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.