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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I think it's amazing that you can tell whether plastic is soft touch or not from a photo. :) And plastic is plastic, whether it's foam-backed or not.

    I said that the first photo (the real dark one) looked "plasticky." The second set of photos look a lot better to me. Part of the problem I have with the new interior is that I'm not a fan of black interiors in general, especially interiors that are acres of black plastic. There's some interesting contrasting materials in this cabin, e.g. the dark plood and metallic trim, but a lot of black. Hard to tell from the photo how soft the leather seats will be, what the door panels and dash will look like and feel like, etc. Some interiors look much better in person than in photos.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    I'm a fan of black interiors. Black is the best color.
  • bug4bug4 Posts: 370
    Never thought I would buy an all-black interior .. but I just did in my 08 Accord. Honda did kind of a cool thing. The black dashboard is hard plastic -- but it is very textured -- just like an interior wall in a house. It has a very matt-finished, subtle bubble-like texture that really makes it not look hard, shiny and plastic. On the stereo and climate control surround, Honda used a matt-finish black that actually has very very subtle sparkles. That sounds bad, but it isn't. It really gives the interior a much better appearance. I doubt it will ever be noticeable in a picture -- you'll have to go look at one. Other than the awful brushed aluminum accents in my Accord (which look 100% like plastic), I really like the interior look of my all-black, leather interior :)
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Sometimes you can’t tell by looking at a picture (or even in person) if the material is soft touch (padded vinyl or some kind of hard rubber) or hard plastic. Here is an example from my 1998 Accord:
    image

    And this is from 2002 Jetta:
    image

    Hard plastic (or rubber in some newer cars) will generally provide for crisper edges. Other than that, it is virtually impossible in many cases to tell the difference from hard surface to one that is padded. In case of the Accord, top is hard plastic, something I couldn’t tell without pressing against it. The lighter shade is padded. In the VW, the reverse is true. In my 2000 Civic, everything was padded but it didn’t have as crisp edges as the Accord.

    That said, I haven’t understood the need for soft padding on the top of the dash. To me, it needs to be soft where it matters, as long as the hard plastic rubber doesn’t look rough and brittle, and here is a classic case of cheap plastic-city

    I do want padding on the arm rest however. Looking at this picture, that would be one of my concerns with something like the new Malibu.

    Besides cost control, recycling is becoming a bigger part of car design, so that also has some impact on choices.

    As far as some of the pictures of the 6 goes, I'm wary of those tiny buttons. With the NAV, they almost look Camry-eque, as well as six small buttons on the steering. One of the ideas for putting buttons on the steering has to be elimination of taking eyes off the road. With pieces that small, that doesn't seem to be a consideration. Even buttons on the dash are scattered and look a bit disorganized. Even a quick glance might not work well. There is more of form over function going there.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Black interior with a nice touch of aluminum and faux carbon fiber trim is one of the major reasons I chose silver exterior on the TL, which came with black leather. I love it, and the design
    is just for me... very industrial and appeals to this engineer.

    Although I haven't seen the new Accord's interior up close yet, but from pictures the matte plastic around stereo appears to be similar to TL. It looks very good, although difficult to maintain the clean look. But then, I rarely use those buttons.

    Although used a little, instead of covering up a whole area, I do detest the pieces the Accord has with silvery plastic. I haven't seen a single rental car with an expanse of similar plastic that hasn't had a permanent scratch. A little touch shouldn't hurt much, but I would rather not have it at all as those textures don't age well. But it is a norm in virtually every vehicle these days, some just rely on it to create the impression of an appealing interior.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Yeah, you gotta have some padding on the elbows. It mystifies me how some carmakers don't realize that. Nissan seems to get it--they have cushy padding on the armrests even on their low-bucks Versa (all but the strippo base version anyway).

    Padded dashes aren't important in the grand scheme of things, if the hard plastic is well done. Maybe it's just that in many cases, the padded dashes look a little more upscale than hard plastic.

    As for buttons being scattered, I think it depends on if the buttons are logically grouped. For example, if all the switches for HVAC are clustered in one place, and the controls for the audio system are in another place, I don't think it matters that they're in two different areas, as long as they are a convenient reach and don't block other things like shifters, cupholders etc.
  • One of the ideas for putting buttons on the steering has to be elimination of taking eyes off the road. With pieces that small, that doesn't seem to be a consideration.

    After a day or two, you quickly get accustomed to each button on the wheel via it's location and feel. It's similar to working the buttons on a video game console. Some of those buttons get pretty small, but after a while you don't even need to look (with the added benefit of not taking your hands off the wheel.)

    image

    Even buttons on the dash are scattered and look a bit disorganized. Even a quick glance might not work well. There is more of form over function going there.

    IMO it's no worse than the new Accord or Camry. The Altima, OTOH (w/o nav) is quite possibly the most straight-forward layout and function of any car in any class.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    From looking at the pictures, the dash has the same textured look as the current Mazda6. That leads me to believe that is has the soft touch material. Could I be wrong? Yes, but, the fact that is looks identical to the current 6 dash material, I would think it's the same.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Me too...I love interiors that are acres of black plastic. :D

    I do like a lighter shade (Gray) for the headliner though.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    The Mazda 6/NAV bears some similarities to Camry’s dash. Both have thin horizontal buttons on both sides of the screen.
    image image

    The problem with those is not only they are small, they are also not as easy to figure out with a quick glance. OTOH, I have seen plenty of comments around how buttons in Accord have intimated folks. The fact is that they are logically grouped, are large and are much more clearly marked than in virtually any other car. As a matter of fact, while I thought 2003-2007 Accord’s dash looked good and a departure from most cars of its time, it lacked cohesiveness and some of it made thru in the 2004 TL too which happens to be the only dislike. While they are still logically grouped, the buttons are small in the TL and require more than a glance. This is not the case with the 2008 Accord.
    image

    The buttons are large and logically grouped. A glance reveals the functions, if one chooses to use them. An idea that has been gaining momentum in an effort to reduce buttons is to go thru "menu" button and scroll thru selections, and I am against it. My first love is voice activated controls, second is ergonomically correct controls (but not too many of them) on the steering, and finally, clearly marked practically size buttons with as much dedicated function as possible.

    Also note the buttons on the steering wheel in the 6. Those are tiny. It seems that the way to use them would be to use the tip of the thumb, or else it would be the case of trial and error.

    When it comes to video games, I prefer games around cars, and have to have steering wheels.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Personally I think you are nit-picking on the buttons. Those on the nav on the Camry and 6 are relatively narrow, but long and there's a lot of space between them. The buttons on the Accord may be larger in surface area, but there's no space between them. Which are easier to punch? If you look at the buttons on the Accord right below the HVAC controls (all 11 of them), they look similar in size and shape to those on the nav consoles on the Camry and 6. But there's no spacing between them. Are those buttons on the Accord easier to use because they are lined up horizontally, with no spacing, vs. the vertical alignment on the Camry and 6? If that is what you believe, I don't see the benefit to the Accord's arrangement.

    Also realize you are comparing two cars with nav to a car w/o nav. The control layouts would tend to be different in a car with nav and one without. One thing to keep in mind is that most factory nav systems in this class of car are voice activated. So that raises the question of how often the driver would actually use the buttons on the nav console.

    There really is a striking similarity between the center console control and vent layouts on the Camry and 6 though, especially if you compare the Camry with manual HVAC to the 6.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Accord would have an unfair advantage over others if I threw in the NAV equipped version. It has voice control for virtually everything which renders buttons on the dash largely redundant. Here it is, if you insist and want to use the buttons instead:
    image

    The beauty of the layout is that not only they are organized well, they are ergonomically correct. And you haven't really seen me nitpick. There is something in the dash that I would have done a bit differently to make things even more consistent. ;)

    Here is one from Camry (this is for hybrid, but I assume the NAV version is similar):
    image

    Its not about just about ease of punching, it is also about the ease to figure out the button to punch. The only way this can be proven is that I show what I mean, in person.

    Here is a DIY. Both pictures provide fairly good closeups. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the layout. Now, with a function in mind, give a quick glance to each and see for yourself which of the two works better, or that you see no difference.

    In fact, just look at the location of Skip/Seek and Scan buttons. Does THAT make a difference? Does it matter they be placed anywhere on the dash, as long as they exist? Or does it matter that they are grouped together in some way?
  • zzzoom6zzzoom6 Posts: 425
    With the steering wheel controls on my Mazda6, the only time I look over at the other buttons is to change the temp on the HVAC system... The new 6 is supposed to have the HVAC controls on the steering wheel so really there would be no need to take my eyes off the road. It's kind of like my remote control at home for TV...I never have to read the buttons now and compared to the controls in the cars that we've been talking about, my remote is waayyy more complicated.

    One thing that I do like about the Camry pic above is that the buttons, though smaller, are closer together so I my eyes have to move less to read more which lets me find the button I need faster. Just a personal preference of course...and one that after a couple weeks wouldn't matter anyway since I'd know where the controls were by then.

    One thing that I would really like in a car in this class that would really help me keep my eyes on the road is a heads up display. Of course I'd like it to display more than just speed, rpm and a fuel gauge, but also song titles and HVAC settings. Even better would be if the info could be customizable like my desktop on my computer.
  • zzzoom6zzzoom6 Posts: 425
    I'm having trouble reading the top few posts because the ad to the right of the posts is making words unreadable. Anyone else having this prob?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    ...and one that after a couple weeks wouldn't matter anyway since I'd know where the controls were by then.

    Yes, that's pretty much the case with all but the worst control layouts. It's a big deal if you almost never drive the car, as in a road test or rental, but not if you drive it every day. And with wheel and voice controls becoming more common, how often are the controls on the console used?
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I'm having trouble reading the top few posts because the ad to the right of the posts is making words unreadable. Anyone else having this prob?


    Not sure, but it may have something to do with your screen resolution, or maybe your font size is way too large. I have that problem on some websites (ESPN.com). I'm definitely not a computer wiz. I'm lucky I know how to type at my age. ;)
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Yes, I see it too. I'm asking about it.
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    I'm a fan of black interiors. Black is the best color.

    Back in the early 90s I had a car with a black leather interior. I'll probably never forget what that felt like when I first sat down in the seat after it had been sitting in a parking lot on a hot summer day. Never again.
  • pmc4pmc4 Posts: 198
    This is no doubt the most fabulous and refined black interior ever designed for an automotive use:

    image
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It won't let me reply to post 7337, but I have to respectfully say I disagree whole-heartedly.
  • Yes, that's pretty much the case with all but the worst control layouts. It's a big deal if you almost never drive the car, as in a road test or rental, but not if you drive it every day.

    This is exactly the reason why I don't pay too much attention to testers that complain about control layout and/or functions. After a few days (and reading the manual, which should be required by law), the controls come as second-nature. As long as I don't have to scroll through 15 different menus just to raise the HVAC temperature (such as some integrated Nav systems and BMW's miserable I-Drive), I'm good to go.

    The only time controls become more of an issue is when you rent a car, and even then, a couple minutes pushing a few buttons and turning a few knobs will get one accustomed enough to be on their way.

    Besides, it's a good way to keep your annoying friends from changing the radio station or HVAC controls from the passenger seat, when the driver SHOULD be in complete control! :)
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Yes, I can understand the problem with black, if you have leather. Luckily, I love black but hate leather :shades: .
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Right. In 30 years of renting cars, I've had problems with controls on only one--a Crossfire. After a few days, I never did find a few controls for basic functions. And I kept turning on the cruise control when I just wanted to change lanes. It was an ergnomic disaster. By comparison, mid-sized family cars seem to have reasonable control layouts. Some have dials, some have lots of buttons, some groop all the bottons together in one place and some spread them around more, but after a few days it's easy to find the right controls.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    I'm having trouble reading the top few posts because the ad to the right of the posts is making words unreadable. Anyone else having this prob?

    Glad you said something. I thought maybe it was just my ancient computer acting up. I get the same display that you do.
  • Man, for all my whining about the 205/60R16 crummy tire size on the Accord, the Fusion/base Mazda6 has the same size.
    There is nothing inherently wrong with the size, just the lack of real performance tires in that size. I guess everyone that wants the vehicle to handle well opts for the 17" or 18" wheel pkgs, which gets to RobertMX's issue of adding 40-50 lbs of unsprung weight to the equation.
    I guess the answer is to chose ligthweight aftermarket wheels w/summer tires (ala MazdaSpeed6, Civic SI) and use the stock wheels for snow tires or something.
    Honestly, 205/55R16 tires are available in every style from mild to wild from every manufacturer under the sun. You would think they could just go with something like that vs reinventing the wheel, eh or tire I guess.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    It's in fact quite ugly.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    such as some integrated Nav systems and BMW's miserable I-Drive

    There is nothing wrong with i-drive. I figured it out in 30 seconds while travelling at 50 mph.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Copuldn't you just put the 55s on and have your speedometer be off by 2-3 mph at freeway speeds?

    For 2008 I believe Mazda has made the 17 in alloys standard on base (sport) model.

    What I don't understand is why a 17 inch tire apparently costs so much more than the exact same model of tire in 16 inch size. I assume it is because of the greater volume of 16 inch sales???

    With 17s becoming pretty common, I wonder if this will change by the time I need replacement tires. I won't really be looking for any kind of super-performance tires and I sure won't buy the Mazda6 OEM model that runs $200 even on tirerack.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    Man, for all my whining about the 205/60R16 crummy tire size on the Accord, the Fusion/base Mazda6 has the same size.

    The SEL AWD 2007 Fusion has a 17-inch by 7.5-inch alloy wheel outfitted with 225-50-17 Michelin Pilots. I only have 5,300 miles on these and I am already dreading the day when I have to replace them. Current prices are $200 to $230 per tire not including balancing and new stem valves.

    Has anybody had any experiences with Pep Boys tires or tires ordered through Sam's Club? I am more interested in a comfortable ride and tread longevity than I am performance. $1,000 for four new tires is way out of my league.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    P205/55/R16 is now Civic-sized (BMW 328i also uses it). Accord LX/LX-P have P215/55/R16, while EX/EX-L/EXV6/EX-LV6 sedan trims and four cylinder coupe trims have P225/50/R17. V6 coupes get P235/45/R18.

    I'm guessing, with HFP package when it arrives, will have 19" rims. :P
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