Mainstream Large Sedans Comparison

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  • averigejoeaverigejoe Member Posts: 559
    Everyone can have his own opinion what makes a large sedan large. And opinions are all valid for any or no reasons.
    But, the U.S. EPA classifies cars based on their combined passenger and trunk interior room listed as cubic feet.
  • hardhawkhardhawk Member Posts: 702
    I am 6'4" tall. I classify a large sedan as one I can sit comfortably in both the front and back seats. It is amazing how many so called "large" sedans flunk this simple test!
  • bobwileybobwiley Member Posts: 241
    hardhawk---I'm 6'2" & 250lbs--son is 6'8'--believe me--you won't have any trouble fitting into the Avalon--front or back! Our 39 year old son currently drives a Maxima--he was AMAZED atr the room in our 06 Limited--plus--he was awed by the power and economy--his next car for sure!
    Bob
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    Sept 06 issue, the 10 cars listed on this forum-
    Lucerne - 3 stars -'modest luxo sedan for little money'
    Impala - 2 1/2 - 'at least you can get one with a V8'
    300 - 4 - 'still the quintessential American sedan'
    Charger - 4 - 'muscle gets brains and brawn'
    500 - 3 - 'a good car looking for a great engine'
    Azera - 4 - 'the right stuff at a righteous price'
    Avalon - 4 - 'what a full size sedan should be'
    Maxima - 3 - 'neat upgrades and even more appeal'
    Amanti - 1 - sells on price, not style, like Kias used to'

    Keep in mind this is a car magazine - have a sneaking suspicion that without the 15 mpg Hemi, the Chrysler products and the Impala would rate lower. If we limit our powertrains to 3-4 liter V6s in the interest of reasonable fuel economy, the Avalon easily takes the fuel economy crown, acceleration/performance the Avalon, the Azera, the Maxima. Value at time of purchase - likely the Azera. Cost over 5 years (Intellichoice) - cheapest by far - the Impala, followed by the Toyota and the Chryslers. The most expensive - by a significant margin - the Lucerne and Amanti. Includes fuel/insurance costs, depreciation, maintainence, and financing costs - but doesn't allow for the fact that many of these cars are available at substantial discounts and/or mfgr. bought down loan/lease rates.
    While it is not in a car mags interest to say anything terribly negative about any car - the issue does make for some interesting reading.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I'll bite on the Grand Marquis. I'm 40, and on my 2nd one. They are outstanding cars - built to last, easy to maintain, and darn near bulletproof. Typically around year 10 they need front end work, but other than that, just minimal issues until you get tired of it. Four wheel dual piston disc brakes, traction control, etc. - the basics are extremely solid.

    A lot of the maintenance can be done yourself - an example is the fuel filter I did - attached to the rear frame; remove two clips, slip out of cradle, put in new one, attach clips, done.

    Fuel filter was $6.74 at Walmart, and takes less than five minutes. Beats it being in the fuel tank, ala Toyota.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Member Posts: 271
    How about adding IIHS evals to the mix?

    Large Sedan: Front/Side/Rear

    Ford Five Hundred: Good/Good/Good :shades:
    Toyota Avalon: Good/Good/Poor ;)
    Hyundai Azera: Good/Acceptable/Acceptable :D
    Buick Lucerne: Good/Acceptable/Poor :)
    Chevy Impala: Acceptable/Good/Poor :(
    Chrysler 300: Good/Marginal/Acceptable :P
    Dodge Charger: Good/Marginal/Acceptable :P
    Nissan Maxima: Good/Marginal/Poor :lemon:
    Kia Amanti: Good/Not Tested/Acceptable :confuse:

    All results above were found WITH standard or optional side curtain airbags. Personally, I would never buy any vehicle without them.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Member Posts: 271
    Large Sedans: CITY/HIGHWAY: Cost to Drive 25 Miles at regular $5/gallon, premium $5.20/gallon

    Buick Lucerne(3.8L):19/28 regular: $5.43 :D
    Buick Lucerne(4.6L):17/25 regular: $6.25 :sick:
    Chevy Impala(3.5L):21/31 regular: $5.21 ;)
    Chevy Impala(3.9L):20/29 regular: $5.43 :D
    Chevy Impala(5.3L):18/27 premium: $6.23 :sick:
    Chrysler 300(2.7):21/28 regular: $5.21 ;)
    Dodge Charger(3.5):19/27 regular: $5.68 :(
    Dodge Charger(5.7L):17/25 regular: $6.25 :sick:
    Ford 500 2WD(3.0L):21/29 regular: $5.21 ;)
    Ford 500 AWD(3.0L):19/25 regular: $5.95 :cry:
    Hyundai Azera(3.8L):19/28 regular: $5.58 :)
    Kia Amanti(3.5L):17/25 regular: $6.25 :lemon:
    Nissan Maxima(3.5L):21/28 premium: $5.42 :D
    Toyota Avalon(3.5L):22/31 regular: $5.00 :shades:

    All cars will fill up tank from between $80-$85 with 18-19 gallon tanks.
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    ahh yes, the Crown Vic/Marquis/Town Car, the last bastions of the traditional American Car (now built in Canada BTW) - overweight, slow, ponderous, gas eating, and disproportionately space inefficient. Been around for over 25 years ostensibly unchanged - which is why, what you say is true - they sure are simple and therefore reliable - and relatively cheap especially if you buy your cars 'by the pound' - or need to tow a boat.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    That's the one! It does clock in at over 4,100 lbs since the frame upgrade on the 2003 model year, but I would not say it is ponderous - if anything they have tightened up the ride too much - I like my old 94's ponderous ride much better. Gas eating is a matter of opinion - I've always gotten pretty close to the EPA ratings on both of mine, but even if a few mpg lower, it makes it up in lower maintenance and repair costs.

    Oh yeah - resale is really bad due to the fact the interior and exterior is basically unchanged since 98 - which is great for me because they are easy to find 2 years old at huge discounts.

    Last one I bought, it was kind of surreal. The salesman was practically begging me to buy a Montego over a the 2002 CPO Grand Marquis I bought. I later found out my dealer has had great difficulities moving the Montego, and since I was younger and less experienced than most Grand Marquis buyers, he thought I might go for a lesser vehicle.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Member Posts: 271
    How much was he asking for the Montego? How much did he take off the sticker? 2WD or AWD? Do you remember the options? How long ago was this? Thanks. :)
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    'a few mpg lower' maybe an understatement - the 22/31 Avalon is 25 combined (I actually get 27), the 17/25 typical of the American V8s are 19 combined - a 6 mpg difference or almost $1000.00/year of $3/gal gas (based on 15k miles per year). Over 5 years that's 5 grand - and I would suggest to you that either car should not need any major repairs over the first 75000 miles or so.
    It baffles me why Ford is having such a hard time selling the 500/Montego - it has a lot more usable space than your Marquis, better economy, and about equal power. Thinking that the styling may be just too conservative and/or people do really want to have some HP to go with their MPGs.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    The Avalon is a strong product on paper, but there are many, many products out there that are similar to the Avalon, including nearly every other large sedan on the market. I'm certainly not saying it is or is not the best choice, only that it is mainstream in it's approach.

    I'm not doubting your gas mileage, and gasoline is a huge issue to consider. However, my wife drives a 2000 Toyota Corolla, and it must be the way she drives it, as she regularly gets only 28 mpg. I've been meaning to switch cars with her for a tankful, and see what I can get driving it. It just broke 100,000 miles, and I put new plugs in it, so we'll see if that helps.

    On the Five Hundred, the Marquis is a extremely proven product, and I was very satisfied with my old 1994. I know a Grand Marquis is solid, quiet, smooth, and durable. While the Five Hundred may be that way new, a buyer will be the long term tester on seeing how long it lasts. I saw no reason to switch to something when I know the Grand Marquis has what I want.

    Plus, it is front wheel drive, unibody, and has a much noisier, overworked engine. RWD is much easier to keep running once it gets high mileage on it - Ford has always been much better at rear wheel drive than front wheel drive.
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    yep, the Avalon does get FE competitive to many smaller 4 bangers. My 27 mpg has been consistent for 35k miles now and reflects about a 70% highway mix at 70-75 mph. Straight highway jogs at the same speed 31-32 mpg - but, keep it in 'City' and have a little fun with that power, then, getting 20 mpg can be tough. More of a drop-off than I think you would experience with something like a Corolla.

    All has to do with an extremely high tech engine and a computer that controls it. And then we move from high tech to proven tech which is where we find things like a Marquis. If there is one thing that 'Detroit' does know how to do it is building big ole lazy V8s; that, by definition, should last forever. And while you are replacing your front end at 100k, I'm probably doing the same with my CV joints.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    A casting director seeks drivers who think of their cars as extensions of their personalities and are able to participate in a rally from Vancouver to LA for two weeks in October. Please visit http://www.carspace.com/bullrun for more information.
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    now this is funny - something akin to a dog being an extension of its owner? What will they come up with next? If this were really the case - I guess all us owners of these large sedans would be accountants, bankers, computer geeks and whatever else is conservative and practical - complete with our pocket protectors!
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    ;)
  • motownusamotownusa Member Posts: 836
    Actually, the EPA figure for the IMPALA SS is quite impressive, in my opinion, considering it is the most powerful car in the group and the only one to boast a V8. On the other hand the 200 HP KIA AMANTI's mpg is truly pathetic.
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    you are forgetting about the 300C, I guess - and yes both the 300C and Impala SS/GP are marginally quicker (about a half second or so to 60) than the Avalon - 5 or 6 mpg seems like a big price to pay. The Amanti's problem has to do with the old low-tech Hyundai sourced 3.5 it uses combined with the fact that it outweighs most of the other cars in this group by about 500 lbs. This being something the Koreans haven't quite figured out - how to build things well without unnecessary weight.
  • quietproquietpro Member Posts: 702
    When you're getting down to 0-60 times below 7 or even 6 seconds, a half second isn't marginal. It may seem so as a measurement of time but with the cars running side by side, the difference would be much more impressive.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Member Posts: 1,106
    It's VERY marginal when you consider those who acutally DRIVE the vehicles.
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Member Posts: 271
    The Impala isn't the most powerful. The Dodge Charger R/T V8 gets 340 [email protected] rpms and EPA mpgs are 17/25, only a 3 point difference. Edmunds gives the Charger the editor's most wanted under $25k award! Impala's reviews are mediocre at best. :)
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    actually if you really want to get crazy get the SRT versions of the 300/Charger pick up another 80 hp, get acceleration times closer to 5 even - and pay even more at the gas pump. Not to mention some real reliability issues on the V8 Chryslers (at least according to CR), and some real torque steer problems on the Impala/GP.
    To me, power is about as much a safety issue as a set of good brakes and a decent handling car. Having the power to avoid problems to allow you to 'aggressively' avoid a situation, or simply, to merge quickly into a fast moving line of traffic without everybody having to jam on their brakes that you just cut in front of. BUT, it is a balance - too much power in the hands of the vast majority of drivers out there can (and is) also dangerous.
    My Avalon, IMO, borders on being overpowered - things like the Azera and Maxima a little less. The 'Detroit' entries with their 200 hp V6s - just not enough that I could consider them as 'safe' from a power available point of view. And barnstormer is right in that the vast majority of folks that are out buying big 4 door sedans would very rarely need or use that extra HP and are more likely concerned with their gas bills!
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    60 mph = 88 fps, and if you accept the assumption that your average speed (relative to the distance required to get to 60 mph) is right about 40 mph then that half second = about 50 feet (or 2 car lengths) , how far that Avalon would be behind that 340hp 300C. Or about 150 feet ahead of a 500/Lucerne (V6) that run in mid to high 8s. 'Impressive?', guess that depends on your perspective.
    CR, incidentally did a story not too long ago, about the inaccuracies of the EPA ratings, which are apparently going to change. A number of cars were tested, comparing actual mileages using the new testing procedures vs. current - and several cars were noted to do much worse than the window sticker. The top of the list of those 'offenders', the hybrids, and right there near the top - the 300C. Apparently that 17/25 is a pipedream! If I remember correctly, the 300C couldn't get past 15mpg OVERALL (4 mpg lower than the already low ratings). Since both the 300 and Impala have a system that disables a few cylinders of the engine under low load conditions and similar engine sizes and types, would imagine that the GM V8 is probably off substantially as well - although I didn't see anything specific to those cars.
    A full size sedan drag race is an interesting concept, and also likely the last thing you'd ever really see. That would be for the kids in their Mustangs and rice rockets.
  • vic10vic10 Member Posts: 188
    CR is an interesting magazine to read for fun, and general information. But I wouldn't believe too much in their evaluations. I've bought several "best pick" household and electrical items and ALL fell well short of their evaluations. So I wouldn't trust a car choice to their ratings. Having said that...their 300C mpg rating is probably a reflection of their drivers getting a kick out having 340hp under the hood. I average 20 mpg. A high of 28 mpg at a cruise controlled 65mph and a low of 16 in town.
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    true, in that mags like CR certainly have their own agenda and priorities - like, safe, reliable, and economical = good. And so for that matter do the car mags. as they very rarely consider a car's repair histories and fast = good. The CR article I was talking about, however, had nothing to do with 'getting a kick' out of punching an accelerator, it was a retest of a number of cars to a new testing procedure developed by the EPA, and the cars that were most overrated the most were actually the cars they (CR) tend to like the most - like the Prius. But, among those gasoline only models, the V8s, in general, tested poorly, the 300C the worst.
    That said, 20 mpg is not all that bad considering what that car can do - but I'll take my 27 and smile from 50 feet behind you.
  • xscoutxscout Member Posts: 141
    I have to agree about CR. Two of the best trucks I ever had were both given terrible ratings by CR and I drove one of them for 13 years and 160,000 miles with nothing but routine maintenance and it still ran great when I sold it.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,993
    I trust CR only a little. I read their reviews on items where I do use their writing by reading very carefully and looking for the loopholes in their supposed scientific method. I just looked at their antivirus, antispam, antispyware review at the local library because I was checking on a washer/dryer review. An automobile????? I would be very suspicious of their bias.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • joe97joe97 Member Posts: 2,248
    Many consumers do enjoy reading and use CR because it gives them a good starting point and comparison.
  • quietproquietpro Member Posts: 702
    My friends and I have owned several solid black circle cars and like you, never had more than minor issues. CRs supposed logic is a bit broken.
  • quietproquietpro Member Posts: 702
    I can't speak for the MOPARs but my Impala's mileage degrades above 65, when DOD is less likely to engage. At 70 mph, I get 26 mph. So, smile all you want in my rear-view mirror. I get decent mileage when I want to and enjoy a throaty V-8 and great acceleration when I want as well. As for all-around driving performance, sure the MOPARs have the edge; you just can't beat RWD. But, I chose the Impala for all the added features that cost a lot extra or aren't even available in the MOPARs. As for the Toyotas and Hondas...sure they have newer technology but I don't consider them better. They're designed and marketed for the masses and many conform. That's just not for me. For the money I paid and what I want in a car, the Impala was the right choice. As for that acknowledged shortfall to the MOPARs, we'll revisit that in '09. :)
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    at a constant 70, the Avalon is well into the 30s!. And that is without any sort of trick DOD (who out there remembers that disaster that Cadillac had about 20 years ago called the V8-6-4?). Don't know about the Impala yet, but the 300 has been having problems with it. Technology is NOT what the 'US' brands are all about.
    While there is definitely still a market for dropping big ole V8s in cars, most consumers I would contend value their pocketbooks a little more than that. which is why 'US' brands sales will continue to suffer, CR 'black circles' notwithstanding. Until the Ford and Chevys of the world can figure out how to build 4s and V6s that offer both power and economy (something they never have been able to do) - and sell things for a profit those models will remain a problem. V8s and trucks about the only thing that the 'Detroit 3' continue to do reasonably well.
    And lest you think, this is some sort of 'Detroit' bashing - my previous several rides included a pair of Crowne Vics, a Caprice, an Aerostar, and [3] Suburbans - all of which were relatively troublefree (except for the Aerostar) well past 100k miles each, and all of which returned 15-17 mpg or so. Gas has gotten expensive, however, for me to be able to justify the bank note I was going to have to sign for a 40 gallon Suburban fill-up.
    And the Avalon, first 'fun' car I have had in years, it will outrun 95% of what else is on the road, AND is likely using less fuel than 80- 90% of them as well. A 'premium' combination for a car that does sell at a premium price - at least relative to those others cars in this particular group.
  • bobwileybobwiley Member Posts: 241
    captain2: You're right about the Caddy 4-6-8--what a piece of CRAP--I had an 1981---I had it in the shop EVERY month at least 3-4 times--with 49,995 miles, the warranty expired at 50K Miles (yes Caddy had to extend the 3 year 36K miles warranty to show customers they knew they had an operational problem) I traded it for a 1984 Lincoln--one of the best cars I've had. I almost bought a LuCerne--changed my mind when I thought about 1st year and out year reliability. Avy Ltd was the BEST car $$$$$ 4 $$$$$.
    Bob
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Member Posts: 271
    I found a Dodge Charger R/T with options: Electronics Convenience Group $630, Power Sunroof $950, Sirus Radio $195, Destination charge $675, Original MSRP $32,170. Now after employee pricing this vehicle is selling for $28,879! ;) This vehicle I found on the Dodge website in Major Chrysler Jeep Dodge inventory located in Long Island City, NY.

    Also a Chrysler 300 Limited with options: Customer Preferred Package $2,995, Sound Group $945, Sunroof $950, Destination $675, Original MSRP $33,370. Now after employee pricing selling for $30,171! :D I found this on Chrysler website in Manhattan Chrysler Jeep Dodge inventory in NY, NY.

    A Charger with a HEMI and 300 with the 3.5L under $30K! SWEET! :surprise:

    All lower trims are selling for much less. I think, since they are both really the same car, the best value would be the Dodge Charger SE that has the 3.5L with 250 Hp standard running around $21K after employee pricing! :shades:

    Is it possible to continue haggling after employee pricing?
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    Is it possible to continue haggling after employee pricing?

    Those employee pricings are nothing to write home about. If I were you I'll keep haggling.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Member Posts: 1,106
    It's POSSIBLE to continue haggling even after employee pricing. But the odds of you getting the car you want for less than that aren't very good.

    However, you can often find a car (or two) that the dealer IS willing to sell for less than that . . but you have to be willing to accept what THEY want to sell. Which is rarely what I ever want. But if you're willing to compromise a bit for the absolute best deal . . .
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Member Posts: 271
    ...of Ford's 0% for 72 months and bought a 500?
  • slider7slider7 Member Posts: 33
    Yeah, and don't forget the difference between "factory invoice" amd "dealer cost". Junior Samples gets his at "FI" and volume buyers like for example certain Raceteam/Dealership owners get a bigger break -"dc". And if another dealer has what you want, they'll "DS" it,dealer swap, say black on tan for a black on black vehicle.
  • slider7slider7 Member Posts: 33
    I did the 60 back in July while there was still plenty of inventory with black leather interior. All were gone before 72/0 came out. Almost nothing left but strip-down scooter "fives" in SE VA via dealer inventory now.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    Yesterday I did 600 miles in a Corolla (ouch!). Today I'm looking for the best highway car. I was truly astonished at how bad the interstates have become. I need the best available seats, a suspension that soaks up wavy, pothole laden, truck grooved pavement, and an engine that will maintain cruise settings up and down hills and then returns decent fuel econonmy. For those owners who have engines with cylinder deactivation, how does that feel when you are cruising at 65, 70, 75, 80? Is there a perception of "kick-in" or roughness? For 500/Montego guys, will the 3.0 keep speed on cruise when loaded? Any discussions along those lines is appreciated as I value the performance characteristics more than brand.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Member Posts: 1,106
    Sounds like you might want a Ford Crown Vic (Mercury Grand Marquis) or Lincoln Towncar!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,993
    Take a Lucerne 3800 for a test drive in the CX CXL for a smooth ride (two different versions)or the CXS version with Northstar and computer controlled suspension for a prime ride.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • quietproquietpro Member Posts: 702
    I own an '06 Impala SS with DoD (cylinder deactivation). The transition is barely noticeable and I had to really pay attention to feel it. Above 65, it will rarely switch to 4 cyl unless it's a downhill grade. Fuel mileage is a little short of the window sticker but I still manage 25-26 mpg at around 70-75 mph average. Above 65, mileage seems to drop off more steeply than a conventional engine. No problem maintaining speed on any grade I've encountered including the WV turnpike through the mountains. :)
