Last post on Nov 05, 2013 at 12:08 PM
You are in the Acura RL
What is this discussion about?
Acura RL, Sedan
#2709 of 7386 Re: Automag recommendation [ceric #1256]
Jun 14, 2004 (5:59 am)
I agree with your post -- but I do think that the automagazines are not blind to safety, they may give it a short shrift, but I do believe there is at least a nod to this aspect.
And with respect to all this German bashing, talk of auto magazines and Consumers Reports: Consumer's Reports may be the end all be all of automotive prose -- unbiased, factual, etc. The car magazines may be useless in terms of automotive reliability data (although they seem to be at least "aware" of the reputations of many of the cars about which they write.)
Moreover, the car magazines do test cars for "long term" articles and repair costs and trips to the dealer certainly are duly reported.
My slow turning toward the Japanese auto-makers is far from complete, but, like soil erosion, it IS relentless, continuous. But my reasons for turning to the Japanese auto-makers are, presently, derived from the "promises" of what WILL be, certainly not the current reality (Acura TL does deserve an honorable mention in FWD guise, however).
The reasons for looking at the Japanese cars, for me, include "the promise of performance and value." They (well some of them, Acura for one) seems to already do a very good job on the value proposition -- the '05 RL promises performance and that promise will draw me into the showroom.
Despite all the reliability posts AGAINST some of the Germans -- there are plenty of PRO posts here and elsewhere. And, like I said, Consumer's Reports information is not compelling. Reading a CR report on a car is like reading about food wherein the description is accurate and true but omits any discussion about flavor or (shhhhh be vewy quiet, I'm twacking wabbit) subjective taste. Likewise reading Car & Driver expecting even a modicum of information pertaining to reliability is an invitation to disappointment.
Yet, at least with Car and Driver I have a sense (since I often agree with the authors) of how the car will be from behind the wheel.
Finally with respect to what is just about the most valuable information, I would have to agree with several of the posters -- forums such as THIS are often (not always, but often) the most relevant.
I have had, as some folks reading this may already know, some 27 Audis, 2 VW's and 1 BMW since 1977 (my wife and I combined, that is). We currently have 2 Audis in the final year of a three year lease.
My 2003 allroad needs its second replacement of the On*star electronics (a Motorola device I am told). The batteries in my wife's key fob, WERE, only good for about 2 months (that has been rectified with a new supplier of batteries, apparently).
We have the cars serviced at 7,500 miles (owners manual calls for 10,000 mile intervals).
We're looking to Acura, for one, as a strong alternative to Audi (hopefully the Japanese Audi as "Automobile" magazine calls it).
The Acura pre-release information is darn near compelling -- but the new A6 test reports have been almost universally proclaiming the new A6 as the one to beat in this segment. There is nothing, yet, that can be done to verify (for myself) that either of these cars will achieve "the one to beat" status -- with the magazines or with me.
And, I have been buying Audis for over 25 years NOT based on a car magazine or a statistical magazine. I probably would have had more than one BMW if that (the former anyway) were the case -- the car magazines have been smitten with BMW for years (Audi less so).
Acura, on paper, deserves a fair shake -- and from my perspective, regardless of the magazines, that is what I am planning to give it.
The German cars we have had, however, have been incomparable in terms of the "behind the wheel experience" -- or, as my wife says, "these cars go like a snake in a rat hole." I kinda know what that means, but I sure like the way that it sounds -- I just have never thought of rats as having holes -- I always thought that was moles or voles.
It just sounds better to say "rat hole" for some reason.
Drive it like you live. And, speaking from personal experience, our German cars have had decent reliability -- but NEVER having had a Japanese car, I may be in for a wonderful surprise if we cross over to the other side of the world, so to speak.
P.S. Our Audis, since 1988 have come with "included" service and warranty -- also included is the use of a like car while yours is being serviced, and when the car is picked up it has been cleaned, inside and out. I "assume" it is more expensive to have a European car serviced than a Japanese car, but for the first 50K miles, Audis, BMW's and (at this point) Mercedes, have only gas, plates and tires as maintenance costs -- now THAT'S cheap (and yes, I know it is in the MSRP !)
And, thus far, I'm one of those "ugly American consumers" who can't make the case for owning a car or renting an apartment -- I rent cars and own real estate. Acura's RL with 105,000 mile "tune up" intervals may make me rethink this notion (at least insofar as auto leasing is concerned). But there is still the issue of rapid technology change and the enjoyment of never having a car more than 2 model years old. . . .
#2710 of 7386 Re: Automag recommendation [markcincinnati #1269]
Jun 14, 2004 (7:32 am)
Since reading these posts I've developed an appreciation for the depth of automotive knowledge, insight, and objectivity you and some of the other more prolific posters have offered. I simply can't wait to read your and their impressions of the new 05' RL (when its available) I will place more weight on those impressions than those offered by the media.
#2711 of 7386 Re: Automag recommendation [shotgun #1270]
Jun 14, 2004 (9:58 am)
is that a promise?
Jun 14, 2004 (10:59 am)
I for the most part agree with you, the Germans still have the pinnacle of that elusive "driving feel" that the Japanese are striving to reach. They are getting there though. The problem I think for the Germans, BMW especially, is what do you when you get to the top of performance perfection? The 5 series is the best example of that. The 540i was untouchable, even at the end of a 7 year life span. The new 530i has already gotten hammered in an R&T test, and its brand new. The Japanese are learing, and fast. A Honda S2000 can run with the likes of the Z4 and SLK, for a lot less cash. Then there's Infiniti, which is definitely out for BMW blood. The VQ in the G35 has been bumped to 277hp in the sedan, and 295hp in the coupe. (Plus decent interiors now as well). A 6-speed 295hp G35 coupe with 18" wheels and brembos for $35K puts some serious hurt on the 330Ci.
#2714 of 7386 Re: mark [lexusguy #1273]
Jun 14, 2004 (12:15 pm)
anybody who has sufficient time behind a 3's wheels and behind a G35's wheels (and of course that excludes the few hours of automotive reporter drives), will tell you, despite all the cranking hp's in the infinity, they might come close to the 3's but they still aren't anywhere near there.
I am not a big fan of the 5's tail, or am not necessarily charmed with it the way i was by the previous 5, but i sincerly think anybody who thinks the current 5 is inferior to the old or does not offer enough improvements over the old is either uninformed or simply smokin something...
i don't discount the overall thesis that the japanese cars are getting very close to the germans, specially on the value for money front, they just can't be compared. But again who knows, in another 20 years we might be singing, "the koreans offer the best value for money with almost comparable performance to the japanese".. hehe...
in this world, the top of the pyramid is always an adherent to the rule of diminishing returns. very small delta of change is very expensive to get.
advancements in miniaturization did not come out of Germany, they mostly came out of the US and then some from japan. This today and tomorrow is the world of miniaturization, which includes car electronics and I think the japanese have a definitive advantage over the germans, who were king of pure mechanical gizmos. I wonder why the country of most major electronics patents, basically the US is not in lead here.... which brings us to why the RL might rule on the curvy roads, its not just pure mechanical anymore.
Jun 14, 2004 (1:20 pm)
Most electronics come from Asia. What do we have in the US? Intel? IBM? Taiwan alone has 100x the number of electronics companies and semiconductor manufacturing fabs.
#2716 of 7386 Reliability vs Performance? A schism!
Jun 14, 2004 (4:18 pm)
Is it sufficient to say that the Germans are performance oriented and that the Japanese are reliability oriented? Why are they mutually exclusive and why wouldn't a potential buyer demand that both be in place when an expenditure of thousands of $ is involved. It pains me to see the black marks in CR's frequency of repair pages, all attributed to major marques.Even on this thread, no serious question ever arises as to why soundness and performance aren't compatible. Additionally, why would Chrysler permit its showrooms to be so derogated as to be shunned by serious purchasers? White belts? Why? Coarse sales people? How come? Indifferent manners? Unbelievable that it exists in such proliferation! After all, how many Chrysler dealerships are there in the U.S.? Must be thousands, all chained to the same low standard? Only in America! The RL will thrive; a tribute to dedication....as is the Lexus. I have 99,583 miles on my '96 RL and have waited patiently for five years, hoping for a model change. I have never owned a car whose mileage has exceeded 60,000 miles. I've waited patiently and have undergone virtually no repairs during almost 100,000 miles of ownership.The same applies to three Honda bikes that I have owned since 1966.
Why the disparity in quality? What ails MB, Audi and BMW? We seem to require "tolerance" (sic) in all areas.
#2717 of 7386 A6 VS RL
Jun 14, 2004 (4:37 pm)
I didn't follow Audi Mark in here - but glad to see him commenting on the upcoming RL. A friend works for the dealer who sells both Audi and Acura. He wanted me to wait for the RL awd, but I put my name on a proven awd car - the 2005 A6 - should be in dealer by Oct. Same warranty - 4yr/50K miles-service included on the RL? Anyone think I made a mistake? Tomm
#2718 of 7386 Re: Reliability vs Performance? A schism! [pellucid #1276]
Jun 14, 2004 (6:28 pm)
As one of the screaming voices in the wilderness, I must say that I agree with your questions -- and your rhetorical (I presume) answers.
Of course it is insufficient to proclaim and expect the disparity in your opening salvo -- I, for one, want legendary Japanese reliability and known (by me) German car performance. I have seen and participated in threads decrying the lack of quality of the Europeans' and the lack of soul (performance) of the Japanese.
I do not want to trade performance for reliability, however. That is why CR sways me not even a little. Again they present statistics and quantification and I do believe they are accurate and they probably must serve a purpose as so many people seem to point their furtive flying fickle finger of fate at their ratings as if they somehow equated to anything even approaching the totally subjective evaluation of performance, feel and "that certain something."
I also would not buy audio speakers for a home theater system based on their frequency response or sound pressure level stats. But, I do believe them when they proclaim many cars, Acura among them, to be of superior reliability. I read an opinion piece once by Jay Leno who said the problem with Japanese cars is they were designed to minimize the interaction between the car and the people inside the car (including the driver) -- he went on to say, if you want a perfect car, buy a fill in the blank, Japanese car.
This was, admittedly, years ago -- and, after the Acura TL test drive my wife and I took, we were very impressed. If the thing had not had such mighty torque steer, I do believe it would be on the top o the list of contenders.
The new RL, based only on this forum and their web site and a few paragraphs here and there, promises (as I said previously) to be the Japanese Audi -- I think that means the driving pleasure of the Audi with the reliability of the Japanese car. If this truly is the case, or at least if it has the former and is priced thousands under the Audi, it will remain a contender.
I honestly don't know who has married the two traits Performance and Reliability -- it is as if they are an oxymoron. Mercedes used to have the reputation, real or trumped up, that it had both. I don't think that can be said anymore.
Audi, in my vast experience, has been quite reliable but I know this is hardly a universal experience.
And, I am not totally convinced that quality = reliability. The quality of my Audis fit and finish is darn close to impeccable, the engines have always been strong and silent until called upon to perform then their sound is sweet, especially in the V8 equipped versions.
We do require tolerance. Most folks tolerate good performance for great reliability -- for all I know, I may be morphing into such a person as I would like to be able to keep a car beyond 50K miles and not feel that this is only in the province of the well to do, for they can afford the repair bills that would choke most middle and upper middle folks (probably a demographic that is well represented herein).
The Chrysler dealerships give me the creeps -- product ignorance seems to reign supreme. But refrains of "she's a beauty" are plentiful, regardless of the vehicle being scrutinized. C'mon fellers, you want to lure me back . . .or my wife? I'm certain that many of these white paint on the windshield American car dealers were the inspiration for the term "lot lizard." But, they seem to persist -- PT Barnum said it better than I.
I tend to agree in advance that the RL "ought" to thrive -- but less so perhaps because of its absolute greatness and more so probably because the competition in some quarters is so lame.
Time will tell.
I wonder what those Frequency of Repair stats would look like if the Germans really did produce reliable cars -- I say this because if asked, I would tell CR that my Audi is very reliable. Maybe the reason the results are skewed has something to do with the sample. . .? A possibility.
Test the car. CR has about as much business swaying your opinion on a car as it does in picking your ideal mate based on statistics alone.
If your test of a car, American, European or Japanese (or other) presses your performance buttons, buy it. However, if your primary criteria is reliability -- why not just go with the statistics and don't worry too much about the subjective since, thus far, it has been demonstrated time and again, that they seem to be mutually exclusive characteristics.
Maybe we could all vote with our dollars -- but it seems that we would all have to collude and all buy Japanese and forsake the Europeans in order to teach them that we demand reliability. Or, conversely, we should all ONLY buy the best performing car of the moment and teach Acura (and others) that we won't tolerate cars that are merely perfect, but we want cars that involve the passenger behind the wheel.
Nahhh, it'll never happen.