I'm in the market for a new car and I think I've narrowed it down to these 4 models, all with a do-it-yourself gearbox and navigation. There are a few others, but a Wrangler doesn't quite fit in with these sedans. So far, I've test driven the Acura and the Audi.
First impressions: The Acura offers a ton
of amenities for the money, and I can get a pretty good deal on it. I particularly like the bluetooth handsfree system, and I'm almost to the point of considering it a must-have option. The interior is very nice. Everything is laid out almost perfectly and the fit and finish looks nearly perfect. The guages/lighting scheme are pleasant to look at as well. The car had plenty of power throuhgout the rev range, and after the VTEC switches at about 4700, its surprisingly quick for what is essentially an Accord. On the downsides, The clutch seems grabby and the shift throws were a bit long. I noticed a tiny bit of torque steer ad the turning radius is much wider than my little VW GTI. The dealer I went to didn't have a 6spd w/ nav in stock, so I didn't get a chance to push all the buttons.
The Audi: I liked the all-red guage lighting, and the feature set is more inline with what I'd like than the Acura. The 06's, I'm told, will have a bluetooth handsfree system that will sync with your phone's phonebook, which the Acura won't do. Also, the stereo system has 2 SD card slots so you can play Mp3's. My inner geek really likes these sorts of things
The seats were comfortable. The gearbox has shorter throws than the Acura, but I think it may be ever-so-slightly less precise feeling. I didn't test back to back, so I'm not sure. I liked the quattro system, and here in Chicago-land, I'm certain it would be nice to have in the winter.
The interior feels a little cheaper than the Acura, or maybe "lower tech." As far as power goes, it's nowhere close to the Acura, and actually seems slower than my GTI, despite having a more powerful version of the same engine. This is probably because its putting to power to all 4 wheels and weighs a bit more. Then again, this may not be a bad thing, as I don't need anymore speeding tickets
The nav system is a bit clumsy, but it may just require a learning curve. It could be more user friendly though. Generally, I liked the car, but I'm not sure its worth the extra cost over the TL or G35.
I haven't driven the Infiniti or the Caddy yet. Neither has the bluetooth handsfree, which is kind of a negative, especially now that driving while talking on a cell is now a ticketable offense in the city. Both of these cars are RWD, which will be great for more spirited driving, but not-so-good in the winter. Especially the Caddy with its LS6. But then again, it's an LS6!!:D
(cue Tim Taylor-esque grunting) On paper its the best performing of the group, but also the most expensive even with the extended GM-employee discount. It's also the thirstiest most expensive to insure.
And now, my questions to y'all out there in GT-land: Does anyone have any experience with any of these rides? If so, are there any nagging little details details that bother you? Little details that you love? What about reliability? User experience in general?
And, are there any comparable alternatives I'm missing?
Thanks in advance for any input, and Stay Safe!