2012 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Large Cars


Large cars offer abundant cabin space and big trunks, but can be cumbersome to drive in the city. Big engines deliver relaxed performance and good fuel economy on the open road, but fuel mileage can plummet in town. The size and weight of cars in this segment offer enhanced occupant protection.

There was little news in this segment for 2012 other than the full model range of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger finally going on sale. What is new is some early-release 2013 mid-cycle remakes of the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord Crosstour and the Toyota Venza. The Taurus and Venza went on sale in the spring of 2012, with the Honda expected in the fall. Although the 2014 Chevrolet Impala doesn't go on sale until the spring of 2013, the APA has already seen it and nformation about the car can be found in this section of Lemon-Aid..

A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2012 differ from those published by the Canada EnerGuide. For 2012, the APA is using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), numbers for fuel economy, as they better reflect real-world fuel economy. For more information, read APA President George Iny's article regarding the inadequacies of the Canada EnerGuide test cycle

 

Chevrolet Impala  Chrysler 300  2013 Ford Taurus  2013 Honda Accord Crosstour 
2014 Chevrolet Impala  Dodge Charger  Honda Accord Crosstour  2013 Toyota Venza 

Chevrolet Impala

Specifications

BELOW AVERAGE

 

 

 

What’s new
A modern 3.6L V6 hooked up a six-speed automatic transmisssion is the sole powertrain available for 2012. Late cycle (almost afterlife) update of the current Impala including new fascias, trim and cabin revisions.

Comments
The Impala has a bland, cohesive exterior design, and a tastefully conservative cabin. Good fit and finish. The dashboard design is somewhat old fashioned but Instrumentation is clear, and controls are easy to fathom. Comfortable seating front and rear, but rear legroom is a bit tight for such a large car. Buyers can choose either front bucket seats or a bench seat. Massive trunk. GM’s 3.6L V6 is smooth and responsive and works well with the smooth six-speed automatic transmission. 

Pricing
The LS trim level is the best value in the lineup and the LT upgrade represents good value. The range-topping LTZ trim level lacks sufficient content to justify its price premium over the LT. Leasing is available but the terms are structured in a way to discourage it. Rapid depreciation; if you buy this car you will need to keep it until depreciation is no longer an issue. The Impala is virtually a fleet-only car as private buyers gravitated toward the pre-2013 Malibu that is equally roomy, significantly better looking and cheaper. The smaller, less attractive 2013 Malibu may have some buyers looking at the Impala again.

Reliability
Below average reliability. Weak points include the electrical system, sensors, steering and brakes. Numerous complaints have been received regarding defective timing chains on the 3.6L V6 found in the Impala and many other GM cars. A GM extended warranty is recommended it you plan to keet this car past the basic warranty period.  


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (300 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Acceptable

Rear: Acceptable

NHTSA Rating: 



2014 Chevrolet Impala

Specifications

NEW

 

 

 

What’s new
All-new third-generation modern Impala goes on sale early in 2013 as an early-release 2014 model. 

Comments
The current Impala is attracting few private customers, with up to 70 percent of production purchased by fleet buyers. Individuals walking into Chevrolet showrooms looking for a large car generally walked right past the Impala and up to the previous-generation Malibu, which had similar cabin space, was much better looking and cheaper.

To remove this showrrom conflict of two similar cars fighting for the same customer, Chevrolet made the new Malibu smaller, and will move the next Impala upmarket with a stated aim to compete with cars like the Nissan Maxima and the Toyota Avalon.

The Impala's clean lines are broken up by some very strong accent lines that add some visual interest to a really large car that could look dull with totally clean flanks. The Impala's bright exterior trim discreetly enhances the Impala's lines. Chevrolet has created an elegant car with an upmarket appearance, which is compatible with its mission of pushing the Impala into a higher price bracket.

Drivers spend a lot of time in their cars and cabin ambience is an increasingly important factor in attracting buyers. With ample space, comfortable seats, attractive design, chic detailing and luxurious trim, Chevrolet has pulled out all the stops to make the new Impala a pleasant place to spend time in.

The new Impala sits on the same wheelbase as its Buick LaCrosse platform mate, and is of similar overall dimensions. Available engines will include the 2.5L four and the 3.6L V6 offered in many GM vehicles. GM's optional eAssist mild hybrid system links a 2.4L four-cylinder engine with an electric motor that provides a bit of power when accelerating the car but lacks a full-electric mode. Four-cylinder Impalas will be fitted with active noise cancellation technology. All engines send power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

Chevrolet's optional MyLink system enhances in-car connectivity with Bluetooth streaming as well as an eight-inch touchscreen that also controls the available navigation system. A suite of optional active safety devices including adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind spot and rear cross traffic alerts, rear camera and rear park assist are all available. The new Impala will be fitted with 10 airbags.

