By on August 5, 2016

2016 Subaru Legacy Limited“They go on loving you just the same, but somebody’s dying.”
Not Chris Isaak – 1995.

Minivans crumbled as the three-row utility vehicle took over, leaving a handful of nameplates to each produce healthy volume. TTAC’s claim earlier this week? Midsize sedans are now following the same track, crumbling as the smaller two-row crossover takes over.

Already, America’s fleet of midsize sedans is decreasing in size. We expect to see a greater reduction in the number of midsize offerings soon.

Midsize sedans desperately want you. But you, oh collective American consumer, are consistently desirous of fewer midsize sedans. The current crop of midsize nameplates does not uniformly possess the mettle to survive the current downturn, a downturn which quickly grew more severe last month.

U.S. sales of midsize cars plunged by 31,000 units in July 2016.

July marked the fifth consecutive month of decline for the American midsize car category . The segment tumbled twice as quickly in July as in the first-half of 2016. The nine top sellers all attracted fewer buyers in July 2016 than in July 2015. Those nine cars — Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion, Sonata, Malibu, Optima, Passat, 200 — account for better than 90 percent of the segment’s volume.

The July decline wasn’t the harshest during this five-month stretch. May sales slid 16 percent, a 39,000-unit year-over-year decline.

TTAC USA midsize sedan sales chart

But July offered greater confirmation of the trend. May was a topsy-turvy month that brought the industry’s volume down. In July, as the market managed modest 1-percent growth on the backs of the SUV/crossover sector’s 8-percent improvement and the midsize truck category’s 29-percent improvement, the midsize car category’s 15-percent decline was far worse than the overall car sector’s 9-percent drop.

Compact cars were down less than 7 percent — the two compact category leaders both reported improved July sales. Subcompact cars jumped 15 percent compared with July 2015 (though they were admittedly down 14 percent compared with July 2014.) Meanwhile, outside of the midsize mainstream, sales of the Chevrolet Volt rose to a 23-month high, the BMW 2 Series reported yet another big increase, sales of the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger improved, and newly launched or refreshed vehicles such as the Chevrolet Spark, Audi A4, and Jaguar XF, produced meaningful gains, as well.

In the general sense, therefore, cars aren’t dead. Indeed, the overall sector can blame more than half of its July decline on the very midsize cars that now produce just 30 percent of America’s passenger car volume.

July’s worst offenders? The soon-to-be-discontinued Chrysler 200’s 43-percent drop is certainly noteworthy but no longer surprising. The class-leading Toyota Camry, America’s best-selling car in 14 consecutive years, suffered an 11-percent July drop worth more actual lost volume than the 200’s 43-percent decrease. Nissan’s 26-percent Altima decrease was most severe, causing Altima volume to decline by 8,893 units and the Altima’s share of its category to fall by two points from 16 percent in July 2015 (and 17 percent in June 2016) to 14 percent in July 2016.

Subaru managed to grow its July Legacy sales total by 16 percent, but for such a low-volume player, this equalled only 712 additional sales. Fewer than 3 percent of the midsize sedans sold in the United States in July were Legacys. The Buick Regal, an upper-crust competitor between categories, likewise posted a large percentage increase. But the Regal’s 50-percent volume uptick only drove its share of the category to 1.3 percent.

2017 Ford Fusion Platinum

While midsize cars were roundly outsold by full-size trucks, compact cars, and small SUVs/crossovers in July, they remain plentiful on dealer lots, where sales managers know full well that demand is drying up in a hurry.

Thus, consumers who remain open to the idea of a midsize sedan are entitled to reap the benefits. Not only can you expect big discounts on an end-of-line model such as the Chrysler 200, Chevrolet instantly knocks $1,000 off the price of the new Malibu before negotiations begin; before more specific incentives are located. Ford’s recently refreshed 2017 Fusion is already being marketed with 0-percent financing for five years and a $1,240 discount.

Midsize cars are better than ever. They’re progressively becoming less expensive. And the likelihood of seeing yourself coming the other way is growing ever more slim.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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96 Comments on “Midsize Sedan Deathwatch #2: July Sales Tank, Makes August a Great Time to Buy a Midsize Car...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I was pricing the Legacy just a couple of days ago. The prices were reasonable, but not great if you don’t care about Subaru’s AWD (which is significantly less-capable or remarkable on the new Legacy than it was on the previous one). If I’m spending $30K, I want one with all the features except for the larger engine. I suspect you’d get a better deal on a higher-volume sedan like the Fusion, Malibu, Altima, Camry, Accord. etc…particularly the 2016 Fusion because the 2017 has had a (subtle) facelift, but there are still plenty of 2016 units on the lots.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      The H6 is a nice option to the 2.5L. Can get a 3.6R Limited close to $29k.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Where?

        • 0 avatar
          Phil in Englewood

          Good question.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            The Legacy is just a free ride for Subaru, it’s just a trunk slapped on an Outback. They don’t give too much of a hoot about Legacy sales and there really isn’t much incentive to buy one considering the outback is the same price and offers more utility.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Ground clearance, yarrr. Free the Outback SUS!

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            No, the Outback definitely is not the same price. The Outback typically costs another $4,500 or so over a comparably-equipped Legacy. The fact that it is popular in its own right and has supply issues in certain areas causes the Subaru dealers not to want to offer very good deals on it, either.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Heuberger Subaru has one advertised for $28,856… 3.6R Limited.

          I looked there first just because I know they generally have the best advertised price when I look online.

        • 0 avatar
          VW16v

          One example. But all the local dealers in the SLC area have Legacy models about $2500 to 3000 off .
          http://www.dougsmithsubaru.com/new/Subaru/2016-Subaru-Legacy-american-fork-5755df680a0e0a176100fb45291b6750.htm?searchDepth=28:37

          But if you are anywhere near the Boston area I would go to PlanetSubaru. Lifetime tires, batteries, and 10yr/150k powertrain warranty at no extra cost. And there prices are the same as any location. Same price as the dealers in SLC, UT.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The H6 just makes the car noncompetitive, IMO. It’s out of its price range, and the power and fuel economy is unacceptable. When Tim tested one a year or so ago, he couldn’t get more than 18mpg out of it.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            H6 will not get 35 mpg. But 18 is a bit delusional if not driving it like a rental car. Coworker has H6 Outback average 24 mpg mixed driving. Value would be the Legacy 2.5 Limited for under $27k and better mpg.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            18 city probably.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Which really, is poor for only 250 odd HP, and having a CVT, on a car which is FWD based and not extremely heavy.

            That’s VQ35 AWD mileage.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            Just talked to coworker. 18 mpg feasible if driving it hard in the city. Combined he gets 24 and drives 80 mph hwy. Outback is a bigger vehicle too. So maybe Tim had some issues with his tester.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Yeah the CVT does end my H6 dream. I could have lived with the 5-speed automatic.

            I’m really more interested in the 2017 Impreza to see what the extensive revision is all about. Unfortunately I’m reading conflicting reports online about the availability of manual transmission in the new Impreza and the configurator isn’t up on Subaru’s site yet. I always felt that the old car was a little sound insulation and a 6-speed manual away from being compelling.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            True, CVT’s are not for everyone. But I would not base all opinions of CVT’s on Nissan products. Probably the worst for that rubber band effect. Subaru and Honda seem to build the best cvt’s. Chain instead of belt helps.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You can find a good discount on a H6 Outback. The CVT makes the fuel economy somewhat tolerable. And the H6 is about as durable an engine as you’ll find anywhere. It’s just a bit underpowered for what it is.

          • 0 avatar
            Grant404

            Does anybody build their own transmissions anymore, CVT or otherwise? I have a Chevy with an outsourced Japanese transmission (Aisin) that was also used in Nissans and some other makes, and I know there was some grumbling about Chinese transmissions in Mustangs.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      [AWD]which is significantly less-capable or remarkable on the new Legacy than it was on the previous one…

      What do you mean by this? AFAIK, it has the same AWD system as the Legacy always had and that all the other Subaru’s have.

      The think to understand about Subaru is that (except for the BRZ) they really have only one platform. It’s like Chrysler in the K car days and they are really able to cover quite a few categories by shrinking/stretching/raising/lowering the variations.

      “on a car which is FWD based”

      Subaru has a true AWD system and you can’t even buy a 2WD Legacy in the US so it’s hard to call the Legacy FWD based. The FWD version is more like a delete option on a car that was designed to be AWD.

      Regardless of how it was “based” when you buy it, it is an AWD car that you have to compare to other AWDs. It’s not going to compete w a 2WD car on mileage because the AWD carries a considerable weight and friction penalty. OTOH, it handles wet road as if they were dry roads – no spinning the wheels at traffic lights, etc.

      The Subaru CVT is less annoying than some. Mfrs are adopting them for a reason. An automatic transmission is a Rube Goldberg device that is insanely complicated. CVTs are an elegant solution and provide infinite ratios.

      • 0 avatar
        5280thinair

        Jack,

        The AWD system in the current Legacy is indeed different from previous generations. Google “ATC vs VTD” to find descriptions of the differences. The current ATC system seems to have been adopted for cost saving reasons and gives up some advantages of the previous version.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        No, it’s not the same. The old one had VTD with a center differential that contained an electronically-controlled hydraulic clutch pack which sent most of the power to the rear (45/55 front-rear split) and acted as a limited-slip differential.

        The new one uses the ATC system, with no center differential and a multi-plate friction clutch pack to divide the power between axles. It has a 60/40 front-rear split, but because the axles can only spin at the same speed when the clutch pack is fully engaged, it has to partially disengage during turns…removing a lot of the advantages of AWD in terms of handling.

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      Is it just me, or is the current Legacy a step down from previous versions? It feels cheaper overall, and the ATC AWD system sure seems a step backwards from the previous VTD. And the acceleration with the base engine is pretty pathetic, with a mid nine second 0 to 60 time. Here in the Denver area with 20% less air density they’re even slower. Following one off an on-ramp metering light onto the freeway, they seem like slugs. The H6 versions can at least get out of their own way, but from a horsepower vs. fuel mileage perspective that engine isn’t too attractive either.

      Subaru needs to make a Legacy with the WRX’s engine and drivetrain. If they did, there’s a good chance that would replace my TDI when I sell it back to VW.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Yeah, I visit Denver frequently (we’re from there), and naturally-aspirated engines have a noticeable performance deficit, IMO, especially if you drive even further and into the mountains…due to that air density thing you mentioned.

        Every third car there is a Subaru.

        My TDI was great in the mountains, and also on our drive from Oklahoma City to South Lake Tahoe. My best friend has asked to borrow it for his and his fiance’s upcoming 2,000 mile vacation because it’s such a great road-trip car, and if it weren’t for the fact that it would push me into the next mileage-deduction bracket, I’d let them,

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    You know you’re on the way out / It’s just a matter of time
    You thought you’d rule the world forever / Long live the king, and don’t spare the loser

    • 0 avatar
      Asdf

      Methinks the whole CUV thing will prove to be a bit of a cul-de-sac. The sedan isn’t dead yet.

      Leave it alone for a year or two / Till the stories go hazy and the legends come true / Then do it again. / Some Things never end.

  • avatar
    vvk

    I hate that E-class, 5er and A6 are excluded from the midsize category. Everywhere else they are D segment cars and are compared against the Camcords. It is like we are not good enough in this country. I find it offensive.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Not a mid-size and I’m not sure how many are being made, but you can *finally* get a base Impala LS with the V6.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yep. And it’s only a $1,000 option.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        It is an enticing prospect.

        Too bad there isn’t a 9C1 package or anything on this gen Impala. They are kind of a snooze to drive IMO and about the only thing upgradeable is the tires.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Just give me an Impala LT2 and I’ll get almost everything I want an the V6.

          Interesting to know that the base can get the V6 now. The only base cars I’d seen with the V6 badge on them had government plates, I didn’t know they were selling it to the public.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Well, the Impala I *really* want would be the LT trim with an F41 suspension, the 3.6 turbo/AWD setup from the XTS V-Sport and priced starting around $34K (in line with the Fusion Sport and Charger R/T).

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          They’re still pushing the Caprice PPV and the Impala Limited (old W-body version) as police vehicles, and the Tahoe above that. There’s not really an incentive to offer the Epsilon-II based Impala with a 9C1 package, especially because it might lower resale values all around.

          And it’s not like the old Impala wasn’t a snooze, especially with the earlier 3500 and 3900 engines. It was basically a big FWD couch, not that that doesn’t have its place, but the Impala hasn’t had any sort of real performance allure in a while. I’m not even counting the W-body Impala SS with the 5.3, because it was a torque-steering nightmare.

          • 0 avatar
            LS1Fan

            Ah, the LS4 W bodies.
            Fun cars especially in the Grand Prix GXP version.
            Unfortunately, GMs long term solution for torque steer was to make the transmission out of glass.

            Ponying up $3,000+ for a rebuild will disincline the owner from going WOT and risking a repeat visit. No more torque steer!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            High-stall torque converter? My ’96 Camaro ate one every 60K miles but tranny shop claimed full rebuild every time. Managed to snag the disks on the second job and you could still clearly read the lettering on them. Torque converter alone is a pretty cheap fix by comparison.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @ Kyree….Sadly, the last “W” Impala rolled off the line in early June.

    • 0 avatar
      LS1Fan

      @Vulpine

      It’s my understanding the clutch packs overheat, wear out, and cause the trans to slip out of gear, with eventual total failure after 50,000 miles regardless of owner maintenance.The factory parts simply aren’t up to the torque and HP that LS4 puts out over time.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Ah well. Things change; things stay the same. My Camaro had a V6 turning a V8’s tranny so they used an 8″ torque converter to push it. Remarkable acceleration for a 6 at the time (only 200 or so horses) but accelerating away over those slippery ‘Stop Here” stripes ensured sudden wheel spin with a very hard hit when you rolled off the stripe. Torque converter didn’t really like that.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Takeaways:
    – Accord rocks, deep into Year 4 of this model
    – New Malibu: encouraging but not great
    – New Optima: not working. Still relies on price to sell
    – Passat: no one cares
    – Mazda6: the car guys already bought theirs. No more zoom-zoom buyers

    And most of all:
    – The fork in the 200 has turned to rust.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Kia hasn’t been discounting the Optima like say, Nissan with the Altima and the Optima still is waiting on the new hybrid and PHEV versions.

      And while the Optima sells on being a good value, buyers are willing to spend $$ on higher trims – hence the higher ATP for its segment.

  • avatar
    zip94513

    I haven’t seen any deals out there, unless you want a hybrid. I’m happy I got my Fusion last November when Ford had x-plan pricing for cash buyers like myself because the savings were tremendous.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Hybrid midsize is the way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      I never much saw the point of X plan pricing. I get it through my employer, and I can usually find a couple of dealers who are advertising prices online that are lower than the X Plan price. The last two Fords we’ve bought have been this way.

      • 0 avatar
        zip94513

        True. My deal was better than x-plan, and the same for a friend of mine. But with x-plan as a no-haggle base price, it was a buyers market. I scored nicely, and so did my friend.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Ford’s X-plan used to be a great deal in the early 2000s. But as the plan became more widespread and people began figuring out the legitimate ways to access it (such as joining one of Ford’s corporate ‘partners’), I suppose some greedy dealership types whined to Ford corporate about how it was eating into their profits.

      So, Ford quickly reeled in the X-plan discount (claiming it was due to ‘abuse’ of the program). Today, the X-plan discount is virtually inconsequential and not worth the effort. In fact, the moment a dealership gets wind that a customer is going to use X-plan, if there’s a trade-in involved, they immediately low-ball it.

      A real shame because it used to be a great way to get a make buying a Ford or Mazda vehicle at a great price with a minimum of the typical dealership hassle.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Interesting to note that 3 of the 5 worst sellers have a manual option (at least in Canada), and a fourth just got rid of that option (Regal). Of the top sellers, only Honda has a manual option. I guess appliances sell best in this segment.

    Of course, the U.S. is just catching up with the rest of the world on this score, as D segment vehicles are largely irrelevant in most markets.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      deanst, the absolute numbers of midsize sedans sold in the US are still huge. Clearly not irrelevant. What’s happening is that competition is driving the weakest competitors out of this segment. CUVs sell extremely well with the half of the US population with two X chromosomes, but only a few like the Ford Explorer are sufficiently masculine looking to get male customers. If you see a guy driving a Toyota RAV4, the odds are extremely high that his wife picked the car.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Just as the full size car market got co-opted by enlarged midsize cars with luxury features, the midsize market is getting co-opted by the compact cars – some of whom are technically midsize – with luxury features.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Chrysler 2O_O

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well if there are deals out there on 6 cy accords may have to put that on the shopping list if the TDI goes back to VW

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Parked next to a new 200 last night at a restaurant.
    Pretty nice looking rig I thought. But apparently everybody who hits the Chryco dealer looking for something smaller than a Ram leaves in a Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Sales figures would seem to indicate that.

    • 0 avatar
      Grant404

      Yep. I think the 200 is one of the best looking sedans on the road, along with the Dart. I don’t know much about either of them and I’m certainly not in the market for any car let alone those, but aesthetically I think they did a very nice job. As for Jeeps, I have a female friend who recently surprised me by saying she bought a brand new Jeep. Without knowing the model I asked her to send me a photo of it. I cringed as I clicked on the photo link, expecting it to be some sort of pseudo Jeep, but it turned out to be a pretty sharp ’16 Wrangler. Not my cup of tea, but I guess if you’re going to buy a Jeep, buy a Jeep.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    I know I’m in Canada, but just went to look at some of the deals on slower selling cars.

    Specced a 200S with AWD, V6, 8 inch screen. Total discount = $0. Seriously. 0% for 84 months. I can buy a 2015 with a few KM for $27k, down from $40k list.

    Altima – 0% for 84 months OR $3000 in cash. That’s not enough to see it move.

    Passat – 0%. Up to $1000 discount.

    Optima – $500 with 0% financing.

    Mazda – $500 with 0%. Or $2k for cash.

    It’s no wonder these aren’t selling. They’re outdated and/or mediocre and the manufacturers are willing to put real $$$ discounts on them (combined with low rate financing) to make them sell.

    Yet you can get $2k off a 1.5 ecoboost Fusion and 1.99% for 60 months. It’s time for manufacturers to be aggressive again (and stop screwing us north of the border).

    If Chrysler slapped a $6k discount on the 200 with 0% for 48 or 60 months I bet they could sell of their remaining stock in a month.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    Mid size cars aren’t dead. I just traded my Cherokee trailhawk only after 6 months. Why you ask? Tired of 20MPG economy. I bought a VW Passat R-Line. What a sweet ride. The 1.8T is so underrated. Upper 30’s on the highway is a bonus. VW had great deals and knowing the salesman since 4th grade helped too. Came close to an Accord Sport but dealers didn’t think it was worth finding me a stick. So I left and got the VW. Dealer went 400 miles to get my car. VW dealers are hungry. I gave them something to eat.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I think when the gas price number starts with a 1, it makes folks not worry about 20 mpg fuel econ.

      Gas prices are pretty much the only thing we purchase where the price is displayed in 3 foot numbers on every street corner. I think it’s really psychological.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Automakers have also improved fuel economy for their crossovers and with buyers generally moving down a size-segment when switching to a crossover, fuel economy isn’t much of a factor as there is little difference btwn a compact crossover and a midsize sedan.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I have yet to see a facelifted Fusion on the roads. I’m sure I will notice that chrome strip intruding into the tail lamps, a la the XF.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Anyone drive a Fusion Sport yet? I went last week but it wasn’t in yet. I almost went to another dealer at lunch today to see it.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Tim, unrelated note… have you considered moving to a more sophisticated data platform? I am a real data geek and would love to/wouldn’t mind paying for access to something that would enable me to compare sales across cars or generate my own reports. I think that’s a valuable enough capability that would either drive a ton more traffic to GCBC, or be valuable enough to warrant a (cheap) subscription model, rather than the static .XLS downloads. I can just copy and paste for those…. the ability to pivot data and generate custom reports would really take things to another level IMO.

    On topic, not surprised at all…. C-segment SUVs drive 90% as well as most midsize sedans, while being easier to get in and out of, offering a better view out, more open cabin, more ground clearance (for the snow) and ~2-3x the cargo space with all the seats up. Obviously midsize mainstreamers still generate a ton of volume, but C-segment cars and CUVs make them redundant, offering similar performance with either better gas mileage or significantly enhanced practicality. C-segment cars don’t give up much in interior space either. It’s a no brainer.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Three of the top ten vehicles sold in the US are midsize sedans, and the segment has 14% market share. You’re a weeeeee bit early with the “death watch” talk.

    Consolidation is surely on the horizon, and market share is bound to decline further. But “death” is really pushing it; “wounded” is more like it.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Read Monday’s article. We are in fact claiming that the segment will not die, but that the segment will not support this many nameplates fighting over a shrinking pie.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I know, but you have “Deathwatch” in the title of this one. That’s a bit clickbaitish, don’t ya think?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Tim is trying to draw conclusions not fully supported by the data.
        The analogy to minivans is misleading. Midsize cars sell 4 times as many units than minivans therefore the market can support more nameplates.
        Also let’s focus on 2016 YTD data than, as he admits, variable monthly data. Several models including the Accord increased sales in 2016. The biggest volume loss was the Chrysler 200 (no surprise). That just speaks to FCA ineptitude, not the health of midsize sedans.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Well, to be fair, crossovers are gaining, and I doubt that all of that is attributable to new entrants to the market. Other segments are losing because of those increased crossover deliveries, and mid-sized sedans are almost surely part of that.

          However, that doesn’t mean that the entire segment is vanishing. The mid-size sedan market is about the same size as the full-size pickup market, but the pie is shared by more automakers and it doesn’t produce as much revenue. At the same time, the car platforms and drivetrains have broader applications, so there are also some advantages.

    • 0 avatar
      Grant404

      I wonder how many of those are fleet sales.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This seems to be the trend away from sedans and more cuvs. The good thing is if you want a midsize sedan this is the time to buy. Strike while the iron is hot. If you are willing to drive a Chrysler 200 then the deal is even better.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The appeal of a crossover in lieu of a mid-size sedan is lost on me other than the versatility of the hatchback/wagon body style. If I were comparing a small crossover vs. a mid-size sedan from most manufactures I’d take the sedan in a heartbeat. The Accord is a better than a CR-V as is a Fusion over an Escape in terms of driving experience and passenger comfort (especially in the rear seats). And I’m comparing the small crossover versus the midsize sedan as the respective Pilot or Explorer/Edge is going to cost a lot more than the sedan comparably equipped. I don’t buy the appeal of “visibility” either because with all of the other crossovers, SUVs, pickups and commercial trucks you can’t really see anything beyond the car in front of you anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Useable rear seat room and visibility were removed from sedans and given to “crossovers”. So why is anyone surprised a product line is failing after it was deliberately crippled?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Can medium-tall people sit in the back of the Accord or Fusion without brushing their heads on the ceiling? Can older passengers get in and out without contorting themselves too much?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Can medium-tall people sit in the back of the Accord or Fusion without brushing their heads on the ceiling? Can older passengers get in and out without contorting themselves too much?”

        Who cares… if nobody is ever going to occupy those seats?

        • 0 avatar
          rocketrodeo

          I’m 6’2″ with a long torso and I fit in the back seat of our new Fusion just fine, with legroom if the driver isn’t as tall as I am. It’s surprisingly roomy in a way that the Accord definitely isn’t.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Funny thing is I bought my CUV 8 years ago and I didnt really want one. I was having another kid and my wife was hell bent on getting one. I just wanted a Mazda 6 or Legacy at the time or even another Olds Aurora used.

    Guess what, I still just want another sedan. I do like the FLex and to a lesser extent the new CX9 but in 3 years when I am ready to upgrade (need to refinance the house in two years) I will look at something nice like a Q70L with the V8 option or the K900. Both are pretty cheap on the used car market. Both are cushy and fast enough for me.

  • avatar
    la834

    > “They go on loving you just the same, but somebody’s dying.”
    > Not Chris Isaak – 1995.

    Ah, “Somebody’s Crying” – I so love that song and the album it’s from, Forever Blue, which I’ve listened to so many times I’ve worn out my MP3s. That album is all heartbreak, all the time.

    The current midsize car market is hurt by the fact that many of the key players are rather old and up soon for a redesign. I expect the revamped Accord and Camry alone will give a boost to the segment.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    One problem with the headline advice: I refuse to buy a four-door car. I never have and I never will. (Note I said ‘car’; my Jeep is four doors; my old Vue was four doors, but they were/are SUV/wagons. The two sedans I ever owned were both given to me; I did not buy them.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Funny – my wife and I are exactly the opposite – we both refuse to buy a two-door car.

      I had a rental Hyundai Veloster for all of last week. Fun car but not much power in Denver with the base motor. But that fracking HUGE driver’s side door just does not belong on a tiny car like that. They should have just made it the same as the passenger side which has two doors on it (took me three days to realize that there was a rear passenger-side door).

      The 1997 Trans Am that I sold a year ago had the typical huge, heavy door as well – hated it. I live in an urban area where it’s not uncommon to only have 15″ – 18″ between parked cars – you can’t even get out of the car in those tight spaces with that long of a door.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Remember the Mazda RX-8? There are ways to give you the access without making it LOOK like a 4-door car. You might also consider the ’05 or so Saturn Ion, also with half-doors on each side but letting the overall opening be as large as a conventional 2-door.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Sloping roofs make it harder to get in the back seat of most newer midsize sedans along with having your head hit the rear glass. It is not the visibility from the windshield that is the problem but the side and rear window on many sedans. Unless your passengers are very short and small the comfort in many of the back seats of these vehicles is not so great. I guess if you never use the back seat then it wouldn’t matter but then why own a 4 door sedan unless you get it cheap enough. My concern is that a redesigned Accord and Camry will be the same as the other midsize sedans with sloping rear roof lines and smaller windows. The present Accord and Camry are fairly decent in headroom and legroom and a redesign might kill that.

    • 0 avatar
      theonlydt

      There’s a simple answer to headroom in mid-size sedans (it also makes them suitable for dog owners such as myself).

      Meet the Ford Mondeo (Fusion) Estate (Stationwagon)

      http://images.parkers.bauercdn.com/pagefiles/193932/cut-out/600×400/ford_2014_mondeo_estate.jpg

      They already MAKE IT! SELL IT! Why would it be so difficult to bring it over, other than being lower margin than the Esacpe… Oh, wait.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You just explained why these four-door “coupes” are a failure; they’re still sedans, even if they do have a sloping roof. Four doors are simply not ‘sporty’ and do not suggest ‘fun’, only staid, rat-racing corporate drone. I haven’t been a ‘corporate drone’ since I left Eastern Express airlines.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The next Accord looks to be following in the steps of the Civic – adopting a fastback roofline.

      But like the Civic, the next Accord looks to be longer (and have a longer wheelbase) in order to ameliorate some of the effects of the roofline.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would buy a proper station wagon but it seems like the manufacturers for the most part will not offer one unless Buick steps up.

    • 0 avatar
      Grant404

      They offer them, just typically not in the US. I just got back to the US from a month and 3,500 miles touring Europe by car, and there are a ton of sharp sport wagons on the road over there that we don’t get here. I’m a wagon guy and would take a wagon any day over an SUV/CUV/whatever-UV, but apparently there aren’t enough of us in the US to justify the expense of bringing them to the US. Ditto for the great little non-US 1.6 liter diesel 6 speed rental hatchback on which it was my pleasure to put 3,000 miles while touring several Euro countries. The parking lots over there are probably 80% hatchbacks, sport sedans, and wagons, most of which we don’t get in the US.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    There is nothing wrong with the looks of the 4 door coupe/sedan which I first remember seeing in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The problem is that it is more beauty and less functional. Maybe some of this styling is better aerodynamics but much of it could be that it is different. I like the looks of the Fusion, Malibu, Chrysler 200, Sonata, and Optima,I just don’t like getting into one of them and hitting my head on the back window nor do I like the smaller windows. If I were just using a sedan for commuting back and forth to work and were alone most of the time I wouldn’t mind it as much especially if I got a great deal. If that were the case I would take my chances and get a Chrysler 200 at a bargain price. Most of today’s sedans don’t meet most of my needs especially when I need to haul more than a couple of passengers and need to haul something besides luggage or gold clubs.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      That’s the reason why the greenhouses for the Sonata and Optima are less sleek than the previous version (sacrificed some aesthetics for more practicality) and why the new Civic (and looking like for the upcoming Accord as well) in adopting the fastback or “4-foor coupe” look has gotten bigger.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Taking the long view;

    When I graduated college, I was surprised to see more women in the graduation ceremony then I’d seen in the previous four years’ worth of partying and bar hopping. The stats back it up; more women are graduating college these days then men.

    Why? Not the point of this comment.But one effect -which is good in the aggregate- is that women will inevitably gain grater purchasing power over men as fewer males and more females hold professional qualifications.

    As such what’s defined as “the best car” for the family will no longer be determined by the man of the house.

    I’ve noticed women like and prefer safety and security in their vehicle choices. If a car feels safer , it gets the nod over another choice even if on paper it’s the better deal. A CUV or Outback type car feels safer then an equivalent sedan , and for the up and coming female professional that’s worth the price of admission. A high up, bigger metal box feels safer then a lower , flatter box.

    In the years to come I don’t see that view changing. Remember, the full size luxury market used to be about the big luxury sedans . Now those buyers rock Navigators and Escalades. The effect will trickle downmarket, where only the best sedans stay market relevant and the rest are discontinued in favor of CUVs. We’ll probably see the day when midsize sedans get Roadmaster’d as a category.

  • avatar
    Swobotex

    Just bought a new Passat SE w/ Technology and couldn’t be happier – turbo zip, very well equipped, 35+ mpg, roomy beyond belief, more then a 20% discount. I drove all the competitors and, all things considered, nothing came close. I really don’t care what everybody else is driving. But, hey, I’m 65 years old.

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