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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,338
    I see very few new Altima's running around here in NOVA surprisingly. Tons of Camry's.

    I always notice nicely equipped Accords. I think it is a nice car (again). Great classic sedan lines, while still allowing the Sport to actually look sporty.

    I only see the new Mazda 6 sporadically. Like one a week. They need to get that product out there. A shame if it doesn't end up in the hands of more Americans who will then know why Asian cars feel so right, handle well, and last so long.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • ahightowerahightower TXPosts: 512
    Would be interested to see the fleet sales numbers. Can't find specifics, although one article said that For the full year, Camry fleet sales should be no more than 15 percent of total for the year. I would bet that among individual buyers, Camry has only a very slight edge over Accord, and that may slip as the new Accord proliferates and the aging Camry loses some ground to all the newer competitors. Anecdotal evidence suggests Fusion and Altima are also making a lot of fleet sales. Which is fine - a sale is a sale. But individual sales are more profitable per unit, and fleet vehicles could diminish the image and cache of a brand.

    And resale value is better when there are no fleet sales (Accord is best on this measure). That helps lessees, although with interest rates this low, why lease? But when (not if) rates rise again, used car prices will get even stronger. There's never been a better time to buy a new Japanese car. Good prices as they fight for sales leadership, and cheap and easy credit. And they're going to be hugely attractive if the economy stumbles again and people just want a good reliable used car. Deserved or not, Japanese brands, specifically Honda and Toyota, kill the used competition. In five years, a used Fusion or Sonata will probably be as reliable as a used Camry, but I'm sure the Camry will be worth 30% more based on reputation alone.

    Back to fleets - plain white base models with company logos plastered on them might not hurt F-150's image among consumers, but it's not a good look on a Focus or Fusion. I recently rented an el cheapo base model Fusion which smelled of cigarette smoke and had a gross filmy residue on its urethane steering wheel. It left a very bad impression. I'm enthusiast enough to have given a "good" Fusion a fair shake when I went shopping, and it was leg room that knocked it off my list. But an average buyer may have been turned off for good by that rental experience.

    That said, well-kept and high spec rental cars can actually be good advertising. I had a brand new Grand Cherokee Limited as a rental last month and it made me want to go home and trade my Yukon immediately.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    edited October 2013
    Mazda gave up their half of the Flat Rock factory at just the wrong time imho. But it sure helps Ford.

    A surprise is how much VW has stumbled with the Passat. I thought by now they'd be selling in the range of 14,000 a month, which is the capacity of their TN plant. Instead they are selling only a bit more than half of that. The slow engine with low mpg is part of it, but I have to guess that how VW treated generations of customers with poor reliability and poor service has come back to bite them in the Hintern.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    To date Fusion and Camry are both selling around 6700 vehicles per month to fleets on average with Camry's percentage being lower due to higher volume. Not sure about Camry but a lot of Fusion fleet sales are to government which is a lot different than rental cars. And even the rental car sales are no longer deeply discounted stripper models but nicely equipped more premium models.

    Given the production constraints with the Fusion up until now I don't think Ford would replace high profit retail sales with fleet sales unless the fleet sales were just as profitable.

    Whether Camry keeps the sales lead depends on how much they're willing to increase incentives and fleet sales. I've seen the next Camry prototype and it's nothing to get excited about. Ford is not going to chase the sales crown with fleet dumping and big incentives. They're more about profits nowadays.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,354
    I am amazed the Altima is selling so well. Not that it is a bad car - it isn't - but because it is quite anonymous-looking and doesn't seem to have anything compelling about the car itself or its marketing. Plus it has the CVT, which I always thought worked against it, but I have to suppose, given the sales figures, is not an issue for most people (if they are even aware of it).

    I am also quite surprised they are selling as many Malibus as they are. It is not a good-looking car inside or out, has some issues regarding interior space, and has really poor marketing. I guess the power of the Chevy dealer network and incentives are helping Chevy move the iron.

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,678
    I had an Altima as a rental last week and even though I only spent a few days with it I thought it was impressive as a basic vehicle (as most rentals are equipped).

    The CVT didn't bother me. It responded well to a quick "tap" and only exhibited the "drone" when I needed to lay into the throttle. The engine was a little loud and coarse at high rpm, but I wasn't tracking the car so this was a rare occurrence.

    I thought it did look good, but not into the "wow" category...
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    Nissan is focusing on the Altima's fuel economy in their TV ads. I expect that is a big reason why folks would be attracted to the Altima. 38 mpg EPA highway is pretty impressive for a mid-sized car. And based on my experience with the previous-generation Altima, I expect that number is realistic.

    Plus it's not a bad-looking car, and incentives/lease deals are better than for some competitors such as the Accord and Mazda6.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,972
    Altima's are pretty popular in central CT and I think I see more new Accords than Camry's.
    Mazda6. Only buyers must be car reviewers.
  • There are quite a few Altimas in northern MN. I think I even see more of them than the new Accords. I think they both look very good in person.

    Regarding the prices of the midsize sedans, is it just me, or are there pretty great deals on Fusions now? I was shocked to find that they can be equipped with heated leather seats for $23,500 to $24,000 at a particular Twin Cities dealership. For most other competitors, don't you usually have to spend around $27+K to get those features?

    Despite those goodies on the Fusion, I'd probably go with a Mazda 6 Sport or Honda Accord Sport, though there don't seem to be big discounts on those models, if any.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    edited October 2013
    I think there are good to great deals available on almost all models of all brands, including the Accord Sport. Check out this price from Crest Honda in Nashville:

    2013 Honda Accord Sport (CVT) Front-Wheel Drive Sedan
    MSRP:$24,980
    DEALER DISCOUNT:$2,258
    TRUE PRICE:$22,722
    Get True Price!
    Bodystyle:SedanTransmission:continuously variable automaticDrive Line:Front-wheel DriveEngine:2.4L I-4 cyl
    Exterior Color:Alabaste
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    edited October 2013
    Check out this deal from my local Hyundai dealer. That's a lot of car for the money! A couple of years ago this car was going for only a relatively small discount iirc. Competition is fierce...

    MSRP $22,245
    Savings $3,802
    Oxmoor Hyundai Price $18,443
    Color:Pacific Blue Pearl Mica
    Interior:Gray w/Premium Cloth Seating Surfaces
    Stock#:H6527
    Engine:2.4L 4 cyls
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    NEW 2013 Volkswagen Passat
    MSRP: $24,385
    Bachman Price: $22,735
    (2 days left)
    Sale Price: $20,985
    Savings: $3,400
    4dr Sdn 2.5L Auto S w/Appearance *Ltd Avail*
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    I haven't driven one of the new models, but when I last drove an Altima as a rental I thought it was a good car. I liked it better than the last Camry I had. I've sometimes seen these advertised locally for even less. Nissan is going to go after a lot of sales, and I may have been wrong in guessing that Ford would top them.

    2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
    Exterior: Cayenne Red Metallic (Red) Interior: Charcoal Status: In Stock Mileage: 6 Engine: Gas I4 2.5L/152 Transmission: Variable
    Internet Price$21,488*Price$25,370*Instant Savings-$3,882*
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 1,033
    When we bought our Accord in March, our decision was between it and the Altima. Drive the Camry but didn't care for it. I think the Altima is the nicest-looking, inside and out, of the three, and it has a killer Bose stereo. It was a very close choice for us. Ultimately we preferred the Accord's handling and its CVT is smoother. However, I'm sure we would also have been very happy with an Altima.
  • wayne21wayne21 Posts: 231
    edited October 2013
    I rented an Altima back in June. It was a nice car but I had two concerns: 1) at low speeds it was always "lugging" and 2) the airbag light for the passenger seat kept going off indicating it was not active. I stopped the car several times daily for my 105 lb wife to get out and back in to activate the airbag. Even when I (at 185 lb) was riding as the passenger the airbag was deactivated and I had to get out and back into the car to activate the airbag. I googled these two issues and found them to be very common complaints in the Altima thus I wrote off the Altima.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 1,033
    The airbag is a problem that should be fixable and probably isn't widespread or there would be a recall. Googling doesn't tell you much about any vehicle as there are many people with an ax to grind. CR hasn't mentioned it. I drove the car several times (as we had a very difficult time deciding) and didn't notice any such lugging. Some people complain of that in the Accord too but I haven't experienced it. What I did notice was a loud drone as the engine revved. That's one of the reasons we eventually chose the Accord. However, I do think the Altima is a very nice car with fantastic fuel economy.
  • wayne21wayne21 Posts: 231
    I agree with your thoughts on the passenger airbag on the Altima, but it hasn't worked that way. There have been many complaints and a recall on the issue. Some who have had the recall repair done say it didn't work and that they have the same issue.
  • kyrptokyrpto Posts: 216
    For September 2013 the combined sales of Korean hybrids was more than the Camry h or Fusion h.
    That would suggest Hyundai-Kia has totally worked out the bugs in their hybrid power train.
    Source: Hybridcars.com
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,338
    ....and the high cost of getting an SEL 3.6, plus the fact that the entire field has shifted to turbo 4's for the better mpg numbers you mentioned.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,338
    edited October 2013
    That's funny you mentioned the color red. Almost all of the Altima's I see are red. It's a good looking car, just not into CVT. Also, the Maxima is awesome looking, but it also has a CVT and has too much hard plastic inside. A shame, because I love the exterior, especially the wide taillights.

    Nissan did a good job on the Altima. My only gripe is that I think the "face" looks like it was stung by a bee. Kind of puffy cheeked.

    Which mid-size is the best looking guys? Just on looks alone which one would you guys choose?

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    Imho the following are all good-looking midsize cars (all about equal for me): Fusion, Mazda6, Optima, Accord.

    The less good looking cars, for me, are Camry, Altima, Malibu, and the Chrysler cars.

    I used to sort of like the Sonata, but my opinion of it has slowly declined the more I see of it. I'm not sure if the look is aging well.
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,338
    I feel the same way, and agree on your taste... including the Sonata's styling. I think that if I was shopping for a mid size today I would be pulling my hair out over choosing one.

    I am having a hard time placing the Passat. Half of me says boring bread box, the other half says European good looks. Most of me likes the 3.6 SEL though.

    Hey, speaking of the Passat, didja know that the 6 speed automatic in the 3.6 SEL is an automated manual? That would kill the deal for me. A regular 6 speed w/ a real torque converter would last longer in this area.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 1,033
    They all look nice. Best looking for me: Mazda6, Altima, Accord, Passat.
    Less nice: Fusion (I know everyone here loves it, but I hate the big wide chrome grill), Camry, Malibu.

    I rented a Sonata over the summer and it seemed nice looking but not a standout. I couldn't tell you what an Optima looks like.
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,338
    edited October 2013
    It's because the Optima is mistaken for the previous model Lexus IS ! Many people on the Optima forums de-badge their cars and replace the trunk and hood "KIA" badge with a K badge, that looks suspiciously similar to the "L" on Lexus.

    Also, believe it or not, I think the upper trimmed Optima looks most like a Jaguar XF. Honestly. Here is an XF:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.themotorreport.com.au/content/ima- - - - ge/2/0/2012_jaguar_xf_03-4daf9205368ef.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.themotorreport.c- - - - om.au/51709/2012-jaguar-xf-update-unveiled&h=1067&w=1600&sz=387&tbnid=GgRrbejPgU- - - - cZ4M:&tbnh=113&tbnw=170&zoom=1&usg=__u2mxYpyDLp_8XEFu56_oxUKPcsk=&docid=9b3it178- - - - MvJ6BM&sa=X&ei=AcJOUrjyBJTC9gSXuoCgAg&ved=0CFsQ9QEwBQ

    Here is a Optima SX-L

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2012/12/3- - - - 0/061318-first-drive-2013-kia-optima-sx-limited-by-henny-hemmesw.4-lg.jpg&imgref- - - - url=http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2012/12/30/061318-first-drive-2013-kia-op- - - - tima-sx-limited-by-henny-hemmesw.html&h=683&w=1024&sz=225&tbnid=TM_t_Op8seH7rM:&- - - - tbnh=120&tbnw=180&zoom=1&usg=__J5rmbgSDFlJ4RP6E3PzpSR722oo=&docid=7hnSMTbp6PzjPM- - - - &sa=X&ei=McNOUtWMMoHe8wTkvIHIDA&ved=0CEcQ9QEwBg

    I have my windows tinted exactly the same shade as the Jaguar, and I added piano black gloss B-pillar trim panels to complement it.

    Here is a picture of the modification + tint: http://i.imgur.com/FmBHfsL.jpg

    So, to get my car the way I wanted it cost very little money.

    Tint (35%) $180
    OEM spoiler, painted: $120
    B -pillar trim - $30
    OEM mudguards : $60
    Infinity Sub: $220
    Red LED interior accent: $25
    Lamin-X fog light protection, tinted: $18

    So, total is : $653

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    For September 2013 the combined sales of Korean hybrids was more than the Camry h or Fusion h.
    That would suggest Hyundai-Kia has totally worked out the bugs in their hybrid power train.


    But, for the calender year, both the Fusion and Camry hybrids have a better year-to date then the combined Kia/Hyundai variants, by a hefty margin.

    September buyers are typically more of bargain hunters and September is sell down month making way for new models. The Kia and Hyundai have lower transaction prices then the Fusion and Camry do as well. I'm willing to bet that is a factor as well.

    One month of sales do not dictate a change in product, for the better as you are insisting, but rather a reflection on market conditions. If Kia and Hyundai were to progressively gain on both the Fusion and Camry, you might be one to something, but that is not what September suggests.
  • ahightowerahightower TXPosts: 512
    edited October 2013
    To me, they all look pretty good above the base trim levels. Accord Sport or V6 with larger wheels and dual exhaust tips. Altima looks kinda dorky in S or SV because of the stance on the smaller wheels and skinny tires. Sonata SE is nice, Camry SE is acceptable. Optima... I like it except for the fender vents. I hope this fad dies soon. If I had to rank:
    1) Mazda6 (absolutely no contest)
    2) Accord
    3) Altima
    4) Optima (there's an original name for ya...)
    5) Fusion (want to love it, and photos look great at the right angles, but in person it appears a bit tall and narrow... not exactly the Rapide that the grille is mimicking)
    6) Passat ("restrained", not "boring")
    7) Sonata (not sure this is aging well...)
    8) Camry
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,047
    Pretty much the same order based on looks only. Not necessarily the same order I would buy- but close.

    1. Mazda6
    2. Accord
    3. Optima
    4. Altima
    5. Passat
    6. Fusion
    7. Sonata
    8. Legend
    9. Camry
    10. Malibu
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,972
    edited October 2013
    As a Fusion owner, I rate it higher.
    1) Fusion (long wheel base does work against it)
    2) Accord (nothing bad, takes no chances)
    3) Altima (only bad is the front fenders)
    4) Optima (very Jag looking, but rear lights wrap around to the side too much)
    5) Sonata (grille could be toned down a bit, rear lights are weak)
    6) Mazda6 (front grille too big and c pillar trim styling is awful)
    7) Passat (timeless design from 1995)
    8) Camry (stylists(?) just mailed it in)
  • ahightowerahightower TXPosts: 512
    edited October 2013
    Definitely Malibu last. The prior gen was better. Mid cycle refresh coming may help, but won't change the awkward proportions with short wheelbase and long overhangs.
    Well. Avenger is last. 200 next to last. Malibu is just above those. Chrysler is on a roll, their next mid sizer should be great. But man are those dogs tired.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,047
    Yeah, forgot about the Chrysler sisters. I actually think the Avenger is OK but the 200 roof line is just so peculiar. I too would rank them above the Malibu.
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