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Midsize sedans don't have it easy anymore. In addition to packing tons of features (technology, safety, comfort) into a relatively affordable package, these vehicles have to be relatively good to drive, functional and not too bad on the eyes. We've seen all sorts of family sedan comparisons, and now Cars.com dishes up its own eight-car test, featuring the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Suzuki Kizashi, Mazda6 and new Hyundai Sonata.

The eight sedans were not only tested by members of the Cars.com team, but by an actual family of four in an attempt to see what real-world drivers look for the most. The "real family" is comprised of Ben and Jill Tiernan of Los Angeles, as well as their two children, an infant and a toddler. The family drove the cars on highways and city roads, and took their time poking and prodding through the cabins of each tester. Ben and Jill's notes were also compiled and included in the end result data, with father Ben liking the Kizashi the best, while wife Jill raised her hand for the Camry.

What's more, the overall question of fuel economy was put into greater focus. Efficiency is one of the strongest selling points in this segment, and it's no secret that automakers tout the highway mileage numbers of these cars in an effort to attract buyers. Cars.com went a step above – not only noting the EPA estimated fuel economy, but recording what the cars' trip computers displayed, as well as calculating the actual at-the-pump fuel economy. The Hyundai Sonata's 35 mpg might be the highest number on monroney labels, but in the actual calculations, the Ford Fusion's 32.1 observed mpg trumps the recorded 27.8 mpg in the Sonata.

What's most interesting, though, are the end results. We won't spoil the final findings, but it's important to note that the Ford Fusion – a car which has garnered a ton of praise (Motor Trend Car of the Year, etc.) – came in dead last amongst the group, with the Chevrolet Malibu not falling very far behind. On top of that, Toyota's Camry is usually the top pick in these tests (Motor Trend would agree), but it doesn't take first place honors here. How does the well-received Honda Accord fare in all of this? What about newcomers Sonata and Kizashi? Read the full results for yourself at Cars.com.

[Source: Cars.com]


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  • 110 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Congrats Hyundai!!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Among these cars there isn't a bad car.

      They're all great values. They're all well engineered cars. They'll all hit 150k miles before something might even begin to go wrong.

      The difference between first and last in this segment depends on what you care about.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Surprising indeed.

      So they chose they Hyundai as the winner, but even so, said that its handling is uninspiring, and that on certain roads, even the Camry outhandles it. Also, its mileage falls short of EPA ratings. (Not surprising, this was confirmed by other tests)

      That doesn't sound like a winner to me. I've driven a 2010 Camry, and that was a floaty boat. If the Sonata handles worse than that, then I am satisfied with keeping my allegiances with the Accord, which they said is the driver's car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have driven both 2010 Camry and 2011 Sonata Limited. In my opinion Camry is not even in the same league with Sonata. Camry SE is OK, but it is very underpowered and noisy. All other trims handle terrible. Sonata GLS and Limited trims are well balanced in the handling department. I haven't tried SE, but it's supposed to be sportier. Sonata is also noisy, but much less than Accord for example. It feels very punchy, which kinda surprised me. Interior-wise Sonata is way nicer than Camry especially the base trims. I also think that Fusion even after the update feels very cheep.I don't know what the authors of this comparison call uninspiring handling, but saying that Camry handles better than Sonata is just silly if not plain stupid. You don't have to be a car nut to feel the difference. Even my wife noticed it, which means that the difference is huge :-).
        • 4 Years Ago
        test drive SE and you would think it's a BMW compared to camry.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I suppose you're right, michiganboy, but compared to everything else in the test, which gets poorer EPA ratings, the Sonata was third worst, ahead of the Kizashi and Altima.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Accord is the driver's car here in the same sense that there's a healthiest burrito at the gas station: that's not what it's for.

        Hyundai's viral marketers are really turning me off to the brand - and I own one!
        • 4 Years Ago
        22/35 doing 50/50? 28mpg seems to be right.

        27.8mpg is actually almost as good as Civic's usual 28mpg.

        and, please Sonata handles much better Camry ever will be. Test drove Sonata before. i don't know what they are smoking.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, they said the Kizashi was the "driver's car", I believe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There I fixed it for them!
      Ordered in by observed MPG:

      Car EPA Trip Observed
      Fusion 22/31 31.3 32.1
      Malibu 22/33 28.2 28.6
      Mazda6 21/30 28.4 28.3
      Accord 21/31 n/a 28
      Kizashi 22/29 29.2 27.6
      Camry 22/32 n/a 29.9
      Sonata 22/35 31.2 27.8
        • 4 Years Ago
        @wvuquentin
        I do believe that was unintentional... even Toyoda might not own up to it :p

        P.S. Sorry for double post...
        • 4 Years Ago
        There I fixed it for them!
        Ordered in by observed MPG:

        Car EPA Trip Observed
        Fusion 22/31 31.3 32.1
        Malibu 22/33 28.2 28.6
        Mazda6 21/30 28.4 28.3
        Accord 21/31 n/a 28
        Kizashi 22/29 29.2 27.6
        Camry 22/32 n/a 29.9
        Sonata 22/35 31.2 27.8 - FAIL
        Altima 23/32 30.2 23.7 - FAIL
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai sold 18500 sonata this year. all 4 banger to be exact. when they bring turbo and hybrid just watch out. it really really might become the best seller. rumors are that Santa Fe won't be built in alabama meaning sonata will have a plant of its own at full capacity.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you flip those rankings it would probably be closer to my list, having driven all but the Suzuki and Hyundai...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why do they ALWAYS get the Florida grandma beige Camry for these things. It's the worst color, by far! A black SE would've knocked the Sonata down a notch to second place.
        • 4 Years Ago
        just going by the looks

        1a. fusion
        1b. sonata
        3. mazda6

        then who cares
        • 4 Years Ago
        Of course color matters. Don't be silly.

        On looks I'd say:

        Kizashi
        Sonata
        Camry
        Fusion
        6
        Malibu
        Accord
        Altima
        • 4 Years Ago
        oh please.

        We all know what camry looks like. a better color won't hide its ugliness.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This year is clearly for sonata bandwagon. On the next refresh, the big 2 on this segment Camry/Accord will make the adjustments and back on top.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Bland styling on a 2010 Camry? Maybe just the entry Model. The Camry SE is not bland is a very nice looking car and it's under 25,000 fo the 4 banger.
      • 4 Years Ago
      WOW..... I drove the 2010 sonata and was not impressed at all. My family owns the 2006 Camry which is more fun to drive. Sure it looks the best but looks don't make a car fun.

      and i think it's funny how Fusion came in last. Everyone loves that car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I recently returned a Ford Fusion after a 4 year lease and I regret it! It was a great car. It made me respect the midsize segment and american automakers (at least Ford). We replaced it with a Mazda 5 --my wife insisted she wanted a big hatch. You know what, I really miss the Fusion.

        In the first video, the "dad" talks about social viability ... did some cars get downgraded because they are not as cool? I remember my wife used to complain that her coworkers made fun of her for drving such a boat (I live in Québec, we drive smaller) and for driving a Ford.

        And what about the trunk test ... c'mon! At least pack each trunk with the same care! He says that he could have maybe made it if he tried ... so try damnit!
        • 4 Years Ago
        2010 Sonata was the last generation, which still is significantly more fun to drive than any Camry save for the V6 SE.

        The 2011 Sonata (new generation) walks all over the Camry in every single respect.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So the Kizashi got 3rd and the only complaints were size? Wow, congrats Suzuki! Sounds good to me that they can compete well with much larger companies. I also feel that the Kizashi is the 2nd best looking of the 8.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like these kind of reviews... this is the type of stuff that REAL buyers look at... not jaded automotive journalists.

      I might not necessarily agree with the order of the vehicles, but these guys are at least being honest with their impressions... a car might actually be slower than a competitor, but if it FEELS slower, than it's going to be down-ranked. Same deal with stuff like size... by the numbers one car might be slightly bigger than another and automotive journalists will harp on that fraction of an inch, but real consumers might either not care about that small difference if the overall car has an airy feel to it. Perception is vitally important and yet car makers spend way too much time on meaningless fractions of an inch here, 1/2 HP there and other minutia and forget about the big picture that real buyers are interested in.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree that comparisons like this are interesting, but it changes the criteria too much to ever be used while making a purchase. 40% of the score is asking someone who doesn't know about cars to tell you which one is best. It's a bit like asking someone who has flown in a plane to design a new plane. The ideas are going to be limited to things like cupholders, stereo equipment and the in-flight movie.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, but sometimes I see that as a more "honest" answer.

        The vast majority of people out there are not "car guys" - they probably don't know (nor care) about a lot of the technical stuff that car guys are always fighting about.

        If these are the people that ultimately buy these cars - which let's be honest, is the most important thing to a carmaker - then listen to what they say. Many times a novice user has greater insight than some engineer or designer that is cut-off from the real world and don't know how real people use these cars.

        An example of this might be a very smart engineer that doesn't have any kids. He might not "get" what's so important about making easy access to a child-seat. Without having insight from your actual users, you could miss a lot of features that they find important.
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