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Midsize Sedans 2.0



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    I can think of only one word to describe the executives who decided to bring this "BS" car to Germany: idiots. (Also an apt word for anyone in Germany who would buy one.)

    If this is the best China can do, not even Chrysler has anything to fear.
  • corkscrewcorkscrew Posts: 254
    Speaking of rear brakes, I see that the rear disc pads are half the size of the front ones ( 07 SE 4 cyl ).
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,229
    Do you have any info on the '08 sport package for the Fusion? More specifically, the media guide states that it includes some suspension upgrades but doesn't say what they are and I can't find info anywhere.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    you'll just find some other excuse to not like the Fusion
    well that excuse might just be the styling, but that is, of course, subjective. I'm sure there are a number of folks that like the razor blades and the high rump. If Ford chooses to use Mazda's artificially aspirated 4 banger that obviously solves the HP deficiencies likely sacrificing some of that reliability that Ford is actually doing pretty well at right now. The 'older' Mazda6 is reporting reliabilities several notches below the Fusion - don't know if this is because of the turbo model, the fact that the 6 is made here, or a forecast of things to come for the Fusion.
    And you are right, there aren't many 'enthusiasts' that consider the Camry (except possibly the SE), that softer 'Americanized' ride in the LE/XLE one of the reasons why the Camry is so absurdly successful although the SE V6 is something the enthusiast could drive with a smile on his face. While none of these cars could ever be a 'sports' sedan, Mazdaspeed and the SE/SE-R trims of the Altima do their best imitations, 'hiding' the inherent problems associated with FWD layouts.
  • goodegggoodegg Posts: 905
    I tested Camry, Accord, Mazda 6, Fusion, and Aura. The Aura was head and shoulders above all the other choices.

    Really? How? The Aura is a slow seller. What did you see to convince you to buy when others have punted, besides the huge incentives? Why does a car that's "head and shoulders above all the others" need huge incentives to get it sold?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,019
    Do you have any info on the '08 sport package for the Fusion?

    It just says Sport Tuned Suspension which I take to mean slightly stiffer shocks/struts/springs to go along with the 18" wheels.
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Really? How? The Aura is a slow seller. What did you see to convince you to buy when others have punted, besides the huge incentives? Why does a car that's "head and shoulders above all the others" need huge incentives to get it sold?

    I don't think the sales data had much do with the other poster's choice and coming to the decision the Aura was going to be the driver. FWIW, the Aura is a formidable family sedan, it has hurt by the non-availablity of I4 but otherwise a fine sedan. If the other poster thought the Aura was above others, then that's his/her opinion, and there is no point to instigate it further.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,019
    Why do you have to question other people's subjective preferences for a specific vehicle just because you don't share that opinion?
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    It just says Sport Tuned Suspension which I take to mean slightly stiffer shocks/struts/springs to go along with the 18" wheels.

    In the Contour SE it was stiffer springs and re-valved shocks and maybe a stiffer rear sway bar, so that sounds reasonable.
  • benderofbowsbenderofbows Posts: 544
    Did those changes make a big difference over non-SE Contours?
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    Did those changes make a big difference over non-SE Contours?

    For '95-97 they did. The '96 SE had a lower, more aggressive suspension than the '98 SVT. For the '98 model year, the great decontenting had begun and it was on its way to rental car-land. I was actually very impressed with the increase in handling and feel of the '96 SE over the LX and base, even the LX V6. I also think the package included 15" alloys instead of 14" in a more performance oriented size.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    We have been using a 2007 Fusion "S" rental for two weeks tomorrow. It is a 4 cylinder 5 speed automatic. After a driving it a little over 1K miles this past 2 weeks I believe I will update my observations and since the transmission repair on our 95 Stratus should be finished today or tomorrow it will likely be my last.
    1. My initial observation of a noisy (induction noise) engine remains. we have become "used" to it but it there...constantly.
    2. The initial dislike of a high trunk and rear package shelf has become more intense. I cannot see adequately out the back when reversing into a parking stall and any car or obstacle behind is hard to see/judge the distance to.
    3. The ride and handling remains one of my favorite parts of this vehicle. The ride is taunt (on the firm but not harsh side) and handling is good with the Continental tires supplied. I did not push it beyond high normal type cornering however.
    4. The interior space is fairly large and the seats (the driver seat anyhow)is comfortable or was for me during a 300 mile drive on Saturday.
    5. The amount of standard features are sparse as compared to both a lower end 2006.5 Kia Optima and a 2006 Hyundai Sonata I recently rented.
    6. Engine performance is OK (adequate) and again comparing it to the Kia and Sonata (both 4 cylinders) feels slower with both Korean cars fairly jumping off the line and reving freely to the upper RPM ranges. Maybe it is the engine noise that makes the engine feel more strained than it is?
    7. Fuel economy: I used this car as work car driving it back and forth to work which is a 12 mile one way drive for me. I have two traffic lights..#1 (almost always red coming from a secondary road onto US Rt. 30) and another on the military facility where I work. I have a total of two stop signs with usually NO or minimum wait for any amount of time at either. All roads traveled are 2 lane rural with the exception of a short (2 mile stretch of Rt 30). Speeds probably average 45-50 mph. All in all a much more free of "hassles" commute than most. So in addition to that we used it to putter around our small city (town really) after work. Typical stop and go with little or no gridlock...mostly "no". Drive to Wal to Circuit to a local resturant and eat supper kind of thing. we probably drove it a total of 35 to 40 mile a day including my 24 mile round trip to work. After a week and a bit over 1/2 of gas of that type of use I added 9.573 gallons and traveled 242.6 miles yielding 25.35 mpg.
    This past Saturday we drove it on a 300 mile road trip. I used the Pa Turnpike...I-81 and some "secondary" or rural 4 lane limited access highways. I kept the speed on the first part of the trip ( mostly because I had my 85 year old mother in the car)to less than 70 mph..about 68. Once we dropped her off at relatives the return trip was a bit faster @ 72-73 mph. All in all I was "good" with no abrupt increases of speed (A.K.A. road rage)no mountains this time and no luggage on the return. There were 3 of us on the first part and 2 on the return trip. I think that unless you slowed to 60 or 65 the car couldn't be expected to get better other words it was optimal for fuel economy. I refilled it with between 1/4 and 1/2 tank remaining used 10.003 gallons and drove 306.4 miles for an average of 30.64 mpg
    Summary: I probably wouldn't buy one because of the above perceived (by me) faults. Handling and ride was good. Standard features were slim. Fuel economy was good/average for the size/engine. I guess here is where the Accord folks will say low because they get 34..whatever. It had no squeaks or rattles and quality was good from what I could see (paint seems good and fit and finish also good). Interior plastics were of the rubbery type in many places and I liked that. Ergonomics were less than good with the headlight switch low and to the far left on the dash and the radio was a "park first to adjust" type. Even after two weeks I still didn't trust myself to adjust it while driving and always asked my wife to find a station etc. Steering wheel audio controls appreciated. I appreciated having a car these two weeks but in the end it was just that...a car.
    P.S. almost forgot safety (and that is important to me). If you are one who considers ABS, traction control, and ESC safety pluses this car doesn't have them...any of them. One CAN get ABS as an option on all models and traction control as an option on V-6 models but not ESC. Not available yet on any model.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,019
    Nice review. Regarding the rear visibility - it took me about 6 weeks to get used to it. After that it's not a problem. But it was a little disconcerting at first. Lack of some features is understandable since it's a base S model. Lack of ESC and only average fuel economy are fair complaints.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,229
    A reverse sensing system is an option for 2008 Fusions in case you never get used to that high rear deck. ;)
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    Lack of ESC and only average fuel economy are fair complaints.

    Like you Allen, I own one, a 2007 SEL AWD V6, and agree with your observation.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,019
    Except you'd be HAPPY with AVERAGE fuel economy. Right, Boz?
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    ESC safety pluses this car doesn't have them...any of them.
    there is a reason for this - lack of a sophisticated enough braking system in the first place. Shooting juice (brake fluid) to individual brakes (as ESC will do) requires not only a yaw sensor to make a determination of when your car needs 'help', the computer to make that decision for you (and administer the 'fix'), but also an extra circuit in the brake system itself - neither of which the Fusion has even available.
    Given that the government is forcing these systems on us anyway, expect that Ford will have to 'upgrade' their braking systems in the next model year or two. It is not that they can't do it, ESC is available on other models - it may be more a function of not having the money to do it for the Fusion right now.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,019
    The rumor is they made a conscious marketing decision to go with AWD instead of ESC early on (when the competition wasn't yet offering ESC) and couldn't change it at the last minute. It should be fixed with the 09 refresh.
  • goodegggoodegg Posts: 905
    Why do you have to question other people's subjective preferences for a specific vehicle just because you don't share that opinion?

    Because I wonder what makes the Aura "head and shoulders above" the competition in their eyes.

    That's what I already posted.

    I liked the Aura when I sat in it at the dealer but didn't get the same superior vibe. Their opinion is backed by zero reasons why its better.

    Let's hear why.
  • yankeryanker Posts: 156
    They do charge and how $263. I caught on to the brakes by checking the customer observations on I think MSN autos. A huge percentage of Honda owners reported brake problems on the 03. They made it right though.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,229
    Some people might be willing to take the plunge after one "turnaround year," but I'm not one of them with Ford's weak warranty; I'd rather get a GM!

    The only difference between Ford's Fusion and GM's Malibu or Aura warranties is that GM will give you more miles to use in those 5 years on the Malibu and Aura.

    Since the average is 12k miles per year for any of these cars it's kind of useless and really only sounds good on paper when you really think about it. The number of people who can actually use those miles is pretty darn small. Ford also included '06 Fusions purchased after a certain date. It was a nice gesture by them and shows their confidence in current products. IIRC GM did not roll their warranty back for the Malibu, Aura or anything else.
  • auraownerauraowner Posts: 7

    what did you like most about it? Or better yet, what ways did you find it superior to other cars you shopped for. what surprissed you the most?

    First some background because I think it's important to know where an opinion is coming from. I'm not a car guy. I'm 52 years old. I spend a lot of time stuck in Southern CA traffic. I buy a car, keep it for years, and pay little attention to the industry until it's time to buy again. My last two purchases were new Accords, 1986 and 1998. I looked at no other cars.

    I went shopping with the following criteria in order of importance:

    Less than $25k
    Quiet ride
    six cylinder engine
    exterior/interior style
    value for the money

    I paid $22,845 plus tax/license for the Aura. For that I got a 252hp V6 engine, six speed auto transmission, 18 inch alloy wheels that look great, 4-wheel ABS disk brakes, stability control, front, side, and rear-side passenger airbags, a 200-something watt stereo with 8 speakers that sounds very nice, iPod integration with an aux input, OnStar, and a beautifully styled exterior and interior car. Just as important, I was able to get what I wanted without having to get other stuff I didn't want like XM radio, faux wood interior trim, leather seats and a sunroof. Aura has a five star safety rating.

    The Aura's ride was the quietest and most refined of all the cars I tested. It's not like a Buick, but it doesn't ride as hard/loudly as the Mazda or the Accord. It's a perfect combination (for me) of road feel and quiet comfortable ride.

    When I set out on this trek, I was sure I wanted a Camry because of its well deserved reputation for reliability and quiet ride, even though I never did warm to the new (or older) design. I will say though, that the current exterior design is better looking than the previous generation.

    I prefer the Aura's exterior styling to the Camry's styling and I was immediately turned off by Camry's center dashboard. It looked cheap (especially that plastic door that hides the Aux port for the iPod) and I didn't like the style/coloring of the radio and climate control stuff. 100% subjective opinion. Others may disagree. Different strokes for different folks.

    Camry had a nice quiet ride, but I couldn't get past that ugly dash. A comparably equipped Camry would have cost thousands more than the Aura.

    The current generation Accord is at the end of its life which was one of the reasons why I never seriously considered it. When the 08 model comes out I may regret that decision, but I doubt it. The spy photos I've seen on the internet haven't caused buyer's remorse. Honda just doesn't build quiet rides in the Accord.

    The Mazda had the same problem: too hard/loud and it's style-challenged to my eye. But I loved the wagon's styling. That's a very cool looking car, but it's not a sedan.

    I liked the Fusion but it just lacks the panache that the Aura has. I really like the exterior design, but the interior left me uninterested and the model I drove didn't have an aux connector or the salesman couldn't find it. Having drooled at the Fusion's I've seen in traffic, this was second on my list of cars to test. They have an eye-catching design.

    What surprised me most about the Aura was how great a value it is. It's a great package. It does a lot of things well for a very good price. The other thing that surprised me was that I could be won over to an American car on its merits alone. The $2,250 in incentives played no part in my decision to buy. I would have gladly paid MSRP (no haggle pricing still in effect at Saturn).

    Before seeing/driving the Aura XR, I never dreamed I would buy it. I had to force myself to even consider it so great was my bias against American nameplates. Things have changed. GM is building some great cars now. Based on my experience, I'm convinced that there is a gap between the quality of these new models and buyers' perceptions which presents an opportunity to get a great car at a value price.

    GM is certainly aiming at the Japanese buyer with the Aura, but the car is more aligned with European imports. It is in fact, an Opel Vectra, a German car made in Kansas City. The Saab 9-3 shares the same platform as well. The interior design more closely resembles my friend's Audi than any of the Japanese imports I considered and it's ride is more like a Euro sports sedan.

    All the cars I tested are fine automobiles. You can't go wrong purchasing any of them. It's hard to make a bad decision in the mid-sized category any more because the cars are so good. The Aura met my objective and subjective requirements. It was a no-brainer.

    If you're considering a Japanese import with a six cylinder engine, I would encourage you to consider the Aura. It's an incredible value and a fine car. My wife drives a 2007 Nissan Maxima for work. She has always owned Japanese imports. She thinks the Aura is superior in every way to her Maxima with the exception of power which she thinks is a tie.

    Ultimately, deciding on a particular car is an emotional experience dependent on many factors which differ for all of us. The Aura and I just connected. Your mileage/criteria may vary. And that's OK.
  • thenebeanthenebean Posts: 1,124
    zzzoom6 - sorry for the late reply - was out of town for the weekend!

    drove a little more in the 9-3 sportcombi today. plenty of power - maybe a little more body lean than i'd like - but i bet the Aero would be better in that regards. its a slushbox, and i much prefer to row my own i dont really like the transmission - but im not being subjective on that :P

    all in all - its a really nice car for what it is. we own a 9-2x Aero (2005) and we love that too (though its really a WRX wagon - we call it the saabaru!)

    -thene :)
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,019
    But you don't need reasons to have an opinion. That's why they're so handy....
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Great review - spot on! I ended up with the Accord SE, which is much like the Aura XR package. They gave me a better trade-in and about the same or better discount off sticker when compared to Saturn deal. I slightly prefer the cornering and ride of the Accord, though the Aura does handle well. As for power, the Aura is like a rocket. Accord is good too, but Aura is great and the 6 sp. transmission with the paddles works well. The Aura seems a little smaller inside though. Seems like my knee hit the center column easier - just tighter feel overall. Do NOT like emergency brakes on the floor. Do like the DOHC 3.6 engine - lovely engine indeed. Steering is good - still prefer the slightly heavier Accord steering. The door window sills could be a tad lower on the Aura. I bet the New Accord for 2008 will have the too tall door syndrome as well. Overall though, the Aura is a pleasing car. I also like the Cadillac CTS and would not pass on a Corvette if someone gave me one. Can't think off hand of other offering from GM at the moment which seem like winners in the car World, but perhaps another one will come to mind by tomorrow. The New Malibu will be a possible sucess and suck some sales from Aura. Currently the good, but not great XE Aura, I think takes away some luster from the New Saturn - New Aura image. But, as always, IMHO. The XE is NOT A BAD car, it is just something I think was not the thing to do, as it takes away from the more upscale image of Aura vs. the G6, vs. the New Malibu. The New Malibu, BTW will have the sexiest interior.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Great post!! Exchanging this kind of information is what makes this discussion helpful to those in the midst of making a purchasing decision. Thanks for your contribution. Enjoy your new ride! :)
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    I, for one, am surprised that the Saturn/Opel Aura doesn't get more ink in this forum. Also impressed with all aspects of the car (the XR) and particularly the 3.6, although I felt the interior fit and finish and egronomics a smidge below some of the 'Japanese' competitors. Would be interested in your continuing observations on the car (FE?) as I look to replace a 4 year old Altima 3.5 I own. Like you perhaps, my biases definitely runs towards the 'Japanese' side of things if only because of the great service I get out of them and some of those great V6s available, but this particular GM car is one that just might lead me to break a long tradition. Saturn, BTW, will also be 'importing' another Opel design shortly to replace the Ion although FWIU it will be saddled with the 'Ecotec' 4 banger.
    What I find difficult to understand is that we have 3 large mfgrs based in this country, all of which are in supposed financial difficulties, and only one of them seemingly can produce a car truly competitive in this segment. More and better choices especially from a car built in this country by a US based mfgr. would be a good thing!
    Don't know if the Aura is quite strong enough to get me off the last 3 Altimas I've bought, but a serious contender. Enjoyed your 'evenhanded' review, don't be a stranger here :)
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,019
    and only one of them seemingly can produce a car truly competitive in this segment.

    Just because YOU don't like the Fusion doesn't mean it's not competitive.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    A reporter would like to speak to owners who purchased a Honda or Toyota but didn’t consider purchasing a domestic vehicle (specifically Ford or GM vehicle). Please respond to no later than July 24, 2007 with your daytime contact information.


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