Technology of today's 4 and 6 cylinders

Good morning/afternoon/evening all,
Please bare with me as it's my first time posting (I know I'm just asking for trouble =). I plan on purchasing a vehicle in the coming
months and have come to the conclusion that the top choices on my list are Honda, Toyota, Nissan or Volkswagen. The only two models I have test drove were a Volkswagen Jetta (06) with a 2.5L engine and a Nissan Altima (06) with their 4cylinder 173(?)HP motor. Both were excellent cars, please read on.
I've owned two 4-cylinder cars in the past, a stubborn 2000 Dodge Neon, 5 speed manual, and a 1994 Saturn ION, also a 4 cylinder. The problem I find with making a decision is based on engine. I've owned two Buick's besides these and that 3800 engine in the 91 LeSabre and in my 98 LeSabre is 'bulletproof'.
Are today's 4-cylinders up to snuff with the reliability I expect from the 3800 engine? Most of my driving is done on the highway, I guess I am gun shy because both the Saturn (4cyl) and Neon were destroyed during my highway use. One blew an oil pump, twice (that was the Saturn) and the Neon blew a head gasket and bent a camshaft. I must say that I can appreciate the fuel economy given from say a Mazda 3, or a Honda Civic but I'm afraid of breaking them.
I guess in all I'm looking for a solid, reliable car to get me my 36 miles one way to work, back and forth, for all the days I work, as well as have a comfortable car to ride in if I want to head out on a road trip with the significant other.
I must say I was impressed with the Nissans transmission, I did feel minor shifting but not very much. I do realize that the 2007 altimas will have a 'shiftless' transmission but I'd prefer Manual over automotic since I can save myself close to a grand.
The Jetta appealed to me because of all the neat features it has internally and for the price of the value edition it is tops on what you get for the price. I had my eye on the GLI (2.0T)
After test driving a Subaru Legacy (06), I must say I did not care for it much, it didn't have any 'pep' and was sluggish on acceleration, it was not the turbo.
My price cap is probably around $25,000 - $26,000, I plan on making a sizeable down payment and certainly have time to decide. A decent MPG rating is necessary, something comparable to my current Buick or better. Acceleration is not really important to me, but when I'm on the highway I can appreciate a car that will have more power after 65-70mph to get me out of the city traffic's way when coming up the highway. And most important I want a vehicle that will last 100,000+ with regular maintenance because I plan on keeping it for a while.
I guess in all I'm looking for information on the trustworthiness of the newer motors offered by Japanese auto makers as well as the suggestions of others on what car might fit my request.
That cars I've looked at: Ford Fusion Chevy Impala Buick Lacross and Lucerne Mazda 3 (liking the fact it's packed with a volvo chassis, and Mazaspeed later...) Volkswagen Jetta (GLI, Package 1 and 2 standard Jetta) Honda Civic EX Honda Accord V6 and EX 4cyl Nissan Altima (V6, and 4cyl) Toyota Corolla (S models, XRS available for 2007?)
Thanks in advance for any information you guys/gals might have to offer!
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I doubt if anyone in here wants to remove their clothing with you, or even read through the rest of the post after such an offer. I certainly didn't so if it did actually have merit I apologise for deleting it all.
--
Dave Baker
www.pumaracing.co.uk
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Your worthless post and rude attitude can only prove the fact that your real life is meaningless and un-fulfilled. Deal with your issues before taking them out on others, it was an honest mistake oh perfect and wise one. Perhaps you may come down from your high mountain so that you may receive a breath of the commoners air.
Dave Baker wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

See pots/kettles and horses of similar color, Mr. Humor Impaired.
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As you have seen autos.tech has attracted a couple of trolls who have nothing in the way of technical knowlege to share. So rather than staying silent and beginning the long process of learning they have decided to exhibit their mental age for one and all.
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Your 1998 3800 is a bit less than bulletproof. It is the series II abortion that has the designed-in plastic manifold decomposition problem.
The earlier 3800 earned a good reputation however.
I have done some similar research recently, and here is what I resolved: (1) VW Passat, although I loved it, suffers from spotty reliability records and less than stellar backup from VW to the owner. VW seems to back the dealerships and pees on the buyer.
The VW Jetta has a good name.
(2) Honda seems to be a very good auto, but frankly I didnt like the ride. They hold their value well. Perhaps engine sludging issues in some models (See Toyota)
(3) Toyota Camry had a fine quiet ride, and would probably be my choice. I was disconcerted about the transmission changes that were made to this car, but Toyota claims the problems have been identified and addressed. Hold their value well. There have been engine failures especially in earlier V6 models due to oil sludging. Changes in engine setup and attention to oil changes apparently stop these issues.
(4) Nissan- traditionally a nice car, looks good, but perhaps not of the same level as Honda and Toyota.
(5) GM of any model - no thanks! They have made a lot of nice looking junk that has proved, to me at least, to be troublesome and expensive to keep running.
(6) Fords - have gone through some of the same credibility crises that GM has. Owning the name Volvo doesnt mean you cant screw them up. (7) Chrysler products...my old 97 318 van is one of the most reliable cars I have ever owned. But Chrysler has marketed dogs too. Tranny failures in some models, Mitsubishi engines that didnt hold the mark, etc. (8) Hyundai - Drove the Azera and found it good and well made, but the ride was not as nice as the Toyota or VW. Hyundai has a wonderful guarantee, but is sort of a negative status symbol.
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Thanks for your input, the Buick I have now was purchased at around 98,000 miles and is currently running on 140,000, I'm not sure if the problem already came and went with it and it was fixed in the past.
My only concern with the Jettas or any Volkswagen for that matter was getting parts and getting it repaired in a pinch, like if I'm out on a road trip. I guess there should be a VW dealer around somewhere right? Also picking up the latest issue of MotorTrend I noticed the VW Rabbit will be getting a ~260HP V6 in the coming model year. Something which perked my ears up, speed, performance and 'the image' that VW provides.
I certainly fear Hondas because of their typical plain-jane appeareance on the accords and their ricer-boy or old grandpa toting Civic history.
I've heard mixed things on the 07 Camry's, they stated the Transmission since it is a 6speed auto has a tendency to 'seek' through the gears too often.
GM kinda didn't do it for me either, since their base warranty 3 years/36,000 is kinda crappy. VW offers their 4/50,000 I think, and Toyota, the same but I think the power-train on the toyota is a little more? I forget, i've seen so many damn numbers these past months looking at all these cars!
Thanks again for the information!
snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

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*******I have assumed that most, if not all, of these will fail in time, but there could be a lot of variance in that. The lucky ones failed while in warranty. Many however waited until GM could dodge the bullet.

********Most larger towns that would have a Toyota or Honda outlet should have someone competent to work on a VW. I guess parts availability depends upon what might fail, and we would hope that these cars go a long time between failures. That turbocharged 4 cylinder engine has a real kick.

*******The new ones look pretty nice, I think. The 4 cylinder I drove was pretty gutless in terms of power. By the time you get up to the V6, economy has dropped a bit.

******Yes, that has been one of the complaints. It certainly 'put me off' from considering a Toyota until that issue is resolved beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, if you should by a used Toyota which has the old version of the 6 speed Aisin transmission, it should be pretty good.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Some are more reliable than others but I'm not aware of any real dogs. It is really impossible to make blanket statement that 4 cylinder engines today are or are not "up to snuff".

Problems like that are not related to whether the engine has 4, 5 or 6 cylinders. They can be the result of one or more components wearing out, or poor maintenance habits or poorly designed which can happen on any engine.

More pep will translate into lower milage. This doesn't square with your statement below where you say that acceleration isn't important.

A very good guide for identifying cars with reliability problems is Consumer Reports. You will find that Toyota and Honda consistently get superb marks from owners. Indeed Toyota is poised to become the largest seller of cars in the U.S. Take a look at both the Toyota Camry in it's base configuration as well as the Corolla. Both are very well made cars that if maintained properly will last for several hundreds of thousands of miles.

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John S. wrote:

Acceleration from 0-60 isn't really important to me, while acceleration say in the 60-80 range is more important. In the past with other smaller cars I've had they 'run out' of energy at the top of the spectrum. I'm not necessarily looking for specific statements but broader general ideas of the reliability of automobiles from a source of information.
I've read consumer reports several times, their 2006 buyers guide, I have not checked to see if the 2007's are available yet. My only disappointment was that some of the vehicles did not have 2005 reliability ratings. But www.edmunds.com, autos.yahoo.com and autos.msn.com usually make up for that missing information.
I have yet to test drive a toyota camry but I will certainly attempt one this weekend while I'm out and about. Thank you for your suggestions and I apologize for my misuse of bare in the opening message, it should read 'bear'.
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Most modern day 4 cylinder motors in average sized cars (including Toyota Camry) will be turning 2,000 rpm at 60 mph. Pressing on the gas pedal in a non-turbocharged motor running at that combination of motor and car speed should provide decent steady acceleration. At least that was my experience when test driving a lot of cars before settling on a Volvo V70 with a 2.5 turbo motor. If you need more acceleration then look at a turbo-charged car, possibly the VW. But expect that the turbo charged engine will use more gas.

