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Sporty sedans popular in rough economy

September 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many auto makers are struggling in the weak economy. However, sporty sedans are still popular Manufacturers are making changes to keep buyers interested.

If you have $35,000 to $40,000 to spend on a new four-door, and want a combination of luxury and sportiness, Acura is offering up a revamped version of its TL sedan. The sedan has a base price of $34,955 and features a more powerful engine, lots of features and something and more aggressive styling. Style has been something many say Acura cars have really needed.

"We wanted to stand out in all aspects of what people really look for in this market. And that's styling, vehicle performance and the technology into the car," said Acura Engineer Mat Hargett.

Both versions of the new TL offer more power, but fuel mileage stays respectable. The sedan gets about 17 to 26 miles per gallon on premium. Cars in this class aren't the most economical, and they aren't inexpensive, but experts say cars like this tend to buck the recent trend of sales downturns in the industry.

"These are the sorts of cars that people aspire to when they are up in the market. And, also, a product that you're not embarrassed to drive even if you're down in the market," said George Petersen, analyst, Auto Pacific.

People who buy cars in this market are often treating themselves. They spend a lot of time on the road and they want as much entertainment and convenience as they can get for their money.

Acura filled the new TL with the latest technology. Inside the car you'll find things like advanced traffic reporting. Underneath the car with you'll find an optional all-wheel-drive system for performance on both dry and wet pavement.

Also new for the 2009 model year is a revamped Nissan Maxima, with a base price of $31,990. It also gets bolder styling and lots of technology to help drivers deal with traffic. It should be a worthy competitor to the Acura, and other cars in this price and size class.

Another competitor is the Saab 9-3, which has posted some good sales numbers at times this year, due to its image as an environmentally friendly choice. The 9-3 has a base price of $41,765.

"Saab is green, efficient and alternative. So, based on our research, not a huge number of people consider them, but their sales are up a little bit," said Petersen.

 

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