Midsize sedans 2015

Midsize sedans 2015 DEFAULT

Here are the Best Midsize Sedans

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Gregg FidanGregg Fidan is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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Sours: https://www.realcartips.com/news/1085-best-midsize-sedans.shtml

Midsize sedan roll call: what’s new, what we like, and what we could live without for 2015

Brian Leon

By Brian Leon


Sep 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM

The all-new Chrysler 200 is an impressive effort in the stronger-than-ever 2015 class of midsize sedans

America's most popular segment has long left customers spoilt for choice. From long time favorites like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord to capable newcomers like the Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata, there's something for everyone in the midsize sedan market.

With better-than-ever fuel economy, quality of materials, and interior and luggage space, midsize sedans have become the do-everything vehicles that customers want and need.

For 2015, there are fresh faces, old favorites, and all-new models ready to battle it out for that top sales spot. We break down what's new, what we like, and what we could live without for all of the 2015 midsize sedans.

America's top-selling sedan gets a facelift for the 2015 model year.

What's new: The Camry receives a much-appreciated exterior design refresh for 2015, sporting a more aggressive and modern look than the current model.

What we like: The Camry is the sales king for a reason, boasting good fuel economy, a comfortable interior, and excellent value in relation to competitors. Resale value and reliability are also huge plus points for the "never say die" Camry.

What we could live without: While sales reflect Toyota's stellar reputation, the Camry has cruised along as the default choice for many car buyers. It's still good, but many sedan shoppers would be pleasantly surprised if they drove some of the rival sedans. The 2015 Camry looks to looks to win on merit.

While the Accord has been a sales leader for years and continues to be one of the best midsize sedans, buyers looking for head-turning styling might want to turn elsewhere.

What's new: The Accord receives no major changes for the 2015 model year.

What we like: Honda's ever-popular Accord remains one of the best cars in the segment, with a spacious interior, excellent fuel economy, and sportier handling than most competitors. Phenomenal reliability has also long been a hallmark of the Accord. The hybrid option is one of the better examples in the segment.

What we could live without: While the Accord is a perennial favorite among midsize sedan buyers and one of the strongest offerings in the segment, shoppers looking for head-turning style might want to look elsewhere. Safe styling has never seemed to hurt Accord sales, however.

While the 2015 Malibu is a marked improvement, Chevy still has work to do to catch up to segment leaders.

What's new: The 2015 Chevy Malibu is available with built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi, the first of its kind in the midsize sedan class. Now you can take your mobile devices anywhere the road leads you, assuming there's a signal, of course.

What we like: The Malibu has a strong base four-cylinder engine and a composed ride, and the stop-start fuel-saving technology is one of the smoothest units in the segment.

What we could live without: the midsize sedan segment still proves to be a troublesome one for the Chevy brand. Despite a vastly improved lineup of cars and trucks, the Malibu has been singled out for having middling driving dynamics, low-rent materials, and a cramped rear seat.

The Chrysler 200S is available with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, or optional 3.6-liter V-6

What we like: The updated styling, available all-wheel-drive, and variety of capable engines make the 200 an enticing reason to buy American.

What we could live without: while styling and quality make giant leaps forward from the previous 200, some customers will find the rear seating too snug. The four-cylinder is more frugal, but doesn't match the quietness and refinement of the V-6.

The 2015 Ford Fusion is priced right, and has the driving dynamics to match rivals from Toyota, Honda, Nissan and GM.

What's new: The Fusion has been a sales smash since its most recent update, and Ford continues the successful formula for 2015. Minor updates include slightly revised engines and a standard rear view camera.

What we like: The Fusion is one of the most distinctive and fun-to-drive sedans in its class, and a variety of powerful and fuel efficient powertrains, especially the excellent hybrid, set it apart from the competition.

What we could live without: Cumbersome, unintuitive, and often maddening when trying to perform the simplest tasks: these are some of the complaints that have been levied at Ford's MyFordTouch infotainment system. It's gotten better, but there is still work to be done.

Hyundai is aiming right at the heart of the midsize sedan segment with the quieter, more spacious, and more conservatively-styled Sonata.

What's new: The Sonata has been completely redesigned for 2015, and Hyundai has taken another step forward. Fuel economy, interior space, and available options have all been improved for 2015.

What we like: The 2015 Sonata has an incredibly quiet cabin and one of the most upscale interiors in its class. Couple that with Hyundai's incredible technology options and unbeatable 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and the Sonata is hard to beat.

What we could live without: After only one generation, Hyundai has gone back to a boxier, much less dynamic exterior for the Sonata sedan. We'll be the first to admit that less polarizing styling and an emphasis on comfort and efficiency won't hurt Sonata sales – but did Hyundai's best-selling sedan have to become so serious all of a sudden?

The Optima has the appearance of a true luxury sedan, even if the overall driving experience is much closer to midsize sedan norms.

What's new: The Optima receives no major changes for the 2015 model year.

What we could live without:

The Optima still looks great, but the dynamics are firmly mid-pack in this highly-competitive segment. Kia is awfully close to having a sedan home run on its hands – if only we could combine its looks with the playfulness of the Mazda6 (see below for more about Mazda's fun-loving sedan).

The Mazda6 has an available 6-speed automatic, but we suggest opting for the hugely entertaining 6-speed manual gearbox.

What's new: The Mazda6 receives no major changes for the 2015 model year.

What we like: The Mazda6 is by far the most fun-to-drive sedan in its class, with almost sports-car-like handling and potent engine options. With a high-quality and spacious interior and above-average fuel economy, the Mazda6 drives a hard bargain in a competitive segment.

What we could live without: While the Mazda6 offers a variety of available technology, the optional navigation system already feels dated in the face of excellent units from the competition.

The 2015 Nissan Altima is one of the best-selling sedans in the U.S. car market.

What's new: The Altima receives no major changes for the 2015 model year.

What we could live without: In gaining sales, the Altima has become more mainstream in the looks department. It has more flair than an Accord or Camry, but that's not saying much. Like many cars in the segment, the entry-level four-cylinder is easier on your fuel budget, but harder on your eardrums.

As the only standard all-wheel-drive offering in the segment, the Legacy is a strong choice for Snowbelt dwellers.

What's new: The Legacy is completely redesigned for 2015, featuring improved fuel economy, more attractive styling, and a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) across all trim levels.

What we like: The Legacy is one of the safest cars in the segment, earning the NHTSA's coveted Top Safety Pick+ award. Standard all-wheel-drive and a much-improved interior make the Legacy a strong option in America's most competitive segment.

What we could live without: big on all-weather capability, the Subaru Legacy isn't going to win over the hearts of technophiles with its cabin, functional but far from funky. In our review, we found the overall driving demeanor to be a bit benign.

The VW Passat is the only car in the segment to offer a diesel option, matching the fuel economy of many hybrids.

What's new: For 2015, the Passat TDI's turbodiesel engine gains 10-horsepower over the 2014 model, a much-needed improvement to an enticing powertrain option.

What we could live without: Remember when Volkswagens were the quirky outliers in every segment? That's no longer the case, as the Passat's "me too" styling mirrors its forgettable driving experience. Backseat legroom is fantastic, we just wish there was more fun to be had in the driver's seat.

Recommended on Daily News

Sours: https://www.nydailynews.com/autos/buyers-guide/midsize-sedan-roll-call-pros-cons-new-features-2015-article-1.1945903
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Midsize Car Sales In America – December 2015 And 2015 Year End

2016 Mazda 6 silver action

Sales of midsize cars in America declined 2% in calendar year 2015, in line with the 2% decline in the overall U.S. passenger car market.

The American auto industry produced a 6% year-over-year gain in calendar year 2015 on the way to a  record sales year. Traditional cars carry less sway, however, as consumers veer away from sedans like the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Sonata toward the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. 

Download All GCBC U.S. 2015 Sales Data For $2.99

The Toyota Camry was America’s best-selling car in 2015, the 14th consecutive year the midsize Toyota has held such status. Obviously then, the Camry is the most popular vehicle in its category, claiming 429,355 total sales in the U.S. in 2015, a marginal 749-unit year-over-year increase. 

The Honda Accord fell much farther back from the Camry in 2015, however. After trailing the Camry by 40,232 units in 2014, the Accord was 73,798 sales abaft in 2015.

U.S. Vehicle Sales Rankings By Model – 2015 Year End
U.S. Car Sales Rankings By Model – 2015 Year End

USA midsize car sales chart 2015 calendar year
Click Chart To Expand

Together, the Camry, Accord, and third-ranked Altima owned 47% of the American midsize car market in calendar year 2015, down slightly from 48% in 2014. The big mover in 2015 was the Chrysler 200, sales of which were half again as strong. But the Chrysler’s parent company, FCA, saw total midsize car volume – including the Dodge Avenger – climb by a more reasonable 6%. 

The Subaru Legacy’s 16% increase and the Mazda 6’s 9% uptick were the other noteworthy improvements.

You can click any model name in the tables below to find historical monthly and yearly U.S. auto sales data. You can also select a make and model at GCBC’s Sales Stats page. These tables are now sortable, so you can rank midsize cars any which way you like. Suggestions on how GCBC should break down segments can be passed on through the Contact page.

Click Column Headers To Sort • December 2016 • November 2015 • December 2014

Midsize Car







Buick Regal



Chevrolet Malibu



Chrysler 200



Dodge Avenger



Ford Fusion



Honda Accord



Hyundai Sonata



Kia Optima



Mazda 6



Mitsubishi Galant


Nissan Altima



Subaru Legacy



Toyota Camry



Volkswagen Passat



Volkswagen CC






Hybrids & Electrics







Chevrolet Volt



Ford C-Max



Honda Insight



Mitsubishi i MiEV



Nissan LEAF



Toyota Prius



Toyota Prius Sedan ^


113,829 122,776 -7.3%

Toyota Prius Plug-In ^



Toyota Prius V






Tall Wagons 
& Crossovers







Honda Crosstour *



Subaru Outback *



Toyota Venza *






Source: Automakers & ANDC
* indicates a vehicle that is also shown in another GCBC segment breakdown
^ Prius breakdown by variant
GCBC isn’t here to break down segments, an impossible task for any group, but to display sales data for the sake of comparison. The more ways sales data can be displayed, the better. This explains why you’ll see the Outback and Venza listed with midsize SUVs, too… because readers have wanted it both ways. You can always find the sales results for EVERY vehicle and form your own competitive sets by using the All Vehicle Rankings posts.

Midsize Car Sales In America – December & 2016 Year End
Midsize Car Sales In America – November 2015 YTD
Midsize Car Sales In America – December 2014 & Year End
Top 20 Best-Selling Cars In America – December 2015
U.S. Auto Sales Brand Rankings – December 2015 & Year End
Small Car Sales In America – December 2015 & Year End
Large Car Sales In America – December 2015 & Year End

Sours: https://www.goodcarbadcar.net/usa-midsize-car-sales-stats-december-2015-year-end/
Midsize Sedan Challenge: Sonata wins in $27,000 range

The Safest Midsize Sedans You Can Buy

Crossover SUVs have been all the rage on America's highways and in our garages for the last decade or more—but the good ol' four-door sedan is still popular, too. That's good news for the safety-conscious used car buyer because it means there are plenty of models to choose from.

Whether you're a bargain shopper looking for the best possible deal on some reliable four-door wheels, or in the market for something more luxurious, there's a sedan that will meet your needs while delivering your wants, too.

Safety Isn't The Same

The very definition of safety has changed a lot over the years and decades. What was presumed a "safe" car in the 1950s due to good engineering and lots of heavy steel wouldn't fare well in modern crash-testing—a fact well-illustrated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's test of a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air in a head-on collision with a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu.

That big hunk of iron, beautiful as it was, folded up like a wet cardboard box, while the newer car's carefully engineered crumple zones absorbed and deflected energy, leaving its occupants much better off.

Improvement of Vehicle Safety Features Over Time

Just as time, and safety, have marched forward since the late 1950s, so too has safety improved over the past 5-10 years—though the differences are by no means as stark. Even the oldest of the vehicles included in our list of the safest used sedans below is engineered to standards very close to those of the current crop of 2017 model-year vehicles, with the exception of the recently introduced small-overlap front impact testing.

On the technology front, however, many small but important advances in vehicle safety have been made in the past few years, including more widespread availability of automatic braking systems, pedestrian and obstacle detection systems, lane-keeping systems, and other technology-based safety and driver-aids.

Decide What Safety Systems You Want

If you're in the market for these high-tech safety systems, you'll want to focus on cars made in the last two or three years, and do your homework on which equipment packages or trim lines include the desired safety features for the specific model of car you're after.

But before you get into the nitty-gritty of deciding which car to buy, you need someplace to start, and this list is intended to be just that: the perfect starting place for anyone looking for a safe and practical used midsize sedan.

List of Safest Midsize Sedans to Buy

The list examines the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data for the model years 2010-2016, which covers almost all of the used sedans on the market that can still be financed. The cars are listed in order of the number of Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ awards they've won.

While a greater number of wins indicates there are more model years available on the used the market, it doesn't necessarily make a five-time winning sedan safer than a one-time winner—if a car is on this list, it is among the safest vehicles built in the year it was made.

With Three or more TSP or TSP+ wins:

Audi A3

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
TSP+: 2014, 2015, 2016

Audi A4

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
TSP+: 2016

Acura TL

TSP: 2012, 2014
TSP+: 2013

Chevrolet Malibu

TSP: 2010 (After November '09), 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
TSP+: 2014, 2016

Chrysler 200

TSP: 2011, 2012, 2014
TSP+: 2013, 2015, 2016

Dodge Avenger

TSP: 2010 (Optional stability control), 2011, 2012, 2014
TSP+: 2013

Ford Fusion

TSP: 2010 (After April), 2011, 2012, 2015
TSP+: 2013, 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (2017 with front crash prevention)

Honda Accord

TSP: 2012, 2015
TSP+: 2013, 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Hyundai Sonata

TSP: 2010 (2011 models), 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
TSP+: 2014 (2015 optional front crash prevention), 2015 (2016 with optional crash prevention)

Kia Optima

TSP: 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
TSP+: 2013, 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Lincoln MKZ

TSP: 2010 (models built after April 2010), 2011, 2012, 2015
TSP+: 2013, 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
TSP+: 2016

Subaru Legacy

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012,
TSP+: 2013 (After August 2012), 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Subaru Outback

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012,
TSP+: 2013 (After August 2012), 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Toyota Camry

TSP: 2012, 2013, 2014 (After December 2013), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention)
TSP+: 2014 (2015 Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Volkswagen CC

TSP: 2011, 2012 (FWD inline-4 only), 2013 (FWD inline-4 only)

Volkswagen Jetta

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
TSP+: 2014, 2015 (2016 Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Volkswagen Passat

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
TSP+: 2013 (After October 2012), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Volvo S60

TSP: 2011, 2012
TSP+: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

With Two TSP or TSP+ wins

BMW 3-Series

TSP: 2012, 2013

Buick Verano

TSP: 2012, 2013

Lexus ES350

TSP: 2012, 2013


TSP+: 2013 (2014 models), 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Nissan Altima

TSP: 2014, 2015
TSP+: 2013 (After November 2012), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

With One TSP or TSP+ win

Acura TLX

TSP+: 2014, 2015 (Optional front crash prevention)

Acura TSX

TSP: 2013

BMW 2-Series

TSP+: 2014 (After June optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Chrysler Sebring

TSP: 2010 (Optional stability control)

Infiniti Q50

TSP+: 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention)

Mercury Milan

TSP: 2010 (After April)

Suzuki Kizashi

TSP+: 2013

Sours: https://instamotor.com/buy-used-car/safety-rating/the-safest-midsize-sedans

2015 midsize sedans

The Car Connection's Best Sedans To Buy 2015

For decades, sedans were choice family vehicles for Americans. Then that role was largely passed over to crossover utility vehicles and minivans

And that's left sedans with more latitude in terms of design and styling. And it's definitely brought a new generation of sedans that are more interesting, with super-swoopy rooflines and sportier driving attributes—even for affordable, mass-market models.

In this bold new field of sedans, which one should you buy? The Car Connection has some help. Finding your way to the best new sedan can be as time-consuming as studying a few of those important factors and letting them lead you through the process.

Or you can take our shortcut. We've looked at the data, we've considered the ratings we apply to every new vehicle we review—and have come up with this buying guide, to help you quickly find the best sedan you should buy.

To qualify as one of our Best Sedan To Buy 2015, a vehicle must:

  • score at least an 8.0 rating on The Car Connection's full review
  • have a base price of less than $100,000—twice the amount we allow for our Best Car To Buy competition
  • have no reported score lower than four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Keep in mind, these sedans may finish with higher scores than our annual Best Car To Buy winner—because that vehicle is chosen from brand-new or significantly changed vehicles in a model year. These rankings pit all vehicles against each other, regardless of how many years they've been on the market, and they're open to every vehicle on sale during the current model year.

After vetting all the sedans offered for the 2015 model year, we've narrowed it down to the following set of vehicles, and given our insight in the bottom line from our original review. They're ranked in the order of scoring as of our latest update. Since our reviews are updated frequently for safety data, late model changes, or fuel-economy revisions, the order may change occasionally.

By those standards, these models stack up as the best sedans on the road today:

TCC Rating: 9.4

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (S500)

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (S500)

2015 Mercedes-Benz S Class

With the addition of a beautiful, expressive new Coupe, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is no longer just the best sedan in the world; it's now a family of flagship models.Read more »

TCC Rating: 9.2

2015 BMW 7-Series

2015 BMW 7-Series

2015 BMW 7-Series

The 2015 BMW 7-Series is exceptionally quick and technologically advanced, but also very luxurious and wonderfully comfortable. Read more »

TCC Rating: 9.0

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

2015 Ford Fusion

The 2015 Ford Fusion continues to offer an excellent blend of top-notch safety, solid fuel economy, and stunning good looks–all without compromising on interior space and comfort. Read more »

2015 Audi A8 L

2015 Audi A8 L

2015 Audi A8

The Audi A8 gains standard LED headlamps, a more powerful twin-turbo V-8, and a more efficient diesel engine for 2015. Read more »

TCC Rating: 8.8

2015 BMW M3

2015 BMW M3

2015 BMW M3

Minus the V-8 and almost a couple hundred pounds, the 2015 BMW M3 is the best performer yet to wear the vaunted badge. Read more »

2015 Cadillac ATS

2015 Cadillac ATS

2015 Cadillac ATS

The 2015 Cadillac ATS hits all the right marks in handling, performance, quality, comfort, and technology.Read more »

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport

2015 Cadillac XTS

If you're looking for a car that offers comfort, technology, and safety as its greatest virtues, the 2015 Cadillac XTS does everything a big luxury sedan should. Read more »

2015 Infiniti Q70

2015 Infiniti Q70

2015 Infiniti Q70

With a new long-wheelbase model, the 2015 Infiniti Q70 sedan range isn't just fast, fun to drive, and ahead of the tech curve--it's a real alternative to the German elbow-throwers. Read more »

2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R

2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R

2015 Subaru Legacy

The 2015 Subaru Legacy smooths over its ruffles, and out-domestics some American family sedans with a big back seat, excellent gas mileage and standard all-wheel drive.Read more »

2015 Tesla Model S

2015 Tesla Model S

2015 Tesla Model S

The 2015 Tesla Model S has no direct competiton; the electric luxury hatchback is the benchmark among its kind in a market with more than 20 plug-in models. It's likely the most advanced car on the planet.Read more »

TCC Rating: 8.6

2015 Audi S3

2015 Audi S3

2015 Audi S3

The 2015 Audi S3 sticks its U.S. landing with terrific turbo pull and in-car LTE. Read more »

2015 Cadillac CTS

2015 Cadillac CTS

2015 Cadillac CTS

The 2015 Cadillac CTS sedan is a stunner–especially in V-Sport guise–and it looks great, too.Read more »

2015 Honda Accord Hybrid

2015 Honda Accord Hybrid

2015 Honda Accord

The 2015 Honda Accord is sensible, smart, and frugal, in nearly every way; but it's also surprisingly fun to drive. Read more »

2015 Jaguar XJ

2015 Jaguar XJ

2015 Jaguar XJ

The 2015 Jaguar XJR is an interesting alternative to the usual German large sedans, mixing old world charm with fantastic handling and powertrains. Read more »

2015 Lexus LS 460 F Sport

2015 Lexus LS 460 F Sport

2015 Lexus LS 460

You can add a welcome dose of fun to the LS chassis with the F-Sport trim, but Lexus' flagship remains a big, comfortable sedan at its core.Read more »

2015 Mazda Mazda3

2015 Mazda Mazda3

2015 Mazda MAZDA3

The 2015 Mazda 3 is one of the best-driving small cars, with efficient engines and smooth transmissions that help give it a more premium feel than its price would suggest.Read more »

2015 Volvo S60 Polestar

2015 Volvo S60 Polestar

2015 Volvo S60

The 2015 Volvo S60 remains a striking shape with unbeatable safety ratings and equipment, and offers a range of models from quiet and comfortable to flamboyant and edgy.Read more »

TCC Rating: 8.4

2015 Audi A6

2015 Audi A6

2016 Audi A6

The 2016 Audi A6 builds on an already impressive set of features, abilities, and styling to yield a safe, fun, high-tech luxury sedan.Read more »4

2015 BMW 3-Series

2015 BMW 3-Series

2015 BMW 3-Series

The 2015 BMW 3-Series lineup is a sport sedan at heart, but with Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo (hatchback) models, it's a lot more than that. Read more »

2015 Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200

The 2015 Chrysler 200 can fetch a premium for its style and its horsepower--but rear-seat room and handling are better bargains elsewhere. Read more »

2015 Hyundai Elantra

2015 Hyundai Elantra

2015 Hyundai Elantra

Snappy sheetmetal and smart packaging puts the 2015 Hyundai Elantra on most must-drive lists, though it's not as engaging to drive as some compact sedans.Read more »

2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T

2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T

2015 Hyundai Sonata

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata blends in better than ever in the top tier of family sedans. Read more »

2015 Infiniti Q50

2015 Infiniti Q50

2015 Infiniti Q50

With a hot new look, a Hybrid, some world-first technology, and much-improved cabin refinement--combined with a sharp, eager driving character--the Infiniti Q50 seeks new sport-sedan believers.Read more »

2015 Kia Optima

2015 Kia Optima

2015 Kia Optima

The 2015 Kia Optima meets all your needs in a sensible four-door sedan, but exceeds expectations for more flair and features. Read more »

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class looks better than ever, offers upgraded tech and safety, and continues to post impressive performance. Read more »

2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E550 4MATIC)

2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E550 4MATIC)

2015 Mercedes-Benz E Class

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup is many vehicles in one, with comfort and luxury across the board and sporty manners for those who want them. Read more »

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli

2015 Maserati Ghibli

The Maserati Ghibli brings Quattroporte-like style and elegance to a smaller, more affordable segment. Read more »

2015 Nissan Altima

2015 Nissan Altima

2015 Nissan Altima

If you don't mind a CVT, the 2015 Nissan Altima is a solid choice that checks off all the boxes.Read more »

TCC Rating: 8.2

2015 BMW 5-Series

2015 BMW 5-Series

2015 BMW 5-Series

Whether it's more of a classic sport sedan or a technology-packed tourer you seek, the 2015 BMW 5-Series fills both roles admirably.Read more »

2015 Buick Regal

2015 Buick Regal

2015 Buick Regal

The Regal GS is the best driver's car in the Buick lineup, and it makes for an interesting alternative for cars like the Volvo S60. Read more »

2015 Chrysler 300 unveiled at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

2015 Chrysler 300 unveiled at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

2015 Chrysler 300

The 2015 Chrysler 300 adds more style, features, and efficiency to an already confident, capable large family sedan. Read more »

2015 Hyundai Equus

2015 Hyundai Equus

2015 Hyundai Equus

The 2015 Hyundai Equus is a well-priced limousine, while the German competition still has it beat for those who want to pilot their own barge.Read more »

2015 Jaguar XF

2015 Jaguar XF

2015 Jaguar XF

The 2015 Jaguar XF covers a broad range of needs, from the efficient 2.0-liter turbo model, to the over-the-top XFR-S performance sedan.Read more »

2016 Lexus GS F

2016 Lexus GS F

2015 Lexus GS 350

The 2015 Lexus GS family offers a classic, conservative sport-sedan profile -- and enough performance to please most -- but overlays it with as much luxury and technology as you please. Read more »

2015 Toyota Avalon Limited

2015 Toyota Avalon Limited

2015 Toyota Avalon

The 2015 Toyota Avalon is no longer just for retirees, although they'll appreciate the attractive design, available fuel-sipping Hybrid, and rejuvenated driving dynamics as much as anyone. Read more »

2015 Hyundai Azera

2015 Hyundai Azera

2015 Hyundai Azera

The 2015 Azera is the big, stylish, luxurious Hyundai for folks who don't want the Genesis's bulk or price tag.Read more »

2015 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

2015 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

2015 Lincoln MKZ

The 2015 MKZ has great potential as a contemporary sports sedan--it's the Lincoln heritage that's missing.Read more »

2015 Mazda Mazda6

2015 Mazda Mazda6

2015 Mazda MAZDA6

The stunning exterior of the 2015 Mazda 6 isn't leading you on; with an athletic driving experience and a lot of sophistication for the money, this a charming sedan with a surprisingly frugal side. Read more »

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA

The 2015 CLA is a small Mercedes done right, with enough of the brand's style and refinement mixed with a dash of youthfulness.Read more »

2015 Subaru WRX

2015 Subaru WRX

2015 Subaru WRX

The 2015 Subaru WRX is no quicker than before, but beautifully balanced handling and spot-on steering are better than ever. Read more »


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8 Car Showdown - Mid-Size Sedan Comparison Test - Autocar India
2015 Honda Accord Sport Sedan

There aren’t many magazines with insight into the auto industry quite like Car and Driver. Since 1983, its 10Best list has been one of the most prestigious benchmarks of automotive journalism, and sets a standard by which all new cars are judged. Through a series of tough short and long-term road tests, the magazine has a decades-long reputation for separating the contenders from the also-rans, finding the top performers in every segment.

So it’s only natural that the magazine would turn its attention to midsize sedans and find the best all-around car in one of the most competitive segments in America. Nearly one in every six new cars sold annually in the U.S. is a midsize sedan, and so far, 2015 has seen the debut of new several new models, making it an especially eventful year.

But instead of creating a 10Best-styled list for these sedans, Car and Driver ranked all the midsize offerings from worst to best. There is an interesting catch, however: none of these cars are truly bad. Some are certainly better than others, but none of these models have a glaring Achilles heel that knocks them out of the running. All are reasonably safe, are priced from the low $20,000 range, and offer more than enough to keep the average new car buyer happy.

From worst to best, here are 2015’s midsize sedans, as ranked by Car and Driver.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

11. 2016 Chevrolet Malibu

The all-new Malibu isn’t really the worst family sedan on the list –  at least we don’t think it is. Unveiled at this year’s New York Auto Show, the Malibu is so new it hasn’t been put through is paces by the automotive press yet. Still, it seems to be an improvement over the outgoing model in every way. Built on an all-new platform, the new car gets a turbocharged Ecotec inline-four as the base engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that combine for an 37 highway miles per gallon. With impressive fuel economy and striking good looks, the Malibu probably won’t stay at the bottom of this list for long.

Source: Subaru

10. Subaru Legacy

Subaru has been something of a comeback kid lately, having its best-ever U.S. sales year in 2014, and passing Volkswagen in sales. This is largely based on its success with the Legacy sedan. With class-leading interior volume and standard all-wheel drive, the Legacy stands out from the pack, and in 3.6R Limited trim, its 256 horsepower boxer-six has enough power to make the daily commute seem interesting. Still, the Legacy’s safe styling, sluggish handling, and a fickle CVT transmission keeps it at the bottom of the pack.


9. Chrysler 200

After keeping the terrible Sebring on life support by rechristening it the 200 back in 2010, few people had high hopes for Chrysler’s next-generation car. So far, people have been pleasantly surprised by the next-generation 200, which was all-new for 2015. Based on the Dodge Dart, the 200’s bold styling, well-appointed interior, and nine-speed automatic transmission have made it a popular and distinctive choice in the midsize sedan market. But like the Dart, the 200 suffers from sluggish performance, even with the range-topping 3.6 liter V6. Sharper steering and a little more pep would do wonders for Chrysler’s already competitive midsize car.


8. Toyota Camry

For 2015, Toyota gave America’s best-selling car a little more attitude to counteract its reputation as the ultimate blandmobile. The new Camry is certainly more exciting than the last-generation model, with its aggressive styling and sharper handling, but powertrain options are carried over from the old car, and “fun to drive” still isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when we think of the Camry. Overall, Toyota has largely improved its bread-and-butter car, but there are plenty of reliable, safe, and exciting alternatives to the mighty Camry.

Source: Kia

7. Kia Optima

Kia has become competitive by fielding a full entire lineup of attractive, affordable, and distinctive cars, and the Optima is one of its best. With a great interior, and distinctive styling that’s usually reserved for much pricier cars, the Optima stands out from the midsize pack. A harsh ride keeps the current Optima at the bottom of this list, but an all-new 2016 model will hit dealerships later this year, and with Kia’s recent hot streak, it should be quite the improvement over the already competent Optima.


6. Nissan Altima

The Altima has grown in recent years to fill the slot once occupied by the Maxima. It hasn’t disappointed– the Altima has received a number of upgrades to compete with the big dogs. A 2.6 liter inline-four is standard, but a range-topping 3.5 liter V6 gives the car an 88 horsepower boost over the base model. The Altima is a capable and attractive midsize car, but like the Subaru, the Altima biggest weakness is a sluggish CVT transmission. With slightly better powertrain options, the competent Altima could be made that much better.

Source: Hyundai

5. Hyundai Sonata

Like Kia, its sister company Hyundai has gone from afterthought to major player in the past few years, and the Sonata has been a big part of the reason why. The new for 2015 model trades the aggressive styling of the older model for more distinguished lines similar to the upmarket Hyundai Genesis. Possibly the best compromise in the segment, the Sonata is good (but not great) at nearly everything it does and has very few weaknesses.

Volkswagen Passat

4. Volkswagen Passat

Believe it or not, the Passat is one of the most American cars on this list. Designed for, and built in America, Volkswagen has found success with its affordable sedan that offers German luxury at an affordable price. The versatile Passat offers plenty of real-world performance from its entire engine range, a comfortable and well-designed interior, an optional manual transmission, and great fit and finish all around. In the end, the Passat’s biggest weakness is its age. Now in its fourth model-year, the Passat is beginning to feel dated next to the influx of all the new blood in the midsize segment.

Source: Ford

3. Ford Fusion

The Fusion is nearly as old as the Passat, but its combination of looks, performance, and quality have held up remarkably well. Benefiting from Ford’s lineup of EcoBoost inline-four engines, two available hybrid models, and styling that punches far above its weight, the Fusion is simply the best American midsize car available today.


2. Honda Accord

For years, the Accord was the runner-up to the Camry in nearly every department. The Toyota may have a comfortable edge over Honda in sales, but the Accord is the better of the two. Effortlessly blending style, comfort, affordability, and performance, the Accord is one of the most well-rounded cars available today – in any segment. To further stand out from the pack, the Accord is also the last mid-sized sedan offered as a coupe. With the optional six-speed manual mated to Honda’s 3.6 liter VTEC V6, the Accord EX-L Coupe is one of the best (and most unassuming) driver’s cars in the $30,000 range.


1. Mazda6

The Mazda6 isn’t just the best midsize sedan available in America; it’s one of the best sedans in the world, period. Not only does the 6 offer the same amenities of its midsize competitors, it’s also one of the prettiest cars on the road today. Few cars can manage to be both practical and an absolute joy to drive as the 6. Its smooth 184 horsepower 2.0 liter inline-four can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and its styling inside and out make it feel like a car that costs twice as much as its $21,495 base price.

Unfortunately, the 6 will never sell in the same numbers as the Camry or Accord, which is a shame, because you could count the number of other world-class cars that can be had for under $25,000 on one hand. Still, this crop of midsize sedans shows just how high-stakes the competition is in the midsize segment, and as a result, none of these cars will really let you down.

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The Big Test: 2014/2015 Midsize Sedans

Chevrolet Malibu vs. Chrysler 200 vs. Honda Accord vs. Kia Optima vs. Mazda6 vs. Nissan Altima

Time flies. Not since 2010 have we had a midsize sedan roundup this large, and by now most of those cars have been succeeded by a new generation or have a replacement waiting in the wings. Midsize sedans continue to rock the U.S. sales board, with the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Honda Accord taking the fourth through sixth spots in the first quarter of 2014, right behind Detroit's pickup trucks. Add the Ford Fusion, another two spots down, and that's four midsize sedans in the top-10 best-selling vehicles of the year through March.

This is one of the most closely matched Big Tests we've ever featured

But let's get down to business: Who's up to bat and who's warming the bench? In this comparison, we have the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu and 2014 Kia Optima, both recently refreshed, along with the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200. We also let in three big players that were launched within the past couple years: last year's three-car midsize comparo winner, the Mazda6, the second-place finisher Honda Accord, and the Nissan Altima. That's a total of six midsize sedans. Each manufacturer was instructed to give us what they consider the best version of their midsizer available for a base price of $26,000 or less, destination fees included. From there, options could be added however they saw fit.

Why didn't your favorite make the grade? Well, the Volkswagen Passat with the new 1.8T engine was invited, but a last-minute recall having to do with the transmission cooler O-ring wasn't resolved by game time. The Ford Fusion was also invited, but Ford politely refused to give us a car. OK, but how could we possibly overlook the best-selling Toyota Camry, for Pete's sake? Simply put, the Camry finished third in last year's three-car comparison, and there is a large-scale refresh on the horizon for the 2015 model year. We'll wait until the new car becomes available. Same goes for the all-new Hyundai Sonata and Subaru Legacy both due to launch toward the end of the year. Stay tuned to see the winner of this comparison lock horns with all of these upcoming models. For now, grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable.

Ride and Handling

The numbers don't lie; some of our midsize sedans are simply more capable handlers than others. But numbers are only half the story. Comfort is also a huge factor here, and the best midsize sedans blend a smooth ride with confidence that the car will react predictably in an evasive situation -- or maybe just when zipping down a local back road.

The Honda Accord, being of Sport trim and 18-inch wheels, gave the firmest, noisiest ride of the group. While none of us would call the Accord harsh, tire noise and ride quality weren't as accommodating as in its competitors. It's likely that opting for the standard Accord, rather than the Sport model Honda chose to send us, would yield a plusher ride. However, that stiff ride paid off at our figure-eight course, where a run of 27.0 seconds was the quickest in the pack.
At the other extreme, the Kia Optima impressed with low road noise, but its too-soft suspension compromised control, with lots of body roll, a wallowing dynamic over bumps, and a somewhat floaty experience at highway speed. Per associate online editor Benson Kong, "The steering feels slow and the entire car feels lazy, with no sense of urgency to change direction." The Kia's figure-eight time was predictably dead last in our group, requiring 28.3 seconds.

The Chrysler 200 put smiles on our faces with good body control and a comfortable ride, but was let down by a good amount of road noise, something associate editor Scott Evans felt might come down to its Goodyears. Meanwhile, the Nissan Altima was relatively quiet and composed, but was hampered by awkward steering feel. Per Evans, "The steering weight and response are terrible. There are several degrees of play on-center before anything happens, then it's like steering through thick, sticky mud." A second-from-bottom figure-eight time didn't help things for the pudgy-feeling Nissan.

The Chevrolet Malibu put up a very strong showing with that magic combination of good ride, low noise, and decent body composure, but in the end, the Mazda6 with its best-in-pack steering, second-quickest figure-eight time, and firm but still compliant ride took top honors here. The Mazda was also the only car in the pack that had a certain fun-to-drive quality built into its handling. While that's not a necessary attribute, it sure does distinguish the Mazda.


In sheer numbers, the Honda proved to be a sports car in sedan clothing. With a 0-60-mph run in 7.5 seconds and a stop from the same speed in just 115 feet, the Accord and its 189-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 led at the test track. While we're not typically enamored with CVT transmissions, the shift paddles on the Honda, along with programming that mimics a conventional auto fairly well, made all the difference. "Even with the CVT, the Accord had a very peppy ride," said Detroit editor Scott Burgess. "It was quick off the line, and the CVT was hardly noticeable."

The 182-hp Nissan was a different story. Per Evans, "This CVT is smoother than the last Nissan I drove, but it makes the engine feel lethargic at anything less than half-throttle." Associate online editor Nate Martinez agreed. "Nissan's CVT has come a long way, but it's still a step below Honda's refined unit." Kong: "The CVT feels like it has to strangle the engine for acceleration." The Nissan was surprisingly third quickest in acceleration, but also a dismal second to last in braking distance. Not enough to impress, unfortunately.

With an 8.6-second sprint to 60 mph, the Chrysler 200 set the standard for slow—indeed, it was the slowest car here. Chrysler's new nine-speed transmission was praised by most for its smoothness and response, but it lacked a sport or manual setting to bring out its best. Ultimately those extra ratios didn't help the 2.4-liter, 184-hp Tigershark four-banger overcome the car's second-heaviest curb weight. After all, the 200's I-4 puts out just 173 lb-ft of torque, the least of the assembled competitors. Burgess noted, "The engine at times felt like it wanted more power and tended to whine more than I cared for, however it was able to cruise very well at high speeds for extended periods of time." Martinez: "The engine sounded like it was straining at all rpm." The brake pedal feel had an awkward, springy "on-off" sensation, though the car's stopping distance from 60 mph was second best in the test at 118 feet.

The Kia had the second slowest acceleration and the highest braking distances of the group, but on the road it managed to feel a little quicker than the numbers showed. "Pretty good power," Evans noted. "Decent throttle response, too." Others were less impressed. Senior features editor Jonny Lieberman griped, "The engine gets coarse at times, and the transmission is simply average."

That said, nearly all editors found the Chevrolet Malibu's engine unpleasant to the ears. "The 2.5-liter makes a bad buzz over 3500 rpm and, because of the wide, tall gearing, the car tries to sit in fourth gear on the freeway," complained Kong. He emphasized the situation: "All acceleration feels labored." Our test numbers reveal acceleration roughly on par with the second-slowest Kia, edging that car out by a single tenth of a second in the quarter-mile run.

Again, the Mazda pushed through the group to impress everyone who drove it. With second-best acceleration, a sweet-sounding engine, and lever-actuated manual gear selection, the Mazda proved a favorite. As Kong put it, "The powertrain is the best here, the auto shifts up and down quickly, and the engine never feels like it's wanting for more." Martinez concurred, "The 2.5-liter SkyActiv pulls smoothly and sounds great." The Mazda provided an engaging powertrain, rather than one that just gets the job done. Lieberman summed it up best: "If Americans actually cared about driving, the Mazda6 would be the best-selling car in the U.S."


While the EPA-approved fuel economy figures listed on a new car's Monroney are generally pretty accurate, our Real MPG testing attempts to get another picture of what real drivers can expect from their new vehicles. A combination of both are helpful in building a realistic impression. In this case, the Kia Optima had the least efficient EPA rating at 27 combined mpg, but the most efficient Real MPG score at 31 combined mpg, a gain of 4 mpg. Average the two, and you'll end up at 29 mpg, the best figure in this group. The Chrysler's EPA rating exactly matched our Real MPG 28 combined mpg rating, while two others -- Honda and Mazda -- fell 3 combined mpg in testing to 26 and 27, respectively, averaging out at 27.5 and 28.5. The Nissan Altima averaged at 26 combined mpg, considering a Real MPG score of 27 and an EPA rating of 31, while the Malibu averaged 26 mpg combined, splitting the EPA's 2

9 and our testing's 23 mpg score to come home last.


If there's one thing most judges would change about the Mazda6, it would be the interior design. While the exterior styling was unanimously loved, many felt the cabin didn't receive the same amount of love from Mazda designers. "The interior design is more conservative and cut-and-paste, a la other Mazda models," said Martinez. Evans echoed, "The interior is rather dark and boring. Needs some life." Still, the Mazda had one of the largest back seats in the group by the factory-supplied measurements (subjective butt-on-bench ratings placed it third behind Accord and Altima), and ergonomics were a strong point.

The Accord was similarly lambasted, despite its hugely roomy interior. From Lieberman's notepad: "I didn't really care for the interior. The white polka dots on black plastic seemed particularly poor to me. Looks-wise, there's not much there." Burgess also wasn't impressed, saying, "There's a lot of hard plastic throughout the cabin, and it feels like one of the cheaper models overall." Another annoyance: The Accord was the only car in the group to have a single-piece rear folding seat, rather than a split design.

The Altima was praised for a roomy back seat, but the actual cushioning front and rear -- fancy Zero Gravity foam -- was loved or loathed by editors in relatively even numbers. La-Z-Boy comparisons were made, for better or worse, and few were impressed by the black velour-like upholstery. At least the dashboard design was a step up from those of the Accord and '6, and the same could also be said for the Chevrolet Malibu.

Unfortunately, there were few other bright points to the Malibu's cabin. A random selection of notes goes something like, "the seats are hard and flat," "the back seat felt cramped," "loaded with hard, dreary plastics," "visible interior corner-cutting, especially materials." Chevy's refresh added a couple new cell-phone cubbies, along with a storage space behind the navigation display, but overall it's not enough to make a significant improvement over the outgoing car, The worst rear seat of the pack puts the final nail in the Malibu's coffin.

The Chrysler 200 and Kia Optima were pleasant surprises and pegged as favorites in our grouping. The former received praise for innovative, attractive design and clever new storage solutions, such as the large hidden bin built into the center console, made possible by the space saved by switching to a compact rotary gear selector. The 200's rear seat was a weak point, with less apparent room and a small door aperture, though it was strongly preferable to Malibu. The Optima came out on top with its blend of form and function. Pluses included the layout of controls on the ergonomically angled center stack, the comfortable leather seats, generous rear-seat room, and huge navigation display. My own notes read, "The Kia's interior feels and looks a class above the rest."


First things first: The Chrysler 200, being all-new for 2015, has yet to be crash-tested by the government or IIHS, so no data was available, but the Dodge Dart on which it is heavily based earns the NHTSA's 5 stars overall crashworthiness rating, as do the rest of our contestant vehicles. The Kia Optima, however, is the only one to score 5-star ratings in each of the NHTSA's frontal, side, and rollover crash test. IIHS crash ratings were also taken into account, and while each of the sedans (again, excluding the 200) earned at least a Top Safety Pick rating, three sedans excelled to earn a TSP + award: the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, and Mazda6. It's also worth noting that the Malibu and Accord were the only two vehicles to achieve a Good rating in the IIHS' new small-overlap frontal crash test. The rest -- and the 200's cousin Dart -- were one step down at Acceptable.


It's easy to be wooed by the Kia's impressive list of standard equipment, but keep in mind that the Korean also had the highest as-tested price. Nevertheless, it's extremely impressive that shoppers can get a jumbo-size center display, navigation, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera and backup warning system, heated steering wheel, and power folding mirrors for just a shade over $30,000.

Just the fact that these features are available in this segment is amazing; five short years ago, such equipment was strictly the purview of the luxe market. And don't forget the 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty; the rest in our group had the standard 3-year/36,000-mile affair. The Kia's projected repair cost total was also the lowest in the group by hundreds of dollars, which was only icing on the Kia's value victory cake.

The Honda was the most affordable car in our test at just $25,305, but amenities were scarce. Navigation is not available on any Accord below the near-$31,000 threshold, and a rearview camera and dual-zone climate control were the only features to boast about on our Sport model, putting it last in value. For just $600 more than our Honda, the Chrysler has both of those features, rear ventilation controls, heated mirrors and front seats, remote start, and an auto-dimming mirror.

The Chevy was priced midpack at $26,595, but featured amenities similar to the cheaper Chrysler's, though it had two 12-volt front outlets and a 7-inch infotainment display. The Altima, at $27,615, was the least expensive car in our group to feature navigation, which was bundled with blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure, and moving-object warning systems for $1090 -- a bargain, as far as such packages go. The Mazda6's relatively small 5.8-inch display didn't quite jibe with its near-$29,000 sticker price, but leatherette seats were convincing, the Bose stereo sounded good, and navigation, rain-sensing wipers, a moonroof, heated mirrors, rearview camera, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring were all included.

Notable Features

Kia Optima

Heated/cooled front seats and heated rears aren't new for Kia, but stand out in segment.


Shift lever-acutated manual mode makes the most of this powertrain.

Chrysler 200

The only car in segment with a nine-speed rotary dial trans.

Nissan Altima

NASA-inspired "zero gravity" seat foam is an interesting touch.

Honda Accord

A huge rear seat could be just the ticket for families that need space.

Chevrolet Malibu

New cellphone cubbies keep the center console neat and tidy.

Cost of Ownership

With the lowest purchase price, five-year cost of ownership, and maintenance cost, the Honda is the one to beat. Nissan comes close, with the lowest fuel cost based on EPA figures (as our Real MPG testing shows, your miles may vary) and lowest percentage of depreciation, but with a third-best purchase price, it's in second place for overall cost of ownership. The Malibu is third least expensive over five years, but manages just fourth best in terms of fuel and maintenance -- the secret is in its second lowest purchase price.

The Kia is second least expensive to maintain, but a high purchase price, average (50 percent) depreciation, and the highest fuel costs of the group hurt it. Still, its five-year cost of ownership is just 22 percent more than its purchase price, the lowest in that regard. The Chrysler suffers the most depreciation (57 percent) and the highest five-year ownership costs to finish last as a value proposition, with the Mazda6 just $2 cheaper to run over five years, but with 3 percent less depreciation and somewhat better fuel costs. The Mazda6 is the second most affordable to fuel up.


To say this comparison was a close race would be an understatement. Time and again, we were astonished at just how competitive this segment is. There just simply wasn't a car in the group that could be classified as "bad."

Still, there has to be a last place. This time it was the Chevrolet Malibu. Its emergency refresh didn't improve the two weakest points of the car: a noisy, poor-sounding engine and a flat, cramped rear seat. The Chevy was weak in value and questionable in fuel economy given its lowest averaged combined mpg figure.

Next to be eliminated was the Nissan Altima. Despite second-best averaged efficiency, a second-best value proposition, and a sizeable rear seat, the Altima just didn't capture our hearts like the four cars ranked ahead of it. A sluggish CVT, heavy-feeling dynamics, and worst-in-group steering drove that point home.

Fourth place goes to the Honda Accord, by fault of a cheap-feeling interior, lack of amenities, and the least comfortable ride of the group. Some felt that had Honda sent us a standard Accord, rather than the Sport model we received, the car would have fared better. As it was, we appreciated the huge rear seat, decent fuel economy, safety aspect, and low price/high value, but we appreciated our third-place finisher, the Chrysler 200, just a smidge more. While the Accord seems content to be a decent sedan, the Chrysler feels like it's striving for greatness -- though it doesn't quite achieve it. The Tigershark four-banger we've loved so much in other applications is a bit underpowered in this class, but the new nine-speed gearbox is a segment first and works well, and we were impressed with the attention to detail Chrysler put into the design of the car, especially the cabin's innovative styling and storage solutions.

Our first runner-up is the Kia Optima. With its luxurious features list, impressive-looking cabin, and gorgeous exterior design that most of us named best-in-group, the Kia is one seductive midsizer. Unfortunately, uninspiring driving dynamics kept it out of the top spot this time.

Which leaves us with the Mazda6. When we asked ourselves which vehicle we'd purchase with our own money, we unanimously voted for the Mazda. Its combination of good looks, strong fuel economy, excellent road manners, roomy rear seat, and engaging powertrain give the Mazda the one element that all its competitors seem to lack: a real personality. In a beige-and-taupe segment, the Mazda adds a big splash of red. And that's something we wish more automakers would achieve.

6th Place: Chevrolet Malibu

A lackluster engine, cheap interior, cramped rear seat, and poor efficiency seal Malibu's fate.

5th Place: Nissan Altima

Good value and space; shame about the lethargic powertrain and poor steering response.

4th Place: Honda Accord

If all you need is space and speed, look no further. A rough ride might be solved by a non-Sport model.

3rd Place: Chrysler 200

Chrysler gets an A for effort, but is let down by a lethargic powertrain, less-than-roomy cabin, and lack of refinement.

2nd Place: Kia Optima

A solid second-place finish for a comfortable, stylish, value-packed option that is also highly efficient.

1st Place: Mazda6

Roomy, composed, quick, and fun to drive, the Mazda's victory was unanimous among our judges.



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