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Old 11-06-2006, 05:48 PM   #91
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2006 Pontiac G6

I can't compete with the prolific RH77... but here is some info I've got on a 2006 Pontiac G6 I've been renting:

Overall Impressions:
- Functional and roomy.
- Mostly easy to operate.
- Relatively good gas mileage.
- Pontiac finally dropped those idoitic plastic body prosthetics.

- Interior seems overly plasticy and minimalistic.
- Rear doors lack the child lock-out safety device.
- Mediocre fit and finish inside and out.
- Ergonomics are sometimes obtuse.
- Expect much lower than average reliability.
- Large turning radius.
- Trunk lid lacks handle to close w/o getting hands dirty; but it does have razor-sharp steel edges.

With that turning circle of 36 ft. in turns I usually can make in one turn, I have to back up and make K-turns out of them.

It has diffucult to reach door handles. I have really long arms for my height - and I'm 6'1". When I'm sitting in the seat, I cannot easily reach the door handle to close the door. A bit annoying but I guess I'd get used to it. I have to either get up to go fetch the door handle, or I need to kinda bring it with me as I get into the car.

Several times I've noticed that the placement of the window switches lend themselves to being accidentally opened.

I've been driving this car for almost 400 miles and have been wondering why there isn't a trip odometer. There is a regular odometer within the speedometer, as most cars have, but no trip odo with a tenths of miles digit. But finally, while fiddling with buttons on the radio, I tripped over the missing odometers. There are Trip-A and Trip-B odometers, that can be independently reset, embedded in the radio display. There is also an average MPG readout. The reset function on these readouts is pretty counter intuitive. You have to bring up the display you want to reset and press the ENTER button.

When I picked up this car, it had about half a tank of gas in it, making the first gas refill an estimate of gallons and miles at best. It wasn't until I found the mpg readout that I was able to determine my mileage. On a mostly highway trip of about 2 hours, I averaged about 34.8 mpg round trip. After engine warmup, a recent 25 mi. trip of mixed driving in average traffic gave 36.3 mpg one way. Overall, I'm getting about 28 - 32 mpg. I'm pretty impressed with the FE given that this car is from a low quality leader, and has an automagic slush-box tranny and probably short gearing for better acceleration numbers.

Engine: 2.4 Liter inline-4 16 valve fuel injected
Horsepower: 167 hp at 6300 rpm (redline is ~5800)
Torque: 162 ft-lbs. at 4500 rpm
Turning Circle: 36 ft. (!)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic front wheel drive
Front suspension: Macpherson Strut with stabilizer
Rear suspension: Multi-Link with stabilizer
Wheels: 16" steel with plastic hub caps
Spare Tire: Doughnut
Front brakes: Ventilated disk
Rear brakes: Solid disk
Steering: Variable power steering
Cruise control: Controls in steering wheel
Power windows: All 4, express-down driver's window only
Driver seat: Power: height adjustment, manual: fore-aft, back-tilt, lumbar
Windshield wipers: Slow, fast, variable intermittent, pulse
Rear window: Integrated defogger
Headlights: Automatic delay off, automatic On/Off Headlights, daytime running lights
Exterior side mirrors: Power adjustable, triangular in shape
Vanity mirror(s): Unlighted
AM/FM/CD Radio: Stays on until key is removed and door is opened
Trunk Release: Cable remote
Power outlets: 2 cigarette lighter type
Low fuel light: Somewhat delayed operation
Clock: Digital, in radio
Outside temperature: Digital, in radio
Tachometer: Analog electronic
Speedometer: Analog electronic with single odometer in miles (no tenths mile digit)
Seating Capacity: 5 Passenger
Seating upolstry: Cloth
Front seats: Bucket type
Rear seats: Bench type, split-folding with release in trunk
Front Airbags: Driver and front passenger
Rear Belts: all three 3-Point
Seatbelt: with Pretensioners
Rear headrests: Adjustable
Front headrests: Adjustable
Gas filler door: Unlocked, poorly-fitting
Alarm: Remote keyless with engine immobilizer
Power door locks: Remote keyless, 2 stage
Trunk release: Remote keyless
Panic horn: Remote keyless
Storage: Center console, Box, cubbyhole, and 2 cupholders
Trunk: Cavernous
Door storage: Molded plastic pockets
Seatback storage: Map pockets
Fuel Capacity: 16 gal.
EPA estimates (city/hwy): 23/34

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:58 PM   #92
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Nice job!

Originally Posted by Silveredwings
I can't compete with the prolific RH77... but here is some info I've got on a 2006 Pontiac G6 I've been renting:
Thank you! ...And great review. I'm glad to see others join in the this forum.

Regarding the G6, I completely agree with your review. Build quality stinks but it is an easy driver. Very nice work on the list of features!


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Old 11-22-2006, 04:09 PM   #93
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2007 Toyota Camry

I wrote this review about 3 weeks ago, and just noticed that the Camry won "Car of the Year" over at Motor Trend, so now sounds like a good time to give my review:

2007 Toyota Camry SE

+ FE as Promised
+ Toyota Reliability
+ Aggressive Exterior Styling Upgrade

- Automatic Transmission can't decide on a gear
- SE ride may be harsh for some
- Sporty trim pieces oddly glued into place

Well, it's been a few years since America's best selling car has had a facelift. Judging by this latest iteration, the Plastic Surgeon must have been top notch! Gone is the "under the radar" bland styling, to be replaced by an aggressive, squared-off look that gives the Camry more visual gusto. The looks carry-over into the cabin, where soft blue lighting accents the center cluster and the trim pieces are of a much higher quality than the last generation.

On the Outside: The model tested was the sporty "SE" model -- which basically improves handling, stiffens the ride, and adds visual flare to the body panels. The front end is striking with an agressive, square facade. Also on the outside are LRR Michelins to help with FE. If you put an '06 and an '07 next to each other, you can really see an improvment. This is where the car lacked appeal -- it was too generic. That has changed. In the "Family Sedan Game", only the strongest survive.

On the inside: Toyota packed the usual safety goodies like ABS, TC, full-compliment of airbags, etc. The all-power driver's seat is one of the best tested, and provided exceptional support for a long trip. The armrest was perfectly placed to take the burden off of the elbow, for example, and let the whole arm, well, rest. Buried in one cubby hole is an extra power outlet and an input jack for the sound system (by the way was rather "tinny" sounding). The cabin was roomy and rear seat space was abundant, as was the trunk. Steering wheel controls were thoughful and proved useful.

The drive: When I was initially presented with the SE model, I was thinking "V-6", but a pop of the hood revealed the renowned 2.4L VVT-i DOHC 4-cylinder. This engine was perfect for the car -- torque at low RPMs and a generous redline if you needed it. Teamed-up with a 5-speed automatic, revs tended to stay at or below 2000 until highway speeds were reached. At one point, the final gear and TC engaged allowing the car to cruise at 1400 RPM. But here's the problem: the transmission just can't pick a gear. It would go in and out of 5th gear countless times, and at the slightest pedal pressure. Otherwise, no other complaints. Handling in tight corners was "SE"-like and provided some oversteer if requested, but understeering plow is par for the FWD course. Over rough streets, the suspension gave quite a bit of feedback -- this can be good for a sporty driver, bad for the in-laws.

Efficiency: FE was as the EPA estimated -- 32.1 for 90% Highway driving. This puts the spacious sedan ahead of smaller cars like the Kia Spectra, Chevy Aveo, etc. The car was treated like any other tested: cruised at 80 in places, and accelerated to match local traffic in the city.

The Camry lineup includes a Hybrid, which could only be better! At 40/38/39 EPA estimates, a skilled driver could probably squeeze more out of those numbers. If a Prius is too small, the Camry Hybrid could be a good fit.

Last year, the 2006 Camry line won the "RH77 Editor's Choice Award" for efficiency, reliability, and performance -- and I am proud to announce that the 2007 Toyota Camry has easily earned the award again. The criteria: achieving great FE for its size, drivability, expected reliability, ergonomics, range of options (including the Hybrid), and a "Fun-to-Drive" nature. Toyota R&D must really be thinking things through and getting ahead of competitors quickly.

For the second year, Woot Toyota. Woot.

Raw Data:
Vehicle: 2007 Toyota Camry
Trim: SE
Transmission: 5-speed Auto/LUTC
Engine: 2.4L, DOHC, 16-valve I-4 (with Variable Valve Timing), rated at 158 HP, and 161 lb-ft torque
Drivetrain: FWD
EPA: 24/33/27
GasSavers Tested Mileage: 32.1 MPG
Speed Avg: 63 MPH
Miles: 671
Ambient Outside Temp: 50-80F
Curb Weight: 3351 lb.
FE Conclusion: Consistently over the mark. The Camry IS the Sedan benchmark for FE and just about everything else.

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Old 11-24-2006, 09:06 AM   #94
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Seems like a smooth ride. I can't help comparing the FE of the new one to my 89 camry 4cyl. I have the 5 speed, 2.0 L...but I think it would be easy to get 35-37 MPG in mine in 90% highway driving. It is powerful enough to go 115 MPH, and can go down the highway all day at 100 (though I drive it 55 and consistantly get over 40 MPG).
I wish they would offer (as optional equipment) a smaller engine on these new camrys and corollas, maybe a 1.4 on the corolla and a 1.6 on the camry. With the vvt it would probably blow the camry hybrid out of the water for FE, and have enough power for us gassavers.
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Old 11-24-2006, 09:08 AM   #95
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Yes...and thank you for reviewing the new cars with special attention to fuel economy. It is highly entertaining.
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Old 11-24-2006, 01:50 PM   #96
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No, thank you!

Originally Posted by James
Yes...and thank you for reviewing the new cars with special attention to fuel economy. It is highly entertaining.
No thank you! The continued interest in the reviews makes it gratifying (to be an Automotive Journalist is my dream job)

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Old 11-29-2006, 05:05 AM   #97
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RH77, I enjoy your reviews more than any other at this point. Its not often that you can find auto reviews as candid as yours. And we're all pretty sure that advertising dollars don't effect your opinions like the other car mags. Its also nice to know the FE of these cars without finding out the hard way. You could, if you wanted, add 0-60 times using a Gtech. I don't think your audience here would care though.

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