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Midsize Sedans 2.0



  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,126
    From Nissan's corporate perspective, that's an excellent reason not to bring out an AWD Altima. Why tempt a customer with a cheaper alternative if he's willing to pay for the premium model?

    Well, the business marketplace is strewn with the corpses of businesses who didn't innovate or provide products customers wanted because of their fear of hurting existing business. Then of course a competitor does it anyway and they lose the business altogether.

    The music industry vs. Apple comes to mind. This is also playing out right now in the movie industry.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    edited October 2010
    Well, the business marketplace is strewn with the corpses of businesses who didn't innovate or provide products customers wanted because of their fear of hurting existing business.

    Good point. You could argue that sooner or later a competitor - quite possibly Hyundai, which has been on a roll lately - will bring out a mid-priced AWD sedan, so you might as well grab that territory first. (I'm overlooking the fact that Subaru has offered mid-priced AWD sedans for years.)

    Still, I can't help wondering how many of the prospective customers for these sedans would rather buy a CUV instead.
  • xmechxmech Posts: 90
    Yeah, but as noted in the comments, for the Honda & Toyota vehicles Subaru left traction control on which means wheel spin was stopped before the transfer of power from front to rear could occur. That pretty much invalidates the test.

    Like I said, I knew it was made by Subaru, so I wasn't sure there weren't any gimmicks going on, but I don't see how leaving traction control on would make it invalid. You're stop at a light, your 2 front wheels are on ice, you hit the gas to go, your front wheels will spin and the brakes will grab, but where should the engine power go? If anything, with the spinning wheels being held by the brakes, even with just plain simple differentials all around, then the other wheels should get power. I haven't watched it in a while, are you sure they didn't say they turned traction control off? I could see that invalidating the test.

    Also, if they did leave tcs on, are you expected to turn it off in slippery conditions so your AWD will work? Maybe I don't fully understand it, but it all seemed pretty simple and logical to me.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    edited October 2010
    I really wish I knew why the Mazda6 doesn't sell better. About the only thing it's not at or near the top on is fuel economy, but it's not like the FE is terrible. It's possible that some mid-sized family sedan buyers find the styling too much, but then look how well the Sonata is selling, and that car's styling is even more extreme to my eyes than the Mazda6's. If I were looking for a new mid-sized car, the Mazda6 would be on my list. I was very close to buying one of the prior generation 6s (used) a couple of times. I really like that car, even though it's on the smaller side for a mid-sizer these days. Maybe that's one reason I like it.

    One thing that worries me a bit though is reliability. I own a 2000 626, not quite 10 years old, bought it in January 2006. Had 84k miles on it but was in excellent condition (probably a daily commuter). I've only driven it 5-6k a year (my oldest son's college car now), has 115k on it. Really not that many miles for a modern car. But the thing is beginning to fall apart! Had to spend $1500 on repairs a few weeks ago. Some things have just worn out, e.g. brakes. But other things e.g. axles, rear bushings (twice), alloys (corroded--a first for any of my cars), etc. And the engine is the roughest-sounding I4 I've heard in ages, and the AT has been problematic all along (limping along with an external cooler and fluid changes every 15k miles). On top of that, I owned a 2002 MPV which I really liked, and THAT car started having all kinds of problems after only a few years. So maybe there is a perception (based in some reality?) that Mazda reliability is not on par with some competitors, e.g. Ford, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai. Just a thought.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,857
    Depending on the business model, for someone like Nissan, it makes sense that it does not compete with Infiniti in AWD sedans.
    Audi, BMW, and Mercedes don't really have that same internal competition.
    Their AWD sedans are very popular in the Northeast.
    Like a lot of people, I already have an old school V8 SUV, so I don't need an additional one.
    An AWD sedan fits the bill. AWD really does take quite a bit of the drama out of driving in bad traveling conditions.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    What happens in snow is that the wheels start to spin, then are stopped by TC which brakes the wheel and cuts engine torque. This can effectively disable the vehicle, especially when trying to go up a snowy hill. In this case you must turn off TC allowing the wheels to spin through the loose snow to find traction below. This is all explained in the owner's manual (Ford's at least).
  • dash5dash5 Posts: 421
    Regarding the Mazda 6, I think it's a combination of the styling and reputation as a sporty car. People probably arent giving it a chance. I agree with what you say about the Sonata being even more extreme but I think Sonata successfully skews towards luxury looks. A Lexus or Mercedes styling. The 6 though, I just cant put my finger on it but it doesnt appeal to me visually.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,330
    mazda will never sell in volumes like Honota. don't have the reputation, or the dealer network (especially in the middle and probably southern part of the country). But, still seems like the 6 should sell a little better. It is a really nice option.

    then again, the majority of buyers of "full size mid size" cars like this are looking for reliability by reputation, and quiet isolation. Not sporty, which has always been relatively niche. Altima seems to get away with it better, but I think that nissan really hasn't positioned it that way (and people don't actually know what they are getting!)

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • akumaakuma Posts: 70
    technically, the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte are now classified as mid-sized according to EPA since they both have over 110 cubic feet of total volume (over 95 cubic feet passenger volume). both cars are under 3,000 lbs. the Sonata is actually classified as full-sized (over 120 total cubic feet).
  • I had a 626, too. It had already had a history of transmission problems when I bought it with about 85k miles. It was in Hawaii, so the paint job had developed leprosy (the sun and salt air is hard on paint jobs). And it had lots of rust in the radiator, maybe because it had been sitting in the owner's parents' garage for a while?
    In any case, the radiator blew and had to get replaced.
    Other than that, it drove well and had no problems for me for the 2 years I drove it.
    Proper maintenance would have prevented the radiator problem, I think, and the transmission didn't affect me at all.
    But I have heard Mazda had a problem with its transmissions for a few years...when I was looking at used cars, I ran across a half-dozen Mazdas that were extremely cheap because the tranny needed replacing.

    But Mazda's reliability has really improved in the 00s. Maybe the average person doesn't pay as much attention as I do to that?

    If you look on Edmunds' model review, you can see the reliability of Mazdas rise...and Honda has actually had more reliability problems in the early part of this decade (02-04) than Mazda!

    So that convinced me to not be afraid to buy Mazda this time.
  • Reputation may be the problem, or maybe it is just that people don't value sportiness.

    I don't know.

    One of the reasons I blame reviewers is because the opinion of the more professional reviewers didn't match my own experiences.

    I had my heart set on a 2010 Mazda3 because I previously driven a 2008 Mazda3 and that was, to date, the most fun to drive car I had ever driven. Reviewers said that the 2010 Mazda3 was as good in every way, or better. It was just as nimble, but with a stiffer chassis and slightly larger interior. What's not to love?

    My previous most-fun-to-drive car was a 1995 Honda Civic. But I had also really enjoyed my 1998 Mazda626, especially the feeling of luxury from size (compared to some Corollas I had owned, that in turn, felt larger than the '95 Civic) and also being able to corner very well despite its size.

    So I test-drove an '08 Mazda6 w/ a V6. It was nice, it was sporty, it had power, but it just didn't grab me the way that '08 Mazda3 did.

    While I was reading car dealer advertisements, I noticed that I could get a 4cyl 6 iSport for only a little more than a 3 would be similarly equipped, but the 6 would be much larger and with the larger engine, so probably a better value than bumping up to the 2.5l of the 3 sSport/sTouring. But reviewers said the '09 Mazda6 was #4 or #5 on their list at best, because its larger size had robbed it of all its fun to drive.

    So, clearly, my best choice was the 2010 Mazda3, right?

    I negotiated my price, and had a choice between a completely new 2010 Mazda3 or one that had been driven about 1000 miles for $500 cheaper. They showed me the cheaper one first. I was a little turned off by the scratches and scuffs, so when I drove it and it didn't immediately WOW me, I thought I should try out a Mazda6 as a comparison.

    Well, I immediately got a smile on my face.

    I don't know how to explain it, but it felt equally as nimble as the 2010 3, and being equally as nimble in a significantly larger car made it feel much more fun to drive, if that makes sense.

    And while I intellectually realize that the 2008 6cyl Mazda6 can get to 60mph much faster than a 2010 4cyl Mazda6, I didn't feel like the newer car was lacking in acceleration at all. It had plenty of torque to get me up to speed on onramps and for passing.

    So I shifted gears and purchased the Mazda6, and haven't regretted it at all. I still get a little thrill when I punch it, or even just when I brake and glide into the turn lane for a sharp turn. The 6 just goes exactly where I want it, like it was on rails. I know that phrase is used a lot, but it really does feel a little bit like a smooth roller coaster.

    The frustrating thing about the reviewers is that they seem to knock the 6 for its weaknesses but not give it credit for its strengths. Or knock it for its weaknesses without knocking competitors for theirs. Or knock it for its weaknesses without recognizing the trade-offs inherent to physics.

    Like, they give the Altima props for being sporty, but knock the 6 for not being quite as big as the Accord...despite the 6 being bigger than the Altima but far sportier than the Accord...and despite the 6 being a much smoother ride than the Altima.
    Or, they knock the 4cyl 6 for not being powerful enough, but knock the 6cyl 6 for not being fuel efficient enough. Or they knock the 6 for not being as fuel efficient as the Altima, despite saying they don't really like the Altima's CVT.

    Or they complain about the Accord's excessive road noise but praise its fuel economy, and rate it above the 6...not willing to point out, I guess, that Accord achieves its better gas mileage by, in part, skimping on sound insulation. Less insulation = lighter car = better fuel economy; more insulation = less noise = heavier car = worse fuel economy. Its physics. You can say you disagree with the manufacturer's choice, but you shouldn't drop a car in the ratings for failing to overcome physics.

    To me, it is significant that the Mazda6 4cyl is the best blend of size, sportiness and smoothness. Its suspension isn't quite as sporty as the Altima, but it is close, and far smoother and far bigger. Its size isn't quite as big as the Accord or quite as fuel efficient, but it is extremely close, and far more fun to drive and far quieter.

    Then add in the biggest trunk and the best turning radius in its class.

    Then add in the extremely nice interior styling and materials.

    Then consider the subjective benefit of its exterior styling (may be a deal-killer for some).

    The Truth About Cars rates it as the best family sedan for those reasons. After my personal research and test-driving, I have to agree.

    Why do C&D, R&T, Edmunds, etc, miss this train of thought? That's what I don't get.

    Sorry for rambling...I feel strongly about this.
  • fushigifushigi Chicago suburbsPosts: 1,381
    Not a midsizer, but I had a '93 MX3 GS with the 1.8L V6 (130HP, 115 lb-ft). Fun 2-door hatch. Nice front bucket seats, loads of space for hauling stuff, lightweight (2300 pounds IIRC), and with 12.3" discs all around it stopped 60 to 0 in like 113 feet without ABS. I often got 30MPG out of it.

    But the trans went at 38K. Covered by warranty except I wasn't reimbursed for the rental during the week it was in the shop. OK, fine. I was upset but in the end it was tolerable. The trans went again at 76K and I had to pay out of pocket to get it fixed. Seeing the pattern I dumped it before I got to 114K.

    Though I won't say "never again" to buying a Mazda, I'll certainly have to give it some major thought before doing so.
    2017 Infiniti QX60 (me), 2012 Hyundai Elantra (wife)
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    Less insulation = lighter car = better fuel economy; more insulation = less noise = heavier car = worse fuel economy.

    Interesting, but I have to wonder how much of a car's total weight is represented by insulation. Is it enough to affect fuel economy?

    According to Honda's website, a 2011 Accord sedan can weigh between 3217 lbs. (for a stripper LX) & 3605 lbs. (for a top-of-the-line EX-L V6).

    For the Mazda6, the weight can range from 3258 lbs. to 3547 lbs., depending on which model you choose.

    So the 2 cars have pretty much the same weights. The less expensive Accord is about 40 lbs. lighter than the equivalent Mazda6, but is this enough to make a difference in mpg? And is the difference entirely (or even partly) attributable to the Accord's allegedly skimping on insulation? I don't know. Do you?
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    edited October 2010
    The Accord's gear ratios are chosen with economy in mind, while Mazda places greater emphasis on quick response. That, in my estimation, accounts for much more of the mpg difference than the meager weight difference does.

    On the other hand, a base Regal CXL, which has an automatic that's programmed for fuel economy weighs in at 3600 lbs--nearly 400 lbs more than the less-equipped base Accord. Is that enough to cost you 4 mpg? I'd say the answer in this case is yes, especially in city driving where you are accelerating that extra mass more frequently.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,172
    This has got to be the best car we've ever owned...a real hoot to drive & totally reliable to boot. With 82.6k on the clock, besides standard oil changes, tires, a tranny fluid swap, a couple of radiator flushes & brakes all the way around, it's been a great car. This fall, we needed to replace the drivers window motor and a small tranny part. Not to bad for the mileage it has. Have decided that we'll get rid of it if another big problem occurs. But we love the car, the wife says it's the most nimblest car she's ever had and she can get into any parking space. I love the power of the 2.3 engine.

    Would we buy another Mazda...absolutely...but we're going to get a smaller 4 cylinder one next likes the petrol a bit to much. The Mazda2 is nice, but the hatchback design is a deal breaker for her. Looking towards Hyundai now, as the one we have in the family is excellent. And she wants to downsize to a smaller car. Right now, the new Accent is on the top of her list. Time will tell though. I'd like to buy a 2013 model if possible.

    The Sandman :sick: :shades:

    2015 Audi A3 (wife) / 2015 Golf TSI (me) / 2009 Nissan Versa SL Hatch (daughter #1) / 2008 Hyundai Accent GLS (daughter #2)

  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,174
    On the other hand, a base Regal CXL, which has an automatic that's programmed for fuel economy weighs in at 3600 lbs--nearly 400 lbs more than the less-equipped base Accord.

    What's with the apples to oranges comparison? An Accord comparably equipped to the CXL, an EX-L w/auto weighs 3421. That's only 179 more pounds for the Regal. A base Accord LX w/stick weighs 3217. I know you said less equipped Accord, but why wouldn't you use a comparably equipped car to make your point.

    I agree it would be nice if the Regal got better mpg but I think it's a combo of gearing and a little weight that make most of the difference. You mentioned that the Regal's gearing is set up for MPG but I have not read that you have a reference?
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    The EPA mpg figures we see in the ads (23/34 for 2011 models) are based on the Accord LX. That's why.
  • I didn't compare curb weights.
    I guess that's a fatal flaw in my argument.

    The gearing argument in the post following yours makes sense.

    But if you follow Honda like I have over the last 15 years, EVERY Civic, Accord, and CR-V suffers from excessive road noise compared to its peers.

    Noise insulation IS heavy. Skimping on noise insulation absolutely saves weight, absolutely helps in fuel economy, and absolutely makes cars noisier.

    But if you compare 2 equal-weight cars head-to-head, sure, insulation cannot explain fuel economy difference, so you are 100% right about that mistake on my part.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,174
    Why do C&D, R&T, Edmunds, etc, miss this train of thought? That's what I don't get.

    It's a conspiracy against the Mazda6. Edmunds for years was just setting you up by naming the Mazda6 the most desired midsize sedan in their opinion and then when the new model hit, wham, they didn't like it as well. Then they called all of their competitors and paid them off to pan the new 6 as well. That coupled with the fact you own a new Mazda6 and are, admittedly, very passionate about it kind of sums up your rambling.

    Seriously, it sounds like if you owned any other midsizer you would be just as passionate about it and would find the same faults with the auto writers. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to insult you as I myself own a '07 Mazda6 and love it and it has been absolutely trouble free. But I read all the reviews like you and don't see the bias you are seeing. Could it be that you are just a little biased yourself because you own one and love it?
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,174
    According to Edmunds the Accord EX-L w/auto has the same published MPG of 23/34. They could be wrong though as I didn't check the Honda site.

    Any info on the gearing set up for MPG on the Regal like you mentioned would be appreciated though.
  • brainfertilizebrainfertilize Posts: 46
    edited October 2010
    That's a possibility.

    But I purchased the Mazda6 because I'm passionate about it. Not the reverse.

    I tried out other cars. I have a fairly broad-based experience of car ownership, too.

    It is more likely that the Mazda6 just matches my driving style precisely in ways that other cars don't.

    But there still seems to be a marked difference between what professional car reviewers (like C&D and R&T) give for grades, and what extremely experienced/respected amateur car reviewers (like TTAC) give for grades, and I'd like to understand why.

    The reason I care about this subject so much is that if I'd listened to the reviewers and not even bothered to try the Mazda6, I'd probably be suffering buyer's remorse for a Mazda3's small size or an Altima's rough ride and CVT strangeness, or a Civic's road noise and lack of driving fun.

    It really is difficult to test drive a dozen cars, what with all the hard sales they push on you as soon as you step on a lot. So I'd like to be able to understand how to interpret reviewers more to be able to translate/match up with my preferences more, so that I can just test drive 3 before I purchase my next vehicle. (yeah, I always plan ahead 3-5 years)
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,174
    I think you just have to limit it by how it appeals to you(looks) and compare the hard specs carefully til you boil it down to 5-6 cars. Then test drive each one.

    I use the articles to see if several writers say something bad and then I add that to my "be sure to check during test drive" list. I never eliminate a car that fits my needs spec wise and that I like the looks of because of auto writers. Most of them just paraphrase what other writers have written to a large degree.

    Case in point. The 03-08 Mazda6 was slammed by just about every auto writer in the business for it's turning radius. Oh, it so hard to park in parking lots. Well, I don't have a problem with it. Then the new Malibu came out with a larger turn radius and do you think any auto writer even mentioned it? None that I read. Kind of curious. That kind of thing happens often.

    There are also mistakes made. For example, I'm looking at Ford Edge/Lincoln MKX. On the Edmunds "comparator" it says the Edge does not have external temperature readout. Well, I sat in one the other day and it has the digital external temperature readout in three different places. From none to overkill. But if I really wanted that external temp readout(and I do by the way) I would eliminate that vehicle from my consideration possibly. I'm not that anal but combine that with a couple other things and I just might. Anyway, mistakes like that happen all the time so you have to be careful.

    Bottom line: Take anything in print with a grain of salt.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    edited October 2010
    So this is kinda weird... the other day, I went to the EPA site to see which smaller cars are classed as "mid-sized" by the EPA--this was for another post I was researching. To my surprise, I didn't see the Forte or the Cruze on their list of "mid-sized" cars... but I did see the Elantra, Sentra, and Versa. I thought, as you do, that the Forte has mid-sized interior volume. I also thought the Cruze is mid-sized inside--at least, Chevy claims that to be true. So maybe the Forte and Cruze are just under the limit for the EPA's "mid-sized" class.
  • Case in point. The 03-08 Mazda6 was slammed by just about every auto writer in the business for it's turning radius. Oh, it so hard to park in parking lots. Well, I don't have a problem with it. Then the new Malibu came out with a larger turn radius and do you think any auto writer even mentioned it? None that I read. Kind of curious. That kind of thing happens often.

    Yeah, that is exactly what I was trying to describe. It frustrates me, because it seems like they are looking for excuses to ding certain vehicles for things they give other vehicles a pass for.

    And "turning radius" is one of those things, like "0-60 time", where the actual number matters far less than the driver's subjective opinion.

    Eh, I'd just like a little more transparency in that process.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,174
    Well, to be fair turning radius is a hard number that is not an opinion and so is 0-60 time for the most part. Those you can pretty much compare.

    But it's the "I don't like" things that are harder to pin down. Like how hard a seat is TO THEM. Or the handling is crisp or the ride is jittery or too soft. Those kind of thems are really in the eye of the beholder to a large degree and have to be experienced for yourself.
  • True.

    I guess I tend to think of interior volume and trunk volume as even harder numbers than 0-60 time or turn radius.

    Because an object near the limit of size can or cannot fit into the trunk. There's no wriggle room.

    A person's legs can or cannot fit comfortably into 30.2 inches versus 36.3 inches. It is pretty definitive.

    But I have never once clocked my car from 0-60. I just know whether I feel like I have enough acceleration to merge successfully or not.

    I have never measured turn radius in any car I've test-driven, or owned. I just know whether it needs lots of room to turn around or not.

    And I've never measured a car's turn radius when I was test-driving to find out, Hey! That rating was wrong! or Hey, it was dead-on!

    But I can feel for myself that the Mazda6 has steering that is taut and responsive, but that the car glides over bumps better than the average car. (my wife commented on that, too, when following me home...bumps that made other cars bounce didn't joggle the 6 at all).

    I guess part of the problem is that family sedans are such a tight market, with so little variation between cars sometimes, that the writers have no choice but to use a .3 second diffference in 0-60 times to pick or pan a car.

    And part of it may be that they are using the typical human method of making up their mind of "like" or "dislike" and then finding evidence to support that judgment after the fact.

    But it is frustrating to run up against that limitation.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,330
    good example for you. Just got the latest issue of car and Driver in the mail. They have a quick test of the Sonota turbo. Like it a lot overall (but no manual!). One of their "cons"? it is a "tad" slow 0-60. It does the job in 6.2 seconds. I have no idea what they expect out of a mid-20sK family sedan, but it is amazing that they list it as a negative!

    I also disagree about published volumes (interior and trunk) as being true hard numbers you can compare (even legroom). It really depends on how the space is configured.

    A car with very high, upright seats and well designed front seats needs less legroom to be comfy than one that is low slung and has no toe room. And a square trunk with a big opening is more usable than a shallow, deep, irregular shaped one with a small opening, even if it is technically bigger.

    and a lot of interior volume is from headroom. And to me, once you have enough, more does not really add any true room or comfort (unlike more shoulder room say). Lots of cars lose a couple of cubes adding a moonroof, but if your head has pelnty of clearance still, it isn't (to me" any smaller of a car.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • colloquorcolloquor Posts: 482
    0 to 60 in 6.2 seconds is slow? I think Car and Driver has been spending too much time driving exotics. Not too many years ago, 6 seconds was consider very fast, even for so-called performance cars. I think the auto journalists lose all concept of reality sometimes.
  • These are very good points.

    That explains, I guess, why my 626 seemed so much larger in the back seat than the numbers would indicate, I guess.

    I should have been reading here before I purchased a car, rather than after, I guess.
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