By on April 8, 2013

The mid-size sedan sales race has become a close one over the first quarter of this year – while the Toyota Camry has established a healthy lead, the race for second through fourth place comes down to an 8,000 unit spread between the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and the (game-changing) Ford Fusion.

Despite leading the segment with 100,830 units sold in 2013, sales of the Camry were down 4 percent compared to 2012. Automotive News quotes Toyota’s Jim Lentz as saying that “not sure we can do much more than 400 [thousand] Camrys”, suggesting that the car may lose some market share – and possibly the title of America’s best-selling car.

While Toyota has been willing to put cash on the hood of the Camry to move units, it is facing some stiff competition. The Camry was outsold slightly by the Nissan Altima in March, while the second place Accord, with 88,427 units sold, is apparently the best selling mid-size sedan on a retail basis – if you believe Honda’s claims.

The third place Altima is down by about 10 percent versus Q1 2012 sales, with 86,952 units. Last year saw Nissan dealers aggressively pushing stock of the soon-to-be-replaced 2012 model out the door to make way for the new car. Meanwhile, the Ford Fusion has cracked the 80,000 unit mark itself, reporting a 26 percent gain over the same period.

To illustrate the gulf in sales between those four and the rest of the segment, one need only look at the numbers; the Chevrolet Malibu, with 49,179 units sold so far, is outsold by the Camry on a 2:1 basis, despite the Camry being one of the oldest cars in the segment and the Malibu being all-new. Ditto the Sonata, which is also one of the segment’s older vehicles and, according to Hyundai, limited by capacity constraints.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

98 Comments on “Mid-Size Sedan Sales Race: Camry, Accord, Altima And Fusion Dominate The Segment...”


  • avatar
    mcarr

    Choosing one of these cars is akin to picking out your casket.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      No, that would be Buick… driver goes in robust and 30-somehing, comes out and yells for a walker. Seen it happen.

      Tiny silvery fringes peeking over the headrest…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Melodrama much? Not everyone wants or needs a car to thrill them on every drive, and they aren’t wrong or “less than” for that.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I like to be thrilled on every drive but I’m pretty much always thrilled to get where I wanted to go when I wanted to get there. I’ve been disappointed often enough that my thrills have been pared down to the essentials.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        Agreed. I used to feel like mcarr – back before I started spending my own money to buy my cars. For $25k, a decently-equipped Accord, Fusion or Mazda6 is a heck of a lot of car, can be plenty enjoyable to drive, and can carry your wife, kid and dog in a pinch. Not all of us have a spare space in the garage for a Boxster.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          The Accord Sport is a pretty zippy little car. It’s not a powerhouse, but it’s plenty of fun to throw around on the daily drive.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            I’ve seen the Accord/Car and Driver(?) commercial where the Accord looks like it’s about to two wheeling through a turn. Body roll does not make a sporty ride.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Norm, I believe an Accord Sport with the 6spd manual would thoroughly thrash any number of ‘sporty’ 1990s Saabs on a track. Sure steering feel is not what it used to be, but it is amazing what a mainstream NA 4cyl sedan is capable of box stock these days, all while being reliable and getting exceptional MPG.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Sporty Accordy for sure! Motor Trend’s figure eight has it besting the Civic based ILX and on par with what I call a modern day Saab, the Buick Verano Turbo. Unfortunately the unatheletic and not sporty Turbo has it by two(2) full football fields at 100 mph.

            http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1210_2013_acura_ilx_vs_buick_verano_turbo/viewall.html

            http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1305_2013_honda_accord_sport_toyota_camry_se_2014_mazda6_grand_touring/viewall.html

            Much better warranty with the Acura.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          There are some really good cars competing for sales in the mid-size segment. I like the Accord, Mazda6, and Altima enough to buy one as a daily driver. Even in fuel-efficient 4 cylinder form they offer respectable acceleration while achieving the fuel efficiency of a subcompact from the recent past. The cost cutting is a little more obvious on the Camry, Sonata, and Optima, but they’re OK at the right price. Replace the base engine in the Volkswagen Passat and add a longer warranty and it becomes a worthy competitor. Lots of choices.

          • 0 avatar
            SherbornSean

            I recently bought a new Accord EX-L, and as Astigmatism mentions, you get a lot of car for your $25K in this range. For me, it was a choice of convenience – a new midsize sedan like these is a promise of years of low maintenance and easy ownership.

            I chose the Accord specifically for the resale value. My last Accord retained more than 50% of value after 9 years and 100K+ miles.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I have learned that keeping a vehicle that — a) is paid for, b) has been very reliable through 7 years of ownership, c) is extremely rewarding to drive, and d) is now at a point in its lifespan where it’s depreciating at a literal fraction of the rate it did in years 1 through 4 — is exponentially wiser than feeling “all spontaneous” and buying a new vehicle.

            Or at least it is for myself given my priorities and overall philosophy on relatively rapidly depreciating, high cost of insuring and running, and large ticket goods such as passenger vehicles.

            With that said, if I were to find myself in the situation where I had to purchase a new replacement vehicle, I’ve narrowed the candidates down to either a 2013 Honda Accord with a manual gear box, a 2013 Mazda 6 with a manual gearbox, or a Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger with the Pentastar V6 modestly equipped — all 3 of which can be had for approx 20k to 23k plus TTL in terms of real world pricing.

            All 3 of these vehicles are better than prior versions by a significant margin in terms of driving dynamics, interior material quality & fuel economy (while matching or exceeding prior horsepower levels unlike many other redesigned vehicles), and are likely to prove fairly to very reliable and durable, while having the utility and equaling the comfort of vehicles that cost significantly more.

            I’d probably not go with the 300/Charger, however, mainly because I can’t envision myself living with an automatic transmission equipped vehicle for as long as I am physically able to row my own gears, right hand upon stick shift & left foot upon clutch, as God up above hath declared vastly superior to automatic/DSG/PowerShift/CVT transmissions in every respect (from performance, to reliability, to tactile/sensory satisfaction).

            These 3 vehicles are a few examples of real value and the continuation of positive automotive evolution (at least in sans CVT form) at a time when these attributes are threatened by dual clutch, forced induction & gadget overkill complexities, fragilities and even negative marginal benefits, in an automotive era that’s become more defined by adding nearly or totally worthless features at increasingly greater “upselling” cost to the large % of already debt-burdened consumers of vehicles.

            p.s. – Unless I’m buying a vehicle that absolutely benefits from huge ass tires and wheels, give me 16″ or 17″ wheels any day, which necessitate far less expensive replacement tires that happen to ride more smoothly and quietly than their larger counterparts, as well (and death to runflats).

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Deadweight, I’ve got a buddy who shares your belief. Although he owns a 2012 Grand Cherokee for his wife’s daily driver that started the Grand Cherokee craze in my area, he also has a 1989 Camry V6 and a 1993 S10 ExtCab.

            Funny thing is, if he has to go out of town somewhere by himself, he rents a car from Hertz or Enterprise, since he doesn’t trust the Camry or the S10 on long trips out of town. Not much economy in that.

            However, he has confided in me that he is seriously considering buying a second Grand Cherokee for himself, with a V8 and 4X4.

            But with sales of the new Grand Cherokee what they are, he better get in line early and stay late because there are no good deals on 2014 Grand Cherokees. And waiting lists are long.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            My neighborhood Jeep dealer has 94 Grand Cherokees in stock, 2012-2014 model years. Discounts on their website range from $2,076-$8,500. The low figure is for a low end 2014. The top figure is for well equipped 2013s. V8 4WD 2014s are the most common models, and they’re $3K or $4K off. The 2012 is an SRT-8.

            http://www.midwayjeepchrysler.net

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            CJinSD, thanks for the link. I emailed it to my buddy and he told me he is very familiar with the SD area having graduated from Clairemont High (San Diego) in 1965.

            He said he was not impressed with Midway. He called them and got the gut feeling they were just trolling him along. Very non-committal.

            He did email me back some links of dealerships he is working with who have a decent selection and will give the buyer an upfront price BEFORE they travel. Here they are:

            http://www.casachryslerjeep.com/new-inventory/index.htm?SByear=2014&SBmake=Jeep&SBmodel=Grand%20Cherokee&SBbodystyle=clear&SBprice=clear&sortBy=internetprice%20asc%2Cmake%2Cmodel%2Ctrimlevel%2Cyear%20desc

            http://www.perkinsmotors.com/searchnew.aspx?model=Grand%20Cherokee&make=Jeep&year1=2014

            http://www.vivachryslerdodgejeep.com/new-inventory/index.htm?SByear=2014&SBmake=Jeep&SBmodel=Grand%20Cherokee&SBbodystyle=clear&SBprice=clear&sortBy=internetprice%20asc%2Cmake%2Cmodel%2Ctrimlevel%2Cyear%20desc#

            He’s only interested in a 2014 since the 2013 and left-over 2012 models have as much appeal as cold leftovers and are worth just about as much.

            I bought ours outside of Phoenix, AZ, and they do a booming business still, but the best way to deal with them is to walk in like I did. When a potential buyer turns to walk away from a deal it’s amazing how many people come out of the woodwork to try to work with you. They want you to come in, but they don’t want to see you leave without closing the deal.

            If all else fails, I’ll take my buddy to that dealership. Having served in Nam together in 1967 in a Combat Engineering unit, I’m sure we can survive a trip to Phoenix together and come away with a deal.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I got a skeevy feeling from Midway Jeep after I posted the link too. I looked at their new Wranglers, and clicked on one with an internet price of about $20K. In the fine print it specified that the internet price was contingent on a military ID and either a loyalty discount or being a current VW lessee. What? If people are going to play the demographic pricing game, they should do it quietly with direct mailings to people on the appropriate lists. They shouldn’t tell potential customers that they’re not special enough to get a good price.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            CJinSD, there is a $500 incentive on most Jeeps that applies to active duty and retired military people. See jeep.com.

            And at one time there was also a $2500 incentive on the 5.7-equipped Grand Cherokee, but not the SRT8, for everyone.

            My buddy bought a 2012 4X4 Laredo for his wife with the V6 Pentastar and got the $500 off as well and would like to buy a second GC now so he can retire his 1989 Camry, or give it to his grand daughter to use all the time (at his expense).

            But the 2014 GC started a whole new ball game on a new, untested field, in a brand new “8-speed transmission” stadium.

            You can get great deals on a left-over 2013, 2012 or left-over 2011 GC, but aside from the $500 off for military people, no discounts on any 2014 GC.

            We planned to trade our 2012 Overland Summit V6 in Oct-Nov 2014 for something else, maybe another GC, but I favor a 2015 Sequoia 4X4 with the 5.7 V8.

            It will be my wife’s daily driver, so she gets to decide. I’ll roll along in my 2011 Tundra and my 2008 Highlander until I feel motivated to buy something new for myself. Word has it that the new Tundra will only have the 4.6 as the largest V8 in the line-up. Pity! Another win for CAFE.

            In MY part of the country reliable transportation is a must. Breaking down in the desert can ruin your whole day. But I do want the biggest V8 available so I may have to step up to 3/4-ton Ford when replacing my Tundra.

    • 0 avatar
      BlanketSlayer

      While I agree with the overall sentiment, I did just pick up a 2013 Accord Sport with the 6 speed manual, and I’m really enjoying it. Needing to fit 3 kids in the back (and be on a budget) greatly restricts the options. The Accord is no sports car, but it’s still been quite fun to drive with the manual transmission. I think it’s a pretty solid choice for those of us who love cars and driving but can’t afford a CTS-V or some other high horsepower 4 door. The Camry/Malibu/Altima (CVT’s don’t interest me) did not intrigue me in the least.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I am in the same position – three kids to fit and a budget. Did you test drive a Mazda 6? Those are the two cars I am lookign at.

        As for the assertion that the Camry is one of the oldest int he class lets remember it is 18 months old, only 1 year older than the Accord (same age as the Passat and younger than the Sonata and Optima) so age is no defence (doesn`t hurt Corolla).

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Yeah, that whole “age” thing for the Camry is an excuse in light of the Sonata being due for a replacement in the near future.

          In order to move the Camry, Toyota has been pretty aggressive with both incentives spending and fleet sales (21% to fleet for March).

          While Nissan may be more aggressive with regard to incentive spending, the Altima had an ATP that is $1k more than the Camry (same for the Accord) while the Fusion had an ATP that is $2k more than the Camry.

          As for sales of the Corolla – incentive spending and fleet sales.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          I test drove the 2014 Mazda6 and the 2013 Accord Sport back-to-back. I drive a Honda, so the 2013 Accord felt “right” compared to what I’m used to, but I could get used to the Mazda. The Mazda has faster steering. The Accord has a significantly larger interior for people, but a less useful trunk and pass-through shape for rectangular cargo. Either one would be a good fuel-efficient family car suitable for daily commuting. Both are enjoyable to drive within the constraints of budget and the need to carry children.

        • 0 avatar
          BlanketSlayer

          I didn’t test drive the Mazda unfortunately. However, I do have a friend who has a new one and after looking at the backseat, I thought that fitting 3 car seats would be difficult. I upgraded from a Corolla and one of our main purposes was more space, which the Mazda didn’t seem to have. I really like the way they look and appear to be very well reviewed though. I initially was only going to look at the Accord LX, but with the extra stuff the Sport has for not too much more money, it was impossible for me not to go with it. It’s a car that I hope to keep for a very long time and though I’m only 200 miles in, I’m really loving it. I would definitely test drive both the Mazda and the Accord, but like I said the space in the backseat for 3 across in the Mazda was a bit of an issue for me.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Choosing one of these cars is akin to picking out your casket”

      Meh, stereotypical “car guy” tunnel vision. Not everyone cares about cars. Most people have lives outside them. Some of them are far more interesting than a car.

    • 0 avatar
      ninja14blue

      Wrong…I just picked up a new Accord Sport 6M last month, and it’s a very nice car and fun to drive. Is it as fast as my ’06 GTO or my ZX-14? No, but that’s not what I bought it for.

      Believe it or not, some people just don’t care about their cars as long as it gets them from point-A to point-B without costing them an arm and leg to drive and maintain. I don’t need a 400+ hp car for my mundane daily commute of 35 straight freeway miles. I want to my car to be comfortable, economical, and reliable. I have other vehicles for weekends and playtime.

      I could have bought any number of cars, I chose the Accord Sport…for what I paid ($21,800), nothing came close.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I am looking at the Accord Sport and am amazed at the prices quoted through AAA. Over $2500 off a car that is less than $25K and you get cheap financing too. Honda has stepped up a little in their pricing/incentives just as Toyota and Nissan go crazy. A friend bought a 2.5S Altima last month and got $3500 off ($23.5K MSRP) and zero % financing. If you go on Edmunds you can get an additional $750. Just shows how competitive this market is. Hence why there won`t be 400,000 Camry’s when people, even if uninterested in cars, have plenty of other good choices to the Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        BlanketSlayer

        Same here! I think the Sport 6speed is the sweet spot for this segment.

      • 0 avatar
        BlanketSlayer

        Totally agree. I paid just a tad under what you did, and I think for the money the Sport is a pretty great value. I’ve been stalking the driveaccord.net forums for a while and quite a few people seem to have been having wind noise issues. Mine does not appear to be having any of that though. I just picked mine up last week and so far so good.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          My new Accord Touring has no wind noise, no rattles and no complaints after six weeks and 1,100 miles. (Stereo is not up to the revision number on the Honda TSB to correct sound and Bluetooth phone issues, but it’ll suffice until the first oil change.)

          The Mazda would be cool with the diesel, but everything else in the class just doesn’t have the Honda “feel” to which I’ve become accustomed over the last nineteen years and three other Hondas! (Fusion? Tech. might be cool, until I start realizing that the SYNC ain’t as good as I think, I get pissed trying to hit a center-stack switch while underway, all while getting less MPGs than expected, having to beat the snot out of the 2.0 in the Titanium just to keep up with traffic! My Touring’s 3.5-liter V6 acheived a recent highway run of 34 MPG average at 80+ MPH! That’s only a couple MPGs behind the fours!)

          Even though there’s no replacement for displacement, I did test an Accord Sport with a CVT, and came away most impressed–IMHO, 90% of today’s commuters would be just fine with one–the 2.4-liter DI four-pot has some pop to it, and unlike the Camry, it has some feel to it!

    • 0 avatar
      SqueakyVue

      Is this news? Isn’t this usually the case?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The Malibu sucks though. I think the Cruze has a roomier back seat. I will go further and say the Cruze is a better proposition than the Malibu all around. If they equipped it with the 2.0T there would be no reason for the Malibu to exist. They really dropped the ball by shrinking the wheelbase; one of the dumbest ideas ever.

    • 0 avatar
      stottpie

      I know some very nice, very knowledgeable people at GM.

      Your point about the Malibu is dead-on, and let me tell you – They know.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      It’s not the shrinking wheelbase, it’s the shrinking back seat legroom. With no V6 the engine bay takes
      up too much room in the design. That’s one problem in platform sharing. The hard parts of the platform constrain
      other packaging. You can’t slide the cab forward to give more back seat room, you can only lengthen the
      package which would then be called Impala not Malibu.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The Cruze does not have a roomier back seat compared to the Malibu. I have rented and extensively driven both and the Bu is roomier in most every dimension inside. It also has a far superior drivetrain, transmission shifting, better seat comfort and a larger trunk. It also has 197 std HP and 259 optional compared to the weak 138 offering from both of the Cruze offerings. Saying the Malibu shouldn’t exist would also be like saying the Camry shouldn’t exist because the Corolla isn’t that much different in interior legroom. Each car has an intended market. The Malibu is going to be refreshed with greater back seat room and a new front end treatment for 2014 so it should really be relevant then.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        More rear legroom on a refresh? How?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The Malibu could stand to be a bit larger, but I found the amount of rear-occupant room to be perfectly adequate. And while some have said the interior is bland and the exterior is tacky, I quite like it, especially with the smoked headlamps available on the LTZ. My only real point of contention with the Malibu is the giant release button to access the compartment behind the MyLink system, which sticks out like a sore thumb.

        Of course, the fact that Chevy is facelifting the Malibu for MY2014 won’t do any good for sales of units on the lot, and I’m guessing that’s why GM has yet to actually unveil the new design.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I have to say, the Fusion is a good looking car in person. I slowed down on the highway to let one pass me (to the wife’s objections) and suffice to say, from every angle, it is a very sharp looking car. I saw two of them in the same color (an olive drab) and was impressed. It really is a better looking car in person than from what I have seen online and in magazines. If all else follows with the Fusion, I think sales will only grow. Game changer indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Consumer Reports buys their cars and stated that the 2013 Fusion has unusually poor build quality even for a new design and their Ecoboost engines are slower and thirstier than the competitions’ engines.

      It is off their recommended list.

      Game changer indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        finn4723

        Exactly what I mumbled (grumbled) to myself as I read this. The sales data also does not break down retail vs. fleet sales. Last time I strolled through the Emerald Aisle it was flooded with Fusions as well as Malibus and Impalas. Couple that with a nearly $40k sticker on a fully loaded model and I can’t even get HID’s…not interested in playing that game.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The Fusion has an ATP that is $2k more than the Camry.

          Fusion sales will continue to rise as production increases with the start of US production.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The three best attributes of the new Fusion are the rigidity of the chassis, the low interior noise level & the decent (on a relative basis) steering feel.

            In terms of just about every other aspect, newly redesigned vehicles from the Honda Accord to the Mazda 6 either equal or best the Fusion, are not burdened with the pointless complexities and reliability demerits that things such as forced induction involve (especially when the normally aspirated motors of competing vehicles obtain better fuel economy WHILE offering better acceleration and mechanical refinement, have larger and more useable rear passenger accommodations and trunks, have much cleaner and logical dash designs (and vastly superior gauges), and are available in option configurations that don’t force consumers to buy thousands in extras that they neither need nor want.

            To add to future Fusion headwinds, quite a few competitors are set to be redesigned soon, and the initial reliability woes suffered by the Fusion don’t exactly improve upon consumer loyalty and repeat purchasers.

            l also sincerely don’t think the aesthetics of the Fusion will age better than the current Sonata have, despite the initial honeymoon period many Ford loyalists seem to be so enthusiastic about.

            Fusion also has a very high fleet purchase rate compared to vehicles such as the Accord, and this discrepancy will only widen as the Fusion ages.

      • 0 avatar
        stottpie

        Consumer Reports only ever recommends Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas. Their opinions are terrible.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Read CR lately? They’re on a Subaru binge.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Consumer Reports only ever recommends Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas.”

          Ignorance in bloom. CR recommends plenty of domestics, other Japanese and Korean brands, and didn’t place the 2012 Civic on it recommended list.

          The 1.6 Ecoboost is a poor performer compared to the 2.5L competition, both from acceleration and fuel economy standpoint. CR is able to produce respectable opinions on that topic.

        • 0 avatar
          finn4723

          That is hardly true. Did you miss the headlines last year that said the Civic scored too low in their testing to recommend? Please review their “best and worst” cars list and check back in. You’ll find a solid variety of makes and models from a variety of countries on the list. Also, some light reading…http://www.automobilemag.com/features/columns/1304_noise_vibration_and_harshness_when_consumer_reports_met_the_maverick/

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          Audi A6 recently. They weren’t big fans of the Civic pre-refresh.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        I was simply giving a first impression without knowing much else. It caught my eye and I would definitely check it out if I was in the market for a boring-mobile. I also would not take CR’s words for gospel either.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        That’s not the only concerns I’ve heard about the reliability of the new Fords. I was tempted but ultimately stayed away because of credible reports of the “world cars” having teething problems.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        The Fusion easily did well enough in Consumer Reports testing to be recommended, but it’s not because it’s too new to have reliability data. The same is true of any new Toyota, Mazda, Nissan etc.

        However, it is true that they found the EcoBoost engines underwhelming (which may have as much to do with the Fusion’s relatively high weight as the engines themselves) as well as a surprising number of panel fitment issues (separate from the quality of materials used, which CR praised). The Fusion is a nice car but it’s not without flaws. I imagine the build quality issues will be sorted pretty quickly, but the underwhelming powertrains – apart from the Hybrid’s, which is excellent – are unlikely to change. I wonder if a DI 2.5-liter four with an eight-speed auto would be able to deliver more competitive mileage/acceleration.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          At this year’s auto show, I drove a new Fusion & a new Accord.

          The Fusion did absolutely nothing for me. The look/feel inside & out was just meh. I had the genuine feeling that I didn’t want it. But the Accord impressed me; it just felt right while the Fusion was awkward.

          • 0 avatar
            SV

            Good for you. I still think the Fusion is nice. I drove it and the new Mazda6 at the auto show and preferred the Fusion for being much more refined and “solid”-feeling, but I only drove both of them very briefly, as I imagine you did.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Wait until you see the inside you may speed up very. Very busy in there and that kept me away and into a jetta TDI sports wagon

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      I had the opposite impression. The Aston front end isn’t bad. The rest of car is tall, slab-sided, and otherwise very ordinary. The side profile is almost identical to the Sonata with a flat character line. The up-spec Optima is significantly more impressive to these eyes.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    While having my car serviced, I checked out a Malibu’s back seat. I adjusted the front seat to where it was right for me, sat in back right behind it, and I had plenty of room.

    What’s all the fuss about? I suppose I’ll have to check out the back seat of an Accord whenever I go to a Honda dealer to have wifey’s car serviced to see if there is any significant difference.

    I’m 5’10″, 185 lbs, FWIW…

    IF I wouldn’t have had a terminal case of Impalaitis, and IF the refreshed Malibu had not been released with Eco-boost, I may be driving one now.

    I had to own the final-gen W-body, though…

    • 0 avatar
      BlanketSlayer

      I have to fit 3 kids car seats in, and the Malibu’s space is definitely tigher than the new Accords.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      I had a rental Impala at the house a month ago, and compared it to our 2012 Accord. Interior on the Accord seemed larger but it’s within an inch on several dimensions…the rear cushion is taller on the Accord and so you do sit more upright. The trunk is also a little smaller on the Accord due to a larger fuel tank and rear suspension. Visibility is actually about the same, the Accord has very thin pillars like the Impala.

      The Impala is much quieter and quite a bit more power. I now prefer the Charger for my rentals though.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The height of the seat, and room *under* the front seats is at least as important as femur room for sitting adults comfortably. Similarly, if dealing with child seats, there’s much more going on that one leg room measurement.

        There’s also perception of space. You really need space at your shoulders more than at your head, but you feel more comfortable with space at your head because that’s where your eyes are. Planes are a great example of this effect.

        • 0 avatar
          TEXN3

          Agreed, I perceived the Accord to have more space. We do have 2 car seats and the Accord’s “thinner” front seats helped give the front passenger that much additional room with one car seat facing backwards.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      People are expecting limo legroom in midsize sedans now, because several cars are providing it. Try sitting in a Passat, the legroom is ridiculously large. Compared to that, a Malibu will seem small even if it isn’t, and reviewers just LOVE to find anything they can use to draw contrasts between highly competent cars in a competitive field.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I’m with you Zackman. I’m still trying to figure out where in people’s childhoods this magical fountain of backseat room came from. Someone rightfully pointed out that a K-car had a good bit of backseat room, but the others have me scratching my head.

      I haven’t found to the Malibu to be that small when I sat in one, and visually it doesn’t look small either.

      I sometimes wonder whether this is an artifact of The Wobble.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The Ks had decent room, IIRC.

        The new Accord has more room in the back than the 2008-2011s, which were limo-like to begin with. I’m sure I could easily and comfortably fit two 6’5″ basketball players in my backseat, and have plenty of room for the front passenger, and not have to move my driver’s seat from its memory position. The roof dips a little more rakishly than the last generation, but I think there might only be half-an-inch of lost headroom, if that.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    We should give Toyota some credit for the Camry. They have it looking as sporty as a Corolla S now. That aggression will not stand still.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    It’s unfortunate that Mazda gets so little traction among mainstream buyers. Other than a decade-ago legacy of rust, I can’t see a single good reason to buy most of these over the new Mazda6, but it’ll never outsell the Malibu, much less the Japanese segment kings.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Oh it’s not a ‘decade-ago’ quite yet, a friend with an ’06 3i has the orange tinge creeping up the inner creases of the rear quarter panels, earlier cars have full blown rot there. I’m hearing some complaints on forums abotu early build Mazda CX9 rear hatches, we’ll see what comes of that.

      But yes, the rust issues started in the mid-late 90s, the Proteges are notorious rust buckets, albeit the 323-Proteges were okay, as were 626s before the 1998 redesign, after which they too became rust magnets. 1st gen MPVs like mine are okay, pretty typical 1990s japanese car levels of rust protection. I’m waiting to see how 2nd gen Mazda 6s hold up before I ever recommend a Mazda to a friend.

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        I’ll keep you posted. I just bought a 2013 Mazda 6 Sport with the 6 speed manual. Having previously owned a 2010 Accord, as well as numerous Euro sedans, and having driven rental Camrys and Altimas, I agree with Astigmatism, I can’t for the life of me figure out why the 6 lags so far behind the segment leaders. Whether it’s build quality, interior room, MPGs – the 2nd-gen 6 matches up. And in other areas, it excels, like steering, handling and that zingy 2.5l MZR engine. Zoom-zoom indeed. The new Mazda 6 ups the game even more. I’m hopeful on the rust issue (esp. here in New England), but for now I’m happy driving a sleeper.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I suspect it’s partly down to there being relatively few Mazda dealers. The ones I’ve tried to deal with in two states thousands of miles apart have been pretty unpleasant too. The first generation Mazda 3 was an excellent product that sold well, and the dealers responded to their popularity by acting like they had a 6 month waiting list even when they had 25 Mazda 3s in stock. I don’t know anyone that bought a Mazda 3 that wound up being all that happy with it in the long run either, so many former owners are probably happy to try something that isn’t a Mazda this time around. My one friend that bought a low mileage used first-gen Mazda 6 has gotten good service out of it, as far as I know. She’s coming to visit this week, so I’ll ask her how it’s held up since she moved to Texas.

          • 0 avatar
            PartsUnknown

            I was fortunate to have a good selection of dealers in the Boston area. And the one I chose was great to deal with, and highly rated by dealerrater.com. Overall, however, you are probably correct. Maybe advertising has something to do with it as well; I have yet to see a television ad for the new 6.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            We have a decent selection of Mazda dealers in TX, and the one I frequent stands easily with any other brand in terms of quality of treatment and competence.

            I would also place their market share here well above the national average, but even so, I’ve only seen one 2014 6 on the road so far, and CX-5s are still few & far between.

          • 0 avatar
            akitadog

            We bought my wife (then girlfriend) an ’06 Mazda3 5-door. It was certainly fun to drive, and we still haven’t seen any evidence of rusting, but what disappointed me was its worse-than-expected fuel economy, wear items that simply wore out WAY too soon (all new struts at around 50K miles, new pads all around, new tires at 30K), and the horrible creaking of the body when we get in and out.

            Meanwhile, my ’08 GTI has been surprisingly reliable, compared to the Mazda.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            I agree there are less dealers, but if they can sell around 10K units of the 3 every month (on average) then they should be aiming to sell similar volumes of the CX5 and the 6. Honda, Toyota, Chevy and Ford all seem to sell similar volumes of their 3 key products – compact sedan, midsize sedan and compact CUV.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I checked out all four of these vehicles at the local car show two weeks ago. I was particularily interested in back seat room. I set the front seat to a comfortable position and then would jump in back of the driver for a leg room check. It’s a pretty severe test as I am 6’1″ and long legged. However, I didn’t need to put the front seat all the way back in any of the cars.
    Here are the results

    1. Accord – no contest. I had at least two inches to spare between my knees and the seat back.
    2. Altima – very good room and slightly more comfortable to me.
    3. Camry – good room, but didn’t care for the seating position
    4. Fusion – about the same knee room as the Camr, but a more comfortable seating position.
    5. Cruze – although a size class smaller, the back seat was too small for me to get into when I adjusted the front seat to me.

    I also got to test drive the Fusion and Cmax. The Fusion had the standard 1.6 non turbo engine and seemed peppy. Since I was limited to about 25 mph, I can ‘t say too much about it’s acceleration, but it handled decently.
    The Cmax was the surprise. I couldn’t tell it was a hybrid. It accelerated that smoothly. The regenerative brakes were also absoultely sooth.
    I put both of these cars on the approved to purchase list pending more thorough testing.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Fusion has a 2.5l non-turbo, 1.6l turbo, or 2.0l turbo. The 2.5 is a good motor, I was disappointed on the previous gen Fusion with the transmission programming that went along with both the 2.5l 4 and 3.0l 6. I would have only considered the 3.5l Sport model. I’m really not interested in turbos, I like simplicity.

      • 0 avatar
        SteveMar

        My dad has the new Fusion with the standard 2.5 engine. It’s the same engine that was in his 2010 Fusion. Frankly, it seems to move the car along quite nicely and without much fuss. I know a lot has been made of Ford’s Ecoboost engines and also that Consumer Reports has criticized them for not delivering big mileage gains, despite the smaller size. After driving the 2.5, I wonder what the fuss is about putting the smaller turbos in the car. Is it just Ford’s fascination with shiny new technology — which is also why it’s hard to get a car without one of the annoying MyFord Touch panels?

      • 0 avatar
        Felix Hoenikker

        TEXN3.

        I asked the Ford kid who rode with me what engine the Fusion had. He said it was the 1.6 “Non Turbo”. So now I’m thoroughly confused.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      Felix, I evaluated the competition much like you did, and I ended up buying the C-Max. At 99+ cubic feet, the C-Max passenger compartment is within 1 cubic foot of the current Malibu, and it seems to have significantly better rear seat room. Tthe cargo room is roughly the same as the old V-6 Malibu Maxx as is the acceleration at 0-60 in 8 seconds. Whereas the Malibu Maxx yielded low 20′s MPG, I’m getting low 40s MPG in the C-Max, mostly city. The C-Max doesn’t have the looks of the Fusion, but it’s a couple grand cheaper than the Fusion Hybrid, and it has better cargo room and driving position. Don’t let Myfordtouch scare you off. It’s nice once you get used to it.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    The Avenger/200 hit 29K for March, and the Optima/Sonata hit 32K. If if you consider the Regal (1.6K) a twin for the Malibu, GM still lags all of the major American players.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      true, they lag in this one segment. Your point?
      Lets compare compact sedans, compact CUV’s, trucks, sub-compact cars.

      The big take away from this article is the in the past Camry was #1 by a solid margin (with little incentive spending), then Accord at #2 followed by everyone else. Well now you have four cars chasing #1 (and large Toyota incentive spending by their standards) and all being within 10% or so. Nissan has certainly broken in, Hyundai/Kia have when combined in sales. VW has hit a wall with the Passat stalled at 10K a month for the past year.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        If Volkswagen supplied Passats to Chevrolet like Chrysler provides Routan’s to Volkswagen, they’d sell five times as many. The Passat is a better Impala than the Impala.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Agreed, if they fleeted as much they would sell more. However 10K if it was all retail (an assumption there) is still much lower than retail Fusion, Altima, Accord, Camry and Sonata sales.
          Also it is lower than Jetta sales, which I would expect to be comparable.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    If the recall heave, mediocre, and extremely over styled Fusion is such a “game changer”, why is it 4th?

    I bet the over styled Fusion doesn’t need a special tow package though, that’s probably why it’s a “game changer”.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Not enough capacity/supply until US production of the Fusion starts, but until then, I think Ford will enjoy the Fusion having an ATP that is $1k more than the Accord and $2k more than the Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Fleet sales do not give you higher ATPs. And that is what Ford is doing, fleet-whoring the mediocre Fusion.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I too assumed Ford was fleeting the Fusion, but if its ATP is higher and, as you say fleet sales don`t help with that, then how do you explain the high ATP?

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Then how does the Fusion have an ATP that is $2k higher than the Camry?

          Ford has cut back sharply on rental fleet sales for the Fusion, as well as for their lineup overall.

          Ford’s rental fleet rate for March was 14% , which is considerably lower than Toyota’s 21% fleet rate for the Camry.

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            Fourteen percent? I don’t think so. As far as the higher ATP, Fusions are overpriced and have reliability issues. CR ranks Ford near last. There are some dumb people willing to pay more to get less reliability.

          • 0 avatar
            86SN2001

            Citation needed for all of that.

            -ATP of $2K higher
            -Cut back on fleet sales
            -Fleet rate for March.

            And you cannot quote a Ford press release because there’s a 50/50 chance they are just plain lying.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This is now a segment in which we are spoiled for choice. Sure the base models are snoozers but for the enthusiast you just have to want the right thing. V6 Altima anyone? Top engine option in the Fusion? Family sedan market is a good place to be now if you are paying attention.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    I’m not surprised that the Accord could likely be number 1 in retail sales. The styling just has a certain class to it that some rivals lack, and the powertrain refinement, overall packaging, and efficiency are tough to beat for the price.

    The only other car in the top four I would consider is the Fusion, but the issues with the 1.6 are scaring me off, and it’s heavier than it needs to be. It seems like it’s among the class leaders, but I don’t think it’s a game changer, as it implies other competitors are far behind, which does not appear to be the case at all.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    Hugh Hefner has the “Bunny Hutch” for sale in the Holmby Hills area of LA for sale. A house near the Playboy mansion where he stores his excess busty young women. (Baruth, don’t try to convince us you’ve “buffed your Panther” there many times.)Anyway, here’s a picture and, as they say on the Hemmings blog, “what do you see here”? I see many of the expected “chick cars” and none are the cars mentioned in this article. It would seem there are markets that the mid-sizers don’t dominate. (God, the potential double entendres in the last sentence alone!)

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-50AWbPVksRI/UWMc2UhqklI/AAAAAAAAQkY/StFOiwU36Sg/s1600/BunnyHutch_PICS1.jpg


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India