2015 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 this segment has proved very popular in other markets, it has failed to find enough adherents in North America and seems doomed to disappear, especially when it is confronted with the new vehicles in the growing Micro CUV vehicle segment. The only real success in this segment is the Dodge Journey, which sells in impressive numbers.

With no new players on the horizon and the quiet departure of the Chevrolet Orlando, the People Carrier segment is down one participant this year.

 A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2015 are from the U.S. Department of Energy as figures from the new Canada EnerGuide test were not available when this research was being compiled.   

Dodge Journey  Kia Rondo  Mazda 5 
Ford Flex  Lincoln MKT   

Dodge Journey

Specifications


 

 

What’s new
The Journey is unchanged except for a new Crossroad trim level.

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 models. With nearly 25,000 sold in 2014, the Journey has been a smash hit for Chrysler in Canada.   

Pricing
The SE Plus trim level carefully balances content. Overpriced SXT trim upgrade. Good value Limited and Crossroad packages. The V6, standard on the Limited, R/T and Crossroad models, is a $2000 option on the SXT. All-wheel drive, standard on the Rallye and R/T, is optional of the Crossroad and not offered on other trimlines. Third-row seating is standard on all versions of the Journey except for the SE, where it is a $1475 option. Rapid depreciation expected, especially for high-end models. 

Reliability
Below average reliability on 2009-2011 models. Unproven 3.6L V6 and six-speed automatic transmission. Rapid brake wear on earlier versions of the Journey. 


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

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
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additonal airbags:: Knee airbag for the driver

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2009

Country of Origin:  Mexico

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: P

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


 


Ford Flex, Lincoln MKT

Specifications


 

What’s new
Flex: Heated external mirrors are standard on all models. A heated steering wheel is a new option on the Limited. MKT: No changes of note.
Performance
The strong base V6 in the Flex moves the car with authority but the EcoBoost Turbo delivers astonishingly rapid acceleration without any drama. Both engines are well-matched to the smooth, 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 legroom is abundant in the second row and reasonable in the third row. 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 also underpins the Taurus and Explorer. Considering they are both quasi-suvs built on the same component set, Ford has done a good job at differentiating the Flex from the Explorer. 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 the Flex nor the MKT has been embraced by the public, with the Ford selling about 2300 units last year and the Lincoln failing to crest the 300 unit mark.
Pricing
Flex: All-wheel drive, standard on the Limited, is a $2000 option on the SEL and not offered on the SE. Prices to upgrade from the SE to the SEL and from there to the Limited are far higher than the value of the contents contained in the packages. Very expensive turbo V6 option. No leasing offered in May 2015. MKT: All-wheel drive and the turbo V6 are standard on all MKTs. Reasonable-priced 201A Elite package, which includes the mediocre THX sound system. Fully loaded, the MKT is roughly $4000 more expensive than a similarly-equipped Flex turbo. No leasing is available

Reliability
Not rated due to insufficient sales. Unproven turbo V6. A Ford extended warranty is recommended if you plan to keep your car past the warranty period.  


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (287 HP Flex)*, 3.5L-V6 T (365 HP Flex and MKT), 3.7L-V6 (303 HP MKT) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  13.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  10.2L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings. Available adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation and brake support.

Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000 (Ford), 4/80,000, 6/110,000 (Lincoln)

Current Generation Debut:  2009

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 



Kia Rondo

Specifications


 

 

What’s new
No changes of note for 2015.

Comments
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 sole engine offered is a 2L directed-injected four that produces 164 horsepower. Power reaches the front wheels via either 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 Rondo. With nearly 5500 units sold in 2014, the Rondo outsold the Mazda 5 by about 2000 units. The Rondo has not been crash tested in the U.S. as it is not sold there. The Carens (the Rondo's name in Europe) scored five stars out of a possible five stars when tested by the Euro NCAP organization.

Pricing
Good value trim upgrades. Standard on the EX-L the third-row seat is a $1200 option on the LX and EX trim levels. With the third-row seat option, a Rondo LX, which can seat up to seven, is priced only $350 more than the six-seater Mazda 5. In addition, with a second-row bench seat, the Rondo can accommodate five passengers and a fair amount of luggage, which the Mazda cannot do due to its 2-2-2 seating arrangement. Good value leasing.

Reliability
Above average reliability is predicted. While the Rondo is not sold in the U.S., it shares commonly used Kia components and service should be available in the event of a mechanical problem, However, there will be no body parts available in the U.S. should the Rondo be involved in a collision. Five year/100,000 km warranty.


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

Engines:
2L-4 (164 HP) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  10.6L/100 km^

Highway Fuel Economy: 7.6L/100 km^

^(Kia Canada figures)


Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2013

Country of Origin: South Korea 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Mazda 5

Specifications


What’s new
Foldable second-row table standard on all models. GT model: previously optional, the sunroof and luxury packages are now standard. Unlimited mileage warranties new for 2015. 

Performance
The Mazda's smooth, quiet and sonically fizzy 2.5L four is carefully matched to a responsive, sweet-shifting five-speed automatic transmission. Except for a bit of controlled lean in curves, the 5, like the previous-generation 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.

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.With less than 4000 sold in 2014, Mazda 5 sales, like all the vehicles in the segment bar the Dodge Journey, are waning.

Pricing
The GS Convenience package, which includes includes cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel and Bluetooth, is priced to reflect its contents.The GS Moonroof package is a bargain. Nicely equipped, including leather upholstery, the GT is very good value this year. With the third-row seat option, a Rondo LX, which can seat up to seven, is priced only $350 more than the six-seater Mazda 5 GS. Acceptable leasing arrangements.

Reliability
Average reliability predicted. Premature rear suspension strut wear is a possibility. 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:  11.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/Unlimited, 5/Unlimited
Current Generation Debut:  2012

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: P

Mod. Front: G

Side: M

Roof: G

Rear: A

NHTSA Rating: