Midsize sedans are some of the most practical cars. They’re smaller than trucks, more comfortable than sports cars, and have every capability of being just as quick or useful. Consumer Reports curated a list of its top choices for sedans to buy in 2021, and these are the top 10.
Toyota Camry: good at everything, even being cheap
The Toyota Camry has come a long way, and it’s gotten a lot of press lately for being a borderline sports car. Toyota made the Camry nimble, quick, and practical, which is hard to find in a midsize sedan that costs less than $30,000. For $32,360 you can get the Toyota Camry TRD that has 300 horsepower.
Honda Accord: comfortable and efficient midsize sedan
The Honda Accord is one of the Camry’s closest competitors. They’re both about $25,000, but the Accord maxes out at 250 horsepower depending on the trim, whereas the Camry gets 300 with its XLE trim. However, the Accord is ever so slightly more comfortable and sports a more luxurious interior.
Subaru Legacy offers basic functionality
The Subaru Legacy has six different flavors. Starting with a 182-hp naturally aspirated flat-four, it comes with all-wheel-drive and driver-assist technology. The Accord has a bit more power to start at 192 but costs about $2,000 more. The Legacy comes standard with advanced adaptive cruise control, and a brake override system.
Mazda 6 is a comfortable midsize sedan with great performance
Starting at around the same price as the Accord, the Mazda 6 comes with a 187-hp 2.5-liter inline-four. An extra $6,000 gets you the Grand Touring trim, which makes 250 horsepower from an added turbocharger. It also gets 320 lb-ft of torque, only mated to an automatic transmission, and is only available with front-wheel-drive. Too bad it won’t be making an appearance in 2022.
Honda Clarity can use alternative fuel
The Clarity is one of Honda’s more interesting midsize sedans. It can come as a plug-in hybrid or a fuel cell vehicle, which means it’s powered by a hydrogen-powered generator. The Clarity plug-in hybrid starts at $33,400 and goes 340 miles, whereas the Clarity Fuel Cell goes 360 miles, but is only available for lease.
Nissan Altima: well-equipped midsize sedan at a premium
The Nissan Altima didn’t have the best track record with reliability until 2020 came along and showed massive improvement. However, Consumer Reports still set the predicted owner satisfaction at two-out-of-five. While it does start near the Accord in terms of pricing, to get some of the Altima’s more interesting features like all-wheel-drive and 236 horsepower, it’ll cost a few thousand more.
Kia K5 can get lots of power
Consumer Reports put the Kia K5 on its top 10 midsize sedans list, and there are a few good reasons. It’s stylish, with contoured five-spoke wheels and turn signals blended into the bodywork. It has sharp lines from end to end, and moving up the trims only enhances the sportiness. The Base K5 comes with a 180-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four, lane-keeping and following assist, rear occupant alert, driver attention warning, and forward collision-avoidance assist. The base K5 starts at $23,690 and the GT at $31,090 with 290 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four.
Volkswagen Passat: expensive and limited midsize sedan
The Volkswagen Passat starts higher than any other midsize sedan on this list at $27,295, but even its most expensive trim doesn’t reach past $30,300. The Passat uses the same 174-hp engine across its three trim levels and only has six gears. It does come with some assists and pedestrian monitoring but otherwise is fairly limited compared to the other choices in its class.
Hyundai Sonata: a lot in a little package
The Hyundai Sonata makes for better competition against midsize sedans than the Passat. It comes with 191 horsepower, forward collision avoidance assist, driver attention warning, and lane follow assist. There are three different engine options, one of them is the GDI, a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four with direct injection that makes 180 horsepower. The other options are a 190 or 290-hp 2.5-liter inline-four, the latter for $33,450.
Chevrolet Malibu: safe and cheap, at first
The Chevrolet Malibu is one of the cheaper midsize sedans on this list, but increases in price quickly. Standard trim includes a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four with just 160 horsepower, while the bigger version, only available in the Premiere at $34,495, makes 250 horsepower. All safety features are available across all models, except for the front pedestrian braking and the enhanced automatic emergency braking, which are only available on higher trims.
While some of these choices might seem odd, like the Passat and Malibu, the rest make for great options as far as midsize sedans go. They offer an impressive balance between a family sedan and sporty performance while keeping a low price tag.