Last post on Dec 09, 2013 at 12:00 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Volkswagen Passat, Mazda MAZDA6, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Optima, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#12401 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [mz6greyghost]
Apr 26, 2009 (9:40 am)
I think people make trade-offs. The difference between best in class and worst in class is statistically significant but not actually significant. If a Toyota needs to go to the dealer once every 5 years, and the VW needs to go every 2 or 3 years, its worth it to me to have a more fun to drive car.
Considering most Accord owners also can go 5 years without seeing a dealer, while having just as much fun behind the wheel... Not to mention my '04 6, which has seen the dealer ONCE (for a CEL due to a faulty gas cap) in 78K miles, while having a BETTER driving experience...
A contemporary Honda Accord (203+) is not as fun to drive as a 2000+ Jetta or Passat. I would say the 90s was a low point for VW (like 1993-1998 or so) but the '98 Passat and the roll out of the 1.8t was a pretty sweet ride.
I really like the Mazda6. I am working on acquiring one to replace the '07 Accord now.
#12402 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [mz6greyghost]
Apr 26, 2009 (12:07 pm)
VW ranked tops in driving feel? Not even close.
Actually I didn't say VW (specifically the Passat, for this discussion) is "ranked tops in driving feel." But others have...
"If you're seeking a four-cylinder, four-door "driver's car," look no further" [than the Passat] - Motor Trend
C/D hasn't done a comparo of mid-sizers with the Passat, but the latest comparo they did of small cars put VW (Rabbit) on top, largely because it was tops in "fun to drive."
But then I would expect someone with a handle of "mz6..." to rate the Mazda6 tops in class as a driver's car.
#12403 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [backy]
Apr 26, 2009 (4:15 pm)
I think most Americans prefer somewhat of a boat ride despite what they might say in surveys and forums, which accounts for some of Toyota's success here. VW felt they could go for the sportier drive and feel niche. Unfortunately, they charged too much and cars like Mazda and Honda pretty much fill that bill in the popular price ranges at more attractive prices, plus Honda seems to have better long term reliability.
#12404 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [berri]
Apr 26, 2009 (4:57 pm)
Have you checked the price of a Civic or Accord lately? They are now in the same ballpark as comparably-equipped Jettas/Rabbits and Passats. The Mazda6 is getting pretty pricey too--can't get a well-equipped I4 "Sport" version for around $16k as was possible back in '08, for example. There is no question Honda (and Toyota) have a better long-term reliability history than VW, but as someone else noted, if it means you take the car to the shop outside of normal maintenance stops once every 2-3 years vs. once every 5 years, maybe that is worth it for the European feel of the Passat and other Vdubs, the turbo mill on the Passat, the slick 6-speed Tiptronic (try to get something like THAT on an Accord). The Accord and Mazda6 are fine cars, to be sure. But it's nice to have some distinctive choices in the mid-sized class too--cars like the Passat and Legacy, for instance.
#12405 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [backy]
Apr 26, 2009 (5:11 pm)
The meat of the market is in not in the $30k XLE Camry/EXL Accord/3.5SL Altima; rather, it is found in the LEs, LXs, and 2.5Ss of the world. Volkswagen has abandoned that, with a starting price... STARTING price... of $28,300. That is well-equipped in standard form, of course, but they've eliminated a huge chunk of sales by not offering any trim levels. Want a quiet, smooth, V6? Well, ya can't get that either. You're relegated to the 2.0T (a good enough engine in its own right, with 200hp and even more torque), but some people simply are willing to pay for a V6. Well, you pay for it in the Passat, but you don't get it .
The Altima starts at $19,900; the Camry also in the 19s, and Accord starts out at a thousand more than the Altima, at $20,905.
Since the Jetta plays in the compact class, I won't go down that road for the sake of discussion. Couldn't help but comment though. Backy, I know what you meant by "same ballpark" pricing, but let's face it, the majority of drivers aren't buying the top of the line models, which is exactly where Volkswagen competes.
It seems like VW doesn't know what they want their American lineup to be. Mainstream? No way, they're too expensive for that. Luxury? There's no Vee-Dub in the lineup that can compare favorably to anything that Benz or Bimmer have to offer, unless you use the price differential comparison, in which case we're back at square one. Maybe they're trying to be the Saab/Acura/Volvo of the world; not in the big-leagues, but not catering to the budget buyer. The question is, does anyone see VW as that premium marque?
#12406 of 20229 There are reasons Americans
Apr 26, 2009 (5:39 pm)
generally prefer a soft, quiet ride.
#1. We(I say we even though I have a Mazda6 and like the sportiness but can still appreciate the Camry type ride) Americans grew up on Detroit iron....need I say more.
#2. The few "European" cars we were exposed to early on were mostly British roadsters and German VWs both of which at the time were far less reliable than American made cars and the VWs were hardly thought of as sporty with their 40+ HP and light front ends..
#3. The first Japanese cars were like most other things made in Japan at the time and that was tinny and cheaply made. The first few years of the Honda were almost as bad as the first Hyundais.
#4. Our long, straight wide open roads and highways laid out in mostly grid systems didn't require cars that can turn and stop on a dime.
#5. We don't have good public transport here. Not saying it's a good thing just the way it is. So driving is a necessity, not a pleasure trip in most cases.
#6. The Madison Avenue agencies drilled into us a sense of bigger and quieter was better. However, this could beg the statement of "which came first, the chicken or the egg"
There are most undoubtedly more reasons but I think it is unfair to expect anything other than the current American expectations due to history. If you've driven much in Europe (Italy and Greece come to mind especially) you can really understand why a small, very maneuverable car is prized due to the small narrow roads/streets, sharp turns and just the way they drive.
Compared to the average European we rack up a tremendous number of miles and most of us like something we can be comfortable in for a long drive.
I see nothing wrong with people wanting a Camry ride if that is their preference and I won't insinuate that they are automatically poor drivers any more than I would that Beemer owners are necessarily good drivers.
#12407 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [thegraduate]
Apr 26, 2009 (5:39 pm)
Well, this isn't a discussion about luxury cars, is it now. It is clear to me anyway VW is not trying to be a volume sales leader in the U.S. If they were, you'd see a bare-bones Passat to compete with the likes of the Camry LE and Accord LX. Maybe with the 170 hp I5 in it. I have read many cases where buyers cross-shop the Jetta with other brands' mid-sizers, but room-wise the Jetta is clearly at a disadvantage to almost all of the current "mid-sized" sedans.
But when you compare what you get with a $28k Passat, performance-wise and content-wise, it is pretty close to if not superior in some ways to the likes of the Accord and Camry V6s. Please don't try to compare the Passat to those $20k Accords and Camrys. There is no comparison. And the Passat has that German "cachet." Some folks will pay more for that (see BMW and Mercedes). Personally, I won't pay more for a car just because it's a German marque, but I can see why people love the way the Passat and other VWs feel and drive vs. the same-old/same-old offerings from Japan and the U.S. Ja, ja, ve have der different shtrokes for different volks, er, folks.
#12408 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [thegraduate]
Apr 26, 2009 (5:42 pm)
VW is planning to create a new and lower priced US midsize to be assembled in Chattanooga. Of course, since it is to be a US only model maybe it will be Camry-esque.
#12409 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [backy]
Apr 26, 2009 (5:42 pm)
don't try to compare the Passat to those $20k Accords and Camrys. There is no comparison.
That's just it though, I'm thinking a lot of people will look at the price difference (the Passat costs roughly 40-50% more) and write off VW right there. You're right, there is no comparison... yet we compare in this discussion.
#12410 of 20229 Re: So what is the reason... [thegraduate]
Apr 26, 2009 (6:39 pm)
Yes, and we also compare Accords and Camrys that cost $20-25k with Sonatas and Optimas and Fusions etc. that cost $5k or so less, comparably-equipped. So what's the big deal with a similar price differential between a pedestrian Camcord or a turbo Passat?
And it's NOT 40-50% more, for a comparably-equipped car. Price out an Accord EX AT compared to the Passat. Not nearly 40-50% price difference.