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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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Comments

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Yes, reliability is a key buying criterion for most people. But as was noted above, the purpose of a head-to-head test drive is to compare how the cars do on the road. If it were simply a matter of comparing predicted reliability, or picking the car from a particular brand because we happen to like that brand or know that the brand has a strong history of reliability, we wouldn't need a road test for that, would we? And it's unfair IMO to knock a completely redesigned, and clearly improved, car for lack of reliability when its reliability is unknown.

    BTW, there is no reason to doubt the reliability of the new Malibu based on history. Even the previous-generation Malibu, a much inferior car to the new one, was Recommended by CR, meaning it is a reliable car based on their owner survey (or they wouldn't recommend it). What I see here is obvious bias on the part of the lone Camry owner in the comparo. He owns a Camry and a Honda, and he rated the Camry 1st and the Accord 2nd, even though he admits he would have liked to rate the Malibu ahead of the Accord (as if there were some unknown force preventing him from doing so--a force such as brand bias perhaps).
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I didn't drive the Malibu, but from spending some time in the car, I didn't like it at all. I don't recall what trim level it was, but it was about $20K. The same priced Camry imo looks and feels better and would get my dollars.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Based on the comparo, that opinion would put you in the minority, as 5 out of 6 of the drivers rated the Camry last, with many negative comments about how it looks and feels, especially inside (which is what you are talking about here, since you haven't driven the Malibu).

    If the Malibu you sat in was $20k, it must have been the base model, which lists for $20k. The same-priced Camry would be the base model, CE. The Edmunds comparo tested cars one trim level up from those.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Actually not the minority if one looks at sales figures. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Camry for what it is. It does it's mission excellently, not pretending to be something it's not.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    It is hard to avoid brand bias. You quote the guy driving a Toyota and being the only one ranking it higher than third, but don't mention the lady who drives a Chevy and ranked the Malibu higher. You talk about how a person ranked Accord higher on reputation around reliability but you didn't missed the person who ranked Malibu higher based on longer warranty. See... people will buy what automakers can sell. And Honda can sell reliability, just like GM is trying to sell longer warranty.

    Besides, it is also easier to root for the underdog/underachiever and be overcritical of someone successful. I'm thinking NE Patriots right now. I've watched couple of their games at Sports Bars and it seems that it is the lesser teams that you can't ignore! Most people seem to WANT Pats to lose. I do too. ;)
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    Consumer Comparison Test: 2008 Family Sedans

    Pat,
    Thanks for posting that link. It was very informative, a good read. Interestingly, most of the novice reviewers deemed the Camry to be "mushy" when it came to the ride and handling departments. The Malibu did really well, equaling or surpassing Camry and Accord in most areas.

    Maybe the results go to show that GM (and Ford and Chrysler by extension) is serious about building competitive cars, regaining market share. I still think the Ford Fusion is the best mid-size sedan on the market, but that's just me and yes I do own one so I am naturally biased.

    However, if I were in the market today to buy a new mid-sizer I would definitely give the 'Bu a long hard look before deciding. Still, after one year of ownership and 6,000 miles, I give our 2007 SEL AWD V6 ($27,105 MSRP) extremely high marks in every category except in-city mileage.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Why are they testing the mainstream family sedans on a race track?? Why not let the testers take the cars for a day in LA's rush hour traffic, another day on the Malibu twisty roads and open highway such the I-15 between LA and Las Vegas? I really think those will be more meaningful tests for a mainstream 4-banger family hauler. However, if you are testing cars like Corvette, 350Z, Boxster/Cayman then that's another story...
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Why are they testing the mainstream family sedans on a race track??

    Because it tests the limit of the vehicles under extreme driving conditions. Also, a track is a controlled environment. Driving on the streets of LA is not.

    Testing on tracks also help to determine how it will handle accident avoidance, without actually having to avoid one. Acceleration on a track can simulate merging on a highway, passing vehicles, etc.. without actually having to do so..once again, safety comes to mind because it is a controlled environment.

    p.s.....testing on the streets of LA or Malibu don't really translate the same over here in the NY area. Quite different.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "testing on the streets of LA or Malibu don't really translate the same over here in the NY area. Quite different."

    Case in point, In NY, or more specifically NYC, a comfy, mushy ride is a good thing. Interesting how this gets turned into a negative.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Case in point, In NY, or more specifically NYC, a comfy, mushy ride is a good thing. Interesting how this gets turned into a negative.

    Exactly me point, a day in the race track with these 4-banger family hauler can't generate the real-world driving experience. I doubt when driving home from school, the mom is thinking about how fast can I corner the next turn with junior in the back...
  • You make a good point. That's why Camry is #1 selling car. A comfy ride is great in the real-world driving.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Why are they testing the mainstream family sedans on a race track??

    If you read the article, you'll see that they didn't just test the cars on a race track.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    To me, seeing that the only person who really liked the Camry and rated it above last place owns a Camry is different from someone who owns an older Chevy and ranks the Malibu at the top, where several other drivers ranked it. That one positive vote for the Camry is known as an "outlier". Also, if you re-read the article you'll note that the person who mentioned the Malibu's longer warranty states that he would have rated the car the same w/o the longer warranty.

    Do you think that the drivers who rated the Malibu highly and the Camry down-low did so because they wanted to see the "top dog" lose? If that is the case, how does it explain that the Accord, which is considered the top mid-sized car by many people, including most professional reviewers, did so well in the comparo?

    I have no problem with an automaker "selling" reliability. But I don't think reliability should be a factor in a head-to-head road test.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Do you think only 2-3 of those folks are "biased"?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Do you think only 2-3 of those folks are "biased"?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Everyone is biased in one way or another. Some do a better job than others in controlling their biases when comparing cars, or at minimum making it clear what their biases are, e.g. C/D is clear that their #1 bias with cars is handling.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I thought we were talking brand bias, not qualities we look for in cars (and handling would be that).
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I have no problem with an automaker "selling" reliability. But I don't think reliability should be a factor in a head-to-head road test.

    Why can't there be a combination of road test and reliability evaluation? If two cars finished very close to each other on the road test, why can't reliability be the deciding factor. Sounds logical to me.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    why can't reliability be the deciding factor

    I think (perceived) reliability can be and very often is the "deciding factor" in a purchase decision. I don't see how "reliability" can be a factor at all in a comparison test because it cannot be actually tested unless this comparison test goes on for years.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    You asked about "bias" in general. Biases come in many forms. (And forums!) A bias towards sharp handling would manifest itself, for example, when it overrules qualities that would also be desirable, e.g. a smooth ride or fuel economy. A brand bias would tend to make someone favor one car over another even if the other car performs better overall.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I think (perceived) reliability can be and very often is the "deciding factor" in a purchase decision. I don't see how "reliability" can be a factor at all in a comparison test because it cannot be actually tested unless this comparison test goes on for years.



    Reliability can be "PREDICTED". It's always a gamble, with any car, but IMO some have much better odds.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Which bias were you talking about in the post to which I responded? That would be it! I don't think it was about fuel economy, smooth ride, or things like that. I believe it was about a guy owning a Toyota...
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    You mean, for example, how CR predicted that the 2007 Camry V6 would have excellent reliability, and then... surprise! They found out through their surveys that it wasn't so, so they had to withdraw their prediction.

    If you were in Vegas, the Camry would be a pretty safe bet for reliability, yes? And the Sonata would be a poor bet, based on history, yes? But the Sonata is one of the most reliable cars now based on CR's surveys. The problem with predictions based on the past is that things change over time. Predictions that don't account for those changes are questionable.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    This is what you asked:

    Do you think only 2-3 of those folks are "biased"?

    If you wanted to ask about brand biases specifically, why didn't you simply say so? Or is it more fun to play mind games?

    Can we talk about cars now.... please?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I think we are almost saying the same thing. I'm just saying reliability cannot be tested in a comparison test unless that test lasts several years. Therefore, IMO, an objective test (yeah, yeah, overuse of italics!!, shoot me now) can't include a projection of any sort - reliability included.

    :shades:
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I think talking about the cars would be a really good idea. Let's start now. :)
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    You mean, for example, how CR predicted that the 2007 Camry V6 would have excellent reliability, and then... surprise! They found out through their surveys that it wasn't so, so they had to withdraw their prediction.

    Nothing is a "sure thing". Teams don't go undefeated forever, and one or two losses doesn't make them a bad team. Does one prediction not coming true, make all the predictions wrong?

    Would you say that some cars have better odds (of being reliable) than others?

    Sure, I would love it if someone could tell me "This car will definitely be reliable", but at least for now I will have to settle for a prediction.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Yes, some cars have better odds of being reliable than others. In general, a car that has been in production for several years has a better chance of being reliable than a brand-new design. So if you don't mind waiting a couple of years for the kinks to be worked out of a new design, and for reliability studies to be done on it, then you don't need to settle for a prediction. If you want to buy a brand-new design when it first comes out, get your crystal ball out.
  • drwilscdrwilsc Posts: 140
    Teams don't go undefeated forever

    I don't know, Bill Belicheat and the Patriots just might!
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Weren't you talking cars in post #8124? May be not...

    "What I see here is obvious bias on the part of the lone Camry owner in the comparo. He owns a Camry and a Honda, and he rated the Camry 1st and the Accord 2nd"

    And I'm the one playing mind games. :confuse:
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Yes, some cars have better odds of being reliable than others. In general, a car that has been in production for several years has a better chance of being reliable than a brand-new design.

    I'm talking about new design vs. new design. Don't you think a company who has consistently built reliable cars, will be more likely to produce another reliable car. If Vegas was laying odds on the reliability of the 08 Accord and the 08 Malibu, which car would the odds favor? Which car would be your pick?
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 11,088
    Exactly.... over the past 20 years car reliability has been highly accurately predictable year after year after year. Nothing much has changed at all except for maybe in the last 600 days or so.

    I'd bet on the companies that can prove time and time again, over and over, in and out, repeatedly consistent high performance reliability over the companies that have shown a consistency of mediocrity!
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    If Ford, GM or Chrysler built a mid-size that:
    1. Was the fastest from 0-60
    2. Was the quickest from 60-0
    3. Got an honest 30 mpg in city driving
    4. Had advanced safety features no one else had
    5. Cost $25,000, fully loaded
    6. Had a 5-year, 100,000 bumper-to-bumper guarantee and a lifetime warranty on the drive train
    7. Had the most interior room and the largest trunk
    8. Scored first in all handling tests
    9. Rode on 16-inch tires that didn't cost an arm and a leg to replace
    10. Received top ratings in all crash tests
    11. Had distinctive styling

    In other words this Ford, GM or Chrysler would be head and shoulders above anything else in every way imaginable. The question is: Would such a car be No. 1 in sales in its first year? I seriously doubt it. The Camry and Accord would rank No. 1 and No. 2 in sales no matter what. I attribute that to reputation. Even if a car is (was?) clearly superior to the Camcords, the sales results will remain unchanged for several more years.

    Toyota and Honda don't have to build exceptional cars, just adequate ones, to remain at the top of the sales heap. That is a sad commentary but an accurate one, in my humble opinion.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Had a 5-year, 100,000 bumper-to-bumper guarantee and a lifetime warranty on the drive train

    I would rather have fully transferable 7-year/75K mile warranty than 5-year/100K mile warranty, if it had to be a selling point. Better yet, the brand stand behind its product without relying completely on warranty (or waiting for it to expire). I have heard a few stories around some brand(s) fixing issues for free by not caring for expired warranty. This doesn't show up in ads, but it sure makes me respect the brand. To me, little things count more than the highly advertised ones.

    Especially in your case urnews. You have driven only 6000 miles in a year. 100K miles in five years isn't the norm, although I have put 185K miles in my Accord in ten (with about 32K miles going to my TL, and about 36K miles in my Civic before then alongside the Accord).
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    ... although I have put 185K miles in my Accord in ten (with about 32K miles going to my TL, and about 36K miles in my Civic before then alongside the Accord).

    You sure do roll up the mileage, Robert. Agreed that a fully transferable 7-year/75,000-mile warranty would be a better selling point. The main theme to my post was that the Camcords are likely to remain No. 1 and No. 2 in sales regardless of what any competitors do.

    I also happen to think that Toyota and Honda earned their reputation. It didn't just magically "happen." Their cars aren't perfect, of course, but reliability is certainly one of their strong suits. All mid-sizers are invariably compared to the the Camry and Accord. They are the standard bearers in this segment. That honor once belonged to the Taurus but Ford forgot about it to concentrate on SUVs and pickup trucks.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    That is a sad commentary
    may be true - as far as that goes - but remember that those same mfgrs. you would like to see build this 'dream' car of yours are also the same ones that wouldn't build anything even halfway 'acceptable' when they were the ones on top of that heap, and they could have, except for getting a bit greedy and foisting all those high profit SUVs on us...
    You surely don't want to compare those Camcords of the 80s and 90s to what Detroit was trying to sell us during the same time - do you? If the qualities of the Camcords falls to merely average (or, as is a little more likely - those Detroit products get better) then those stigmas attached to those Fords/Chevys/Chryslers products will disappear. It will take awhile naturally, and I'm not sure that Detroit can afford to wait to be 'rediscovered'.- the Japanese mfgrs. got to where they are the old fashioned way -they earned it. Is that prejudice or simply history?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Don't you think a company who has consistently built reliable cars, will be more likely to produce another reliable car.

    I used to think that, several years ago. I used to think that every Toyota and Honda, whether it was a brand-new design or a mature model, would have stellar reliability. And they did. But then things changed, e.g. 1999 Odyssey... 2001 Civic... Sludge on Toyota engines... 2003 Accord... 2007 Camry. All of these had significant problems. Meanwhile, automakers that used to have poor reliability records, such as Ford and Hyundai, have improved greatly (e.g. Fusion/Milan and Sonata).

    The point I tried to make earlier is that it's hard to make accurate predictions based on history when conditions change. So if I were to decide between the new Accord and new Malibu, which one do I think will be more reliable? The answer is, I have no idea. The previous-generation Accord was reliable, after some kinks were worked out early on. And the previous-generation Malibu was reliable. Also, GM has made it clear that they have focused on quality and reliability for the new Malibu. So right now I have no idea whether a 2008 Accord will be more reliable than a 2008 Malibu. Ask me in 2-3 years.

    P.S. I think one reason the reliability of Toyotas and Hondas has declined is because the U.S. used to get new models only after they had been released in the JDM and maybe other markets for a year or so (or like the Fit, for several years). But lately the U.S. gets new models at the same time as other markets, or we get models that are designed just for us. So there isn't time to work out the bugs from a new design before we get the cars here.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    It will take awhile naturally, and I'm not sure that Detroit can afford to wait to be 'rediscovered'.- the Japanese mfgrs. got to where they are the old fashioned way -they earned it. Is that prejudice or simply history?

    Agree. It will take quite a while for Detroit to be "rediscovered" and there may not be enough time (or credit). The Asian companies have a solid lock on the mid-size segment and are not about to relinquish it either. I think a majority of the mid-size buyers are automatically pre-disposed to buying an Accord or Camry by virtue of their track record, which includes total sales.

    Today's Detroit offerings are definitely more competitive than they have been in the past but it may be a case of too little, too late.
  • mrsyjmrsyj Posts: 77
    "Today's Detroit offerings are definitely more competitive than they have been in the past but it may be a case of too little, too late. "

    I disagree. The Impala is on pace to sell 300k copies this year which is more than Altima. Yes fleets are part of that but the bottom line is people will buy American nameplates when they like the vehicle. There is a difference between lacking a bestseller and lacking any traction in a particular segment. For example, GM lacks a best seller in this class but they sell more midsize sedans than Toyota does. When you look at it that way it really contradicts the whole "everyone has given up on domestic vehicles" argument.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    a fully transferable 7-year/75,000-mile warranty would be a better selling point.

    Unfortunately, that would be a selling point to only those who can apply a perspective. You and I may be, but most folks are going to be more "moved" by a 100K mile warranty even if they won't get to that point before their car is five years old.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    For example, GM lacks a best seller in this class but they sell more midsize sedans than Toyota does.

    What is your source for that tidbit?
  • mrsyjmrsyj Posts: 77
    "I'm talking about new design vs. new design. Don't you think a company who has consistently built reliable cars, will be more likely to produce another reliable car. "

    I dont think so. As time goes on cars are built in different places, designed by different people and made with parts from different suppliers. People fail to grasp how similar Toyota and Honda have become to domestic manufacturers. Think about it, how could the Asian transplants have infallible quality if they are designing vehicles in the US with US engineers, building the cars in US plants with Americans and using suppliers (although not to the degree of the Big 3) based in the US that also supply the Big 3. Similar workers, engineers and suppliers yield similar results. I knew someone who was into Hondas who told a long time ago that there was a difference in quality between US made hOndas and those imported. Dont know if that is true but it is conceivable. I never assume that any car from an import manufacturer is guaranteed to be better. When the Fusion came out I'm sure people were saying it would never measure up in quality based on Ford's reputation but they would've been wrong. I have heard of too many issues with imports to believe that they are as reliable as some claim. I also question how others who swear by imports have NEVER come across similar stories from other owners. To me that says that import owners are more forgiving of issues than they would be if the problems existed on a domestic.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Yes fleets are part of that

    That's an understatement. How about fleet sales are a major part of that.

    Also, I don't know about the "GM sells more midsize sedans than Toyota does" statement. First of all, the Impala is NOT a midsize sedan, it is a full size. Second, I don't have the numbers with me but I believe the combined sales number of the Malibu, Aura, G6 and LaCrosse is still less than Camry, and that's including fleet sales!!
  • mrsyjmrsyj Posts: 77
    "What is your source for that tidbit? "

    Add the numbers up. GM sells about 70-75k midsize sedans a month if we count the Impala. Lets not forget they make a lot more midsize models than Toyota does. Chevy alone sells about as many Impalas/Malibus as Toyota sells camry. And lets not forget that Toyota adds Solara sales to the Camry when GM never did the same for Impala and Monte carlo. Toyota may sell more cars if you factor in the corolla, but I'm not sure. The press and domestic car bashers like to focus on best sellers only but all GM cars count in the sales column for GM just like the camry counts for Toyota. If Gm needs 3 cars to battle and outsell camry than so be it. Lots of people are going to make a big deal out of the Malibu if it doesnt outsell the Camry but it CANT because there isnt enough production capacity. Few vehicles have production capacity in excess of 300k units like Accord and Camry. If we look at GM's epsilon cars as a whole they should come close to camry sales next year. I figure the G6 will be good for 140k, Malibu for 200k-250k and Aura for 70k units next year.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Similar workers, engineers and suppliers yield similar results.

    True, but different philosophy and amount of the resources contributed to the product make the difference. You can have the best engineers, workers and suppliers in the world but if the boss has an idea of "I'll just make a so-so car with minimum resource" then you are not going to get the best product.

    In my opinion ultimately it's the philosophy that changes the outcome.
  • mrsyjmrsyj Posts: 77
    "Also, I don't know about the "GM sells more midsize sedans than Toyota does" statement. First of all, the Impala is NOT a midsize sedan, it is a full size. Second, I don't have the numbers with me but I believe the combined sales number of the Malibu, Aura, G6 and LaCrosse is still less than Camry, and that's including fleet sales!! "

    Then exclude the Accord, its a full size sedan. The Impala is a midsize based on pricing. Anyone looking at a Camry or Accord would consider the Impala comparable in space and peformance. The Impala is barely a midsize anyway by EPA standards. as for the sales, they speak for themselves.

    At the end of this year the cars you mentioned should sell about 340k copies. Not quite on the level of camry but not bad considering the Malibu was in the last year of a generation for 10 months of the year. Next year that number should be closer ot 400k.
  • mrsyjmrsyj Posts: 77
    "True, but different philosophy and amount of the resources contributed to the product make the difference. You can have the best engineers, workers and suppliers in the world but if the boss has an idea of "I'll just make a so-so car with minimum resource" then you are not going to get the best product. "

    Not sure who has that attitude. It wouldnt be Gm in 2007 though. Considering the recent awards GM vehicles are getting I would think its clear they are trying to make the best product.

    As for fleets, they are a part of business. If Toyota makes a police package camry then I'm sure cops will buy it. Fleets must not be all bad since Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai are relying on them more than ever. Fleet sales are 9% of Toyota sales and a higher % of Nissan's.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Add the numbers up. GM sells about 70-75k midsize sedans a month if we count the Impala.

    Exactly, you can't count the Impala.

    I figure the G6 will be good for 140k, Malibu for 200k-250k and Aura for 70k units next year.

    How many did those 140k G6 and 250k Malibu went to the fleet? Exactly...
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Then exclude the Accord, its a full size sedan.

    The Accord is only full size without the sunroof so technically it is still midsize car.

    The Impala is a midsize based on pricing.

    Nobody is or never will be classifying car size segment based on price. I will agree if you said GM sells more cars in the $20k to $30k range than Toyota but that's not we are discussing here.

    The Impala is barely a midsize anyway by EPA standards.

    The Impala is full size by EPA standard, barely or not. If team A beats team B barely by 1 point would you consider team B won the game as well?

    At the end of this year the cars you mentioned should sell about 340k copies.

    And how many did those 340k went to the fleets?
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    Add the numbers up.

    Well, I do believe GM sells more cars (and trucks) in the U.S. than does Toyota. But Camry is No. 1 in mid-size sales, followed closely by Accord. Not sure who is No. 3, Altima maybe? GM, Ford and Chrysler are way down the line when it comes to sales and my original point was that even if Detroit did build a super car in the mid-size segment it would be years before it surpassed Camry and Accord in sales, if ever.
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