Name some great American cars!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband thinks the best car in terms of reliability, cost, and fuel efficiency is the Acura Legend. His next favorite car is the Honda Accord. Please give us the names of any American automobiles that are as reliable and fuel efficient. I would like to buy from an American car company. My husband states he would buy an American car if he could find one as good!

RAY: We like to recommend American cars, too, but it's tough to say anything bad about the Acura Legend. It does everything well, and in the few years it's been on the road, its repair record has been superb.

TOM: There is no direct equivalent to the Legend that's made in America, but there is a car we think is just as good...the Lincoln Continental. Don't laugh! When you hear the name Continental, you probably assume that we're talking about an ocean-going vessel driven by someone wearing white vinyl shoes and a white belt. That's not the case anymore. At least the white belt is gone.

RAY: And the QE-2 type suspension is gone too. The Continental is a great handling, modern luxury car. It's bigger than the Legend, safer than the Legend, and there are more Lincoln-Mercury dealers than Acura dealers. You don't list these as criteria, but we think they're worth considering. You may prefer the road feel or the styling of the Acura--that's a matter of taste--but the Continental easily earns a place on the Click and Clack list of wonderful cars.

TOM: There's a $10,000 difference between the Legend and the other car your husband likes, the Honda Accord. And the Accord has much more American competition. The Accord is a very reliable, practical car. When it came out in the mid '70s, it was in a class by itself. But now, there are many good handling, reliable mid-sized cars.

RAY: Personally, I'd rather drive a Ford Taurus. I find the Taurus quieter and more comfortable. Fully loaded, it's also less expensive than the Accord. You should also look at the Chevy Lumina and the new four-door Pontiac Grand Prix , which we also like. Then there's the Dodge Spirit, which is an Accord for my brother's generation (he likes the Perry Como Edition).

TOM: Take your husband out and drive some of these American cars. They're not even close to being as lousy as the one's he test drove five years ago. They are immeasurably better. And if you go for the Continental, Joyce, make sure you hide his white belts.

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