Last time TTAC looked at the Lexus GS Hybrid, Jack and I descended upon Vegas, drank too much, shared too much and one of us got purse-slapped (it wasn’t Jack). In other news, Jack found the GS a willing partner on the track, I kept drawing comparisons to the Volvo S80 T6 and Hyundai Genesis, and both of us agreed the GS 450h would be the car we’d buy. Despite telling you all that we would have a full review in “a few months,” it has in fact been “a few years.” Since that pair of articles hit, the luxury hybrid landscape has changed dramatically.
As of October, the most fuel-efficient mid-sized sedan in America is the Honda Accord. Or so Honda says. After all, Ford has been trumpeting a matching 47 MPG combined from their Fusion. Who is right? And more importantly, can the Accord get Honda back into the hybrid game after having lost the initial hybrid battles with their maligned Integrated Motor Assist system? Honda invited us to sample the 2014 Accord Hybrid as well as a smorgasbord of competitive products to find out.
Our last look at the Accord was back in September when we ran a two-parter (part 1, part 2) after being invited to the launch event. Yes, shockingly our invite wasn’t lost in the mail. As TTAC has said in the past, there are problems with launch events. Usually you’re running around in a pre-production car that may not be “quite right” yet, you have to split your driving time with some dude from another publication (shout out to Hooniverse on that trip). Drive time is limited, and exclusively done on roads selected by the manufacturer. Sometimes you don’t get the trim level you want either. What I wanted was one step up from the base model, the mainstream EX and I wanted it on the same roads I’ve driven the other Camcord competitors. Here’s that review.
The “family sedan” may not be very exciting, but without midsized sales auto makers would be in a pickle. Ponder this: the five best-selling midsized sedans in America accounted for 1.3 million of the 12.8 million vehicles sold in 2011. With numbers like that, it’s important to get your mass-market people mover right. This means competitive fuel economy, a low base price and swipe as much tech from your luxury brand as possible. Either that or just wear a Nissan badge on the front. Say what? The last generation Altima was the second best-selling car despite being long in the tooth and filled with Chrysler quality plastics. That made me ask an important question: Is the fifth-generation Altima any good, or is it selling well (now in third place thanks to the new Accord and Nissan’s model change over) just because it has a Nissan logo on the front?
Well, that was quick. GM is apparently planning a mid-cycle refresh for the Chevrolet Malibu in 2013, 18 months after the car was released in showrooms.
I wasn’t planning to review the Chrysler 200. Renaming a lightly revised car to escape a well-deserved bad reputation always strikes me as a lame tactic. And the Sebring, on which the 200 is based, was so far off in so many ways that I didn’t see the point. We don’t just review cars to trash them around here. But then I drove the revised minivan, and was very pleasantly surprised. Perhaps Chrysler had similarly transformed the Sebring when creating the 200? With a Buick Regal for the week, and a need for some reference points, the time had come to find out.
These six sedans are the fleshy part of the American car market. Big-name D-segment sedans sell like crazy, and pretty much made Honda and Toyota what they are today. Their dominance of this segment, often called “Camccord” after their two best-sellers, remains unchecked as each has spent three months on top of the chart. But there’s danger down below. Hyundai’s Sonata has been making steady progress all year (June excepted), and the Malibu has enjoyed more modest, but equally steady growth. Altima all but matched Camry in February, and gave Accord a scare in March. There’s still a tight pack of four nipping at the heels of the big dogs. Time to start coming up with a new nickname for the D-Segment?
My sister’s current car, ’98 Nissan Altima A/T 180k Miles, recently came back from the mechanic where she received the unfortunate news that expensive repairs were in her near to immediate future. She’s been toying with the idea of purchasing a new car for the past year or so, and the recent news of dropping 2k into a car of such age and mileage finally has made her expedite her search. As such, she came to the knowledgeable “car guy” in the family… yours truly. She is looking for something reasonably inexpensive (roughly 25k max), automatic, four-door sedan, decent m.p.g., and most importantly excellent reliability with the intention of keeping the car for 10 or so years. Together we have narrowed down the choices to the following: Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, VW Jetta, and the Ford Fusion. I’m personally leaning towards the Altima, but am unsure of the long-term reliability and cost of replacing/repairing the CVT. She liked the Fusion as well, but is being cautious on the reliability of a car on a newer platform.
Driving enthusiasts love to hate the Toyota Camry. Yet, despite the company’s current troubles, it remains the best-selling car in the United States. Hyundai would love to steal the crown, or at least tens of thousands of customers. So it recently launched a totally redesigned 2011 Sonata and will be advertising it heavily. Should Toyota be concerned?
Hyundai’s Sonata would be a quantum leap forward for the Korean firm under any circumstances, but with a direct-injected standard model, a new hybrid model and now a twin-scroll turbocharged model, it also offers three of the hottest technologies in the business today. The turbo version makes 274 hp, 269 lb-ft of torque while still achieving an estimated 22/34 mpg, making it a V6-free performance option in the crowded midsized segment. Too bad it won’t be available with a manual transmission.
When it comes to the freshened 2010 Ford Fusion, TTAC’s got you covered like Alan Mulally’s life insurance policy. Over the past few months, no fewer than three full-length reviews have served up our impressions of the base gasoline 4-cylinder SE (with manual trans, no less), the hot-rod AWD 3.5-liter V6 Sport model, and even the much-lauded Fusion Hybrid planet-saver. Interestingly, the mid-line FWD 3.0 V6 SEL model has somehow escaped our scrutiny. Until now.