By on September 29, 2016

2017 Nissan Maxima

Okay, maybe I won’t defend your right to the death.

But I promise, at the least, to defend on an internet web blog site your right to drive what you want.

I don’t drink coffee, I don’t like onions, I avoid footwear whenever possible, and I can’t generate any personal interest in any football game other than the Super Bowl.

But I’m glad you visit Starbucks every morning, I’m happy there’s gum to be chewed after you eat a burger laden with onions, I’m thankful there are socks to cover up your ghastly hooves, and I think it’s great that you found something to do on autumn Sunday afternoons.

Likewise, I believe the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Fiat 500L are heinous transportation devices. But if you want a GLC Coupe, Mirage, or 500L, I’m glad — for your sake and mine — that Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, and Fiat have made those vehicles available.

Choice is wonderful. Homogeneity is horrible.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

STANDARDIZATION
You can’t have it both ways.

On the one hand, you can walk into a Mercedes-Benz dealership and decide between five sedans (including two that Mercedes-Benz calls coupes), three actual coupes plus the AMG GT junior supercar, one wagon, five convertibles, five SUVs/crossovers including two available in “coupe” bodystyles, and three plug-ins. The price spectrum spans $217,200.

Or, on the other hand, we could all be driving a 2017 Toyota Corolla LE with the standard CVT and falcon grey metallic paint. Looks greige to me.

Roughly 350,000 new Corollas will find homes in the United States this year. But what if that number was 50 times stronger? What if every member of the U.S. car buying public this year drove home in a Toyota Corolla?

STANDARDIZED EXCELLENCE?
Furthermore, what if everyone drove home in a Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang? The Shelby would lose an awful lot of its special quotient when the only difference between yours and your neighbor’s was your choice of white stripes on blue instead of blue stripes on white.

Are you going to try to tell me with everybody else driving the same car, with manuals saved once and for all, that you won’t want something different? That with 11s slathered across every road, the sign of a rear-drive revival, you won’t seek a little calm? With the sound of a dozen 5.2-liter flat plane crank V8s echoing between apartment building walls half an hour after you got home from the night shift and with fuel consumption 94-percent higher than in your Accord, that even then, you won’t desire something more?

The avant-garde styling of the BMW 5 Series GranTurismo, maybe. Or perhaps the rear-seat solitude of an outdated Buick Enclave. Or possibly the surefooted winter-friendliness of a Freedom And Unity Subaru Outback. Maybe even the hyper-efficient Toyota Prius, embarrassing wheel covers and all.

Something less or something more; something faster or something slower. Downsizing. Upsizing. Supersizing. Capable or compromising. Adventurous or characterless. We all want something different, and in 2016, we are blessed with near limitless choices.

2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

HALF A FORTNIGHT
Perhaps this has all become clearer in my own mind because, with an automobile manufacturer delivering a different vehicle to my driveway every week, I’ve discovered that it’s possible to tire of a great car in four or five days.

What’s next, what’s after that, what’s on the docket for next month? I want unique experiences, not the repetitive remonstrations of long-forgotten rivals who won’t take risks or ever change their game.

As roads fill up with traffic and our regulatory environments restrict fun, outright speed is, if not tasteless, often useless. But if one automaker finds a new way to deliver power, if the punchy low-end torque of a small turbocharged inline-four stands in stark contrast to the protagonist’s naturally aspirated V6, I’m all for it.

Will I prefer one formula over the other? This much I know: I’ll appreciate the process of opposing arguments being delivered.

I want to drive the next car, not the same car. I want to see the next crossover, I really do, not the same old SUV cues misapplied to the wheelarches of the last crossover. I want to test the premium assertions of a new auto brand, not be incessantly smothered in tradition.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD
The results of automakers’ efforts to locate new SUV niches are often troubling to the connoisseur of classic British sports cars. Truck traditionalists may be insulted by the very notion of a unibody, front-wheel-drive pickup. Trail-rated Jeeps built in Melfi — not exactly Michigan — are certainly not in keeping with the beliefs of the Toledo old guard.

I might just agree with the old guard, the traditionalist, and the connoisseur. But American consumers’ ability to buy 1,000 BMW X4s and X6s every month, ghastly though I believe them both to be, helps to make possible a Toyota/BMW joint venture that will replace the BMW Z4 and bring back the Supra.

2015 BMW X4

The refinement and on-road manners of the Honda Ridgeline, while it’s not astoundingly capable and won’t attract hundreds of thousands of buyers every year, will embolden better-selling rivals to up their game in those areas.

And the success of the Jeep brand in sectors where we once couldn’t have imagined it, even if the Renegade is undercooked and overpriced, assures us that the next Wrangler can stay largely true to itself.

SELFLESSNESS
It’s not all selfishness. Sure, the 911 purist can look at the Cayenne as the savior of Porsche, and thus the savior of his or her 911 GT3 RS. But the Cayenne can also be looked at as the very vehicle that was deeply desired by a buyer who has no interest in a 911 GT3 RS.

Clarity on this subject became more apparent in my own mind when my neighbor asked me about his intention to purchase a 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum.

“Well,” I thought but did not say, “I can’t fathom the Maxima’s reason for being. If Nissan wants you to buy a genuinely sporting sedan, why wouldn’t they direct you to a gorgeous rear-wheel-drive $40,805 Infiniti Q50 3.0T Premium instead of an odd $40,825 front-wheel-drive Nissan?”

“All Maxima buyers should be Q50 buyers,” my inner car critic screamed.

Instead, I asked, “What turned you onto the Maxima?”

It turns out the local dealer had marked down the top-end model by $13,000. Suddenly the Maxima was in mid-grade Accord territory. “I don’t want an Accord,” this Civic Coupe driver told me. “I like the way the Maxima looks. Nothing else looks like that,” he said, pointing to the Maxima owned by another neighbor’s visiting parents.”I want something different.”

I can’t argue with that.

I won’t argue with that.

Vive la différence.

[Images: Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, BMW]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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93 Comments on “I Disapprove of the Car You Bought, but I’ll Defend to the Death Your Right to Drive It...”


  • avatar
    scdjng

    My mom wanted a small crossover, but did not want a CR-V, RAV4, or Escape, as that’s what’s all other soccer moms drive. Instead she chose a CX-5 and loves it. Different is good.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m glad your mother is happy with her purchase, but those are all shades of the same color with little real difference.

      • 0 avatar
        JLGOLDEN

        They all seem the same, until you settle into the driver’s seat. About a year ago, when a family member was looking to trade in a worn 2011 Equinox, we looked at numerous other competitors. Without even getting into the driving experiences, the interior comfort and ergonomics alone were VERY different between Equinox, CR-V, RAV-4, Rogue, and CX-5. An uncomfortable driving position kills any reason to go for a test drive. Our unanimous observations were … CR-V: Uncomfortable driving position due to narrow / stiff center enter arm rest and the steering wheel sits too high. RAV-4: Steering wheel too far away for a natural, comfortable reach. Rogue: absolutely perfect seating position, reach, arm rests, controls. CX-5: Everything fell perfectly into place, wide arm rest, natural steering wheel reach and height. Test drive commenced in CX-5 and purchase made the same day.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “worn 2011 Equinox”

          Would be curious to hear some specifics, what all wore out on it? Or was it more so abuse/neglect?

          • 0 avatar
            JLGOLDEN

            In this case, “worn” was 5 years and 140,000 miles of rural and highway driving, ’twas time for a new windshield and new tires, and we were spooked by an engine rattle that we *think* was the timing chain. There was also an intermittent and very brief cold start engine knock that was not confidence inspiring! All maintenance and regular upkeep (even quarterly detailing) was accounted for. The car was long paid-for and the 70 year old driver was ready for fresh-n-new, since she will keep accumulating roughly 28K miles per year. Related note: The 13-month old CX-5 just hit 34K miles and got its first set of tires.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Fair enough, gotta know when to cut them loose.

          • 0 avatar
            SP

            Having had experience with a relative’s 2005 Equinox, I am somewhat surprised that it made it to 140,000 miles. The second generation may have addressed some issues, and I hope so, but the first generation was truly abysmal in quality. Even long-perfected skills like body assembly and seam sealing somehow went out the window when GM conceived the Equinox.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I speak of mission and architecture, but your post proves, the devil is in the details. Thanks for sharing.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        If she was looking at AWD versions, then the biggest difference in those vehicles lies in the AWD systems. The CR-V barely has enough functionality to even be classified as AWD. It should be termed “light rear wheel assist” or something. Of course, most drivers probably wouldn’t know the difference anyway. They just want to be able to move forward in a straight, stable, slow manner in all conditions. I’m sure the CR-V’s system provides that capability.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “if the punchy low-end torque of a small turbocharged inline-four stands in stark contrast to the protagonist’s naturally aspirated V6, I’m all for it.”

    I’m all for *other* people owning and enjoying their 2.0T if that’s what they want. I NEED (want) my 6, 8, 10, or 12 cylinders though and I’m not changing my mind even if the competing I4 has the output of the new Duramax.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    We’re picking up a ’16 Maxima SL tonight. The markdowns are drastic on 2016s, and she’s a self-confessed “Nissan girl.” I have to admit, I really like it.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      They look at lot better in person than in photos. I saw a number of people test driving new ’16s when I was looking at a ’12 Maxima a few weeks ago when I was considering getting into something newer (before my cheapskate side took over and I brought home another $1600 car and put the cash to work instead). They’re available in some really nice colors too. With a big fat discount I could definitely see many people making the jump from an upper-trim midsizer to this.

      The ’12 I drove on the other hand was somewhat underwhelming. The car would definitely move out with authority, but struck me as fairly unrefined in how it went about doing it. My opinion was no doubt biased by the windshield crack at eye level that annoyed the heck out of me. Center stack was kind of cheap and unpleasant to even look at, but on the plus side the leather seats were super comfy.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      The Maxima conundrum. At 40k, no thank you. Way too many better choices at that price point.

      At 30k, well allrighty then. A nice sports sedan that everyone else does not have. Which is what the Maxima was in the 80’s, 90’s, and early 00’s. A great alternative to the standard boring sedan.

      The Altima, no thank you, moved into the price point so the Max had to go up market where it does not sell.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        “At 40k, no thank you. Way too many better choices at that price point.

        “At 30k, well allrighty then.”

        It’s how we got there. I also had the tantalizing alternative of having an open and available A-plan (and the Fusion Sport sitting next door) but she loves her Nissans, after having two Altimas before her 2014 3.5 SV that we traded in. (side note – VQ35 Altimas are becoming a rare breed, apparently they do not lease well.)

        Sometimes you just want what you want. I’m happy her tastes run towards Japanese sedans with proven mechanicals, as opposed to German CUVs in the same price point, heh.

        Hers is Pearl White with two-tone interior. I need to make some more shop space, she’s suddenly become interested in parking indoors.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Considering what you get- $30k for a Maxima is a lot of car for the money. It’s a well-built, solid feeling 300hp V6 sedan. Interior appointments aren’t anything to sneeze at either, Nissan has always done their leather well. Heck, take a loaded one, slap an Infiniti badge on the grill and probably 2/3 of people couldn’t tell the difference.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      It’s a nice change of pace to see some praise for the later Maximas here. A friend had a 7th-gen as a loaner back when the 7th-gen was the current model, and he quite liked it. gtemnykh and you point to some truisms that often get ignored in reviews: actual transaction price is important, and whether or not your body sits comfortably in a particular model is important. For a lot us, the real world driving experience is not ruined by FWD and a CVT. Huge grain of salt, as I haven’t driven one, but I suspect these drive nicely at anything less than 8/10ths (which is how I drive 99.9999999999% of the time).

      The Maxima also has some additional pluses:
      – Relative uniqueness versus a Camry or Accord, as pointed out in some other comments.
      – A lack of pretense/stealth luxury quality. That mindset seems to be decreasing amongst most Americans, but some people still avoid conspicuous consumption.

      I *still* don’t think I’ve seen one of these in the flesh. It sounds like there may be a C7/NX 200t phenomenon in action, where the car photographs badly compared to its in-person appearance. (I’m not arguing that the NX 200t looks good in person, incidentally, just much better than it does in photos.)

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Featherston had I driven a better taken care of example I think I would be less harsh on it. It definitely drives like something a cut above a standard midsize car, and looks the part too. Comfy leather interior that smells great and super cozy to sit in, I can’t imagine someone buying an ‘S’ trim with the black cloth seats, would totally be missing out on a major highlight of the car. One other minor pet peeve was seeing the edges of the fenders in the corners of the windshield (ie seeing inside of the fender almost). Makes the car feel prototyp-ish and unfinished IMO.

        Again, I’m not sure if the example I drove having 40k miles (potentially hard miles) had anything to do with it, but the motor felt rather gruff and transmitted some vibrations the kind of which I never felt in the smaller VQ30 in my 16 year old Maxima. That motor was a freaking turbine. The 200k+ mile 3.0L 1MZ paired with the old school 4spd auto in my current ES puts on a clinic in smoothness and clean/predictable shifts for both of those other cars, however.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    “I want something different.”

    That’s what everyone says when they mean they want something just different enough that people won’t make fun of them.
    This is why we get to choose from 50 shades of gray and why CUVs are the most popular vehicles in North America. People want a different version of the same thing.

    I love Japan, but I’ve noticed that the only places you seem to see interesting cars is around the US military bases and in downtown Tokyo. Everywhere else it’s kei cars and vans. They all look different in nearly the exact same way. A lot of us probably think of Japan as a wonderland of cool cars. But they’ve been regulated out of existence.

    All that said, without the masses buying new Smartphone and Car Corporation Generica CUVs we, the people who care about cars, would live in a world Tim described where we’d long to be different in measurable ways and who knows what we’d end up in.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It’s the same story in Europe. I’m here now. My manual diesel Focus wagon rental is a lot less special in country full of them. And frankly not as good as what we get in the states either.

      Nothing wrong with not using a car as an opportunity for self-expression and individuality. Better to do that by creating or doing something instead of just buying something.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I will make sure to put extra onions on my tenderloin sandwich today to spite you Tim :p

    Oh and I just had my morning cup of joe.

    • 0 avatar
      NoDoors

      Man, I wish I could get a good tenderloin sandwich here in central VA.

      Learned a long time ago “drive what makes you happy.” Took a much longer time to realize that what makes ME happy is not always the same as everyone else. Yeah, I was that kid. Couldn’t understand why my parents bought boring car after boring car. Point in case Mom’s Pontiac Sunfire. She loved that thing.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The fried tenderloin sandwiches in the Buckeye State were the best. I still miss them, hold the onions though I’ll take horseradish sauce and pickles on mine.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          What are you people talking about? I’ve never had this sort of sandwich.

          Who sells one?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Got to go to the Northwest part of the state.

            http://henrysrestaurants.com/ottawa/

            Henry’s in Ottawa OH will sell you one.

            http://www.pikerungc.com/

            Pike Run Golf Club sold them in clubhouse when I was a teen but I haven’t been there in many moons.

            The best ones often look something like this: http://tinyurl.com/l88koz

            Overwhelming their poor little buns.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Good grief! I couldn’t eat all that, no way.

            I will look them up next time I’m more northerly. Sure I’ll be in Indy or Columbus eventually for something.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Would you like fries or coleslaw with that, Sir?

            Would you like me to run down the list of beers currently on tap?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, always fries. Always. And I bet they’ll have seasoning salt available.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        To each their own when it comes to cars, I suppose. I don’t understand the purchase of many cars out on the road today, but can’t critique (well, not TOO much) anybody for whatever vehicle they decide to drive. Some buy because they truly desire said vehicle, some drive them because they are all they can afford. Right now, I drive what I believe I need (’14 Escape) in order to do the things I do (puppy rescue, dog shows with my new daughter and camping). I’d rather be driving a nicely-restored manual-trans E30 or perhaps 3-5 year old 1-series, but that doesn’t do what I need it to do. So if somebody drives a huge F-150 and never hauls a grain of dirt, or a another person drives a big ol’ SUV and never carries more than one person, who am I to comment or judge?

        Drive what ya like…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Vive la différence.

    c’est la vie

    Or as the Hot Rod crowd says when they get tired of cookie cutter muscle cars and T-buckets that all start to look the same: “Dare to be Different.”

    All sayings that have helped me stay happy in life.

    Heck if I could TODAY buy a brand new 3800 powered 1992 Bonneville, I would. Dad had one and it was a damn fine car for covering large distances and carrying 4 people in comfort along with their luggage.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I liked the simpler and more upright design of the 7th-gens, but point taken. Sometimes compromise is good; those Bonnevilles were terrific balance of comfort, performance, reliability, and affordability. I did about a dozen one-day, 750-plus-mile drives in an ’88 and enjoyed every one of them. Make mine an ’88-’91 SE (’87s predated the LN3, which I believe was the first “3800” Buick V6).

      I’m skeptical about the praise of the wood grain, but Car and Driver was not incorrect in this decision: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/1987-10best-cars-feature-1987-pontiac-bonneville-se-page-9. Road & Track also liked the Bonneville SE.

      Another car in the same vein: the 300M.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        Ah, I rarely here the designator “300M” around here since Thomas Kreutzer landed in Nippon. I still have an ’02 Special and it’s a wonderful mile-gobbler. Long wheelbases and cab-forward design give you absolute acres of interior room.

        Not to mention, since I added Caliber SRT4 five-spokes… still quite the looker.

        For the B&B’s perusal:
        http://www.supermotors.net/getfile/1013823/fullsize/psx_20140308_163628.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      In Good Ol’ Dewey OK, they have an amazing (for the midwest) rat-rod show every May. My father started driving in a 1936 Dodge coupe, which was not an intentional rat-rod, with fake whitewalls (yes, they had these). So, we usually walk this show and look at rods with Cummins diesels and rusted go-kart chassis straight from Mad Max.

      Of course, some of his peers, having worked all their lives to afford the diaper-rubbed Deuce of their dreams, cannot get on board.

      The best provoked comment from a confused Boomer: “Why are they showin’ ’em? Looks like they’re not even finished.”

      Different is cool. And Dogs Love Trucks.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    “If Nissan wants you to buy a genuinely sporting sedan, why wouldn’t they direct you to a gorgeous rear-wheel-drive $40,805 Infiniti Q50 3.0T Premium instead of an odd $40,825 front-wheel-drive Nissan?”

    The snowbelt North, and especially those who use the term “lake effect” as a swear word. I know the “tires” argument is coming and I won’t refute that, but for average people that have less-than-urban commutes, you start with AWD or 4WD, or go with FWD, and add snow tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I’m in the North. Tim’s in the North (the Maritimes aren’t exactly known for their gentle winters). If you get legitimate winter, I feel like you’re going about it the wrong way – tires first, no matter what you drive, and if that’s not good enough, that’s when you add more driven wheels. See again the whole argument about how AWD does basically nothing to help you turn and stop.

      I can sort of buy AWD in a slightly more southern climate that gets slammed once a year, but couldn’t justify winter tires otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        It’s more a commentary on preferred drivelines with snow tires, as opposed to drivelines versus snow tires.

        Real accumulations require dedicated rubber.

      • 0 avatar

        Hills, what do you people and your tires do about hills? Honestly I have several times ended up fighting to get up a hill in FWD cars with snow tires. I really do prefer AWD. That said I can live with out it but it’s nice to have. Honestly hard data is hard to come by but I have played with my 4wd and trucks and pulling the AWD fuse when I had my outback, it does seem to affect handling as well.

        • 0 avatar
          True_Blue

          Nope, I’m with you. To be truly prepared in areas where snow is measured in feet (or meters) you want the right rubber on the wheels, and as many of them fighting for grip as possible.

          Ground clearance is another decider. You can dig a mighty large trench in a hurry if the chassis beaches.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          mopar4wd, I’ll admit I don’t live in the hilliest area, but I’ve only ever found a couple hills I had trouble with (I don’t think I had snow tires on any of those times anyhow). And in those rare occasions, no one’s getting anywhere anyhow, so no one’s bothered when I reverse up the hill.

          Like I said, AWD has its place, but in northern climates, only when winter tires by themselves aren’t enough.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        A true AWD system and not a slip and grip electronically activated 4wd system masquerading as AWD does help you turn.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          It certainly does allow you to rotate under power if you turn off the nannies, but that’s irrelevant for most drivers, as well as most emergency handling situations where the driver is slowing rather than accelerating.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Dare To Be Anonymous!

  • avatar
    rjg

    The last point about the discount on the maxima is a good one that journalists often overlook. Journalists live in a works of comparing MSRPs without knowing the real selling prices (or lease deals to be had). That’s often the answer to question “why would someone by that when they could get x for the same price”.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Exactly. There are tons of cars (like the Maxima) that rarely sell for their MSRPs.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Dealers/manufacturers would be driven nuts but I’d love to see “Average Transaction Prices” for vehicles. Which models sell for the closest to MSRP and which sell for the farthest from MSRP?

        • 0 avatar
          kefkafloyd

          That is literally the point of TrueCar. Or, at least, was the point until the dealers co-opted it. There’s plenty of ATP data there to mull over.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            I feel like large American Trucks and SUVs are the most guilty of this, then they hit you with the: “This amazing deal won’t last long- sign the papers NOW!”

            Big reason people don’t like dealers with their high pressure sales tactics.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Imagine it’s 1986 and you’re looking at midsize sedans. GM had the Pontiac 6000STE, Ford had the Fox-chassis LTD (available with 5.0), Honda had the new third-gen Accord, and Nissan had the Maxima. Four VERY different cars, each with advantages and drawbacks. 3 of the 4 were available with manuals (not sure about the LTD).

    Now it’s 2016 and you’re looking at midsize sedans. Malibu, Fusion, Accord, Altima. Every one is superior to its 1986 counterpart (after 30 years of development, they ought to be), but they’re all pretty much the same. And only the Accord is available with a manual, if you can find one.

    Cars got very good over the past 30 years, but the homogeneity is getting old.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      If you’re willing to expand the definition of midsize a bit, you can buy a rip-snorting V8 charger, a highway-all-season beast that is the Taurus SHO, a sporting Infiniti with RWD, a Camry in three distinct flavors of drivetrain (efficient hybrid, straight-forward and affordable 4cyl, smooth and stupid quick V6). I’ll miss the widespread availability of a stick shift, but at the same time I think my own priorities and tastes are shifting to where I really don’t mind owning an all-automatic fleet of vehicles these day. The 6spd auto in the fiance’s Camry is so well tuned and non-slushy feeling that I wouldn’t want a manual even if they did offer one. Chances are the throttle calibration (over run, delayed response) wouldn’t make it very nice to drive anyways.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      In 1986, the Accord and Maxima were still compacts, like the Toyota Camry. Neither Honda nor Nissan had a mid-size sedan until 1990 and 1988, respectively. At that time, it was still the sole domain of American marques. You had:
      -The GM A-body family and the G-body sedans still holding on for the senior citizen market,
      -Ford’s Fox-body LTD/Marquis, and
      -The Chrysler E-body (Dodge 600/New Yorker) and LeBaron GTS/Dodge Lancer. Let’s throw the M-body Diplomat/Fifth Avenue in there too, for the same audience as the G-body GMs.

