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)

$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 (8)

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 (33)

2015 Ford Fusion Photo Gallery

2015 Ford Fusion

The 2015 Ford Fusion finished sixth in our $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge. "This is the car for people who like to drive, and who like their choice to be to something stylish. ... but the value proposition isn't there," said one of our judges. Check out our Fusion 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)

2015 Ford Fusion: Car Seat Check

15Fusion_main

There's a lot to like about the Ford Fusion, from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine to its distinctive looks. However, after installing child-safety seats in the 2015 Fusion equipped with optional inflatable rear seat belts, I can't say that I like the Fusion's lower Latch anchors.

The lower Latch anchors sit nearly 3 inches into the seat cushions. Other automakers place their anchors either out in the open or about an inch into the cushions. Occasionally, I'll encounter anchors that are 2 inches into the cushions; this deep placement makes it difficult to connect to the anchors. Trying to reach the Fusion's anchors was, well, trying, but what made them even more difficult was the lack of space around them, so maneuvering was challenging. While I had some trouble connecting to the 2013 Fusion's Latch anchors because of seat belt buckle interference when I last tested this car, it was nowhere near this difficult. The 2013 Fusion had a traditional rear seat belt, while the 2015 test car had the optional inflatable seat belts. Perhaps that explains the difference.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Jennifer Newman | October 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Ford C-Max, Fusion, Escape and Lincoln MKZ

2014FordC-MaxRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 750,000 model-year 2013-14 Ford C-Max hatchbacks built at the Michigan Assembly Plant between Jan. 19, 2012, to Nov. 21, 2013; Fusion sedans built at the Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico between Feb. 3, 2013, and Aug. 24, 2013; Escape crossovers built at the Louisville Assembly Plant between Oct. 5, 2011, and Nov. 1, 2013; and Lincoln MKZ sedans built at the Hermosillo Assembly Plant between April 25, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013

The Problem: The restraints control module may experience a short circuit; if this occurs, the airbag warning indicator will illuminate. Depending on the location of the short circuit, the deployable restraint systems (airbags, side curtain airbags, pretensioners) may not function properly in a crash, increasing the risk of an injury. In addition, the short circuit may affect the function of other systems that use data from the restraints control module, including stability control, in which case the corresponding warning indicator would also illuminate. Ford, which announced the voluntary recall today, said it is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem.

The Fix: Ford will notify owners and dealers will replace the restraints control module for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 800-392-3673 for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | September 26, 2014 | Comments (4)

Thieves Still Favor the Honda Accord

2013HondaAccord

As is often the case in these "most-stolen" lists, the vehicles that are most popular with those who buy cars are commensurately popular with those who steal them. Of the top 10 popularly pilfered vehicles on the Des Plaines, Ill.,-based National Insurance Crime Bureau's annual "Hot Wheels" list, seven are also mainstays among the nation's top 10 best-selling cars each month.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Car for 2014

Topping the list is the consistently beloved Honda Accord, with nearly 54,000 thefts in the 2013 counting period, followed by the Honda Civic (45,000) and full-size Chevrolet pickup trucks (28,000). Moreover, while No. 8 combines the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee into one listing, it should be noted that these are two entirely separate vehicles, one a crossover and the other a full-size SUV.

By Matt Schmitz | August 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

Reduced MPG in Six Ford Models Matches Cars.com's Results

CMax_2013_ES

If Cars.com editors' observed mileage is any indication, more drivers should see real-world fuel economy figures that match the new EPA numbers on six Ford models.

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

Ford announced June 12 that it would reduce EPA mileage on six vehicles – the 2013-2014 C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the 2014 Fiesta – because of an error in EPA mileage tests. The revisions, which downgrade EPA combined mileage as much as 7 mpg on the hybrids, will appear on new-car window stickers this week.

We've tracked mileage in four of those six cars, and our results fall a lot closer to the revised numbers than what they used to be. We haven't spent enough time behind the wheel of the Fusion Energi or MKZ Hybrid to report on mileage yet, but here are the rest:

By Kelsey Mays | June 16, 2014 | Comments (8)

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

2013FordC-MaxHybrid

Ford announced today that it is revising fuel economy ratings for six models and compensating owners of about 200,000 vehicles after internal testing revealed errors in its evaluation process. Vehicles affected include the 2013-14 C-Max Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids, and the gas-only 2014 Fiesta; the 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is also affected. Ford said it notified the EPA after learning of the discrepancy, and it worked with the agency to retest the vehicles and determine the correct ratings. The automaker said it has reviewed its entire lineup to determine which models required further testing, and that no further adjustments are planned.

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

The testing error was specific to a component of engine-power testing called Total Road Load Horsepower, a measure of resistance. Ford said it has validated the revised TRLHP for affected vehicles through physical testing and put checks and balances in place for future testing. The automaker also said it has notified its dealers and new fuel economy labels will be available in about six days; vehicles will continue to be sold in the interim. Customers can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

Ford said it will pay owners of the affected vehicles the difference in estimated fuel costs between the old and revised ratings; lease customers will be reimbursed at a lesser rate than owners. The specific differences in fuel economy and the amount to be paid in reimbursement to owners, are as follows:

By Matt Schmitz | June 12, 2014 | Comments (6)

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