Last post on May 18, 2013 at 7:40 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
#14043 of 18168 Re: Midsize car for highway driving [andyfromva]
Feb 28, 2010 (9:45 am)
I'm trying to decide how many cars to test drive and I want to limit the number as much as possible, maybe to the top 4 or 5. From what I've read the order would be:
3. 2010 Sonata
4. 2011 Sonata
First off, ignore Consumer Reports. Those choices are bad for the soul and make you prematurely age. When "Vanilla", "Jellybean" and "Rental" are the top three words used to describe cars like this, you need to look elsewhere.
So what qualifies as different and still reasonably reliable as a 2-5 year old used choice? Let some other fool eat the initial $10-15K in depreciation. Get a certified car if that makes you happy. Though it won't make a difference at all in the long term.
My picks would include:
- LaCrosse CXS(other trims/models to be avoided) - good reliability and steep depreciation. Get the one with the 3.6VVT engine out of the CTS)
- If you want something large, get a last generation CTS. BIg, solid, and yet doesn't handle like a sofa.
- Honda Civic Si if you are happy with a manual transmission. Otherwise, a previous generation TSX(nearly the same car underneath) would be affordable($20K or less) and a good non-jellybean choice. More power, better styling, and not a "jellybean".
- Mitsubishi makes a few nice cars as well as Subaru. The goal here should be to get the car you want and that also happens to be good for highway cruising. Nissan also makes a few like the Sentra SE-R Spec V. The idea here is to get a smaller car with the upgraded suspension and kit that gives it the performance of the better cars.
- Lexus IS300(last year of the previous design). This is before the current problems. It's small, agile, and fantastic. The only car Lexus ever made that competed with a 3 series in feel and driving enjoyment. The IS250 was heavier and had less power - the magic was gone. And the IS350 drives more like a muscle car than a poised highway machine.
- Pontiac G8. This car impressed the hell out of me. It's actually a re-badged Holden from Australia and has a European type feel and attention to detail. We complain about not getting Euro-Spec normal (non luxury) cars in the U.S. Well, this while Australian, gives you a similar look into what the average consumer buys and can afford over there. Reliable, inexpensive to fix, and thanks to GM's idiocy, depreciating like a rock. Get a 1-2 year old model for under $20K and laugh at the idiots who had to have a Camry(the G8 is a MUCH better car to drive). There even is a v8 version, but that's a bit overkill. Still, if there was ever a true "poor man's 5 series", the G8 with the V8 was certainly it. (note - between the previous generation CTS and the G8, it was a coin toss for me - both were that good)
- The Europeans aren't out of the running, though. If manual is fine with you, there are several good choices. The Volvo S50 with manual is a fine example, as is the Mercedes C class(note - absolutely nothing at ALL on it. The gem of the C class line was the previous generation C230K sedan. With manual, it gave you roughly 190HP in a euro-tuned sedan and highway MPG of 35 easily. Mercedes and BMW's problems with repairs are all the electronics and accessories as well as the automatic transmissions. This also holds true more or less for VW. My best friend bought a VW with manual and it's been without any issues at all. If you want to go "Green", the Jetta TDI is a fantastic choice as well.
*note - also stay away from turbo VW engines - the normal ones are fine reliability-wise*
The trick of course is finding one used that doesn't have any options at all on it. Almost everything shipped from Europe to the U.S. is loaded up 15 different ways with clutter and crap to break. One way to usually get this in a Mercedes or VW is to look for cloth seats. If it really bothers you, you can get these covered in leather. The factory "leather" in them (and BMW and several others) is actually "pleather" - or leather textured vinyl. It falls apart in 5-8 years. Ford and several others also use this in their cars without telling you. Real leather, otoh - any good auto upholstery shop can get you out the door with stuff that will last 30+ years.(loads cheaper than buying the "leather" option on a new car as well)
#14044 of 18168 Re: Midsize car for highway driving [smarty666]
Feb 28, 2010 (9:55 am)
For highway cruising I think I'd like a Camry, but with Fusion seats.
#14045 of 18168 If You Had To Buy A Mid-Size Tomorrow, What Would You Buy???
Feb 28, 2010 (10:03 am)
all these comparisons got me thinking, if you had to go out and buy a mid-size sedan tomorrow, what would you buy? I understand this is highly subjective but lets keep it the most updated models out there right now so that would be 2010 Fusion, Altima, Accord, Mazda-6, Passat, Legacy and Malibu plus the 2011 Camry and Sonata!
Since my priority is sporty/aggressive exterior body style coupled with a comfortable ride/good handling balance, if I was buying tomorrow I would purchase in this order:
1) 2010 Altima (best ride/handling balance)
2) 2010 Fusion (best ride/handling balance)
3) 2010 Legacy (ride not as comfortable as ones above it, but better handling)
4) 2010 Mazda-6 (ride not as comfortable as ones above it, but better handling)
5) 2011 Sonata
6) 2010 Passat
7) 2011 Camry
8) 2010 Accord
9) 2010 Malibu
the only one of these vehicles I haven't test driven is the new Sonata, while all the rest I have so its hard to place the Sonata since I haven't test driven it myself and so I am only going by what reviews thus far have said about it, but once I test drive it that might change and move further up in my list!
so what would you all purchase tomorrow and I understand this would change based on what your priority is in a mid-size car???
#14046 of 18168 Re: If You Had To Buy A Mid-Size Tomorrow, What Would You Buy??? [smarty666]
Feb 28, 2010 (10:57 am)
Right now if I had to pick in this segment, and bear in mind I've only driven a 2010 Honda Accord so far:
1. 2011 Hyundai Sonata. Looks great on paper and I like the styling inside and out, price, reviews, features etc.
2. 2010 Nissan Altima. Another one with great reviews and a proven track record.
3. 2010 Ford Fusion. I like what I see in this car other than what I actually see. The exterior styling is just so blah in the pictures of it online. I am still hoping that when I see it in person I will be pleasantly surprised. The ones I see on the road I cant tell if it's the latest version or not.
After that it's all muddled together. I like the Accord but my parents have one, my sister in law has one, brother has one, neighbor has one, 10 guys at work have them... we already have a CRV... you get the picture. Great car, nothing bad to say about it really. I like the Honda interiors, styling isnt bad (although I like previous iterations better) and still may end up with one but for right now it drops down.
Malibu is growing on me but another one that seems blah. Camry is too sedate, dont like the Toyota interiors at all. Mazda6, I dont know what to say about it other than it does not grab me.
If NONE of these fit the bill, I'll have to wait a bit and save up to move into the entry level lux department or wait for new models I suppose.
#14047 of 18168 Re: If You Had To Buy A Mid-Size Tomorrow, What Would You Buy??? [dash5]
Feb 28, 2010 (11:13 am)
For me it would be ;
Fusion and Sonatas are better value used. Malibu just not on the radar,neither the Altima.
I know a lot of folks like Altima but to me it is the most over rated sedan out there..Just MHO though.Cheap plastic interiors,with squeaks and rattles at only about 25k miles and those brakes are horrible.. Much worse than Accord..They go through brakes and Rotors pretty fast at less than 20k miles frequently along with CEL`s
Brakes,Squeaks and horrible rattles and CEL`s with mostly sensors involved have long been a problem for Altima and infact all other Nissans like Sentra,Armada, Quest , Titan and it`s interior is inferior to other sedans out there. So what gives? Why do you folks like it??I need a different perspective.
#14048 of 18168 Re: Midsize car for highway driving [deltheking]
Feb 28, 2010 (11:14 am)
not much spread on reliability between the list of 6. The 5 yr cost to own on these 4 door 4 cyl sedans stickering for low to mid 20's is about $32,500. The Malibu falls in the middle of the pack with $742.00 in repair costs and most of that in the 5th year. The best on the list is a couplle hundred better over five years and $32,500.00. You are Splitting hairs when comparing reliability. Compare that to say 60,000 miles of higher road noise in the Accord. I'd pay the extra couple hundred over 5 years for the quieter ride because of $20 of insulation wasn't put on the chopping block by the bean counters and the dietician..
#14049 of 18168 Re: If You Had To Buy A Mid-Size Tomorrow, What Would You Buy??? [smarty666]
Feb 28, 2010 (12:08 pm)
...if you had to go out and buy a mid-size sedan tomorrow, what would you buy?
I actually faced this question last week, when my wife's 2007 Sonata GLS was clobbered and was a borderline total. While I was waiting for the insurance company to rule on it (and they did decide to repair it), I did some quick shopping. Now, you probably meant NEW mid-sized car... but since you didn't specify new, I will provide this opinion on what I would buy today if I had to buy something to replace a 2007 Sonata GLS, which I estimate would have an insurance company payout of around $11k.
* Safety - at minimum, decent crash test scores, 6 airbags, and ABS. ESC is a plus.
* Composed ride (bad roads in my area) with decent handling--the better the ride/handling balance, the better, i.e. can't have razor-sharp handling at the expense of a jarring ride, or silky ride with mushy handling.
* Roomy interior, at least enough for 4 average-sized adults
* Good fuel economy - i.e. an I4, and more cogs on the tranny the better
* Low miles - I'd like under 40k miles
* Excellent condition - looks like new inside and out, no work needed, good tread on tires
* Clean Carfax report
* Warranty - longer the better, preferably factory bumper-to-bumper warranty
* No money out of pocket, meaning my budget is around $10k + T&L
Here's what I found is available in that space, which would meet my criteria:
2007 Fusion or Milan: I found some nice samples at around $10k, 30-40k miles, with power seat.
2007-9 Sonata GLS: I found some good samples between $10-12k, with the 2007s near $10k and the 2009s closer to $12k. If I could work the price down on the 2009s I'd prefer it since it's much improved over the 2006-8 models and has more warranty left.
2008 Mazda6i Sport - Really nice car, 17" alloys, under $10k but 50k miles. Doesn't fit my criteria as well as the others, but I always liked this model and the price was right.
2009 Optima LX - I found a couple of near-new Optimas, less than 9k miles, but they were $12k asking price. If I could work the price down I'd consider them.
I would not mind a used Accord, Altima, or Camry but they were outside my price range except with lots of miles. I don't like the previous-gen Malibu and Legacy that much. I found a low-miles Aura for just over $10k, but I'd rather not have a car without a dealership network to support it, and I don't like it better than Fulans or Sonatas.
So I was ready to jump on the Fulans (both at same dealer) first, and move on to the Sonatas if those didn't work out. But now I'll be getting my Sonata back in a couple of days.
#14050 of 18168 Re: If You Had To Buy A Mid-Size Tomorrow, What Would You Buy??? [smarty666]
Feb 28, 2010 (12:01 pm)
Wow that is a hard one. I wouldn't buy a slushbox so that limits things alot.
1. Legacy GT w/6 speed manual
2. Legacy base w/6 speed manual
3. Fusion SE w/6 speed manual, moons/toons/sync/appearance pkgs
4. Hyundai Sonata BASE model with enough $$ left over to get a used E36/E46 BMW or 90-01 Miata.
I don't see myself getting a NEW car anytime soon, and it probably wouldn't be a midsize one if i did. That said, as a reasonably educated 30-something male, married with a kid (and thinking about another) living the American dream in suburbia, those are my picks. How's that for a demographic
#14051 of 18168 Re: If You Had To Buy A Mid-Size Tomorrow, What Would You Buy??? [deltheking]
Feb 28, 2010 (12:21 pm)
well first off, I disagree completely with you about the altima, as you probably would have known from my ranks
the reason being is this, Nissan is not a overrated company, if anything in the last 10 year Nissan and Hyundai have made the most amount of progress in regards to increasing sales, gaining market share despite never being #1 specifically in any one single category, improving reliability and quality drastically across the board!
I would agree that pre-2007 and especially in the early 2000s, Nissan had very cheap, plastic interior but since 2007 that no longer holds true, at least with their five bread and butter models (Sentra, Altima, Maxima, Rogue, and Murano); since 2007 they have gotten many compliments and positive reviews on how nice their interiors have become, compared to 10 years ago and how they are now competitive with their competition
I wanted to get a Nissan for years but did feel the interior lacked so I waited, since I saw that each new model was getting better and better, hence why I got my current 2010 Max, the interior in that and the Murano are the nicest Nissan's has ever had and some parts of my Max have Infiniti quality to it; now that is not to say there interiors are absolutely 100% perfect, there are 1 or 2 cheaper pieces of plastics that I would like to see gone, but I felt the same way with the Fusion, Camry, Mazda-6 and especially Malibu! they all had a couple of cheap pieces of plastic and some parts that were really nice so the altima is no stranger than the rest of them
if you read edmundsline review of the 2010 altima you'll see how many compliments they gave to the interior material quality and fit and finish; the Altima has come along way from the first and second generation models in interior quality! I have read only a relatively few professional reviews with one or two minor complaints about the Altima's interior, the majority have been positive complement the quality, ergonomics, and fit and finish!
the Altima's interior is not class leading but I would say Nissan is tied for second place with Ford for interior quality, ergonomics, fit/finish etc; Honda still leads the pack with excellent material quality and fit/finish! Nissan definitely has past Toyota in regards to interior quality because I've read more complaints from professional reviewers of the current Camry's build quality, interior quality, fit/finish, then I ever have for the Altima! plus, on two separate test drives of two different Camry models, I was able to detach a piece of the center console and the salesman said,
"oops, guess will have to bond that back on there" - not something you want to see during a test drive
also, rattles are not prone to just the altima, I heard rattles in the Legacy, Mazda, Malibu, and especially Camry when I drove them and if you check these vehicles forum on edmunds you'll see that they all have squeak/rattle categories and complaints, even the Sonata has one! I personally didn't hear any squeaks or rattles in the Altima when I test drove it but there is a forum for that on edmunds so I guess you have to take that with a grain of salt; the only one that seems to be rattle free so far is the Fusion; the Fusion and Altima were the only two cars of the bunch that didn't hear rattles when I test drove them, but that doesn't mean they don't have any, just means I didn't hear them on the road tests I took them on - rattles also have a lot to do with what time of the day and what facility you get your car from I have found in the past!
In regards to the brakes, the 2007 Altima, just like any first model year was prone to brake problems; the 2008 models still had some brake/rotor issues but not as many as 2007 and so far the 2009 models have had relatively few problems so it seems Nissan has corrected most of it, though it took a tiny bit longer than I would have liked. but anyway, the Honda Accord has tremendous amount more brake/rotor problems than the Altima does; just go over to that forum and you can read some of the horror stories people are having with this problem and getting Honda to do anything about it; even people with 2009 and 2010 have posted problems already!!
I think like Hyundai, Nissan isn't given the benefit of the doubt or is overlooked a lot because they are the 3rd Japanese ranked company and they had a long history of cheap interiors, and some so-so reliabilities, WITH CERTAIN MODELS, which has only changed in the past 4-5 years!
Nissan would be ranked much higher than what they are as a brand if they got rid of some of their problem models, such as the Versa, Armada, Titan, and Quest which reduce their overall reliability as a brand; Most of Nissan's bread and butter models, I think for 2010 got above avg reliability, I know my Maxima did, and the altima, sentra, maxima, rogue, and murano have always been on the recommended list!
#14052 of 18168 Re: If You Had To Buy A Mid-Size Tomorrow, What Would You Buy??? [deltheking]
Feb 28, 2010 (12:21 pm)
Have owned several Nissans and a good friend owned an Altima. I currently own an 8 yr. old Infiniti and have had none of the problems you describe. In fact they have all been very good vehicles.