28th Sep 2008, 20:39

Two decades is a pretty good run for an "unreliable" engine in several million cars. I have no argument that the 3.8 V-6 is not a good engine, but I can't fathom what is so "unreliable" about a Quad 4. It has no timing belts to change, spark plugs are good for 100,000 miles, and the rest of the engine is pretty much the same type of construction as most small 4-cylinder engines. If you'll notice, a huge number of the bad Grand Am reviews are for the 3.4 V-6, not the Quad 4.

I'm a mechanic too, and my experience with the Quad 4 has been 100% good. I've seen many with over 200,000 miles on them. The only problem I've ever seen with them is blown head gaskets due to extreme over heating. This happens to ANY late model car that is allowed to over heat, foreign or domestic. Modern engines can't handle over heating.

7th Oct 2008, 20:27

My two old 5.0 Mustangs both averaged about 27 mpg on the highway (with the Traction Lok 3.08's), so I am not surprised the new ones are around the same. The V-6 is only gaining about 2 mpg or so, making the V-8 the more attractive option as far as I am concerned. Why not have the extra power and higher performance for just a minuscule amount of mileage loss? Mustangs and V-8's just go together so well...however, if they ever step up to the performance of the new Camaro V-6 with 300 hp and 270 lb ft of torque (not to mention a SIX speed), I may just get on the V-6 bandwagon. For now I may just be shopping in the Chevy showrooms.

8th Oct 2008, 13:52

Comment 22:59 reminded me of towing a friend's broken down import 40 miles on the interstate several years ago. I was in a REALLY big hurry and I was towing him at 85-90mph with my 4-cylinder Ford Ranger. Needless to say, my mileage on that trip was somewhat less than stellar!!

16th Oct 2008, 08:28

I wish we could do a blind test of your theory with the Consumer Reports test so-called "engineers" (I am a real engineer). I am sure it would be emphatically proven to be correct.

5th Jan 2009, 23:59

This isn't exactly on-topic, but I've got a 200 CID 67 coupe. It gets pretty bad MPG, but I guess its not the worst it could be. I'm going to put in a V-8, probably the biggest motor I can get my hands on, and if it is fairly new then great, it'll have decent MPG, if not...well, I'll still be able to destroy anybody else in a straight line. That in itself makes it worth it... just knowing that you CAN, not necessarily that you WILL ;)

6th Jan 2009, 16:38

Absolutely, categorically 100% TRUE!! People who are "ego buyers" go by price only and usually don't even know what a "cylinder" is, what "horsepower" means, or which end of their car the drive wheels are located on. If it costs MORE, it is automatically better. I once asked a fellow with a new BMW how he liked it and he replied "Oh, it's WONDERFUL! FRONT WHEEL DRIVE is so safe!!" (and I'm NOT making this up!!)

I recently read a review in a major publication on a new vehicle. It was described as having a "herky-jerky" transmission, riding very harshly, getting awful mileage and having seats that felt like concrete blocks. A "crappy" domestic you ask? Not quite. It was the horrendously expensive new Mercedes ML320 Bluetech. In fact, Mercedes has a large number of its vehicles rated as "much worse than average" or "worse than average".

Sadly, our culture bases EVERYTHING on the price tag. If it costs more, it just HAS to be better. Never mind that there is really not a SHRED of evidence to back this up.

17th Jan 2009, 16:39

I wrote comment 16:38 and just saw a very personal example of how the "if it costs more it HAS to be better" myth works. The lease on Mom's Volvo S-60 expires in two weeks. She has not liked the Volvo because it is cramped, rough riding and no better in any respect than an average, inexpensive sedan. She will definitely get something other than another Volvo. The rest of the family are set on her getting a Mercedes because "They are such GREAT cars". When I showed them the rating of "worse than average" on the Mercedes they want her to get, and the "MUCH worse than average" cost-to-own rating, they said "Oh, that magazine is biased against GERMAN cars!!" In spite of the fact that the very nice Ford Fusion SEL is rated "Much better than average" they still insist that she get the Mercedes because it's "better". She WANTS a Fusion, but because of the snob appeal she will probably pay $40,000 MORE for a car that is rated FIVE LEVELS worse!! Go figure.

18th Jan 2009, 22:41

For many people, what car they buy is all about feeling like they belong in some club or group. All the car manufacturers manipulate that in one way or another. Sometimes it is easy to spot in the ads.

To the guy with the mom who wants a Mercedes. Maybe try getting her the most recent Car and Driver buyers guide. They rate cars by Enthusiast Rating and Consumer Appeal and on the C/D website they explain Enthusiast versus Consumer. Of course they have to make Consumer sound kind of bad, but that is just C/D selling their version of belonging to the club.

Really 95% of people fit the Consumers profile, as is obvious by what a great seller the Camry is. Anyone complaining about the rough ride of a Volvo S60 is not an Enthusiast (they can be complaining about other things, but not a rough ride.) Most Mercedes get high marks for the Enthusiast but low for Consumer.

Of course if Mom just has to belong to the Mercedes club because of who her friends are, or wants them to be, that extra $40,000 is the price of admission. The funny thing is, the people in the club fall for it. Just be careful that if that is what it is all about, don't buy a less expensive Mercedes because she won't really be in the club.

I knew a guy who thought buying a BMW 3-series was enough, but then caught on that people over age 40 are expected to be driving 5 series or better. For that clique, the 3-series had no more cachet than a Ford Fusion. And in fact maybe it was worse with comments like look at who doesn't know that the 3-series is for young people just starting out in their careers.

19th Jan 2009, 10:45

The Quad 4 was not around for 2 decades, because it was a junk rough troublesome motor that GM could never get right. It was around from 1987 to 2000 or 2001.

The 3.8 Liter V6 was around from 1975 to present, I believe last year (2008) it was still used in a few GM vehicles. If you want to be technical the design was there since 1962. The 3800 version (1988 and newer) was named one of the top 10 engines of the 20th century by Wards.

I don't see many awards for the Quad 4, I wonder why that is...