      Of those, only the LeBaron GTS/Lancer and Pontiac 6000 STE offered a manual option. The 5-speed Celebrity had just been dropped due to lack of demand.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Yeah, I had one of those manual-trans Lancers! Loved the seats and the gun-metal gray paint. The trans? Not so much. It was as straight-lined and clunky as were the lines of the dashboard. “Turbo-lag” as a term was developed specifically to describe the Lancer, but it is still one of the cars from my past that I miss the most.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Except in 1986, while you technically could buy a new LTD, it was dropped early because the new Taurus was selling incredibly well.

      The only reason the LTD held on for part of ’86 was that some inside Ford felt the new Taurus was too radical to sell in decent numbers. Clearly, they were proven wrong.

      And, yes, you could get a manual trans in a Taurus from the start, although only with a 2.5L I-4 that was derived from the Tempo I-4. It was called Taurus MT-5, and few people opted for that combo when the 3.0L Vulcan was far more powerful and attained similar MPG.

      Of course you could also get a manual by opting for the SHO from ’88 through 1995. The MT-5 was killed off in the early 90s due to lack of demand, and so the second gen non-SHO was automatic only.

      If you wanted a V-6 with a manual in something other than an SHO, you had either the Probe or from 1992, the Tempo.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        Technically the the V8 SHO was third-gen (’96-’99). Such an ark of “woulda, coulda, shoulda.” The 3.4 Yamaha/Cossie V8 only put out a factory-fresh 235 HP, and saddled to the auto and the heavier chassis it was slower than any of the V6 stick cars.

        They sound great though.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          I didn’t mention the V-8 SHO, just that the manual was dropped after the 2nd gen.

          I do agree, though, I’d very much choose an earlier manual version over the 3rd gen V-8. I don’t hate the oval Taurus, I just really prefer the smaller and better looking 2nd (or 1st for that matter) gen over them.

          • 0 avatar
            True_Blue

            “…the second gen non-SHO was automatic only.”

            Misread and overlooked the “non-” modifier, my mistake.

            I had a ’93 Vulcan/AXOD and a ’95 MTX SHO, and my father still drives a ’95 SE. I was a moderator at the TCCA for a period of time and still have a soft spot for ’em.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            I understand. No problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Sheeyyoooooot, I can’t believe I forgot the new Taurus! I actually prefer the Taurus to the Fox-body LTD, but at the same time, I’d rather have an LTD wagon over a Taurus wagon, as long as it has the Squire option.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Man I have a soft spot for those old fox LTD cars and just the fact that they are fox based makes for some interesting parts swapping potential!

      Ford is releasing a cross-plane crank version of the 5.2 in the GT350 and IIRC it makes around 570 horsepower. Man how cool would that be bolted in there and slathered with the other go fast bits from a wrecked 1999-2004 Cobra.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Well we are in the market for another vehicle. My current choices are between a Dodge Journey and a Jeep Patriot. Which does the B&B recommend?

    In all seriousness, looking for a max MSRP of $25.5k, room for 4 regularly and 5 in a pinch. Good visibility. Good safety rating. Fun factor not required at all. Hopefully 8 years and/or 200,000kms without anything other than scheduled maintenance.

    And in 1986, given the choices listed by ‘Matt Foley’ I went with a manual transmission Accord Sedan. Loved it and kept it in the family with zero problems for 11 years. My neighbour got a Chev Celebrity Eurosport. 4 years of dealer purgatory and repairs and nothing near the ‘fun factor’ of the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Neither. For that, I got a Escape (two years old, and for much less than $25.5). I looked at both the Journey and Patriot and just couldn’t pull the trigger on either one. While they have their merits, they came off as a bit to “cheap” for me. But what do I know? Patriots are still selling well, so they work for a ton of people, obviously. I really wanted to like the Patriot, as it looked about as close to what I think of a small Jeep should look like (slab slides and all), but the interior and overall performance just let me down.

      That said, deals can be had on them and I’d think the interior being what it is would hold up fairly well to use and abuse.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      EDIT: I assumed that it isn’t 100% down to between those two. If it is, I’ll take the Journey just for the extra room.

      Matt is used a consideration? Are the four people taking longer trips with luggage with any sort of regularity? How important is MPG?

      If road trips and luggage+ 4/5 people are on the docket, I would honestly take a look at a new discounted Kia Sedona. Even the mid/lower trims have niceties like heated seats. I recently drove one for a work trip with me+4 others, it was a great highway cruiser that got 26.5 mpg and was totally unobtrusive to operate (nice little growl and good power from the 3.3L to boot). That same amount will also buy you a pretty decent newer Certified Sienna, or an Odyssey if that’s your thing. Likewise $25.5k can buy you a pretty freaking nice Town and Country, although I’d make sure I got some sort of super long extended warranty on that one.

      People will claim overkill, but the comfort level and utility of a minivan compared to a compact CUV is hard to ignore.

      I’m also a big fan of the newest Outback. You’d be fighting tooth and nail with the Subaru faithful over the limited supply of 1-2 year old used cars that are available, you could probably find a good 2.5i Premium at the top of your budget. Significantly more comfortable and substantial to drive than a Forester IMO.

      I wouldn’t buy a Journey unless I was seriously cash or credit strapped, with $25.5k to work with that doesn’t sound like it’s the case.

      Other ideas: lightly used mazda CX9, the bigger Sante Fe (not sport), latest redesign of the Sorento.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Journey V6 AWD third row, and make the dealers actually deal – you can likely be under your target price.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Used is not a consideration. In Ontario nearly new used cars are few and far between and priced accordingly. Also looking to get good manufacturer’s financing.

        Also need room in the back for the dog. Hence no sedan.

        And in Canada Outbacks, Odysseys, Siennas, etc are way above the required MSRP. As is the AWD v-6 Journey (although there may be some dealing available with that).

        • 0 avatar
          ttacfan

          Room for a dog? I rented Journey for 1.5 months and with third row of seats up there was barely any room for a grocery bag, let alone a dog.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Not considering the 7 passenger version. There is lots of room behind the 2nd row. Currently using a Kia Rondo, 5-seater in this role.

            And yes, sorry Canadian figures and prices.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If you were in the US, I’d say Tacoma SR Double Cab, but the starting price on the Taco in Canada is pretty high compared to here.

      Maybe a Corolla iM?

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        There is no point buying a late model Outback used, you’re going to be saving TENS of dollars vs buying one new.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Very true Mandalorian, but that $1-2000 can make the difference between making the $25,500 cut and not, if that is a hard-line cutoff for the budget. Now that I realize all of Arthur’s figures are likely in Canadian dollars, I’m all sorts of thrown off!

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    People crap on the SUV coupes and crossovers but praise raised hatchbacks and wagons like V90 Cross Country. Commenters make fun of base 3 drivers as badge snobs who can only afford the lease specials, then say the best and truest BMW is a base 2. Let people pick what they want and don’t judge them. Our choices are often limited by budget and climate. If someone wants a bright red Kia,pink Windstar, more power to them.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      It goes both ways – there’s plenty of small car criticism here. I seem go recall quite a few people questioning Ronnie buying a Fit, even thought he’s been exposed to plenty of stuff, and presumably knows exactly what meets his needs best.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I get way more crap from “normal” non-car people about the fact that I drive a station wagon (’07 Legacy GT) than I could possibly ever dish out about their CUVs in my entire life.

      Everyone is allowed to have their own opinions and get whatever they want – as long as someone makes it. Which is starting to get sad for those of us on the fringes.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    how magnanimous of the the author.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Agree. This reminds me of the criticism of Colin Kaepernick. It always starts with “Of course, he has the right to protest however he likes, BUT…”

      We all agree that people can protest (or buy) what they like. These are free nations. Were you tempted to recommend an alternative?

  • avatar

    in the 50s, 60s, & 70s car watching WAS a lot more interesting when the mix on the road included cars like an XK Jag, Citroen DS, Peugeot 403 & 404, TR3, MGA, Fiat 1100 and 850 Spider, BMW 700, NSU Prinz & Wankel Spider, Porsche 356, original Mini, Ford Cortina, Opel Rekord & GT, VW Thing & Karmann Ghia, and dozens more cars that were NOT designed in the same cookie-cutter aero mode.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    Huh. I suddenly feel just a tiny bit better for having bought a 2016 Mazda6. It looks nice amidst the sea of beige and Camry, Accord, Fusion, and Altima models I regularly park by.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I bought a blue vw TDI wagon new in 11 so I like going against the flow, now that I have the option to sell it back to VW , I am again looking at cars, and cars only no CUV, no SUV and they is really nothing out there that I want to write a check for each month. I think the Accord is a great car but it seems every third car i see is a silver or black accord. It is a bummer not having real choices for what I want.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    ““I like the way the Maxima looks. Nothing else looks like that,””

    Some people have very strange fetishes.

    FWIW the Nissan is probably a nice vehicle, but to me they took the “stupid” purposely overboard.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Heh, I like the looks of the Maxima, both inside and out, but would not consider one no matter how good it looks or drives. Because CVT.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        I used to feel the same about the CVT. Just went over 100 K miles in our cube and no symptoms whatsoever of a problem. I don’t think I have ever driven mainstream cars. Now enjoying getting the most miles possible out of an old forerunner.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          I put the “no CVT” folks in the same basket as the “No ABS” and “No Bluetooth” people who came before them. They don’t know what they don’t know.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            youtube.com/watch?v=3wlZe9Y9GvU

            youtube.com/watch?v=7cVT-06xjhA

            This is pure hell.

            Maybe a CVT works if you have 350hp or never accelerate over 50MPH.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Jeez sounds like a crappy market to be shopping in. I will say that trying to fit 4/5 people into a Patriot with a dog leaves literally no room for any sort of luggage. I guess a roof box could help here. But I’d still recommend going the minivan route, I’d give the Sedona a nice long look. Oh and I guess the $25.5k is in Canada-bux? I’m totally out of my element. Here in the US, with $25.5k and a pretty generic requirement for roomy CUV/minivan, the world is your oyster IMO.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’m all for people buying what they want. What kills me are the people who come up with lame justifications of why they buy a given vehicle, rather than just say it is what I like. My Brother in law is a good example who loves to claim how the BMWs he has owned have no equal in performance yet he drives slower and worse than the proverbial little old lady. But you know if he wanted to he could out corner that lame Camcord on the no-name standard A/S Chineese tires he put on it because he is too cheap to buy a quality performance tire.

  • avatar

    So, does this mean that if, as a 27-year-old single male, I decide to buy a used Volvo XC70 T6, the readership of TTAC won’t call me names and make fun of me? Should I take this article as implied permission from the B&B?

    I like my station wagons fast, AWD, and comfy TYVM.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I don’t think anyone on here will make fun of you for buying an off-road wagon with an I6.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      To hell with those who would criticize you. Buy what you like and don’t back down.

      I’m sure people snicker at me for driving an old Taurus (and not hating it or constantly wishing I could get something “better”) and for writing about my fondness for Tempos and Aeostars and Mercury Zephyrs I’ve owned in the past. It won’t stop me from liking them, or buying another if it comes up.

      Same with the Honda Element and CR-Z. I like them both and I’d drive one without hesitation. The B&B hates them? So? I hate many of their choices, so we are even lol.

      There are some popular vehicles I do like, such as the F-Series, Accord, Civic, etc. I don’t just come up with what I like to be provocative or because I want to love what most hate, I just like what I like.

      You want a Volvo wagon? Go for it. Just keep singing this song lyric in your head when reading or hearing negative comments on it: “All these haters really love me, they just pretend that they don’t.”

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    For me its like this:

    “I just brought a Nissan Maxima SE” (Types this at home)

    Not my thing but I hope you enjoy it!

    “Toyotas are known to require the least upkeep of any car and have set the standard for which all cars are measured. If you cant grasp this then you know nothing of cars” (Types this while stopped at a green light)

    Uhhm okay I guess (suspects poster to be a weeabo)

    “I bought a Mazda CX 3 because its the sportiest CUV available! Its fun to rev and throw it around windy country roads! It also looks different!” (Texts just before departing on a drive in involving much tailgating and wreckless passing.)

    Im sure its fun to not have a center arm rest too.

    “My Grandma rquis is so much better than my friends crappy Japanese econo boxes! I can out run any of them at a stop light race while getting equal mpg!” (Texts just before losing to mr Toyota in a race)

    I see the elderly aura has made you insecure with your purchase.

    “I drive an Audi with 240k on it”

    Not bad!

  • avatar
    n_tesla

    My family has a couple Volts and have a buddy that drives a Tesla S. We both get more attention than we expected, or sometimes want. The questions are “What’s it like to drive?” “How do you like it?”, “How far does it go?” Less welcome are the statements “See you bought a coal powered car”, “Your car does more damage to the environment than a Hummer”. Or my favorite “So you bought a Government Motors Obama car”. I’m not sure why it’s more patriotic to own an SUV filled with gas from an unfriendly place than it is to drive a locally built vehicle running on Solar, Wind or Natural Gas from the US. And the answers are “It’s different, and kind of fun”, “like it a lot” and “the range is rarely a problem”. Choice is nice. And I’ll take my GT-350 in Blue with White stripes please!

  • avatar
    dougjp

    This article is almost anti-internet! Isn’t it normal that, while on the internet, everyone tries to change others’ minds on what vehicle is/isn’t acceptable? Then when face to face they say congratulations on your purchase even though they hate the vehicle? :)

    Your article briefly highlights another truth not discussed further, that being, how long/quickly we get tired of our new purchase and want something else? That in itself “might” be a worthwhile topic. It doesn’t take long for me to start looking at how I can spend my money prematurely and thereby stay poor ;)


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