The next Impala is a serious effort that will draw more private buyers into Chevrolet showrooms than the current, aged and prosaic model.

Pricing
No pricing details are available at this time.

Reliability
New model, not rated.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.4L-4 H ( 184 HP combined, estimated), 2.5L-4 (190 HP estimated), 3.6L-V6 (300 HP estmated) 

Transmissions: 6A
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000

Country of Origin:  Canada, United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Not tested

Side: Not tested

Rollover: Not tested

Rear: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: 



Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger

Specifications

ABOVE AVERAGE

 

 

 

What’s new
Both: AWD and SRT8 models return. An eight-speed automatic transmission is available with the 3.6L V6. 300: new C and other trims. Charger: Blacktop package.

Performance
The 3.6L V6 creates ample power and works smoothly in conjunction with the responsive eight-speed automatic transmission which is new for 2012. The powerful V8 is much quicker than the V6 but is totally unecessary. Astonishing handling for such a massive car. Smooth, absorbant ride. Impressive refinement. Nicely weighted and geared steering. The Charger SRT8 is seriously fast, and despite firmer suspension settings and sporty demeanour, is still very civilized. Comfortable seats and lots of space, front and rear. Logical controls, with the dash touchscreen being particularly logical and easy to work with. 

Comments
Full model range returns for 2012. The 3.6L V6 will power most of these cars, but a 5.7L Hemi V8 is available. 6.4L V8 SRT8 versions of both cars are offered. An eight-speed automatic is optional on V6 cars. All-wheel drive, which defaults to rear-wheel drive unless slip is detected, is available on non-SRT8s. Roomy, comfortable cabins. 300: features a tailored, traditional silhouette. The dashboard, with big, clear, artfully-lit gauges, is quite elegant. A large display screen dominates the centre stack. Charger: sporty lines with some stylistic references to 1968 Charger. The Charger's bespoke dash contains the deeply-set gauges and large display screen within a 70's style horizontal lozenge. Attractive, matte-finished soft-touch surfaces on both cars.

Pricing
The V8 costs $2300-2800 when other equipment is accounted for. Upgrades are reasonable value on the 300 and very good value on the Charger. All-wheel is priced at $2000 on all models.

Reliability
Average reliability predicted. Unproven V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (292 HP)*, 5.7L-V8 (363 HP [300], 370 HP [Charrger]), 6.4L-V8 (SRT 470 HP) 

Transmissions: 5A, 8A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000(SRT only 3/60,000)

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Ford Taurus

Specifications

NOT RATED

 

 

 

What’s new
Mid-cycle remake includes a new hood, grille, front fascia and lights, as well as revisions to the rear. More attractive cabin materials, new gauges and a MyFordTouch screen. A 2L turbo four joins the returning V6 engines. Horsepower on the base V6 increases from 263 to 290. Electric power steering, active grille shutters, curve control, torque-vectoring and adaptive cruise have been added.

Performance
Strong, smooth performance from the normally aspirated V6. Slick-shifting, responsive automatic transmission. The turbocharged V6 in the SHO furnishes blistering, linear acceleration but is heavy on fuel. Good handling. Precise, nicely weighted steering. Smooth, quiet ride. Progressive braking despite mushy pedal feel. Poor visibility, especially for reversing. The swept-back dashboard is a dramatic piece of architecture but it consumes a lot of cabin space. Big, clear gauges. Fit, finish and materials are all very good. Despite its vast exterior size, Taurus cabin space is disappointing, with barely more space available than in the smaller Fusion. Low-mounted front seats restrict toe space for rear seat passengers. Weak air conditioning.

Comments
Two V6 engines, a normally-aspirated V6 with 290 horsepower or a 365 horsepower turbocharged V6, are available on the Taurus. New for 2013 is 237 horsepower 2L turbocharged four which is working its way into most new Ford vehicles. All-wheel drive, optional on the normally-aspirated Taurus SEL V6, is standard on the Limited and SHO variants.

Pricing
Overpriced SEL upgrade. A fully-equipped SEL has most of the Limited's features but is significantly cheaper. A 2013 Taurus powered by the new 2L four costs $1000 more than one powered by the normally-aspirated V6. Expensive V6 turbocharged engine option. All-wheel drive, not offered on the SE trim level, is a $2400 option on the SEL and standard on the Limited and SHO variants of the Taurus.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data due to limited sales. The pre-facelift model generated few complaints and except for the new four, most power units are the same as the pre-facelift model. Unproven turbo engines.

 


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2L-4 T (237 HP), 3.5L-V6 (290 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 T (365 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  11.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Honda Accord Crosstour

Specifications

ABOVE AVERAGE

 

 

 

What’s new
Very late 2012 launch date. The four-cylinder Crosstour sold in the United States is not offered in Canada.

