX or G25. Also $29k would by a fully-loaded "real" mid-sized car e.g. Optima Turbo.

    Based on what I saw today, I think the best value in the class is the Legacy, which offers a roomy and nicely-equipped car with AWD for $22k. Just behind that are the Mazda6i, Optima LX, and Sonata GLS. The Fusion is also a good value, especially with the big discounts my local dealers are offering. The car is aging and the interior isn't up to snuff with newer models, but still has a nice blend of ride and handling. I've never been that impressed by the Malibu, except in LTZ trim. The Altima is an ok car, but after taking Altimas on two long drives in the past month, the best thing I can say about it is, the 2.5L gets pretty good FE on the highway, and it handles pretty well. I actually prefer my Sentra (which gets better FE).

    Worst value in the class? Camry. There was an LE at the show, almost no options, cheap-looking interior, no personality whatsoever, for $23.5k. A couple of thousand more than something like an Optima LX, Sonata GLS, or Mazda6i. No wonder there was almost no one in the Toyota car display, except by the turntables with future Prius models. The Prius-C looked pretty slick. Toyota has better hurry on that one...
  • dash5dash5 Posts: 418
    Nice write up Backy thanks. I'm still in the market and will get around to test driving the Optima SX when I can. I think if that doesnt make the cut I'll have to go up market. We will have to see!
  • Thanks, backy for your review. I have been torn between the Acura TL and the Optima SX and with your analysis of the Optima being at home w/ Acura, I think I've made my final decision!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Well, don't take my word for it! :)

    There's also the little matter of how they drive.

    I have to say I was smitten by a TSX at the auto show. I could see myself getting a gently used 6 speed when I turn in my leased car in a couple of years... if I can get used to the grille on the TSX. The Optima looks like a great sedan, but I don't really need something that big since my wife has a Sonata.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,774
    I have to say I was smitten by a TSX at the auto show.

    IMHO the previous TSX was a better car.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    And that is an option for me also... and would cost less than the newer TSX. :)
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,774
    And that is an option for me also... and would cost less than the newer TSX.

    I have an '05 TL and have driven both the older and newer TSX, as those are the loaner cars my dealer provides when I go in for service. The older TSX really impressed me -- so much that I've seriously considered selling my TL and buying a used couple years newer used TSX. The old TSX was compact, agile, responsive, and pretty high quality in the interior. The new TSX is bigger, softer (like almost all Honda products these days), numb-er, but with fancier electronics.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 796
    Thanks, backy for your review. I have been torn between the Acura TL and the Optima SX and with your analysis of the Optima being at home w/ Acura, I think I've made my final decision!

    It's still hard for me to accept the direction Acura has taken in the last decade. To this day, I consider the 2nd generation Acura Legend (1991-1995) one of the best cars ever built! I bought a '94 Legend in 1997 and planned to drive it for at least 10 years or more. But an old man ran a red light and t-boned me while I was making a left turn. I had some fairly serious injuries and one of the paramedics noticed that I had tears in my eyes. He asked me if I needed a dose of morphine to control the pain during the 20 minute drive to the nearest hospital. He laughed at me when I told him that I was mourning the death of my Legend, not my injuries! Then he told me that he had never seen anyone walk away from such a serious accident unless the were driving a Volvo or Saab...until that day! =)

    It was one of the most perfectly engineered (over-engineered might be the best way to describe it) and felt as solid as anything MB or Lexus has ever built. It was seven years old with 172,000 miles on the clock when it was totaled. But the doors still closed with bank-vault solidity, the engine purred like a kitten and the 5-speed manual gearbox felt like it came out of a brand new NSX. It still had the factory clutch after all those miles.

    It is still one of the most beautiful cars ever made- timeless, understated but somehow sexy at the same time. Even today, after 20 years, it doesn't look the least bit dated. I've spent the last five years on the lookout for an identical replacement to my '94. Unfortunately, even though every model except the '94-'95 LS sedan was offered with a manual transmission, very few of them were actually made. =( And the vast majority of manuals that were built were Coupes and the GS high-performance sedan model. I'm looking for an L sedan, white with taupe CLOTH and 5-speed manual...

    Over the last 10 years or so, the unthinkable has happened. Thanks to multiple flaws in design, more than 100,000 CL and TL transmissions failed. More than 10,000 suffered multiple failures, requiring as many as FIVE transmission replacements in less than 60,000 miles!!! Acura eventually covered the cost of 99% of those repairs, but it took more than two years after the problem surfaced for them to take responsibility. Their smug attitude toward many of those earlier failures drove away thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of life-long Honda owners. Many of them wrote the company off for life, including yours truly! I will never buy another Honda or Acura, with the exception of the '94 Legend I hope to find someday.

    And then there's the issue with styling! To call the '96 TL and RL models ultra-conservative, dull as dishwater or simply "plain" hardly describes how truly generic these cars looked. They make a modern Corolla look sexy in comparison! The cars were completely devoid of anything resembling personality. The situation improved somewhat with the '99 TL and even more so with the '04 TL and TSX. But they were still considered the most overly-conservative premium car brand sold in the U.S...even more so than Volvo!

    Trying to create a corporate 'look' and distinguish themselves among tough competition, they made a bold move....and somehow that translated into the monstrosity that is the current Acura TL!!! It's a car so hideous that Pontiac Aztek drivers point and laugh! =) The first time I saw one was on the highway in my rear view mirror. It was doing at least 100mph and that 'plenum wtf grill' was growing bigger in my mirrors. As it flew by me in the left lane, I took in the entire shape and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the Acura badge on the freakishly-shaped trunk lid. I had to pull over and take a Valium and a few Dramamine after that encounter. Then, like a virus, it spread through the entire model line....

    Acura now builds some of the ugliest vehicles in the world and Honda isn't much better, although their cars are more homely than hideous. FIAT is returning to the U.S. market after entering into an unholy alliance with Chrysler. Hyundai and KIA are building some of the most stylish, high value and RELIABLE vehicles on the planet.....I seem to remember reading about this in Revelation. I believe the only thing left is for Chrysler and GM to turn an actual profit this year and pay back gov't loans to bring about the apocalypse! =)
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 796
    "IMHO the previous TSX was a better car."

    I totally agree, with the '06-'08 slightly 'refreshed' models being the best of the best!

    Back in May 2008, all of the Acura dealers here in Atlanta were selling '08 TSX inventory at below invoice prices. I'm assuming they were clearing out in anticipation of the redesigned '09 model. When the '09s arrived, I imagine it felt like it did when you were a kid and your 'eccentric' aunt knitted you a gift every year....a let down, to say the least!

    The dealership near my office was selling all non-NAV TSX models in stock for $23,995 plus ttt. I have never owned a car with an automatic transmission in my 21 years of driving. But the realities of Atlanta traffic, my daily 108-mile commute and multiple injuries to my left knee and ankle from my football days have taken their toll. I'm still driving my 2006 Mazda3 s 5-door with manual tranny, but my next car will be an automatic.

    I test drove both the 6-speed manual and 5-speed automatic '08 models, just for comparison. I wanted a real world feel for how much performance suffered with the automatic. The automatic version exceeded my expectations, which weren't very high, to be honest. Every review of the TSX with automatic that I've ever read has been less than favorable. High-revving engines with strong hp figures at high rpm don't even have the word 'torque' in their vocabulary. Low torque and automatic transmissions are like oil and water. But the TSX impressed me as long as I used a heavy foot on the accelerator when accelerating from a stop...which I had no problem doing! =)

    I decided that $23,995 was a deal I couldn't turn down....but the worst part was yet to come! I have more difficulty choosing an interior and exterior color on a car than I do choosing a new house or deciding which college to attend. And the 2008 TSX was no different. Out of the nine exterior colors available, I immediately hated five of them, fell in love with two and felt ambivalent about the other two (gray and silver). The two I loved were Milano Red and Glacier Blue, polar opposites to say the least. Milano Red could have Parchment (tan) or Ebony (black) leather and Glacier Blue could have Quartz (gray) or Ebony (black).

    Choosing an interior color isn't nearly as difficult for me, but actually locating it can be a problem. I only like dark interior colors, which usually means BLACK. Long story short, the sales manager couldn't locate a single Milano Red or Glacier Blue Automatic with Ebony interior within a 500-mile radius of Atlanta! So that was a deal breaker.

    It turned out to be a blessing in disguise...I lost my job three weeks later and didn't find another full-time position for 14 months! The payment on my Mazda was only $273/month but the TSX was going to be around $525! It wouldn't have been pretty!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I have an '05 TL and have driven both the older and newer TSX, as those are the loaner cars my dealer provides when I go in for service. The older TSX really impressed me -- so much that I've seriously considered selling my TL and buying a used couple years newer used TSX. The old TSX was compact, agile, responsive, and pretty high quality in the interior. The new TSX is bigger, softer (like almost all Honda products these days), numb-er, but with fancier electronics.


    There's a very good explanation for this. The "TSX" is the current model Accord in Japan. The current U.S. "Accord" is actually a model down from it. Honda charges for the "Acura" badge as expected, despite there being no "Acura" brand in Japan.

    Yet again, Honda's management seems to have a grudge against the U.S. market and gives us the shaft. (I would practically kill for the U.K. Civic to get over here) I won't even get into how they ream us concerning motorcycles.
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