I’ve been trying to decide which car I should get to replace my loathsome CRV with something of generally equal value ($10,000-13,000), 7 or 8 years old and under 100k miles... and with an automatic transmission (my wife’s sole requirement).
I’ve driven Lexus IS300’s, Acura TL’s, Acura TSX’s, Ford Fusions, Volvo V50’s, Mazda6’s, Accords, etc. I really want to check out a Legacy GT but can’t find one within 1,000 miles that’s anywhere near my price range.
Admission - I actually quite liked the ‘09 TSX. Wert rather famously bashed the crap out of the car on this site back in the day, and I’ve yet to find a positive review by anyone. Most writers say it’s a pale facsimile of the Integra, the steering sucks, it’s underpowered.
And I sorta liked it. NO, it’s not urgent like my old Integra GSR. It’s not especially alive. But it’s pretty damned comfortable and efficient. Has lots of stuff to make the time spent inside it more enjoyable. It’s also ridiculously reliable, aside from some known oil consumption issues.
Same with the ‘08 TL. That’s a VERY nice place to spend rush hour, which is where most of my driving time is spent. A year older and with more miles than the TSX, but eminently comfortable, feels larger and more spacious than the actual dimensions, quick when it needs to be, and a solid handling car if not necessarily true blue sport sedan.
The 2010 Fusion Sport was the greatest surprise. The materials and build quality aren’t up to Acura standards of course, and it’s not exactly the most beautiful car ever penned, but it’s also a couple thousand less on the used market and is at least one year newer with fewer miles than either of the Acuras. The six speed autobox changes when you want it to and does so with a quickness, the 3.5L V6 is beastly for a car in this segment, and the handling is sharp, planted, and firm. For the record, the Fusion Sport is a car that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen favored over a Mazda6 V6 or Accord V6 in any comparison test, but having driven all three of those within days of one another, I like it best of that bunch.
Everything else... I can’t find a clean IS, Volvo reliability frightens me - same for any German car - and the Mazda’s interior quality is severely lacking.
So, have I been driving shitty cars for so long that I’m favoring this bunch over a 328i or a G35? Because honestly, every one of those I’ve driven have been pretty beat and/or come with a train of repair and maintenance receipts that would have tripped Princess Diana.