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Midsize Sedans 2.0



  • pegasus17pegasus17 Posts: 536
    "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)."

    I have a 2011 Sonata with that same 6 speed AT and it is very smooth with decent gas mileage (hwy 31 avg at 70mph). the manumatic feature works very well and really shows the power that DI engine has at 198hp.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,991
    Isn't that car supposed to average more like 35mpg hwy?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    At 70 mph? Maybe at 65. I can't wait to get my wife's out on a long trip and see what it does. Almost everything has been less than 7 miles in town so far.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,991
    Yeah, maybe at 65. But I can usually hit the hwy number on a straight hwy trip at 70.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,536
    I too am skeptical about CVTs. I personally know someone with a FWD Jeep Patriot that had to have the CVT replaced twice. Once @ 60K (on Jeep's dime) & then again @ 120K (on his dime).

    That being said, the fact that Honda (from what I've read) seems to have gotten it right gives the technology itself a lot of credit in my eyes (YMMV).

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Depending on conditions (weather, traffic, amount of passing etc.) I can also. So 31 does seem at the low end. I could make my car get much less than the EPA rating at 70 if I tried. ;)
  • pegasus17pegasus17 Posts: 536
    edited January 2013
    IMO, 31 mpg at 70mph (2050 rpm, 6 speed) is quite good.
    EPA hwy estimates are based on 48.3 mph over a complex testing spectrum
    IIRC, difference in mpg from 50 to 70 mph is approximately 20%

    FWIW, my trip computer (2011 Sonata GLS) always overestimates fuel economy by about 2 mpg...
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    31 mpg at a constant 70 mph is pretty poor for a car rated at 35 mpg highway, IMO. As I stated, conditions could make it tough to get 35 mpg @ 70. But cruising down the highway at 70, one should be able to get the EPA highway rating or very close to it. And should be able to exceed the EPA highway rating cruising at 50-60 mph.

    At least that has been my experience in every other car I've driven on the highway in the past 20 years or so.
  • pegasus17pegasus17 Posts: 536
    I have done that calculation 3 times on a 600 mile trip from Ohio to NY state and back (6 trips worth). Not exactly a constant 70mph nor flat terrain. Oh well, all that matters is i think it's OK! ;)
    My lease is up soon and I am investigating several alternatives (Accord, Optima, Mazda 6). Too many choices in this mid-size sedan arena. Incentives vary widely and change month-to-month. glad i only do this every 3 years...
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,248
    The Mazda3 and the Nissan Sentra are not mid size sedans. The 155 HP Skyactiv is a 2.0.

    The comparisons I am making are in the 2.4 to 2.5 liter size engines, or their analogs. Example: the Ford EcoBoost 1.6 makes similar power.

    I am not keen on CVT's either, but if Honda risked offering it in the flagship Accord as the only automatic, then I need to re-think my view.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    edited January 2013
    Long post..touches on CVT vs conventional auto..maybe not to all's taste?

    Well, they did risk continuing to use a troublesome auto in their Odyssey.

    Who knows though, maybe their idea of a CVT is an improvement over their usual auto attempts...probably is. The Civic also had issues with its auto. Did the Pilot and Ridgeline have the same issues the Odyssey had?
    But when Honda gets something right, it often is something that competitors will try to emulate. (variable valve timing and then later variable intake track lengths as a good example)

    I think coast-ability, at the right times, is probably still one of the most difficult instructions to make a CVT work with.

    But if these transmissions are so hardy and capable, why did Audi have a relatively restrictive horsepower cap on their first versions? Shortly after, Nissan did too if I recall.

    I maintain these transmissions probably do work in a superior way in order to satisfy EPA ratings (and don't ever under-estimate the importance of the almighty EPA numbers and crash stats) but in the hands of a generally aggressive driver, or even most owner's real world, can't do nearly as well as a conventional auto. That's why the impressive numbers tend to fall off quite dramatically unless really babied.

    The one thing that I think a CVT can excel at, providing the mfgrs get 'em dialed in right, is allowing near optimum engine rpm's at practically any speed you want to go. The final drives are geared so tall on all cars now that we see sub 2000 revs even when we talk about 75+ mph. And on the other end of the scale, if you have a conv auto in manual mode and let it lug right down (as a couple random examples..a Cruze 1.4 l turbo 6 sp auto or Jetta 2.5 6 sp Tiptronic) in 6th gear at less than 25 mph, on level ground with one or two people the tranny actually will let you cruise along at revs just barely off quite literally 1100 rpm. And the instant fuel use gauge gives numbers right off the chart. All until you either accelerate a bit or find a grade or headwind. This is something that can be accomplished with predictability in the right hands with the 6 sp conventional auto...but can be done with not nearly as much deliberate driver involvement...(read, the masses) with a properly dialed in CVT. All that is required though is a non aggressive light foot. But don't confuse non-aggressive with indecisiveness which can be a real fuel user in a CVT. And this gets back to why when being driven so gently and at times you want it to coast, it makes it that much harder to program all that into a CVT because the variables are...just that...constantly varying..

    And this is why many 6 sp sticks will EPA at fewer mpg than the autos, but is because of generally lower chosen final drive gearing. You give the stick guys that SAME final drive as the tall autos have and then you would see even better hwy figures. And one of the reasons is there is less reciprocating mass with most standards than what I imagine a CVT has, and certainly has way less parasitic losses than the conventional auto.

    I have been down at the road the past couple weeks cutting a huge red oak for firewood. Been there a lot and see (and hear) the actual cars that go by my rural road. I am just constantly amazed at the number of drivers who couldn't hold a steady throttle if their life depended on it! You know the ones....they are either accelerating or decelerating, with no in-between...just constantly dialing in throttle, then letting off, then dialing CONSTANTLY! You hear them go up the road all the way doing that until they disappear. Is that the way they were taught? Does it not occur to them that it is ok to just hold the throttle steady? It makes me embarrassed on behalf of my local community drivers. Anyway...these are the idiots that should use CC mandatory whenever the roads are dry and definitely should steer clear of all CVT's..
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    I guess you missed this part of my post:

    ...and 38 mpg with a 189 hp engine on the Mazda6 (vs. 38 mpg with 182 hp on the Altima).
  • pegasus17pegasus17 Posts: 536
    edited January 2013
    It will be interesting to see if the Mazda 6 lives up to its EPA highway number of 38 mpg in real world driving. Too early to tell.
    If you peruse the Altima forum, many are complaining that their real world mpg is nowhere near what they expected. Plus there is a recall (or TSB) on some Altima CVTs in the 2013. That is surprising since Nissan has been using CVT's for quite some time.

    extract (not me):
    "Just finished my 3rd month driving 2013 Nissan Altima 2013 2.5SL and my car has been consistently delivering 18 MPG or Below. Monitored MPG manually several times. Bringing back to the dealer for the 2nd time. Also recieved a safety recall from Nissan (campaign# PC186). CVT belt slips during driving. There is already another safety recall (campaign# PC182) that has to do with power steering rack bolts and tranverse link bolts issue.
    Problem after problem with this 2013 Altima and the year 2013 has not even started yet."
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,991
    Mazda has had a good track record with attaining their stated EPA numbers in real world driving. Both before skyactiv and with the two skyactiv models the 3 and the CX-5. In fact, from what I read about the CX-5 is that most testers and owners are getting at least the EPA numbers if not better. No real reason to automatically doubt the new Mazda6 just because Hyundai was caught cheating(oops I mean making several mistakes over a long period of time on several different models). Obviously, someone getting 18mpg in a car rated at 27/38 is having a major problem of some kind. I've read lots of good reports on the Altima as well so that one needs to be sorted out some before condemanation is in order.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Odd on the Altima numbers... CR got some great FE numbers on the Altima 2.5, especially on the highway where they got well over 40 mpg in their tests. Someone who's only getting 18 mpg must be doing a lot of in-town, short-distance driving.

    I know it's not a true mid-sized sedan (for those people tracking such things here), but my Sentra--which has a mid-sized interior at least--with the CVT has done very well in real-world driving over 3 years, exceeding its EPA numbers. But that's MY real-world driving, and I drive with a light foot and have learned to milk that CVT for all it's got. Not everyone will be able to drive that way, or want to.
  • pegasus17pegasus17 Posts: 536
    for Backy:
    What an intelligent statement you've made in the past:
    "What a huge difference speed makes for fuel economy! Something for folks to consider when they don't see their Optimas or (Sonatas) hitting the EPA fuel economy numbers on the highway, but tend to drive at 70+ mph."

    Something to check on your wife's Sonata:
    FWIW, in my 2011 Sonata, the speedo reads 2 mph high. example: I have to drive an indicated 62mph to attain 60mph. At lower speeds, it still reads high. Confirmed with GPS, local radar, a pace car, and a few middle fingers for driving too slow. ;)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Yeah, if I ever get the thing on a highway for more than a couple of miles, I'll check it.

    Of course speed affects fuel economy. Everyone knows that (or should know it). But I still think a car rated 35 mpg highway should be able to get better than 31 mpg cruising at 70... recall I said CRUISING. If you're kinda/sorta going 70 but passing vehicles, accelerating/decelerating/braking, some non-freeway mixed in... all bets are off!
  • Have been shopping and test driving a few mid-sizer's:
    The 2014 Mazda 6 sport was a hoot to drive, the four almost has the torque of a V-6. Rather noisy on the highway (it was windy) and the sight lines are not great, small mirrors too.Still felt more like a sports car than a sedan, though you do feel every road irregularity.
    The 2013 Accord LX 4 cyl. - still looks like a grocery getter compared to most others.
    decent motor, handling was surprisingly sporty, CVT a little weird though much better than the Nissan Altima which I will avoid due to CVT issues and power steering whine with no dealer fixes.
    Ford Fusion, after all the issues with the first gen fusion transmissions and no fixes I'll pass. Recent recalls cropping up too.
    The wife has a 2011 Sonata 2.0 T - back to the dealership numerous times for front end pull (common) they FINALLY replaced both struts. Paint chipping off, partial re-painting etc. etc. Avoiding KIA/ Hyundai for now.
    Chevy, not even a consideration.
    The Passat, dated, under powered and worst MPG. High long term costs.
    The trend for car makers is to cram all the gee wiz gadgets into the vehicle. Trouble is what good is it if the drive train and peripherals are junk? I don't get it. Maybe I'm not a marketing guy, I just want them to work...for 200,000 miles.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    The trend for car makers is to cram all the gee wiz gadgets into the vehicle. Trouble is what good is it if the drive train and peripherals are junk? I don't get it. Maybe I'm not a marketing guy, I just want them to work...for 200,000 miles.

    Sounds like the Toyota Camry is right up your alley.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,738
    Thanks to TSX at for these numbers:
    Camry 31,897 +8.2%
    Accord 23,924 +68.1%; PHEV 2
    Fusion 22,399 +64.5%
    Altima 21,464 -4%
    Malibu 15,823 +7.8%
    Sonata 13,247
    Optima 11,252
    Avenger 9,628 +69%
    Passat 8,856 +40.2%
    200 8,846 +26%

    The Camry continue to dominate, which is a slight surprise given that Camry was just rated Poor in the IIHS crash test:

    But, the Camry offers a lot of bang for the buck, low financing, and the Toyota name. Also it seems like the other auto makers have been too nice to make an ad out of that video.
  • The Camry continue to dominate, which is a slight surprise given that Camry was just rated Poor in the IIHS crash test:

    The average consumer is incredibly ignorant and probably has no clue that the Camry performed poorly in this test. I think most Camry purchasers must blindly buy that car without any comparison testing. I don't think too many people in their right mind would actually choose a Camry over some of the newer offerings from competitors.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,738
    Huge surge by Fusion in January. Honda may have to start protecting Accord's number 2 spot soon. So far Honda hasn't offered any financing on the 2013 Accord, but maybe that will change soon. The Altima is selling well, but seems to be faltering a little given that it's an all-new design. Passat is selling well too, but I think the VW factory in TN can make c. 12,000 Passats a month, and so they aren't selling them quite as fast as they're making them.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,738
    edited February 2013

    Thanks for your observations. Can you clarify a little what you mean about that the "sight lines are not great" on the Mazda6? I thought visibility would be pretty good in that car.

    Several midsize cars have poor rear visibility, including, I think, Fusion, Optima, Sonata, Passat, Malibu, and Altima.

    The best visibility is found in the Accord, and that's one of the hallmarks of Honda's designs: Form follows function. Some people say it's not exciting enough, but it works better than some competing designs for providing rear headroom and good visibility. You also can roll down your rear windows on an Accord almost all the way. Try that on the others. Can't do that on any of these others, I don't think, except the Camry and Mazda6.

    My guess is that all of these cars will have very long lasting engines and transmissions. Probably all of them are designed to make it to 200k as long as all maintenance is done as scheduled and they are not used roughly. Will they all make it to 200k? Hard to say. Hyundai, Kia, and Honda now have direct injected engines, and I don't think many have yet gone more than 100k to test whether long term they have issues. In durability tests Ford's turbo DI engines seem to do very well. Ford engineers have strengthened several parts to make these engines pretty tough, and I'm sure all the others have too. Honda's CVT is new, but they've been building these for a while, and have apparently done a lot of engineering to design in long term durability. But with any new design there can be question marks. Anyway, I think we are all probably fairly safe for durability of engines and transmissions with all of these.

    I'm sure you've thought of this already, but if you want fewer gadgets buy a base model—you'll save money now, and potentially trouble in the years ahead.

    Even the base models of all of these cars are pretty lavishly equipped compared to midsize cars of 10 years ago.

    Hope you'll let us know what you pick!
  • Granted the Mazda 6 has a smaller blind spot then the Sonata and yes the Accord so far has the best visibility. Chalk it up to the higher waist line, swooping roof designs of late.
    Considering I'm driving a 2004 Taurus SE that's approaching 200,000 miles, maybe color my opinions old school :shades:
    The Gadgets I don't mind and in fact embrace them (I'm rather digital for my age) I really like the touch screen on the 6. My comment was geared more toward manufacturers than my preferences. The safety features on the horizon look promising, some may even save the increasingly distracted from impending doom.
    I didn't mention Toyota because I just am not interested in the most recalled brand in spite of their huge sales numbers. I agree that some people just buy them because they are so popular. Ironic as they rarely make the top 10 in various car magazine reviews.
    These are heady times for car buyers. More competition, more options for the same money, better performance while returning improved mileage and safer vehicles. This is going to be fun!
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,248
    Thanks Ben. The mid size sedan racket has got to keep corporate sales managers up at night. Particularly the VW man.

    I think the Passat looks fine; but you really have to lux-it-up to match the levels of equipment in some competitors. Why would I buy a 5 cyl engine with 30 horsepower and 15 torque's less than a four? MPG of 22/32 is ok, but that 5th cylinder is costing you at least 4 mpg hwy and 2-4 city based on competition. Also, it costs 26,800 for the Automatic. vs 20-24 for competitors. a 5 speed manual is std on the SE. (where is the other gear?? all competitors who offer a manual trans have 6 speeds).

    Again though, it depends on priorities I guess. It has a huge back seat and trunk. Fit and finish are excellent.

    You guys should know that I owned a 96 TDI so be nice! :D
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,248
    I just saw a review of the 2014 Mazda 6. I really like the 2.2 liter TD with 310 torques!!! 310!!! From a 2.2!!

    Now that's more like it Mazda. Also, the new interior is awesome looking. The flat screen is integrated nicely and Automobile magazine raved about the seats. They look comfy in the pictures. YES I AM SAYING NICE THINGS ABOUT THE 6 BACKY!!! :P

    Lastly, I can't get with the silly grin front end. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess.
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,248
    "Several midsize cars have poor rear visibility, including, I think, Fusion, Optima, Sonata, Passat, Malibu, and Altima"

    So pretty much all mid-size sedans have poor rear visibility! :D
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,991
    Doesn't have the "silly grin" anymore. It was the Mazda3 that got all the hate for the grin as the 2 gen 6 didn't really have it as much. The new 2014 doesn't have the grin at all. Below is a quote from Augo Guide review which most other reviewers have agreed with.


    It wears the second production application of Mazda’s new KODO design language, losing the smiling front end and exclamatory headlights for a more pronounced grille and sharper body style.
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,248
    edited February 2013
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,738
    cski wrote:

    "...I think the Passat looks fine; but you really have to lux-it-up to match the levels of equipment in some competitors. Why would I buy a 5 cyl engine with 30 horsepower and 15 torque's less than a four? MPG of 22/32 is ok, but that 5th cylinder is costing you at least 4 mpg hwy and 2-4 city based on competition. Also, it costs 26,800 for the Automatic. vs 20-24 for competitors. a 5 speed manual is std on the SE. (where is the other gear?? all competitors who offer a manual trans have 6 speeds)..."

    Agree with all of this. The Passat is a nice looking car. And I think VW has significantly improved quality and reliability. But to cut costs they cut some things that are now making them less competitive. I read somewhere that for the 2014 model year the Passat is going to have a more advanced engine, and maybe they'll get a 6 speed manual with that.

    For now, however, VW is blowing them out the door with 0% financing for 66 (!) months. Good deal on a good car!
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