$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge: What the Judges Said

FamilySubaru

To evaluate our midsize sedans, we put them through a battery of tests in and around Baltimore:

  • We took all 10 cars on a mileage drive of about 180 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all 10 over the same course, back-to-back, to judge ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • Then we brought in a real-life family, Amit and Michelle Kapoor, both 34, and their two young children (above), to help us evaluate these cars. Amit works as a defense contractor, and his wife works for the federal government. They live in suburban Washington, D.C.

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

The Kapoors joined our judges:

  • Aaron Bragman, Cars.com Detroit bureau chief
  • Jennifer Newman, Cars.com assistant managing editor
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • Fred Meier, auto editor for USA Today
  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"

We set a maximum price of $27,000, including a destination charge, and each car had to get at least 28 mpg in combined EPA ratings. Ten cars fit that bill (in alphabetical order):

  • 2015 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT
  • 2015 Chrysler 200 Limited (all-new)
  • 2015 Ford Fusion SE
  • 2015 Honda Accord EX
  • 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport (all-new)
  • 2015 Mazda6 iTouring
  • 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
  • 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium (all-new)
  • 2015 Toyota Camry SE (refreshed)
  • 2015 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SE

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 75 percent of the total score; 15 percent came from the family's scores; and 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

Here is what the judges had to say about each car, in order of how the cars finished:

By Patrick Olsen | November 17, 2014 | Comments (16)

What's the Best Midsize Sedan for $27,000?

Sedangroupshot2

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.

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

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:

By Patrick Olsen | November 17, 2014 | Comments (36)

What Midsize Sedan Gets the Best Mileage?

Altima2

Part of the scoring in our big 10-car $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge comes from observed mileage over a drive route that consisted of close to 180 miles of both city and highway driving in and around Baltimore. The winner, the Nissan Altima, reported 32.4 mpg.

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge
Index | ResultsWhat the Judges Said

We made no effort to mirror the EPA test cycle, but more highway driving should benefit all the cars, and it didn't do so, at least not equally. One sedan hit its EPA-estimated combined mpg figure exactly, two fell short and seven exceeded their ratings.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | November 17, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Chrysler 200 Photo Gallery

2015 Chrysler 200

The 2015 Chrysler 200 finished seventh in our $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge. "The 200 has all the pieces in place to be a great midsize sedan, but until it gets the basics — transmission and brakes — right, it's not going to make a lot of headway in this segment," said one of our judges. Check out our 200 photo gallery below.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | November 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge: Features Video

"When you spend $35,000 or more on a midsize family sedan, you expect it's going to come packed with all kinds of technology and safety goodies, but when you're a little bit more budget-friendly, around $27,000 … can you get anything good at that price?" Cars.com Aaron D. Bragman wonders aloud in the video above. The answer is yes. Watch the video for five examples — and check back Monday for our full coverage of the $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge.

Watch on YouTube

By Matt Schmitz | November 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

Zero Percent for 84 Months Hits Midwest Chrysler Dealers

2015Chrysler200Carscom

We reported recently on the growing trend of the seven-year car loan, but as we head into the holiday car-shopping season some dealers in the country's heartland are adding a twist to the lengthy term.

Related: Seven-Year Car Loans More Popular, but Beware

Chrysler dealers in certain Midwest states including Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin are offering 84 month financing deals with zero percent interest through Chrysler Capital the company confirmed with Cars.com. The deal is also only good on three models at this time — the 2015 Chrysler 200 (excluding LX trims), 2015 Chrysler Town & Country and 2015 Dodge Grand Caravans — and runs through Dec. 1.

By David Thomas | November 11, 2014 | Comments (8)

Most-Watched Videos of the Week

1. 2015 Ford F-150
2. 2015 Subaru Outback 
3. 2015 Chrysler 200
4. 2015 Lexus RC-F Exhaust Note 
5. 2015 GMC Canyon

By Matt Schmitz | November 8, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Chrysler 200 Video

Of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan, Cars.com reviewer Patrick Olsen says our editors "found it to be refined, comfortable and affordable — but even with a slew of new features and nice touches, it isn't perfect." To learn more about those improvements and imperfections, watch the video.

Watch on YouTube

By Matt Schmitz | November 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Chrysler 200 Earns NHTSA Five-Star Rating

2015-chrysler-200

Chrysler's midsize sedan underwent a dramatic update for 2015, and so too did the 200's safety ratings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the redesigned car its top honor: a five-star overall safety rating. The front-wheel-drive sedan earned five stars out of five in front- and side-crash tests as well as a four stars in the rollover test. In all-wheel-drive trim, it earned five stars in the side-impact crash test and four stars in rollover testing; it was not front crash tested.

Related: Research the 2015 Chrysler 200

The 2014 model received an overall score of four stars, comprised of four stars in the frontal impact test, three stars in the side-impact test and four stars in the rollover evaluation. Chrysler says the new model's body is stronger than the outgoing car; approximately 65 percent of the sedan consists of high-strength steel, the automaker reported.

NHTSA's award comes on the heels of the 2015 Chrysler 200 earning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top honor, the Top Safety Pick Plus designation.

NHTSA image

By Jennifer Geiger | October 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Chrysler 200 Real-World Fuel Economy

Chrysler200Mileage

Chrysler's new 200 sedan is a dramatic improvement over the outgoing model, but it would almost have to be — the old Chrysler 200 (neé Sebring) was one of the most awful new cars on the market. But the new one is quite good, with its top-notch interior appointments, attractive styling, unique powertrains and class-leading multimedia systems.

Related: 2015 Chrysler 200 Expert Review

Comparisons of expected fuel economy with the previous-generation 200 are difficult, as the new 2015 200 is a completely new vehicle, riding on a different chassis with a much talked about nine-speed transmission. When an example of the latest 200 landed in our Detroit office's test garage, we figured it would be a good opportunity to see what kind of mileage we could get on real-world roads.

By Aaron Bragman | October 23, 2014 | Comments (2)

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com