2016 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - People Carriers

The People Carrier category is one that encompasses vehicles that are essentially passenger cars that can seat more than five people.

While this segment has proved very popular in other markets, it has failed to find enough adherents in North America and seems doomed to disappear, especially when it is confronted with the new vehicles in the growing Micro CUV vehicle segment. The only real success in this segment is the Dodge Journey, which sells in impressive numbers.

With no new players on the horizon and no signs of replacements for the current people carriers, this segment will disappear over the next few years.

A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2015 are from the U.S. Department of Energy as figures from the new Canada EnerGuide test were not available when this research was being compiled.   

Dodge Journey  Kia Rondo  Mazda 5 
Ford Flex  Lincoln MKT   

Dodge Journey

 


 

 

What’s new
2016 was expected to be the last year for the current Journey buts its run has been extended until the 2019 model year.  

Performance
The 3.6L-V6 is strong, smooth and works very well with its six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.4L four has enough power to move the Journey at a reasonable clip, but except when cruising, the engine sounds harsh and wheezy. Good ride and handling for a vehicle of this type. The steering is nicely weighted but a bit numb. Elegant dashboard with clear gauges and logical controls. The cabin is carefully assembled from attractive components. Cabin space is ample in the first two rows, but the third row is meant for the small and agile. The second and third row seats fold to reveal a long, regularly-shaped cargo bed that is deep below the window line. Cargo space is tight when the third seat is up.
Comments
Two engines, a 2.4L four and a 3.6L-V6 are offered on front-wheel drive Journeys. Transmission choices are a four-speed automatic with the 2.4L and a six-speed automatic with the 3.6L V6. All-wheel drive is offered only with the V6-engined models. With nearly 26,000 sold in 2015, the Journey has been a smash hit for FCA in Canada.   

Pricing
Very low MSRP with the Value Plus package. SE Plus and SXT trim upgrades are a bit expensive considering the equipment that is included when you step up a trim level. The R/T model is priced to reflect its additional content but the R/T Rallye and Crossroad models are overpriced. The 3.6L V6, standard on the Limited, R/T, Rallye and Crossroad models, is a $2000 option on the SXT trim level. All-wheel drive is standard with the R/T and Rallye trim levels, is optional on the Crossroad and is not available on the Limited. The third-row seat is standard on all models except for the SE.

Reliability
Below average reliability on 2009-2011 models. Unproven 3.6L V6 and six-speed automatic transmission. Rapid brake wear on earlier versions of the Journey. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/3, 2/3/2

Engines:
2.4L-4 (173 HP), 3.6L-V6 (283 HP)*,  

Transmissions: 4A, 6A*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 13.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 9.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additonal airbags:: Knee airbag for the driver

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2009
Country of Origin:  Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: P

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 4 star


Ford Flex, Lincoln MKT

 


 

What’s new
Flex: A new Appearance package is optional and the BlackBerry designed Sync3 infortainment interface replaces the previous Microsoft supplied units. MKT: No changes of note.
Performance
The strong base V6 in the Flex moves the car with authority but the EcoBoost Turbo delivers astonishingly rapid acceleration without any drama. Both engines are well-matched to the smooth, responsive six-speed automatic transmission. Compliant suspension, stable handling and nicely weighted steering make the Flex a pretty agile bus that excels on long highway runs. The dashboard has clear gauges and a logical centre stack arrangement. The rest of the cabin is very chic and nicely finished. The Flex features comfortable seats, and legroom is abundant in the second row and reasonable in the third row. All who travelled in the Flex were charmed by it, with middle row passengers feeling especially pampered. Unlike many three row people carriers, cargo space is quite good with the third-row seat up, and expansive when the second and third-row seats are folded. The Lincoln MKT is a smoother, quieter, more luxurious version of the Flex.

Comments
The Flex and MKT are built on the same Volvo-derived platform that also underpins the Taurus and Explorer. Considering they are both quasi-suvs built on the same component set, Ford has done a good job at differentiating the Flex from the Explorer. Except for towing capacity, the Flex, with more second-row legroom, a much more elegant cabin and easier ingress-egress, is a much nicer vehicle than the Explorer. Despite their inherent goodness, neither the Flex nor the MKT has been embraced by the public, with the Ford selling about 1800 units last year and the Lincoln just cresting 200 units, not enough to justify its being on sale. .
Pricing
Flex: All-wheel drive, standard on the Limited, is a $2000 option on the SEL and not offered on the SE. The cost to upgrade from the SE to the SEL is high for what your get but the Limited is reasonable value compared with the SEL. Very expensive turbo V6 option. Poor lease value for the Flex. MKT: All-wheel drive and the turbo V6 are standard on all MKTs. Fully loaded, the MKT is roughly $4000 more expensive than a similarly-equipped Flex turbo. Poor lease value for the MKT in 2016.   

Reliability
Not rated due to insufficient sales. Unproven turbo V6. A Ford extended warranty is recommended if you plan to keep your car past the warranty period.

Specifications


Body Style: 4SD
Occupants: 2/3

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (287 HP Flex)*, 3.5L-V6 T (365 HP Flex and MKT), 3.7L-V6 (303 HP MKT)

Transmissions: 6A
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*
City Fuel Economy:  14.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  10.2L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings. Available adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation and brake support.
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000 (Ford), 4/80,000, 6/110,000 (Lincoln)
Current Generation Debut: 2009
Country of Origin: Canada

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


Kia Rondo

 


 

 
What’s new
2016 changes limited to packaging.

Comments
Like other Schreyer-era Kias, the Rondo displays an elegant form, especially for a monospace vehicle. The conservatively-elegant cabin is fronted by a dashboard housing large, crisply-marked gauges, straightforward controls and attractive two-toning. Five and seven seater versions of the new Rondo are available. The sole engine offered is a 2L directed-injected four that produces 164 horsepower. Power reaches the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Luxury features such as xenon headlights, ventilated driver's seat, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, Keyless Go and a panoramic sunroof, are all offered on the Rondo. With around 3500 sales in 2015, Kia sold 2000 fewer Rondos that in 2014, but still outsold the Mazda 5 by about 2000 units. The Rondo has not been crash tested in the U.S. as it is not sold there. The Carens (the Rondo's name in Europe) scored five stars out of a possible five stars when tested by the Euro NCAP organization.

Pricing
The third-row seat is a $1300 option on the LX and EX trim levels. The LX Automatic, EX and EX Luxury are all good value, with the LX Automatic equipped to suit the needs and wants of most buyers. Unlike its closest competitor, the Mazda 5, the Rondo can seat three people in the second-row seat and accomodate a large amount of cargo,  whereas the Mazda can only seat two in the second row. Good value leasing for 2016.The Rondo is not sold in the U.S., and while finding mechanical bits there won't be difficult as various U.S.-market Kias feature the same drivetrain, body parts are not stocked should you have the misfortune of being involved in a collision while travelling in the United States.

Reliability
Above average reliability is predicted. While the Rondo is not sold in the U.S., it shares commonly used Kia components and service should be available in the event of a mechanical problem. Five year/100,000 km warranty.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/3, 2/3/2

Engines:
2L-4 (164 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.1L/100 km^

Highway Fuel Economy: 7.6L/100 km^

^(Kia Canada figures)


Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2013
Country of Origin: South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 


Mazda 5

 


What’s new
No changes of note for what should be the last year for the current 5.
Performance
The Mazda's smooth, quiet and sonically fizzy 2.5L four is carefully matched to a responsive, sweet-shifting five-speed automatic transmission. Except for a bit of controlled lean in curves, the 5, like the previous-generation Mazda 3 it is based on, is a very nice car to drive. Precise, nicely-weighted steering. Supple ride with little suspension noise. The brakes are hard to modulate and lack initial bite when the pedal is pressed. Clear, crisply-marked gauges are located in a dashboard that looks good, but is not as functional as it appears. Overly-complex climate and audio controls, and their readouts, crowded into a brow at the top of the dash, lack clarity. Matte-finished hard cabin plastics look elegant and interior assembly is impressive. The six-seater configuration (three rows of two seats per row), limits versatility as you cannot welcome five people and a large amount of luggage at the same time. Very comfortable bucket seats in the first two rows. Legroom is limited for tall drivers and is just adequate for second-row passengers. The third-row seats are for kids only.

Comments
All 5s are powered by a 2.5L four that can send power to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. With around 2500 sold in 2015, Mazda 5 sales, like all the vehicles in the segment bar the Dodge Journey, are waning.

Pricing
The GS Convenience package, which includes includes cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel and Bluetooth, is priced to reflect its contents.The GS Moonroof package is a bargain. Nicely equipped, including leather upholstery, the GT is very good value this year. Good lease value for 2016.

Reliability
Average reliability predicted. Premature rear suspension strut wear is a possibility. An oil or greased based anti-rust compound is recommended as the previous 5 was rust prone.  

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2/2

Engines:
2.5L-4 (157 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 5A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  11.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 3/Unlimited, 5/Unlimited
Current Generation Debut: 2012
Country of Origin: Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: P

Mod. Front: G

Side: M

Roof: G

Rear: A

NHTSA Rating: