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Should I buy Malibu or Sebring or Sonata?

10208 Views 23 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  K-A

I have a question for you. I wonder what do you think. I would like to buy a new vehicle or a 1 year old used one. I test drove many cars and I came up with top 3 possible cars. I like 4 door sedans that are bigger cars since I got a Chrysler Concorde V6 leather with wood grain that is 210 inch long! So I need a car for 3-5 years that has some luxury and ample sporty power if I need some. Here is my current car:

So I test drove almost all of the available mid and full size sedans in my price segment except Hyundai Sonata, Azera, Ford Fusion.(I cannot buy BMW, Mercedes, Acura, Lexus, Lincoln, Cadillac, Ford Fusion 2010 or Buick Lacrosse CSX)

What I am looking for is luxury interior look in some extend but sporty engine and soft suspension like a luxury car. It does not have to have real wood grain though.

My top 3 choice would be :
1, Chrysler Sebring Limited 3.5L V6 (I like to look but little bit concerned about the reliability)
2, Hyundai Sonata Limited V6 or Azera Limited V6. (The interior looked real upscale and the exterior is also okay but not that good as the Sebring)
3, Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6 V6. It was nice to drive but something was missing for me. Something that would make that car exceptional for me. Exterior looks nice expect the back of the car. Rear visibility was horrible though.

I test drove the Toyota Camry V6, Nissan Altima V6, Honda Accord V6 but they cost more than they would worth in my opinion in addition American cars have nicer exterior than those in general. Pontiac G6 GT has poor interior (no luxury look), G8 GT was thrilling (V8 with 361 hp!!) but too expensive and again not too luxury looking interior although it is super sporty. Dodge Charger looks aggressive but the interior is poor looking. The Mitsubishi Galant is ugly. I do not like the Saturn Aura (copy of Malibu) and I am not fan of Mercury Milan either (downgraded Fusion for me)

The question is Do you think I should try buying a Malibu?? I am concerned about the long term reliability. Hyundai has improved a lot since 2006 and now it can compete with mainstream brands. Also when I testdrove the Malibu the dealer guy told me that the shifters on the wheel are not designed to drive the car in manual mode for a long time? I was like wtf?!? Is that true?

So could you drop me some lines what do you think?
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Thank you guys for your opinion. I appreciate that!

Well the newly redesigned Sonata Limited (2009) has better interior quality than the new gen. Malibu LTZ. Sonata and optima are not the same but Optima has same chassis than Sonata (pre 2009) but roughly that's it. Everything else is different. I would say Optima is the downgraded older Sonata in terms of everything. Kia and Hyundai does not share too many parts like Chrysler and Dodge (that I think is the reason of why Chrysler's quality is not that good in general. They should have the better parts). Sonata has the advanced Lambda engine 3.3L that Kia does not use. Kia has 2.7L V6 with less than 200 hp.

I will testdrive the Sonata when we got better weather and of course the V6 Limited version. I like the Malibu's exterior (LTZ) but the back of the car is simply lame. It should be as stylish as the frond or the side. Also I drove the V6 and I felt something was missing that would have made the LTZ Malibu awesome car. I felt it was average V6 car. Furthermore the rear visibility is horrible. I drove the Sebring too and however it was the very basic model with the weak 4 cyc engine and it was good feeling to drive but I know I am biased to Chrysler (but not Dodge). By the way all engines under 200hp is sluggish for me not matter which car has that engine.

I am still undecided what to buy... I want to have a car that has the same fun to drive feeling than my current Chrysler has with little luxurious feeling and ample power. I need a car for many years not for 9 months. My current Chrysler Concorde is from 1999 and it still goes (look at my avatar) ! So I need a car for long time!

By the way what about that manual shifter behind the steering wheel? Can I use that as if my Malibu would be manual? Also does it let me rev the engine to red or it shifts gear no matter what?
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Thank you for your opinions.

I don't know which will I buy eventually but it seems that Sebring falls back to the 3rd place on my top 3 even though I am biased with Chrysler because I love it. Anyway in terms of price Sonata limited is cheaper than Malibu LTZ as used car and the Hyundai warranty is also better. I still need to test drive the Sonata (fu*king winter!!) on dry road condition to compare with Malibu. Sebring's only chance is the 2.7 V6 touring that is around 14k $ 2008 with 30,000 miles. 3.5 is too rare and any I4 engine is underpowered for me.

By the way. I head that the paddle shifters are joke in the Malibu. So The paddle shifter is kinda like an ornament on the Christmas tree? It looks good but slower than the automatic transmission shift speed?
Well I sat in the 2010 Buick Lacrosse CXS fully loaded that has the best interior design and quality I have ever seen and I sat in , drove and saw many cars like BMW, Mercedes, Chrysler, Honda, VW, etc. Simply it was astonishing. My only problem with the interior was the gauge behind the wheel... It was way too retro! The exterior was great but the front could be better like Lincoln MKS or Cadillac CTS.

Well I picked the Sonata, Malibu and Sebring because they are cheaper as loaded than a loaded Buick, Cadillac or Mercedes. Not to mention that you can get them even cheaper as 1 year used. My budget is limited so I cannot buy what I really would like to buy.

Sonata: Cheap and has great built quality with super interior look. Exterior is also good except the "bubble cockpit look". The new (2011) sonata looks much better from outside however you need to get used to the front... but it has just 4 cylinder engine now.

Malibu: I like the exterior except the back that is not too nice.Paddle shifters looks nice but I was told those were slow!! LTZ has nice rims that are similar to Pontiac G8 GXP that I testdrove :)

Sebring: I am biased to Chrysler. I like the exterior of the car, interior looks stylish but the quality should be better. As used car can be bought very cheap.

Thanks for the Buick idea Jebus05. I think that is a good idea to compare the basic Buick LaCrosse and the Malibu LTZ. I will check that!
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LOL @ "bubble cockpit look". You mean the shape of the roof-line/greenhouse?
Yeah I meant that! LOL:)! Look at the Malibu or Lacrosse or most of the American cars in this segment. They have more lowered roof-line design that makes them sporty looking/more aggressive. 2011 Sonata lost that bad design finally but the 2010 model still has that. That is my biggest problem with the current Sonata. Sebring, Accord, Altima these are kinda transition between the bubble cockpit and the sportier looking Lacrosse and Malibu lowered roof-line design.
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