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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • hill02hill02 Posts: 3
    Quality/reliability, safety, styling, and handling. When I first started looking for a new sedan the optima was top on my list until I saw the front grill and price tag in person for all the features I want. I'm open to looking at other vehicles I'm just familiar with Ford and Nissan and both vehicles match my 25,000-30,000 price range.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited January 2013
    hill wrote:

    "Quality/reliability, safety, styling, and handling. When I first started looking for a new sedan the optima was top on my list until I saw the front grill and price tag in person for all the features I want. I'm open to looking at other vehicles I'm just familiar with Ford and Nissan and both vehicles match my 25,000-30,000 price range."

    There are a lot of great choices in the 25-30k price! The consumer is king in the midsize field because of the intense competition.

    Since you put quality and reliability at the top, let me reveal my personal bias right now in that I owned a Ford and VW long ago that were lemons, and as a result I've written off those brands. But I do realize that Ford and VW are much better today! Ford is having some trouble with the launch of the Fusion, as this article in the WSJ indicates. But perhaps the problems are mostly in the past?:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324640104578165540663925634.html

    "Ford Recalls Cast Spotlight on Fusion

    ...Ford hasn't disclosed how it will fix a problem linked to 13 engine fires in certain 2013 Fusion and Ford Escape crossovers. Ford last week recalled about 19,000 of its 2013 Ford Fusion SE and SEL sedans equipped with a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine....

    Ford said there were no injuries related to the fires, but told owners of the vehicles to stop driving them. As of Thursday, Ford had not come up with a repair for the problem....Ford has said during its quarterly earnings calls that it isn't hitting its goals for improving quality."

    I personally feel that Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and KIA are probably about equal in quality. And maybe Ford and VW are about the same now too. I just don't know.

    My personal experiences owning a 2002 Accord LX and 2008 Accord EXL is that these have been the two best and most reliable cars I've ever had in 33 years of driving all sorts of brands. Both were made in the Honda factory in Ohio. Both of these cars needed only routine maintenance and nothing else. Perhaps I was lucky, but I do think Honda makes good cars. I plan to buy another new Accord at some point in the next year.

    The Accord earned the top safety rating in the new IIHS small offset crash test. It was the only top selling car to do that, and even outscored the BWM 3 series and Mercedes C class. The Camry got a Poor rating, and so basically failed. Watch this video. It's an eye-opener:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByPAhoeU6UQ

    In terms of style, probably the most exciting choices are the Fusion, Mazda 6 and Optima. As many have said, the Accord has rather subdued styling, which I like, but for many it's just bland.

    In terms of handling the top picks are probably the Passat, Fusion and Accord.

    For me visibility is an important thing. I don't like blind spots, which I now have on my 2010 Mazda 5. My Accords were/are so outstanding in terms of visibility that I took it for granted somehow that other cars were similar. But they simply are not. Most cars have thick rear pillars and small windows in back that made for a closed-in coupe like feel and poor visibility. That's the trade-off often for flashy styling. My wife and I argue in a good natured way about who gets to drive the "good car"—which for us means the Honda.

    As you can tell, I favor the Accord. That's what I'm going to buy. But there are lots of good choices!

    I imagine the people who like KIA, Ford, VW, Hyundai, etc., will add in their 2 cents.

    I hope you test drive at least 3 different cars before you make your choice to see what YOU actually like the best.

    Happy shopping! Hope you'll let us know how it goes.
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,273
    Don't drive yourself insane with this decision. You really can't go wrong with any of the current mid-size sedan lineup.

    For example: I personally am afraid of CVT's still. I like the idea of actual gears and not a band that will wear out at some point. It is probably silly to even have this preference, since both are tested, tested, and re-tested for reliability. I am sure both units will last a long while.

    My point is that after you have done your homework and know that 2 or three cars meet your needs; then buy the ONE THAT YOU LOVE.

    It's a big purchase. Enjoy it .

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,460
    Watched the latest episode today, and they compared 5 mid size sedans. Criteria was 28K sticker max. Reviewers were from a few magazine/car sites, and a local family.

    in the end, the Accord won. Not a "star" in any one area, but very good in all of them.

    the Altima finished last, and they did not eve talk about it. 4th was the Camry. 3rd was the Optima (I think) and 2nd was the fusion.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,720
    Too bad they didn't include the new Mazda6, or the Passat.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,690
    It was a combination of assembly issues, software and cooling system design. It really was a perfect storm of multiple things. The software change will prevent future problems.

