By on August 14, 2014

tv6

As 1977 drew to a close, my father finally agreed to let my mother have the new car he’d promised her earlier in the year. Mom’s Volvo was only three years old but it was already rusting and erratic in cold mornings. They went to some Oldsmobile dealership in Baltimore to see the new-for-1978 Cutlass Supreme coupes. It was the era of the personal luxury coupe and the Cutlass was the alpha dog in the pack. To Dad’s annoyance, however, Mom didn’t want the square-edged Malaise superstar. No, she wanted the one seventy-seven they had left in stock. Dark blue Supreme, light blue top and interior. Color-matched rally wheels. Most importantly, it had the 403. Absurdly oversquare engine. Whisper quiet but when the light went green it shoved. We went home from the dealer with what Dad considered to be a used car already. He didn’t really care, he was rocking a ’77 LeSabre sedan and Yves Saint Laurent prêt-à-porter, yo.

Once I was strong enough to pull the release and pop the hood, I’d stand on the front bumper and stare into the engine compartment. By the time Mom chopped in the Cutlass on a black Civic “S” the 403 was obscure and obsolete, simultaneously laughable for its gauche thirst and frightening in its deep-chested power. It was the last of its kind, the last to believe you could make it happen with cubic inches alone, the last Rocket V8, three hundred and twenty pound-feet, a dinosaur roaring alone on the showroom floor among the three point eight liter proto-mammals, staring unconcernedly at the bright flash in the sky.

Thirty-seven years later, it’s time for another extinction.

256 at the wheels is three hundred at the crank by the most conservative estimates. The last time mid-size family cars had three hundred crank horsepower was the pre-catalytic converter era. Even the Buick 455 only managed a rated 270 horses once the manufacturers put cats on and switched to SAE net. Toyota was the first “import” brand to put a V6 in a midsizer, and Nissan was the first to cross their fingers and stretch their block all the way to three and a half liters, but Honda is the only player in the game to still offer the combo of the big motor and the clutch pedal. At the end of the quarter-mile, it’s doing 103mph, dead-even with my Porsche 993. Not that Accord V6 drivers should challenge a 993 to a drag race. Having the engine, and the driven wheels, behind you is a nontrivial advantage. Still.

If Honda really loved its Accord customers, it would toss in the 3.7 from the TL Type-S before closing the books on the six-cylinder. I doubt they will — there has to be some reason, however minor, to pick the $44,000 car over the $31,000 one — but it would be nice. Make no mistake, however, those books are being closed. Toyota has confirmed the V-6 for the new Camry, but the “new” Camry is a facelift. The real new Camry, when it arrives, won’t have the room in the engine bay. Honda’s explicit policy that each new generation must be more fuel-efficient than the last is likely to leave even the EarthDreams 3.5 on the cutting-room floor for Generation Ten. (Where are we going? Generation Ten! When are we going? Real soon!) As for Nissan… who knows? Most likely they’ll do exactly what Toyota and Honda do, only a few years later.

Make no mistake, the Japanese have taken notice of the fact that the new Sonata gains a space-utilization and weight advantage from its shorter nose and forward cabin. Wait until you see what Toyota can do with a four-cylinder-only Camry. The thing’s already big enough inside so they’ll probably shrink the outside, just in time for six-dollar gasoline. Same for Honda. The current Accord’s already usefully lighter than the previous one. Cut three inches out of the nose and it might make a bid to be the first mid-sizer under three thousand pounds since the Clinton Administration. Somebody’s going to have to do it.

It would take a willful blindness to reality to argue that the price of gasoline is not going to spike dramatically in the next decade. Even if fracking and new exploration techniques combine to maintain the oil supply at current levels, there are two billion-person economies across the pond from us and they’d all like to have a car, or at least a scooter. Plus, if you haven’t noticed, they have all the money.

The smart money in family cars says we’ll return to the 180-inch length and the 2,900-pound weight in a search for Prius-equaling mileage in traditionally-shaped mid-sizers. There’s no room for anything but four-cylinder engines, augmented by turbochargers, hybrid synergy drives, or a combination of both. At some point, someone will build a decent combination of a forced-induction one-liter triple and a very strong electric drive, and then that will be the default powerplant.

Ten years from now, your children or younger friends will look at the Camry V6 the way I looked at the Cutlass 403: as a willfully atavistic throwback to a vanished past. The 403′s fate was sealed the minute consumers decided they’d accept a 3.8 Buick V6 in a GM mid-sizer and although the 307 was the last engine to ever drop into a G-body on the production line it was merely a curiosity long before it was a memory. By the same token, the arrival of reasonably powerful long-stroke four-cylinders a few years ago was all the man in the street needed to forget about the V6.

I don’t know if the Big Japanese Three will bother with doing turbo fours in the mid-sizers after they abolish the V6. It only takes a few miles in a Fusion or a Malibu or Sonatoptima to realize that the boosted two-liter is a pretty poor substitute for a 3.5 six. In their efforts to make the snail invisible, the manufacturers have made it tiny and the result is a non-thrilling powerplant with enough twist at idle to drop even a Lexus IS350 but an utter and pathetic breathlessness at high revs. You could do better just by increasing the size of the hybrid power pack and that’s what I’d expect to happen. The “high power” option of the future will simply be a bigger hybrid. Honda tried that with the short-lived V6 hybrid Accord but it was a case of engineering running wayyyy ahead of marketing. The next time it will be more successful. Tesla’s out there educating the consumer that electric cars can come in extra-fast variants and by the time the next-gen Camry gets here even your grandmother will understand.

In the meantime, if you want something that will sing to seven grand, if you want something that doesn’t shake and rattle the cabin at idle, if you want something that sounds and acts in a cultured manner beneath your bonnet, you’d better pop for the big six where, and while, you still can. The consumers of the future will still have a V6 option, but it will come attached to an Infiniti or a Lexus. The high-power prole-mobile is marked for death.

As with the musclecars, the last of the real ones will likely be the best. I’m partial to the ninth-gen Accord V6, but if you can live with a torque converter you might want to wait for this:

xse

Forget the Hellcat. That’s the COPO Chevelle of our era. This Camry XSE will be the 1970 Road Runner. Not too expensive, not too rare, and faster than whatever replaces it. You heard it here first. The party’s almost over. There’s something shining in the sky overhead. Everything’s about to change. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a local back road, six cylinders, six speeds, and three hundred horses to run.

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266 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Four on six....”


  • avatar
    Volt 230

    It’s about time that the mid-size cars go back to what they used to be in size, if you need more room, just forget them and get a CUV instead, I never understood why they got so big to begin with.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The old midsize still exists, we just call it a compact now.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      That’s glossing over the reason they used to be that size, which was that the economy sucked even more than it does now, a 36 month new car loan ran 12% even when your credit didn’t suck, and the car you bought with it would likely be in a junkyard by 100K.

      Cutting the trunk, back seat, and elbow room out of an adult sized car to knock 10 or 15% off the price made a little bit of sense then but it’s false economy now.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I was surprised to learn my 8th-gen Civic is actually eight inches shorter than my svelte ’91 Accord was, though it’s slightly wider and taller and weighs about the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Semenak

      Showing my age here but, my 1974 Nova SS was exactly the same length as my 1979 Ford LTD Station Wagon. Guess which was bigger inside though.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    I haven’t even warmed up to the idea of driving a V6 yet, let alone 4 cylinders. Ew

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I downsized from a V6 to a 4. My Outback scoots just fine; a tap on the accelerator plugs me in where I need to go on the Houston 500 roadways. Benefit – handling and maneuverability are SOOO much better than back in the day. How we jacked those behemoths around astounds me.

      I rented an Altima recently – the power available from the 2.5 was more than adequate in dealing with northeast traffic and highways.

      It’s hard to believe (my brother, for example…) – these are the good old days regarding cars and power ratios.

      Give it a try.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Great article.

    But, you did get a little ahead of yourself. A 4 cylinder Camry or Accord doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, “shake and rattle the cabin at idle.”

    This isn’t an ’82 Cavallier.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      True, my buddy’s 4 cyl 2001 Camry with over 150k miles neither shakes or rattles the cabin.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Compared to the six, yeah, it does, yo.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I don’t remember any idle shaking at all from my 2004 TSX. It was much more civilized at idle than my V8 G8, which has the typical LS side-to-side shake.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Yeah, but that’s still the difference between, what, maybe a 5 and a 10 … vs what normal, sane human beings would call “shake and rattle the cabin at idle” at 100, ain’t it?

        No Camcord should do anything *I* would consider shaking or rattling at idle.

        (I’ve HAD a car that did that – but it was a 30+ year old I5 diesel with bad motor mounts.

        Even my ’05 Corolla doesn’t shake and rattle at *idle*, though the crappy cabin assembly rattles on rough pavement when moving.)

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Disagree. I put my car in neutral at stoplights so I don’t have to listen to it.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Okay, so Jack embellished a bit. But seriously, as good as modern four-bangers have become, they’re only going to fool the sort of folks who trade an old Grand Am for a new Accord and then fill the washer reservoir with Prestone 50/50.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      My Honda 4-cyl is dead quiet at idle, can’t even tell it’s running. Of course it’s always in neutral at idle, having a proper transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      My next vehicle is likely to be either a F150 Crew Cab 1.375 liter ecoboost (with alumfiberagesium body panels) or an Acura ICURNX2 0.85 liter with an EVT (eternally variable transmission) and stop-start-stop-again-start-again-electric motor-only-then-ICE-blast-recharge motor feature.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Also, the 403 is an argument in favor of 4 cylinder turbos. At 185hp@3600 RPM, 320ft/lbs torque @2200 RPM a typical turbo will have a a similar torquey low end that the typical American car buyer enjoys.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Exactly. 99 percent of drivers could care less about high revs. If it moves when you hit the gas and gets to 70 with reasonable alacrity, it’s golden.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Agree! Americans prefer slow turning, stump pulling, torque. But our choices in America today are diminished as more and more of these high-spinning, nervous-nelly, squirrel-engines power our rides.

        If I ever were to buy a sedan, a V6 would be my choice in a midsize or larger. But for a truck, a V8 of at least 350 cubic inches or more, is a must-have for me.

  • avatar
    omer333

    Never wanted a Camry before, until JB talked me into it.

    I still think the Maxima is where it’s at.

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      Amen. Nissan’s VQ35 does V6 power right: Gobs of torque down low.

      My little brother’s SOHC V6 Accord sedan has absolutely no grunt compared to my former ’02 Maxima (255 HP/245 lb*ft) pocket rocket, or even my current whale of a sedan, the ’05 Maxima (265 HP/255 lb*ft).

      Nissan punches you in the gut with torque almost 1000 RPM below Honda’s peaks. When the intake runners lengthen courtesy of the intake’s mechanical bits (VIAS) around 4500 RPM, you feel the car surge forward. Delicious.

      Shoot, the newer Maximas (09+) still has 20 more lb*ft of magic than Mr. Baruth’s Porsche-slayer.

      I’ve spent no time driving the Toyota V6 in anything other than the mid 2000s Avalon and Sienna. I imagine the Camry SE should have perkier performance than its huge cousin.

      Too bad the domestic manufacturers don’t understand torque. My first car was a ’01 Taurus rocking the OHV 3L V6. It had ~150 HP/188 lb*ft of torque. The bored-out Tauruses of today are 3.5L and still only the low 250s in torque.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I had to look mine up, 303hp and 262 lb-ft.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Eiriksmal-

        The current Ford 3.5L in the Taurus has two less HP and seven less lb.-ft. of torque than the VQ in the Maxima. Peak torque also comes in 400 RPM sooner on the Taurus. Ford obviously does not understand torque….

        I would also suggest that you drive anything with the 3.5EB. While not as great sounding as the Coyote V8, 350-420 lb.-ft. of torque basically whenever you want is fantastic.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        2014-2015 Taurus:

        3.5L Ti-VCT: 288 HP, 254 lb.-ft of torque.

        2.0L Ecoboost: 240 HP, 270 lb.-ft of torque.

        3.7L (Police Only) 305 HP, 270 lb.-ft of torque.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Plus:

          3.5L Ecoboost: 365 HP, 350 lb.-ft. of torque

        • 0 avatar
          Eiriksmal

          @BBall: Beware of low-hanging trolls, friend.

          I was strictly referring to Ford’s V6 torque. Look at the Duratec 3.0L -> Duratec 3.5 from, er, ’96ish -> 2012 and contrast that with the Japanese V6 figures from the same era.

          Nissan cites the 2014 Maxima as having 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm and 261 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm, which is indeed within rounding-error distance from the Taurus’s Tornado. Is it still a Tornado?

          I appreciate that Ford’s spending more money on developing their engine technologies, but those beastly-heavy vehicles still need more grunt to move with the litheness exhibited by things like the Accord. Looks like your cited 3.5L EcoBoost figures are a healthy start. Is that available in the 4200 lb AWD Taurus or just the Flex and Lincoln things?

      • 0 avatar
        CGHill

        This is one of the characteristics that keeps me in my ancient I30 with the VQ. The numbers are okay for 14 years ago — 227 hp @ 6400, 217 lb-ft @ 4000 — and if you don’t give the slushbox (Infiniti dropped the 5-speed manual after ’99) the opportunity to shift at a meek 2400, the tach spins clockwise with wild abandon.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Your Maxima is slower than the Accord and thirstier. And “Unlike a droning Nissan V6, the (Accord) V6 sounds pretty snarly, sophisticated and sporty.”

        Maximas are good used car buys since they don’t hold their value.

      • 0 avatar
        DrGastro997

        Spot on ref the Maxima VQ engine. I had one too with a manual and it’s one of the finest 6 engine I’ve owned. The more you push the more it gives. I miss my Maxima very much! Nissan needs to bring more of those dynamics back!

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Semenak

        I had the 3.0 liter as well but, in a 1994 Tempo. It was great for acceleration but, no overdrive automatic would fit. Still, 25 m.p.g. all day long and, it would smoke the tires easily.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    I think you’re right when you say that increased hybridization is going to be pretty standard two (or three) generations from now. It would be really interesting if Toyota tried to sell the Camry Hybrid as the default “performance” powertrain rather than a V6. Ditto Honda and the Accord and everyone else.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I just wish Honda would have seen fit to offer the V6 and 6MT in the 4-door Accord. Had they, they would have earned my business in lieu of the Verano T.

    • 0 avatar
      omer333

      V6/MT Accord sedan would print money. Despite it not coming in any colors.

      Maybe that’s what I should do if I win the lottery, buy an Accord Sport 6MT and do an engine swap.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d seriously like to see some figures that show just how much of an expenditure it would be for manufacturers to include these relatively-unpopular, yet easy-to-implement configurations. I mean, *I* personally don’t care about a V6 + 6MT Accord sedan, but I want my fellow enthusiasts to be happy. Even if you had to special-order it in lieu of selecting from dealer inventory, it’d be nice to have. I can understand why it’s necessary to keep unpopular configurations to a minimum for cars that don’t sell in huge or even average numbers (like the entirety of the Volvo brand), but the Accord is popular enough that I bet it amounts to pennies per car for them to add this option to the production line.

        • 0 avatar
          eManual

          Why don’t the “upscale” divisions (such as Acura, Lincoln, Lexus, etc.) make it easier to “have it your way?” Do their customers need a vehicle immediately, or can they wait or rent a vehicle while it is being assembled?

        • 0 avatar
          Madroc

          “Even if you had to special-order it in lieu of selecting from dealer inventory, it’d be nice to have.”

          I’ve always wondered if this is exactly why they don’t. Make this or other “long-tail” configurations (cloth seats with nav or whatever)available and too many consumers would insist on buying the car they want instead of whatever unit happens to be in stock that day. And dealers would howl.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Build to order seems to work just fine for BMW. Of course that is how they build every car they sell, whether for an individual or for dealer stock.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Build to order seems to work just fine for BMW. Of course that is how they build every car they sell, whether for an individual or for dealer stock.”

            They also built about 2M vehicles in 2013. Honda and Toyota build almost 50% of that number just in Camrys/Accords and Civics/Corrollas, just for America. That’s before you get to everything else they build.

            Plus, the average BMW buyer is probably just slightly more picky than the average Honda/Toyota buyer (do, uh, you have something in silver with heated seats?)

            And BMW is profitable because, like Porsche, it can charge an assload of money for stuff that should have been standard anyways (“$2k premium pack so I can get an auto-dimming mirror? What a steal!”) so they can afford to build to spec for every car. H/T, etc, play in a more competitive market where they other competitors haven’t implicitly agreed to stack the deck (ahem, MB/Audi).

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @S2KChris

            We are not talking about Honda. We are talking about the “upscale” divisions, Acura, Lincoln, etc. All of whom would LOVE to do the business BMW is doing (and would kill to be as profitable), and sell cars at similar price points.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Most of the non-German upscale car companies do a lot of platform sharing, and many of their lower-end cars are build on the same assembly lines as their more plebian cousins, and thus suffer the same constraints. See TL, ES, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            They are only constraints if you want them to be. It’s a different model, and obviously for the average car shopper looking to sign today, it works. If you want to tease fussy enthusiasts from their money, there are other approaches. After all, we fussy folks are often perfectly happy to skip buying new entirely. And even BMW is not immune – they are saving me roughly $55K by not offering a non-AWD 328d wagon in the US. I would order one in a heartbeat, but I won’t pay for AWD. I like my current car enough to just keep it. Their loss, not mine.

            BMW certainly gets some number of sales because they are more flexible with their configurations than much of the competition. Though sadly they are getting less so these days for the US market. They have learned the lesson of option bundling to increase margins – so for example I cannot get a 228i with a lot of equipment that I want, but without the sunroof that I don’t want. The M235i at least has a sunroof delete option – I am hoping that makes its way to the 228i that I would prefer to purchase. But maybe they are crazy like a fox and I end up paying $6K more for an M235i, just to not have the hole in the roof. If you are paying $46K anyway, what’s another $6K?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          It’s relatively easy to implement unpopular combinations of non-powertrain options.

          But adding a new powertrain is very expensive, mostly in compliance costs.

          That’s why you’ll get Audi (for example) selling the A4 with thousands of possible build combinations but just two powertrains (2.0T manual and automatic).

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            With the accord, it isn’t really a new power train though – they already sell it in the coupe. What compliance costs are there to put it in a sedan?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Accord Coupe is considered a different car from the sedan for regulatory purposes. They would have to put a V6 manual sedan through the full battery of EPA tests.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Rewrite the regulations as they are clearly obtuse. Certify the platform, not the model.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          1. Floor space at the assembly plant needed for possibly unused parts.

          2. Supplier implementation: Most plants are running JIT. VMSS items such as pedal assembles will shut a line down if it’s not put on at the install point. (IE: part out of stock as inventory levels are off on such a low volume part)

          3. EPA Certification.

          4. Additional tooling costs?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            In the case of BMW, almost nothing is inventoried. The suppliers build the parts when the car is ordered and put in the assembly sequence.

            EPA certification is certainly a valid issue in the US for powertrain choices. I also think it is wildly overblown – see quote from Cadillac that they only needed to sell a handful of manual CTS-Vs to break even on the cost. But not relevant for silliness like limiting a manual transmission car to *two* exterior color choices. Or to only low or high trim lines. Or making you take a sunroof to get the high end stereo.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatic

            I haven’t looked at EPA cert data files in a long time (pre-internet we used to pick up paper copies from EPA). But unless its changed (and it may have) cars with the same inertia class could use the same test for certification purposes. For example (again things may have changed in the last 15 years), a Challenger V8 6MT dyno test could be combined with a Charger evaporative diural test to allow sales of a Charger V8 6MT. Why? – because the evap was the same with either a MT or AT and both cars were in the same inertia class. Even with EPA tightening things up I think the car companies leap to the whole certification cost issue too often. The real reason for lack of drivetrain choice is their marketing and sales department don’t want to stock a large number of vastly different cars. Look no further than the Accord 4 door sport – two exterior colors one interior color and few options as a way of offering a drivetrain choice while keeping the sales department happy by limited number of cars the company needs to stock.

          • 0 avatar
            Giltibo

            1. Honda (like Toyota) orders parts according to their production schedule and have no stock of parts beyond “Safaty Stock”, meaning only a few of each and, obviously, fasteners.

            2.If a Honda line shuts down for shortage or defective parts, it’s very, very (did I say VERY) expensive for the supplier as they have to pay a hefty penalty for EVERY MINUTE of downtime if it’s the case (In the order of THOUSANDS a minute in some cases)

            3.If the weight of the vehicle is within a certain range of the vehicle certified, they may be able to piggyback on that same certification.

            4)Honda already makes the V6-6MT for the coupe. So the mounting points of the powertrain (and the tooling used for the assembly) should be very similar, if not the same. All it really needs is a reprogrammed ECU (Same basic part, programmed differently)

            Honda should be used to low numbers: they made the Acura CSX Type S, which probably sold a few thousand units at most. They make Civic Sis for South America (We’re talking maybe 150-250 a year). Or Mexican spec Civics (Only a few thousand a year) so maybe they should make an effort when it comes to V6-6MT Sedans…

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          It costs a lots and lots of money to offer the manual trans. The problem is that they have to do a engine calibration and emissions certification specifically for the manual trans version. That costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to do.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Honda disagrees with you. They last made a V6 6MT Accord sedan in 2007 and didn’t carry it over to the eighth gen because it didn’t sell enough copies. Now they are discontinuing the Acura TL 6MT for the same reason — it was 2% of a small number of TL sales.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Well with respect to that, the TL is going away entirely – right? Will the TLX have any manual option?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Nope, no manual. Honda explicitly said at the launch that there weren’t enough sales to justify the engineering costs.

            On the plus side, everyone is absolutely raving about the torque-converter DCT in the TLX 2.4. I can’t wait to drive one and see if it lives up to the hype. It seems in principle like a great idea.

        • 0 avatar

          On the new TLX, that doesn’t seem to matter. I hear the four-cylinder is the engine to have anyway. Then again, that’s partially because of the jerky automatic transmission that the V6 has…

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            Well, thr same ZF 9 speed in the new Chrysler 200 V6 AWD ruins the car. Had one to myself for almost an hour two weeks ago today. Uphill at city speeds, the thing loses its mind when you are just mingling with traffic. Hasn’t a clue which gear to deploy. Not acceptable..

            But that Pentastar V6 at full whack isn’t going to concede much to a Camry or Accord. Get the FWD version, lose 325 lbs, and give the usual pussies driving V6 Camrys and Accords the surprise of their lives.*

            *This last phrase BTSR approved.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            BTSR DOES not APPROVE anything LESS THAN A 6.4 HEMI.

    • 0 avatar
      Roadie73

      This combination was, as far as I recall, only available in Canada for the 09MY…

      Friend of mine had one – very nice. Just wish he’d told me before he sold it

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      Along with a 60/40 split rear seat and a light (i.e., tan) interior, I’d buy one now.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I believe this wasn’t offered in the past to protect TL 6-speed sales, but the TL is dead– so are all the Japanese entry-lux 6-speed sedans apparently. Why not offer it now?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      davefromcalgary, my grandson bought a 2014 Accord V6/Automatic EX-L last month. He preferred it over the manual transmission in his Wrangler he used as trade-in.

      Then again, a manual transmission in I-5 gridlock traffic is no fun.

    • 0 avatar
      A09

      Honda offered this exact variant for the seventh generation (2006-2007) minor model change. I had this configuration for the 2006 MY. I ordered the Accord V6 Sedan EX-L 6MT with Navi in December 2005 and picked it up in March 2006. No dealer kept this configuration in inventory. It had the 6MT and faux carbon fiber interior trim from the Accord Coupe, as well as the Type-S wheels from the second generation TL/CL. It was a great car to drive; the only real issue was the common third-gear pop-out of Honda’s 6MT’s from that era. This vehicle was reviewed in 2006 on these very pages. It is unfortunate Honda did not continue this model into the eighth generation.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2006/04/honda-accord-ex-v-6-6mt/

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Speaking as somebody who appreciates solid handling, but drives the engine like a normal person, I think low-end torque is much more appreciated by most people than how much power can be extracted near the red line. (I heard a saying once by a car salesman: “HP sells, but Torque keeps ‘em happy.”)

    Small-displacement engines with small turbos work great for how most people drive, which isn’t the redline.

    That said, I certainly do see great promise in tacking on a Hybrid drive train to a decent NA 4. A Hybrid using the electric as a “boost” doesn’t take the MPG hit that a Turbo does when running hard.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      You can get that in the GM line (Buick Lacrosse, Chevy Eco, etc.) today but the battery takes up too much room in the trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        I don’t understand why hasn’t redesigned the LaCrosse for more trunk space with the mild hybrid. I don’t know in what universe they thought a full-sized Buick with 13-cu-ft of trunk space would be acceptable. It shouldn’t be too hard to remedy the small trunk, just add 10 inches of light sheet metal to the back, and you can slope the back to lower the C/D.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I drive like you do as well. I had been driving a diesel pickup for the last 3 years so i love torque.

      I currently drive a 1996 camry 2.2L, and you really have to rev the crap out of it to get moving. It’s fun in its own right don’t get me wrong, i love it. 6,000 sounds amazing on it. But, 90% of the time i short shift and keep it below 3,000.

      But, being able to have a 4 cylinder, cheaper fuel and, good gas mileage, and tons of torque down low is fantastic. Everything i’d ever want all in one package.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    +1 on the Planet Ten reference. You’re not, by chance, an alien lying low on planet Earth by assuming the name of *John* Baruth, are you?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I guess you could say the Kizachi was ahead of the times.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    There was a lot to love about the ’98 V6 Accord coupe I inherited — on the open road — but since I’ve moved into a modern big-inch Toyota I4, I have to say the good’s outweighed the bad … Dramatically better stoplight-to-stoplight fuel economy, less wear on the brakes and tires, and, in tighter maneuvering, a lot less of that “pushing-a-wheelbarrow-full-of-gravel” sensation.

    Jack’s pre-nostalgia for V6 stealth-attack family sedans isn’t misplaced; it’s a lot of common-man luxury and power that you otherwise don’t get to experience outside of a premium badge, as he says. But I think it’s at least some consolation that the volume four-cylinder models these days are SUCH good, capable cars for the money.

    My concern is more that naturally aspirated big-inch Fours are next on the chopping block. For example, I can see a future generation of Fucamcordnotimas being offered with an NA 2.0, a 1.5T, and then a 2.0T. This generation of 2.4L and 2.5L I4s are just so gutsy and durable and affordable and real-world efficient. (If Toyota is the new GM, then the port-injected 2.5L Toyota I4 is the 3800 of our era.) I’m not turbo-prejudiced per se, but I’m not looking forward the post-NA era.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Right on. The current 2.5L long stroke NA I4s are the sweet spot in my opinion. My gf’s 2012 Camry SE is plenty quick from a stop, loafs along at 2000rpm @ 80mph on the highway, and can quickly drop a gear for passing. Keep it closer to 70mph and it will damn near achieve 40 mpg. Makes me jealous in my (relatively) gutless stick shift 2012 Civic with the 140hp 1.8L. I’m seriously considering trading up to an Accord LX with a stick.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Dramatically better stoplight-to-stoplight fuel economy, less wear on the brakes and tires, and, in tighter maneuvering, a lot less of that “pushing-a-wheelbarrow-full-of-gravel” sensation.”

      That’s a lot more V6 kludge circa 1998 vs modern car than it is 4 vs 6.

      A V6 Camry has 160 pounds (5% fatter) on the I4, 125 pounds (6% fatter) of which are up front. That doesn’t help when pushing it in turns, which approximately nobody buys a Camry for, but wear differences on the (bigger) brakes and (wider) tires are approximately unmeasurable. 10 or 15% more gas in the city, same thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam Hell Jr

        I’ve done a lot of miles in my father’s TL also, and helped him cross-shop for it, so I’m not unfamiliar with the dynamics of a modern FWD V6 sedan. My experience is still that in around-town daily driving — that is, traffic, not the backroad twisties — that with the extra weight and wider turn radius, these cars start to feel porky as compared to the 4s. Obviously the extra cylinders are an asset on open roads, and if that’s where most of your driving happens, more (ahem) power to you. For me, and I suspect for many, the big 4 is a better compromise.

        As for the wear-and-tear and fuel economy, sure, they’ve improved over the last decade for all vehicles. I’d still feel safe contending that longer term cost of ownership is more palatable with the 4.

        The larger point really being that the volume I4 models of today’s passenger sedans are so uniformly great for most people in most applications that the loss of the V6s won’t be quite as tear-jerking as Jack implies. I’m unconvinced the same will be true when we get squeezed down to 1.5Ts. But hey, I’m sure someday car lovers will be waxing nostalgic for those 1.5Ts, too.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      sam hell jr

      I think you nailed it on the big “small” NA engines being the next out the door. It’s happened already with our Korean and German imports and the writing is blatantly on the wall at Ford. On the one hand I love NA engines and have made a point of buying them, on the other they are much, much slower than their turbo 1/2+ liter less replacements. Losing the V6′s will end up being the more historically significant change because they were actually as fast as the new turbos, but with a completely different power band.

      I spent some quality time with an in-law’s 6mt Accord sport a few weeks ago and while I appreciated it’s subjective virtues (and recommended Honda manuals to him beforehand) I was constantly wondering how good the car would be with a competitor’s turbo engine. Event the Honda 2+liter (2.4) pales in comparison to it’s trim equivalent turbo competition in on road power delivery, and Honda is the undisputed king of NA mass produced/cheaply sold inline 4′s in my book. I think Jack is wrong to criticize the turn towards low rpm torque, the future is owners like us purchasing software tweaks/buying bigger turbos to achieve high rpm outputs, everyone else will be happier with the new direction.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I want to care and be sad, but I’m not.

    Out of 15 cars I’ve owned, only 1 had a V8, and only 1 of the 4 V6s was in a passenger car.

    Now I have a V6, a 4-cyl hybrid, and an EV – signs of the times.

  • avatar
    Fred

    You want smooth check out the straight 8 in a early 50s Buick. Hard to tell if the engine is even running. If you are worried about packaging then a nice i6 is pretty sweet. What the hell the balance shaft can make a 4 banger real smooth.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I agree with a V-6 6MT 4-door Accord, Dave. I love my 2014 Accord Sport 6MT, but sometimes wish it had more grunt. Not that I need it, but for the reasons Jack mentioned above – the casual power. Much like my Grandmother’s LT1-powered Caprice, or to a lesser extent my 1994 Grand Marquis, smooth, easy power was always nearby.

    This post has me thinking that depending on how much I like the 2015 Camry V6, I may dump the Accord. I drive 70 mi a day on highway and the real-world difference between a 4 and 6 hole engine isn’t material. Carmax pays crazy prices for current-gen used Accords, so I wouldn’t lose much…..dang….I’m self-rationalizing. Need to stop….

  • avatar
    Vega

    I’ll have you beat on obsolete engine specs in today’s world. 2 litre NA I6 with only 129hp, no torque, 21mpg. Made in 1990 in Bavaria…

    But when it starts to sing at over 4,000rpm, all is forgiven.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    Totally unrelated, but the block-caps Toyota logo on the horizontally slatted grille has, weirdly, acquired some retro-badassitude in my eyes. I hope they start using it again on more than just their off-roading models.

  • avatar
    Duaney

    The Oldsmobile “Rocket” 403 wasn’t the last. In the interests of fuel economy and low emissions, Oldsmobile produced the “baby” V-8, the 260, and then produced the 307, and that engine soldiered on until the late 80′s, living in Cadillacs and Buicks as well. Fun facts, the 307 eventually received roller lifters, and it was the only GM V-8 that could pass the tough emission standards running a carburetor, Chevy and Cadillac V-8′s had to go fuel injection. The Oldsmobile Aurora V-8 was successful, when Oldsmobile ended, the Aurora engines used in racing received Chevrolet valve covers.

  • avatar
    mjz

    From that angle, the new Camry actually looks pretty good, except for that damn black filler panel in the C pillar. Ugh.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Toyota has just been awarded the prize for world’s largest black plastic triangle.

      At least it’s shiny…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I can’t agree. I think the 2015 Camry is the worst in a long line of very ugly cars. Styling and poor assembly quality would put me off buying a Camry of the current generation, even one with a V6 and a better suspension than the floaty LE and XLE rentals I’ve driven.

  • avatar
    mjz

    I just went on the Toyota website and the front end and instrument panel are ugly too.

  • avatar
    blackbolt

    A friend recently leased a BMW 328d and I drove it for a week. The car is only 180hp but the performance is superb combined with excellent mileage. Diesel engines are gonna be a major player along with the hybrid.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Toyota was the first “import” brand to put a V6 in a midsizer.”

    I believe this is incorrect. I think this title goes to the Acura Legend which had the 2.5 V6 on sale in 86.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      And the Maxima had one before that.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The first import brand to put a V6 in a midsizer for the US market was Volvo with the 264 in 1976. OTOH, I think he is talking about mass-market cars selling near the mode for automotive purchases, which would eliminate both the Volvo and the Legend.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        I interpreted “import” (with the quotes) as Japanese and other Asian brands, in the context of the 1980s U.S. market. That wouldn’t include Volvos (and Alfas, etc.).

        Good clarification from Bumpy and CJ about the inline and vee Nissans- though Corey’s point is still valid about the ’81 810 (back then, six cylinders in a new car the size of an 810 made for some bragging rights).

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Neither the Legend, nor the 810, nor the Cressida, nor the 929, are midsizers.

      At the time, they were all considered premium choices.

      Sadly, I was alive back then and I remember the 810 back when Maxima was just a trim package.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Minor nit to pick, yes…I’m going to be “that guy”.

    The Acura TL Type S (2008 was the last model year for the TL-S) never had the 3.7, it had the 3.5. The 2009-on TL (SH AWD), which kinda replaced the TL-S, had the 3.7.

    Which just goes to prove how unfortunately irrelevant Acura has become with their models.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Great article. I agree there will be another oil spike in the next ten or so years, but I’d be willing to bet it will be the at least partial result of currency debasement. Oil fuels growth, without cheap oil, you have no real growth. Hence further currency debasement, and the rest of the world is already in reactive mode to QE infinity if you look into it.

    Regarding those two billion-person economies I wouldn’t worry too much as there will be a culling, probably of all of us. Ebola, Fukushima, TB, Swine flu, riots, shortages, civil war, ISIS, Soviet nukes. Pick your poison.

    Additional: “The 403′s fate was sealed the minute consumers decided they’d accept a 3.8 Buick V6 in a GM mid-sizer”. I agree with this as well, but aside from MY85-86 with known issues the MY87+ LN3 3800 was pretty much epic in its C/H body packaging. The 403, while technically more powerful, had more drawbacks to its advantages vs the LN3. Depending on how say, Honda, does it, they may be able to put our a motor and platform superior to their predecessors with more advantages than drawbacks. Personally, I won’t be holding my breath but this would be the litmus test IMO.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Reg; “The party’s almost over. There’s something shining in the sky overhead. Everything’s about to change.”

    It is, but you can get no traction telling people about it, and what can they do? They are all trapped in a demanding economy which will be our undoing. That is why I’m taking a break, and sailing over the horizon, around the world for the next few years. See it as it is now, not like it will be, too soon.

    We will ride this to the end, which is coming up very fast, way faster then most think. There is not much we can do about it, now, except take a moral, conscientious position and personal environmental actions for our own mollification.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      1977 called and wants its doom-mongering back.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The nice thing about predicting “the end is near” over and over is that someday you’ll be right.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          But, when you’re right, do you get gloating rights?

          Because, if I can’t rub it in other peoples faces, it’s just not the same.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Semenak

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  • avatar

    The 2.8-liter VR6 in my Jetta is a gas-hog (especially because of the undersized fuel tank) and not particularly stronger than a modern four-cylinder. But, well, it’s a compact car, a Volkswagen, and an old one at that, so it doesn’t really apply here. I think we will miss V6′s in non-luxury sedans when they’re gone. If I were looking for a mid-sized sedan, I’d definitely go for the Accord Touring or the Camry XSE V6. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the (upcoming) Passat VR6…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Nissan was the first to cross their fingers and stretch their block all the way to three and a half liters”

    Also incorrect. The 3.5RL from Acura debuted for 1996. Nissan’s 3.5 was not around until 01 at the earliest, and not in sedans until 02.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      The Acura 3.5RL was not a “midsize family car”.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Hello,

        This comment was regarding a V6 engine of 3.5L in displacement.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          In that case, we might as well include the 1988 535i.

          Again, the Legend was not a midsizer — neither was the 810, the Maxima, the Cressida, the 929, the LS400, the Toyota Century, the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, you get the idea :)

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Yeah, but in context Jack was not referring to any V6 of 3.5L, but one in the set of cars in question.

          (I am somewhat confused as to what “midsize” means in these contexts, since the definition has changed over the years.

          Wikipedia tells me the 8G Accord was actually “full-size”, though equally it ain’t no LS.)

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            The 8G Accord was “full size” by EPA internal volume measurements but we all know it operated in the mainstream, midsize market with the Camry, Fusion etc. Why the confusion – Corolla, Civic, Focus are compact and smaller. Whilst Avalon, Charger are larger and the segment above

            Premium also doesn`t count and that is based upon cost – lets not be pedants to Jack’s basic point.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      “This comment was regarding a V6 engine of 3.5L in displacement.”

      Sure, if you want to take one sentence out of context. But the entire paragraph was set up with clear reference to “midsize family sedans”.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Last of the real muscle cars? Just yesterday, everyone was tripping over themselves to comment on the Charger Hellcat piece.

    Look, muscle cars appeared in the late 50s, flourished for a little over a decade, and died when auto pollution and the energy crisis struck. We’re in the second generation of muscle and it’s demonstrably better in almost all metrics. It will die and then it will return.

    A fundamental problem of modernity is belief in linear time. All of the empirical evidence points to cyclical time being closer to objective reality.

    It comes, it goes, it comes again, it goes again. That’s the deal…ingore it at your own peril.

    For anyone who is interested, google “Notes on Doomsday Models” by Robert Solow. 2 pages of the best argument against this kind of bull, published 42 years ago, about the end of the first muscle car era.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    At the risk of starting a manual vs automatic debate, I think Jack’s observations are exactly correct, and these 4 cylinder engines in mid-size sedans will be paired with automatic transmissions exclusively. That writing is also on the proverbial wall.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Honda stands alone, offering a manual mid-size sedan, offering a coupe, offering a V6/6MT combo. Will any of these make it to the 2018 models (when the 10th gen debuts)?

      I hope so, but I doubt it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I think you’re probably right (though I would not be surprised to see an occasional 5 or 6).

      But I’m a big fan of the automatic, so no debate from me.

      (Amusing note: I’ve owned 3,4,5, and 8 cylinder engines. No 6, 10, or 12 so far.

      And no desire for a 10 or 12, honestly.)

  • avatar
    segfault

    I saw the writing on the wall and was prepared to buy an Accord Touring, but ended up with a GLI instead. The mainstream sedans, even with the turbo engines, are still tuned for fuel economy and not responsiveness. Part of why an Acura with the same engine and similar curb weight gets worse mileage than a Honda.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    A beautifully written editorial, but kind of fundamentally flawed.

    “The smart money in family cars says we’ll return to the 180-inch length and the 2,900-pound weight in a search for Prius-equaling mileage in traditionally-shaped mid-sizers.”

    Ummm, we are already there. You don’t have to look far- across the Honda showroom or at the top of the sales charts. The “compact car” has, by pretty much any and every measure, taken the place of what we grew up calling midsizers. You compare a Civic to a 20 or even 15 year old Accord, all specs are within 5-10%. Interior room, a 2014 Civic sedan trades inches here and there with a 1994 Accord, but for all intents and purpose is about equal, as is trunk space, all in a car that’s about half a foot shorter in length and 200lb lighter in curb weight. All while making the same horsepower, netting the same performance, but getting about 10 real world MPG more gas mileage….

    “But what about the majesty, grandeur and brutality of the V6?” The V6 you put below the water level of the “sea of despair”? Lol. Naw but seriously, sure, a hearty, honest naturally aspirated V6 is a welcome change over a choked up turbo 4…. but even with the V6, most of these cars still suck. The 3.5 V6s in the Camcordtima are brilliant characterful engines saddled with some truly awful chassis’. My brother has an 06 Altima 3.5 SL, and on a measly road trip from NYC to Baltimore I found myself running into the limits of the thermal capacity of the brakes. The suspension tuning was downright B-bodyesque, and no, we are talking the Park Avenue side of the spectrum, not the Bonneville. Steering feel, weight, feedback, or any kind of discerning characteristics to let you know you were driving an actual automobile and not a big Lil Tykes Cozy Car were nonexistant. As a long time fan of the VQ, having cut my teeth on various Maximas of my own and earlier + modified other Altima 3.5s, 3.5 Maximas and G35s, I came away downright disgusted. After having driven the bulk of the midsize offerings in 4 banger trim, I can’t imagine the rest of the V6s being much better.

    “In the meantime, if you want something that will sing to seven grand, if you want something that doesn’t shake and rattle the cabin at idle, if you want something that sounds and acts in a cultured manner beneath your bonnet,” you can get a GTI. If you can put up with a little noise, as anyone looking for an engaging drive will, you can pick from the laundry list of hi-po 2.0T cars, from the Focus ST, to the WRX, to the (chuckle chuckle) Kia Forte 2.0T, etc. No, they won’t have the rorty nasal induction growl of a Camry V6 with a Pep Boys Spectre intake cone, but they will accelerate faster, handle better, stop quicker and more reliably, and most importantly not be Camrys.

    I am not one of those goofballs who thinks folks who buy Camrys should be stoned to death at the altar of all things automotive. But like those 400ci land barges of 40 years ago, the Camry V6 answers a question nobody asked. “Wat would it be like for someone to put an awesome engine worthy of a Lotus into a limp, under sprung, under braked FWD chassis with no chance in hell of a manual transmission”? To hell with that.

    Now if these manufacturers really want to make things interesting, they could put those V6s into their little cars, like the old Dodge Shadows… but I am guessing the noses won’t allow it, and in any case BOOST.

    Look, I am an N/A freak… my dream would be to punch out a Cayman S to 4.0L and terrorize the streets… but if there is anywhere for the V6 to be worshipped, it isn’t in a limp dick Camry with some schnazzy body cladding. No way.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      +100000

      I have a rented Maxima sitting outside right now. It’s a decent motor in a chassis that is a sad joke. What a boat!

      Jack’s racer roots are showing – very few mid size family cars ever get anywhere near the redline. So a small turbo 4 is perfectly mission appropriate. And smoother than the 2.5 liter lumps. Even in my BMW, I would rather have the turbo 4 over my 6. It is faster AND significantly more efficient.

      I have nothing much against hybrids, but for my mostly highway use case I would prefer a diesel.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The Maxima is pretty flubbery and numb, eh? That was the impression I got when I rode in a ’10 (fully loaded) model on a couple different occasions. And even loaded didn’t get rid of poor interior trim quality in some places.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          The interior is worse than the chassis, and that is saying something. Rat fur seats, blech, makes me wish for some good German vinyl.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I have been calling the Maxima “the Japanese Bonneville” for years. I enjoyed mine, and it was better matched to where I was and the kind of driving I was doing vs a real sports car or sport sedan. But in retrospect, everything outside of the engine, dashboard, interior room and exterior was horrible. The gearshift, from the clutch to the shift action, made a strong case for an automatic with the same ratios. The rear beam axle had serious location issues over broken pavement- I can remember the chassis shimmying like yesterday.

          But my god, that engine. I had a custom exhaust on it as well as an intake, and the sound it made on winding its way up or on an overrun was glorious. And now with them being so dirt cheap, with a homemade turbo kit you will have a hell of a straight line highway monster on your hands. But forget about turning. Better off in a Contour SVT….

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            We will have to agree to differ on the engine. It delivers the goods for sure, but I think it sounds like a bag of nails, and it is not particularly smooth. Then again, only the Italians manage to make decent sounding V6s to my ear.

          • 0 avatar
            Eiriksmal

            Yeah, there’s a reason the Maxima is a transitional car. It’s something like this on the Maxima forums:
            1. “Cars are tools to get me to work”
            2. “Cars… can be fun?”
            3. “CARS CAN BE FAST, YES!”
            4. “Cars should be faster than what mine is right now. A new car is way faster than mine, sigh. I bet I can make mine faster…”
            5a. “Screw it, I’m buying a fast car with better handling out of the box.” or;
            5b. “Um, this plastic stick my significant other just handed me says I need more seats.”

            So there’s a mixing of #2-#4, then everyone reaches a point where they realize they need a sportier chassis, or that fast cars lose their thrill as testosterone diminishes in old age (read: children start popping out) and the Maxima owner transitions to either a 6MT G35/7S or a Lexus LS with 22s.

            Very few people stick with Maximas to the end, unlike Accord/Civic owners that seem to never grow tired of their slow lil’ sedans.

            I’m stuck at #5 right now. 4-year-old G37? Wait for a 2-year-old 2015 GTI? Screw it and buy an 8-year-old V50 6MT?

            Like Herr Accordy said, the VQ35 makes tremendously beautiful noises when uncorked. Mine just has a K&N filter + hemholtz resonator deletes + phenolic plastic intake spacers and makes a delicious slurping noise under partial throttle and fun noises as the engine approaches 7000. My problem with exhaust mods on the 3.5L Maximas is that there are far too many cars that are quicker than it these days, so you risk writing checks with your exhaust that your right foot can’t cash. :(

            [Not that anyone street races, duh.]

            Edit: Mr. Rhodes, most cars struggle to sound as beautiful as your Abarth, but I love the guttural, brutal sounds the VQ35s make. Especially the tenorous pop the RWD cars make when they accelerate from a stop. Sigh, I wish _I_ had equal length headers. :(

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            The VQ is definitely a bit gruff compared to something like a BMW I6. But as someone who was raised on I4s and V6s, it’s OK with me.

            And yea, the key to enjoying the Maxima is limiting its use to where it excels. I have a 350Z now, and I like it, but the tire noise is out of control, and the ride is unbearable once you enter frost heave territory. If not for my need for appreciably lower gas costs (an old Accord would pay for itself in about a year and a half from fuel savings), an old Maxima would be a real no brainer for the daily grind. It’s a no-frills highway glutton. Loaded up and equipped with a good aftermarket stereo, I could drive one for days, as long as the roads are straight.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I35 has a better highway gluttony suspension! Comes loaded all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Bravo. The 3rd-to-last paragraph is solid gold. I’m willing to concede the V-6 Camry is pretty great for what it is….but it’s still what it is.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Nothing the internet loves more than to crow about the good old days being behind us and everyone’s going to die of oil-price-induced swine-flu-QEoverpopulationitis.

    I imagine if you could read whatever counted as internet posts in the early/mid 70s, it would sound much the same as it does today. The only question is, as the world continues to get more awesome, will all the neckbearded armchair doomsdayists be disappointed?

    Off to read about the Hellcat again.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      It’s truly amazing how different people can have differing views given the same evidence. The whole sky-is-falling viewpoint reminds me an awful lot of the famous report from the Club of Rome back in the 1960s. It, too, sang a litany of collapse and doom. BY now, we were supposed to have either eaten each other or been crushed by the increasing population.

      So what if the V6 dies? *Actual* history has shown that we (meaning the human race) will come up with something better. That, in my opinion, is much more likely than “currency debasement”. I’m betting that pure electric power will win the day.

      The real point here is that gloom and doom sells and some people just eat it up (while ignoring the canned crackers squirreled away in the bomb shelter). Speaking of which, I really love looking at the survival packs of food that Costco sells. One whole year of inedible crap that will never be used. To quote the /. meme, …Profit!

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’ve had no problem running exclusively used cars in the past when there was nothing new that interested me, I may have to go back. I’m prepared for that, it’s cheaper anyway.

    Us junkies will always find a fix.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I’m already there. My list to get me by for the next 5 years or so:

      2006 Maxima SE
      2009 Altima V6SE sedan
      2012 Altima V6 coupe

      All with 3 pedals, of course. #1 reason I’m going Nissan is to have a double-DIN radio. I have learned my lesson about having a car with a radio that not only sucks balls, but can’t be replaced.

      Once those run out, I’ll live off 9th gen Accords or G37′s. Yes the day will come when I can’t find a decent car in decent condition with a manual anywhere in this country, but maybe by then I’ll be too old to care.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I go old, too. My newest car is about to turn 14. They all work fine.

      Heck, I just had a transmission put in my 1995 LeSabre with 215k miles. A car can last as long as your wallet can.

      For $30,000 I can buy a heck of a lot of parts for my Buick… or about 30 different Buicks.

      If your new car can outlast 30 Buicks, I’ll concede to you.

      ———

      I won’t be buying a modern car for a while- they don’t appeal to me.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        When someone says “I have a 1995 Buick with 215k miles” and “modern cars don’t appeal to me” I have to wonder…what, modern cars don’t suck badly enough for you???

        YGBSM.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          I’m not yanking your chain. I’m serious.

          We’ve rented almost new cars before, and here’s my thoughts:

          They get me to the same place… at the same speed. My Buick will do 75 on the Interstate, as will almost any new car. I won’t get there any faster.

          There aren’t extra amenities, or if there are, I don’t really need them. RDS can tell me a song’s artist- and I can see it in the gauges. I don’t care. I shut that off on my Audi anyways. Dual zone climate control isn’t needed. The A/C and heat both work in the Buick. That’s all I need. I don’t care about rear DVD players or rear climate controls. I drive in the front seat. Heated seats are nice (have them in an Audi), but I don’t need them.

          The radios today have Bluetooth connection, and can play iHeart Radio or Pandora through your phone. I don’t care. I don’t own a smartphone, and I have my favorite oldies channels that I like. If I ever wanted this added functionality, I could replace the radio in the Buick easily. Big deal.

          The seats are more comfortable for me in the Buick than in our rentals. I can sit there and drive for hours easily. It’s like a plush couch. They’re as nice as the seats in my A6.

          The fuel mileage isn’t much, if any, better in a modern car. My LeSabre will get 29 MPG highway with the way I drive. That’s plenty for a land barge, the way I see it.

          Not everything on the Buick feels plasticky. Our last rental was a Sienna with about 2000 miles on it- almost new. I hated the interior, and hated the van.

          Performance isn’t better in ways that I care. Can a new Accord out accelerate me? Sure, but I don’t care. I can go through turns, and the car will do it well. I’m not a speed racer, so speed isn’t even on my radar. I’ll get where I’m going, and if I stab the skinny pedal, I can easily pass someone, though I’m usually the slow one.

          I can fix the Buick if something breaks. I replaced the radiator in a couple of hours when it leaked. Try working on a new car. My hands are too big, and the cars have become more complex.

          Safety? I have dual airbags, seatbelts, and ABS. I don’t have lane-swerving awareness, or automatic braking, but you shouldn’t have to rely on them anyways.

          Equipment? I’ve got plenty. 8 Way power adjust seat, AM/FM/Cassette, power windows and locks, fuel gauge, and headlights. I’ve got them all. What else could I need?

          Reliability. Check. The 3800 is a great engine- smooth and powerful enough. The transmission lasted 214k, and the one in there now will hopefully last as long. If not, I’ll get another or have this one rebuilt.

          Fun factor. Plenty in the Buick. Your S2000 could cream me, as could most cars. But, I’m not into speed. My Buick means way more to me. I was in High School when I bought it. I worked until midnight and beyond on school days. When I first saw the car, I fell in love. I’ve wrenched on that car, driven through bad winter storms in it, and had many “everyday” moments with it. My Buick was my first car that I paid for entirely. It is my first car, and your first will always hold a place in my heart. As long as the frame is good and it doesn’t catch fire, I want to keep that car going forever. When I replaced the transmission, I could have bought a 1996 Supercharged Riviera from the same man. It would have been $200 cheaper than my transmission replacement. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I love my Buick, and that’s worth it to me. My memories can’t be bought, and that car will always hold a special place with me.

          ————————-

          Why would I want a new car? I can drive my $1000 Buick, or a $30,000 new car. I’ll keep the Buick… and my $29,000. I’ll be happier, and that’s what life’s about to me. This isn’t the life for everyone, but it’s the one for me. The Buick makes me smile. I love it, and will care for it as long as I can. If it bites the big one, I’ll keep it until I can fix it. It’s special to me. That’s worth everything to me.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            If you don’t care about cars, which you apparently don’t since you’re celebrating such a wallowy piece of garbage, why are you spending time on a car blog? I mean, I don’t care about watches, but you don’t see me on a watch forum bragging that my plebian $200 solar Citizen is better than their fancy whatevers.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            “If you don’t care about cars, which you apparently don’t since you’re celebrating such a wallowy piece of garbage, why are you spending time on a car blog?”

            My guess is he is on a car blog because he does indeed care about cars and likes his Buick. Amazing how not everyone shares your preference for driving a stiff, noisy, cramped track car on cratered public roads.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @burgers

            The dude is a p___k. Never has anything nice to say, and pretty much denigrates everyone. No other cars are as good as the ones he drives, period.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “The dude is a p___k. Never has anything nice to say, and pretty much denigrates everyone. No other cars are as good as the ones he drives, period.”

            Moi? Dude, I don’t even really like my cars that much. Just because I pointed out you don’t get why the Hellcat is awesome, don’t get all pissy.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Just in general, following your other comments on other articles.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            This looks like it’s about to become a ****** match, but:

            Burgersandbeer has nailed it spot on. How many times to I need to say that I love the Buick? It’s my first car, and holds a special place.

            I’ve never driven an S2000, but Dynaride does well on the highway. I don’t want to race. I want to cruise at 70.

            Sure, my Audi A6 Avant is a nicer car. It has leather, seat heaters, fancy climate control, can go 30MPH faster than the Buick if maxed, has another gear in the transmission, has a manual shift gate, has….

            Both Corey and I have owned an Audi. We both have loved them. I can dig out my posts about our last cars that we’ve owned, but to make the story brief, the Audi is the “finest” car that I own.

            The Buick makes me smile, though. It’ll always do what I ask of it, and I know I’ll have a pleasant trip. The Audi is special for a different reason. The Buick is my favorite, though.

            ————————

            I am a car guy, though. I helped a friend rebuild his AMC Eagle project, and learned a lot from him. Fast forward: I rebuilt my 1987 Chevrolet R10 Custom Deluxe. That’s obviously a piece of garbage, too.

            Cars mean different things to different people. For some people, they’re an appliance. For some, they mean more. To me, they have a soul. To some people, speed and power is an important measure. To me, it’s not. My Audi can supposedly do 130 MPH. I don’t know if it could or not, because I’ll never even come close. I’ve never been above 80 (Interstate Speed Limits here). My Buick can do the same 80 MPH, and be happy. That’s good enough for me.

            I don’t want a track car. I don’t care about speed or power. I bought my Audi, because it was my dream car since I was a little child. I can look outside my office, and see a little reward for all the nights I’ve been up until midnight, all the times I’ve worked into the AM, and then woke up to go to school only four hours later. That was a few years ago, but the Audi serves as a reminder to me of why I’m doing this.

            The Audi is quieter and smoother, and can handle 80 MPH like nothing. But, it doesn’t have the same charm my Buick does. Nothing else will.

            If you would have worked like I did and made the sacrifices I did to get that Buick, you’d likely have a special spot for it too.

            I drive a LeSabre, because it does everything that I need, and because it makes me happy. No car will ever be the same as that Buick. That’s why I just spent more than the value of the car to keep it. I could have had a Riviera. It’s the second fastest Buick made until recently, and it is drop-dead gorgeous. But, it isn’t my LeSabre. And it never will be. I’m married to that car. If the engine blew tomorrow, I’d start pricing a replacement engine, or a donor car. I don’t mind that. It’s my “forever” car.

            —————-
            P.S. I think the Hellcat is not practical, and mostly designed for men who take testosterone injections. 200 MPH capabilities are a stunning feat and I am in awe of Chrysler, but when will I go that fast? A regular Charger would be plenty for most people. The Hellcat may sell the other Chargers, which I think is the goal. Little kids will admire them and dream of the day. They, however, will probably just buy a regular Charger. Or a Camry.

          • 0 avatar
            turboprius

            I don’t even have a learner’s permit (getting it next weekend), yet I’ve still loved cars my whole life. Everyone knows of me as the car guy, and asks me for help on buying cars, even though my only seat time is driving in circles in the cul-de-sac.

            To be honest, I don’t agree with most of the B&B’s automotive opinions, but this writing by Matador, I really enjoyed. An old LeSabre, especially one in good shape, is a lot more interesting to me than a brown diesel wagon, a stick shift family sedan, or a Panther.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            @TurboPrius Thanks for the compliment!

            My best advice on cars: Figure out what you love (Within reason- no Lamborghinis). Then, go get one in reasonable shape. It doesn’t need to be a cream puff, but it should be roadworthy.

            Put some money aside for repairs/improvements. When I bought my LeSabre, I replaced the blower motor. It would cause the accelerator to vibrate. It was about $50 and two hours on a Sunday. Make the car something you’ll love. Then, just keep it going.

            My way to tell if you were right when buying a car: If you knew what you know today, would you do it again? I did- I basically bought my Buick again. And, I will next time…

            Go with what touches your heart, and you’ll be pleased.

            By the way, mine wasn’t a cream puff:
            http://s1017.photobucket.com/user/AvantA6/media/BuickLeSabre_zpsf809f710.jpg

            It’s peeking out behind the Corvair. I think it’s more interesting than a Panther, too. Now, if you brought up the Roadmaster…

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I don’t see any joy in driving a 3500 pound car with less than 200 horsepower, so I don’t really understand why a 4 cylinder Camcord would be acceptable for anyone.

    Of course, I haven’t driven one, so what do I know.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      No matter how much they try to convince you otherwise, there’s no joy in it. But joy doesn’t sell in volume. That’s why these cars are “appliances.” They have no soul, but perform the function.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        This is a bit hyperbolic, and myopic. Someone coming from a third world country, for example, probably sees a Camry like a Bentley. A teenager with a fresh new license probably sees a hand me down Camry as a huge bastion of freedom. Etc. Etc. Bashing Camries was played out about 4 years ago dude, get with the times.

        Now I personally want to work to avoid ever having to drive a Camry at all, but that’s because of my personal preferences, not because the Camry is a universal prison sentence.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          Who’s bashing it? You just strongly implied yourself that it’s all relative.

          As teen getting his/her 1st car, anything that actually runs is THE MOST INCREDIBLE CAR EVAR.

          As a destitute thirld world citizen, anything that runs is a way to maybe build a better life.

          As someone who finds 4-cylinder automatic sedans gutless and boring, it’s the antichrist.

          To tens of millions of Americans, it’s the only car they’ll ever buy. I get it. It might be the car for them, but it sure ain’t the car for me.

          I certainly would never call it a “bad car” considering it’ll run for 25 years on oil changes and tire rotations. He was inquiring about the “experience” not the quality or longevity. If you’re shopping for an experience, you’re not shopping for an I4 Camry.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            One of my best friends bought a 1983 AMC Eagle as his first car. He wrenched on it and had it ready to go by the time he had a learner’s permit.

            He was on cloud ten. He thought it was the best car out there. But, he did build it (sort of). I rebuilt a 1987 Chevy Custom Deluxe. I love the truck, because I gave sweat, time, and much blood to it.

            A Camry isn’t for us, though. It’s for people who want to drive to work, and go to their apartment/home.

            The rest of us who feel that a car has soul won’t go for a Camcord. We’ll go for something that tugs our hearts. No matter what the cost is.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            He didn’t say anything about shopping for experience. He said he didn’t find joy in driving a 3500lb <200hp car, and said it wouldn't be acceptable, which you cosigned wholeheartedly. Let's not revise history here.

            I think that is BS. A car with such specs wouldn't necessarily be my first choice, but all cars with those specs are not bad. Is an E39 528i a car that provides "no joy"? How about a B5 Passat wagon? An old non-Aero Saab 9-5 turbo? Etc. Etc. Just because a Camry has no appeal to you, or that dude, or me (only way I will ride in one is if its a NYC cab), doesn't mean it's incapable of bringing legitimate joy to somebody. Hell Jack Baruth had TTAC approved joy in one, so I'm not really sure what you guys are talking about.

      • 0 avatar
        Eiriksmal

        Honestly, in contrast to your ’07 V6 Altima mated to its row-your-own gearbox, it takes more skill to drive something with 4-cylinders paired with a 4/5 speed slushbox.

        When I drive my wife’s I4 Camry, I have to think out 3-5 seconds into the future. Where will traffic be, where will I need to be? Okay, that gap will open up in about 4 seconds… push the pedal to the floor and wait for the car to do its thing. In the Max’, you just push the pedal down and you’re off–no muss, no fuss, shooting gaps like the stereotypical BMW driver. If you’re going to do something stupid, you’ll drop a gear in advance. If you’re going to do something life-threatening, you’ll drop two.

        In the Camry, though, waiting for the gears to drop enough to spool the engine into usable territory can sometimes be a little frightening. Then the car makes a lot of noise from under the hood while the speedometer creeps up at a slow… steady… pace.

        Nothing compares to the sheepishness you feel driving a Camry screaming past 5500 RPM at the intense speeds of ~60-75 MPH while you pass the slow people hanging out in the right lane.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          See, that’s what I’m talking about. I don’t mind a car that can’t do 150 miles per hour or accelerate to 60 in 4 seconds, but if I’m making moves on the highway or moving away from a stoplight, I want to push the pedal down and get something in response.

          That of course requires a well-designed transmission and an engine with enough low-end torque to get gears changing. Gotta admit, the only positive about my old ’95 Skylark with its 3.1 OHV V6/4 speed transaxle combo was that the V6 had enough torque to at least get moving from a stoplight. Sure it would basically run out of power around 70 mph which made highway travel a little interesting, but it could at least do one nice thing.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            I have a Ford F150 with the 300 that’s the same way. It will not pass well. I’ve floored it a few times and kicked down a gear (Manual transmission) to pass when I should have had plenty of time.

            That’s dangerous. My 305-equipped Chevrolet truck probably won’t go over 80, but it’ll move if I pour the dinosaurs in. That’s good enough for me.

            ———

            If you don’t mind my asking, what did you do with that Buick? I remember the Piston Slap article on it.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            @matador: It got passed on to a family friend when I got my T-Bird. Front end is still ruined from the black ice incident but it’s mechanically in the same shape as it was the last time I drove it.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Easy. In a world with wide, flat, 6-lane interstates and oblivioids clogging the road and taking 4 city blocks to get to anything resembling reasonable speeds, the extra horsepower is wasted. Minnesota is a pretty joyless state to drive in anyway, unless you head up to Duluth – and that’s only because there is interesting geology to look at up there.

      I’ve driven 4-cylinder vehicles pretty much exclusively and have never felt lacking. The 50 or so horsepower necessary to keep running a constant speed is produced just as well in a 4-cylinder engine as in a 6-cylinder.

    • 0 avatar
      aycaramba

      You should drive one. I tried the 4cyl Accord EX-L and found it to be quite a good car. Joyful? No, but much better than I would’ve expected to be, given the weight bloat in cars over the last decade.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Maybe joyful isn’t the right word…perhaps spirited? Whatever it is, the opposite of sluggish. If a 185 hp 4 cylinder Accord that weighs 3400 lbs can get up and move, then I guess it’s a fine engine after all.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I’ve gotten a lot of fun out of a 3,500 pound car with under 80.

      You get to accelerate at 100%.

      You get to take corners *as fast as it can go* in a canyon – and not because you had to slow down to take the corner, just flooring it.

      Thus, when I drove an early 2k Accord of a friend’s, new, maybe 160hp vs. 3200 pounds, it was like *driving a god-damn Go Cart*.

      If you can’t see joy in a 190hp, 3500 pound sedan, well… try driving one like you want to enjoy it.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        (And yes, I was taking joyful as synonymous with spirited, or the ability to do same.

        I assure you that an almost-200-hp sedan of 3,500 pounds can move just fine.

        Admittedly, I’m really enjoying 130 vs. 2,500 in my Corolla… enough to make me think a T4 or V6 midsize will be its replacement, to keep or improve the power:weight ratio.)

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “I assure you that an almost-200-hp sedan of 3,500 pounds can move just fine.”

          Yeah, it can, but I’m not going for “just fine”. I want some entertainment when I nail that skinny pedal. The 200hp I4 in my TSX doesn’t cut it. The 240hp in my 2800lb S2000 barely cuts it.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Those cars’ problems aren’t a lack of horsepower, it’s a lack of street driving horsepower (aka torque). My old roommate had an AP1 when I had a cammed H22A Accord. They had to have weighed within 50lbs of each other. We both agreed that on the street my Accord had appreciably more punch, even though in a highway roll on drag to triple digit speeds the AP1 would handily pull away. I didn’t want to say it to dude but I found my Accord more fun to drive, at least on surface streets and highways. I’m sure on winding roads the S2K comes alive, but as a street car its a bit of a waste. Shame they didn’t put a high revving J35 in it… that would have saved it.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            You’ve got to retrain yourself to drive the S2000; instead of shifting at 2500-3k, you shift at 4k-4500. You’re still using ~half the redline like you are in a normal car, it’s just numerically higher. Driven this way, the car does just fine in traffic, it just doesn’t give me the giggles anymore. It either needs a supercharger or to get traded for a C7. Once daycare is finished….

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        That just reminds me of my first car that only lasted a year, a 1987 Chevy Nova. It was a bit top heavy and had skinny little 175-width fairly low profile tires on 13 inch wheels which made cornering a bit interesting and lane changes with a crosswind downright terrifying…and yes, I had to drive it at 100 percent at all times because the carbureted 1.6 inline 4 made such little power.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Guys who are obsessed with the “joy of driving a slow car fast” are like guys who think touching themselves is better than female companionship because “I can do it whenever I want and there’s no chance of getting rejected”. Sure, beating the snot out of a slow car, or your meat, is fun sometimes, but sometimes you want to actually feel the real thing (sensation of speed, that is).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’m always on Jack’s case about rebelling against the new, so it pains me to have to agree with him here. But on an emotional level, I do. The Honda J-series V6 in particular is just so good, and no four-cylinder turbo has the same sound or the feeling of being happy to rev to the moon.

    What I would really love would be the return of the V6 hybrid, but this time with Honda’s 2-motor hybrid system rather than the lame, underdeveloped, pointless IMA. In other words, the current Accord Hybrid, but with a J30 as the generator. The Accord Hybrid is a fantastic machine but sounds cheap and unrefined, thanks to the four, when the engine is being asked to generate lots of watts. The conventional Accord V6 is fun but there is just more potential for goodness in a car with a big electric motor.

    You can have dead-silent operation at low speed or in stop-and-go. You have instant and major torque off the line when needed. You have perfect smoothness, with no annoying jerks when the transmission shifts. You get better weight distribution with a big battery in the back. You get fantastic city MPG, which are increasingly important as the world grows and there is more and more traffic.

    The day will come soon when I’m going to replace my G8 GXP. It’s huge fun and very confidence-inspiring but it leads me into bad behavior and is a bit unrefined for carrying passengers (especially in terms of interior material and build quality). I’m having a hard time deciding between staying the course — a 2015 Chevy SS with a stick and a nicer interior — or moving to a more rational Honda product. None of the current candidates (Accord Hybrid, Accord V6 Touring sedan, Accord V6 6MT coupe, TLX 2.4, TLX 3.5) seems quite perfect for what I want, for varying reasons. An Accord or TLX V6 Hybrid would be, particularly if Honda would get over its obsession with pinching pennies in the brake system.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I was pretty anti-TLX at first (I really wanted SH-AWD and an I4T for ~$35k) but when I found out the AWD V6 Tech is around $40k, not $50k as was expected, I was a lot more excited. I don’t care about slightly sloppy handling; I bought the better-handling (I4) TSX this time around, and I die a little more every time I hit the gas and nothing happens. Next time, give me POOWWAAHHH and not FWD. If I want to row my own gears that’s what the sports car is for.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’m definitely going to test drive both the TLX 2.4 and the TLX 3.5 AWD, once my wallet recovers from having just bought a house and TLX supply starts exceeding demand.

        I loved my 2004 TSX, and it had enough power for 95% of the driving I do. It needed a bit more on road trips, though. And now I’ve been spoiled by driving a truly fast RWD car for the last five years. So the V6 and excellent AWD appeals to me.

        But I also prefer the idea of the DCT to the ZF 9-speed Kludge-o-Matic… I like the 300 lbs. lower weight… and I like the idea of paying $35k rather than $41k. Like I said, I’ll end up trying out both. (Along with the Chevy SS and the Accords I named.)

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          My wife gets next car, probably the facelifted RDX (and I need to buy a house as well), but once all that is accomplished, I figure the V6 TLX is what I’ve wanted, my TSX with more HP, not FWD, and a couple extra cogs in the gearbox.

        • 0 avatar
          Eiriksmal

          Yeesh. You drive one of the finest fast (I think?) sedans ever built. Why would you do such a thing? How can you ever give up the gobs of power you have on tap? But, simultaneously, how can you ever get something faster? You jumped straight to the pinnacle with no room to get something faster! Well, unless you buy a super-luxmobile, I guess.

          It’s like Midas’s golden touch, man.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Because speed isn’t everything when you live in a state where the maximum speed limit is 70 and you will get a ticket for 76 from plenty of cops.

            I hesitate to step off the Holden train more because the suspension and steering is the best I’ve ever experienced in a sedan (including several luxury marques) than because I’ll miss the power. If I buy a Chevy SS it will be because for 2015 it will have that same brilliant chassis but now with MRS.

            And the G8 interior really is a joke, except for the comfy seats. There is a symphony of rattles and squeaks, horrendously poor panel fits, and the plastics would have been rejected by Fisher-Price for poor quality. The SS interior looks much better in pictures but I haven’t sat in one yet.

          • 0 avatar
            Eiriksmal

            Like I said, you drive one of the finest sedans ever built. It has the power needed to move its bulk with alacrity and a well-designed suspension to provide comfort and sporting prowess–simultaneously.

            I look at 6MT G8 GXP prices from time to time, but they aren’t budging from the mid $30,000s!

            The only Holden I’ve ridden in was a buddy’s 6MT GTO with the small V8. It was… shockingly sublime. I couldn’t believe how comfortable the seats were and how compliant the ride was. Even the _rear_ buckets swallowed my lanky 6’2″ body with barely a shrug. It may be ugly as a Chevy Cavalier, but it was quite the beast, mechanically.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            There’s no question it’s a great car, but it does have its weaknesses, and if I want to keep my record somewhat clean I can’t use much of the speed. (I got a ticket for 9 over the limit, just cruising on a straight highway in nice weather, about a month ago.)

            Mine has about 36,000 miles and is in excellent condition except for a couple of very minor cosmetic scratches dating from my time in DC. Based on recent eBay auctions I expect to get in the mid- to high 20s for it after I fix the scratches. It really has held its value well for a five-year-old off-brand sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            Eiriksmal

            *sighs* Quit reminding me that there’s nothing perfect in this world, not even a $40,000 super sedan. :(

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Turbo 4s don’t have to be low-reving, they are just tuned that way for max torque. My Abarth screams for the redline just as eagerly as any Honda motor. The 2.0T EcoTech in my old 9-3 was a very smooth and happy revver too. But you didn’t HAVE to rev it, and that is the difference. I would rather have all that torque at 2K. So much more relaxed. In a light sportscar, sure, it’s fun to rev the nuts off the thing, but I don’t want that in my daily driver. And neither do 90% of the rest of the population.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    180″ long mid-sizer with large interior, short nose (thus disallowing the use of V6), low weight and fairly good power?

    Well, I think you just envisioned the current Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    Excellent Buckaroo Banzai reference :)

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    My folks bought a 92 Camry with the V6. That car felt like a refined rocket compared to my Malaise era 3.8 powered Regal. I remember them shopping it against the Lesabre at the time. The Camry wasn’t anything really specially, but it was eons ahead of the Lesabre.

    Turbos are fine, but even being tuned for low end torque, they aren’t great when the road rises. Around here in Pittsburgh, our hills aren’t kind to force fed engines. And we don’t have the altitude variation to justify it like the mountains in the West. I can only imagine how turbo owners do around here. My non-turbo Altima would see at least a 2-3 mpg drop driving around at home compared to my driving through flat Ohio.

    I only imagine how EcoBoost and the like do around here, especially since so many people blast around like the accelerator is a switch. I know these light turbos are almost always on the boost, but constantly having to rev up and down for the terrain can’t help. My 1.8t Jetta would only average about 17-18mpg in town, but on an extended drive on vacation, nearly 21 in all city driving.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      “Eons ahead of the 1992 LeSabre”

      Unless you were looking at a holdover 1991 model, I’d beg to differ. I own one of the Jellybean LeSabres, and love it. The dashboard gauges may have been pulled from a 1973 Electra, but it goes… and goes… and goes. And, it’s smooth.

      The 1992-1999 LeSabre was a nicer car. IF you were looking at one of the 1991s, both the Jellybean Buick and the Camry would be lightyears ahead!

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “IF you were looking at one of the 1991s, both the Jellybean Buick and the Camry would be lightyears ahead!”

        Pistols at dawn, Matador!

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          What did I say!?

          The 1991 LeSabre was the tailend of a generation. I thought that the next generation was improved.

          The Camry had a more modern interior, and looks nicer in hindsight.

          ——————-

          But, I would have still taken the 1991 LeSabre over a Camry. I don’t like Japanese cars, and have no desire to drive any Toyota, Nissan, or (Especially) Honda product.

          I still think that the Jellybean (92-99) LeSabres were better cars than their predecessor. But, I’d drive the cheese-wedge LeSabre.

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    “Ten years from now, your children or younger friends will look at the Camry V6 the way I looked at the Cutlass 403: as a willfully atavistic throwback to a vanished past.”-
    I don’t see the old V6 Camry’s as akin to a 403 Olds. A ’91 can imagine 30mpg, and will still be a relevant beater for at least another decade. I understand they probably could’ve got it done without a V6, but I can’t fault them for using it as a selling point.
    The 403 was outdated in 1977; the ’78 Cutlass proved that.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      We also had the same 155hp 2.5L V6 on our 1990 Camry LE. Very smooth, but we never got better than 14L/100km city in that thing, nor better than 12.5s doing the 0-100km/h sprint. It also demanded 91 octane for best performance.

      Contrast that with our 132hp 2.2L I4 in our 1998 Camry, which averaged 10L/100km in the same city driving, and 11s doing the same sprint while weighing the same 3200lb. Plus everything was better: the ride, handling, seats, headlights, and interior room.

      I reminisce about old cars the same way I do about computers: I’m sure glad they’re the past and not the future.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        > I reminisce about old cars the same way I do
        > about computers: I’m sure glad they’re the past and not the future.

        I think new cars are just the worst. Narrow side windows look stupid and reduce visibility. So do thick A-pillars. With some exceptions, weight increases over time. Manual transmissions go away. Wheels become stupid large. Steering feel is increasingly difficult to find. Etc., etc.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Well, hell… now I want to find out how many cylinders *I* have.
    You guys make it sound important.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Most importantly, it had the 403. Absurdly oversquare engine. Whisper quiet but when the light went green it shoved.”

    Now you’ve started me Oldsmobile daydreaming.

    Right now I’m just enjoying the V6 thrust in my own ride. If I’m feeling frisky or need to close the gap on traffic (or squirt ahead of traffic) the acceleration can be pretty wicked when you want to use all the pedal travel. I’m loving it.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I just don’t see a world where every vehicle has tiny hybrid 4 cylinder turbo drive trains in order to combat high gas prices.

    I tend to think once (if) oil prices truly get out of hand, it will be a pretty dramatic shift to electric cars or maybe natural gas if there’s still a huge spread between oil and gas. And that option will stabilize oil prices from getting too absurd.

    Also, the savings between an identical car with a V6 and a 4 cylinder are really pretty menial for most budgets. At least for me, you’re talking $15 a month, that’s pretty close to a single lunch these days.

    If it gets to the point where it usually takes $120 or so in today’s dollars to fill up the tank, people will gladly pay $500 a month for a new electric car rather than spending $400 or so a month at a gas station to keep their gas car going.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You make excellent points.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yes innovation will be the answer, not powerless engines. Like every change there is an ebb and flow. Look at the V6s that replaced the V8s, they made V8 like power. Whatever the mainstream looks like in 10 years, I can bet the higher trim versions make between 250 and 300 hp whether powered by gas, CNG, electric, fuel-cell, or a combination.

  • avatar
    bts

    I think the best move for Toyota would be to put in an inline 5 cylinder engine to the Camry. At about 3.2 L would make decent power, say 250 hp, and they can avoid the turbocharging mess of the other brands while still making their cars shorter and lighter. Seems like VW is the only brand with the smarts to have figured this out.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      An I5 would be a wide engine to mount transversely. V6s and I4s aren’t that bad, by comparison. I know Volvo has a transverse I5 and I6, and it ain’t pretty.

      It’s also rougher than an I4. At 3.2L+ we could be in “tractor” levels of refinement.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      …and yet both VW and Volvo are abandoning their I-5s, both replacing them with turbo fours. Honda also abandoned its I-5 after just two generations of cars.

      The I-5 hasn’t panned out in practice, which is too bad because it makes a neat noise.

      • 0 avatar
        Bangernomist

        Volvo did pretty well making the transverse I6 fit in more or less the same space as the I5, by packaging the ancillaries alongside the block and driving them via gears from the rear of the crank. I suppose it is expensive to build which may limit its attraction to mass market cars. The S80′s turning circle is no worse than its competition.

        Now if you applied the same tricks to a four, you might fit a 2.5L mill in, say, a Fiesta. Hmm…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I5s never work like you hope they will. The fuel economy of a 6 without the smoothness or performance.

      Not to mention, average Camry buyer doesn’t give a crap about horsepower, beyond having enough power to merge a fully loaded car onto a highway. The Camry is literally perfect as is for the folks who tend to buy them.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Jack, I don’t think you’ve been paying attention.

    ” Make no mistake, the Japanese have taken notice of the fact that the new Sonata gains a space-utilization and weight advantage from its shorter nose and forward cabin.”

    Really.

    The new Sonata Turbo weighs 143 lbs more than the old, and at 3600 lbs handily out-porkers a V6 Camry. Hell, an Avalon weighs less than the turbo Sonata, so I doubt Toyota has wondered, if they actually got around to it at all, why a fat blimp Sonata is compelling in any meaningful way.

    No, the Japanese manufacturers are stuck in their own versions of hell, like Honda’s VCM cylinder deactivation system, now in its third useless iteration for the V6 auto Accord. Can you spot weird subliminal flat spots and hesitation? I bet you could, because your Coupe V6 manual doesn’t have it and I love that version too. Couldn’t put up with the auto in the sedan myself.

    You should test the new Chrysler 200 V6, because it will probably be the last midsizer to lose the V6. The AWD version I drove squeaked the tires on the 1-2 shift, leaving me to wonder about the 325 lb lighter FWD version, which at 3525 lbs is also lighter than the Sonata.

    So far as the Japanese are concerned, yet more bespoke versions of the world standard 2.0t are no doubt in all their futures. Will Honda finally discover fully variable valve timing or continue to tout their Mark 1 VTEC as a technological breakthrough? Will Toyota deliver the same anonymous power their current 2.5l rental racecar exhibits? Will Nissan finally rid themselves of that coarse but highly economical 2.5 four and replace it with a smoother, less economical 2.0t? Probably.

    As the Altima 4 weighs the same or less than a Cruze or Dart, their engineers aren’t too bothered by Hyundai Sonatas. In fact, I submit you should have based your article on this 3175 pound car, in which you can still get a V6. It’s easily the class lightweight. The Sonata, god love it, is the porker and the worst example to pick out as the shining light of progress.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Nobody states the obvious like Jack. Although I disagree with Nissan being characterized as a follower.

    A 90 degree V4 would be perfectly balanced, like an I6. Too bad the packaging sucks and it’s expensive. Maybe one of the Germans will experiment with it.

    My understanding is that the optimal displacement for efficiency is around .6 liters per piston, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the I3s creep up to 1.8 liters, although they will be rough as f*ck without some kind of magical balancing.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Optimal bore (forget stroke for now) is dependent upon the piston crown shape. With direct injection the piston has a cavity that acts like a piston_in_a_piston allowing very lean burn and little heat to waste out the combustion chamber through conduction. 2 stroke slow speed diesel do the same, that’s why they are so thermally efficient.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I forget where I read it, but there are a lot of ~2.4 liter I4s, ~3.6 liter V6s and ~4.8 liter V8s.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I4 – 2.5 and greater tend to be rough and unrefined without lots of development work and balance shafts.

          The other displacements? I personally always thought that V8s between 4.6 and 5.7 liters were universally pretty sweet.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Probably due to the flat crank causing all 4 cylinders to hit dead spots and reverse direction at the same time. It will be harder to tune for that as weight and stroke (longer stroke means more speed of piston at dead center) increases. A cross plane 4 cylinder could eliminate that issue and allow for larger displacement smoother engines. I don’t see car manufacturers ever going that way in practice.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            “The other displacements? I personally always thought that V8s between 4.6 and 5.7 liters were universally pretty sweet.”

            I’m talking about optimal fuel efficiency for a given power output, not smoothness.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @racer-esq., after driving a car with the legendary Iron Duke as my first car, fuel consumption has always taken a backseat to smoothness & soundtrack for me. Forgive me for missing your point.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            So there’s this thing called CAFE. . .

            Don’t get me wrong, I think the old 1.8 liter Mazda V6 is bad as f*ck, and I would love to put it in some kind of project car.

            But going forward automakers are going to be going with the absolute most efficient methods to get a given level of output. That is what has me wondering when we are going to see a 1.8 liter I3.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You’ve already got a 1.5-liter turbo three in the new-generation Mini Cooper (non-S).

    • 0 avatar
      rdeiriar

      @racer-esq A 90 degree V4 needs a big balance shaft. As an example, see the old Taunus V4 (Ford of Germany).

      Motocycle V4 are reasonably smooth as they have very light reciprocating internals. The bigger ones use balance shafts too.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I had a fusion se 2.5l rental for 2 weeks recently. I don’t feel like it was missing anything in the power dept and the transmission tuning and handling were outstanding. I didnt miss my 4.6l 1997 tbird one bit. I also didn’t miss my previous 97 olds 88 with the 3.8l v6. 2 additional gears more than makes up for having a 4 cylinder under the bonnet.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Veee-six muscle cars
    Make a man out of a mouse

    Veee-six muscle cars
    Make you bust out of your blouse

    Drive them all the time
    Let them blow your mind

    *Wo hen jiao nian duilian wo meiyou qu dong V-six muscle car!*

  • avatar
    carguy

    People shouldn’t confuse 4 cylinder with slow. A 4 banger Accord can hit 60 in about 7.5 seconds which was sports car territory 20 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      Very true. My parent’s 2001 Accord is gutless, especially with 4 people. Their 2014 Accord? Pretty darn spry, even loaded down. Made me believe that CVTs don’t suck.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Pontiac 400 > Olds 350 > Olds 403

  • avatar
    Prado

    Taking this article further, I have to wonder if we are slowly entering into a new ‘mini malaise’ era. Good steering feel is mostly gone, drive trains are being downsized and being supplemented with half baked technologies that frequently detract from the driving experience. All the while, the MPG gains from these newer drive trains are increasingly falling short of their claims in the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      All in the name, and under the guise, of fuel economy. Fortunately, for the discerning drivers, there is still some choice. Not much, but some. And the choices are fewer as we march on through automotive time….

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I wouldn’t go quite as far as malaise, even mini malaise, since those cars were objectively awful and the worst you can say for the new ones is they’re subjectively uninteresting.

      And it goes without saying that fuel economy distantly followed by crash standards did most of that gelding. But we’ve done a fair piece of it to ourselves, too.

      Everyone knows the new model needs to be more refined, which means smoother and quieter, than the old one. 30 years and 6 or 8 generations of that refinement and we’re basically there. Every car from $15,000 Daewoos on up has the NVH you used to need a Lexus for.

      Which is to say 50 is the same as 70 is the same as 90 is the same as sitting still, at least until you come across a state trooper on cashier duty. Or a deer.

      That’s pretty uninteresting too. Some people defend their old (and occasionally not so old) 12 second shitboxes as the joy of driving a slow car fast, and they’re wrong because 12 seconds LOL, but there’s something to be said for letting through some of the violence of the giant machine you’re using. Hear the engine. Hear the rush of the wind. Feel the wheels fighting against you.

      And that something is that we don’t want to hear it. With electric steering we don’t want to feel it either.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      No

      During the Malaise era, cars sucked from top to bottom. I am talking, Corvettes, 911s, Ferraris, and everything down

      Just off the top of my head, here’s a list of cars designed to deal with the onslaught of increasing regs that are still pretty much the pinnacle of performance, refinement, inflation adjusted value etc

      M235i
      Mustang GT
      C7 Vette
      Base Boxster Cayman (still low 13 second cars!!!!)
      911
      Toyobaru Freeze Breeze
      Miata
      GTI
      Accord Sport
      Mazda 3/6/CX-5
      Camaro ZL1
      WRX/STI
      370Z

      We have lost some soldiers for sure (NSX, S2K, Elise) but we are in the midst of a golden performance age.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The point being made here is that we are in the dénouement of that age, and into “minor malaise era # 2!” (I was thinking that yesterday morning after having read this article and most of these comments!)

        If necessary, I’ll trade in my 2013 Accord Touring for the last Accord Touring before the car is force-fed! Or better yet, the next Accord will get a Hybrid variant with a K24 or J30 as the ICE, with a more compact electric motor and battery system which will open up a normal trunk and allow the back seat to flop forward, while giving back factory foglights lost because part of the hybrid’s cooling intake takes their place on the current car.

        I want my torque NOW, and not a half-second after I press the skinny pedal (with a VTEC growl, and not some wimpy screaming snail which may give trouble despite my OCD maintenance)! I want REAL POWER to pass the idiot doing 50mph in front of me while merging onto a freeway, if needed. REAL POWER allows me to exist in traffic and get out of sticky situations without having to beat the tar out of the engine and especially transmission (as that’s always going to be a weak point in any Honda)

        And with all that, I still can get mid-30s highway while the cruise is set around 80mph and the A/C chillin’; last week while driving around the I-75 speed limit of 70mph between Toledo and Detroit in order to await a following vehicle, and the “ECO” mode engaged (with A/C running enough to keep things comfortable), I saw almost 41mpg on the trip computer, so in real numbers, I was doing high 30s!

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Lol if you want real power now you couldn’t do worse than VTEC. “All the lag, none of the boost”… especially in anything over 2800lbs.

          I love love love NA and VTEC, but high revving high HP/L motors just suck on the street. I like having the choice of revving to redline, but not HAVING to rev to redline to get around.

          Turbo 4 bangers generally suck, but the 6 and 8 banger turbo motors are pretty damn good. I hated the BMW 3.0TT until I actually drove one.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    When I drive to work tomorrow, I’m going to rev the hell out of the 3.5L V6 in my MKZ and think of you Jack Baruth!

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Forgotten in nearly all the posts and article, the CUV has overtaken mid-size sedan as Mr and Mrs Suburb’s favorite new ride.

    They want ride height to see when to weave through traffic, and big cargo area to haul all the ‘Amazon.com stuff’ from UPS/Fed Ex/DHL delivery depot to home.

    Maybe the sedan is nearing ‘extinction’ and traffic will be slower from all the slow turning ‘vans’. C-SUV driver could not care less about ‘driving excitement’ and more about ‘infotainment’.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I’ve never quite understood that effect. When I drive my F-150, the visibility isn’t really any better than in my Audi wagon. The problem is that everyone else has a truck/CUV/Suburban. But, height makes confidence.

      All I know is- I’ll pass on the CUV. We rented one once, and it wasn’t all that more useful than my wagon. You can’t use the cargo space difference (If there is any), the fuel mileage is worse, and I can drive the Audi like a car, not a bloated whale.

      I’ve never understood “infotainment” anyways. I just want AM/FM, so I can listen to the Oldies channel. What more is there to ask for?

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        I can speak to the “infotainment” thing Matador. Depending on your musical tastes you just can’t get what you want from terrestrial radio. I like listen to oldies and new country, but I also love listening to “rat pack” music, 90s grunge, hard rock, and a whole plethora of metal (symphonic metal, progressive metal, etc.) I can’t hear Alice in Chains, Dream Theater, Adelita’s Way, Kamelot, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Ihsahn, etc on terrestrial radio. Hell here in Chicago I can’t even listen to big artists like Nirvana or Chevelle on the radio. So I use XM and Pandora to find what I like. XM has a whole station dedicated to Frank Sinatra and similar music! Terrestrial radio is increasingly playing nothing but “adult contemporary” (two chord overproduced half-electronic autotuned nonsense like Rihanna, Bieber, Lady gaga, etc) with a sprinkling of some hip-hop, country, and oldies. If that describes the breadth of your musical interests, you’re fine, but those of us who like less popular stuff it doesn’t cut it. That said an Android or iPhone with a aux cable does the job nicely.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Yup, and the tape deck is a built in aux adaptor! I found a junkyard radio with a tape deck for my Alero, just to play music off my iPhone.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            The AUX input would serve me well. I’ve been tempted to switch to satellite type radio. I wouldn’t write off the car, though.

            How has XM or Pandora worked for you? I drive a lot (40,000 miles/year) and have considered either satellite or smartphone based options.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            XM is a nice service, if they have a channel you really like. Its main strength is is works everywhere.

            I usually use my iphone either for music in my collection (no one plays polka music on the radio :) or I use cellular data and the tuneinradio app to stream talk shows i like. Of course, if you are in an area with poor cellular data service, this doesn’t work.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        @matador,

        XM and Pandora are both good service with pros and cons. Pandora basically requires a fast connection with a big data cap. I have unlimited LTE so it works for me. I prefer XM as a service though. Plus its integrated into my truck so I can switch stations with the trucks controls. However I refuse to pay the bonkers price they ask for it. So I cyclically cancel my service, wait for them to offer me a 75% off come back to us deal while using Pandora. Once the deals introductory rate runs out (5 months typically) I cancel and so on. XM has a great variety and the comedy stations are amazing. Pandora is free but eats data like a kid eating Halloween candy.

        PS. Keep that Buick forever! Even though my Suburban is superior to my old b body wagon in every conceivable way there isn’t a day I don’t miss it. I worked hard to buy it and have many memories originating from it.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          XM if you drive in areas where a data connection might be flaky, internet radio for cities (won’t cut out in tunnels or near tall buildings).

          Frylock350′s strategy to keep the XM rates low definitely works, but it is generally an awful conversation. XM does not make it convenient to cancel. I gave up because of this.

          I think Pandora does well with a marginal connection and doesn’t eat too much data. I have the higher quality (whatever that means) setting checked too. I used to stream it off of Sprint’s crappy WiMAX network (their first attempt at “4G”) and it worked fine so long as I had a data connection. I was driving 80 miles per day and I don’t think I ever used more than 2GBs of data.

          Pandora is increasingly aggressive with the adds though. If you use the “free” version, the ad frequency is approaching FM at this point.

          Lots of other services to check out – Songza, Slacker, Spotify. I like Songza, though it doesn’t handle marginal connections as well as Pandora. If you have Amazon Prime, you have access to a decent amount of free music. You can download to your device for free as well. Amazon Music Player is rough with the battery though.

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          I’d go with the phone if you can. I live in an area with poor reception so I use XM. Good music selection and I also like baseball. Their pricing model is a pain. You do have to threaten to quit to keep getting the “intro” rate. Even worse if you decide you want to listen to it in the house or the internet, which I don’t.

  • avatar
    LambourneNL

    It’s already happened here in Europe. Cheapest car with more than 4 cylinders that I can find here in the Netherlands is a base, stick shift Volvo S60 D5 5 cylinder diesel at just over €40k ($55K). If you want a 6 cylinder it starts at over €50k ($66K) for a BMW 335i, Skoda Superb or MB C-class.

    It’s all emissions driven. The CO2 taxes are incredibly punitive towards bigger engines. A new Camaro costs €106k ($141K) here, over two thirds of that price is taxes. You can get an M3 for less than that.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Does anyone else remember intermediate cars? That’s what these really are.

    It used to be like this for the longest time:

    Compact (Ford Escort/Focus/Small Crapbox)
    Intermediate (Ford Fusion/Contour/Whatever)
    Midsize (Ford Taurus)
    Full Size (Ford Crown Vic)

    Now the real full size is gone and the midsize has stepped in name,

  • avatar
    SOneThreeCoupe

    So many responses.

    I’ve never owned anything with a V6. As a matter of fact, I regard nearly every car with a V6 to be either too boring, too heavy, too FWD, or it’s just plain not what I like. The demise of the V6 just doesn’t matter to me. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with a V6 car I’d truly like to own for an extended period time and other than the Z32 300ZX, which I have not driven, I haven’t been able to come up with one.

    I have two problems with gas V6s- they’re thirsty and they aren’t made by BMW. If I have a gas six in my car, it’s straight and made by one of two companies: BMW (naturally aspirated) or Nissan (turbocharged), and my preference is in that order.

  • avatar
    ktm_525

    V6s going away? I was concerned about having to go down to a V6 from my current fleet of V8s (LR4 and G8GT). I better get on my plan of shipping a used Impala SS northward soon.

    I figured I am old enough to perhaps make a rule of V8s or nothing…Perhaps I would bend the rules for a smooooth I6.


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