3rd Oct 2014, 23:28
The early 80's were not bad at all as far as full size and mid size rear drive GM and Ford cars. The engines were de-tuned and smogged, but for the most part were reliable (except the dreadful Cadillac HT-4100).
Today's Cadillac XTS is more of a joke than a flagship compared to the grand old Cadillacs.
A friend of mine owns one, and he is not too fond of it after buying traditional Town Cars and Fleetwood/DeVilles over the years.
The interior looks cheap, no head and leg room, the headliner looks like a sheet of rubber, and the trunk is tiny, let alone he can't figure out all the unnecessary gadgets. Oh - and it looks like an Audi. Did Cadillac look like an Audi through the 70's and 90's? No, they looked like a Cadillac.
5th Oct 2014, 04:49
"The long term maintenance costs of AWD cars are astronomical compared to regular cars."
19th Oct 2014, 17:26
There are several automotive publications and shows that cover AWD's shortcomings. It's great for traction, but actually does little for overall handling. Long term maintenance is higher than FWD or RWD, mostly due to the increased complexity of the system.
22nd Oct 2014, 20:53
These types of cars went away for a number of reasons. First and foremost, GM, Ford and Chrysler all decided to focus on global vehicle designs instead of regional ones. So for example Ford sells pretty much the same cars in the US as they sell in the EU, Asia, and so on, perhaps with different names but the same chassis designs. The same is more or less true with the other two US companies. This saves a lot of money and creates better efficiency.
Secondly, cars like the Crown Vic and Caprice haven't really been updated in forever, other than small changes here and there. Sure - the Crown Vic looked pretty different in its last model run versus 1980, but its chassis was over 30 years old. If you think about it, the Model T was made for a shorter amount of time than the Crown Vic, so that it stayed around that long, riding around on that chassis, is amazing. The car was very reliable as a result, but since it was allowed to exist on such an old platform for so long, this meant that redeveloping it would have been incredibly cost-prohibitive, and as mentioned above, not in alignment with newer global initiatives.
Lastly, GM for example just reported one of their best quarters. It's clear that they're on the right track. They've been making some of the best cars they've had in a generation, and the days where they were chastised for making poor quality vehicles have more or less dried up.
24th Oct 2014, 11:34
Best for the bottom line obviously doesn't mean customers will be satisfied. Capitalism generally means a diminution of choice, not greater choice as is claimed. As you point out, the car companies are selling pretty much the same car around the world = less choice. So we're all stuck with driving awful little front wheel drive, high-revving things.
30th Oct 2014, 00:37
Yes, in the past American cars had way more style and comfort than automobiles from almost any other part of the world. Now we get to drive cars that are just as bland and small as the Europeans. Yay!
25th Nov 2014, 01:00
I have all season tires on my RWD 93 Cadillac Fleetwood. I got around in 5" of snow last year with the traction control system not working, while I watched FWD cars get stuck, and 4WD trucks and SUVs sliding off the road into ditches - flipping over in ditches in some cases. I purchased a set of snow tires this year, and I am confident I won't be getting stuck with my RWD.
I agree with the whole cloth interior idea. Cadillac's Fleetwood Limousine up to 1984 was not even available with leather seats, and it was one of the most - if not the most - expensive model. Most people have bought into the stigma of leather is better, but the reality is leather is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, wears and tears way faster than cloth, and needs to be cared for with conditioners. Even using conditioners won't guarantee it won't wear out. I miss the pillow top velour seats of yore.
16th Feb 2015, 11:29
Only the Station Wagons or the cars with heavy duty trailer towing packages usually had leaf springs.
And for what it's worth, even the standard suspension on these were capable of pulling almost as much weight as a modern 1/2 ton pickup truck. It won't be as practical but it will
get the job done.
When rear springs wore out, most people's cheap fix was just to add inflatable air shocks; a much more practical fix than paying thousands to replace springs.
20th Feb 2015, 10:58
Couldn't agree more regarding leather - it is far inferior to cloth seating in terms of comfort.
6th Mar 2016, 04:14
All wheel drive is still a huge waste of money. The added weight and power loss guarantees at least 2 or 3 less MPG on even a midsize car. Even the small Subarus can barely get over 30 MPG on the highway.
Even front wheel drive is not as practical or efficient as everyone keeps preaching. It is efficient for the manufacturer, not the consumer. It allows them to cram large components into a tight space.
Outside of transmission issues that vary by manufacturer, repairs are far more infrequent on RWD vehicles. Aside from severe abuse, rear differentials today and even 50 years ago outlasted the life of the car itself. A rear wheel drive car is simple and more reliable than a front drive, and especially all wheel drive cars, period, point blank. Torque steer even today tears the tires up on FWD cars, well before their time. Especially since most people lead foot from a dead stop.