: New addition to the household (a car)

03-16-07, 04:54 PM



2001 Acura CL, 94k, $9995

We have a family friend who moved here and lives with us, but during his move from Idaho his Camry broke down in the middle of nowhere, leaving him and my brother stranded.

Well, since last summer he's been stuck driving the GMC Vandura, 350 V8.
Its been faultlessly reliable but a gas-guzzling chore for daily commuting. I've been driving him around to various dealerships, trying to use my piddance of connections to get him a decent price, as well as supervising the sales process to make sure he didn't get hosed.

He almost got a 2001 I30 at one dealership I used to work at, but it had 12,000 too many miles for financing. DAMN shame, because the I30 was fun to drive and solidly built, with a beautiful interior. A Nissan dealer tried to get him into a Sentra (BLECH!) and a Chevy dealer nagged big time to get him into a Cobalt (BLECH! BLECH!).

We finally went to an Acura dealer where I bought my Accord four years ago, and my mom and stepdad bought four or five cars. Parents are friends with the general manager, who we spoke to directly.

Quick Review:

Braking: 4/5 Strong and even. Pedal feel is a little spongy, but only noticeable when pushed hard.

Acceleration: 4/5 Off the line, it takes off like a rocket, thanks mostly to gearing. Its lacking some passing power on the highway though, and around town it suffers from the same problem my Q45 -- not being in the right gear to dart through traffic.
The 225hp 3.2 V6 sounds a lot smaller and more annoying than it should, but revs to 7000 effortlessly and idles like glass.

Shifting: 3/5 The 5-speed manumatic has a bit of a delay. In normal mode it responds quickly but engages too softly. The transmission IS going to fail, and the dealer offered (in writing) to replace it anytime it breaks. I'll be reading the fine print on that when we pick up the car tomorrow.
Apparently there's a class action suit pending against American Honda.
1/5 for transmission reliability, 4/5 for transmission performance.

Interior: Decent, but nothing amazing. It feels like a high-end Honda inside, with no funny noises, no squeaks, and no rattles, with a very plain layout and design.
Like a lot of American luxury coupes, the front seat moves up when you pop it forward for rear entry. The wood looks terribly fake and the door panels are a little bit flimsy.
Nice clear gauges! Excellent Honda switchgear. Everything else is a little bland.
Front seats are surprisingly firm and supportive for a car that looks like a fancy Accord.
The rear seat is a joke compared to the Lincoln Mark VIII, Buick Riviera, and Cadillac Eldorado.
The trunk is deep but narrow. At first glance, it seems enormous, but the weird shape limits the number of suitcases you can fit. Overall, packaging efficiency is inferior to Lincoln, Buick, and Cadillac.

Accessories/Audio: 2/5 The Bose system sounds like a fancy clock radio. The a-pillar tweeters help a little bit, but mids are flat and lows are non-existent. Kelly Clarkson sounded like she was singing through a glass jar. Overall, the Bose sound system sounded best when turned OFF.
There's a nice lack of buffeting and noise when the sunroof is open, but this car had a deflector installed.
Automatic climate controls are refreshingly simple, with two knobs and a couple large buttons. We won't know until the harsh Missouri summer hits whether the AC is any good.
Nice headlights!

Ride and Handling: 3/5 Nothing amazing, but it feels lighter than it is. Its obviously nose-heavy, so there's plenty of understeer, but you don't notice until you push it hard. There's a moderate amount of body roll, nothing disconcerting, and ride quality is accordingly smooth, though not on par with Buick and Cadillac. Its smoother than the air-sprung Mark VIII over small imperfections, but isn't as nice over potholes and railroad tracks.

Verdict: 3/5 If I was buying a luxury coupe, I'd go American. The CL isn't bad, it just isn't nearly as good as the competition for the same money. I guess if you hate American cars (and a lot of people do), this is the only choice you have for this price.

03-16-07, 04:56 PM
i dig that van

paint "CadillacOwners.com Party Van" on the side

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03-16-07, 05:42 PM
Always liked the CL and TL, and aside from the transmission failures (heat issue and otherwise), they're quite solid and very refined cars.

03-16-07, 08:25 PM
I'd take the van before I had that overdressed Honda.

03-16-07, 08:52 PM
So how does Acuracake taste?

03-16-07, 09:05 PM
So how does Acuracake taste?

Like burnt ATF.

03-16-07, 09:10 PM
Like burnt ATF.

LOL atleast it's not tasting like burnt gear lube!

Night Wolf
03-16-07, 10:33 PM
Aimee's mom has a '99 Honda Oddessy with ~140k miles. They were just informed the transmission will need to be replaced.

This will be the 4th transmission in that van.

The vandura is awesome, I'd drive that.

03-16-07, 10:58 PM
DENIED! The warranty coverage offered was only an extra year, so screw that. Honda can take its POS H5 tranny and suck it.

Night Wolf
03-16-07, 11:01 PM
heh.... wonder what a years worth of neutral drops would do....

look its broke....

03-18-07, 03:52 AM
The Vandura IS awsome -we have a "Rally" in the Civil Air Patrol and let me tell you, outside the brand new Chevy Express, that thing drives the nicest of them all. It also smells like meat jerky, which is... different. It's immaculate, so there's no explanation for it. But the big GM vans rock. Just stay home in the snow unless it's 4x4 -nothing is worse in the snow than a pannel van.

03-18-07, 10:52 AM
GM vans refuse to die. They're big ugly boxes with gobs of torque.

We're still trying to negotiate some kind of extended warranty to cover the tranny on the CL.

03-18-07, 01:01 PM
As reliable as those old G vans are, they are not comfortable at all to drive with the driver's side footwell being only 6" wide.