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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited August 2013
    "...Honda and Toyota are unfortunately falling into Mercedes-Itis, where they are charging extra for their image alone. And in the $20K or so segment, that's a tough pill to swallow. Especially when their cars are such a giant piece of Tupperware. Great engines, but you might as well be inside a GM rental car.

    IMO, the extra few hundred dollars for a Fusion over a Camry or Accord is a no-brainer."

    Don't agree. And this seems like a mixed message of Honda charging more and yet the Fusion costs even more than that?

    Accord has more ultra-high grade steel than the Fusion, and does better on the IIHS crash test. The Accord also gets to 60 faster, gets better mpg, has better visibility, and more standard features.

    Fusion makes you pay extra for the "good" engine, while with the Accord it's standard.

    The Fusion is a very good car, but it's far from a "no brainer."

    The interior is a matter of taste. No clear winner there.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    They weren't that fond of every element of the Fusion's interior. Again, it's a very good car, but saying it's better than an Accord is a matter of opinion. Car and Driver ranked the Accord above the Fusion. But then again Car and Driver also ranked the brand-new Mazda6 above even the Accord!

    "...Packaging is the Fusion’s biggest weakness. Somehow, it has the longest wheelbase by 1.8 inches and ties with the Passat for long­est overall length, yet manages to feel like it has the smallest back seat in the group. Knees rub the front seatbacks, and forget using the middle seatbelt. The front buckets are set farther back behind thick B-pillars, and that—plus wide, plastic sill extensions—makes getting out more of a squirm job, especially if you’re short. The Fusion also has the smallest fuel tank and the narrowest trunk opening, items that can become daily annoyances.

    Our preproduction test car suffered multiple neural crises, at times flashing warning lights as if it were Christmas in Times Square. Attention Dearborn: Fix this stuff before showtime...."

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2013-ford-fusion-se-ecoboost-page-4

    The last part sounds very like my all-new 2000 Ford Focus ZTS with more than dozen recalls and all sorts of glitches. I'm sure Fords are better now, but this reminds me why I swore off of them.

    Again, the Fusion is a very good car! One of the tops in the whole segment. In some areas it is better than the Accord (styling, perhaps, and some elements of the interior), but it's far from the only best choice in the midsize segment.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,695
    Just about all the Fusions I see are SE or Titanium models.
  • gogophers1gogophers1 Posts: 218
    Take my brand new car into a body shop and have it resprayed? I gasp at that comment...

    Actually, Honda *isn't* building what they can sell; they're still trying to sell what they build (and it's a rather old school way of doing things) - I highly doubt I'm the only guy out there who likes stick shifts but doesn't like gray cars. There's no difference between the body shell of a CVT EX and a manual EX and I'm pretty sure they both roll down the very same line. Whatever tiny amount Honda saves by eliminating color options for manual equipped cars is very likely lost by the higher marginal costs associated with selling fewer total units.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited August 2013
    You've got it right: you should buy something else. And you're also right that it's too bad Honda lost a customer. I special ordered a 2008 Accord EXL navi with the manual trans in white. At that time you could get all colors and virtually all trim levels in a manual. That day is gone, which is too bad, but since it is gone and will almost certainly never come back you'll need to move on.
  • gogophers1gogophers1 Posts: 218
    I like the Fusion (it wouldn't be on my short list if I didn't), but I couldn't disagree with you more on the new Accord. While the Fusion is a better driver's car overall (I've driven several 2013s - even a 1.6L Ecoboost with a manual), the manual equipped Accord is a much faster ride (and in real world driving, I suspect it would also get better mileage than than Fusion regardless of their "official" EPA certifications). But there are a number of other factors to consider too.

    The Fusion SE's sound system is very poor - it has the same number speakers as an Accord EX, but the Accord's speakers are larger and their placement produces better overall sound (the rears are in the deck rather than in the rear doors like the Fusion).

    True, Honda's LaneWatch system is gimmicky, but no more so (I'd say far less so) than Ford's Buck Rogers turn signal stalk. I may never use LaneWatch, but I'd be forced to contend with BR every time I drove the Fusion.

    Furthermore, regardless of what anyone from Planet Ford tries to assure me, I don't believe the average Fusion is going to be as reliable as the average Accord. I could only hope that if I buy a 2014 Ford, it's going to be far more reliable than the piece of garbage 2010 they sold me a few years ago.

    Ford bet big on touch screen infotainment and miniature turbochargers a few years ago and their once improving quality got put on the back burner. Unfortunately, neither of those bets has turned out well for them. Their turbos are developing a reputation for getting the same or worse real world mileage than their competitors' more powerful regularly aspirated motors and I have concerns that the driveability problems being reported by many 3.5L Ecoboost owners may not be unique.

    The icing on the proverbial cake is that if you do get a problematic Fusion, you're going to get hit again if you try to ditch it because Ford's fleet sales are so much higher than that of Honda.

    Again, I don't hate the Fusion - I very much enjoyed the Ecoboost manual I drove a few months ago. If I had more faith in Ford products, I probably wouldn't be as weighing the sacrifices (SiriusXM; color choices with the Accord and sunroof; SiriusXM with the Mazda 6 Sport) I'd have to make by choosing one of its competitors.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    edited August 2013
    "Furthermore, regardless of what anyone from Planet Ford tries to assure me, I don't believe the average Fusion is going to be as reliable as the average Accord. I could only hope that if I buy a 2014 Ford, it's going to be far more reliable than the piece of garbage 2010 they sold me a few years ago."

    +1

    One thing I came to realize as I faced recall after recall on my new Ford Focus a dozen years ago, is that a car is an astonishingly complex piece of machinery today. There are thousands of parts, each of which must work perfectly with all the others. And when it comes down to it you are betting your life and the life of some other people on those parts being well made and working together. Suddenly the slight extra cost of a Honda seemed worth it to me. Honda sometimes makes mistakes too, and they've had their failures with transmissions, airbags, and other things, but overall their reputation for quality is more or less deserved.

    Ford has improved in the last ten years, but as you experienced, and as the experience of Car and Driver shows, it hasn't always been consistent.
  • gogophers1gogophers1 Posts: 218
    edited August 2013
    I agree that Honda manuals are among the best, but I honestly had no clear preference in the linkage or clutch take-up between the Fusion SE 1.6 Ecoboost, Honda Accord Sport and Mazda 6 Sport when I drove them a few months ago - they were all fine.

    Were I able to get the Mazda 6 manual with a sunroof and SiriusXM, it would be the clear winner over the others (and I love the steel blue color available on the 6...) - it has the most serious, driver oriented interior and it just feels more "me" than the other two. Alas, I cannot.

    Interestingly, Mazda has made the Touring trim (like the Sport, it's also not available with a sunroof) available now with a stick but not the Grand Touring - whoop dee doo, I say. If I wanted a $25K new car with a vinyl (ahem, leatherette) interior and no sunroof, I'd be looking at Passats.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,695
    I went to Tirerack to check out the my OEM 19" Continental tires on my Fusion.
    They are rated for 40k miles and are listed at $245 each.
    A comparable Michelin is $20 cheaper per tire and are rated for 55k.
    This may change by the time i need tires, but I'm glad I started my tire replacement account. ;)
  • I am looking at the Sonata as a replacement for our 2009 Nissan Murano SL AWD. It's too bad Nissan won't stand behind THIER product. They did replace the CVT (now that they extended the factory warranty to 10yr/120K) but our transfer case was leaking too (as so many of them have) and we were told it couldn't be rebuilt since it was one that had been made with a bad part! What floored me was we got NO help from Nissan at all with the cost of the replacement part. I even contacted the executive offices in TN. $3K later, I still have a metallic rattle when the CVT is trying to kick out of the first "gear" and after reading about how many others had the same issue, I am VERY worried I will have to replace both drive train components again if we hang on to the car. An '09 with under 100K and 2/3 of the drive train failed, ridiculous. NEVER BUY NISSAN!
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,272
    She ran fantastically. My only gripe was the TPMS system is too sensitive. On the way down I got a warning about 200 miles into the trip, and stopped to make sure all was ok. The tire was two pounds over due to heat. No warning light was necessary. Also, if the car can sense an inflation problem, why can't it tell me which tire????

    Same thing happened on the way back, but went off on its own after I slowed to 60 for 25 miles through Goldsboro NC. The trip was 400 miles each way to Oak Island, NC, and I put 400 miles on it while in the area with several trips to Myrtle beach that were 60 miles each way.

    The ride was great on the superslab. That's all.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 1,915
    I like the design of the Optima, but remain convinced that Hyundai/Kia engineering is not up to the standard of other major players. The phrase "you get what you pay for" exists for a reason. All the attention paid to trick features and geegaws means corners get cut somewhere.

    How is Oak Island doing these days? I spent a week there many years ago and often thought it would be a neat place to live. The condo on the beach we rented was fabulous. Wouldn't want to be there in a hurricane though.

    2011 Buick Regal Turbo, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    edited August 2013
    Different TPMS's do show which tire. My 05 Nissan Quest shows each individual tire pressure...but you still have to determine what tire each reading is for. My (now sold) 06 Lexus would only show a tire warning indicator without giving an individual reading; I suppose they figure if one tire has an issue you should check them all while you're at it.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    So you never mentioned if your car got to redeem its rather poor FE thus far, on a more averaged out highway run?
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,272
    Sorry Gimmee. I was exhausted after 10 days with 3 preteen kids and my elderly mother, who broke (hairline) and twisted her hip in the ocean. Also, my A/C at home died the day before I left, so I just got a new blower motor in at 4pm today.

    The 6 hour trip took 10 hours because of a non stop traffic jam from Fairfax to Richmond. That is 80 miles folks. Fredricksburg, VA is at the epicenter, where route 17 and 95 merge. It has been voted the worst traffic area on 95...period. Avoid at all costs. Long haul travelers take 301. The rest of us just need to bring Xanax. Awful.

    Alright. The FE ! It redeemed itself. Even after 2.5 hours in stop and go traffic I ended up with 31.8 down, and 34.1 on the way back. This is on 70 mph (legal) roads, so the real speeds were more like 80, until the aforementioned Fredricksburg nightmare.

    What also redeemed itself was the seats. The lumbar support and the tilt on the drivers seat cushion allowed me to be comfortable during 90% of the trip, and I believe the other 10% was due to my size. I need to drop a few.

    The drivers seat has one caveat. If it was an inch longer my thighs would have been better supported, but I am 6'3". Nuff said there.

    The best part of the beachhouse was the covered parking under the house, and the completely leak free high power hose contained within. I was able to wash and fully detail for nights out to downtown Myrtle Beach.

    The ride. It was great, and even better when the car was loaded. Very smooth, dependable car with good pickup, and no trouble passing slow traffic, even at 80 mph. It felt like it could reach its top speed of 130, but precious cargo and seasoning have capped my speed at 85...never more.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Ya, I agree..those are not bad numbers at all considering the car load and the speeds. It sure does put a period behind how city really pulls the averages down. Altho I have known that for a long time with every vehicle I have owned since last having a diesel. Your comment about the seat bottom doesn't surprise me and I'm a few inches shorter than you. Seat bottoms seem to be universally a bit too short for all but the shortest of drivers who drive with the seat well forward.

    Re the dropping a few..a good number of us can concur there..

    Pretty sure Mom appreciated you not seeing the top-end I'm sure it is probably quite capable of, lol...altho the fuel readout once north of about 110 might give you heart palpitations, haha Hey...at that speed, like mother like son, haha. The kids OTOH would probably remember that as the highlight of the trip..lol Oh well...next time..
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,190
    >The 6 hour trip took 10 hours because of a non stop traffic jam from Fairfax to Richmond. That is 80 miles folks

    Do you mean stop and go? Explain more what it was, please.
  • wayne21wayne21 Posts: 227
    edited August 2013
    LOL. I'm sure cski doesn't need an interpreter, but I believe he means the traffic was HORRIBLE! When I was stationed at the Pentagon I lived in Old Towne. I road the metro to work and it was an easy commute. When I first started work there and coworkers showed up I thought they had issues with me so I confronted a couple of them and asked them point blank if there was something we needed to talk about. They explained that the reason they seemed angry was that they drove to work and it was horrible. The entire DC area has horrible traffic.
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,272
    edited August 2013
    My mom took her own car, a 2010 Kia Forte' EX. I forgot to mention the Bluetooth integration with the audio system. It worked GREAT. I was able to keep in touch with my mother's car (and my 8 year old with her) at all times, and update her when we neared an exit on my GPS. I lost her a couple times, but with the phone integration it was just a non-issue.

    Also, being able to do 70 to 80 mph w/o worry of being pulled over took almost all the stress out of driving. I saw several cars pulled over who raced by me at 90 mph, and they were dealt with promptly by local police.

    With a 2.0 liter and 4 speed automatic (with "eco" setting) she got 32 down following me, sitting in that same traffic and exactly the same speeds.

    You guys should know that I stopped 4 times for bathroom breaks due to the kids, and idled for several minutes at each, while still getting 31.4.

