2013 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. While popular elsewhere, people carriers have made little inroads in Canada.

The only new product in this category is the 2014 Kia Rondo, which goes on sale in the summer of 2013. 

 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


 

 

 

What’s new
Bluetooth and automatic optional on the LS. Fold flat front passenger seat available. New colours.

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 fabric 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 backrest. Multi-adjustable driving position. Hard, oddly-shaped second-row seat. Reasonable legroom. Smaller adults can tolerate the third-row for short hops. Limited cargo space with the 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 previous-generation Kia Rondo.

Comments
Chevrolet 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. 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
Other than the reasonable price jump from the LS to the 1LT, trim upgrades are overpriced. Acceptable lease terms.

Reliability
New car, insufficient data. Korean-built GM products have had a spotty reliability record, hence the three star overall rating instead of a four star which the car would score if its reliability was more certain.   


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


 

 

 

What’s new
Heated steering wheel on top trims. Alloy wheels standard on Canada Value Package. Improved trip computer. Single "Max A/C" button.

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.
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.   

Pricing
Trim upgrades are excellent value. The V6 is basically free when the value of the additional content that comes with the Crew package is accounted for. All-wheel drive is only available on the R/T model. Some exterior colours cost extra in 2013. No leasing available. Rapid depreciation predicted for high-end models.

Reliability
Below average reliability predicted. A number of complaints have been received regarding 2009-2010 models, including rapid brake wear. Insufficient information available on the model since it was revised for 2011. 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: 



Ford Flex, Lincoln MKT

Specifications


 

What’s new
No changes since both models debuted in mid 2012. MKT is turbo only for 2013.

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 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 the Ford selling about 3500 units last year and the Lincoln failing to crest the 500 unit mark.
Pricing
All-wheel drive, not offered on the SE and standard on the Limited, is a $2000 option on the SEL. Upgrading from the SE to SEL costs roughly three times as much as the value of the upgrade. Moving from the SEL to the Limited balances price and content almost exactly. Poor value leasing. • MKT: Good lease terms. Fully loaded, the MKT is roughly $4000 more expensive than a similarly-equipped Flex turbo.

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


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (255 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

NEW

 

 

 

What’s new
All-new second-generation Rondo

Comments
Built on a longer wheelbase, the second-generation Rondo is slightly shorter overall than its predecessor. Like other Schreyer-era Kias, the Rondo displays an elegant form, especially for a monospace vehicle. The conservatively-elegant cabin is fronted by a dashboard housing large, crisply-marked gauges, straightforward controls and attractive two-toning. Five and seven seater versions of the new Rondo are available. The previous 2.4L 4 and 2.7L V6 engines have been replaced by a 170 horsepower 2L direct-injected four sending power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Luxury features such as xenon headlights, ventilated driver's seat, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, Keyless Go and a panoramic sunroof, are all offered on the new Rondo.

Pricing
No pricing is available.

Reliability
New vehicle. Not rated. Other Kia products that share these components are rated above average.


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

Engines:
2L-4 (170 HP estimated) 

Transmissions: 6M, 6A 
Drive Layout: Frontr-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
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


What’s new
All: USB added. GT: standard backup sensors and door-mirror mounted turn signals. Six CD player discontinued. New colours.

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 the previous-generation 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 Comfort package is excellent value. The GT trim upgrade is priced to reflect the value of its extra contents. The GT Luxury package is good value. Poor leasing arrangements.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. An oil or greased based anti-rust compound is recommended as the previous 5 was rust prone.  


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2/2

Engines:
2.5L-4 (157 HP) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  10.7L/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: