The new car market is a harsh environment even for the best-funded and most-respected of carmakers.
For a brand like Coda, whose electric sedan is not only a niche product by its very nature but also one with a very low market profile, it can be tougher still.
Regardless, they say it's the product that matters--and following Inside Line's customary track testing, it looks like Coda is in even deeper water.
We drove the 2012 Coda Sedan earlier this year. It proved bland to behold and full of quality niggles, but we were more impressed by its decent performance and real-world range of around 95 miles.
Inside Lines' track tests proved less favorable.
9.7 seconds to 60 mph isn't too bad, but the reviewer felt like it could have been quicker--the motor feeling held back, possibly to preserve range. Braking was worse though, with poor stopping distances and a soft pedal, something we noted in our own review. The brakes quickly overheated too, during heavy stopping.
Reviewers noted plenty of understeer and an intrusive stability control system, crude in its operation when correcting slides.
It could be argued that few will ever experience some of these characteristics. In normal driving, the Coda may prove perfectly acceptable--and as we've found out, it has a useful range, too.
The counter argument is that regardless of how hard the individual driver pushes a car, high-speed testing is always relevant from a safety perspective--it's nice to know a car is capable when taken to its limits.
And in that respect, the Coda looks to be below par--perhaps a symptom of its humble Chinese origins.
How much should any of this matter? It depends on your outlook. At $38,145 pre-incentives, the Coda is quite an expensive vehicle, and while this is true of many electric vehicles, people still like to know their money is being spent wisely. A Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt feels as much a quality product as any other Nissan or Chevrolet. More so, in some cases.
Coda has done a good job getting its vehicle to market--but has Coda done a good job of actually making a car?
Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.