What do we see driven during our daily commutes? When you look around at the crowd of cars you see on the road every day the answer to this questions comes to you simply as midsized vehicle. Whether it’s a midsized crossover SUV, midsized luxury sedan or a midsized typical sedan the cars that prowl the middle of the road in the automotive lineup are the ones we see the most. The reason for that is the balance between power, space, comfort, efficiency, safety and versatility these vehicles provide. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four cars that have been at the top of their game for many years.
The four we will look at today are all 2016 models and they are the Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda 6, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. These are names we know and trust and probably have all driven at one time or another. You probably have one of these models in your driveway right now just waiting for the next time you can head out on a commute together. Even if you don’t, maybe you are considering a midsized sedan for your daily driver and you aren’t sure which one to choose, let me show you these four as excellent possibilities.
Toyota Camry – This has been the most trusted midsized sedan for many years and offers us the enjoyment of driving a car that has been the staple of commuters everywhere for many years. The new model that came out in 2015 is an attractive vehicle that offers the comfort we want and the features we need when driving. Even at the base model the Camry is what you want when you have to commute on a regular basis even though it does symbolize the passing of time and the fact you are no longer a care-free teenager.
Unfortunately for the Camry the engine doesn’t warrant any excitement and it barely makes the run to sixty mph in less than eight seconds. The transmission sounds like its hunting for the right gear to keep things going and even with a steering that is ok you wouldn’t want this to be the car you have to drive and expect to quickly react to a potential crash or disaster. Even though this car has a stellar reputation and a good amount of equipment the Camry certainly could be so much more if Toyota would allow it to be.
Honda Accord – Both the Accord and Camry are not flashy in their appearance and the Sport trim on the Accord actually makes it appear to be awkwardly styled. Even so the steering on the Accord is excellent and there is little body roll at all. This car is so light on its fee it feel as if it were 500 pounds lighter than it is and the drive is enjoyable with the excellent suspension that carries the car. The Accord was also quick enough to turn in the second fastest quarter mile time in this comparison test at sixteen seconds, with is pretty impressive considering what’s under the hood.
On the down side the CVT that is attached to this small engine doesn’t do anything for the Accord. The purpose of having a CVT is improved fuel mileage, but that didn’t happen for this car as its rated the same as the others except the Mazda 6 which was able to reach up to earn a few extra mpg as an average. Because of the CVT on this car the engine has to continually change from running quietly to revving, which is where much of the fuel issue probably stems from.
Chevrolet Malibu – The Malibu is an attractive car that shows off style and perfect proportions to catch your eye when you see it. This is one of the few FWD cars that doesn’t create a bunched-up angle making it elegant and smooth. On the inside this car has a spacious rear seat and plenty of comfort up front to give you a car the entire family can enjoy. The body is stiff, the stiffest in this group, and the car is the lightest n this comparison test at 3,159 pounds. This makes the Malibu one of the best cars of the group.
Looking at the drawbacks for this car we see some cheap looking plastic on the interior, which Chevrolet seems to have difficulty hiding, and a small fuel tank that only holds thirteen gallons of gas. The tap-shift button doesn’t do much of anything and the massive A-pillars cause visibility issues in some of the most important areas. Over all the Malibu is a great car and one that can easily compete with the three Japanese names that have been at or near the top of every list for midsized cars for many years.
Mazda 6 – The Mazda 6 offers us a car that feels a lot like a German luxury machine but it comes at a price that is much more affordable. This is the only car in the group that offers a fingertip control knob for the infotainment system and it does a great job of hiding any cheap plastic parts it may have. This is a car that is truly driver focused, but does offer a lot of comfort and space for the entire family to ride along and have an enjoyable ride. This car is versatile with the flat folding rear seats and a wide opening for items that need to pass through as well.
The negatives of the Mazda 6 are only a few. This car does have more cabin noise than the rest and that seems to be the case with many Mazda vehicles. The brake pedal has a long dead zone as well, which makes stopping quickly a near impossibility if this is the car you choose. As for driving comfort the steering wheel doesn’t telescope as far as the rest in the group, which may leave you in an otherwise uncomfortable position when driving.
The Verdict – With these four stalwarts going head to head its easy to say they are all great cars, and they are but some are better than others. Unfortunately for Toyota the Camry just can’t compare to the rest on any level. Honda Accord has excellent steering and comfort but still places third. In the runner up position we see the Malibu, which is the most attractive car in the group and one that would be easy to enjoy. Finally, the winner in this test was the Mazda 6 which offers an excellent drive and plenty of great features for you to feel as if you are seated in a great luxury car and not one that is priced as low as it is.