By on April 18, 2018

Car dealership, Image: VadimGuzhva/Bigstock.comThis will be our third Sedan Showdown in a row. Kicking us off were some basic full-size models, and through the “Not nice enough!” complaints, the Charger took home the win. Giving the people what they want, we turned the budget up to $45,000 and presented some luxury full-size sedans instead. Again, FCA took home a win; the Chrysler 300 easily overpowered the base Lincoln Continental, and pipped the top-trim Buick LaCrosse.

All the while, this third commenter-sourced trio waited in the wings, ready to pounce. Smaller than our previous two sets of cars, Bumpy ii wants to see you squirm and set fires. You ready? This couple is.

Today’s target budget was set around $30,000, for mid-sizers that lean toward full-size.

Volkswagen Passat GT

2017 Volkswagen Passat V6 - Image: © Timothy CainNorth America has had its own special iteration of the Passat since 2012. An update for the 2016 model year brought considerable visual change to the Passat, and in fact only the doors, roof, and side rails are shared with the previous version. Infotainment was the other big change with the 2016 model. VW’s MIB II is now under the dash, as well as automatic post-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and other driver assistance safety features. Two engines presently provide Passat power; a 2.0-liter turbocharged mill in various states of tune, or a 3.6-liter V6. The latter is in today’s upmarket GT trim, providing 280 horsepower. Visually, the GT comes with the R-Line trim’s sporty bumpers, and is available in white, black, or grey. All GT interiors are black and grey two-tone leatherette, as VW does not like color in this trim. Power slips through a 6-speed DSG transmission. The only options here are dealer installed accessories, and there’s no navigation available. As a result, the Passat V6 GT rings in at $29,995, no matter which color on the grey scale you select.

Kia Cadenza Premium

2017 Kia Cadenza blue front quarter, Image: © 2017 Chris TonnThe Cadenza is Kia’s mid-large size sedan, slotting in under the larger K900 model. As replacement for the (frankly hideous) Amanti, it’s been available on our shores since 2010. A second generation debuted for 2016 and featured sharper, less conservative styling penned by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer. The base Premium trim is the one available today, and all trims offer the same proven 3.3-liter V6 engine from Hyundai. 290 horsepower travel through the front wheels via the 8-speed automatic. A few more colors are available than the Passat, though some exterior colors select either the black or beige interior for you. Seating surfaces are real leather, but we can’t add any luxury packages because of the Cadenza’s steep base price. This means we’ll make do with the standard 7″ touch screen featuring Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay. Cadenza rings in at $32,290.

Nissan Maxima S

Our final competitor is the 4DSC-equipped Nissan Maxima. Nissan’s long-running flagship sedan has been around since 1982, when it replaced Datsun’s luxury 810. Now in its eighth generation, the most recent Maxima was born for 2016. All US-bound Maximas are built at Nissan’s factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, and every Maxima has Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter VQ V6. That engine has been around for nearly 20 years now (remember the I35?), and has powered the Maxima since 2002. Our budget today requires us to shop the base S trim. The S has the same 300 horsepower as all other trims, traveling through the front wheels via CVT. Four colors are available without extra cost, one of which is blue. Cloth is the only seating surface available here, and there are no additional packages to buy. “This version comes equipped with many standard features,” says Nissan. That includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, and remote start. Final asking price trumps the other two, at $34,155.

Which one goes in the garage? Can you resist setting only one of these on fire?

[Images: Bigstock, Timothy Cain, Chris Tonn, Nissan]


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90 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: The 2018 Mid-size Import Sedan Showdown...”

  • avatar

    Why, if it isn’t Gottfried and Gudrun!

    I’d Buy the VW, Drive the Nissan, and Burn the Kia.

  • avatar

    Buy and drive the Passat, burn the other two.

    Or better yet, burn all of them and buy/drive a GTI. ;-)

    Though I suppose if I had to play by the rules I would buy the Passat, drive the Datsun, and burn the KIA.

  • avatar

    Burn the Passat. It has truly crap electric steering, the interior’s not as nice as it looks, and the design looks like an ad agency’s generic car.

    Burn the Maxima. It’s tiny inside for its size outside, the interior is made up of cutting-room rejects from the Murano design, and the powertrain is ancient.

    Burn the Kia. It’s comfortable, but when was the last time a Kia not named Stinger drove decently?

    Oh, wait, I’m not following the rules, am I?

    Well, it’s kind of hard when I’d rather have a “non-premium” Accord 2.0T than anything on this list.

    I guess if I’m forced to choose it’s buy the Maxima, drive the Cadenza, burn the Passat with its infernal steering.

    • 0 avatar

      “Burn the Passat. It has truly crap electric steering,”

      The steering isn’t actually that bad in the newer Passats. The only issue I had from a handling standpoint was that the suspension was too soft. But on the GT they’ve lowered it and stiffened it up over the mainstream models. I’d take the GT without question.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe they’ve improved it within the last year or two, or maybe it’s better with the V6. But I’ve had three of these Passats as rentals, two 2.5s and one (2015?) early 1.8T unit. All three of them had a weird deadness in the steering that I haven’t experienced even in other EPS setups. I hated it.

    • 0 avatar

      My test is, does the car do what it’s made to do?

      By that standard:

      Buy the Cadenza. It’s made to be cushy and luxurious, and it is. For a soothing DD/highway sled I’d actually consider buying one of these, and not just for a hypothetical quiz.

      Burn the Maxima. It’s made to be either a luxury cruiser (back seat nukes it) or a 4DSC (CVT nukes it), and either way it’s made nowadays with legendary Renault quality.

      As for the Passat, it all depends on how you feel about VW reliability. It fulfills its goal of being both spacious and powerful, and when it breaks, well, nobody can act all that surprised.

  • avatar

    Buy the Kia, it’s the only one of the three that doesn’t look like ———–

    Drive the Passat, because you can’t burn two, and it’s better than owning a VW

    Burn the Nissan: this is the only answer for all Datsuns (except the GTR and Leaf). Looks like————- Plus, it’s going to be tailgating you on a city street with stanced tires, blacked out windows, and a 22 year old———— couldn’t get CPO financing from any of the other major automakers in <5 years. The fewer of these around, the better.

  • avatar

    Burn all three and buy a pickup!

    • 0 avatar

      Burn all three and get something with a manual transmission. Seriously.

      • 0 avatar

        On second thought, put three slips of paper in a hat, one for each sedan. Draw one at random. Drive that one in reverse into one of the other two, T-boning it beyond repair. Do the same with the other sedan, but with the front of your car, so all three are totaled. Have them crushed and recycled into something better. That way nothing gets burnt (nasty air pollution and hassles with the firefighters), and you’re not out 6 months salary for a mediocre mid-sized sedan, and you can use your own car, which is probably much nicer to drive than any one of this lot.

  • avatar

    Buy the Kia. It’s a looker.

    Drive the VW.

    Burn the Maxima.

    (In reality, I’d pick up a LaCrosse with leather and the V-6 with 6-7,000 miles for +/- $22000. There are TONS of these around.)

    • 0 avatar

      Seeing used LaCrosses for sale (2017+), I’m not entirely convinced on the build quality there.

      • 0 avatar

        The ones I’ve seen seem pretty tight. Haven’t driven one, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        The wonders of fleet and r18 mo ago. OK build lousey handling very overpowered with the 3.6.

        The XTS is so much better for what I expect is just a few grand more on the used lot, although AWD is rare in the XTS. The Impala is good too but for some reason holds it value better then the Caddy.

        Buick is dead to me for cars. The Chinese are welcome to them!

        The Enclave is quite nice…but for the money so are the X3 and the RX350.

        I just bought a 2007 RX350 with 140K for just under 10 out the door tax tags etc from a used dealer my family has used for 20+ years. Its very nice for its age, and judging by the Lexus battery in it received good care.

        In 5 years IDK what the market will look like, IDK where electrics will be so that’s the time frame that I’m willing to buy a conventional gas vehicle for our suburban lifestyle to serve.

        07 RX350 AWD
        01 330XI

        talk to ya in 2022 or 2023 for the next ones.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I wouldn’t buy any of them new, thanks to steep, *steep* depreciation. That said, I imagine all three could be had for well below their asking prices. So, if I had to pick:

    – Buy the Passat. I’ve had great experience with Volkswagen (TDI mess notwithstanding), and I think the Passat will age quite well.

    – Drive the Cadenza. The styling is effortlessly handsome, and it seems like it would make for a great conveyance to eat away the miles.

    – Burn the Maxima. I just don’t like it.

    Small quibble: the Cadenza, like the K900, was available in South Korea and elsewhere well before it came to the United States. So even though it originated in 2009 for the 2010 model year, we didn’t get it stateside until 2013, for the 2014 model year. Not that anyone would notice, because it’s an anonymous car in a shrinking segment.

    • 0 avatar

      You are dead on with the deprecation. All three would take an unsettling hit after driving off the lot. Now on the flip side these could be a great deal having come back from a short lease.

      Buy the Passat – the back seat is town car big. I’m 6’5” and can sit behind myself without touching the front seat. That alone makes it interesting to me. Plus I assume there is a ton of cash on the hood right now with the VW apology tour making it the best deal in terms of transaction price.

      Drive the Cadneza – it’s an old school old man car and actually pretty nicely appointed. For a highway cruiser I could really dig this. It’s also a little different and Kia quality probably beats the other two on this list.

      Burn the Maxi and it’s CVT transmission. Burn it with fire. ‘Four door sports car’ with a CVT my butt.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d like to add to these votes as well. tallguy nailed the explanations.

        Buy the Passat, drive the Cadenza (but maybe put a hat and some glasses so I won’t be seen doing so – it’s an old man’s car) and Burn the Maxima.

      • 0 avatar

        I like everything you say except about the cash on the passat.

        I feel like there should be, but can’t believe how VW is holding margin on those cars… there isn’t a ton of cash on the hood!

    • 0 avatar

      – Buy the Passat. I do like the newest generation Passat and these will likely depreciate the least. They are also fun to drive.

      – Drive the Maxima. For traffic jams where you can occasionally open the throttle, the Maxima will deliver. It has +20hp over its rivals and is fast even with the CVT.

      – Burn the Cadenza. No one wants a new Cadenza, and most certainly no one will want a used Cadenza. Depreciation will be horrific and KIA is largely thought of as a value brand. Its a good car, but good isnt enough in this segment.

    • 0 avatar

      These cars are GREAT because of the depreciation.

      I’m pretty outspoken about how much I love my Hyundai.. 41% off of MSRP with 6 months and less than 7k miles under its belt. I felt like I stole it. 10 year warranty, etc.

      If your a used car buyer like I am… These kind of cars become extra wonderful because they aren’t bad cars, but they become SOO CHEAP SO QUICKLY. You can get one practically new for nothing.

    • 0 avatar

      Given the epic discounts VW has been giving on Passats, I can’t see buying a used one. Or anything else in that class. They are all hateful, but at least the Passat is inoffensive looking inside and out.

      MSRP is largely meaningless on all three of these, I suspect.

  • avatar

    Burn all three and buy an Avalon.

  • avatar

    Even though I share the “Buy and Drive the VW” sentiment, I’ll play..

    Buy the VW- In the 6 months I’ve had my Golf Wolfsburg, I’ve had few complaints about it. It’s better composed over the road than the 37k Taurus Limited I just had as a rental even though it stickers for 22k. Though the Passat is more American than the more worldly Golf, I have no doubt I’d like the plus-sized Passat.

    Drive the Kia- I had a new 2001 Hyundai Elantra, which was the beginning of Hyundai/Kia trying to move their cars up a notch on all levels. It was a fine little car, but it wasn’t a drivers car, so I stupidly (on a financial note) ditched for an 01 Focus ZX3. I’m sure the Kia is fine in it’s own right and HyunKia has done nothing but improve in 17 years. The Cadenza for me, because you won’t see many, which I enjoy in a weird way. And because they give so much for your money. The styling is a bit odd, but still better IMHO than the awful Nissan.

    Burn the Nissan- Ever since it REALLY became an overgrown Altima, I’ve lost all respect for the Maxima. Maxima needs to die, period. There is nothing here I want: Styling, CVT, nothing. I didn’t love the Altima I had, so I have no love for this or any Nissan outside the GT-R.

    • 0 avatar

      Jetta owner here, and I was torn too. Almost went for the VW, but that Cadenza’s suave looking, and believe it or not, I think it’s a better reliability bet than the Passat.

      (Now, if they did the V-6 with the R-line trim, that’d be cool.)

      • 0 avatar

        “(Now, if they did the V-6 with the R-line trim, that’d be cool.)”

        Uh…they did. It’s called the Passat GT. They took the R-Line, added the VR6, gave it a tuned exhaust, lowered it 6/10ths of an inch, stiffened the suspension, added a DSG, and then put a black roof on it and two tone interior upholstery.

        • 0 avatar

          Interesting! But I haven’t seen any of them around here.

          • 0 avatar

            They were supposed to hit the lots “this spring”, and I’ve yet to see any myself. According to there are exactly two listed in the US, one at a dealer in Maryland and another in Texas. Both dealers show “in transit” so the dealers have probably just updated their inventory as soon as they got confirmations. Give it another month and we should see more.

  • avatar

    In reverse order:

    I had a horrible ongoing nightmare with my mother in law’s 3.6L Passat until it finally tossed it’s timing chain (between the engine and trans) and I was permitted to liquidate it. The PTSD makes it a hard burn.

    It’s hard to imagine a car I feel any more indifference for than the Credenza. Default 2nd place.

    Sadly, by the rules that leaves the Maxima. Which is actually a pretty nice car in current iteration. The modern Pontiac Bonneville. That CVT though.

  • avatar

    Whichever I burn can those two grinning hipsters be locked inside?

    Buy the Passat (cause hey it’s not a KIA)

    Drive the Maxima (I’ll keep the revs and momentum up so I don’t really care about the CVT)

    Burn the KIA – They shouldn’t have tried to out Buick the guys at Buick.

  • avatar

    Buy the Passat — if just for the lovely VR6 (I know they don’t call it that anymore) and the least eyesorish styling. Drive the Kia when the Passat is in the shop. Burn the Nissan for its styling alone.

  • avatar

    Buy the Maxima: compared to what Nissan is used to, I may qualify for negative interest rates.

    Drive the Passat: I’m sure it drives okay enough.

    Burn the credenza: it’s a kia

  • avatar

    Buy – the Passat. Probably best resale value of the 3.

    Drive – the Cadenza. Roomy, comfortable, decent-looking.

    Burn – the Maxima. CVT, Nissan craptastic-ness.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Buy-Passat: A roomy, powerful family sedan with Audi sport sedan lineage.

    Drive-Cadenza: Like the clean cohesive styling. An Avalon for folks who want to be different.

    Burn-Maxima: It’s lost it’s 4 door sports sedan mantra three generations ago. Butt ugly overwrought facade and floating roof.

  • avatar
    Rob Cupples

    Drive the Kia but don’t buy it. I just bought a 2015 Genesis sedan a few weeks ago and realized I *really* missed having a RWD boat all these years.

    Burn the Nissan. I just got rid of a Juke that was making me tired of visiting the service department. There are plenty of Nissan owners and former owners that have great experiences and memories but I just didn’t and it’s time for me and Nissan to part ways for a while.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Corey did well making sure this would be a bit tough. They’re all mixed bags.

    Hmmm….OK, buy the Passat. Supremely utilitarian and roomy, it will be really easy to live with. The 280hp VR6+ DSG is going to be the most entertaining and satisfying powertrain here. And hopefully not short-lived. They offering 6 year warranties on this one?

    Drive the Maxima. Very nice interior if a bit haphazard in style. Apparently drives pretty well for a FWD. VQ is good. CVT…um. That’s why you’re in the ‘drive’ category. Fool me once Nissan. I’m half tempted to burn this one for that reason alone.

    Burn the Kia. Honestly, this is probably the best long-term ownership bet and a lot of car for the money. I just prefer my sedans to have a bit firmer suspension tuning and more responsive handling.

  • avatar

    the theme of the day: burn them all

  • avatar

    Buy the Maxima… only because I couldn’t see myself buying a VW under any circumstance.

    Drive the Cadenza. It’s a nicer car than it has any right to be. As already mentioned, it’d be a great ride to chew up long distances in.

    Burn the Passat. VW’s current reliability record makes me think owning one would be like holding a hand grenade. Pass.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    -Buy the Cadenza. It does what it does well, and you will probably never need to set foot in the dealership again.

    -Drive the Passat. When it’s not parked behind the dealer’s service bays waiting for a replacement pfestarkewhirle to arrive, it has just enough autobahn left in it to eat up some highway miles.

    -Much as it pains me to say it, burn the Maxima. CVT does not a 4DSC make, and it possesses the vices of French cars without the virtues.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      lol at pfestarkewhirle

    • 0 avatar

      I think you’re the only person to select this particular arrangement, and I was waiting for someone with whom I could agree.

      I don’t have any feels for the Maxima, and I don’t like its looks either. The essence of 4DSC dried up many years ago.

      The Kia is the most car for the money, and I think that 3.3 is reliable. The Passat is a drive for occasions when I want to look like an insurance rep or what have you. But I’d be hard pressed to buy a Passat – especially one that only comes in grey with a grey interior.

      *However I do fully agree with others who said the Passat will age the best and/or is the nicest looking. It’s so generic you won’t know how old it is in a few years.

    • 0 avatar

      A VW owning friend of mine used to say “sure, they’re great cars right up until the fahrvergnator breaks and it costs you two grand and you have to wait 3 weeks for them to ship a new one from Germany.”

  • avatar

    I feel that you chose that picture deliberately. Those two have very punch-able faces.
    Burn: VW. Burn all Volkswagens.
    Drive: Nissan.
    Buy: Cadenza.

  • avatar

    The Cadenza and Maxima are considered mid-size? I thought they ride the line a bit.

    Corey, you may as well do the “big three” Jap sedans—Camry, Accord, Altima. (Or substitute the 6 for the Altima — whichever one has more sales.)

    Buy the VW, drive Maxima, torch Kia.

  • avatar

    Buy: Passat. Roomy, comfortable, tasteful, boring styling but it will age gracefully (the style, mechanicals TBD).
    Drive: Cadenza. Probably good choice for the continental road trip I’ve always wanted to do.
    Burn: Maxima. Once a great name, but now too indistinct from Altima. CVT, and the styling already looks like a 90s Pontiac today and will only get worse with time.

  • avatar

    so THAT’s What Chewbacca looked like when he was younger

  • avatar

    The Passat is an appealing car to me other than the badge. It’s roomy, the conservative styling is classy, the VR6 powertrain seems more special by the day in a world of depressing little fours. But my B5 was so bad that it would take an extraordinary set of circumstances for me to buy a VW ever again.

    Well, the presented alternatives of those extraordinary circumstances. Buying any Kia beyond the cheapest one they have is while you rebuild your credit is almost as cringeworthy as buying a Datsun at all.

    VW takes this one by default.

  • avatar

    Err, this is a tough one. What about all the other mid-sized sedans?

    In the end, I would rent the passat and leave the other two in the parking lot.

    I guess that means I’d drive the passat, and burn the other two. Couldn’t bring myself to buy any of them.

  • avatar

    Buy: Maxima
    Drive: Passat GT
    Burn: Cadenza

  • avatar

    Despite my hatred of Nissan’s CVT, I do like the Maxima’s styling, so I’d reluctantly buy it.

    Drive the Passat, only because its likely a better drive than the Kia.

    Burn the Kia. Unless this was to be an Uber whore, I’d rather involve myself with the other two. If ride sharing was the objective, reverse this order.

    None would be on my radar if considering new cars, but I will abide by the rules.

  • avatar

    Buy: Maxima. Underrated, with the highlight actually being that CVT. With that 3.5, all gearing guesswork is gone. That box is telepathic. Interior is seriously nice as well. Much nicer than my G37.

    Drive: Cadenza, mostly out of morbid curiousity. FIL has an Azera…. not great.

    Burn: Passat. Shell of what it once was, zero redeeming qualities, aside from that V6.

  • avatar

    Passat is easy, I have history with her. Drive. Someone else gets to visit the dealer, fix the niggling issues, I’ll just see her on her good days.

    Kadenza gets the buy, but only because the rules say no burning all three.

    Maxima. Front drive, CVT, and wearing that name? Burn the imposter. I’m old enough to remember what was, this isn’t that.

    • 0 avatar

      The Maxima has been FWD for nearly 40 years, and the CVT is brilliant. Drive one before you judge it, it’s a brilliant car.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly, not a lot of people drive what they persecute. And all three care are FWD, lol.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve driven it, I’ve driven about … 6 or 7 Nissan CVT’s. None of them deserve to wear the Maxima name. 40 years? Not unless it’s 2024 already. I’m only allowed to burn one, sorry if it’s the one you carry a torch for. I’d own it before I’d own a Passat, but … rules say I get to burn one, own one and drive one as a loaner from a friend. The Passat drives circles around the current Maxima. Ever drive a RWD Maxima? a 510? Owned a 240Z? Get some time on the boat before you try to school me.

        • 0 avatar

          What the hell do 40 year old Datsuns have to do with any of these cars? By this logic your name should be 74510, not 05gt.

          I haven’t had any of those cars, but I have had a 350Z and I’ve driven various modern cars, including my G37S (probably the modern equivalent of that RWD Maxima, which BTW was not very good). I also had a Maxima as a rental. Chassis/aftermarket/stickshift availability aside, the Maxima is a better car than my G by pretty much every metric. If I wasn’t an occasional track day ricer I would have got the Maxima in a heartbeat. CVT and all.

      • 0 avatar

        Having had a number of them as rentals, you have an odd idea of what makes a brilliant car. A slightly less gross Altima does not a brilliant car make.

        • 0 avatar

          Well we know that your bar for brilliance is a roundel on the nose (or C-pillar in the X2’s case), so even though a mid grade Maxima is better than a 328i/330i in everything but drive wheels/transmission choice/bench racing, you won’t admit as much as you don’t have the stomach to.

  • avatar

    I’m in the burn all of them camp. Every one is a POS. If I must play.

    Buy the Kia. See how well that warranty works.
    Drive the VW. See if it’s 1/10th of what the VW folks claim it is.
    Burn the Nissan. Always burn Nissan.

  • avatar

    Wow, tough crowd on this one.


    Buy the Passat. I would prefer a more conventional transmission, more exterior color choices, and it to be not a VW; however I’m a fan of a sub $30K V6 sedan available in 2018.

    Drive the Maxima. If this was the sportier SR trim it might have been my buy, but the base version doesn’t excite me much and it just doesn’t seem worth $4k over the VW. It also isn’t any faster than the Passat despite the extra engine output.

    Burn the Cadenza. I don’t have anything major against it or the brand, but this 2nd gen example is a nontrival amount slower than the other two choices here. A 300+hp transverse version of the 3.8L would make it more compelling.

  • avatar

    Buy: VW
    Drive: Kia
    Burn: Nissan

  • avatar

    I’ve heaped praise on this generation of Passat here before, but that is strictly in context of budget midsizers where a 1.8TSI SE could get you stuff like moonroof and heated pleather seats and adaptive cruise in a very nice highway cruiser that added up to the impression that you were driving a $35k entry level luxury car (IMO). That all falls apart at this pricier category. As such: buy Kia, drive Maxima, burn VW.

  • avatar

    Actually, buy (used, because of the steep depreciation) and drive the Kia.

    Crush (twice, just to make sure it never comes back) and burn the VW.

    Burn the Nissan. their CVTs are just the stuff nightmares are made of. Nissan has only been putting out pure, unadulterated sh..crap since Renault gained control of the company.

    Gimme a Honda or Toyota any day over these last two!

  • avatar

    Oh look! It’s none other than Josh and Jen Millennial (pictured above)…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’d trash all three and have a Kia Stinger.

    Where is the Stinger in this “review”?

  • avatar

    For this fox, the choices go from bad to worse. I wouldn’t BUY any of them, they’re all ugly and what experience I have with two of them, I’m not sure I’d even drive them. I’d at least drive the Nissan, but I’d rather not.

    So that leaves me with a…
    • Buy 0
    • Drive Nissan Maxima S
    • Burn Passat and Cadenza

    Funny thing about that, too. VW builds the Passat in my home town of Chattanooga, TN. I still hate the model. And while they might get my attention with the pickup truck, if it’s as large as forecast, that one’s probably off my list, too.

  • avatar

    Burn the Passat, not even a proper Passat, but a cheap parts bin special for US rental desks.

    Drive the Nissan but be aware that it is part Renault these days.

    Buy the Kia

  • avatar

    My money? Buying the Kia
    Drive the Nissan and burn the VW!

  • avatar

    Buy the Passat. The rentals of the non-GT models I’ve had in the past year are surprisingly decent, and the entertainment system is pretty good. AC works very well and it’s very roomy. At least now they have LED headlights standard, providing proper lighting out of those sexy looking headlights (hate that most VWs have halogens, cheapens the front end look)

    Drive the Cadenza. Sounds luxurious, should be comfortable.

    Burn the Maxima. We have a 2008. It’s bland, boring, and the CVT sucks. Had a 2017 Pathfinder rental, and it had basically the same parts inside as the 2008 Maxima: same knobs, buttons, seats, all underwhelming. They are not comfortable cars to drive for me, I can never find the proper position. The screen of the Pathfinder was huge, and it had no app support. What a waste of space. I wouldn’t burn an SR or Platinum trim, but only when buying it as a lease return for a lot less.

  • avatar

    Drive the Cadenza- Its pretty nice.

    Burn the passat- it will cost you more to own it than it would to burn it.

    Burn the Maxima- Its bland, boring, and the CVT Sucks (Stole that from motoridersd).

    wait… I can only burn one?


    Now I’m confused about “Drive” vs “buy”. I wouldn’t want to buy any except the cadenza because at last it will be good for 10 years, and is comfortable to drive… but I also want to drive it.

    So I guess Drive the Cadenza, Buy the Passat and resell it the minute you get home before it depreciates more than 30%, and burn the maxima? (I only say buy the passat because it looks like it depreciates a hair slower than the maxima, but they all depreciate quick)

  • avatar

    I like the VW, but Kia has been good to me in past and Cadenza generically nice car so buying Kia. VW for the driver. Nissan’s CVT combines interactive Novocaine of an electric car with torque of a V6; it didn’t have a chance in this comparison with that transmission.

  • avatar

    I play this game each time but can you remind me what “Buy” and “Drive” are?

    With like sports cars and stuff I always assume “Buy” is like “buy, park it in your garage, and wait 50 years” while drive is “use up its life on the street and have fun with it” and burn is “Light it on fire and roll it off a cliff”.

    Is that correct?

    Because if so, what use is a “Practical 4 door sedan” to buy, park in your garage, and wait 50 years? The “buy” choice almost has to be a quick flip and accepted depreciation loss. No one would take any of these cars in 50 years.

  • avatar

    Burn all 3 and seek out a FWD 18″ rimmed LaCrosse Essence for under 30K. Lame shifter aside the Buick was very impressive to drive and surprisingly good on fuel showing over 32 going 78 MPH.

    But following the rules it would be

    Buy the Cadenza because it is the most like the LaCrosse at soaking up the miles and being comfortable
    Drive the Nissan because of it sportier demaner
    Burn the VW because I just don’t trust them and don’t care for the Passat’s steering and handling

  • avatar

    So now that I get that, I need to change my answer.

    Buy- the Cadenza. Nice ride, best warranty, would keep it long enough not to care about the resale.

    Drive: Maxima. Not a bad car for a weekend at the beach.

    Burn: the VW. Just… no.

  • avatar

    Buy the VW
    Drive the Kia
    Burn the Nissan

    Buy the VW, it has nice timeless styling inside and out, drives and handles ok for what it is and is quite comfortable. The VW will be worth very little when you get rid of it. This is just an academic exercise.

    In this class buy a Accord EXL or Touring, wait a year see how the turbo Mazda 6 works out, or if you want vanilla without those icky black seeds buy a Camry.

    Drive the Kia, it looks nice although Im not sure how well the fancy interior will hold up. Kinda too flashy for me and look at the people who drive Kias. I don’t want to join that club.

    Look at the reputation of their dealer body. I dont want the salespersons first question before i get into the showroom to be ‘how much do you want to pay per month’.

    The Kia will be worth very little when you get rid of it. This is just an academic exercise.

    In this class buy a Accord EXL or Touring, wait a year see how the turbo Mazda 6 works out, or if you want vanilla without those icky black seeds buy a Camry.

    Burn the Nissan. Dealers and customers a full half step above Kia a decent 2005 car only sold to people who cant get financed for a CPO BMW or Camcord.

    A car that will forever identify you as either unsophisticated, financially challenged, or related in some fashion to some down on their luck or rapacious person selling Nissan’s.

    The Nissan will be worth very little when you get rid of it. This is just an academic exercise.

    In this class buy a Accord EXL or Touring, wait a year see how the turbo Mazda 6 works out, or if you want vanilla without those icky black seeds buy a Camry.

  • avatar

    For the love of Pete, that couple is just creepy looking. Those blank stares and soulless smiles.

  • avatar

    Buy the Cadenza – it’s a better, more elegant looking Lexus ES.

    Drive the Passat – still some Autobahn-driving DNA in it, even if it is the very definition of bland (sheetmetal).

    Maxima – burn; pains me to say it (as used to like the Maxima back in the day), but the sheetmetal is a prime example of “garish” Japanese design and the Maxima isn’t the driver it used to be, esp. with that CVT.

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