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    Performance in terms of economy and power the Avalon, the Avalon and 500 in terms of interior space and general egronomics. The Avalon XL/XLS/Ltd. definitely softer than the Touring which trades off a little of that isolation for a tighter/sportier feel. You need to drive them - for what you like - and expect to spend a few thousand more for any Avalon.
    I own an 05 Touring, it is one of the few cars I've ever owned that I actually look forward to driving every morning. Long trips are also something that I look forward to, cruising range at 75 about 500 miles while returning 30+ mpg - and driving the tank empty is something that is no problem at all if my bladder holds up! I often wondered what it would be like to live in Montana or something, at 100 mph+ the Avalon isn't even breathing hard (3300 rpm), the car is solid at that kind of speed.
    Would think your main concern should be driver seat comfort, generally what intially feels soft and cushy is not what you want to do 600 miles in, and be careful of the heated/cooled seats in some of the Avalons (and others) - less padding. HID headlights are worth every dime they get for them - highly recommended. It would seem difficult for you to evaluate long trip comfort based on things like short test drives?
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    Thanks for the responses. At the end of the day, any of these choices would surely be up to the task. GM has all but lost me on their cars. I look them over, look at the sticker and am amazed at how far GM is behind the rest of the makers. I’d love to seriously compare the Chrysler 300 and the Avalon, but in both cases SWMBO says absolutely not and since she drives it the other 80% of the time she gets choice. Too bad one can’t order from the Ford parts bin. Volvo seats, Jag XJ chassis, 500 coachwork, Lion diesel engine from Europe, and keep it under 30k…, but alas, a day dream. I’ll keep digging though – there has to be an optimum combination somewhere.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    Actually, a short test drive would just confirm basic driver ergonomics. Specs would be a better indicator of long trip comfort. Factors such as long wheel base, soft springs with stiff shocks, and higher profile tires will offer a better potential for ride comfort as opposed to a shorter wheelbase, stiffer springs and low profile tires. The hard part is not with any new car, but how that car is after 30-50 thousand miles. My experience is the Avalon would keep its ride qualities longer than its competitors, but I’ve only been through 20 or 30 cars over the years so it is only an amateur’s opinion. Thanks for the pointer about the seat heaters - I haven't had a car with that option so didn't realize that.
  • plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    The best new or near-new car in my book is probably a few year old Lexus GS300. Inline 6, RWD, and of course, great handling.

    The second choice would be a Lucerne CXS a year old. $25K(so what - let someone else eat the initial depreciation!) and you have a car that rides like a Cadillac or Mercedes. It's 100% different and better than the base model and should be on anyone's list, since it has the same magnetic ride suspension found on the Cadillacs and also has a Northstar engine.

    Super-comfortable to drive. Exactly like a mid 90's S420, which is pretty good, considering. Not like a new S class or Lexus, but it's also not $45K+, either. Way better driving experience than the Avalon. Also, the 4-speed transmission in it is a perfect match with the V8. LArger engines don't need more gears and the transmission on the Lucerne is half the price to fix as the one in the Avalon. Toyota is quickly becoming Mercedes expensive to fix while Gm is the same as always - $1200-$1600 to rebuild it. Toyota? $3000. Yes - three thousand dollars! That takes it off of my top five list right there, as that's easily a thousand more than the competition from GM, Ford, Chyrsler, and the others.

    Oh - test-drive one with the bench seat. It makes the car feel much more open and easier to drive. The center console is better as well.
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    the 300 and the Five Hundred, IMO, are probably the two best 'American branded' cars available in the last 25 years. The 300 borrows heavily on MB suspension designs and almost has to be ordered with the gas hog Hemi to be power competitive, and does have the advantages of RWD. Styling, of course, is subjective, but to me the thing looks like an Abrams single turret and feels that way sitting in it as well.
    The Five Hundred, of course, a rebadged S80(at a 10-15k discount) which given the Swedish influence, an exercise in space efficiency and, of course safety. For whatever reason, however, Ford/Volvo have not found it necessary to install competitive engines in either. Had the 500 been introduced with a solid 250hp+ V6, one that doesn't scream in protest anytime revs hit 5 grand or so - like what is in the Avalon, or the Azera, or the Maxima - the Five Hundred would rightfully be a serious competitor in the full size sedan market.
    GM? Can't think of anything remarkable (car wise) they have done since coming up with the idea of dropping a small block V8 in the '55 Chevy Bel Air. Cadillac, at least, is trying...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,993
    >The second choice would be a Lucerne CXS a year old. $25K(so what - let someone else eat the initial depreciation!)

    Can't argue with a used one. If you want a comfortable driving car that's the category. Even my le Sabres have been like sitting on your couch after hours behind the wheel. The Lucerne brings the tautness up a notch with 3 choices. I drove the 3800 with softer suspension. Nicely firm like a le Sabre with touring suspension was when I bought my 03.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    Despite the naysayers, GM actually builds nice cars in the Buick and Cadillac lines. The 3800 engine was such a workhorse that Nascar used it for a while as the block for many of their racecars. The Northstar is well, it's one of the five best engines on the planet. The 3800 is in or near the top five as well. (though in the Lucerne it's seriously overtaxed)

    LeSabres were very nice cars, all said. And at 27K for the Limited, it was a steal. Bigger, more power, more features than a Camry or Accord V6, and less pricey than the nearly identical Avalon. Now, the Avalon has moved up a notch, but I think the CXS still beats it.

    GMs only problems seem to be image, handling, and interior/features. The Lucerne takes care of the image - in all black, it looks a LOT like the Infinity - it's passable. Power and handling with the electronic suspension is superb - zero body-roll and no torque-steer at all. Mercedes and BMW are pros at figuring this out, and GM appears to be learning the trick as well.

    That leaves the interior and features. GM isn't on-par with the competition here, but it's tons cheaper. And it's definately equal to or better than an Accord or Crown Vic.

    Test drive the CXS. So not a "Buick". My first reaction was exactly the same as I had when I test drove a Grand National years and years ago. Just unable to wrap my head around a car that was nothing at all like the other Buicks. Well, that, and a big grin on my face as I whomped on the gas. :)
  • captain2captain2 Member Posts: 3,971
    come on now - the 3.8 is nothing more than a durable (and reasonably economical) workhorse engine that started life in the 50's as a Buick 231, and it is 'overtaxed' (your word) by contemporary standards in any automotive application, not just Lucernes.
    The Northstar? Certainly GMs best effort along with the 500hp Vette engine which only goes to show how behind GM is! 5 best engines on the planet? - heck the engines in the Avalon, Maxima, and Azera, just from this group, put out better HP per unit volume, are more economical, and much more technologically advanced. And we haven't even started to consider, engines from the Germans, Honda, the Lexus and Infiniti V8s etc., or, for that matter, a whole slew of competent 4 bangers from primarily the Japanese and Europeans. If you honestly consider engines on the basis of power efficiency (HP/liter), real FE, and durability - you will have a hard time putting any GM engine even in the top 25! And the same holds true, unfortunately, for Chrysler and Ford.
    And PS - there is nothing that happens with NASCAR that is even slightly related to real cars...
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