So with my new job they have been sending me on business trips left and right since I have started. I had the opportunity to have 3 rentals so far. A 2013 Chevy Impala V6, a 2013 Toyota Camry LE, and a 2013 Hyundai Sonata. I know the Impala is the odd man out but I figured I would give a quick review of each that I had and my overall impressions.
2013 Chevy Impala V6:
The Impala left a lot to be desired. This is known since the car hasn’t really been updated minus the powertrain since 2006. The interior was filled with hard surfaces and the steering was numb and heavy. I will have to say though that the combination of the 3.6 and the new 6 speed auto really helped. The new 6 speed shifted VERY smoothly but was guilty of searching for which gear to be in like so many of the new 6 speeds out there. One interesting thing I noticed, on the dash it said P R N D L. I shifted to L and noticed on the steering wheel behind cruise there was 2 buttons that looked like gears for + and – I figured out that was how to change the gears, interesting that it was labeled as L instead of S. Manual mode however had a slight delay when cycling through gears. The V6 had plenty of power and I averaged 23 MPG with it. Rear visibility was pretty good except this model had a spoiler which hurt it. Still it was easier to see out the rear of this car than the 2013 Taurus rental I had when visiting Tampa Bay before I moved.
Highs: Smooth V6, Smooth Transmission, good visibility, good solid feeling brakes
Lows: Poor interior, numb and heavy steering, transmission searching for the right gear
2013 Toyota Camry LE:
The Camry actually took me by surprise. I actually really liked the creature comforts of this car and the little details. First thing I noticed was when shifting to drive it still had the + and - option next to D but also still had paddle shifters on the steering wheel. I like this a lot since I switched from both when shifting manually however when in D the paddles still work which caught me off guard. This car was also guilty of constantly searching for which gear to be in but it hid it very well, I noticed when cruising an ECO light would turn on in the instrument cluster to let me know when it was saving fuel. Also when I would come to a complete stop and shift to manual it was always in 4th gear which I found odd. The interior I noticed had some nice details like fake stitching on the dash to help make its overall appearance look better. I did notice however there were a ton of different plastics used but all felt good except the small storage bin to the left of the steering wheel, it was extremely flimsy and cheap. The BlueTooth connected to my phone perfectly and gave me no issues at all. One thing I noticed was that the driver’s window was auto up and down but no others. If I recall the previous generation had all windows auto up and down, my parents Altimas from 06 and 09 both have drivers and passengers have auto up and down. My 04 LS has autoed up and down with pinch protection. I was a little disappointed in this. I managed to average 29 MPG with the Camry which was excellent. Steering was surprisingly light and fairly responsive unlike previous generations, my grandmother’s 2000 Camry XLE comes to mind.
Highs: Solid ride, strong I4, smooth transmission, very good fuel economy, both floor shifter and paddle shifter for manual mode
Lows: obvious cost cutting in the interior, transmission searching for the right gear though not as noticeable as other models
2013 Hyundai Sonata
This car surprised me as well, but not in a good way. First thing I noticed was this car only had 2500 miles on it and it was rattling and creaking and moaning like it was a 10 year old car. I would be just driving to the office in New Orleans and going over speed bumps I could hear this moaning coming from below me like the frame was about to give out… NOT GOOD. But it gets worse because it wasn’t just speed bumps but when I would come to a complete stop and then accelerate at a light or stop sign it would do the same thing as I accelerated… REALLY NOT GOOD. There was also a strange rattle coming from behind the dash which sounded like some small plastic piece broke off. The interior otherwise seemed to have good materials and all felt fit. The BlueTooth worked great and gave me no problems. Steering was heavy and numb and the car had a wide turning radius but not nearly as wide as the Altima. Acceleration was strong for the I4. The car had manual mode too but when shifting to D I constantly kept accidently shifting to manual by accident since the shifter kept sliding over. The car’s transmission felt very solid and I didn’t really experience it where it was constantly shifting. Also when I came to a complete stop it actually was in 1st gear and not 4th like the Camry. The Manual mode was quick to respond but shifting down for some reason took more effort since the shifter was getting some resistance, I had to pull back harder for it to catch that I wanted it to downshift. Overall I averaged 21 MPG which I thought was very low for a midsize sedan.
Highs: easy to use BlueTooth, smooth transmission, strong acceleration
Lows: Death creak in frame when accelerating and going over speed bumps, strange rattle behind the dash, floor shifter had too much resistance when trying to down shift, poor fuel economy
Overall my favorite was the 2013 Camry which was a surprise. I know personally I don’t really care for Toyotas in general because of their boring styling and ride but this car really came out with all the small details and just overall great performance and fuel economy. 2nd place was the Chevy Impala, while it was cheap on the inside it had a very smooth ride and transmission and I didn’t hate driving it. Last place was the Sonata, the car just really let me down and the death creak on a car that only has 2500 miles is just not good.
My next trip is at the end of the month, I will be renting a SUV to help move a server from one office to another, I am curious as to what I will get.