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10 Most Popular Midsize Cars

By: Jeff Youngs, 6/12/2014
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More midsize cars are sold in America than any other type of vehicle, and nearly every mainstream car company offers one. This buying guide summarizes key details and ratings for the 10 most popular* midsize cars available for sale in America today. If nothing on this top-10 list looks appealing, consumers can also consider the Buick Regal, Chevrolet Volt, Chrysler 200, Mazda 6, Nissan Leaf, Subaru Legacy, and Volkswagen CC.

* Popularity based on April 2014 new-vehicle sales


2014 Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry is the most popular midsize car in America. It is offered in basic L, popular LE, sporty SE, and well-equipped XLE trim levels with a choice between a 178-horsepower 4-cylinder and a 268-horsepower V-6 engine, each paired with an automatic transmission. The Camry Hybrid has a gas-electric hybrid powertrain with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a combination that delivers 200 horsepower.

Note that the 2014.5 model-year version of this car features an updated structure that performs better in crash tests.

Base Price--$23,235
Initial Quality Rating--Among the Best
Predicted Reliability Rating--Better than Most
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--About Average
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--21/43
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--5 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick" (models built after December 2013)
Cargo Volume--13.1 cu. ft. to 15.4 cu. ft. (depending on model)


2014 Honda Accord
The second best-selling midsize car in America is offered as a 2-door coupe or 4-door sedan. Coupes are available in LX-S, EX, and EX-L trim levels, while sedans can be purchased in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims.

A 4-cylinder engine generating between 185 horsepower and 189 horsepower is standard for all but the Accord Touring sedan, which has a 278-horsepower V-6 that can also be installed in the EX-L trims. A manual transmission is included for LX, LX-S, Sport, and EX trim levels, with a CVT optional. The EX-L has a standard CVT. Sedans with a V-6 engine get a traditional automatic transmission, while the coupes with the V-6 can be purchased with a manual gearbox.

Honda also offers the Accord Sedan as a gas-electric Hybrid model and as a Plug-In Hybrid model. The latter can be driven solely on electricity for up to 13 miles before switching to gas-electric hybrid mode, according to Honda.

Base Price--$22,745
Initial Quality Rating--About Average
Predicted Reliability Rating--Better than Most
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--Better than Most
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--21/50; Plug-in rated 115 MPGe
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--5 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--8.6 cu. ft. to 15.8 cu. ft. (depending on model)


2014 Ford Fusion
Ford's 2014 Fusion is the third most popular midsize car in the United States. Three versions are for sale: Fusion; gas-electric Fusion Hybrid; and a plug-in hybrid model called Fusion Energi. The Fusion and Fusion Hybrid are available in S, SE, and Titanium trim levels, while the Fusion Energi comes only in SE and Titanium trim.

Standard Fusions can be fitted with a one of four 4-cylinder engines: a 2.5-liter, 1.5-liter turbo, 1.6-liter turbo, or a 2.0-liter turbo. Horsepower ratings range from 175 to 240, and all but the 1.6-liter turbo are equipped with a standard automatic transmission.

Fusion Hybrid models pair a 4-cylinder engine with an electric assist motor powered by a 1.4-kWh Lithium-ion battery. Combined output measures 188 horsepower. The Fusion Energi is similar but has a much larger 7.6-kWh battery that must be plugged in to recharge and which provides up to 21 miles of electric-only driving range, Ford says.

Base Price--$22,795
Initial Quality Rating--About Average
Predicted Reliability Rating--Better than Most
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--About Average
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--22/47; Plug-in rated 100 MPGe
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--5 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--8.2 cu. ft. to 16 cu. ft. (depending on model)


2014 Nissan Altima
The Nissan Altima is the fourth most popular midsize car in America, a sedan available with a 182-horsepower 4-cylinder or a 270-horsepower V-6 engine, each paired with a CVT. Versions with the 4-cylinder engine carry the Altima 2.5 designation, while those with the V-6 engine are called the Altima 3.5. The former is offered in base, S, SV, and SL trim levels, while the latter can be equipped with S, SV, or SL trim.

Base Price--$22,980
Initial Quality Rating--The Rest
Predicted Reliability Rating--Better than Most
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--About Average
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--22/38
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--5 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--15.4 cu. ft.


2014 Hyundai Sonata
The fifth most popular midsize car in the United States is the Hyundai Sonata. The 2014 Sonata lineup includes GLS, sporty SE, and luxury-oriented Limited trim levels. Sonatas wearing a "2.0T" badge have a 274-horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Hybrid versions are equipped with a gas-electric powertrain installed under the hood, good for 199 combined horsepower.

Base Price--$22,260
Initial Quality Rating--Better than Most
Predicted Reliability Rating--Better than Most
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--About Average
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--21/40
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--5 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--Not a "Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--12.1 cu. ft. to 16.4 cu. ft. (depending on model)


2014 Chevrolet Malibu
Chevy sells the 2014 Malibu with a 4-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission, and buyers decide whether to go with the turbocharged version or not. The Malibu is the sixth most popular midsize car in America, and is offered in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels.

Base Price--$23,165
Initial Quality Rating--Better than Most
Predicted Reliability Rating--Better than Most
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--About Average
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--21/36
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--5 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--16.3 cu. ft.


2014 Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius family is comprised of one small car and three larger vehicles. Collectively, they are the seventh best-selling model series in the midsize car category.**

Available as a gas-electric hybrid and a plug-in hybrid, the Prius hatchback makes a combined 134 horsepower, and the plug-in version can travel up to 11 miles at speeds up to 62 mph using nothing but electricity, according to Toyota. The Prius V is a multi-purpose vehicle with extra cargo room but is not as fuel-efficient as the hatchback despite sharing its gas-electric powertrain.

Base Price--$25,010
Initial Quality Rating--The Rest
Predicted Reliability Rating--Better than Most
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--About Average
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--48/51; Plug-in rated 95 MPGe
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--4 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--21.6 cu. ft.

** Toyota combines sales of all four models that wear the Prius name. The Prius C model is not a midsize car.


2014 Kia Optima
The eighth most popular midsize car in the United States is the 2014 Kia Optima. The Optima LX, EX, and SX have a 192-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, while the SX Turbo and SX Limited get a 274-horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder motor. An Optima Hybrid is also available, in LX and EX trim levels, and with a 199-horsepower gas-electric powertrain. All versions of the 2014 Optima have a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Base Price--$22,300
Initial Quality Rating--Better than Most
Predicted Reliability Rating--About Average
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--Among the Best
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--20/40
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--5 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--10.8 cu. ft. to 15.4 cu. ft. (depending on model)


2014 Volkswagen Passat
The ninth most popular midsize car in America is the 2014 VW Passat. Buyers choose among three different engines and five trim levels: S, Wolfsburg Edition, SE, Sport Edition, and SEL Premium.

A new turbocharged, 170-horsepower 4-cylinder engine is standard this year, accompanied by a "1.8T" designation. The 140-horsepower TDI Clean Diesel and 280-horsepower V-6 engines continue for 2014. A manual gearbox is standard for the 4-cylinder and TDI engines, while the V-6 has a Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automated manual transmission as standard equipment. The DSG is optional for the Passat TDI, while the Passat 1.8T can be equipped with a traditional automatic transmission.

Base Price--$21,815
Initial Quality Rating--About Average
Predicted Reliability Rating--The Rest
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--Among the Best
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--20/43
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--5 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--15.9 cu. ft.


2014 Dodge Avenger
Dodge sells the 10th most popular midsize car in America, and it's the 2014 Avenger. Offered in SE, SXT, and R/T levels of trim, the Avenger sources power from a 173-horsepower 4-cylinder engine or a 283-horsepower V-6. An automatic transmission is standard for all 2014 Avengers.

Base Price--$21,590
Initial Quality Rating--About Average
Predicted Reliability Rating--The Rest
Overall Vehicle Appeal Rating--The Rest
Fuel Economy Range (city/highway mpg)--19/31
NHTSA Crash Test Rating--4 stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating--"Top Safety Pick"
Cargo Volume--13.5 cu. ft.

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