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 (15)

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)

2015 Subaru Legacy Photo Gallery

2015 Subaru Legacy

The 2015 Subaru Legacy finished second in our $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge. "Of course you get standard all-wheel drive, which will be very appealing to people in many parts of the country, but with the 2015 redesign, you also get a great new interior and a very sporty ride," said one of our judges. Check out our Legacy photo gallery below.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | November 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

1. 2015 Subaru Outback
2. 2015 Subaru Legacy 
3. 2015 Audi Q3 
4. 2015 Lexus NX 200t
5. 2015 Kia K900
6. 2015 Honda Fit
7. 2014 Honda CR-V
8. 2015 Lincoln MKC 
9. 2014 Nissan Rogue 
10. 2015 Lexus RX 350

By Matt Schmitz | November 15, 2014 | Comments (1)

$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)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

1. 2015 Subaru Outback 
2. 2015 Subaru Legacy
3. 2015 Toyota Camry
4. 2015 Acura TLX
5. 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
6. 2015 Audi Q3
7. 2015 Lexus NX 200t
8. 2015 Honda Fit
9. 2014 Nissan Rogue
10. 2014 Honda CR-V

By Matt Schmitz | November 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

Subaru's PIN Code System Provides Easy, Keyless Access

2015Leagacy_PIN[1]

The following is a true story: I went for a hike. It was lovely. As I was finishing — two hours and 1,700 vertical feet later — I realized I'd dropped my car keys somewhere along the trail. My feeling of victory was washed away by the dread of the fatigue I felt at having to re-traverse the trail to find my keys. Once I pulled myself together, I was lucky enough to not only find my keys, but also to find them only halfway up the hill.

Nonetheless, it was hard to walk the next day.

Related: Top 10 Features for Showoffs

Holding onto my car keys during a hike is always a nuisance; my hands are full, and there's no way I'm wearing a fanny pack. A backpack would be too cumbersome because I often have a child on my back. I've left my keys in the car a couple of times, but that never feels like a safe practice.

Clearly, I'm not alone in my quest for car-keyless outdoor time because Subaru has just rolled out a new feature called PIN Code Access that basically disables the key, allows you to leave it in the car and gives you lock/unlock access from a code entered into the trunk lid's button.

By Courtney Messenbaugh | November 4, 2014 | Comments (6)

2015 Subaru Legacy Review

2015SubaruLegacy

"For 2015, the Subaru Legacy has overcome the fuel economy penalty of standard all-wheel drive while delivering all-season capability in a handsome package, inside and out," said Cars.com reviewer David Thomas. Check out Thomas' review for more.

2015 Subaru Legacy Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | November 3, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Subaru Legacy, Outback Earn IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus Status

2015SubaruLegacyCrashTest

For the third consecutive year since the Top Safety Pick Plus designation was introduced in 2013, the Subaru Legacy sedan and its station-wagon sibling, the Outback, have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top prize. The 2015 Legacy and Outback both improved their ratings to good from their predecessors' acceptable score in the institute's stringent small overlap front crash test, which approximates what happens when a vehicle strikes a tree or utility pole. In addition, the cars earned superior ratings for front crash prevention when equipped with the optional EyeSight forward collision warning system with autobrake, which stopped the vehicle completely at both 12 and 25 mph during testing.

Related: IIHS: These Used Cars Are Safer For Teen Drivers

The IIHS said structural performance improved to a score of good for the 2015 Legacy compared with a marginal rating in 2014. "The driver space was maintained well, with the safety cage preventing excessive intrusion into the occupant compartment," IIHS said in a statement. "The dummy's movement was well-controlled, and the frontal and side curtain airbags worked together to protect the head from contact with interior structures."

The IIHS noted that Subaru has the most 2014 Top Safety Pick awards of any brand; other Subaru recipients include the BRZ, Impreza, Forester, WRX and XV Crosstrek. To earn a Top Safety Pick Plus award, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection, as well as good ratings in the institute's moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

IIHS photo

By Matt Schmitz | August 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

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