    I

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,272
    Yes, stop and go. Never getting over 45 mph. There were several two mile stretches between exits where I was able to maintain 40 to 45, but as soon as another exit approached, it was stop and go. Frustrating.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,272
    *****off topic**** Oak Island

    Almost everyone there I met had the same story. They visited Oak Island (OKI) and decided to stay.

    The island has modernized. There is now a Food Lion on the island in a new plaza. Across the street from it is an Eagles beachwear store, and a similar Pacific store further up. There is a zoo oriented putt-put golf, and a new police station. There are tons of newer, beautiful homes all over. It is nice.
    Off the island at Southport there is a new Walmart Superstore. At the 133/211 intersection it looks like any other suburban strip mall in the country.

    The big news is a new 4 lane bridge connection 211 to 1st street on the island, so if we wanted to go to Myrtle from our house we took that instead of the old bridge.

    Myrtle is still Myrtle. I stopped at State Line fireworks (the one with the giant bear and gorilla statues holding a stick of dynamite).

    In N. Myrtle The Crazy Horse and the Dollhouse were busted for narcotics (no surprise there), but a new Dollhouse rose from the ashes, or asses as you might say. I have not been to the area in 15 years, and since it was a family vacation I did not go, but my best friend stayed with us and he did. He got home at 4 AM with stories. Stories not to be shared in this forum.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,272
    I followed a white Accord V6 in the last body style (08-12), and it was loaded to the gills. Very nice car. I love the dual exhaust. It's expensive looking, and that's nice to see in mid size. Glad they kept them pretty much the same in the new '13 line.

    I am a little jealous of the new Accord. It looks like it is made from a solid block of alloy. Seriously well made looking. I think it's a nice little reminder to the Koreans who is boss still. It takes a lot for me to admit that.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    edited August 2013
    I drove identically equipped white Accords (EXL, and EXL V6) at a local Honda dealer on Saturday. I like the 4, but the V6 was incredibly fun. I liked it, but wasn't as blown away as I thought I would be. Previously, I'd tested the LX and EX 4-cyl models.

    For comparison's sake, I have a 3.3L Sonata GLS (2009). It's the fastest car I've ever owned; and at 6.6 seconds or so to 60mph, it's certainly as fast as I could ever need.

    In comparison with the Sonata I own, I'll make a pros-cons list about why I have reached the conclusion I have reached about the Accord.

    Pros:
    Styling - I like understated designs; they don't age poorly like some more radical ones can.

    Fuel Economy - I am impressed at the numbers offered on these vehicles, especially considering their available power.

    Interior Space - They have huge interior spaces, especially the rear seat. However, my Sonata feels more "airy" to me, partly because the dashboard is less invasive.

    Driving Dynamics - The Accord is a sports car in comparison to my Sonata, although the steering is lighter than I'd prefer.

    Cons:
    Features per Dollar - I was driving cars with sticker prices near or above $30,000, (and transaction prices are high - more on that later), and it lacked a cohesive infotainment system like UVO or UConnect, Cooled/Ventilated seats (I live in the south and really want this feature), panaramic roof, or a great-sounding audio system. For the "upgraded unit" in the Accord, I couldn't tell it was notably better/clearer when playing the same CD as in my Sonata.

    A touch of Cheapness - The sunroof cover was by far the flimsiest I've felt on a 20k-30k car. The one in my Hyundai (a "cheap" car in 2009) feels far more sturdy. The back seat of the Accord V6 we drove also had a rattle neither me nor my fiance could find. The trunk and rear seat was empty.

    Not built for the tall guy - The seatbelt adjuster didn't go high enough to go over my shoulder, even with it in the highest position, and the seat in the lowest, the belt hit me right at the top of my left arm. This alone will prevent me from ever buying this generation Accord. The telescoping wheel was nice (my GLS Sonata lacks the feature, but it was available on SE and Limited in 2009). The driver's seat lacked about an inch in rear travel from fitting my legs comfortably. I'm 6'4", and had the same issue in my 2006 Accord. I wouldn't buy a car with the same issue this time, knowing how well I have fit in some competitors.

    All of those things don't make the Accord a bad car, just not the car for me.

    My fiance liked the Accord however, and we were willing to let the salesman try and meet us at a price point we were happy with on an EX-L V6 that was in stock. I told him I'd shopped around using Edmunds, Truecar, and other tools, and thought 27,500 + tax was a fair price on the car, especially considering that there would be $15,000 down on the car.

    He returned from the sales manager's office with the following:

    $33,190 (including $2300 in dealer add-ons (mudguards, trunk tray, sealant and nitrogen in tires, that's it!).
    -$1500 dealer discount
    $31690 price of car
    $1300 (approx, I forget the exact amount, but it was 13xx.xx) in taxes, title
    $699.10 doc fee

    $33,689.10 out the door, approximately, depending on what taxes were.

    Keep in mind, this was not a car equipped with NAVI, or the Touring.

    We left, because the deal was pretty insulting, and I liked, not loved, the car.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    graduate: Thanks for the good report. You're right that is not a good price for that model. Here's what carsdirect says they think they can get it for in my neck of the woods:

    2013 Honda Accord Price
    EX-L V-6 4dr Sedan w/6-Spd Automatic
    MSRP PRICING:$30,860
    Target Price: $27,642

    As you know, that's just about what you were offering.

    Sounds like you're moving on to other cars, but if for some reason you decide to come back to the Accord a site like cars direct or carwoo would probably be able to get you a price near your target.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    Arguably the KIA Optima was ahead of the last generation Accord in several areas just a year ago. And they're still tied in most ways. And an all-new Optima is due in a year or so, and so who knows what things will look like then?

    It's a the most competitive it's ever been for the midsize cars, and the winners are all the people buying one, no matter what the brand....
  • gmanusmcgmanusmc SoCalPosts: 436
    This is why I am not a proponent of talking numbers at the dealership - it is mostly a waste of time. You did well on the test drive and sounds like you accomplished what you set out to do - get a feel for the car.

    Serious negotiation can be done via email working exclusively with the Internet Sales Dept folks. A good dealer will have a good Internet Dept and those folks will be motivated to offer the best pricing. That way once you've settled on what you want, the numbers are finalized before going to the dealer.

    Bill G
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,695
    His offer also depends on including the dealer add on's or not.
    27500 + 2300 or not.
    Either way, 1500 vs 3000+ discount doesn't work.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,766
    The Camry seems all but certain to win the midsize sales race for 2013. Here's where things stand for the first seven months of this year:

    Camry: 242,406
    Accord: 218,367
    Altima: 197,321
    Fusion: 181,668

    But Ford is ramping up Fusion production in Flat Rock, and next year will have the capacity to make 100,000 Fusions there to add to the 350,000 already made in Mexico. Nissan also has the capacity to build 450,000 Altimas, although demand is not hitting that pace at this point. Honda can make at least 400,000 Accords in Ohio, and perhaps make more at another factory in the US or import some from Japan. In other words, they can make 450,000 too, but they've said they won't cut prices to do it.

    Last year, Camry won the sales race with annual sales of 404,886. And this year the Camry is slightly beating that pace. Toyota has the capacity to build as many as 475,000 Camrys. Toyota has said they'll do whatever it takes to stay #1, which means big money on the hood. But the competition is breathing down their neck. Looks like 2014 is going to be very close.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-25/ford-fusion-output-boost-tests-2-300-pr- emium-over-camry.html

    "....Sales Fight
    “We have an automobile market unlike any other in the last 40 years, where everybody is equal in that they all have terrific cars,” said Maryann Keller, principal at auto-industry consulting firm Maryann Keller & Associates in Stamford, Connecticut. “Now, everybody is fighting for every sale.”

    The Fusion has prompted Toyota to acknowledge the challenge it faces to maintain leadership for its Camry sedan, which has reigned as the top-selling U.S. passenger car for 11 years and 15 of the last 16.

    “It is true that rival carmakers have come out with very competitive models in the segment, and that competition in the U.S. mid-size sedan segment is becoming fiercer,” Nobuyori Kodaira, a Toyota executive vice president, said last week in Tokyo. “What we need to do is to come out with even more competitive models.”

    The additional production from Flat Rock could allow Ford to stretch for as much as 450,000 units of combined annual Fusion output from the Michigan factory and its Hermosillo plant in Mexico, said Jeff Schuster, an analyst for LMC Automotive. The researcher estimates that Toyota has capacity in North America to build about 475,000 Camrys per year, while Honda can assemble about 450,000 Accords...."
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,695
    edited August 2013
    Even at 450K, Fusion will not be even close to Ford's best selling vehicle.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,690
    Fusion capacity is only about 250K right now due to MKZ production. Ford will not give up profit just to be #1. Fusion transaction prices are about $2500 higher than Camry (give or take).

    I saw a new Camry prototype in a focus group a couple of weeks ago. The competition has nothing to be worried about.
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