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  1. #1
    Simon's Avatar
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    I was scrolling through the latest Wheels mag in the newsagent on the weekend. There was a test on the new Maxima, Accord (non Euro) and Magna. Somehow the Magna, a car which I love to hate for its poor dynamics, design and lack of longevity, still scores a good rap. Either the Accord and Maxima are the worst of a bad bunch, or something suspicious is going on. Or perhaps those people at Wheels just don’t really like cars…..

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    Hold on kind Moderators before this banishing this to the depths of the Toad Pond, there is FCC here. At the foot of the report the Renault Laguna got a prominent and promising mention as a worthy alternative, surprisingly though, the outgoing Pug 406 wasn’t mentioned. I would have thought that the 406 originating in a similar era as the current Magna, not only would be another contender but also much superior to a Magna......

    Again it makes you wonder if something is suspicious or if Wheels just don’t know cars……

  2. #2
    XTC
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    Frog cars rarely get good representation in Australian motoring magazines ... I'd be curious to see how French magazines treat the same topic.

    - XTC206 -
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  3. #3
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    FWIW In my experience when using rental cars I tried to vary between the Commodore, Falcon, Camry and Magna. Trying all over the same road during the various rental periods I, surprising as it was to me, found without fail that the Magna was the best drive. Not, I would add, that I would buy one or for that matter any of the others, but based on the average car sold by these manufacturers the Magna was much better than most people painted it.

    JYD

  4. #4
    Simon's Avatar
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    I thought the current crop of French cars has scored fairly good reviews in the AUS motoring press of late, it was just in the Wheels article above a) the conclusion wasn’t what I would have thought , and b) the Laguna seemed an odd car to include in a footnote in the absence of any other alternative being suggested too.

    As for the Magna being a car I love to hate, all (more than one) that I have experienced (often back to back with equivalent Falcons and Commodores) have come off as a poor third and not all have been rentals or abused high k fleet cars. Overpowered chassis, underdone suspension, overlight steering with a humungous turning circle and rattles, squeaks and creaks that would even embarrass a 25 year old Renault 12 seem to afflict the ones I’ve experienced.

  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger! nchandler's Avatar
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    I'm yet to drive a BA falcon, but I've had a spin in AU falcons (1,2,3) and driven VT/VX/VY commodores, and would have to say that the magna I drove (the one just before the ridiculously ugly headlights) was of a level much higher than the aussie equivalents. It delivered its power better, had a much nicer engine, was smoother, nicer inside, had a tighter feel to the handling, and had better fitout. Mind you, it still wasn't anything special in the handling department, and if I was to buy a large sedan, it'd probably be something driving the rear wheels.

    And in the midsize segment? I'd take the Maxima - seems to be a much nicer car than the others, Accord V6 sounds like its not much chop, accord euro is great, laguna is nice (but horror stories kinda put it back a few notches), pug 406 is getting too long in the tooth...

    Oh and as for the Aussie mags being a bit rough on the french - I don't think its really the case these days, in every hot hatch comparo they do alright, the RCS won BFYB and PCOTY didn't it? They always seem to mention something about the french and their chassis building capabilities.

    Mind you, they still seem to love every toyota that comes out...

    Thats my

    Nick
    Last edited by nchandler; 28th June 2004 at 06:42 PM.

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger! nchandler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC206
    Frog cars rarely get good representation in Australian motoring magazines ... I'd be curious to see how French magazines treat the same topic.

    - XTC206 -
    Well, he might not be french, or writing for a french magazine, but Clarkson loved the Monaro!

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    I have the "pleasure" of driving Magna's, Falcons and Commodore as part of the work pool. I'm a big bloke and I find the Magna's seats flat, unsupportive and plain ordinary. Other two cars are much more comfortable. Magna also far to light and remote at the steering wheel.
    That said, the Commodore has an absolute shocker of an auto trans. Not much better then our old R12 was prior to its "conversion".

    As for the press giving French cars a hard time, recently Megane and 307 finished 3rd and 4th in Wheels small car comparion (out of 11 cars)- not too shabby. Not sure where they "actually" deserved to finish (currently lusting after 307 touring from small car field).

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    The test in question was with regard to "...front wheel drive luxo barges..." (P88). Why would you think it necessary to include the French 406, C5, Laguna in such a comparison?

    Just because the Maxima, Verada and V6 Accord were included does not necessarily mean that Wheels see them as the best cars on the market in that segment by default.

    I don't see what your beef is with this test, Simon. You claim the 406 is better than the Magna? Well that depends on what sort of car you are looking for. Wheels are simply looking at a section of the market that considers these cars. Who cross-shops a 406 and a Maxima?

    For the record in May 2004, Nissan sold 586 Maxima's (17.4% of 'prestige' market), Peugeot sold 15 (0.4%) 406's. None of the cars in the test had been in a comparison before (This is the KL Verada recall) whereas the French crowd all have in their current versions (the 406 on numerous occasions).

