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Cars.com Names Top Family Sedan in $25,000 Family Sedan Shootout

In its inaugural $25,000 Family Sedan Shootout,Cars.com took eight popular sedans, six automotive journalists, a family four and three days to determine: What's the best family sedan you can buy for $25,000 or less? Experts from Cars.com, USA Today and "MotorWeek" tested midsize sedans costing less than $25,000 head-to-head to help car buyers sift through options in the competitive family sedan market. The redesigned 2011 Hyundai Sonata took the title, earning points for both value and styling.

Vehicles were tested the way average families would drive them. The cars were put through a mileage challenge and two days of real-life road tests to choose a winner. Each car was scored from 1-10 in 10 categories, with a maximum score of 1,000 points.

"We wanted to put these cars through real-life tests that measure what's most important to family drivers," said Patrick Olsen, Cars.com editor-in-chief. "We looked to see how easy it was to install car seats, we filled the trunks with groceries, and as any parent can relate to, we drove all around town. Having participation from a family of four that is actually in the market to buy a car helped ensure that we kept our focus on the features that are most important in this segment."

Vehicles tested in the Cars.com $25,000 Family Sedan Shootout include the 2010 Ford Fusion, 2010 Chevrolet Malibu, 2010 Nissan Altima, 2010 Honda Accord, 2010 Mazda6, 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, 2010 Toyota Camry and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

2010 $25,000 Family Sedan Shootout Results

8. 2010 Ford Fusion -- 669 points: It's clear that reviewers got a great first vibe from the Fusion, but the more time they spent in the car, the less they came to enjoy it.

7. 2010 Chevrolet Malibu -- 697 points: The family and the reviewers found the Malibu attractive but lacking in the power department.

6. 2010 Nissan Altima -- 711 points: Nissan's entry also suffered from a lack of enthusiasm.

5. 2010 Honda Accord -- 723 points: The Accord is familiar to buyers in this segment: It has long been the No. 2 seller. It's that benchmark status that our reviewers and family split over.

4. 2010 Mazda6 -- 724 points: The Mazda6 won a lot of praise for its looks, both inside and out, as well as for its ginormous trunk. However, it was dinged for not living up to its Zoom-Zoom vow.

3. 2010 Suzuki Kizashi -- 731 points: The newest entrant was also the smallest. Despite its size, the Kizashi won fans for its "zippy" handling and peppy drive. And it was the only vehicle with all-wheel drive.

2. 2010 Toyota Camry -- 752 points: Here, the leaders start pulling away from the pack. The Camry has been one of the best-selling vehicles (recall issues aside). Despite its troubles, it still won everyone over.

1. 2011 Hyundai Sonata -- 794 points: Hyundai had a leg up by having the redesigned Sonata ready for the Shootout. Its striking design won over most, but it was the whole package that earned it the Family Sedan Shootout title.

"This was a close match, but the value of the Sonata catapulted it ahead of the others," said Olsen. "The $22,745 price tag including navigation along with its modern, upscale looks really impressed the expert judges and the participating test family. The Sonata is something any shopper in this segment must consider."

To see more detailed results from the $25,000 Family Car Shootout, visit Cars.com's new family channel, which has comprehensive information to help families navigate the car shopping process.

Producer's Note
Broadcast news outlets will now have access to Cars.com's expert editorial staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Cars.com's new broadcast studio. To book one of Cars.com's editors for an interview, contact Steve Nolan at (312) 601-5163 -- snolan@cars.com, or Jackie Brennan at (312) 601-6229 -- jbrennan@cars.com. To book the shot please contact VideoLink Operations at (617) 340-4300.

About Cars.com

Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, Cars.com puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.

Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (N.Y.SE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (N.Y.SE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (N.Y.SE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (N.Y.SE: WPO).

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