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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • Well, we don't seek to silence anyone as long as they adhere to our Membership Agreement. However, it isn't appropriate to hang around any of our discussions for the purpose of putting down other members' choices.

    The best policy, REGARDLESS of which member it may be, is to ignore posts that you don't feel are informative or productive. This is a pretty good rule in all of life's interactions - ignore or avoid those that cause unnecessary aggravation or upset, to the best of your ability.

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

  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    edited January 2011
    You do realize this is the midsize sedan forum and we are suppose to be talking about the mainstream family sedans here. Those are the ones I and other choose from when recommending one to a person like the OP who asked us a few days ago b/c this is the specific thread he posted in.

    There is a completely different thread about entry-level luxury sedans which are more than just utilitarian so if someone was to ask amongst them what people recommend that is where to do it in that separate thread.

    With the way gas prices are heading up and people still struggling from the recession, many people are downgrading to these cars because of the higher costs premium and entry-level luxury vehicles carry so I'm not sure you should be putting everyone down who gets one. I know plenty of people who are wealthy, I have a cousin who is a millionaire and they don't put emphasis on vehicles and just get mainstream ones so I don't buy that argument completely.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    It's that I wonder about the "wisdom" of people on this forum always recommending the most utilitarian choice when there are now literally a dozen vehicles in the same category.

    You're missing the big picture, Joe. The good news - and it really is good news - is that there isn't a bad car out there. Think about it. You couldn't have made that statement in 1970 or 1980. There may be some that don't live up to your sense of style, but even the Camry that you disparage will last 10 years with routine maintenance while getting the job done.

    Look at the Hyundai Sonata, which might be the new standard setter in this market segment. Even the cheapest version features variable-assist rack & pinion steering, 4-wheel disc brakes w/ABS & traction/stability control. It will outrun, out brake & out corner almost anything made in 1970. It's stylish, roomy, economical & not boring to drive.

    I have a pretty good idea of what driving pleasure is all about; my weekend ride is a BMW 3-series rigged for maximum fun, with stick, sport package & high performance summer rubber. But I really wish that cars like today's Sonata, Accord & Camry were available back in the early 70s, when I was starting out.

    As I said previously, these are the good old days.
  • While I regret my purchase decision getting the '07 Accord, I know I could definitely do worse. Is a 4cyl/5spd and it gets stellar fuel economy. If I don't grow a pair and buy something else, I will likely upgrade the tires/wheels/shocks/springs to be more in line with what I like.
    I also noted that a contemporary V6 Camry is about as fast and handles as well as a 70s Ferrari. It is just devoid of any sensory experience what-so-ever. Its also priced in the same range (until you add in maintenance costs).

    But I really wish that cars like today's Sonata, Accord & Camry were available back in the early 70s, when I was starting out.

    Have you noticed how many features are coming into cars now that focus on something other than driving? I think that is partially because todays cars are so much easier to drive than earlier ones, almost to a fault. While driving the 70's Nova (or even my late 80s Galant) was a more involved experience, driving the '07 Accord almost produces a sleep effect.
  • John: Dear Autoexpert (AE), me (or my wife, or my second cousin) need a new car and we cannot figure out what car to buy what is your advice?

    AE: Dear John, it is simple - if you want smooth and soft ride - buy Toyota Camry. If you tolerate some noise but want better handling - buy Honda Accord. If you are poor - buy Hyundai Sonata. It is all smart choice.

    John: Dear AE, We took a look at cars you suggested and recommended cars are too large. We are getting really desperate, please help us!

    AE: Dear John, solution to your problem is simple. If you want smooth and soft ride- buy Toyota Corolla. If you tolerate some noise but want better handling - buy Honda Civic. If you are poor - buy Hyudai Elantra.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    me: Dear savetheland - Don't quit your day job.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    Have you noticed how many features are coming into cars now that focus on something other than driving? I think that is partially because todays cars are so much easier to drive than earlier ones, almost to a fault.

    Interesting observation. My '78 VW Rabbit was a blast to drive - when it ran. (Didn't last long. It threw a rod at 50K miles in '81.) Even though it was the top trim line, it was astonishingly short of creature comforts by today's standards: no A/C, crank windows & a terrible AM radio that generated an irritating rattle in the dash if I turned up the volume.

    No one would tolerate those shortcomings today.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,623
    edited January 2011
    jimbres:

    Yes, cars are so much better today that it's almost unbelievable. Did the dash on your Rabbit crack? My neighbor had one and it was cracked by its third year. Many cars of the 70s were shoddy beyond belief in design and construction.

    My 08 Accord, in comparison, is much safer than a Volvo 240 from back then, has more performance than a base BMW 318, more mpg than a VW Rabbit, and yet more interior room than a Oldsmobile Cutlass.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    Did the dash on your Rabbit crack?

    No, but the metallic paint, for which I paid $125 extra, began to peel within weeks.

    When I complained to the service manager, his reply (in a bored tone of voice) was, "Oh, they all do that".

    I shrugged & walked away. If that happened today, I'd hire a lawyer.
  • My '78 VW Rabbit was a blast to drive - when it ran. (Didn't last long. It threw a rod at 50K miles in '81.) Even though it was the top trim line, it was astonishingly short of creature comforts by today's standards: no A/C, crank windows & a terrible AM radio that generated an irritating rattle in the dash if I turned up the volume.