    Just because a test is not relevent to you does not necessarily make it "suspicious" or poorly conceived.

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    Well i saw a top gear episode the other day & was rudely shocked...

    They were comparing "budget" cars, the cheapest of them all, going through all the different aspects to see which is the better one, & for each feature give them a start or two on the bonnet...

    i.e. Kia, 3 year unlimited warranty - 2 stars, 4 air bags 2 stars, 1 air bag 1 start etc etc...
    The little ford was getting a complete hammering, more expensive & less features than everything. It was then that the reporter (forget his name) said "badge value" and threw 3 stars at the bonnet!!!
    a) its a f*#$kin ford, that aint a badge
    b) if you're trying to compare brands fairly, why do that?

    It seems there's always going to be very odd comparisons/reviews for reasons we'll never know! The BMZ Z3's always stood out for me... what a lemon!

    The frenchies are pretty much always going to be trodden on when their product is "close-ish" to another... Astra Turbo vs RS Clio? straight line sure... corners/handling? Features? hmmmm

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergetov
    I don't see what your beef is with this test, Simon. You claim the 406 is better than the Magna? Well that depends on what sort of car you are looking for. Wheels are simply looking at a section of the market that considers these cars. Who cross-shops a 406 and a Maxima?

    Just because a test is not relevent to you does not necessarily make it "suspicious" or poorly conceived.
    I would have thought it was rather odd that the Laguna pops up as an alternative to what are otherwise mainstream brands, the Vectra scored a very minor mention and there was nothing included from either the Mazda or Toyota stables in that breakout box. You query who would cross-shop a 406 and a Maxima, I would have thought more people than those who would consider a Laguna and a Maxima, both the 406 and Maxima being three box, fairly established brands etc.. I would understand that the 406 may not be included in the comparison, as it would now be considered an old model, but not that it wouldn't be considered an alternative at all.

    It just seems strange that in the main motoring magazines praise the rather now dated Magna, however you read reports on secondhand vehicles where Magna's fare poorly (as well as the personal experience) and they have a history of falling out of bed depreciation wise, even before current reports of Mitsubishi woes. It just smells of favourable treatment to me in view of my experiences and some past Magna reports.

    I didn't think I was claiming that the 406 was better than the Magna, I was just hoping that it would be in view of my seeming bad run of Magna experiences, perhaps I could be wrong there........

    My beef was that in view of past alleged manipulation of the motoring media involving Toyota, whereby Toyota pre-purchased large amounts of car magazines in which their products were featured prominently and favourably. The article I mentioned seems to favourably mention the Magna more often than you would think, then also mention a vehicle you would not normally think that a buyer in that market place would consider, in the total absence of others you would think gain a mention (the Laguna).

    Perhaps I'm just an evil, cynical, person. And I will agree that the test is not relevent to me, but the outcome and inclusions were surprising nonetheless.

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts brenno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate
    a) its a f*#$kin ford, that aint a badge
    It definately is......for that target market. I'm struggling to think of a Top Gear review where a comparison was taken seriously. If you're offended, you've probably missed the joke.

    Quote Originally Posted by nate
    The frenchies are pretty much always going to be trodden on when their product is "close-ish" to another... Astra Turbo vs RS Clio? straight line sure... corners/handling? Features? hmmmm
    Not really. Remember the Wheels comparo recently where the Clio came out on top of the S15/WRX/BMW Compact/147? Thats some fairly formidable competition there, particularly the S15.

    Can't remember seeing an Australian based review with the Astra SRiT and the RCS.

  12. #12
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    Ahh fair enough Simon.

    I guess given Mitsu's recent financial woes, maybe they felt the need to give the Magna a favourable showing?

    The Camry incident was under editor Ewen Page, who was a total tool IMHO.

    Im not sure why they mentioned the Laguna over the 406 or C5 either. In May 2004, they sold 76, 15, and 60 respectively, maybe thats why?

  13. #13
    nJm
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    Just on the Ford badge thing in Top Gear...

    1) As mentioned, Top Gear never tries to be completely serious
    2) In the UK/Europe, Ford cars are considered to be quite decent. The Focus was their best selling mid sized car for ages, and the Mondeo, C-Max, Fiesta and Galaxy are all very good. You would not be ashamed to be driving a Ford car. Possibly a Vauxhall (GM) though....



    Oh, and in the latest Top Gear magzine there is a comparison between the Honda Accord Euro 2.4, Peugeot 407 2.2 and Subaru Liberty 2.0L sedans. The Honda wins by a fraction over the Peugeot. The Subaru was a definate 3rd.

    What they liked:
    Honda: Sharp steering and handling. Excellent ergonomics, reliability, looks, performance, gearbox

    Peugeot: Wonderful ride quality, steering feedback, handling (although not quite as sharp as the Honda), cheapest price, excellent seats, Looks.

    Subaru: Interior (design and room), ride quality, engine character (sounds good), AWD stability on wet roads (not race track, see below)


    Didn't like:
    Honda: drab interior colours, small rear seat, very firm ride

    Peugeot: limited rear leg room, noisy engine, sloppy gearbox, build quality of dash suspect in some areas.

    Subaru: SLOW, light steering, boring styling, expensive.


    What they found interesting was while testing the three cars on their race track (during a hail storm, no less) was the Honda posted the fastest lap time, closely followed by the Peugeot and the Subaru came in a bit behind. When turning into a bend the Honda sharpens its line when you lift off the throttle. The Peugeot starts to kick out the rear until the ESP brings everything back under control. However, lift off in the subaru and it goes into a large slide. Rather odd considering it is AWD. They did note that on public roads the AWD did grip better than the two FWD models though.
    Last edited by nJm; 29th June 2004 at 12:40 PM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate
    The frenchies are pretty much always going to be trodden on when their product is "close-ish" to another... Astra Turbo vs RS Clio? straight line sure... corners/handling? Features? hmmmm
    Hmmn,

    Ever looked at the Aussie reviews in our own AF archives? I think the local press have been pretty favourable to the Frogs, generally speaking.

    Remember how the local media raved about the plain old Clio 5 doors?

    You know, Wheels rating it ahead of their own COTY '01 Barina...

    I don't think French cars do poorly in the local media - just because something doesn't come first, doesn't mean the local press are immediately biased against it. Just look at the last Wheels small car comparo, in a field of 11 cars, the Peugeot & Renault took 3rd & 4th spots. That's hardly a disaster. A 206 1.4 XR comes midfield in a Wheels comparo - was that wrong? I think it was about on the money.

    406 SV did quite well in a circa 55k comparo back in 2002, coming in the first third or so, as did the Laguna.

    Xantia SX came runners up in quad car comparo in Wheels.

    The local press absolutely loved the RS Clio, and your insurance premiums reflect that now

    I think we get a bit defensive at times. All I have to do is read the 206gti.net list when GTi180 reviews pop up, and I can tell you, Australian media are no more guilty than the UK media of giving the car lukewarm ratings - heck, the traditionally Peugeot loving Poms just didn't quite have that enthusiasm about the GTi180 as they did for other cars like the Clio. Vicki Butler-Henderson described it as "like thrasing your grandmother"

    It's no disaster if the car isn't the best thing since sliced bread Heck, I know all about media bashing, you think it's fun reading local Volvo reviews - no other English speaking country is so negative to them

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    Quote Originally Posted by macquered
    It definately is......for that target market. I'm struggling to think of a Top Gear review where a comparison was taken seriously. If you're offended, you've probably missed the joke.

    Not really. Remember the Wheels comparo recently where the Clio came out on top of the S15/WRX/BMW Compact/147? Thats some fairly formidable competition there, particularly the S15.

    Can't remember seeing an Australian based review with the Astra SRiT and the RCS.
    Definetly - for that target market?
    They were comparing complete budget cars, i.e. focus is on $, not image... & thats how they worded the review. $ & features...

    Offended... ummm yeah i get heaps offended??? WTF?
    I fail to see how it was any sort of joke, as they added the stars to the ratings & left them there till the end... ummm hmmm

    The aussie ref... more of a mention when comparing the Astra Turbo Vs The WRX (lol)... they put a few lines at the end of it.

  16. #16
    1000+ Posts Warwick's Avatar
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    Nick said.....
    "1) As mentioned, Top Gear never tries to be completely serious"
    I kinda disagree, but I'm sure you would agree with me in principle Nick.
    I think guys like that (I dunno them specifically, but I like british car journo's) do take the business very seriously, but don't take themselves seriously. And most of all British journos:
    a)wanna have fun in a car
    b)don't think BIGGER cars are by definition, better[/COLOR].
    c)actual writers. People who can communicate and ENTERTAIN in print. [/COLOR]
    d)love cars for how they drive, not how they are on paper. [/COLOR]
    Last edited by Warwick; 29th June 2004 at 10:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nJm
    However, lift off in the subaru and it goes into a large slide. Rather odd considering it is AWD. They did note that on public roads the AWD did grip better than the two FWD models though.
    That's not odd at all. The extra grip of AWD is only relevant when you're putting power down. Lift off and it's just four tyres rolling on the road, same as a FWD or RWD car.
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  18. #18
    XTC
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    Quote Originally Posted by LookingforMi16
    That's not odd at all. The extra grip of AWD is only relevant when you're putting power down. Lift off and it's just four tyres rolling on the road, same as a FWD or RWD car.
    Except the diff and all the rest of the drive train .... I'm sure this would change things when it comes to engine braking ... but I don't have a 4WD to test it ...

    - XTC206 -
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