Top Contenders From the 2017 U.S. News Best Midsize Cars for Families Awards
Despite the growing popularity of light trucks, midsize family sedans continue to enjoy a loyal following. Size is one reason for their enduring popularity. These cars are big enough to be comfortable, but are not so large as to be difficult to maneuver. They are generally quiet and ride smoothly, get good fuel economy, and have a trunk where items can be secured out of sight.
The following eight midsize sedans were among the models we carefully reviewed when we set out to find the 2017 Best Midsize Car for Families. The winner generated positive reviews from professional car critics and high scores for safety, roominess, and technology. Here are the cars that were in the running.
MSRP: $22,500 (Details Below)
Last redesigned in 2013, the Nissan Altima is falling behind more modern competitors. That, however, does not adversely affect its exceptionally good four-cylinder engine fuel economy. Its front seats are also very comfortable. Performance from the base engine is adequate, but brisk acceleration shows this motor could be more refined. The V6 is smooth and powerful.
Advanced safety features, such as blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and collision warning with emergency braking are available as options on higher trim levels. A backup camera is standard on all but the base 2.5 trim level.
MSRP: $22,440 (Details Below)
The Passat’s cabin is quiet and features a spacious back seat, however, competitors such as the Honda Accord offer more features and better reliability. Still, the Passat’s engines, a turbocharged four and a V6, are peppy and the ride is comfortable. The list of standard features is short, though Volkswagen did add forward collision warning and emergency autonomous braking to the list of standard equipment for 2017.
The Passat offers good interior features, a quality materials, and an attractive design. However, the base trim level is shy of features. Nonetheless, a 5-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB port are standard. Three different Car-Net telematics systems are available, depending on trim level.
MSRP: $22,610 (Details Below)
The Ford Fusion combines sharp handling with a range of drivetrain options. Buyers may select from among four engines – we recommend skipping the base 2.5-liter motor – and instead go for the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder for the most fun. Fuel economy lags its rivals, however, and while the Fusion earns a slightly above average reliability score, others in this group do better.
Front seat occupants should find ample room and good comfort. In the backseat, room is good but the seatback angle may not please everyone. The interior is nicely trimmed with soft-touch surfaces while active noise control makes the car very quiet.
The SYNC 3 infotainment system, optional on the SE models and standard on higher trim levels, uses large virtual buttons. Advanced safety features, such as blind spot alert, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, are offered only on higher trim levels.
MSRP: $21,945 (Details Below)
Who says that driving a family sedan has to be boring? Certainly not Mazda. The Mazda6 combines best-in-class handling with sufficient power to keep every trip entertaining. Fuel economy is above the class average, with EPA ratings of 26 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway with the available automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is standard.
The interior is comfortable, with good space for adults in the front and rear seats. The MazdaConnect infotainment system uses a 7-inch display and accepts voice commands. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not offered, however. On the safety front, a rearview camera is standard on all models, while advanced features, such as lane keep assist and blind spot warnings are available on upper trim levels.
MSRP: $23,070 (Details Below)
There are very good reasons why the Toyota Camry was the best-selling sedan last year. It is comfortable, quiet, rides smoothly, earns high scores for safety and is very reliable. Both the four-cylinder and V6 engines are good performers.
Taller adults will be comfortable in the front or rear seats of a Camry. A rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, and voice recognition capabilities come in all models. No Camry offers Apple CarPlay or Andoid Auto, and only buyers of the XSE or XLE trim levels can opt for the blind spot warning, pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning systems.
MSRP: $22,455 (Details Below)
The Honda Accord performs well with its base engine. It also earns high scores for safety and reliability. The Accord offers a comfortable ride, good fuel economy, and a V6 engine upgrade. The trunk, at 15.8 cubic feet, is large, but its shape may limit its usefulness.
High-tech junkies will find a lot to like inside the nicely trimmed, roomy, and comfortable passenger cabin. Higher trim levels include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Optional on all models are lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and front and rear parking sensors.
MSRP: $21,600 (Details Below)
The Hyundai Sonata is one of our highest rated midsize sedans. It rides smoothly, delivers great fuel economy and has many standard features. Though it missed first place in our Best Midsize Cars for Families contest, it was the winner in our Best Midsize Car for the Money award. The Sonata, with its many strengths and few weaknesses, is one of the best cars in this field.
The Sonata’s cabin is nicely trimmed. It offers comfortable seating for four average-sized adults, though taller rear seat passengers may wish for more room. The base model includes a backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, six-speaker audio system with satellite and HD radio reception, and a 7-inch touch-screen display. Optional on higher trim levels are blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
MSRP: $21,680 (Details Below)
In every competition, there is a winner. Among sedans in the race for the U.S. News 2107 Best Midsize Car for Families award, the Chevrolet Malibu took top honors. Auto critics found it roomy and comfortable, with a steady and stable ride. Adding to the Malibu’s appeal are its relatively low purchase price and a higher than average reliability rating from J.D. Power and Associates.
The Malibu offers roomy and comfortable seating for four adults with five fitting in a pinch. As for technology, push-button start, a proximity key, and a six-speaker stereo system are standard. Options include a touch-screen infotainment system, Wi-Fi hot spot, rearview camera, forward collision alerts with automatic braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot warnings, and front and rear parking assists.
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