CARS.COM — Midsize sedans remain the best-selling category of cars in the U.S. With this class remaining hot, the competitors have more to offer than ever before, with advances in technology, features and mileage making them more desirable and livable.
We focused this Challenge on midsize sedans that cost less than $27,000, including the destination charge, and achieve at least 28 mpg in EPA combined fuel-economy ratings.
We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for midsize sedans that came with the features we know are popular with families. After four days of testing outside Baltimore with experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life family, here's how the results broke down:
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata was the top contender for in the midsize sedan category. It went through a redesign in 2014, but additional updates were made including new safety features, revised steering and suspension, all with a front-wheel drivetrain. Achieving 28 mpg in EPA combined fuel-economy ratings and coming in under budget, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is a sedan to take out for a spin.
Our runner-up is the 2015 Subaru Legacy, which boasts nimble handling and standard all-wheel drive. With available seating for five passengers, quality interior and earning 26 mpg in the city, any buyer is promised a well-rounded sedan. It loses some points for less trunk space compared to rivals, but it makes up for it by being precise and fun to drive.
Pulling in for third is the 2015 Volkswagen Passat. This sleek, European-style sedan is a solid choice for any family looking for a new car. The 2015 Volkswagen Passat pushes itself up the food chain in the midsize sedan segment with redesigned engines and a technology package that offers upgraded audio and infotainment system for buyers. This sedan remains affordable and achieves an average mpg.
Not far behind our third-place sedan comes the 2015 Mazda6. Most Mazda models offer strong acceleration and dynamic handling, and the Mazda6 is no different. While there are no major changes, this Mazda achieves excellent fuel economy while obtaining up to 26 mpg city. With multiple trim levels available, you'll be sure to find the 2015 Mazda6 is perfect for any driver.
Clinching fifth is the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu, which offers some of the best safety features and a powerful engine. One of the more user-friendly sedans available, the Malibu offers an available turbocharged four-cylinder that will help any driver keep up with comparable V-6 engines. With ideal mpg ratings and being one of the more affordable sedans in its class, this could be the one for you.
Making our way down the list, we hit the 2015 Ford Fusion sedan, offering fuel-efficient turbocharged engines. While this was not necessarily a fan favorite, the 2015 Ford Fusion gets points for available all-wheel drive and advanced safety and infotainment systems. While it is a non-luxury sedan, it has a sleek and eye-catching style that some contenders may be slightly lacking in.
Lucky No. 7 ranks the 2015 Chrysler 200. With one of the more attractive interiors, this sedan includes a four-cylinder engine and mpg ratings. On the flip side, there is less passenger room than its competitors, and it doesn't include some of the modern technology fixtures that most are looking for.
Our 2015 Honda Accord ranks No. 8. With less than average steering response and no major changes, it did not capture its audience. However, Honda maintains its reputation for being reliable, well-rounded and obtaining great mpg ratings. The Accord also offers quick acceleration and quality materials to keep your cabin comfortable for long or short rides.
As we get closer to the end of our list, we can pull up the 2015 Nissan Altima. Bringing together a stellar interior cabin and ideal handling and performance, there were no major changes from previous model years. Winning extra points for a sophisticated infotainment system and affordability, the 2015 Nissan Altima sill provides a quality ride.
Wrapping up our contender list, we have our 2015 Toyota Camry. While Toyota models typically offer good fuel economy, the 2015 Toyota Camry was not as fuel-efficient as some of its competitors. The overall ride quality keeps up with improved handling and available safety features, all while keeping within an affordable budget.
If you are ready to get behind the wheel of a new car with good mpg ratings, be sure to consider some of these midsize vehicles. While the SUV market offers additional seating, it cannot compare with the fuel economy and affordability of some of our sedans. Whether you are looking for a Hyundai, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan or Toyota, there is an all-new model out there for a variety of drivers.
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