Performance
Hooked to a smooth and responsive five-speed automatic transmission, the Crosstour’s 3.5L V6 accelerates with great verve. With a carefully developed ride-handling balance, communicative steering and firm, reassuring brakes, the Crosstour is one of the nicest driving affordable big cars available. If the Crosstour has a fault, it is that the sloping roofline, small side windows and high tail combine to limit outward visibility.

Comments
The Crosstour is powered exclusively by a V6 engine sending power to the front wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is an option. Honda won't sell a four-cylinder all-wheel drive Crosstour in Canada to compete with the most popular version of the Toyota Venza, which has significantly hurt sales here. Crosstour sales plummeted nearly 50 percent in 2011, and it was outsold by the Toyota Venza by roughly 700 percent. 

Pricing
The Accord Crosstour is sold in one comprehensively-equipped trim level. The only options are all-wheel drive and a navigation system, which are priced at $2000 each. Similarly equipped, the all-wheel drive versions of the Crosstour and the Premium package equipped Venza V6 are priced so closely that money will not be a factor in a purchase decision. High value leasing. 

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted like the Accord sedan it is based on. . 


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (271 HP)* 

Transmissions: 5A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Tier 2, Bin 5

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Acceptable

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Honda Accord Crosstour

Specifications

NOT RATED

 

 

 

What’s new
Mid-cycle remake pitches the Crosstour as a more overtly SUV type of vehicle. A six-speed automatic transmission replaces the five-speed unit used in 2012. .

Comments
Honda has elected to "Outback" the Crosstour for the 2013 model year by giving it a more overtly SUV-like appearance. A bigger grille, more aggresive front fascia, skid-plate like styling elements and greater ride height combine to create a look that has been very successful for other carmakers.

Honda did not show the cabin when it unveiled the revised Crosstour in New York in April of 2012 as several new technologies from the next-generation Accord are shared with the big hatchback.

Mechanical updates include a six-speed automatic transmission for V6 Crosstours. Available active safety systems include lane departure and forward collision warning. A blind-spot monitoring system using door mirror-mounted cameras will also be offered. Bluetooth phone hook up which can read incoming text messages aloud, will be standard. A rear view camera, important in a car with limited rear visibility, will be fitted to each 2013 Crosstour. 

Pricing
No pricing details are available.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Unproven six-speed automatic transmission.  


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (271 HP estimated)

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Not tested

Side: Not tested

Rollover: Not tested

Rear: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Toyota Venza

Specifications

ABOVE AVERAGE


 

What’s new
Mid-cycle remake includes a new front fascia incorporating revised bumpers, slimmer, more elegant grille, better-integrated headlamps and revised taillamps. Revised packages and equipment. 

Performance
The Venza’s big four is quick and smooth, and is the choice of most Venza buyers. The powerful V6 accelerates with alacrity but lacks the sonic qualities expected from an engine with such impressive specifications. Noise from a variety of sources are in excess of what is expected from a car in this segment. The six-speed automatic transmission upshifts smoothly, but downshifts reluctantly. With a flinty ride over short, sharp bumps (courtesy of 19 and 20 inch wheels) and a lack of composure when roads get twisty, the Venza’s suspension delivers the worst of both worlds. Big, clear instruments. Controls for the heating and audio system look odd at first but are a snap to use once you are used to them. The vast centre console can hold a massive amount of detritus, all accessed via a number of very cleverly conceived lids. With a low floor, a tall roof and big doors, the Venza is very easy to get in and out of. Once in, occupants rest on supportive seats and enjoy abundant space. Some cheap looking cabin materials and poor assembly are letdowns. Cargo space, while wide and long, is very shallow below the window line, severely limiting cargo capacity.

Comments
The Venza undergoes a mid-cycle remake that reduces the visual bulk that plagued the pre-faceliftt version. The interior is virtually unchanged and cabin materials are still sub-par fopr a vehicle in this segment. Two engines, a 2.7L four and a 3.5L-V6 are offered. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available with either engine. All Venzas are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. With over 13,000 units sold in Canada last year, the Venza has been has been very warmly received by the buying public here.

Pricing
Upgrading from the 2.7L four to the 3.5L V6 costs $1755. An all-wheel Venza is priced $1800 higher than a similarly equipped front-wheel drive variant. The Premium and JBL package are priced to reflect their additional content but the Touring package is an outright bargain. Good value leasing. 

Reliability
Above average reliability. The Venza's mechanical units have proven reliable in other Toyota products.  


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.7L-4 (182 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 (268 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Tier 2, Bin 5

Warranty: 4/80,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: