Carmakers released some great sedans in 2021. Consumer Reports recently listed 10 of them, and big surprise, almost all of them were from Japan and Korea. The Dodge Charger and Volkswagen Passat did manage to stow away near the bottom, boasting an exceptional road test for the Charger, followed by satisfactory predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. The VW scored adequate in the predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. Otherwise, the list is Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, and Kia. Here are the seven best sedans from 2021 as chosen by Consumer Reports.
Toyota Camry: all-wheel-drive and lots of power
According to Consumer Reports, the new Camry is much improved from its previous versions. It’s quiet on the inside, comfortable, and offers better handling than previous model years. Toyota made it possible to take the Camry to the snow by continuing with its available all-wheel-drive. Consumers have multiple engine options, including a 2.5-liter inline-four and a 3.5-liter V6, which makes 300 horsepower. The hybrid 2.5-liter inline-four makes 208 horsepower. Either way, the Camry has plenty of power.
Toyota Avalon: the penultimate year
The Avalon uses the same drivetrain as the Camry, so it’s no wonder this sedan nabbed the #2 spot on Consumer Reports’ list. It’s packed with various amenities like an eight-speaker sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Scout GPS Link, and optional wireless device charging. Though it offers a lavish driving experience, with a comfortable and quiet ride, Toyota will not revive the Avalon beyond the 2022 model year.
Subaru Legacy: chugging along in mediocrity
The Legacy carries on as a mid-sized sedan but is unfortunately underpowered compared to the Toyotas. It has two four-cylinder options, including a 2.5-liter that makes 182 naturally aspirated horsepower, or a turbocharged 2.4-liter, which makes 260 horsepower. Consumer Reports gave it an exceptional road test score despite its lack of sportiness, a low predicted reliability, and an adequate predicted owner satisfaction score.
Honda Accord: borderline luxury and efficiency
The new Accord earned the same score as the Subaru, but with better gas mileage. The Accord also gets two engine options, including a 192-hp 1.5-liter inline-four as standard, and a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that produces 252 horsepower. Both engines come with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which sounds like too much for a dinky four-cylinder. However, it does help the car to get 47 mpg. It’s reportedly a comfortable, quick, and responsive sedan.
Mazda 6: the last of a breed
Mazda’s mid-sized 6 slots in with a rating just barely behind the Accord and Subaru. It scored above average in every criterion. True to Mazda fashion, the 6 is responsive and handles well. It has two engine options, a 2.5-liter inline-four which produces 181 naturally aspirated horsepower, and a turbocharged option which pumps out 227 horsepower. Mazda will be discontinuing the 6 after the 2021 model year, closing the ledger on a mid-sized car with moderate performance.
Nissan Maxima: a pricey low effort sedan
Classified as a full-size car, the Maxima uses a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives begin and end, according to Consumer Reports. The Maxima is otherwise plagued with a lazy transmission, lackluster handling, and stiff suspension. It scored well in the road test and predicted reliability, but low in predicted owner satisfaction. It’s full of safety features and starts among the highest on this list at $37,090.
Nissan Altima: an unremarkable experience
The Nissans trail the Toyotas and Mazda in providing a fulfilled driving experience, and the Altima fits in line with the Subaru. Two engine options exist for the Altima, including a 2.5-liter inline-four delivering 182 horsepower and a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four producing 236 horsepower. Consumer Reports describes the ride as “unremarkable”, but that might appeal to someone looking for an “A-to-B” car. For $24,550, it might be worth the extra hunt to find something that’s more enjoyable.
Bottom of the barrel sedans
Rounding out the top 10 from Consumer Reports is the Dodge Charger, which has several engine and drivetrain options spanning a whole spectrum of prices, followed by the Volkswagen Passat, and the Kia K5. The VW and Kia are among the cheapest on this list, and both seem to offer a comprehensive ride.
Both are comfortable and easy to operate and get decent gas mileage. For a more fun drive, the Charger could be a solid choice. However, for a more well-rounded driving experience, with decent power and handling, the 300 horsepower Camry might actually have earned its #1 spot.