Last post on Dec 10, 2013 at 5:02 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
#15836 of 20239 Re: size standards [brainfertilize]
Oct 26, 2010 (4:39 pm)
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.
#15837 of 20239 Re: RWD in snow [jimbres]
Oct 26, 2010 (4:34 pm)
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.
#15838 of 20239 Re: RWD in snow [xmech]
Oct 26, 2010 (4:58 pm)
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).
#15839 of 20239 Re: size standards [backy]
Oct 26, 2010 (7:24 pm)
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.
Oct 26, 2010 (7:33 pm)
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!)
#15841 of 20239 Re: The 2011 Buick Regal [jeffyscott]
Oct 27, 2010 (12:36 am)
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).
Oct 27, 2010 (4:25 am)
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.
Oct 27, 2010 (5:11 am)
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 iTouring...it 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.
#15844 of 20239 Re: size standards [brainfertilize]
Oct 27, 2010 (5:27 am)
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.
#15845 of 20239 Re: the 6 [brainfertilize]
Oct 27, 2010 (6:38 am)
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?