What Midsize Sedan Gets the Best Mileage?

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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)

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

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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)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: Mileage Results

CSMileagewinner

Any car owner will tell you the cost of driving does not begin or end with the sticker price or the monthly payment notice arriving in the mailbox. There's insurance, maintenance and yes, the cost of gasoline.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Results

The competitors in our Cheap Speed Challenge may be relatively affordable considering their performance chops, but six of the eight require premium gasoline. Going into the contest, mileage didn't seem like it would be much of a story.

After a 220-plus-mile route through Wisconsin and Illinois that mixed in winding country roads, city streets and plenty of construction-laden highways, we discovered mileage was indeed worth talking about in this class.

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Overview

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Pop quiz: What size car do residents of planet Earth buy more of than any other? It's not the midsize sedan that's unique to the U.S. It's not pickup trucks either. It's compacts, of which more are sold around the world than any other segment.

In Europe they're used as family cars, but in the U.S. they tend to be less expensive entry-level vehicles that appeal to a wide range of buyers. From young college grads to empty nesters looking to downsize, these models are no longer the stripped-down economy cars of yesteryear. And with new models arriving for 2014, we figured it was time to look at the category again.

By Aaron Bragman | November 10, 2013 | Comments (11)

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Mileage

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Fuel efficiency is a must for compact-car shoppers, so it's no surprise that most of the sedans in our Challenge returned impressive numbers, but one contender definitely outshone the rest. The newest kid on the block, the redesigned-for-2014 Toyota Corolla, wowed us with its observed 38.3 mpg rating. Because the 2014 Ford Focus did not have an mpg readout, we opted to use the observed mileage based on our fill-ups at the same pump for all cars, using a one-click method. We've provided the computer readouts below for comparison.

We started our trip in suburban Baltimore, Md., on four-lane thoroughfares, took a jaunt across state lines on small-town Pennsylvania roads, made a highway trek back into Maryland, and hit some urban and suburban roads. In total, we covered just more than 200 miles.

While some of the compact sedans impressed more than others, all beat their combined EPA fuel-economy rating:

By Jennifer Geiger | November 10, 2013 | Comments (2)

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results

SedanGroup500

As with previous Challenges, the cars at the top were not too far apart, but some of the opinions of the judges were quite far apart. One sedan was the solid favorite for one of our judges, but it received the lowest score from our "real-life" judge, so opinions were clearly not unanimous. A reminder on who our judges were for this Challenge:

  • Aaron Bragman, Detroit bureau chief for Cars.com
  • Jennifer Geiger, Cars.com news editor
  • Bill Jackson, Cars.com assistant managing editor/research and production
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today
  • Fred Meier, automotive editor for USA Today
  • Brian Robinson, "MotorWeek" producer
  • Carol Gluckman, librarian from Montgomery County, Md., who is in the market for a compact car to replace her current car

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

By Patrick Olsen | November 10, 2013 | Comments (23)

$38,000 Full-Size Sedan Challenge: Mileage Results

SedanMileage

A mileage drive with full-size sedans is the 200-mile trek editors have been yearning for, because if we're going to spend all day in cars evaluating gas mileage, they might as well be large, comfy, feature-laden sedans.

Our route west of Chicago consisted mostly of highway driving with slower stoplight-to-stoplight traffic driving sprinkled in. We observed average speeds of around 40 mph, according to various onboard computers.

Surprises were minimal.

By Joe Bruzek | September 8, 2013 | Comments (4)

$38,000 Full-Size Sedan Challenge: Overview

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If the new-car market is a Big Mac, full-size sedans would amount to only the sesame seeds. They're a sliver of the auto market, accounting for just 3.5% of new-car sales in the first seven months of 2013. Still, automakers believe in big cars. Seldom does a comparison see so many redesigned or new entrants. From April 2012 to April 2013, four new or redesigned full-size sedans hit dealerships. Through the first seven months of 2013, those four nameplates accounted for nearly half of full-size sedan sales.

By Kelsey Mays | September 8, 2013 | Comments (3)

$38,000 Full-Size Sedan Challenge: Results

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First, a quick reminder about whom our judges are:

  • Kelsey Mays, consumer affairs editor at Cars.com
  • Jennifer Newman, assistant managing editor at Cars.com
  • Kristin Varela, senior family editor at Cars.com
  • Fred Meier, automotive editor at USA Today
  • Brian Robinson, producer at "MotorWeek"
  • Bill Wegner of Skokie, Ill., our real-life family judge

Here's how the score broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 75% of the total score; 15% came from the family's scores; and 10% was based on fuel economy. To help you make your own comparisons of these sedans, we've pulled together a list of what you get for $38,000.

By Patrick Olsen | September 8, 2013 | Comments (23)

What's the Most Affordable Compact Crossover?

What's the Most Affordable Compact Crossover?

The compact-crossover class is exploding in popularity because of the mix of utility and affordability these types of vehicles deliver. Introduced in 1995, the Toyota RAV4 was the first car-based compact crossover available in this country, according to MotorWeek. It was followed soon after by the 1995 Honda CR-V. Since then, we've seen a flood of new models — more than 20 nameplates at last count — and today nearly one in every 10 vehicles sold is a compact crossover, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

View Compact Crossovers

The competition is only beginning to heat up, with new models like the 2013 Ford Escape, 2012 Honda CR-V and 2013 Mazda CX-5 introduced in the past few months. A significantly reengineered Nissan Rogue will soon be added to the mix, too. So which one is the most affordable?

By Colin Bird | April 26, 2012 | Comments (10)

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