2010 Lemon Aid Large Cars

LARGE CARS


GM Buick Lucerne

 

Ford Taurus

Chrysler 300

 

Honda Crosstour

Dodge Charger

 

Toyota Venza


LARGE CARS offer abundant cabin space and big trunks, but can be cumbersome to drive in the city. Big engines deliver relaxed performance and good fuel economy on the open road, but fuel mileage can plummet in town. The size and weight of cars in this segment offer enhanced occupant protection.

There are two new cars in this segment this year, the Ford Taurus, and the Honda Accord Crosstour. The Taurus is once again a conventional sedan, but the Accord Crosstour is a more versatile type of large family car.

Returning for their last year before new models go on sale, are the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.   


 

 

Buick Lucerne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 AVERAGE

GENERAL MOTORS

BUICK Lucerne (FWD)

Body Style: 4SD

Engines: 3.9L-V6* 227 HP, 4.6L V8 292 HP

Transmission: 4A

City Fuel Economy: 12L/100 km

ESC available: Yes

Emissions rating: n/a

What’s new
Revised rocker panels and instrumentation. Bluetooth is now a stand-alone option on the CX trim level. Revised colour selection.

Comments
The Lucerne’s body and cabin look modern, but the structure that lies underneath debuted in 1995. Good exterior panel fit and paintwork. The cabin design is conservative, tasteful, and carefully assembled using attractive components. Comfortable seating. The 2936 mm (115.6 inch) wheelbase allows for generous legroom front and rear. Big trunk. Engine choices include a 227 horsepower 3.9L V6 and a 4.6L V8 that produces 292 horsepower. Power reaches the front wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission regardless of engine choice. Reports in the automotive press note that the Lucerne is a large, pampering, quiet touring car that provides a smooth ride and confident, non-sporting handling. Made in the United States.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Unproven 3.9L V6. The Lucerne’s complex electronic systems make the purchase of a GM extended warranty advisable should you plan to keep your car past the four year/80,000 km bumper to bumper warranty. Expensive factory replacement parts. A GM dealer recommended by the APA will provide a discount on the warranty if it is bought in conjunction with the new car. Four year/80,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, 5 years/160,000 km on the powertrain.  

Pricing
The CXL is the best value of the Lucerne lineup, especially if you want leather seating. Option packages are very expensive for the additional content they bring. The Super is priced $12,000 higher that the CXL, but only about $7000 of the supplement can be explained by enhanced equipment and the V8 engine. Comparably equipped, Buick’s own LaCrosse is a slightly cheaper and much more modern interpretation of traditional Buick virtues than the Lucerne. The Toyota Avalon is roomier and more powerful than the Lucerne, and is priced roughly $4000 less when similarly equipped. If you buy a Lucerne, you will need to keep it a long time as depreciation will be savage. Lucerne sales dropped about 40 percent last year.

Safety
Seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard. Rated Good in the IIHS frontal impact test, Acceptable in the IIHS side impact test and Marginal in the rear impact test. Not rated for Rollover. Ranked 6th of the 9 cars in its class. Standard ABS. ESC is standard on the Super but is optional on the CX and CXL.   


  

 

 Chrysler 300

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVERAGE

CHRYSLER 300 (RWD*, AWD)

Body Style: 4SD

Engines: 3.5L-V6 250 HP*, 5.7L-V8 360 HP, 6.1L-V8 425 HP (SRT8)

Transmission: 5A

City Fuel Economy: 12.6L/100 km

ESC: Standard

Emissions rating: n/a

 

What’s new
Side-curtain airbags are now standard. A fuel saver indicator has been added to the instrumentation. An Interactive Deceleration Fuel Shut-off system is optional on  cars equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission. Keyless Go and a rear parking sonar system are now standard on the 300C. 2010 is the last year for the current 300. 

Performance
Predictable handling combines with a firmly compliant ride and little body roll. Strong acceleration and relaxed cruising from the 3.5L V6. Smooth shifting and responsive automatic transmission. Seamless all-wheel drive system. Nicely weighted and geared steering. This car looks a bit like a tank and feels as solid as one when you drive it. Good driving position despite the small glazed area. Clear instrumentation and logical, straightforward controls. The front seats are smaller than expected and are very firmly padded. Long seat travel can accommodate even the very tall. Good cabin space. Good trunk access, but cargo space is limited for such a big car. Slow heating. Muddy sound quality from the base audio system in the 300 Touring.

Reliability
Average. Some complaints have been received regarding steering and front suspension wear. If you pick a V6 engine adhere to the “severe service” maintenance schedule and keep all oil-change receipts so Chrysler cannot claim lack of maintenance as a reason for engine failure. The purchase of an extended warranty from Chrysler is expensive, but is strongly recommended if you plan to keep the car past the bumper to bumper warranty. Three year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, 5 years/100,000 km on the powertrain.

Comments
Powertrain choices include a 3.5L V6 engine that is standard on the Touring and Limited models, and a 5.7L V8 that is sole engine choice on the 300C. Transmission selections include a four-speed automatic on rear-wheel drive 3.5L cars, and a five-speed automatic on all-wheel drive and V8-engined models. All-wheel drive is optional on all models.  The V8 Hemi boasts a “Multi-displacement System” that deactivates up to four cylinders when the car is cruising. To prove nothing exceeds like excess, an SRT8 version, powered by a 6.1L, 425 horsepower version of the Hemi V8, is available. Made in Canada.

Pricing
Option packages and moving up a trim level are both very good value on V6 models. The V8-powered 300C is really overpriced. All-wheel drive ($2025 to $2305 on the 300) is available with either the 3.5L V6 or the 5.7L V8. Although sales decreased 30 percent last year, the 300 is the biggest selling car in this segment.

Safety
Standard side-curtain airbags on all models this year. Seat-mounted side airbags are not available. The 300 was rated Good in the IIHS frontal impact test and Marginal in the IIHS side and rear impact tests. Not rated for Rollover. Ranked 7th of the 9 cars in its class. Standard ABS and ESC.


 

 Dodge Charger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 AVERAGE

CHRYSLER

DODGE Charger (RWD*, AWD)

Body Style: 4SD 

Engines: 2.7L-V6 178 HP, 3.5L-V6* 250 HP, 5.7L-V8 370 HP, 6.1L-V8 425 HP (SRT8)

Transmission: 4A*, 5A

City Fuel Economy: 12.2L/100 km

ESC: Standard

Emissions rating: n/a

 

What’s new
The Super Track Pack option can now be combined with the available all-wheel drive system.  

Comments
The Charger’s coke-bottle shape, bluff front end and tight front overhang evoke ‘60s design cues. Cabin space is the same as in the Chrysler 300 for those riding in front. However, rear seat riders will notice that legroom isn’t quite as generous as it is in the 300, and the shape of the car makes the rear quarters feel claustrophobic. Engine choices include a 2.7L V6 (SE), a 3.5L V6 (optional on the SE, standard on the SXT), and 5.7L V8 (R/T). Transmissions selections include a four-speed automatic with the 2.7L V6 and 3.5L cars with rear-wheel drive, and a five-speed automatic on all-wheel drive and V8-engined cars. All-wheel drive is optional on the SXT and R/T trim levels. The crazy-powerful 6.1L V8 is part of the SRT8 package. Charger sales dropped about 15 percent last year, but with nearly 7000 sold, the Charger is one of the most successful nameplates in this segment. Made in Canada.  

Reliability
Average. Some complaints have been received regarding steering and front suspension wear.  Purchase of an extended warranty from Chrysler is expensive but is strongly recommended. Weak 2.7L V6. If you pick a V6 engine adhere to the “severe service” maintenance schedule and keep all oil-change receipts so Chrysler cannot claim lack of maintenance as a reason for engine failure. Three year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, 5 years/100,000 km on the powertrain.

Pricing
Option packages and moving up a trim level are both very good value on V6 models. The V8-powered R/T is really overpriced. All-wheel drive is a $2100 to $3850 option on Chargers powered by the 3.5L V6 or the 5.7L V8. Charger sales dropped about 15 percent last year, but it is still one of the most successful nameplates in this segment.

Safety
Standard side-curtain airbags on all models. Seat-mounted side airbags are not available. The Charger was rated Good in the IIHS frontal impact test and Marginal in the IIHS side and rear impact tests. Not rated for Rollover. Ranked 7th of the 9 cars in its class. Standard ABS and ESC.


 Ford Taurus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW

FORD Taurus (FWD*, AWD)

Body Styles: 4SD

Engine: 3.5L-V6* 263 HP, 3.5L-V6T 365 HP                                 

Transmission: 6A

City Fuel Economy: 11.6L/100 km

ESC: Standard

Emissions rating: n/a 

What’s new
New body over the existing mechanicals.   

Comments
The 2010 Taurus is based on the same platform as the previous model. Except for a fussy grille, the new shape is very clean. The swept back dashboard is a dramatic piece of architecture. The dash houses a big, clear set of gauges, but the multitude of buttons for the climate and audio controls make their workings hard to fathom. Fit, finish and materials inside the new Taurus are much improved compared with the last Taurus. Where the new Taurus disappoints is in cabin space. The previous car was one of the roomiest cars available, the new one is barely more spacious than the smaller Fusion.  

The familiar 3.5L V6 returns, as does the six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional on the SEL, and is standard on the Limited and SHO trim levels. The SHO is powered by a twin turbo V6 (EcoBoost in Ford speak) that churns out 365 horsepower.  

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. There were few complaints about the previous model, but that might be partially due to the small number of cars sold. The turbocharged engine is unproven. Three year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, 5 years/100,000 km on the powertrain. 

Pricing
All-wheel drive, standard on the Limited and SHO models, is a $2500 option on the SEL. Upgrading from the SE to SEL trim levels represents reasonable value, but the Limited model is very expensive for what you get. The SHO is priced about the same as an all-wheel drive Chrysler 300C.

Safety
Standard seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags. The Taurus was a Top Safety Pick, rated Good in the IIHS frontal, side and rear impact tests. Rated Good for Rollover. Ranked 2nd of the 9 cars in its class. Standard ABS and ESC on both cars.      


 Honda Crosstour

 

 

 

 

 

  

NEW

HONDA Accord Crosstour (FWD, AWD)

Body Style: 4HB

Engine: 3.5L-V6 271 HP

Transmission: 5A

City Fuel Economy: 11.5L/100 km

ESC: Standard

Emissions rating: Tier 2 Bin 5

 

Performance
Hooked to a smooth and responsive five-speed automatic transmission, the Crosstour’s 3.5L V6 accelerates with great verve and sounds great. With a carefully developed ride-handling balance, communicative steering and firm, reassuring brakes, the Crosstour is one of the nicest driving affordable big cars available. If the Crosstour has a fault, it is that the sloping roofline, small side windows and high tail combine to restrict outward visibility considerably. 

The Crosstour’s massive exterior conceals a roomy, versatile cabin with comfortable seats front and rear. The dashboard, plucked whole from the Accord sedan, is an over-scaled piece festooned with literally dozens of buttons, especially on navigation equipped cars. Clear, concise instrumentation. The cargo space is rendered less spacious than it could be by intrusive rear suspension towers, a sloping roofline, and a high trunk floor which restricts the vertical height available for stowage below the window line.

Reliability
Predicted above average reliability like the Accord it is based on. Three year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, with 5 years/100,000 km on the powertrain.

Pricing
Only one version, a lavishly equipped V6 Crosstour, is offered. All-wheel drive and a navigation system (priced at $2000 each) are the only two options available. Honda’s decision not to sell a full model range, including a base cloth-upholstered four-cylinder variant, is puzzling and may unintentionally make the Crosstourt an exclusive niche model in Canada. The best-selling version of the Toyota Venza (the Crosstour’s direct competitor) is the all-wheel drive four-cylinder that sells for just under $31,000. The Venza all-wheel drive Touring bears an MSRP roughly $1300 higher than the Crosstour EX-L all-wheel drive, but lease (48 months, $0. down) and finance (60 months, $0. down) payments are the same for both cars.

Safety
Standard seat-mounted and side-curtain airbags. Not crash tested by the IIHS. Standard ABS and ESC.


 

 

 Toyota Venza

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE AVERAGE

TOYOTA Venza (FWD, AWD*)

Body Style: 4HB

Engines: 2.7L-4* 182 HP, 3.5L-V6 268 HP

Transmission: 6A

City Fuel Economy: 10.2L/100 km

ESC: Standard

Emissions rating: Tier 2 Bin 5

 

What’s new
Bluetooth and an audio USB port are now standard.

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. Some cheap looking cabin materials and poor assembly quality are letdowns. Cargo space, while wide and long, is very shallow, limiting cargo carrying capacity below the window line.

 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Very good reliability is predicted. Some recent new Toyotas have developed problems in the year after they were launched. Three year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, 5 years/100,000 km on the powertrain. Replacement and winter tires to fit the Venza’s 19 and 20 inch wheels will be very expensive.   

Comments
The Venza, Toyota's new Camry-based hatchback, has the same wheelbase and overall length as the Camry, but is 85 mm (3.34 inches) wider and 160 mm (6.29 inches) taller than its sedan showroom companion. The Venza is a five-seater so as to not conflict with the Highlander built on the same set of components. Power is produced by either a 187 horsepower 2.7L four or a 3.5L V6 with 268 horsepower. The sole transmission is a six-speed automatic. Made in the United States. 

Pricing
Toyota charges only $1450 for all-wheel drive on the Venza. The Premium and Touring packages are very good value. The JBL package balances price and content exactly. The Venza all-wheel drive Touring bears an MSRP roughly $1300 higher than the Honda Crosstour EX-L all-wheel drive, but lease (48 months, $0. down) and finance (60 months, $0. down) payments are the same for both cars.

Safety
Seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags are standard. The Venza was rated Good in the IIHS frontal, side and rear impact tests. Not rated for Rollover. Ranked 23rd of the 24 cars in its class. Standard ABS and ESC.