    I think Ford has been consciously pushing hard to get a lot of new vehicles out the door in a short time and now it's catching up to them. But these aren't long term reliability problems and most are being caught before customers are taking delivery.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,999
    Comparo was conducted prior to the Mazda being officially for sale. Don't know why the Passat was excluded. IMO or my guess I should say is that sometimes they just limit the number of cars in a comparo because otherwise it can just get way to confusing or that is all the testers they could get ast the same time from the manufacturers.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,690
    edited January 2013
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Yes, and CVTs are hardly a new(er) idea. A CVT was first installed in a car in 1896. A CVT was first used in a motorcycle in 1910. DAF (later Volvo) started using them almost exclusively in the late 1950s. In 1987, Ford, Subaru and Fiat began installing them in subcompacts (Fiesta, Justy and Uno). The objection most people have had with the transmission spooling up to peak power rpm while accelerating (with the resulting drone) has been largely muted. Today they provide good power delivery with the best mpg as compared to a stick or automatic or even dual clutch automatic.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,999
    Hey, you're right. That IS a pic. Good one.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,999
    Am I missing something? It seems all I hear is how much better the CVT is for MPG but the cars that have them don't seem to have all that much better MPG than cars with traditional torque converter trannies. Like the new Mazda6. About the same HP as the Altima and about the same MPG. But the Altima has the CVT. Shouldn't that mean a substantially better MPG than the Mazda? Or is there so many other things that the Mazda is doing better that outweighs or matches the CVT benefit?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,460
    most likely true on the mazda. And they depended on the makers sending over cars that fit the bill, so possibly VW did not have one, or didn't bother to send it? I know the Malibu was not included because it exceeded the price limit.

    And they did comment that the CVT was the best yet, and that you pretty much would not know it had one, if you did not already know!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,460
    The mazda has a bunch of other tricks to up MPG. But the Altima and Accord get very good MPG while also having more HP.

    a better test is the same car. When Subaru moved to a CVT, with otherwise the same car and engine, MPG went up a whole bunch.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited January 2013
    backy wrote:

    "Too bad they didn't include the new Mazda6, or the Passat."

    I agree.

    But the Passat has one significant weak point: its old-tech 5 cylinder engine.

    Acceleration with Passat's standard engine 0-60 is the slowest in the whole class at about 8.8 seconds, and mpg is also lowest in the whole class at 31 mpg hwy. Those numbers would have been fine 5 years ago, but today that's poor performance compared to the competition. The base Accord with the auto gets to 60 in just 7.7 seconds, and the manual Accord makes it in 6.8 seconds. And the Accord CVT gets 36 mpg hwy.

    The Sonata and Optima started off the latest rush to put quite advanced engines in even base models of midsize cars. The Sonata and Optima have direct injected 2.4 engines that are powerful and economical.

    I think that may have forced Honda to put its new directed injected engine in even the base LX model Accord. Honda used to save its higher-end VTEC engines for the EX and up models, but now even the LX gets a top-end engine.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    Nice looking car! Love the color.+++
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,720
    The limit on the test was $28k. They could have tested the Passat SE TDI for under that limit. Would have made for an interesting comparo... a diesel vs. all the gas-powered cars.

    Also the Passat beat out all comers in MT's latest comparo, and even C/D ranked it ahead of the Camry and Optima. So its absence is pretty glaring, IMO.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,720
    It's a great color--very close to the Ruby Red on my wife's new Sonata, but the Fusion might be a tick lighter. Love the wheels also--a fairly clean design in this era of fussy alloys.
  • hill02hill02 Posts: 3
    How are you liking the Fusion so far?
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,999
    edited January 2013
    Maybe the Passat SE TDI needed a moonroof to match up to the other models or something. That may have put it over the limit $ wise. I think it would be nice when they do these comparos if they would explain why they didn't test certain cars that many would expect to be in the group. What the heck could a paragraph cost to print and it would answer a lot of questions.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,460
    this was the TV show, not a print article. Pretty sure they said that these were the manufacturers that decided to send them a car to test Honestly don't recall if they mentioned any invited that did not show (they did refer to the Malibu as being to expensive)

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,690
    So far it's great. No complaints.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,999
    Yeah, I wasn't really refering to this specific comparo test but to all the mags/blogs that do the same thing. Just would be nice to know.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    I can't help but think there might be a ?slight ? exaggeration here....14 hours at 5K

    Unfortunately not...southern state all the way up to Canada. It was probably closer to 5.5 - 6K rpm. 17 hour trip in 14 hours, but surprisingly good mpg in the low 20's.

