2012 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - People Carriers

The People Carrier category is one that encompasses vehicles that are essentially passenger cars that can seat more than five people.

While new to our market, buyers on other continents frequently pick People Carriers when seeking a large family car. Most makers offer this type of vehicle in other markets, but only the Chevrolet Orlando, Ford Flex, Dodge Journey, Kia Rondo, Lincoln MKT and Mazda 5 are available in Canada. If trends elsewhere find root in the Canadian market, sales of People Carriers could grow strongly over the next few years.

The only new product in this category this year is the South Korean-built Chevrolet Orlando, which, while offered in many markets worldwide, is not sold in the United States. Other news for 2012 include early-release 2013 versions of both the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT. The Kia Rondo, the oldest vehicle in this segment, is in its sixth and likely last year on the market in Canada. 

 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 Orlando  2013 Ford Flex  2013 Lincoln MKT  Mazda 5 
Dodge Journey  Kia Rondo     

Chevrolet Orlando

Specifications

AVERAGE

 

 

 

What’s new
The monospace three-row Orlando takes the HHR's spot in Chevrolet's lineup.

Performance
The Orlando looks more like an SUV than a people carrier. Limited vision for lane changes and reversing. Fussy looking gauges make them hard to scan. Logical controls for the climate and audio systems. Attractive cabin plastics and elegant bright trim highlights. Seat fabrics colours are too light for family life. The long-travel front seats are too hard for some occupants while others dislike the forward curve at the top of the backrerst. Highly tailorable driving position. Hard, oddly-shaped second-row seat. Reasonable legroom. Smaller adults can tolerate the third-row for short hops. Limited cargo space with third seat up; good when it and second row seats are folded. The smooth, torquey 2.4L four is quiet except for characteristic Ecotec wail at high revs. Responsive automatic transmission. Serene cruiser on smooth pavement. Light, lifeless steering firms up at highway speeds. Acceptable ride and steady handling despite cheap OEM tires. Noisy suspension on bumps. Good audio system. Along with the Mazda 5, the Orlando was tied for second spot in a three car test, trailing the Kia Rondo.

Comments
Chevrolet has replaced the five-seater HHR with the three-row Orlando for 2012. Sourced from GM DAT in South Korea, the Orlando is sold worldwide, but not in the United States. Though based on the same architecture as the Chevrolet Cruze, the Orlando is longer and taller than its showroom mate. The 2.4L four can be hooked up to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The Orlando is off to a good start, selling at about the same 6000 or so units per year rate as the Kia Rondo and the Mazda 5. Not sold in the U.S., the Orlando has not undergone testing by the IIHS or NHTSA. The Orlando received a five star score on the Euro NCAP test.

Pricing
The price of the 1LT upgrade reflects the value of its additional equipment. The 2LT package is significantly overpriced and the LTZ group is a bit too expensive for the content it contains. An Orlando 1LT is pricier than a similarly-equipped Kia Rondo EX.

Reliability
New car, insufficient data. Korean-bulit GM have been unreliable thus far.  


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/3/2

Engines:
2.4L-4 (174 HP) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  10.6L/100 km (Canada Energuide figure, Orlando not sold in U.S.)

ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

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

Country of Origin:  South Korea

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Not tested

Side: Not tested

Rollover: Not tested

Rear: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: 



Dodge Journey

Specifications

AVERAGE

 

 

 

What’s new
Rear seat video group new for 2012.

Performance
 The 3.6L-V6 is strong, smooth and works very well with its six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.4L four has enough power to move the Journey at a reasonable clip, but except when cruising, the engine sounds harsh and wheezy. Good ride and handling for a vehicle of this type. The steering is nicely weighted but a bit numb. Elegant dashboard with clear gauges and logical controls. The cabin is carefully assembled from attractive components. Cabin space is ample in the first two rows, but the third row is meant for the small and agile. The second and third row seats fold to reveal a long, regularly-shaped cargo bed that is deep below the window line. Cargo space is tight when the third seat is up. In an APA road test with the pre-facelift Dodge Journey, the previous-generation Mazda 5 and the Kia Rondo, the four-cylinder Journey was rated last of the three cars. Though smaller outside, the Kia Rondo had no less usable space inside, and its eager, refined four-cylinder powertrain is infinitely nicer than the Journey’s shrill four.

Comments
Two engines, a 2.4L four and a 3.6L-V6 are offered on front-wheel drive Journeys. Transmission choices are a four-speed automatic with the 2.4L and a six-speed automatic with the 3.6L V6. All-wheel drive is offered only with the V6-engined R/T model. With nearly 30,000 units sold in Canada in 2011, the Journey has been a major hit in Canada.  

Pricing
Trim upgrades are excellent value. The V6 engine costs roughly $2300 more than the 2.4L four when other equipment, standard with the V6, is accounted for. Rapid depreciation predicted for high-end models.

Reliability
A number of complaints have been received regarding 2009-2010 models, including rapid brake wear. Insufficient information available on the revised 2011 model. Unproven 3.6L V6. 


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/3, 2/3/25

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

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

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

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

Country of Origin:  Mexico

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Ford Flex, 2013 Lincoln MKT

Specifications

AVERAGE

 

What’s new
Both: optional inflatable middle row outboard seatbelts, Active Park assist and electric power steering. New gauge clusters and dash centre stacks. Flex: new grille, front fenders and lights. Revised tailgate applique and taillights. Base V6 gains 20 horsepower. Optional Adaptive Cruise and collision warning system. MKT: smooth contoured front end with a subtle grille texture, new lights, hood and front fascia. Base engine gains twin-independent cam timing and 32 horsepower. Lincoln Drive Control (adaptive dampers, sport mode with quicker steering, more aggressive engine mapping), and Lane Keeping systems are now optional.

Performance
The strong base V6 in the Flex is twinned with a smooth and responsive six-speed automatic transmission. Compliant suspension, stable handling and nicely weighted steering make the Flex a pretty agile bus that excels on long highway runs. The dashboard has clear gauges and and a logical centre stack arrangement. The rest of the cabin is very chic and nicely finished. The Flex features comfortable seats, and the legroom varies between reasonable for the third row to spectacular for the second. All who travelled in the Flex were charmed by it, with middle row passengers feeling especially pampered. Unlike many three row people carriers, cargo space is quite good with the third-row seat up, and expansive when the second and third-row seats are folded. The Lincoln MKT is a smoother, quieter, more luxurious version of the Flex.

Comments
The Flex and MKT are built on the same Volvo-derived platform that underpins the Taurus and Explorer. Ford has done a good job at differentiating the two cars, which share no exterior panels and have unique cabins as well. Except for towing capacity, the Flex, with more second-row legroom, a much more elegant cabin and easier ingress-egress, is a much nicer vehicle than the Explorer. Despite their inherent goodness, neither of these cars has been embraced by the public, with sales saggling 40 percent in 2011.
Pricing
Flex: All-wheel drive, standard on the Limited trim level, is a $2000 option on the SEL. The SEL trim level is significantly overpriced. Upgrading to the Limited trim level from the SEL lacks value for money. An all-wheel drive SEL with the 202A package contains most of the features included in the Limited trim level and is nearly $2000 cheaper. Poor lease value. MKT: all-wheel drive is standard on the Lincoln MKT. A base MKT is priced roughly $4000 higher than a Flex Limited with similar equipment.

Reliability
Average reliability predicted. Volvo-derived architecture could cause issues. Unproven V6. .


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (355 HP Flex)*, 3.7L-V6 (300 HP MKT), 3.5L-V6 T (355 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A
Drive Layout: Front-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 (Ford), 4/80,000, 6/110,000 (Lincoln)

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Kia Rondo

Specifications

ABOVE AVERAGE

What’s new
The Rondo is in its sixth, and likely last year on the market. The Rondo has not been sold in the U.S. since the 2010 model year.

Performance
The four-cylinder engine has enough power but acceleration, cruising refinement and fuel mileage could all be better if it was connected to an automatic transmission with more than four speeds. The V6/five-speed automatic powertrain is smooth and nearly as economical as the four-cylinder engine. Confident handing, but with less sportin elan than the Mazda 5. The Rondo has a very absorbent ride. Only small, short, sharp bumps ruffle the Rondo's composure. The steering is fairly heavy but lacks road feel and precision. Strong, progressive brakes. The Rondo could be quieter. Excellent outward visibility. Conservatively styled, roomy cabin. The third-row seats are quite welcoming for average-sized adults. Little cargo space with third-row seats arrayed to accept passengers. The front seats are a bit on the soft side for some occupants. Clear gauges and simple, logical controls. Excellent cabin assembly but some but some materials are a bit too shiny. The Rondo is a roomy, comfortable family hauler: It was ranked first, ahead of a Mazda 5 and a Chevrolet Orlando, in a recent APA three car test. 

Comments
The Rondo returns for its sixth and likely last year on the market. The Rondo may not be replaced as the U.S. market failed to warm to the car and potential Canadian sales are likely insufficient to justify the car being certified for sale here.
Pricing
The EX et EX Premium upgrades are acceptable value.The EX V6 Luxury package is an exceptional deal. The Rondo EX seven-seater is priced about the same as a Comfort Package equiiped Mazda 5 GS. Poor lease terms.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Comprehensive five year/100,000 km bumper to bumper warranty. 


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/3, 2/3/2

Engines:
2.4L-4 (175 HP)*, 2.7L-V6 (192 HP) 

Transmissions: 4A*, 5A 
Drive Layout: Frontr-wheel drive

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

Warranty: 5/100,000

Country of Origin: South Korea 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Not tested

Side: Not tested

Rollover: Not tested

Rear: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: 



Mazda 5

Specifications

ABOVE AVERAGE

What’s new
Nothing new of note for 2012

Performance
The Mazda's smooth, quiet and sonically fizzy 2.5L four is carefully matched to a responsive, sweet-shifting automatic transmission containing a quintet of expertly chosen ratios. Except for a bit of controlled lean in curves, the 5, like the Mazda 3 it is based on, is a very nice car to drive. Precise, nicely-weighted steering. Supple ride with little suspension noise. The brakes are hard to modulate and lack initial bite when the pedal is pressed. Clear, crisply-marked gauges are located in a dashboard that looks good, but is not as functional as it appears. Overly-complex climate and audio controls, and their readouts, crowded into a brow at the top of the dash, lack clarity. Matte-finished hard cabin plastics look elegant and interior assembly is impressive. The six-seater configuration (three rows of two seats per row), limits versatility as you cannot welcome five people and a large amount of luggage at the same time. Very comfortable bucket seats in the first two rows. Legroom is limited for tall drivers and is just adequate for second-row passengers. The third-row seats are for kids only. The 5 tied with the Chevrolet Orlando for second spot behind a Kia Rondo in a recent APA three car test.

Comments
All 5s are powered by a 2.5L four that can send power to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic.

Pricing
The GS confort package and GT trim upgrade are excellent value. The GT Luxury package is good value. Poor leasing arrangements.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. 


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2/2

Engines:
2.5L-4 (157 HP) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  11.2L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/80,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Not tested

Side: Not tested

Rollover: Not tested

Rear: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: