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    Thread: MT: 2012-2013 Family sedan showdown

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    1. Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 11:53 AM #1
      Ferrari may get all the fan mail and sell countless bedroom wall posters, but in the 66 years since its founding, the Italian automaker has sold just 130,000 cars. Total. Worldwide. Ever. Toyota, in comparison, sells roughly that many Camrys in the U.S. every five months. Honda's Accord and Nissan's Altima are close behind.

      Make no mistake: The humble sedans you see here may have to endure morning gridlock, Labrador fur, and the occasional wayward French fry, but they're the power players of America's auto landscape. Indeed, data sifter Experian Automotive says this mid-range class accounted for a whopping 27.4 percent of the U.S. auto market in the first half of 2012. (Crossovers were a distant second, at just over 19 percent.) While the spotlight-hungry 458 Italia is out there screaming and preening and generally looking as restless as Honey Boo Boo in a library, these four-doors are stoically squaring away the driving chores and eking maximum miles from every precious gallon of gas. Average Joes? Nah. They're heroes.


      Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...#ixzz283x71Ttf
      1st - Passat SE 2.5 - (MT loves interior and most fun to drive despite worst engine and slowest)
      2nd - Honda Accord EX-L 2.4 - (tied for best power, hates interior, not fun to drive)
      3rd- Ford Fusion SE 1.6 ecoboost (MT loves the turbo, loves the exterior, hates interior & mediocre MPGs)
      4th- Nissan Altima SV 2.5 (best MPGs tied for best power, MT still doesn't like the CVT)
      5th- Toyota Camry XLE 2.5 (MT hated the interior)
      6th - Chevy Malibu 2.5 LTZ (Shame on GM)


      Anyways - My own take is Nissan deserves the crown. After starting this article talking about how bread & butter family sedans are so important and deserve notice MT tosses out all of the important metrics and puts focus on simple German interiors and driving dynamics.

      Passat is the clear fun to drive German car, Altima is the best family car IMHO

      Last edited by 2.0T_Convert; 10-01-2012 at 11:56 AM.

    2. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:04 PM #2
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post

      Passat is the clear fun to drive German car, Altima is the best family car IMHO

      Based on that, I'd agree. Looks like it's got the appliance thing down. I lol'd a bit at your "shame on GM."
      Quote Originally Posted by DamienR8 View Post
      in 2038 you will have the ability to think of a car, then your body will actually turn into a car, then you will die in an accident.

    3. Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:14 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by TangoRed View Post
      I lol'd a bit at your "shame on GM."
      When I started the article with Malibu dead last my mind wandered to TCL progression from "OMG this is amazballs and will be class leader!" to "it sucks and has ugly tail lights."


    4. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:16 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      When I started the article with Malibu dead last my mind wandered to TCL progression from "OMG this is amazballs and will be class leader!" to "it sucks and has ugly tail lights."

      I'll eat my words here. I tried my hardest to like it and defend it when it came out, but the proof was in the cramped, oddly proportioned pudding. It's not a horrible car, but it's not a very good one.

      I stretched that analogy past the breaking point, didn't I?
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      Quote Originally Posted by Marshmallow Man View Post
      The Terror Grill: Part restaurant, part amusement attraction, part gladiator arena, all profit.
      ARE YOU NOT SATIATED?!?!?!

    5. Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:19 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      I'll eat my words here. I tried my hardest to like it and defend it when it came out, but the proof was in the cramped, oddly proportioned pudding.

      I stretched that analogy past the breaking point, didn't I?
      I guess we should have taken your words about the Malibu with a few grains of salt.

      Woot another food reference.

    6. 10-01-2012 12:17 PM #6
      Accord > Altima

    7. Member Yo Teach's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:06 PM #7
      Mileage according to Motor Trend:

      "Only decent" - 24.9
      "Impressive" - 26.3

      Those figures aren't really that far apart. The descriptions used make it seem like the gap is five mpg.
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    8. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:12 PM #8
      I find it appalling just how much GM ****ed up the Malibu and its intro. I usually defend GM and praise it when it does well, but the Malibu is a dud. Introducing the Eco early was dumb, making it this small was dumb, trying to maintain both it and the Impala was dumb...they just completely ****ed it this this time around. It doesn't even look that great - in person, the tails look big and cheap and the front end is too tall.

      I'd love to defend it, and I've tried. But...yeah. The Fusion looks like it costs $10k more. If you were determined to buy a modern domestic family sedan, I'd recommend that or even the Dart - theoretically a size class down but no less spacious.

      As for the rest, the Altima seems like it's probably the best mainstream, bread-and-buttah family sedan in the bunch along with the Accord, the Fusion and Passat was designed for guys who actually know what the Nurburgring is, and the rest are cynical bunts.
      Last edited by Turbio!; 10-01-2012 at 12:15 PM.
      IPRO Meat-Director and High Minister of Terror-Grilling

      Quote Originally Posted by Marshmallow Man View Post
      The Terror Grill: Part restaurant, part amusement attraction, part gladiator arena, all profit.
      ARE YOU NOT SATIATED?!?!?!

    9. Member GTRaavv's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 12:53 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      I find it appalling just how much GM ****ed up the Malibu and its intro. I usually defend GM and praise it when it does well, but the Malibu is a dud. Introducing the Eco early was dumb, making it this small was dumb, trying to maintain both it and the Impala was dumb...they just completely ****ed it this this time around. It doesn't even look that great - in person, the tails look big and cheap and the front end is too tall.
      Wait wut? Keeping the Impala was dumb?!?! The Malibu/Impala combo sells more than any other midsize/fullsize combo several months out of the year. Even subtracting fleet sales and the Impala sells better than most "fullsize" sedans.

    10. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      10-02-2012 01:05 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by GTRaavv View Post
      Wait wut? Keeping the Impala was dumb?!?! The Malibu/Impala combo sells more than any other midsize/fullsize combo several months out of the year. Even subtracting fleet sales and the Impala sells better than most "fullsize" sedans.
      One vehicle, straddling the difference between the Malibu and Impala's sizes (say, like the Passat), would do a better job of hitting the circa-2012 midsize sedan sweet spot than both of them do together. I wouldn't have killed the Impala, though. The Impala should have been a RWD halo pimpmobile, and the Malibu should have taken over the FWD basic sedan role that it currently shares.

      I think GM ****ed up by trying to differentiate the Malibu that much from the Impala sizewise, and I think they did that to try to sell it in global markets.
      IPRO Meat-Director and High Minister of Terror-Grilling

      Quote Originally Posted by Marshmallow Man View Post
      The Terror Grill: Part restaurant, part amusement attraction, part gladiator arena, all profit.
      ARE YOU NOT SATIATED?!?!?!

    11. Member vdub10golf's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 01:26 PM #11
      My vote would've been for the Fusion. The Passat is not bad either but it's just too bland.

    12. Member GTRaavv's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:09 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      One vehicle, straddling the difference between the Malibu and Impala's sizes (say, like the Passat), would do a better job of hitting the circa-2012 midsize sedan sweet spot than both of them do together. I wouldn't have killed the Impala, though. The Impala should have been a RWD halo pimpmobile, and the Malibu should have taken over the FWD basic sedan role that it currently shares.
      But plenty of other brands have a FWD fullsize flagship sedan to sit on top of their midsize sedan. Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia - they all follow this same pattern. Only Chrysler has a RWD halo pimpmobile, which doesn't sell in nearly the same ballpark as the Impala. And Chevy is getting a RWD halo pimpmobile as well - 2014 SS.

      I think GM ****ed up by trying to differentiate the Malibu that much from the Impala sizewise, and I think they did that to try to sell it in global markets.
      I agree the Malibu should be on the LWB Epsilon platform rather than SWB without a doubt. But you say "****ed up" like they had a choice. Unfortunately GM had to make the Opel-developed Epsilon platform work for 2 sedans. It wasn't like they had a huge pile of cash on hand to develop a new platform and could do so in the time given. And unfortunately, the Epsilon 2 platform is not only heavy as hell, but the SWB version is too small for American paper comparison tests. They kinda of made the best out of a bad situation, and at least were able to add some length to the Impala to address the LaCrosse trunk size issues.

      However, GM might end up lucking out in this situation and not have to take a wash until a redesign in 2018. While straddling classes has long been a GM weakness, the midsize sedan class is starting to play second fiddle to the compact sedan class in the US and maybe a shakeup could be in store. By all accounts so far the 2014 Impala looks to be a real solid effort. Having a flashier Impala take over retail sales from higher optioned Malibus might work this time around, especially since the Impala will be equipped with a 4 cyclinder. Shift Impala fleet sales to the Malibu, where rear seat size won't be such a "deal breaker" and the 2 sedans could net a very healthy amount of sales.

    13. 10-03-2012 10:25 AM #13
      I love how TCL is always whining about how big and fat American market cars are, crying for more European size offerings, then when gm actually downsize a model everyone whines about it. Then VW makes their cars fat and more American/less European and everyone loves it.
      Last edited by WhistlerYOW; 10-03-2012 at 10:28 AM.

    14. Member TooFitToQuit's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 07:39 PM #14
      Having driven the Accord Sport, I disagree. I loved that car. Too bad it's not available in a wagon.

    15. Member IsraelGT's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:16 PM #15
      I think the Accord deserves the 1st place, and if I wanted something sportier it would have to be the Fusion.
      That said VW did really well with the Passat.

      Regarding the Camry, while it might deserve the 5th place, and Toyota could have tried harder, they either had a lemon or they are full of it. My sister currently drives a rental Camry SE, and it is very comfortable, quiet and well built. Sure I think the interior looks too cheap, I hate the infotaiment screen, and the exterior while OK is nothing more than a refresh of the last Camry, but from what they wrote you would think it drives/rides like a Yugo, and its far from it.

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      10-01-2012 01:56 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by IsraelGT View Post
      I think the Accord deserves the 1st place, and if I wanted something sportier it would have to be the Fusion.
      That said VW did really well with the Passat.

      Regarding the Camry, while it might deserve the 5th place, and Toyota could have tried harder, they either had a lemon or they are full of it. My sister currently drives a rental Camry SE, and it is very comfortable, quiet and well built. Sure I think the interior looks too cheap, I hate the infotaiment screen, and the exterior while OK is nothing more than a refresh of the last Camry, but from what they wrote you would think it drives/rides like a Yugo, and its far from it.
      As always market dollars wins any journalist attention. Why would publishers cover cars that are better in value but not paying them enough advertising fees. It's not cheap to rent offices on Madison Avenue here in NYC.

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      10-01-2012 03:01 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Vision33r View Post
      As always market dollars wins any journalist attention. Why would publishers cover cars that are better in value but not paying them enough advertising fees. It's not cheap to rent offices on Madison Avenue here in NYC.
      Wait, you don't think ALL these companies are advertising heavily in MT or its sister publications?

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      10-01-2012 03:41 PM #18
      as much as I try to like the Altima, I loathe the rear end treatment of the car.



      The crooked tail lights kills an otherwise attractive design. There are other cars that have the "crooked tail lights", like the BMW 3-series... but for some reason, it looks horrible on the Altima
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    19. Member Momus's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:17 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      Passat is the clear fun to drive German car, Altima is the best family car IMHO
      I thought the fun to drive German car was the Fusion.

      "You can tell right away it was engineered by a German team," says Evans. "Reminds me of the Passat, but even more German. The ride is firm; you feel all the bumps; but it pays back in handling. This thing is built like a tank and feels it in turns, but the body is very well controlled." Febbo agrees. "Suspension tuning is really good." In fact, post-driving, all of us agreed the Fusion's steering is the best of the six--better even than our winner's. "Sportiest car in the group," summed-up Martinez.

      Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...#ixzz2844gfoYN

    20. 10-01-2012 12:17 PM #20
      I'd be curious to see where the Sonata and/or Optima would have landed in this comparison.

    21. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:18 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by DEEJAY16 View Post
      I'd be curious to see where the Sonata and/or Optima would have landed in this comparison.
      My feeling is that they're in Altima territory - great basic family sedan, not quite a Fusion or Passat in terms of overall package.
      IPRO Meat-Director and High Minister of Terror-Grilling

      Quote Originally Posted by Marshmallow Man View Post
      The Terror Grill: Part restaurant, part amusement attraction, part gladiator arena, all profit.
      ARE YOU NOT SATIATED?!?!?!

    22. Member IsraelGT's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:20 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by DEEJAY16 View Post
      I'd be curious to see where the Sonata and/or Optima would have landed in this comparison.
      Yes where are the days of 10 car comaprisons? where is the Legacy (only standard AWD car in the class)? where are the Koreans? where is the 6?

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      10-01-2012 12:25 PM #23
      The title says 'top selling' mid-sized cars. What were the Korean twins sales figures for 2011?

      Hmm.. Not really in the market for a new car, but I would love to test drive the new Accord Touring 4cylinder M/T (Canada only ) with the Ford Fusion 1.6T 6M/T in the highest trim

    24. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:26 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by IsraelGT View Post
      Yes where are the days of 10 car comaprisons? where is the Legacy (only standard AWD car in the class)? where are the Koreans? where is the 6?
      Methinks this was only newly debuted cars - those have all been out a few years.
      IPRO Meat-Director and High Minister of Terror-Grilling

      Quote Originally Posted by Marshmallow Man View Post
      The Terror Grill: Part restaurant, part amusement attraction, part gladiator arena, all profit.
      ARE YOU NOT SATIATED?!?!?!

    25. Member rimtrim's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:38 PM #25
      I don't put too much stock in Motor Trend -- remember, these are the guys who said the new Explorer was terrible in every possible way, and it's been at least a moderate sales hit.

      That being said, I think the Malibu is shaping up to be a problem, which is not good for GM, since they canceled or repositioned all their other mainstream family sedans. I happen to like the interior design myself -- it's not all in keeping with current trends, but I find that refreshing. However, the back seat is going to be a problem and the MPGs are going to be a problem. And the exterior styling has cool details, but it looks disjointed, like it was designed for a different platform and then squeezed and stretched onto this one.

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      10-01-2012 01:11 PM #26
      I agree that the Altima should take the crown for best family sedan. A fantastic interior, good powetrain and decent styling. I want to love the Fusion, but it's a porker and I hate those damn capacitive touch buttons.

    27. 10-01-2012 12:43 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by DEEJAY16 View Post
      I'd be curious to see where the Sonata and/or Optima would have landed in this comparison.
      They would have been placed behind Camry anyway.

      http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...y_court/?ti=v2

      http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...di_comparison/

      http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...el_comparison/

    28. Member Robski92's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 12:50 PM #28
      The Fusion would be my pick.

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      10-01-2012 01:10 PM #29
      i think the bottom line is that if you're looking for a no frills yet quality commuter car, there really is no way you can go wrong in this segment. unless you pick the malibu.

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      10-01-2012 01:26 PM #30
      I've always griped about the Passat's dull, unoriginal interior...but honestly, after seeing the cockpits of most of the other contenders, the Passat's cabin was truly a sight for sore eyes. Truly no-nonsense layout and ergonomics, nicely constructed, and attractive materials. Maybe there is something to the Passat's "Americanization" after all. Now all it needs is a better base engine.

      I'm somewhat of the mindset that the Accord should be in first place...the standard equipment for the price, air of elegance and quality, and implied excellent Honda engineering place it back on top of the midsize heap in my opinion, at least for the time being. It truly seems like "best all-around" to me.

      With all that said, like most others in here, I'd probably take the Fusion.
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    31. Member BostonB6's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 01:13 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by NoXenons View Post
      Is it true that the Malibu has less backseat room than the Cruze?
      No, That's not true. The whole Malibu size thing is way overblown IMHO. Here are the #'s for Malibu/Cruze/Accord for comparison:

      Rear Hip Room 54.3/52.4/54.7
      Rear Head Room 37.5/37.9/37.5
      Rear Leg Room 36.8/35.4/38.5
      Rear Shoulder Room 57.1/53.9/56.5

      Here's a pic of Malibu's rear seat

      Last edited by BostonB6; 10-01-2012 at 01:15 PM.

    32. Member eweu's Avatar
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      10-01-2012 01:45 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by BostonB6 View Post
      Here's a pic of Malibu's rear seat

      And here is a pic of the Passat's rear seat



      You could drive a tank right through there. It's enormous. That's a huge selling point right there.

    33. 10-02-2012 08:32 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by eweu View Post
      And here is a pic of the Passat's rear seat



      You could drive a tank right through there. It's enormous. That's a huge selling point right there.
      They must be using a Polish supplier.

    34. 10-02-2012 09:22 PM #34
      How in the world is the Altima short on interior space? I have witnessed my 6'2" father adjust the drivers seat to his position and then sit behind it more than comfortably; there is ample space in the interior of the Altima. The only thing the Altima is short on is memory seating...

    35. Member thunderbird1100's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 01:20 AM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by BostonB6 View Post
      No, That's not true. The whole Malibu size thing is way overblown IMHO. Here are the #'s for Malibu/Cruze/Accord for comparison:

      Rear Hip Room 54.3/52.4/54.7
      Rear Head Room 37.5/37.9/37.5
      Rear Leg Room 36.8/35.4/38.5
      Rear Shoulder Room 57.1/53.9/56.5
      Interestingly enough I recently had a 2012 Malibu LT rental up in Oregon. The backseat was uninhabitable for myself (6'2) and my father (6'4). Outside of the fact it felt like you were sitting on a school bus bench seat with comfort (like sitting on cheap leather covered plywood), it was the headroom that was the major issue. I see from 2012 to 2013 the legroom actually decreased nearly an inch from 37.6" to 36.8" (dumb move, probably a legroom issue now too for taller adults). I also noticed though the headroom increased, but only 3 tenths of an inch. Both me and especially my father had to adjust our heads to the side just to sit upright in the backseat. Not so sure a 3 tenths of an inch increase will totally remedy that. Maybe it's how/where they measure exactly but when I got in the new Accord (same headroom height as new Malibu) nor my father or I had any issue with backseat headroom (or obviously legroom with that big backseat).

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