2012 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Mid-size


The mid-size segment, once a key market sector, is diminishing in importance year by year. Some buyers have downsized to the larger compacts now available, while others have defected to entry-level luxury cars and compact CUVs.

Two new mid-size cars, the Toyota Camry and a U.S.-bulit Volkswagen Passat, are the only new entries for the 2012 model year. Several segment stalwarts, including the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Mazda 6 and the Nissan Altima are in their last year in their current forms. New debuts for 2013, the Chevrolet Malibu and 2013 Nissan Altima have been shown to the pulblic; and will go on sale by the summer of 2012. The 2013 Ford Fusion was unveiled at the Detroit show in January 2012, and will go on sale late 2012. Subaru showed mid-cylcle refreshes of its Legacy and Outback lines at the New York show in April, with sales starting ih the fall of 2012.

The four-cylinder cars in this class deliver a pleasing blend of performance, refinement and fuel economy. They are as quick and quiet as many six-cylinder cars in this class were a decade ago. The optional six-cylinder engines in this segment, originally for those who wanted a bit of extra power and refinement, have grown so powerful that most V6 cars in this class produce more horsepower than the 4L V8 did in the first Lexus LS400. U.S. government CAFÉ (corporate average fuel economy) regulations is already cutting the availability of V6 engines in these cars as companies try to improve fuel economy to conform with the new standards. The 2012 Buick Regal, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima are all exclusively four-cylinder, with 2013 versions of the Chrevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Mazda 6 ready to join their ranks. 

Safety equipment like side-curtain airbags and ABS are fitted to all the cars in this segment. Electronic stability control (ESC), a proven life saver that can correct a vehicle skid even before a driver knows that the car is about to lose control, is standard equipment on most the cars in this segment. Twelve of the fifteen 2012 model cars evaluated in this section have received Good ratings in the four tests (front, rear, side and roof strength), conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The former incentive wizards of the domestic makers once used cheap leases to attract buyers. With the credit crunch, the domestics backed off leasing for several years, but Ford and GM, though not Chrysler, are back in the game. That said, only the Buick division of General Motors is offering lease arrangements that are in any way compelling. Of  the Japanese brands, only Honda and Toyota are offering high-value leasing plans. Nissan on the other hand, will lease you a vehicle but like Hyundai and Kia, lease monthlies are too close to finance payments to make leasing worthwhile.  

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

 

Buick LaCrosse  Ford Fusion  Mazda 6  Suzuki Kizashi 
Buick Regal  2013 Ford Fusion  Nissan Altima  Toyota Camry 
2013 Chevrolet Malibu  Honda Accord  2013 Nissan Altima  Toyota Prius 
Chrysler 200  Hyundai Sonata  Subaru Legacy, Outback  Toyota Prius V 
Dodge Avenger  Kia Optima  2013 Subaru Legacy, Outback  Volkswagen Passat 

Buick LaCrosse

Specifications

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What’s new
Base 2.4L four discontinued. The 3.6L-V6 is standard, with GM's eAssist "light" hybrid powertrain optional. Revised 3.6L V6 gains 23 horsepower.

Performance
The V6 is responsive but causes considerable torque-steer under heavy acceleration. Smooth, responsive transmission, generally smooth ride. The LaCrosse is very quiet.

Comments
The LaCrosse, built on the Epsilon 2 platform that underpins the Opel Insignia, benefits from the input of GM's operations on three continents. With clean lines and artfully subdued detailing, this is one good looking Buick. Containing cool blue instruments and a prominent centre stack, the dashboard of the Lacrosse borders on the avant-garde. The rest of the cabin is an example of how visual restraint can be luxurious. Top-notch cabin materials and assembly. Cabin space, while good, is less than expected in such a big car. Power stems from either the standard V6 or an an optional eAssist light hybrid system that helps during acceleration but can't run the car in a full electric mode. Power reaches the front wheels (or optionally all-wheels) via a six-speed automatic transmission. Active xenon lights and a Blind Zone Alert monitor are optional. Small windows and large roof pillars restrict outward visibility. 

Pricing
The eAssist hybrid four is a $1015 option over the V6. At  nearly $4100, the all-wheel drive option is very expensive. Good value Convenience package. Ultra trim upgrade priced at nearly twice the value of its contents. Incentives are devised to discourage leasing.  

Reliability
Limited information regarding this relatively new model. Complaints have been received regarding defective timing chains on the 3.6L-V6 engine. Predicted weak spots include the suspension and steering components. Expensive replacement parts. A GM extended warranty is recommended if you buy a LaCrosse.

See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3
Engines:
2.4L-4 H (182 HP combined), 3.6L-V6 (303 HP) 
 
Transmissions: 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  13.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 4/80,000, 5/160,000

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Buick Regal

Specifications

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What’s new
Light hybrid eAssist is now optional. The Regal is built in Canada for 2012. A new base model is priced nearly $2000 less than the cheapest 2011 Regal..

Performance
The Regal's base 2.4L four is smooth and sufficiently quick in normal driving, but feels a bit pushed when maximum acceleration is requested. The 220 horsepower 2L turbo is lively; with the 270 horsepower turbo in the GS being very quick. The smooth automatic transmission acts very slowly at times. Sloppy manual transmission. Precise steering with good road feel. Progressive brakes. The ride is firm, yet never harsh. Crisp, stable handling. Large, heavily-sloped windshield pillars restrict visibility. Small door-mounted rear-view mirrors. Chic, modern and attractive cabin with comfortable seats and competitive room for a car in this class. Rear headroom is a bit tight for taller occupants. The large, elegant gauges are poorly marked. The button-festooned dash centre-stack makes adjusting the audio and navigation systems more complex than they need to be.   

Comments
Compared with the LaCrosse, the Regal is built on a 99 mm (3.9 inch) shorter wheelbase, measures 69 mm (2.7 inches) less from stem to stern, is 46 mm (1.8 inches) narrower and 13 mm (half an inch) lower than its showroom mate. Two four-cylinder engines, a normally aspirated direct-injected 2.4L with 182 horsepower, and two versions (220 and 270 horsepower), of a turbocharged, direct injected 2L four, are are available. Most Regals will send power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, but a six-speed manual is offered with the turbos. Exterior styling is, except for the grille and some minor details, carried over directly from the very elegant Opel Insignia that the Regal is based on.

Pricing
The base 2L 220 horsepower turbo four upgrade is reasonably priced. Massive $2870 to $3140 price for eAssist hybrid system that adds just a bit of extra power during acceleration, but is incapable of propelling the car in a full electric mode. Good value Canadian Comfort package. Good value leasing for 2012. .

Reliability
Not rated. Insufficient data on this recently-introduced model. Expensive replacement parts. A GM extended warranty is recommended.   


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2L-4 T (220 HP,  270 HP [GS ]), 2.4L-4 (182 HP)*, 2.4L-4 H (182 compined)

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

City Fuel Economy:  12.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings:

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

Country of Origin:  Canada 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Chevrolet Malibu

Specifications

NEW

 

 

 

 

What’s new
The 2013 Malibu has been downsized to make room for the 2014 Impala.

Comments
The fouth-generation Malibu in modern times is built on the shorter wheelbase version of the Epsilon II platform shared with the Buick Regal. This will open up more space between it and the next-generation Impala as the previous Malibu's similar cabin space, more elegant styling and cheaper price appealed to more buyers. GM claims the new Malibu's design is “Sportier” than its predecessor. Though more attractive in real life than in photos, the new car, with a super-tall grille and awkward conglomeration of styling elements, lacks the sleek grace of its predecessor. GM must be keen to suggest a relationship between the Malibu and the Camaro, as the Malibu's tail treatment looks like it was lifted directly off the sporty two-door. The cabin of the Malibu, with clear gauges, logical controls, chic two-toning, lots of padded surfaces and quality materials, pleases as much as the exterior disappoints. The front seats are large and supportive, but the rear seat is too close to the floor and lacks support for adults. The shorter wheelbase cuts rear legroom, which is tight for a car this size. GM's eAssist (offered in the Regal and LaCrosse), will power the first Malibus, with the mainstream 2.5L following after a few months. There will be no V6 version, but a turbo will likely follow. Power reaches the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission exclusively. 

Pricing
Pricing is not yet available.

Reliability
New car, not rated.
See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.4L-4 H(182 HP combined)*, 2.5L-4 (190 HP) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings:

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: 



Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger

Specifications

AVERAGE

 

 

 

What’s new
200: Standard stability control. New "S" trim level. Avenger: New R/T model.
Performance
The 200's handling can be described as safe, sound and predictable, but also devoid of any sort of excitement or fun. The soft suspension is at its best on the highway, but copes poorly on broken pavement where it heaves and bounces. The nicely weighted steering lacks feel. With a spongy pedal and a lack of initial bite, the brakes are hard to modulate. The 3.6L V6 moves the relatively lightweight 200 with great alacrity, but lacks the polished refinement of Honda's 3.5L V6 or GM's 3.6L engine. The six-speed automatic transmission is keen on quickly attaining the highest gear possible, jumping from first to fourth in gentle driving, but is reluctant to downshift when asked to. Touchy accelerator pedal. Smaller outside and inside than competitors like the Accord or Camry, the 200 nevertheless has good space for four adults. The supportive seats are mounted close to the floor. Clear gauges and logical controls.

Comments
The 200 and Avenger return for 2012 with few changes after a major refit for 2011. Two engines, a 2.4L four and a 3.6L V6, are available in both cars. The four is hooked up to a four-speed automatic transmission, but a six-speed automatic, standard with the V6, is optional with the four. The 200 is also available as a two-door convertible. An optional steel folding hard top is optional on the S and Limited trim versions of the convertible.

Pricing
The 200 and the Avenger are priced the same. Trim upgrades on both models are reasonable value. The base cars are priced less than $1200 more than a Civic LX. Top spec. models are roughly $4000 cheaper than an Accord EX-L V6. Rapid depreciation.   

Reliability
Not rated. The new V6 engine is unproven


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.4L-4 (173 HP), 3.6L-V6 (283 HP)* 

Transmissions: 4A, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  12.4L/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: 



Ford Fusion

Specifications

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What’s new
No changes in its last year

Performance
When mated to the smooth, responsive six-speed automatic transmission, the 2.5L four delivers brisk acceleration and relaxed cruising but sounds coarse when pushed hard. The four is a bit thirsty when hooked to a manual transmission. Abundant power from the optional 3L V6, and effortless urge from the big 3.5L V6. Precise, nicely geared and weighted steering and confident handling are allied to an impressively absorbent ride. Strong braking. Well-suppressed road and wind noise. The hybrid can operate up to 70 km/h in full electric mode if driven gently, is as frugal as a Prius, and more comfortable. Big, clear instruments. The audio and climate controls have too many buttons. Weak air-conditioning. Supportive seats and good legroom front and rear. Big trunk.

Comments
Three conventional engines, a 2.5L four and two V6s, a 3L and 3.5L, are offered in the Fusion. A four-cylinder hybrid powertrain is also offered. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions can be hooked up to the four-cylinder engines, but the V6 is automatic only. The hybrid powertrain is linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Pricing
At up to $3600, the 3L V6 is a very expensive option. The all-wheel dive system, available only on V6 models, is priced at $2000. Overpriced SE trim upgrade.  The 202A and Sport Appearance packages on the SE, and the 301A and 302A option groups on the SEL are very good value.  The Hybrid is priced about $6300 higher an SEL 2.5 when extra equipment standard on the hybrid, is accounted for. Poor leasing arrangments.

Reliability
Above average reliability. Few complaints have been received since the Fusion was revised for the 2010 model year.

See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:2.5L-4 (175 HP)*, 2.5L-4 H (191 HP combined), 3L-V6 (240 HP), 3.5L-V6 (263 HP)
Transmissions: 6M, 6A*, CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.2L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a
Warranty: 3/60,000, 4/80,000 (Buick), 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  Mexico

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Ford Fusion

Specifications

NEW

What’s new
All-new second-generation Fusion sheds its Mazda 6 underpinnings and forms the basis of the next Ford Mondeo in Europe.

Comments
The formula (Mazda plaform and Mazda and Ford engines), that created the first Fusion was incompatible with the "One Ford" mantra espoused by Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Therefore, the new car was developed in-house by Ford in the U.S. as the replacement for both the North-Amercian market Fusion and the Mondeo sold in Europe. 
The second-generation Fusion is fronted by yet another Aston-Martin tribute grille, a feature seen on many recent Ford products. The new car is marginally longer and a bit taller than its predecessor. The exterior design is tasteful in a conservative way, but lacks the visual panache of mid-size cars like the Hyundai Sonata and the sleek Kia Optima. The Fusion excels inside, where a roomy, comfortable, well-finished cabin welcomes occupants.

As with many other mid-size cars, the new Fusion is powered exclusively by four-cylinder engines. The base engine is the 2.5L four found in various Ford products. Two EcoBoost turbocharged fours, a 1.6L with 179 horsepower, and a 2L producing 237 horsepower, are optional. The 1.6L four can be hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission, with a six-speed automatic, which is standard with the other engines, optional. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional with the 2L engine. Electric and hybrid versions of the Fusion are expected eventually.  The 2013 Fusion goes on sale in the late fall of 2012.

Pricing
No pricing is yet available.

Reliability
Not rated as the 2013 is a nNew model built on a new platform with new mechanical units. 

See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
1.6L-4 T (179 HP estimated),. 2L-4 T (237 HP estimated), 2.5L-4 (170 estimated) 

Transmissions: 6M (1.6L-4 T only),  6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive (2L-4 T only)

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  Mexico, United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Not tested

Side: Not tested

Rollover: Not tested

Rear: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: 



Honda Accord

Specifications

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What’s new
Last year for the current model.

Performance
The base 177 horsepower four powering the SE mates well to its responsive five-speed automatic transmission to deliver strong acceleration and good fuel economy. The 190 horsepower 2.4L four in the EX and EX-L delivers serene performance when driven gently, but emits an enticing wail once the rev-counter passes 4000 rpm. Secure handling, an absorbent ride without a trace of wallow, strong brakes, and nicely geared and weighted steering combine to make the Accord a surprisingly agile big sedan. Overall refinement seems better than it was on the pre-facelift Accord. The V6 delivers astonishing acceleration along with a discreetly delicious soundtrack. Under light load, the engine morphs from six-cylinder operation to three or four cylinders to save fuel. Active engine mounts that rotate to absorb vibration when the engine is running on fewer than six cylinders and a noise cancellation system that sends white noise through the audio system to counter sonic imbalances from the engine are part of the package. Despite all the high-tech touches meant to mask the changes from six to four to three cylinder operation, some drivers find all the switching around to be annoying. Big, comfortable and supportive seats front and rear. Good legroom for all riders. Big, clear instrument are housed in a gigantic curvilinear dashboard that groans under the multiplicity of tiny buttons controlling audio and climate functions, especially in cars equipped with a navigation system. The big dashboard hampers ingress for larger drivers. The trunk is large, but odd shaping makes packing awkward. Good exterior paint and panel fit. Excellent sound system on the EX-L; solid sound from the audio equipment of the base SE model.

Comments
The Accord coupe, built on a 60 mm (2.4 inch) shorter wheelbase, is 81 mm (3.2 inches) shorter, 44 mm (1.6 inches) lower, and marginally wider than the Accord sedan. The 2.4L four can be linked to either a five-speed manual transmission or a five speed automatic. The V6 mates to a five-speed automatic in all cases except for the EX-L V6 6MT coupe, which features a six-speed manual transmission.

Honda showed an Accord coupe concept car on the auto show circuit in 2012. It looked very similar to the visually underwhelming car currently on sale, which augers poorly for the next-generation Accord.

Pricing
With alloy wheels, a power driver's seat and Bluetooth, the base SE Accord sedan is generously equipped. Upgrading to the EX trim level represents very good value. The price supplement for moving up from the EX to the EX-L is balanced almost exactly by the features included in the package. Expensive V6 option. The coupe is priced $500 higher than a similarly-equipped sedan. The EX‑L V6 sedan is priced around $1900 more than a Toyota Camry XLE V6. The revived Camry may make the Accord's life more difficult this year. High value leasing.
Reliability
Above average reliability, the best in the mid-size segment. Over the last few years, the Accord has generated fewer complaints than the Toyota Camry.


Body Style:  4SD*, 2CP
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.4L-4 (177 HP [SE], 190 HP* [others]), 3.5L-V6 (271 HP)

Transmissions: 5M, 6M, 5A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.2L/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: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Hyundai Sonata

Specifications

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What’s new
The 2013 Sonata was released in the late spring of 2012. Changes include a new SE trim level spliced in between the GLS and Limited that includes leather upholstery, dual exhaust, 18 inch wheels and the same stiffer suspension settings as the 2L turbocharged Sonata. Standard equipment on Limited models includes a 400 watt name-brand stereo. The manual transmission 2.4GL and the base 2.0T have been discontinued for 2013. 

Performance
The 2.4L direct injection four is strong and flexible, but gets raucous at higher revs. Very good fuel consumption and range for a car in this category. The 2L turbo four matches V6 competitors for grunt and tractability, but lacks their polished refinement. The turbo will run on regular gas. The Sonata’s automatic transmission shifts smoothly and responds obediently to kickdown requests. The precise steering is nicely weighted on the normally-aspirated 2.4L model, some drivers found the turbo's steering to be too heavy and that of the hybrid is numb and reacts to inputs in a non-linear fashion. The conventional models have crisp handling and roadholding, offset by a harsh ride. The hybrid has a more absorbent ride than its platform-mates, but twins it with a lot more wallow in corners. Overall refinement can’t match the leaders in the mid-size segment. Large windshield pillars restrict vision to the front, but the view out is acceptable in other directions despite the shallow side windows and low seating position. Though the Sonata’s cabin is spacious, total comfort is compromised by short front seat cushions and an oddly shaped rear seat. The cabin is fronted by a dramatically styled dashboard housing two large main gauges, each of which contains a smaller readout, one for fuel and the other for temperature. Clever. The Volvo-style human body graphic, which in Volvos, can be pushed to direct airflow to the head, torso or legs, is just a graphic in the Sonata, with a Mode button controlling air distribution. Overall the Sonata’s cabin design looks a bit downmarket, especially the featureless door panels. Good audio systems. Very big trunk.

Comments
Most Sonatas will be powered by a normally-aspirated 2.4L four that produces an impressive 198 horsepower. With no V6 available, Sonata intenders who want even better performance than the 2.4L provides can opt for a 2L turbo four that cranks out 274 horsepower. The powertrain on the hybrid combines to create 206 horsepower, an impressive figure. The electric motor is powered by Lithium Polymer batteries that are, according to Hyundai, 30 percent lighter, 40 percent more compact and 10 percent more efficient than the Nickel Metal Hydride batteries used in other hybrids. Unlike most other hybrids, the power units are hooked up to a conventional six-speed automatic transmission that provides a more conventional driving experience than the CVTs used by the competition. 

Pricing
Upgrading from the GL to the GLS represents exceptional value. The price jump from the GLS to the SE reflects the additional content contained in the package. The Limited trim level is a bargain, but the navigation packages (which include a panaramic sunroof) is just reasonable value. The turbo is priced $2800 higher than a 2.4L Sonata with similar equivalent. Poor lease value.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data on this recent model with a new platform and new mechanical elements. The previous model was reliable. .

See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.4L-4 (198 HP [200 HP SE]), 2L-4 T (274 HP), 2.4L-4 H (166 HP gasoline, 206 combined) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  9.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Tier 2 Bin 5 (2.4L, 2.0 T), Tier 2 Bin 2 (Hybrid)
Warranty: 5/100,000. Hybrid: 8/160,000 on all hybrid system components.

Country of Origin:  United States, South Korea (hybrid only)

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Kia Optima

Specifications

ABOVE AVERAGE

 

 

 

 

What’s new
New EX  and EX+ turbo trim levels for 2012. New colours. Hybrid model introduced. Single wiper blade system on EX, EX Luxe and SX models.

Performance
The refined 2.4L base four, which pulls strongly from 2000 rpm to the redline, and copes easily with the six-speed automatic's tendency to grab the highest gear possible. Good passing power. The fast 2L turbo is overkill for most drivers, and can't match the silky delivery of the V6s offered by some competitors. Quick, economical hybrid. The steering will feel too heavy for some, and with absolutely no centre play, maintaining a steady path at highway speeds is a challenge. While firm, the ride is never harsh. Crisp handling in typical driving but the the Optima's suspension loses its composure when the going gets rough, with the front end running out of travel on big bumps. The brakes lack initial bite. Excellent audio system. Thick rear roof pillars and a high trunk line impair visibility. Big, clear gauges and very logical controls (a bit less so with navigation). Comfortable front seats and plenty of space front and rear, however, the rear seat has an oddly shaped backrest that diminishes comfort. Attractive cabin fittings, even on the base model. The Optima's cabin design and materials are more attractive than they are on the Hyundai Sonata built on the same platform. 

Comments
Based on the Hyundai Sonata, the Optima has a totally bespoke exterior and cabin. The car has great presence in the metal and looks great on the street. It is visually clean and looks really expensive. The base engine is a 200 horsepower normally-aspirated 2.4L four, with a 2L turbocharged four, with 274 horsepower, optional. A hybrid version with 206 horsepower, sending power to the wheels via a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, is also available. A six-speed manual transmission is offered on the base model, but most Optimas will be fitted with a six-speed automatic. At about 2100 units shifted, Optima sales were about four times what its predecessor, the Magentis, sold in 2010. That said, the Sonata outsold the Optima nearly nine-to-one. 

Pricing
Good value LX+, and EX+ packages. EX and EX Luxury ugrades are bargains. Similar prices to the Sonata. Poor value leasing.

Reliability
Not rated, new vehicle with a new platform and mechanical elements. The previous model was reliable.
See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:2L-4 T (274 HP), 2.4L-4 (198 HP)*, 2.4L-4 H (166 HP gasoline, 206 HP combined)
Transmissions: 6M, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: SULEV (2.4L)

Warranty: 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  South Korea

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Mazda 6

Specifications

ABOVE AVERAGE

 

 

 

What’s new
The second-generation Mazda 6 returns for a short model run pending the release of the third-generation 6 based on the Takeri concept car. No changes of note for 2013.

Performance
The big, clear gauges can be blocked by the steering wheel. With straightforward controls and mostly attractive materials, the cabin is elegant. The seats feel insubstantial but prove comfortable. Good legroom front and rear, but the front footwells are tight. The quick and smooth 2.5L four mates well with the five-speed automatic. The manual transmission works well with the 2.5L four. The best efforts of the smooth, quiet and powerful V6 are dulled by the six-speed automatic transmission it is hooked to. Secure handling, a firmly resilient ride, nicely geared and weighted steering and firm brakes meld together to create a well balanced sedan. Big trunk. The 6 was judged to be a smoother and quieter, as well as being a better all-round car than the Honda Accord in an APA group road test of the two cars.

Comments
Only a four-door sedan is available. Engine choices include Mazda’s own 2.5L four and a 3.7L V6 brought in from Ford. The 2.5L can be linked to either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is linked exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. The U.S.-built 6 will be replaced by a new Japanese-built car based on the Takeri concept late in 2012.

Pricing
The GS Comfort, GS-Limited and GT Luxury packages are all excellent value. Compared with a GS-L 2.5L, the GT upgrade is overpriced. When equipment levels are accounted for, the V6-engined 6 is priced up to $4500 higher than a four-cylinder 6. A top-spec. V6 Mazda 6 tops $40,000, which is significantly more expensive that a similarly-equipped Camry or Accord. No leasing is available. 

Reliability
Average reliability is predicted. Mazdas generally develop a few more problems than similar cars from Honda, Hyundai or Toyota.  


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.5L-4 (170 HP)*, 3.7L-V6 (272 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 5A, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.7L/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: Acceptable

Rear: Marginal

NHTSA Rating: 


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