• Jun 2, 2006

Despite rising gas prices (or perhaps "because of" - we'll get to that in a moment), large passenger cars continue to grab an increasing chunk of the automotive market in the United States. So far in 2006, big four-doors are on a tear, making up some 9.6 percent of car sales - up substantially from 8.4 percent in 2005 and 6.3 percent in 2004. The Buick Lucerne and Dodge Charger are making the largest contribution to the growth of this market segment, and Chrysler's 300 continues its record of strong sales.

While it may seem a bit counter-intuitive that large sedans sales would rise in an era of ever-increasing fuel prices, we suspect that many of the new buyers are coming from mid-size SUVs, particularly body-on-frame models - a market segment that most certainly is not doing well. For those coming from the world of Explorers and TrailBlazers, the improvement in fuel economy and performance is likely quite significant, and yet few sacrifices have to be made by drivers making the move. Indeed, many drivers would view the move from a SUV to a large sedan as a significant upgrade, and let's not forget price - a comparably-equipped sedan is often far less expensive than the same trim level in an SUV.

[Source: SEMA]



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  • 15 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just read the link closely, and they mistate that the Ford 500 has a V8, in a poor sentence wording. The Ford 500 is pretty economical for a large car, all the V6's are about the same, Chrysler, Buick, Fords. The Avalon is very good mpg for a Large car. What's funny is how the CVT tranny in the 500 gets worse mileage than the Montego's 6spd auto, both with the same engine and weight, etc. Doesn't say much for CVT. The V8 option, misrepresented in this article, is only available in the Lucerne, Chrysler twins, while standard in the Ford CrownVic/Marquis twins. They all get the about the same mpg, still much better than the big and mid-sized SUV's. For example the Explorer V6 only gets 15-21mpg, vs. the Large sedans' V8's with 17-25. It's not too big a difference, but put a V8 and 4WD in the Explorer and things get really bad: 14-20mpg. These cars should all be included in the fleet averages, but, unfortunately they're not. The consumer must decide to protect our oil saturated country because our government is quite happy to have oil selling at outrageous prices, thank you Texas Bush's!
      • 8 Years Ago
      The "Large" I believe goat was talking about was the exterior size and stature of the older, more massive vehicles. The sharp angles and large eng. compartments/trunks were abnormally huge by today's standards. The interior space was less clutter on these wide, long vehicles and would allow for a bigger person, say, upwards of 6 feet tall, to fit comfortably in every seat, not just the front two.
      To answer Ed's comment about the gas guzzling 4x4 SUV being the vehicle of choice, since the vehicles mentioned are front wheel drive, they would not have any trouble in the snow. If you are wanting extra security in the snow, 4x4 is usually open differential, so if one wheel slips, you are screwed, so I suggest you shut your yap and buy a Subaru (not the B9 Tribeca P.O.S.), because I guarantee that it gets better gas mileage, will perform better under those conditions, and you can still go just about anywhere with it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Large car is an EPA definition of interior passenger space and cargo space of more that 120 cubic feet. Lucerene is 108 passenger + 17 cargo = 125.
      Charger is 103 passenger + 24 cargo = 127.
      Both meet the EPA criteria of a large car which is located on the window sticker.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The SUV --> large car theory is interesting, but I'd rather see some actual statistics before coming to any conclusions. It could well be that owners of body-on-frame SUV's tend to switch to crossovers rather than to larger cars.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Charger and Lucerne are big midsize cars, not "large cars."
      • 8 Years Ago
      Poor Bryan => You have been drinking japanese kool-aid or something. I design and the Lucerne is a fantastic looking large car, elegant, trim, nicely chromed, great fit and finish. No one makes better looking large cars than Mercedes, Bentley, and Buick, period. Your taste needs some educating, and your reference to the '63 Buick Special is just absurd. The Special is 41 years old, why would you pick this car? It was the family entry level Buick. It was body on frame construction, and not a particularily high water mark in Buick style. It rode on a 112" wheelbase and was 122" long, yet it had a very small amount of interior space, typical of all cars in the world at that time, even when they were "barge sized" in length. So what does this have to do with the Lucerne, the luxury entrant, on a 115" wheelbase at 120" long? I'm just not getting your rant. Here's a pic of the Buick, trying to not look fugly 60's:

      http://www.tocmp.com/pix/Buick/images/63BuickSpecial2.jpg

      Maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but your need to sink the Lucerne is a case of myopia.
      • 8 Years Ago
      goat => Sorry man, but I'm with Phydeaux on this one. What are you thinking, the LaCross, which is in the Accord, Altima, Mazda6, Camry and Legacy mid-size car spec. You might be swayed by Consumer Reports who is misreporting Buick LaCross, claiming the "rear seat of the LaCross is tight" while it is inches bigger than the Accord which C-R calls "spacious." So I don't blame you for being out in left field while there is so little fact based discussion on Buick cars. I really like Asian, Euro and U.S. cars, and it irritates me no end when someone doesn't know that the Lucerne has a cavernous interior, bigger than the Ford 500 which is very roomy. What makes people so off the mark, and worse, Consumer Reports making these false subjective written statements like yours, which can be so easily figured out by doing a few minutes of research on Google, Wickepedia, MSN Autos, etc. ? I'm not blaming you, but you made such a strong statement that to me, a research kind of guy, is just so wrong. What motivated your thinking, I'm curious?
      Actually, Phydeaux, the numbers you read aren't right either, the Lucerne is much bigger than the Charger since you have the Charger's trunk exaggerated...it's 104 interior and 16 trunk = 120 cu ft. eligible for Large size. The Buick is well into the Large with a 17 cu ft trunk. The Ford twins, 500 and Montego beat that with a cavernous 21 ft trunk! 5 cubic feet is about one golf bag. Avalon is large and in the middle of the 300 and Lucerne. But, the Buick has the most interior passenger room of them all. Take a look:

      http://autos.msn.com/research/compare/default.aspx?c=0&n=3&i=0&tb=0&ph1=t0&ph2=t0&dt=1&v=t101875&v=t100799&v=t100746&v=t100872&v=t101249&v=t101761
      • 8 Years Ago
      Let me be the first to tell you that the gas prices will have a fallout within the next twelve months.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Suddenly, it is revealed that they are 'big' cars. I would hesitantly guess that they are also 'full-size' cars."

      for the 300C/Charger, they are some specifications at http://www.allpar.com/cars/lx/dodge-charger.html the wheelbase is 120 inches the same about the 1965-68 Plymouth C-body Fury but the lengh is 197" for the 300C, 200.1" for the Charger 2006 but the lengh is shorter then the 1968-70 Charger who had a lengh of 208 inches http://www.allpar.com/reviews/2006/charger-review.html looks like they play well with the "illusion d'optique" as I could said in French, designing a car who appear long but in a closer view, it's much shorter then we taught!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Or maybe sales of larger cars (or bigger or whatever you call that segment) is picking up because the offers are more appealing.

      If given the choice between 3 years ago I could get neither Lucerne or Charger/300c/magnum. You'd have to stick with whatever pontiac (grandsomething am prix sport I really don't like those anyway) or maybe an impala (definite underperformer)

      The Charger is on my list. I'm not really concerned with gas price. I'll start to cringe when prices pass $5/gal. Under that, I'm happy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm 6'3, most of it in the legs, and have foot room problems in most cars so I have to pay a lot of attention to interior room. Stated interior dimensions have so little correlation with my subjective comfort that I don't even read then anymore.

      By the numbers, a Toyota Corolla has as much legroom as a F-150. The numbers are garbage.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Buick Lucerne is only 203 inches long, which makes it a very small compact car. In fact it is the same size as the tiny little Buick Special manufactured in the 1960's. The little Buick Special however was light years ahead of the ugly, small, boring and hideous Lucerne! Buick should rename the Lucerne, "Titanic"!
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