Originally Posted by undertheradar
My first post (yes, I want a cookie);
Im a Honda guy, but I have found Hondas to be a bit lacking recently in the "fun to drive" department (or so I thought since they no longer make the Prelude or S2000). I found this forum in my quest to figure out an answer to exactly the same question as posted here.
I was test driving cars yesterday in doing homework for what will likely be needed for a new job that will require me to travel alot... $35,000 per year just for travel compensation (Electrical/Biomedical Engineering Field Services), but Im cheap and I would rather just get something efficient so I can pocket the rest so Im looking in the $20-30k range. Sure, I could get a porche or something expensive, but why blow all that if Im just going to run up miles on it?
First: New Sonata since it looks like a baby mercedes CLS, highest mpg, hybrid offered, supposed to be best in class and Hyundai is perhaps the best quality on the road since their recent revamp (I have a detroit/auto CEO for a relative who tells me some interesting things) Engine was nice, very nice, and responsive, but the steering was all granny-style. Had to turn the wheel 270 degrees to make a right turn it seemed, felt like driving with pillows on the wheel. Darn, otherwise a very nice car. I hear the hybrid has less responsive steering though, so maybe I should go back and try the turbo.
Second: I wanted to try the Elantra, but ooops!; none even available to test they are so back-ordered. I just wanted to see if I fit in one and get a general impression. Maybe if my driving range is more local/city I would rather go for a smaller sporty car I thought... so look at a Civic too.
---you might ask "why no Genesis?" well, I think they look butt, although not that far off from the mid-90's Prelude (I have had 3 Preludes that I just loved as well as a 94 Camaro Z28 that I sold within a year I hated it sooo bad).
Third-->Accord V6: After the Sonata, I wondered if all cars had gone to crap or something if the Sonata is supposed to be all that and felt like steering with pillows. The Accord was so nice... a familiar Honda. I was thinking the 4 door, but then I do like the 2 door styling better, so I did a V6 coupe with the paddle shifter. Sweeeeeet! I had my mom with to hang out (shes retired), and she wanted a try, and she went "weeee!" Shes been driving a Pacifica now for 10 years and forgot the fun she would have when she would steal one of my Preludes. When we got back she asked if there were any Honda convertables... seriously, she was that geeked.
Civic (mpg, quality; although the new one dropped in rating... no longer a CR recommended buy) I figured the Civic has gotten bigger over the years, close to what the Prelude was, so... damn, dont even fit well in it though. The cockpit is soo stuffy and the seat not as adjustable. I fit, but the seat is tilted back, the rear seat wouldn't even fit a kid, etc. And considering the recent buying trends and dealer sales, a comparably equipped Accord is only about 2k more than a Civic. Demand for compact gas sippers is very high right now, and lets face it, the current Accord V6 with VCM even is still "old" because it came out just before the others like the Sonata with direct injection.
Fusion: Hey, it IS a major competitor to the Accord, its really a Mazda, and Ford quality has really shot up recently, "industry insiders" say as high or higher than Toyota. My mother shot it down so fast...lol, right in front of the sales guy (my mother is usually very polite). She remarked how cheap the door handles felt and how much they wiggled around. She thought everything in the interior looked good but felt very cheap. I found it to be similar to the accord for driving, slightly less sporty with the throttle, but it is similar. I thought maybe the hybrid would be a good idea too, but after my mother tore the thing a new one, I sorta lost interest.
new Focus (its actually pretty cool in stick shift). The sales guy tried to say I would fit in a Fusion better, and I would think to too, but wrong!!! The Focus actually had more head room! The Automatic tranny sucks balls... he said it was tuned for economy (and that all the new cars are like that now). I would bury the throttle, 75% would barely do anything, it would wait 2 seconds, then "think" about downshifting. So I went to a stick shift next... nice. It it just me or does this thing make you think Impreza? Its a solid car... no cheap handles either. Not bad, of course with me in the front, any children in back will have to stop growing at age 8.
Camaro V6 (it looked good on paper, and people are saying its a great leap up in quality for GM, so worth a look I figure...) This was sort of a whim... I must admit, I love the look. To me, it looks alot like the Acura NSX concepts from a few years ago... the middle ridgeline and sharp corner lines. There is a silver one that I see frequently where I park, and It doesn't look like "just another POS Chevy" to me... it looks like something out of Stuttgart... really! And well, it sort of isn't a Chevy. It was made as a concept to sort of look like an old Camaro, but lets face it, its more Aussie then Chevy. From the awards and comments about its quality, I figured what the heck. At least if I give it a spin and I find it still has those cheap butt looking toy plastic dials and knobs inside my infatuation will end.
Damn. Even my mother demanded a turn and said "weeeeee!". Okay, it wasn't "weeee!" like the Honda (the light and nimble turbo go-cart sensation we call it). Its more like an "oh, geez!" and "thats different, but I kind of like it". I pointed out that it comes in a Convertable too... now she's geeked. The V6 isnt much worse on gas than the Accord. It has more hp, but its also a "yank tank". I figure with a manual or paddle shifters, I can milk the engine like I do. I can easily get 40mpg out of my Prelude. No more solid rear axel, so no more sliding around corners when someone sneezes on the road.
I gotta say, it was totally different, but pretty impressive. After doing some more number crunching, it might even be cheaper too (Honda's financing is about 1% higher, they and Hyundai offer college grad discounts that Honda doesn't, although I'll prolly pay it off in year, so percentages are not a huge concern). Lets be honest here, the Accord feels more nimble, you have more of a feel for the road, better visibility, and all around car vs. car, its more sensible. Sure, the new Accord grew in size, but not weight as much. FWD for snow. Resale value is tops... although if I put 120k on in a couple years I doubt it will matter much. Paddle shifters, nice. 6-speed, cool. Honda makes some of the best feeling stick shifts around... my Preludes have been declared by many to be the best ever. Most likely less expensive to own, insure, better resale, etc. I can beat the heck out of a Honda engine and it will keep going 300k miles without a breakdown... ever. I did it 3x in a row, even put a T3 on one for a year without any mods to the engine... not a peep. Their VTEC engines are a favorite of the "rice tuners" for very good reason. I can honestly say that the quick and grippy steering of the Prelude has prevented me from crashing a few times due to old people driving into my lane or whatever behavior others sometimes express on the road. The Accord is larger, but you still feel it. You sit in a very aware position and you can easily sense where the car's corners are. Now, Im not looking to drag race, but I know I could do things in the Honda without even thinking that would make me pee my pants in the Camaro. My mother frequently coments on how she can take a 15mph corner at 50mph and it feels completely safe yet quick. The Camaro... not so easily, not so intuitive at least. Oh, and teh Accord has a trunk.
The Camaro was different. Its heavy, but it doesn't feel like a beast when driving it. It actually felt about as responsive as the Honda, just a Honda with more weight in front of you, thicker tires, etc. The fact that you cant really see well in front of the hood took me a while to get used to. Low hoods have a habit of making you feel like you are going slower than you really are. Likewise, higher ones make you feel like you are going faster (it has to do with how close to the car you can see the road). My mother freaked out when I did the 0-60 test on the onramp. She thought I was going for 100... nope, 65! Then she tried it so I could enjoy the deeper cabin (the high narrow windows make for an interesting feel). She agreed, it still felt grippy, not quite as quick feeling, but mostly because it just felt you had more in front of you (also due to it being RWD). The visibility out the rear sorta sucks. Luckily the side mirror visibility is awesome since they are right next to your head almost. The interior was not cheap feeling to me at all. I was a little concerned over how you can roll the side window down, and pinch the top of the door together and see it flex alot, but overall, this does not feel like any other chevy I have ever been in or driven. Its grew on me, and my mother. Its a hard one. If I end up needing the trunk space though, the Camaro is out. Sorry. I was sorta shocked they couldn't get more out of that rear end. I was even more shocked how small the actual lid is.
Then, just as I was heading back on the express way, a brand new Porche 911 GT3 in white with full red decals pulled up next to me, and then blew my doors off. Thats good. It reminded me that I was getting a little to carried away with the sports car factor and no matter what I do, I would need $100k to really have some fun.
Still, its a compelling argument to compare the Camaro V6 to the Accord V6. Im debating it myself. The Camaro isn't exactly less practical unless I do need the trunk space to haul things like a portable Fluke o-scope. GM needs the business so the loan through them is attrative. It would have to be a 6-speed paddle or manual, and silver (sorry, I think it actually looks sophisticated and many of the other colors look like kid-cars to me). I dont even like the extra vents and garb that the Z28's and SS add, it looks cheaper to me than just some nice clean lines of the V6. I think the bow-tie emblems are uggo too, so I would take em off. But other than that, we will see...
Im open to any and all suggestions on this. I realize this is a Camaro forum, and my rants on Chevy's might get some a little upset, but I would consider it a compliment that someone who might otherwise turn their nose up at a Chevy is actually considering a Camaro to buy. I think its solid to drive so far (and so does my mom, lol). Im concerned about actual longevity, reliability, and resale. It is a Chevy/Holden still, and a pony-car in many eyes, so that hurts it. I dont know much about this new engine either. My mother just happened to be free yesterday so we met up... perhaps I should take the wife along next time and let her have a spin at the final contestants. She will likely drive it sometimes anyways.