2015-16 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Large Cars

Large cars are a rapidly diminishing market segment as larger midsize cars offer enough comfort and luxuries to buyers that they see little reason to spend more money. In addition, those who really must spend more money generally seek a luxury badge to go with it.
While some view the Toyota Venza as an CUV, the APA believes it is just a tall wagon, and have included it in the Large Car section of Lemon-Aid.
There are no new or any signficant developcars in this segment this year. Toyota has announced it will stop selling the Venza in the U.S. after this year but will continue production of the car for other markets, including Canada.

A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2016 are from he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as figures from the Canada Energuide were not available as this information was being compiled.

Chevrolet Impala  Dodge Charger  Toyota Venza 
Chrysler 300  Ford Taurus   

2016 Chevrolet Impala


 

 

 
What’s new
MyLink system now compatible with Apple CarPlay. Wireless telephone charging is now available. Package and packaging changes. 

Performance
The Impala's direct-injected, twin-cam V6 lays down a strong, flexible stream of power from idle to the redline, accompanied by a soundtrack than runs from near silence to a pleasing melodic snarl when extended.
Like a faithful servant, the Impala's six-speed automatic transmission operates discreetly in background, upshifting seamlessly and downshifting promptly with a gentle prod on the gas pedal, making its presence felt only by the lack of drama its operation conveys.
The six-speed automatic is standard regardless of which engine powers the Impala. The 3.6L and a 196 horsepower 2.5L four will power Impalas in equal numbers. With active noise cancellation measures, the 2.5L is, according to Chevrolet, as refined as the 3.6L V6. With 110 fewer horsepower, the 2.5L four may not supply the type of acceleration buyers in this segment expect.
Unlike the low effort, feedback-free early electric power steering systems, the electric power assistance on the Impala is a delight. With reassuring heft, quick, but not nervous responses, excellent highway stability and even some road feel, the steering in the new Impala is just plain good.
GM's Epsilon II architecture (seen in the Regal and LaCrosse from Buick and the Cadillac XTS), has, with a number of enhancements such as stiffer suspension mounting points, provides a sturdy platform for the new Impala's suspension. With MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link system in the rear, the Impala's suspension specifications read like those of dozens of other cars. However, with good turn-in, little noticeable lean in corners, unflappable highway stability and an absorbent ride devoid of any trace of wallow, the Impala provides the kind of reassuring steadiness and cosseting ride its intended buyers will find most pleasing.
Various sound-abatement measures, including extra thick glass in the windshield and front windows, triple door seals, various foam-filled body cavities acoustic mats, has resulted in a remarkably serene cabin environment. The clunking rear suspension which cursed various versions of the Epsilon I platform, seems to have been banished from the updated version of the architecture.
Speaking of sound, the name-brand audio system in the APA's top-end test car was massively powerful and capable of delivering distortion-free sound, but its lack of adjustability rendered a sound quality too muddy for some drivers to derive any pleasure from.
Impala drivers enjoy good visibility to the front and generally, to the sides. However, a high trunk line and small rear window makes lane changes in close quarters more angst-inducing than they should be and vision for reversing is such that a backup camera borders on necessary equipment.

The driver faces a wildly-shaped gauge nacelle, which contains the crisply-marked main instruments and crystal-clear trip-computer readouts. This, in turn, is topped by a gently-arced hood under which the fuel and temperature gauges rest.
The dashboard itself is a dramatic piece of sculpture that flows toward the driver but does not intrude upon the space for front passengers. While some controls (like the audio system tone settings) force drivers to consult the navigation screen, most climate and audio functions can be manipulated by straightforward dashboard controls. The navigation screen glides upward electrically to reveal a large storage compartment with a USB port. Chevrolet notes that a "valet" mode in the new Impala locks the storage compartment and also blocks access to information like the navigation history and phone contacts stored in the computer system of the car.
Aside from the unconvincing fake wood on our test car, copious soft-touch surfaces, matte finishes, French stitching and lustrous faux-alloy highlights make for a very luxurious cabin. Leather upholstery with contrast stitching is very attractive as is the vinyl with mock suede seating combination on the LT variant.
The large, supportive front seats are very comfortable and succeed in properly locating those riding in front without pinching them. Even the tallest front occupants in the Impala should find ample legroom. The proper height seat cushion, comfortably raked backrest, thick padding and generous legroom pamper rear seat passengers.
Despite being a very early production car, the Impala was carefully assembled, with no detectable squeaks, rattles or rustling trim noises.
In Impala tradition, the trunk of the new car is enormous. It is not only wide and long, it is also very tall inside. While conventional gooseneck hinges are used, they glide in designated channels and will not damage luggage as the trunk is closed.

Comments
The Impala can be powered by a 2.5L four or a 3.6L V6. Power reaches the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission in all cases. Despite its excellence, only 3400 Impalas found homes in 2014.

Pricing

Moving up from the 1LS to the 1LT is very expensive considering the equipment the upgrade contains. To swap the 2.5L four that powers the 1LT for the V6 costs $1500 for the engine as there is really no difference in content between the two models. The 2LZ range-topper is luxuriously equipped but is a bit short on content for the money. Poor value leasing. 

Reliability

Not rated, insufficient data. The 2.5L four appears to be reliable. Issues, including stretched timing chains witht he 3.6L V6. The first four oil changes are paid for by GM. An extended warranty from GM is recommended if you plan to keep the Impala past the warranty period. Free oil changes (up to four changes, based on oil life monitor in the car) for two years or 40,000 kilometers.

Specifications


Body Style: 4SD
Occupants: 2/3

Engines:
2.5L-4 (196 HP), 3.6L-V6 (305 HP)

Transmissions: 6A
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 13.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 8.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available forward collision, lane departure, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings.
Additional airbags: Knee airbags for both front airbags and side airbags for outboard rear passengers.

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000
Current Generation Debut: 2014
Country of Origin: Canada, United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger


 

 
What’s new
300: 90th Anniversary edition of the Touring trim level is available, all engines hooked up to a àn eight-speed automatic transmission this year. Charger: all engines are hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission for 2016. New RT Scat Pak and supercharged Hellcat models this year. Blacktop and Super Track Pak option packages are new for 2016.

Performance
The 3.6L V6 creates ample power and works smoothly in conjunction with the responsive eight-speed automatic transmission. The powerful V8 is much quicker than the V6 but is totally unnecessary. Astonishing handling for such a massive car. Smooth, absorbent ride. Impressive refinement. Nicely weighted and geared steering. Comfortable seats and lots of space, front and rear. Logical controls, with the dash touch screen being particularly logical and easy to work with. 

Comments
The 6.4L V8 SRT8 and supercharged 6.2L Hellcat models are exclusive to the Dodge. An eight-speed automatic is standard on all models in 2015. All-wheel drive, which defaults to rear-wheel drive unless slip is detected, is available on mainstream models but not on the SRT8 or Hellcat high-performance variants or the Charger. Collectively, these two platform mates sold 7800 units in 2015, roughly matching the number posted alone by the Toyota Venza.
Pricing
300: Upgrading form the Touringto the Touring, S, 300C and the Platinum are all good value. The all-wheel drive is a $2200 option on all V6 trim levels. The 5.7L V8 is not an option on the Touring trim line, but costs an extra $2850 on the S and $2500 on the 300C and Platinum. No leasing is available.

Charger:  All-wheel drive is priced $2200 on the SE and SXT trim levels. Good value SXT and R/T trim upgrades. The R/T Road & Track is overpriced and the Hellcat performance upgrade is more very expensive. Leasing bacame available during the 2016 model year.

Reliability
Average to above average reliability predicted. Unproven V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission. These cars are the most reliable vehicles built by Chrysler. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (292 HP, 300 HP)*, 5.7L-V8 (363 HP 300, 370 HP Charger), 6.4L-V8 (SRT 485 HP Charger only), 6.2L-V8 S (707 HP Charger Hellcat) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.7L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available forward collision warning with auto brake and adaptive cruise with stop, lane departure and lane keep assist.
Additional airbags:: Driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000 (Hellcat only 3/60,000)
Current Generation Debut:  2011
Country of Origin:  Canada

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR 

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Ford Taurus


 

 
What’s new
BlackBerry designed Sync3 replaces the previous infotainment interface.

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 288 horsepower or a 365 horsepower turbocharged V6, are available on the Taurus. An optional 2L four with 240 horsepower can be substituted for the normally-aspirated 3.5L V6. All-wheel drive, optional on the normally-aspirated Taurus SEL V6, is standard on the Limited and SHO variants. The Taurus sold about 3500 units in Canada in 2014, about the same as the Chevrolet Impala.

Pricing
All-wheel drive, standard on the Limited and SHO, is a $2400 option on the SEL V6. Overpriced SEL trim upgrade. The Limited is good value when compared with the all-wheel drive SEL. The SHO is priced significantly higher than the value of its additional content. The 2L turbo four costs $1000 more than the normally-aspirated 3.5L V6 that is standard on most models. Leasing was poor value last year and was not available in January of 2016.

Reliability
Average reliability predicted. Limited sales. Unproven turbo engine. The 3.5L normally aspirated V6 is the best choice. An extended warranty from Ford is recommended. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2L-4 T (240 HP), 3.5L-V6 (288 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 T (365 HP) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  113.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.7L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with brake support, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and lane keep assist. 
Additional airbags:: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2010
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Toyota Venza

What’s new
No longer on sale in the U.S., the Venza continues in Canada for one last year. V6 models now exclusively linked to all-wheel drive. New "Redwood" trim edition.

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. 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
Cabin materials are still sub-par for 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.

Pricing
Upgrading from the 2.7L four to the 3.5L V6 costs $1755. All-wheel drive, standard with the V6, is an $1800 option on four-cylinder Venzas. The XLE and Redwood models balance content and price quite precisely. The Limited package is good value when compared with the XLE. Take a look at the cheaper RAV4 which can't match the Venza for passenger space but has significantly more room for cargo. Good value leasing.

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

Specifications


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:  11.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: Knee airbag for the driver

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2009
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: