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Mainstream Large Sedans Comparison



  • jontyreesjontyrees Posts: 160
    I saw Jeremy Clarkson fit into a 1950's 50cc engined single seat car, 54" long, on Sunday evening. Where there's a will, there's a way........
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I have seen that episode, but we're really going back off-topic with that, so let's not for our friend Pat's sake. ;)

    I was looking over those TCO numbers again. I had assumed our captain was right about the numbers being the same, but in reality, the Taurus IS the cheaper car to own according to this, but a sizeable margin. Sure there are different factors here, but hey, I'm not who started the TCO topic! :)
  • jontyreesjontyrees Posts: 160
    Obviously, the higher the rebate up front, the lower the likely resale value will be. However, even if a $4k rebate up front results in a $4k hit to resale value, (unlikely, but just say it does), on a purely financial basis, you're still better off due to the lower financing cost. Now, if the Avalon actually depreciates less in total $, that's a different matter, and at some point, offsets the lower financing cost. Not rocket science either, just basic discounted cash flow analysis, (substitute discount rate for my example of financing cost)

    BTW - my bad - I typo'd earlier. My Taurus was $22.9k before TTL, not $21.9k, and I also added a $300 window tint.
  • jontyreesjontyrees Posts: 160
    I spent a ton of time comparing TCOs on a variety of vehicles before making my decision - not just using the Edmunds side-by-side comaprisons, but playing with my own revised assumptions. Probably spent more time on it than the savings were worth! Nah, I get off on that stuff - it's pretty much what I do for a living.

    Back to topic - does the Taurus transmission "learn" from the drivers habits? Seems like mine is starting to become more responsive on downshits - maybe just loosening up.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Not that I'm aware of; that'd be a question for a veteran owner, not a soon-to-have-one-in-the-family guy like me. :P
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    the extra financing costs for the more expensive car are certainly relevant but also something that is always included in these published TCO figures - and therefore something that the more expensive car must overcome (in resale value) if it is to have a similar (or better ) TCO. Resale remains the mist important single factor in cost to own - but also a factor that declines in importance if you happen to be one of those few that drives anything until the wheels fall off.
  • fool1717fool1717 Posts: 8
    I currently own a 1999 Cadillac Deville, which I love. I’m looking for a new car priced in the $30s with an emphasis on comfort and feature richness, that runs on regular gas. I’d like to have a built-in nav system on the car, and I’m not a fan of sunroofs. That leaves me with the Avalon Limited and Lincoln MKZ as my 2 top choices. This is what I see as the big differences between them:

    Av Limited pros: quality interior components, proven resale value
    Av Limited cons: sunroof standard, poor nav system

    MKZ pros: most features standard, good nav system, sunroof optional
    MKZ cons: cheap interior components

    Note that I have yet to drive either car. I suspect their rides will be fairly similar, and both will provide all the power I need for normal city and interstate driving.

    A big criticism of the 2008 MKZ was its lack of stability control; that will come standard in the 2009 MKZ. Anyone know what changes are in store for the 2009 Limited?

    Another choice may be the 2009 Lincoln MKS, but it is priced at the upper end of my desired range, and I am leery of buying a first-year vehicle.

    Any comments regarding the Avalon Limited vs Lincoln MKZ (or MKS) are welcome.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I would put the ES350 in that list as well. Currently an ES350 with premium plus package, HID and nav has a $40k MSRP but can be had for $36k ($500 over invoice) according to Edmunds.

    The reason I throw in the ES is because it is a better competitor to the MKZ in my opinion.
  • brucelincbrucelinc Posts: 815
    Regarding your transmission question, here is what the owner's manual says:

    Your transaxle is equipped with an adaptive learning strategy found in
    the vehicle computer. This feature is designed to increase durability and
    provide consistent shift feel over the life of the vehicle. A new vehicle or
    transaxle may have firm and/or soft shifts. This operation is considered
    normal and will not affect function or durability of the transaxle. Over
    time, the adaptive learning process will fully update transaxle operation.

    I am not sure about learning from the driver's habits but I have noticed a pretty substantial change in behavior between brand new and 7000 miles. With the miles, it has become more responsive and fuel economy improved, as well.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Cool - I did NOT know that. I'll pass that on to my folks. Thanks for dictating that for us, bruce.
  • tonycdtonycd Posts: 223
    Boy, I'm not a fan of the Lincolns. I wanted to like the MKZ, but as you suggest in your pro/con list, it just exudes cheapness inside. The Avalon is not only nicer and more spacious by a mile, its V6 also offers the best compromise of power and economy in the industry. Add in its high owner satisfaction despite some niggling problems, and it's a combination that's tough to beat.

    By the way, I dislike sunroofs too. I don't want to pay for them, they eat up headroom I need, and they introduce another chance for problems. That said, the Azera Limited (sunroof standard) has so much headroom that I find I can still sit in it comfortably. In all other regards, the car seems to fit your requirements precisely -- except for your insistence on paying over $30,000. ;)
  • allmet33allmet33 Posts: 3,557
    Hey can also throw the Genesis V-6 in there as well. Not sure if you can get it without the sunroof though, would seem to foot the bill nicely as well.

    Genesis Review
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717

    I would probably take the Genesis over all those three.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Hi all. My folks purchased their new Ford Taurus SEL today. It is equipped with leather, the convenience package (Auto Headlamps, Power Driver's Seat, Dual Climate Control, 6CD/MP3), SYNC, and Sirius Radio. MSRP - $26,615. See it here.

    First, the pricing.

    Was given an initial offer of $22,000 Out the Door, and after passing it on to my folks, they were happy with that. No negotiating necessary. The breakdown on pricing looks like this:

    2008 Ford Taurus SEL, Silver Birch over Stone, 21 miles on the vehicle.

    MSRP : $26,615
    Dealer Price : $24,844
    Customer Cash : - $2,000
    Manufacturer to Dealer Cash : -$2,000
    Doc Fee - $199
    TTL - $957

    APR - 4.54% (Fantastic Credit)

    Final Price - $22,000 OTD

    As far as how the car drives, today was my first chance to drive it. A few short thoughts (as it was a short drive, after all)...

    Powertrain: More than enough power. I felt like I just "wafted" to 50 mph. Shifts are incredibly smooth; smoother than the 2008 LE-V6 Camry I drove recently; probably the smoothest transmission I've ever experienced, actually. I "got on it" from a light, and it didn't make a fuss, it just "went." Quietly. Engine noise is very muted; most of what you do hear is the exhaust note, which is quiet, and has a nice husky sound to it. Very smooth-sounding; as smooth as our 3.5L Honda we had. Throttle tip-in is gentle; appropriate for a car this size. Interestingly, when accelerating on an on-ramp onto I-59 (70mph limit) I didn't "nail" the throttle, but instead accelerated like I normally would. The car stayed below 3,000 RPM, but had my dad (who at the time was sitting behind me) saying "easy there, cowboy - we want to buy it, you don't have to force us too by driving fast and wrecking. My mother actually told him "he's not gunning it; it is just a quick car!"

    Handling/Ride: Steering is much too light for my tastes, but for a large highway car it should be just fine. I'm used to sportier Honda tuning. It felt accurate, linear, and quite easy to drive. It handled bumpy I-59 with only muted "thumps" from the suspension. No real floatiness, although the nose does pitch-up more than I'm used to upon hard acceleration (probably because it accelerates harder than my 4-cyl Accord!). Something that stood out to me was its tight turning radius. Surprising, really, in a car this size. I didn't do any "cornering" but in my test drive I felt more secure than in the Camry I drove not long ago, and rode as well.

    Braking: A pleasant surprise. I was expecting the mushy pedal I experienced in the Toyota; wrong. While not as grabby as my 2006 Honda Accord, the brakes were firm enough, with feel that was well-modulated. I felt instantly comfortable driving this car in traffic, unlike the Toyota, or even my Honda (my Accord has very touchy brakes, and take some getting used to).

    Features/Interior: Sync is a pleasure. The dealer even set up my folks' cell-phones, and showed them how to use it, having each of them execute commands from the driver's seat until they fully understood how it worked. Interior room is obviously unmatched by many others. The rear seat of the SEL model does not have adjustable rear headrests, so neck support is lacking for me in the back (I'm 6'5"). My mom was just fine (5'5") however. The rear bench sits well-off the ground at chair height, as do the front buckets. Those front buckets have little lateral support, but make for easy ingress and egress, and should suit this car just fine. The lack of a telescoping wheel was no big deal (sure, it should have it at this price, but it's placement was great). Materials such as the wood-grain aren't going to make anyone think this is a Lexus, but there was enough soft-touch plastic and well-damped buttons to make this car feel more expensive than it's $22,000 price; especially given the features. The leather is soft and perforated; interior color: stone. Stereo sound quality from the more basic 6CD system (not the Audiophile one) is better than adequate; at least as good as that in my Honda if not better.

    I'll have more chances to drive this car as time goes on, but wanted to share my experience with it today. I already thought this car had a lot going for it on paper, but as a Honda guy I thought it might feel like an 80% effort. I was wrong. It is an 80% price for 100% good car. Give it a look.


  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Is there an oil life monitor in the new Taurus? My folks just bought their car, but won't pick it up until Monday, and are curious about the oil change intervals. Our Hondas have a monitor that counts engine RPM and monitors engine conditions to determine when oil changes should be done. Does the Taurus have anything like this? If not, what are the recommended intervals?

    Also, is there a timing belt, or timing chain?

  • alexstorealexstore Posts: 264
  • auld_dawgauld_dawg Posts: 40
    The Duratecs have had timing chains since 1996.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731

    We take delivery of the Taurus tomorrow morning.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Got the car - and we really like it. A lot! The fact that it runs at only 1,600 RPM in 6th at 60 MPH makes for a nice relaxed cruise and should really help mileage. That has to be the tallest top-gear I've ever seen in any vehicle except the Vette.

    For the record, the person who I expected not to get into Sync that much, my mother, absolutely LOVES it. She thinks making calls while her phone is still in the back seat in her purse is the best thing since power steering.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    The fact that it runs at only 1,600 RPM in 6th at 60 MPH
    now that is low - almost V8 territory, and enough to make one wonder if 'lugging' the engine to that degree won't effect highway drivability in an OHC engine that peaks it torque at engine speeds more than triple that. The Avalon is fully 10% higher in its engine speeds in top gear and I would suggest that even it would spend a lot of time downshifting to hold speed if it wasn't for the CVVT that effectively widens the engine's torque curve. Would be interested in a report on the car's behavior with the cruise set at 70 on moderately hilly terrain?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    After driving it yesterday on the hilly Birmingham-metro interstates, there was no problem whatsoever. It never needed to downshift. In the NC mountiains it might at least unlock the torque converter, or downshift, but there was plenty of torque at the prod of my foot to accelerate from 60 to 70 without needing to downshift. My Honda downshifts at the drop of a hat, but the Ford uses its torque rather than dropping a gear. When it does drop, the extra power is noticeable, however, the shift itself is not.
  • cdmuilecdmuile Posts: 152
    Anything currently made by Ford in the 3door hatchback sports like with manual tranny with the Taurus running gear?
  • tjc78tjc78 South JerseyPosts: 9,303
    When it does drop, the extra power is noticeable, however, the shift itself is not

    I would think that the 6 - 5 shift should be very soft. How much does the RPM increase? I'm thinking maybe 700. Even if its fairly often it wouldn't be as noticable as say the 4 - 3 shift in a Lucerne or Impala.

    2017 Buick Enclave / 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Honestly, I don't remember. I do know that when I punched it at 70, the RPMs went to a little over 4k RPM (I didn't floor it) and the car shot off like a rocket. I'm guessing there was a drop from 6-4th, or would it be 3rd?

    Whatever it was, it did just fine.
  • tonycdtonycd Posts: 223
    ...which I've never driven:

    Completely disregarding
    •gas mileage
    •and price,

    where does the loaded Lucerne with Northstar rate subjectively as a daily driving experience against the Avalon, Azera or Lexus ES? (Note: if you haven't driven a V8 Lucerne AND one of the others, disqualify yourself from replying.)
  • tjc78tjc78 South JerseyPosts: 9,303
    They are all fairly similar. Soft riding comfortable cruisers. The Buick is a fine car, just a little older technology than you'll find in the Av/ES/Azera. When I drove the V8 it wasn't quite as quick and refined as the V6 in the Avalon. The interior is also a bit old school for me. It wasn't bad, just not as nice as the others. I don't believe you could go wrong with the car if you are willing to deal with the FE penalty. That was the deal breaker to me (Av and Azera make roughly the same power with V6s and significantly better FE)....If you read back through the forum we have discussed at length that basically if the Lucerne had GMs 3.6 6 speed it would be a serious contender in this segment.

    2017 Buick Enclave / 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription

  • tonycdtonycd Posts: 223
    Thanks, tjc. I do recall the discussion about the 3.6.

    The reason I ask is that the Lucerne is big and stylish, but it does labor under disadvantages in size, turning circle, reliability history and fuel economy. So, for those of us who aren't simply American-only loyalists, it has to win decisively in some area to rate serious consideration, even if its price is discounted down to parity.

    I'd think if there's any such area, it would be highway cruising comfort. Of course its V6 rivals aren't exactly slackers in that regard, either.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    how can you disregard the Lucerne V8's FE, reliability (which ain't bad supposedly), AND those inflated Buick price tags. Would suggest to you that even the Avalon's general superiority (power, FE, 3rd party ratings etc.) in this class is still tempered by its price tag. Many buyers quite naturally disqualify it simply because they don't believe it to be worth several thousands more. How can we not do the same for a Buick that can actually cost more?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The Lucerne CXS is nearly identical to a late 90s Mercedes S420. Same power, same decent suspension on a very heavy car feel(a first for Buick, IMO), and the same solid feel.

    The non CXS versions are nasty. In this case, it's all about the suspension. The Magnetic Ride suspension turns the car from just another Buick into a proper luxury sedan in how it rides. It's not as fast in a straight line, but honestly, do you see middle-aged and elderly people really needing to smoke the tires on any of these large barges? Go drive a CXS. It's not an old man's car any more.

    The Azera feels a notch down. A lot like the old Park Avenue, in fact. Good, but not the real deal(like a E class, DTS, or similar)

    The Avalon is nice, but lacking the suspension... yeah, it's just another bland Toyota. The ES is a nice notch above(there is no "Lexus" in Japan - all models are "Toyota" there), but the price is a bit silly. Doubly so if you are looking for used values. Buick and Cadillac are probably the top two makes to look at for a used full size luxury/semi-luxury sedan.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    there is no "Lexus" in Japan - all models are "Toyota" there

    Two years ago you'd be right but now you couldn't be anymore wrong...

    Lexus has been selling cars in Japan for more than 2 years now.

    There is also Lexus in Europe, Russia, Korea, China and Taiwan. As matter of fact Lexus is also the number 1 selling luxury brand in Taiwan.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Interesting. But it's still a Toyota with extra bling in most cases. I just find it all to be bland and uninspiring, actually. Something about how Toyota makes very vanilla cars. Honda is a bit better - more like almost as bland cheap chocolate. Neither have the "wow" factor of Infiniti or Audi.

    Honestly, for a large car, the A8 is a very nice and often overlooked choice. the Volvo S80 also is as well.(though both have serious sticker shock, CPO is a whole other world more reasonably priced)
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    plekto, I love a good ole' "Lexus is just a Toyota with extra bling" debate anytime but this is not the right place. If you want to you can come to the Toyota in 2008 board then we can continue.
  • rpfingstenrpfingsten Posts: 154

    When I was in the market for a new car about 18 months ago, the lucerne with the northstar was the car I intended to buy. Having had the northstar in a Deville that I was trading in, I really liked that engine. When I test drove the Lucerne and put my foot into it, the northstar had a nice "throaty" growl to it. The car itself was very nice, alittle old school maybe, but still a nice vehicle. And overall, I think the ride on the highway is better than the Avalon, but then again, I prefer the "sofa" soft ride to the "feel of the road" ride. I actually went to the dealer to sign the papers on the Lucerne when my wife talked me into going down the road and looking at the Avy... First thing I noticed was that the avy actually felt like it had more room than the buick, I also liked the interior of the avy more, but the clincher for me was the powerful V6 in the avy that still provided much better FE than the buick. Ended up with the avy, when I called the buick salesman back to let him know I was passing on the car, he told me that in almost every instance where he had a customer that compared the lucerne to the avalon, that nearly everyone of them opted for the avy. Take it for what it's worth.

  • tonycdtonycd Posts: 223
    Captain, rejecting the premise of my question is not a valid way of answering it.

    Can you try again, please?
  • tonycdtonycd Posts: 223
    Thank you, Roland. That was a well-considered and very useful answer.
  • tjc78tjc78 South JerseyPosts: 9,303
    it has to win decisively in some area to rate serious consideration

    Honestly I don't think it does. Its not a bad vehicle its just not as good as the Avalon and Azera. Those two models beat Buick at their own game.... big, powerful highway cruisers. The CXL Lucerne does ride a bit softer than the Avalon on the highway and about the same as the Azera. The CXS is a bit firmer more like an Avalon touring. Maybe for some they just prefer the looks.. IMO it is better looking than the Avalon or Azera on the outside.

    I would love to know the % of Lucerne owners who owned Park Avs and LeSabres prior. I bet its pretty high.

    2017 Buick Enclave / 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'm a little bit bored today, so thought I might take a look and create a Pro/Con list for the competitors here. Feel free to comment; I'm just trying to create conversation. :) I'm singling out the most obvious pros/cons

    Buick Lucerne V6
    Pro: Classy Styling
    Con: Power/Economy (Soon to be helped with the 3.9L), Languid Handling

    Buick Lucerne V8
    Pro: Classy Styling, V8 available at Toyota V6 price (some people wouldn't have a 6-cylinder)
    Con: Poor Fuel Economy

    Chevrolet Impala V6 (3.5/3.9L)
    Pro: Torquey engines, big rebates
    Con: Small Interior, Wide-Ratio 4-speed Automatic

    Chevrolet Impala SS
    Pro: Old-School V8 Power and Sound at Accord V6 Prices
    Con: Fuel Economy, Small Interior

    Dodge Charger V6
    Pro: Muscle-Car Design
    Con: Cheap Interior, fuel economy (lower than the Impala SS!)

    Dodge Charger V8
    Pro: Hemi Power, Aggressive Styling
    Con: Fuel Economy, Interior not up-to-par considering price

    Ford Taurus
    Pro: Huge Interior Space and Comfort, Unique high seating position, Sync
    Con: Exterior Styling awkward from several angles

    Hyundai Azera
    Pro: Upscale Interior Feel, Warranty
    Con: Droopy Rear-End Styling

    Toyota Avalon
    Pro: 3.5L V6 Power and Economy, Available Lux Features
    Con: Price, Option Packaging, Front-end styling

    2009 Nissan Maxima and Pontiac G8 are too new to know (never been in them!).
  • allmet33allmet33 Posts: 3,557
    Wow...if the only con for the Azera is droopy rear-end styling (compared to the cons on the othe vehicles)...that's not bad at all! :blush: However, a pro that's left out is it's bang-for-buck quotient.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I have very limited experience with the Azera, so to me, that is currently its biggest con. :) I always think of "O Brother Where Art Thou" when I see those cars, because the band in that movie is the "Soggy Bottom Boys."

    EDIT: I got the name wrong indeed! I corrected it.
  • popsavalonpopsavalon Posts: 231
    The band was "Soggy Bottom Boys", so I don't know where this puts the Azera.
    I have an 07 XL Avalon that came with leather, heated seats, etc., and a decent sticker price.
    I just finished almost 800 miles of interstate At 75 mph and full air. I got 31+ MPG all the way. I don't know much about the "cons", but this car definitely has a lot of "pros"....power, economy, lots of room, decent styling.....a great road car.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    "Decent Sticker Price" is up for debate. Would you mind sharing how much? The reason I ask is that my folks just bought a new car with leather, Dual Climate Control, etc... as well.
  • auld_dawgauld_dawg Posts: 40
    Yeah, you might want to put "fuel economy" on both the Taurus and the Azera as pros........

    Both do as well as the 08 Accord V6 on "real world mpg" as far as highway driving goes..

    As far as EPA ratings go, the Taurus is 18/28, which is towards the top of the "midsize" class in rating, let alone the full size. The Azera for 09 is 17/26 which is also in the midsize range, though not quite up to Taurus snuff for rating, however, the "Real World MPG" thread has several folks reporting better than 30 mpg on their highway driving......
  • popsavalonpopsavalon Posts: 231
    Sticker was $30013-. I was able to get heated leather and 6 CD player in an XL. I did not want moon roof or navigation. I liked the brushed metal interior in the XL much better than the funky woodgrain, just personal preference.
  • batistabatista Posts: 159
    I have an 06 Charger SXT 3.5L and the fuel economy isn't bad.
    I usually get 18 mpg all city and 27 highway.
    Based on the new fuel economy ratings the Charger 3.5L gets 17/24 and the Impala V8 SS gets 16/24. Real world numbers are probably worst for the Impala.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Sticker was over $30k. Is that what you paid?
  • popsavalonpopsavalon Posts: 231
    I gave $14k plus trade in of 03 Honda Accord. Based on real value of the Honda at the time, I figured that I gave about $28K for the Avalon. It's difficult to figure exactly, but I felt like it was a good deal. I think the dealership was trying to meet end of the month quota.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Still pretty expensive for a low-end model, to me, considering what the competition offers similar to the Avalon for a lot less. Still, it is a very lovely vehicle that I'm sure will give you many miles of pleasure!
  • popsavalonpopsavalon Posts: 231
    "considering what the competition offers similar to the Avalon for a lot less"......I'm curious (but not prejudice), give me some examples.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Specifically, I was thinking of my parents' new car. They paid $22k Out the Door ($20,844 + TTL) for a Ford Taurus with Leather, Dual Climate Control, Auto Headlamps, 6CD, SYNC Voice Activated Media and Bluetooth Phone, Satellite Radio, 263hp, 18/28 MPG, class leading interior room, trunk space, and a Top Pick in Safety.

    The Avalon is a really great car, but it doesn't strike me as nearly 30% better. Obviously different people have different tastes, and are willing to pay for the "Lexus without an L badge" and I understand that.

    The exterior style of the Taurus isn't looked at as beautiful by many. I find it pretty conservative and don't care too much for the chrome grill. Luckily, their new car is silver, which keeps the chrome from looking flashy or "bling-bling" looking. :) The Avalon's front-end is frumpy to me, and no better looking than the Ford. Both are great cars, and my parents' actually wanted an Avalon after driving one of their friends' Avalon Limited, but couldn't justify the extra thousands of dollars.
  • auld_dawgauld_dawg Posts: 40
    With a $2500 factory rebate right now for the remaining 08 Azeras, and a $2000 rebate for the 09s, I suspect that one could get a real good buy there too, though it looks more like 24k to 25k out the door......... At the moment, the Azera "Prices Paid" forum is a bit bare of current sales prices, but I'd suspect my price guesses are pretty close.........

    I'd have to think that at this time, the Taurus your parents got is a really good value. My thought on the Taurus and Azera is that they are roughly equivalent cars.........
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