Last post on Dec 12, 2013 at 7:56 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 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 20241 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.
#19526 of 20241 Re: Altima [jayrider]
Oct 05, 2013 (10:22 am)
Jay, I can't tell if you're being serious or not with that comment.
Oct 05, 2013 (10:40 am)
Completely agree with your comments on the Mazda6's interior, gogophers1. The sand cloth interior just looks classy and well-made. As someone who's potentially shopping for $23-$25K sedans, I greatly appreciate that Mazda is one of the few manufacturers who are putting a lot of thought into the look and feel of their base models' interiors.
My current car is a 2007 Accord EX with cloth which I love since it's soft and looks plush, and after seeing the cheap, rough-looking fabric and finishes that many competitors use in this class on their base models, it's a bit disheartening. Thankfully Mazda is bucking that trend.
#19528 of 20241 Re: Altima [backy]
Oct 05, 2013 (11:24 am)
Oops, copy/paste error. #7 should be Fusion. Not a fan of that design. I think that was probably the most over-hyped car when it was introduced at the auto shows last year. I cannot see what they were so wowed about.
Styling is obviously subjective. I find the Camry styling not bad. I would not mind being seen in one.
I find the Legacy very unattractive and don't see the similarity you mention. The front overhang looks way too long and the trunk way too short. Proportions are awkward.
#19529 of 20241 Re: Altima [benjaminh]
Oct 05, 2013 (1:26 pm)
We all totally agree on Camry. Put together by committee, and loved by only frightened consumers because it is a "safe buy".
The mat draped across the dash is awful, and on the outside it is just a thin plastic mess. The fake chrome around the fog lights and the steel wheels with hubcaps just don't cut it anymore in this segment...but then again I see a zillion Sonata GLS running around. There are tons of people that aren't "car people", so I understand the rational. New and shiny is good, and for many it's good enough.
Another thing is that on the Camry (and the Corolla) the bodywork on the front wheel well is way wider than the tires, (for aerodynamic reasons I am sure), but it doesn't look right.
The SE is acceptable. It has a nicer looking front end and good looking rims. It's just bland.
#19530 of 20241 Re: Altima [ab348]
Oct 05, 2013 (1:30 pm)
In a Camry, no one sees you. It's as good as witness protection.
#19531 of 20241 Re: Altima [gogophers1]
Oct 05, 2013 (1:40 pm)
You are right about the Mazda quality. Also, the Optima cloth seats in base LX is nothing special. It is what you get for your money in the EX that wowed me.
In particular I can't stand silver painted plastic. (satin faux-aluminum) The Optima has NONE. It has an actual piece of aluminum around the gear shift. The Mazda doesn't have any either. The Sonata does. Lots of it. That is why I slammed the Sonata interior in another post. Still a good car though.
In the Camry, it's fake aluminum plastic is also squishy, and you can damage it with your fingernail. Awful.
It is a turn off for me in any product. Reminds me of a low buck Soundesign boom box.