    It seems like what you are describing is quality issues that plagued the car, not the driving dynamics, which you praised. This is my point...cars today are dull to drive, they aren uninteresting and unrewarding. They are, however, reliable (for the most part) and are built much better. People expect a higher quality level from vehicles now and also higher levels of creature comforts, but I don't know why that has to involve a numb, isolated, uninvolved driving experience.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    cars today are dull to drive

    Oh, I dunno. You might be painting with too broad of a brush. Your Accord is almost certainly more entertaining to drive than its counterpart from the mid-70s, which would have been something like an Olds Cutlass. Since your Accord is a family sedan, you have to compare it with other family sedans. Otherwise, the comparison isn't fair. And when you do that, you realize that today's family sedans have vastly better driving dynamics than the family sedans of a couple of generations ago.

    You want an "uninvolved driving experience"? Try a Ford Granada from the late 70s (pretty much the standard airport rental car back then) or any other mid-sized American sedan from that era. Until you have, you don't know how lucky you are.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    "People expect a higher quality level from vehicles now and also higher levels of creature comforts, but I don't know why that has to involve a numb, isolated, uninvolved driving experience."

    Because that is also what the vast majority of Americans want. They want cushy ride, effortless steering and a car that does not break. The things they want and care about are cupholders, voice commands (eg. Ford's Sync), touch screens, navigation systems, bluetooth, sunroofs,...

    The manufacturers build what sells and #1 is still the Toyota Camry.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I sometimes wonder what happened to the love for vehicles that the U.S. used to have in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It's now become acceptable to drive the equivalent of a laundromat washing machine

    Have you driven a car from that era lately in comparison to todays mid-sizers? OMG, that are impossible to drive! They cant stop (4 wheel drum brakes), horrible handling, piss poor crash test results, tough steering...the list goes on and on and on...

    Now, if you are talking about muscle cars, they still drive like crap, except in a straight line and get 10 mpg. Plus, muscle cars were not the majority of the cars on the road back then. There were many small block V8's and I-6's that had no power. Muscle cars were equal to the high-performance cars we see today that we all talk about, but none of us actually own.

    Believe me, I own a Fox Body Mustang and my best friend has a '70 Chevelle SS. They are great in straight lines, but thats about it! Driving these cars are more like driving an appliance then todays cars....
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,624
    VW's New Midsized Sedan (NMS) is due out soon. I read an article about it in my local paper. It was short on details except that it will be larger than the Passat, VW is keeping the actual name under wraps, it will be built in the U.S., and it will have some lower-cost parts e.g. cheaper plastic to keep its starting price around $20k. So it appears to be inline with VW's strategy with the latest Jetta: make a more "Americanized" car that is larger and more in line with competitors in terms of price. This is all part of VW's strategy to take over the #1 sales spot from Toyota and sell at least 800,000 vehicles in the U.S. by 2016.

    I just hope that VW can retain the good traits of the Passat in the NMS, namely good handling with a compliant ride and a high-quality interior. It appears the high-quality interior is iffy based on the comment re cheaper plastics. We really don't need another Camry, despite its sales success.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,409
    We really don't need another Camry, despite its sales success.

    Depends on who "we" is, Kemosabe...

    It appears that VW thinks they "need another Camry" very much indeed.

    Cheers -Mathias
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,700
    VW is crazy with this strategy. Instead of decontenting their cars (where their main advantage had been the higher quality of their interiors and handling), they should have focused on reliability and improving the shabby dealer and service experiences. They are barking up the wrong tree. You're right, we don't need another Camry but with lousier dealers, lower reliability, and more expensive parts.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,409
    Yeah, that's pretty much the point.
    The Germans don't "get" the American market very well... I don't think they can understand the sturdiness required to make it in the low end of the US market.

    Europeans simply haven't been spoiled by virtually maintenance-free "appliance" cars. Germans think nothing of taking their cars in to the dealership once a year and dropping a thousand euro on this and that.

    New head gasket? Oh well, it was about due.
    So long as they can't deliver on the reliability/durability front, they won't get the repeat customers that are Toyota's bread and butter.

    The nice interiors, buttoned-down fit-and-finish, and solid handling was hwat made people buy the cars despite the reliability concerns. It's been my theory that a VW is what you buy after a Buick and a Toyota made you forget how painful it is to have "get the car fixed" every other year. I'd never buy a VW traded in at a Toyota dealership; there's always a reason.

    So I'm skeptical about VW's approach, too.

    Cheers -Mathias
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,624
    Yes, unfortunately. But if they have studied their marketing history, they know not to follow the exact same strategy as someone else, who has already mastered that strategy. Maybe the NMS will be like the Camry in some ways (reliable, more vanilla styling, lower cost, lower-cost interior bits) and like a VW in others (exceptional ride/handling balance, interesting powertrains). We'll see...
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I think they have been addressing reliability, what is left to address related to that may be more perceptions than reality. The Jetta and Golf/Rabbit with the 2.5 engine have, I believe, been getting the highest or second highest reliability ratings in CR, since the 2005/2006 redesigns.

    Dealer experiences vary, ours have been great and we have dealt with 3 different ones.
  • Why am I suddenly hungry in a car forum. I just ate.
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