Didn't even notice it...I mis-spell more than I should too. No big deal. But do try the Camry and Corolla on the highway and see if their size will be sufficnent for what sounds like a minimum of 70 miles of driving per day. BTW, I drove the Toyota Camry V-6 and the 4 cylinder and the performance seemed virtually identical but there is a big difference in price. Toyota went to great lengths to make it a tractable power plant and the slight vibration felt at idle in most 4 cylinder engines is really not there.
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I think the original poster's problem has to do with not having the right gearing for the way he wants to drive, rather than having too little actual power. It's possible changing the differential ratio could make him a lot happier, sacrificing power at lower speeds for power at higher speed. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Scott Dorsey wrote:

A five speed automatic coupled to a motor turning 2,000 rpm at 60 mph should be able to deliver a reaonable amount of power simply by downshifting. Or as you indicated altering the ratio of engine to car speed.
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John S. wrote:

I know the thing I like most about my current car (the buick) is that at 80mph the RPM's are around 2300 being only a 4 speed I am not too familiar with modern day 5 and 6 speed 4,5 and 6 cylinder engines. I did test drive a Toyota Tacoma pickup in V6 but did some math and it's just not wise from a financial standpoint since it only gets about 17-18mpg average according to consumer reports.
The 4cylinder engine I was most impressed was the one in the Nissan Sentra which was slick and effortlessly accelerated on the on-ramp to 80mph quickly, even the new salseman seemed surprised.
I must say because of my gun-shyness towards 4cylinder motors that I would be almost inclined to purchase a 6cyl. I've even looked at smaller SUV's like the Rav4, which is a little pricey but is a nice little 'SUV'.
I was impressed that a V8 Mustang will still get 25mpg which is around where I am now but the insurance would kill my wallet. State Farm quoted around 1700 a year. I guess it's not too bad for a 22 year old, but there are other alternatives which are cheaper, and possibly safer.
As everyone can tell I'm quite open to opinions and options, I decided not to tie myself to any one manufacturer because that would just be naive. It seems though that the 'cult' of VW is rather quiet... I've looked around and there are only a few people who issued statements to the problems they have had, but those who have them and drive them (my friends and such) rave about them and how good they are. That was the only reason I even considered them, and then I drove the Jetta and it was a nice ride as well. Motor trend stated it best when they said "Volkswagen builds a Camry..."
I guess the hunt will continue, it's unfortunate that you get 4cyl, cars then the jump to a 6cyl usually runs you a good chunk of change. The v8 mustang was only about $25,000 custom ordered of course which isn't too bad. But compared to the miniscule insurance costs of a VW Jetta @ 1200, I could save myself 500 a year plus get better gas milleage.
I've even toyed with the thought of purchasing a new Buick but they are certainly not what they used to be, and I would just be puting myself into a 'swooshy' ride just as I am now. I certainly prefer sportier suspensions as well as good handling around corners. Anyone that has driven a Buick understands that you usually 'melt' into corners and it's far from an exciting ride.
Thanks again for all your input, I'll keep on checking back
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On Thu, 03 Aug 2006 04:41:16 -0700, n3twrkm4n wrote:

Frankly I think the Japanese make better 4-cylinder engines than either Dodge or GM. I'm not sure I'd write them off entirely based on your experience with them in American cars. With the exception of the Pontiac Vibe of course, which is a re-skinned Toyota Matrix.
There are a lot of very good cars available for 25k or less. One that I nearly bought was the base Acura RSX. It has an extremely smooth 155hp 4-cylinder engine and impressive build quality. I drove the 5-speed, which had the best shifter I've ever used. EPA 27 city, 34 highway on regular gas. I did an inquiry through the Costco car buying program and I could have had one for around 20k. These cars are being discontinued after this model year and you might be able to pick one up for even less than that. A very, very nice car for the money.
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Find a pre owned 6 cyl BMW in your price range. I apologize for ending this thread so abruptly.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

the reliability of an engine has nothing to do with the number of cylinders. There are GREAT 4-cylinder engines out there, and there are terrible ones. There are great v6's and terrible ones. Great v8s, and terrible ones.
The Saturn broke because saturns are universally crappy. The Neon broke because it was probably a first-generation and they had problems with head gaskets, though they usually gave plenty of warning (leaking oil and coolant long before anything damaging happens). I wouldn't hesitate to buy a second-generation Neon, or its replacement the Dodge Caliber at all.
The Buick 3800 is an exceptional engine. There aren't too many better ones out there these days. But that has nothing to do with it being a v6. The GM (Cheverolet) 3.4/3.5 liter v6 is made by the same parent company, and its a steaming pile of poop.
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