I'm not quite in the market yet, but since cars have changed so much, it's fun to look around. I had read most of the reviews in the sedan and CUV segments, which typically are my only targets. Photos are great, new stuff for some models, all new for others.I have a 2011 Camry LE 4 cyl with 48k on it. Works well, costs little to maintain, handles ok and rides ok. It's a commuter car that does it's mission well. Great deal 0%, it's mine.I've watched as this class has changed dramatically. The entry of the Hyundai Sonata, the all-new Fusion and others. So, I had a Fusion rentals for a few days. White, love the new styling, absolutely love the front end. Away we go. I was surprised this car has the little turbo motor in it, I had to open the hood to look. First impressions. Spotless and shiny new, 1,900 miles on it, it was racy looking for a sedan. Opened the trunk, and surprise. I banged the golf bag on the right side of the trunk opening. One would have assumed this trunk would be wider than it actually is. But fairly deep, we eventually got everything in with room left to spare. Seats pretty comfortable, dash and console very nice. We're off. Extremely quiet car, good low end, very pleasant to drive both around town and on the highway. The steering and handling were the best things about this car, other than the classy looks. I would never have believed I was driving a Ford. Very nice. Handled bumps well, pavement strips, no problem, quite a bit more sophisticated than my '11 Camry SE which can seem harsh at times.The only thing weird was a little gear hunting. This would be a much bigger problem in the hilly and mountainous areas I live in. In particular, I hate gear hunting, and found it annoying. I don't even want to talk about the MyTouch system.We averaged 24 mpg overall after 500 or so miles. Not bad for a V6, but certainly not stellar on the flat country with this engine. I didn't really push the car, as it never begged me to do so. Perhaps when broken in it could do a couple better, but I get better than that now.There are now tons of choices in this segment. Many of which I hadn't been in in some time. This weekend, I test drove a new Honda Accord. It's been several years now, and I've never owned one. Although only a 20 mile test, hardly a fair head-to-head, I've forgotten all about the new Fusion. While the Fusion had that sexy new look, and was indeed better overall from a driving and handling perspective, I liked everything else better in the Accord. (and my own car for that matter) It felt more luxurious, had more usable room in the back seat, much, much better trunk and opening. Very polished car, and a smoother engine/tranny package. I was told about the CVT, I had no idea. LOL, it's been awhile.The reality of cars is often different than perception, especially when that perception is molded by ads, car reviews, and second-hand preferences. Hands-on is the only way. My next vehicle can span many different niches. I've read about everything from the Mazda CX5 all the way through small and midsize sedans. So pretty unsure at this stage. But at this point, I'd like to keep the final price a bit lower if I could. I don't know what the MSRP was of the Fusion I rented, but the Accord I drove was over $27k, not a loaded car. But it felt worth it. Last I looked at the Fusions of the Ford lot, most were that or higher. I also look at fuel economy. As I've found before, you can't look at the sticker EPA. The Fusion is fairly attractive on paper, but both in real life, and car reviews, those are numbers rarely seen. As a reference point, my Camry is relatively dead even with the sticker EPA numbers, but I've never gone below 23, which was around town winter with lots of warm up. Every Toyota I've owned has been like this, with the one exception being a Rav4, which never achieved the ratings.The Toyota haters will not like this, but here it is. Having the option of those two cars mentioned, I'd probably go with the Accord. A lot depends on the dealer and incentives, and Honda is typically not as good there (in my area). But there is another. I can get a car that's roomier, sexy, and fast, and not give up much if anything on the fuel economy side. Quiet, fast, luxurious. Yes, down the street now is a brand new Toyota Avalon for $30 k. It's so close to the prices for the 4bangers listed above, it's very plausible.
We are living in a golden age for automobiles right now.Quality across the board has never been higher. You can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of cars, trucks or SUVs that will give you any serious problems in the first 100K to 150K miles.There are simply no bad choices in the B, C, or D segments. They really are all that good. It comes down to preference and what you want - which is a damn awesome place to be. In the CUV/SUV department for compact and midsize it is the same. There just isn't a bad choice out there. In the fullsize segment there is really only the Nissan Armada with questionable reliability, everything else again really shouldn't give you any trouble for the first 100K to 150K miles.We're in an era where 300 HP is common, mid-20's combined MPG is just a given, and strong reliability is pretty much just expected.Sure the Corolla is pretty boring and primitive in its class, but it isn't a "bad" car - there would be nothing wrong in buying one, or a Ford Focus, or a Chevy Cruze, or a Mazda3, or a Honda Civic, or a...Awesome, ain't it!
I am looking for a 7 passenger vehicle so I did some research on the Mercedes Benz GL class. I don't want new, so I am looking around 4 to 5 years old (my Lexus RX is 6 years old at 112K miles, no real issues with it). I am suprised that MB still can't build a reliable vehicle and I find the same with BMW. http://www.edmunds.com/mercedes-benz/gl-class/2008/consumer-...
Here's the BMW X5 reviews:http://www.edmunds.com/bmw/x5/2008/consumer-reviews.html?sub...
We are living in a golden age for automobiles right now.Quality across the board has never been higher. You can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of cars, trucks or SUVs that will give you any serious problems in the first 100K to 150K miles.There are simply no bad choices in the B, C, or D segments. They really are all that good. It comes down to preference and what you want - which is a damn awesome place to be. In the CUV/SUV department for compact and midsize it is the same. There just isn't a bad choice out there. In the fullsize segment there is really only the Nissan Armada with questionable reliability, everything else again really shouldn't give you any trouble for the first 100K to 150K miles.________________I think you went overboard, but yes, it's been a pleasant turnaround. I know many people that own Audis, some VW's. I'm very happy not to own one myself. Their models must have fallen outside of your reliability windows.But as far as stats go, people seem to think they're important. Given that, it would be nice if they were remotely kosher.
Although the appliance-like reliability of the current automotive fleet is a genuine cause for celebration, it has one unfortunate side effect. Because working on cars is no longer common, very few gearheads are being created.I have no desire to own another one, but I have come to appreciate the time that I owned a pair of Triumphs GT6es. It took two to make one of them run. I spent about the same amount of time working on them and driving them. They made driving a real adventure, and I grew to enjoy the absurdity of it. Every time that I actually got to where I was going, I felt like jumping out of the car, raising my arms, and yelling "Yes! I made it!"These days, cars can be used as transportation appliances. How many motoring enthusiasts will be left when the age of the self-driving car dawns? That day is just around the corner.Neil
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