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
Oct 04, 2013 (6:19 pm)
If we're *only* talking styling, my $0.02:
1. FUSION: absolutely stunning from any front angle (and side profile with certain wheel combinations); portly and slightly awkward looking from the back
2. MAZDA 6: attractive from every stance; nicest rear-end of the group
3. ACCORD: looks like a much more expensive car from any angle but the front
4. (tie) ALTIMA: the best result Nissan has achieved with the "melted look" so far
4. (tie) MALIBU: I don't understand why people think it's such a wallflower; I think Chevy did a decent job w/this and GM always seems to have a pretty strong color palette
4. (tie) PASSAT: bland but not unattractive; should only be sold in tuxedo black
7. OPTIMA: looks best from the back; the side profile styling is ruined by the hatchbackian C-pillar kick-up
8. CAMRY: tries too hard to look futuristic; succeeds easily in looking putrid (SE trim is better than the others, but not by much)
9. SONATA: while I actually like the side profile, spin it just a sliver more on the platform and that Joan Rivers-in-a-Nuclear-Powered-Wind-Tunnel front-end brings new meaning to the word grotesque (particularly from the three-quarter view) - double that for the hybrid version
1. MAZDA 6: the beige/black color combination is gorgeous; has the most upscale cloth upholstery design (w/subtle pinstripe) I've seen from any automaker in several years
2. PASSAT: also looks very sharp in beige; simple but elegant dash layout
3. MALIBU: it's hard to believe it's from the same co. that was stamping out Lumina interiors from blown plastic just 10 years ago
4. FUSION: certainly not unattractive; Ford should fit the appearance package models with an anthracite headliner and ditch the satin trim
5. ACCORD: again, appealing in the beige/black combo but stacked dash is so '80s Pontiac 6000 (though I do like the large Volvo speedometer); looks very bland in monochrome dark gray color option
6. SONATA: windblown styling seems to work better on the inside than the outside but the excessively swoopy dash reminds me of a circa-2000 Mustang
7. OPTIMA: Bauhaus inspired instrument panel is uninspired; wall-like
8. ALTIMA: just tolerable at night (with the interior lights completely off)
9. CAMRY: a complete mess; the dashboard looks like the spawn of a love tryst between a Gobot and a Transformer
#19516 of 20239 Re: Altima [gogophers1]
Oct 04, 2013 (6:39 pm)
"9. CAMRY: a complete mess; the dashboard looks like the spawn of a love tryst between a Gobot and a Transformer"
"...Joan Rivers-in-a-Nuclear-Powered-Wind-Tunnel front-end...."
#19517 of 20239 Re: Altima [explorerx4]
Oct 05, 2013 (2:43 am)
When the Fusion first came out the very first thing I said was it was too long, and someone jumped all over me for it.
I think a new taillight scheme would greatly improve it's overall look. Lincoln did great on the MK-Z, and managed to mask the long wheelbase too. It's funny how the MK-Z is marketed as a "Compact Luxury Vehicle", but the Fusion is mid-size.
Also, you nailed the Sonata problem. The front end just looks like someone pinched it between their fingers in the middle. I can't argue about the zillion of them I see on the road though. It is probably the most prolific mid-size sedan on DC roads; period.
#19518 of 20239 Re: Altima [gogophers1]
Oct 05, 2013 (3:08 am)
I disagree on the interior ratings. Have you seen an Optima interior in black and tan? It is done better than the Mazda by far, (in EX and up trim). It was designed by Audi's chief designer, Peter Shreyer, who is now president of Kia. However, I do agree that at some angles, the Optima's stubby trunk looks a bit "off". Kia had to start with a Sonata platform though, and I think they created a far better looking product from what they had to work with. Especially the SX Optima with the "pizza wheels" and the LED taillights.
You said the Passat had a "simple but elegant" style...but the Kia was "uninspired"?
I have sat in all three, and driven two. The Mazda and the Optima of course, and the Optima interior had the best design in my humble opinion.
I am not on a personal attack BTW....and maybe I am fighting for my baby a little, but I really think the Mazda dash had too much black plastic, and the LED readouts for temp and whatnot were tiny and harder to read. The Passat's dash is very high quality, but very minimalistic as well.
#19519 of 20239 Re: Altima [cski]
Oct 05, 2013 (4:57 am)
I think the Optima looks great in the back. It looks great from all angles. The problem I have with the Optima is that they put in huge rear roof pillars. The giant blind spots created are a problem that they didn't have to create, but they did. I'm glad Honda hasn't gone that route. Form should follow function, and seeing out of your car is an important function imho. I hope for the next generation of Optima Peter Shreyer thinks about that and goes toward an Audi level of visibility.
The Passat is a clean design, but I'd put it a notch below the really good looking midsize cars.
What's interesting is that in terms of style, function, safety, performance, mpg, and the rest, this segment is so competitive that the best of the midsize cars are not just good, but near great, and an amazing value for the money compared to most other cars . Just a few thousand dollars separates these cars from their smaller siblings like the Civic, Corolla, Elantra, etc, but the midsize cars are significantly ahead in terms of room, acceleration, safety, style, etc., and only sacrifice a comparatively small amount when it comes to mpg.
#19520 of 20239 Re: Altima [m6user]
Oct 05, 2013 (6:22 am)
On exterior styling only I would tweak your order just a little:
I doubt I would ever buy a Mazda anything as they do not inspire me with their quality. The Passat is a bit bland but pulls off the look better than the Jetta. Sonata is tired and has not aged well. Legend is a typical Subaru styling job, rather dumpy.
Oct 05, 2013 (6:23 am)
Question on the Passat: I see some that have chrome grill accents only on the horizontal bars, while I see others that also have chrome accents on the vertical bars too. These look better to me. I have not found why some have them and some don't. Anyone know?
Oct 05, 2013 (7:00 am)
I certainly don't want to offend anyone here; this is just how I see things (and it's only my visual critique, if we threw other aspects of design - e.g., handling, quality, etc. - into the mix, the Malibu would plummet to the bottom IMO). I should probably mention, I don't own any of the cars listed and have no loyalty to any one brand (my primary vehicle now is a Ford, before that it was a Chevy, before that a Hyundai and so on).
Although none of these cars are perfect in terms of design (again, IMO), I can't recall a time the mid-size class had so many stylish entries. And yet they're each going their own styling direction - for the most part (which, as a car aficionado, I love). The "problem" with that philosophy (for the manufacturers, of course) is that when you bolt on a 22-inch tall teardrop shaped headlamp assembly, such as Hyundai did with the new Sonata, some people (like myself) will go running as fast as possible in the opposite direction. Other people, like my neighbor, are going to fall in love and sign on the dotted line.
I believe the front end of the Fusion is stunning. But that's me. I bought a new Chevy HHR in Sunburst Orange Metallic back in 2008 because I absolutely loved the style of the vehicle from the front and sides and, yes, orange is my favorite color (shame on you, Dodge, for eliminating Toxic Orange from the Charger's color palette). The chrome grill, chrome wheels, all that bright orange metal... my God, I thought that car was beautiful. And as polarizing as boxy, retro-inspired orange vehicles have the potential to be, it still constantly surprised me to discover how many of my friends disagreed with my taste. Long story short, beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
Interestingly enough, with each subsequent visit to the Chevrolet service dept. to repair problems with the steering system and sunroof, I loved Hhr a little less until she left my garage forever in 2010 (and an almost equally problematic Ford product drove in to take Hhr place).
I don't fault anyone for buying a Sonata or Optima based on style as Hyundai was clearly trying to inpart a distinct styling theme into each of those designs. I do, however, call into question someone's veracity when they say the Camry is a *visually* appealing car. Because it's all too apparent that aesthetic design was way down at the bottom of the list when Toyota penned it. Do I think the Camry is a bad car? No, but it's the proverbial ugly wife of the the midsize class. And, shallow me, I wouldn't want to be seen walking up to the thing in a public parking lot for that very reason.
Oct 05, 2013 (7:51 am)
I've seen both the Mazda and Kia interiors in the black/tan combination and I much prefer the Mazda's.
It's a mix of several factors:
I really dislike the wall-like dash of the Optima; it almost seems like the instrument binnacle is launching itself toward the passenger compartment. While the Mazda's dash is nothing spectacular per se, it's certainly not offputting either. Mazda also uses a simple grayish white lighting scheme which I prefer to Kia's generally red lighting.
The aspect of the Mazda that really does it for me though is the cloth trim in the "Sand" color. I'll tell you right up front, I'm not a leather guy (I live in a state with 5 months of winter), so mine is a cloth vs. cloth opinion.
From what I've seen lately, and this seems to be reaching a crescendo, manufacturers are putting the ugliest materials and patterns they can find into their cloth equipped models (presumably so that buyers are forced into checking the box for cowhides). Mazda has just broken that pattern - no pun intended - with the 6. Their pinstripe cloth design reminds me of the textiles Audi used in their line-up in the '80s and early '90s (before Europe went all leather and leather substitute on their US spec. models). IMO, it actually looks nicer than the cowhide versions of the same model.
#19524 of 20239 Re: Altima [gogophers1]
Oct 05, 2013 (7:40 am)
Why don't the mfrs just offer a nice vinyl interior ? The new stuff is so close to leather in look and feel -- why not follow MB --- I know I wouldn't mind a nice synthetic seat surface.