    I think I'll leave this event out of the curriculum when I teach my boys to drive :blush:
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,273
    edited January 2013
    This video is more technical and describes the improvements made over conventional....or last gen model CVT's. This unit is in all Altima and Maxima sedans in place of a conventional automatic. A six speed stick is still available.

    There is no doubt that the CVT is more efficient than automatics in this class.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdqt84_3t-k

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,999
    edited January 2013
    So if the new Mazda6 can get 38hwy with a conventional 6spd auto, what would be a WAG MPG if they incorporated a CVT trannie. Should be substantially better I assume. On the flip side, if the Altima were using all the improvements that Mazda has come up with in their skyactiv system then the Altima would probably get substantially better MPG, again assuming.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,720
    There is no doubt that the CVT is more efficient than automatics in this class.

    Hmmm... the Mazda Skyactiv 6AT does pretty well for itself, e.g. 40 mpg from a 155 hp engine in the Mazda3, while the Sentra gets 39 mpg (40 with the extra cost FE+ variant) but with only 130 hp; and 38 mpg with a 189 hp engine on the Mazda6 (vs. 38 mpg with 182 hp on the Altima).

    Looks to me the automatic tranny is not dead yet, compared to the latest CVTs. :)
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,999
    The mazda has a bunch of other tricks to up MPG. But the Altima and Accord get very good MPG while also having more HP.

    I believe the new Mazda6 has more HP than the Altima but gets as good of MPG.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    I tend to agree with this, and I also think that if you regularly loaded one of these mid-sizers with their max payload, or often towed a small trailer with no more than 1500 lb including trlr weight (what I do often since I don't have a pickup...must be the English blood in me) then you would see (CVT) algorithms, designed to look good in EPA, scattering for cover to avoid the "how comes" cuz I am quite confident that the numbers would not stand up to the same test using a 6 sp auto.

    Some of my bias against them is due to some time that I have spent in an Outback that had one. It boasted fairly impressive highway numbers, but in the real world, you'd have to draft every semi-truck you could find in order to actually get them. That thing could smell a grade with revs a half mile off.

    And the other thing I have against them..and granted it is a mental thing but still counts if you can't get over it...but I had a hard time mentally convincing myself that that trans wasn't slipping everywhere I went. With the revs all over the place, the only car I can think of that would be even more disconcerting in this regard would be the Volt once you had exhausted all batteries and were on gas generator.
    Now I imagine a person must get over that sorta thing, but I am a very visceral seat-of-the-pants type driver. Irregular noises like engine revs that have nothing to do with your actual speed etc really rob some of the fun I (still) get from driving. And for this reason I doubt I would ever spring for a Prius type car if it was my only ride. It'd be strictly an A - B fuel saver. I still have to drive one, but my guess is that in 'go' mode it is easier to take than a CVT in, let's say that 10?Subaru or the 09? Altima I last drove that had it...that is until you applied the brakes..then all bets are off as for any normal visceral feedback that you would normally associate with braking a car..

    That said though I hear the new Accord has really nailed making the CVT as...well..apparently it's CVT works quite 'normally' (doesn't spin up unexpectedly compared to what you are asking of it).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,720
    I will say this in favor of the CVTs, based on 3 years driving a 2010 Sentra with a 2.0L engine and CVT: it's possible to get super-EPA FE numbers if you have a light foot. That's because the CVT keeps engine revs very low when the engine isn't taxed. That also contributes to low engine noise while cruising. And the "turbine" feel when accelerating, no shift points, is kinda neat.

    But there's also the downsides... pretty sluggish when pressed (at least my Sentra is, but it's not Nissan's latest CVT design), and high engine noise at high revs.

    My preference is still a good 6MT, although there's some really good 6+ automatics out there now that are easy to live with. My wife's 2013 Sonata has a very smooth 6AT, and it has a manumatic feature if someone really wants to shift for themselves (which I think is kinda dumb with an automatic, but whatever).
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