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58K And Going Strong

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 12/6/2016 Clifton J.

I bought this car for my wife back on the Skyactiv-G motor's introduction back in 2012 to replace her aging (and ailing) Nissan Altima sedan. I knew I was taking a bit of a risk here with a newly introduced system that had no proven reliability - especially in one with a sky-high 12:1 compression ratio, low-friction pistons, direct injection, all mated to a tricky semi-conventional 6-speed automatic transmission. But we were both smitten with the car's perpetual smile - and the grins it produced behind the wheel. So, we bought it. Four years and nearly 58,000 miles later, the car still drives as if it were brand new, and I've not spent a dime in repairs. The car regularly gets 35 mpg on the worst of days, climbing to very nearly 45 mpg in cruising-right-at-70 conditions. It's not a "quick" or a "fast" car, but it's sprightly and eager, and the 155hp on tap gets the vehicle out of it's own way easily. With it's taut, Porsche-like steering feel and stiff handling, it's a very fun car to toss around back-roads in the "driving a slow car fast is more fun than driving a fast car slow" kind of philosophy. The 6-speed automatic is also a work of art, choosing, holding, and (rapidly) shifting gears with an almost psychic temperament - and in manual mode, it will even let the driver bounce off the rev limiter, providing even this hard-nosed manual-lover with some genuine driving thrills on a twisty country road or in a quick freeway pass. Zoom, zoom, indeed. However, there are trade-offs: This is an exceptionally stiffly-sprung vehicle, and navigating pothole-riddled city intersections can be a teeth-chattering experience. It's also a very small car with a curiously ADHD-diseased interior design motif - mine is two shades of tan, with no fewer than 3 separate monochrome LCD displays (all different colors), 18 (!!!) buttons on the steering wheel, and an unnecessary giant, third rotary knob for controlling audio system functions. Get past all this and you still have to contend with the front seats, which are a strangely special kind of uncomfortable - very supportive for the aforementioned driving dynamics, but hard and unpleasant for long drives (even short rides require taking my wallet out of my back pocket to avoid a totally-numb right cheek upon egress). Still, the fuel mileage, reliability, and overall fun factor of this car make it a long-term keeper. Should the direct injection system ever - expectedly - give me issues requiring a pricey repair/maintenance in the near future (60K-100K miles), I fully plan to pony up and keep on driving this car. It's been such a pleasure to own and drive that it is now my own, and has convinced me to upgrade to a contemporary CX-9 this year. Great value, great fun, I can't recommend this car enough.

Average Rating : 4

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