By on July 12, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu - Image: GMThrough the first-half of 2017, midsize car sales plunged 18 percent as nearly every nameplate in the category suffered from declining sales.

Year-over-year, sales of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Subaru Legacy, Mazda 6, and Chrysler 200 collectively fell by nearly 200,000 units.

We know where the buyers are going. Compact crossovers such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue — each of which now sell more often than even the top-selling midsize cars — are 2017’s soup du jour: more space for Buster the Bernese, better sightlines for the driver, all-wheel drive for those weekly Rubicon excursions, and a superior image to boot.

But if the trend we’ve seen through the first-half of 2017 holds, midsize cars won’t merely lose the U.S. sales race to compact crossovers. 2017 appears primed to be the first year in history in which compact cars also outsell midsize cars. 

2017 Ford Fusion Platinum Automotive News calls it a “midsize meltdown.” The consistency with which America’s midsize sedan market is shrinking, together with the gradual disappearance of midsize nameplates — most recently the Chrysler 200 — brought about TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Death Watch. The segment isn’t dying — but as the segment contracts, nameplates vanish.

America’s midsize segment is down 18 percent this year, a subject explored earlier this month after June’s 16-percent drop.

But the midsize segment is by no means the only car category suffering. Subcompact cars, led by a Nissan Versa in which even Nissan is losing interest, is down 19 percent in 2017. Full-size volume brand cars, like their midsize counterparts, are down 18 percent, a decline which led to the formal expiration of the Hyundai Azera.

But compact car sales are different.

Oh, they’re falling.

But not by much.

Midsize car sales topped compact cars by only around 24,000 units in the U.S. in 2016. But through the first-half of 2017, compact car volume are nearly 115,000-sales stronger than midsize car volume. That’s not necessarily because of massive compact car demand, but rather the compact car segment’s relative fortitude in a rapidly evolving market.

While comparable categories plunged between 18 and 19 percent, compact car volume is down less than 5 percent in 2017, a drop which can almost be confused with growth given the 12-percent downturn in overall U.S. passenger car sales this year.

A Chevrolet Cruze rebound after 2016’s debacle certainly helps. So too does the Hyundai Elantra’s 4-percent uptick after Elantra sales fell to a four-year low in 2016. Also on the rise is the aging Kia Forte, the SportWagen/Alltrack-elevated Volkswagen Golf, and the all-new Subaru Impreza.2017 Subaru Impreza - Image: SubaruThose five nameplates — Cruze, Elantra, Forte, Golf, Impreza — combined for a 12-percent year-over-year sales increase in 2017’s first six months. And that increase cancelled out much, though not all, of the declines reported by the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Jetta, and Mazda 3, as well as the discontinued Dodge Dart, Mitsubishi Lancer, and Buick Verano.

As a result, compact cars earned nearly 1.03 million U.S. sales in 2017’s first half. Midsize car volume tumbled to nearly 900,000 units.

There are obvious reasons car buyers — and there are still car buyers — may be willing to stick with compacts while fleeing bookend segments.

Affordability is foremost among such reasons. Kelley Blue Book says the average transaction price for a compact car in June 2017 was $20,465, an 18-percent savings compared with the average transaction price of a midsize car.

Compact car refinement has also improved by leaps and bounds in the latest generations of small car redesigns, with the Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra not remotely feeling like econoboxes.

Moreover, rear seat space — hiproom for three notwithstanding — is more than adequate in many compact cars. Throw in fuel economy, with a 2.4-liter-powered Accord rated at 30 miles per gallon and a 1.5T Civic at 36, and there’s plenty of compact car justification.2017 Honda CR-V Touring – Image: HondaIncreasingly, a greater percentage of compact car buyers are coming from the midsize segment. In the first-half of 2017, according to J.D. Power PIN data obtained by TTAC, 16.5 percent of compact car acquisitions occurred as a result of conquests from the midsize category, up from 15.9 percent at this stage a year ago.

Yet it’s the compact SUV/crossover segment that continues to earn an increasingly large share of midsize car conquests. Among new vehicle buyers who traded in a midsize car in the first-half of 2017, 18.5 percent chose a small utility vehicle, way up 15.9 percent just one year ago.

Midsize car loyalty, meanwhile, is taking a dive. Only 30.9 percent of midsize trade-ins stuck with a midsize car, down from an already-low 33.7 percent in the first-half of 2016.

[Images: General Motors, Honda]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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62 Comments on “We Know Crossovers Are Killing Midsize Sedans, but Now Compact Cars Are Beating Midsize Cars...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So, what is a compact car again? Civic, Cruze et al may have had forebearers in this category but aren’t they kinda “big” now? Sort of like mid 90s Accord (CD3/4/5/6/7/9) vs today’s model?

    Could it be the overlap is so close between what you’re calling “midsize” and these ostensible “compacts”, buyers are simply going with the cheaper option due to the Great 21st Century Economic Recovery™?

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      What you said – my old 1986 Honda Accord, according to what I could find on Wikipedia, is slightly smaller than the latest Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Not only is the Civic larger that the early Accord, it’s a new model now available with engine options with adequate torque. The 8th and 9th generation Accord sedans are very close to being Impala sized.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      This is true. My wife screams, “again you are buying a small car”. I am like, dude, why do I need all that bulk – look at the size of that Elantra! I would love to have something more premium but I want a manual gearbox hence compacts are better suited for me.

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      Yup these compact cars are growing larger everyday, just like compact suvs. Pretty much anything under 14-15ft used too be compact before subcompacts expansion, now their growing in to the midsize market share. 16-17ft is the range large fullsize cars, there’s no room for midsize growth

    • 0 avatar
      1500cc

      That was my first thought as well … with every car growing larger with every new generation, cars previously thought of as ‘small’ are now getting into ‘adequate’ sizes. Heck, a current 3-series is just as tall and actually wider (though not as long) as a mid-80s 7-series.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Compacts are getting larger, but average vehicle occupancy has also been plummeting for a long time. People are finally starting to realize that they don’t need a fullsize sedan or fullsize SUV to drive around 1.1 people. Even recreational travel is only rated at 2.1 persons per vehicle.

      CAFE is probably having an impact as well. The new breed of long-wheelbase “compact” cars are good for compliance. They are light enough to be powered by small efficient engines and CVTs (in fact, and according to customer perception); therefore, they are good for CAFE compliance. The manufacturers probably perceive sedans, generally, to be a drag on profits, which means they want to steer customers via incentives and pricing to the vehicles that promote CAFE compliance.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Yes…

      I needed a MASSIVE car, so I bought the BIGGEST car I could find, a Hyundai Sonata.

      Officially the Hyundai Sonata is a midsize. However, it has more front and rear legroom than the Azera, The Genesis G80, the Mazda 6, the Honda Accord, or the Ford Taurus.

      I was cross shopping a freaking XTS and the Sonata, and the XTS as about the same size.

      I’m 6’9″ and I can fit a full size adult behind me!

      OK so what does this have to do with the point of this article? Cars are supersized and the classes don’t make sense. the Civic is bigger than the accord? The Sonata bigger than the Azera?

      “Compact cars” are perfectly large for most families, so IF you want a “sedan” – IE fuel efficient, easy to park, and cheap compared to an SUV- Why wouldn’t you get a “compact Car”?

      in the 90s, compact cars came with junk options and you had to step up to a higher model to get the goodies. that is nolonger true.
      In the 90s, compact cars were compact, and you had to step up to a higher model in order to get a normal family into it. That is nolonger true.
      In the 90s, compact cars were built like crap and you questioned if they’d even get you home from the dealership. that is nolonger true.

      I only bought a “midsize” car because I’m a giant and needed the biggest car in the world, otherwise, there’s no reason NOT to buy a compact car anymore..

      And if you just want to maximize space, of course your going to choose the CUV over the Sedan.

      I think it makes complete logical sense that SUVs steal sales from mid to large sedans, but that the compact car will be the last to go, especially when they have every option you could dream of, are made with relative quality, and are so large I don’t even know why they are called compact.

  • avatar
    deanst

    For the vast majority of 2 car families a compact car and compact CUV are all they need. The 4% of the population with a boat can justify something bigger.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I see where you’re going with that but families “need” a funky hatchback, er “CUV”?

      • 0 avatar
        mikedt

        Every family has to haul crap and/or people on a periodic basis. Be it a trip to Costco, HD or a family vacation. A wagon would also work but we don’t like wagons anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          A van will work best of all.

          But we don’t dare be caught dead in a van, anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I still see it as want vs need. One doesn’t need much of what is hauled around, one doesn’t need so many children it necessitates X cubic inches of space. I typically rotate a Volvo 240 and a Saturn SL to Costco, if I needed odd size room (or say was holding an event) my Grand Prix’s trunk is actually quite large and the rear seats fold down for even more room.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          Yes we do, and they’re so popular they’re squeezing out midsize sedans. We just don’t *call* them “wagons” anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          We love wagons.

          We just like to call them SUVs.

      • 0 avatar

        Absolutely, especially my family. Heck, I still miss my old 03 RAV4L for the crazy cargo capacity (I’ve moved a sofa, dresser, and a desk with the seats out). The CRV, while better in so many ways, doesn’t have the same capacity as ye olde RAV.

        Plus CUVs are better for multi-state roadtrips IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          eakratz

          +1 koreancowboy

          My wife’s 03 RAV4 could haul a ridiculous amount of stuff with the seats out considering the size of it. I once brought home a “middle” sized snowblower in it. It was like a little cargo van with its low floor height and tall profile. She was sad to get rid of it and replaced it with another CUV similar in shape that had good rear visibility; a 2014 Forester.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            The first 2 generations of Rav4 were definitely awesome with that removable rear row of seats (PT Cruiser had that too IIRC). A very unique and useful feature.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Exactly. We had Highlander, so I bought Mazda3. In some reviews “3” get bashed for small backseat/rear legroom. But I drive mostly myself and sometimes 2-3 people. With my wife in front seat it can be moved closer to front and then my son fits perfectly. I would say, family of 3 can be fine with Mazda3.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        If the world was run by the “Why do you need such a big XYZ” crowd we would still be in the dark ages.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          Why do we need 3000 square foot houses, 12 TVs, a wardrobe of 550 pieces of clothes, etc.

          the thing is, we need to accept that we live in America and arguing that “people are stupid” is futile. Your not going to convince people with trucks just to take their dog to the vet, so its time to just accept that “this is reality” for the industry.

          I’m more interested in “Why” people behave the way they do, rationally or irrationally, than worrying about judging them for their stupidity.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      That is exactly what my family has A 2017 RAV4 Hybrid for my wife and two 2012 Cruzes, one for me and one for my headed off to college oldest daughter.

      I got the Cruze because it got fantastic gas mileage (eco), was comfortable and quiet for long distances, had a 6-speed stick, and was large enough carry my entire family of 5 in a pinch. We simply don’t need more than that.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    “Could it be the overlap is so close between what you’re calling “midsize” and these ostensible “compacts”, buyers are simply going with the cheaper option”

    I think this accounts for a lot of it. Although with a new Accord and Camry coming out in the next few months, there should be time for the mid-size category to recover some sales.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Contemporary compacts are HUGE inside – way more than enough room for a family.

    (Well, maybe not the Focus…)

    • 0 avatar
      brewster12333

      And that is why I bought a Honda Fit. Tons of room. Great on gas. Sitting upright with lots of glass around. And relatively “cheap”. Although officially a subcompact….

    • 0 avatar
      brianbobvaughn

      My Focus ST hauls all three kids everywhere! With room to carry everything in the back or trips to Costco. I have not been in a Civic or Corolla recently, but I find the Ford more than adequate to three day trips with the whole family, down to the bike rack on the back!

      And yes, it seems to me that mid-sized cars from 20-30 years ago were smaller than today’s compacts. I remember driving a 1990 Camry where my head brushed the roof and my legs had no room to stretch out. So I guess it’s all relative to past experiences.

      Also, compact cars are one of the last hold outs for people who drive manuals. It’s a small minority, but notable.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        What are you buying at Costco that fits in the Focus hatch? A gallon of milk, bag of cheese, and a box of K-cups? A full Costco cart would not fit in the back of a Focus. Thank goodness mine had 60/40 split folding seats.

        I hated driving the Focus with one kid. Had to put the rear facing car seat in the middle. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to sit in the seat in front of the car seat. Then, once we flipped the car seat around, my daughter could touch my ears with her filthy daycare shoes. Terrible.

        I understand that the Focus is a family car in other countries. I feel bad for those countries. They do not know the glory of a full sized truck or a three row crossover that has the rear seats ALWAYS folded down.

        • 0 avatar
          Kendahl

          The ST is a hatchback. That makes a huge difference. My wife and I are amateur astronomers. With the rear seats down, our SE hatchback will take a 10″ reflector (48″x12″), its mount (52″ tall), 100 mm binoculars (21″x13″x8″ in case), its tripod (30″x5″ collapsed), and all our accessories.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I owned both a Focus Titanium hatch and a Focus ST hatch. The Recaro seats on the ST are enormous and no one could possibly sit behind me.

        • 0 avatar
          brianbobvaughn

          Clearly I possess Mad Tetris Skills!

        • 0 avatar
          Reino

          Most midsize cars require the rear-carseat to be placed in the middle if the driver and passenger are going to be comfortable.

          Also: you need to find a new daycare if they’re allowing street shoes on the floor that kids crawl around on

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “Most midsize cars require the rear-carseat to be placed in the middle if the driver and passenger are going to be comfortable.

            At nearly 6′ I’m ~80th percentile for white boy height in the US and don’t agree with your assertion at all, especially if you are using it to suggest a Focus is functionally as roomy as a midsize sedan. We have a midsize sedan, and not one of the largest. Rear-facing infant seat went behind the driver and I didn’t have to change my position at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            My C-Max does not require placement in the middle. It is roughly the same size as the Focus.

            As far as shoes, my daughter wasn’t crawling when we turned her car seat around. She was two. I looked at many a daycare place, and 2 year olds were always wearing shoes, unless they were consolidated in a room with younger children. Then their shoes were removed.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        20-30 years ago, most of these cars (Accord, Camry/Cressida, etc.) *were* compact cars, and today’s compacts (Civic, Corolla) were classified as subcompact.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          I’m 6’9″ and 320 lbs. I can fit a rear facing car seat behind me in a Hyundai Sonata.

          I could not do so in a Cadillac CTS (I couldn’t even put a FRONT facing car seat behind me in a cadillac CTS, as my seat is only 1″ from the seat behind me)

          No way I could do it in a focus.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Agreed with what the others are saying in terms of the compact cars gaining enough size/refinement/power to be functionally adequate substitutes at lower prices. Add to this the fact that the compact class right now has fresher entries on the whole than the midsizers (I think).

    I rented a new Elantra and Sonata almost back to back this spring. The Sonata was definitely nicer to drive and had more room, but the Elantra was no penalty box either, quite the contrary it was a very competent and nice car to drive on the highway and got over 40 indicated mpg (to the Sonata’s 36, which was very good as well).

    Finally, I drove a rental Tuscon a few weeks ago. Now this car I really didn’t care for. Overworked undersized engine that got the same indicated 26mpg that a bigger 3.3L V6 Sorento got on the same route prior, and wholly hard plastic surroundings including the entirety of the door cards and dash.

    I’ve had a straight run of nothing but Koreans from Avis so far this year, with the exception being a new body 1.5t Malibu LT (didn’t like it much, worse than Sonata/Optima).

  • avatar

    Small cars have a niche, for cost or city dwellers. Midsize the CUV is a better deal. I was sitting in traffic the other day, here in the Green Burbs around NYC, where the car fleet tends to be new, and was amazed that I was the only person in a big sedan. There were lots of vehicles at the over 50K mark, but they were all “trucks”.

    “trucks” break the size = money lock.

    Wagons don’t exist because CAFE-and Detroit would rather sell you a non-CAFE ‘truck’ anyway

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    In addition to “compact” cars being big enough for most, some midsize cars have seriously compromised packaging. I recently had the misfortune of an uber ride in the back of a Fusion; the rear seat is mounted absurdly low and I still couldn’t sit upright without my head hitting the roof. I think I’m more comfortable in the back of my ’03 3 series, a car that is almost 20″ shorter. I’m only 6′.

    What’s the point of a car that size when the back seat is uncomfortable?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Today’s “compact” was yesterday’s “midsizer.”

    I wish you could post pictures on TTAC. The day I picked up my ’90 Ford Probe I was parked next to a modern Mini and I took a picture of the two side-by-side. The Mini towered over the Probe and was every bit as wide.

    Now, if you’re a rental agency – then today’s compact car IS a midsizer, a sub-compact is an a-segment econobox, and an economy car is a used Schwinn for $19 a day and $18 local rental car tax added. Somehow a Corolla or Focus became a “standard” car and a Fusion/Malibu is now fullsize. If you’re a rental agency.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Speaking of towering over, I have a early 2000s Camry. I find myself looking up at regular Mini Coopers…and my head is only a few inches from the roof liner.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Maybe cost is an issue but in East and West coast cities (large and small) size is also an issue. I don’t know if it is economics or regulation but parking spaces are getting narrower and shorter everytime a lot is repainted. Current generation Camrys and Accords totally fill the space with little room for door opening.

    For me what is needed is something the size of a Corolla or Civic with refined interior, no “speed racer” exterior flourishes, reliability and decent handling for less than $30K. I see them in Europe but not here.

    The upcoming generation of Corolla (with all the electronic safety features) might hit the mark if they would just tighten up the suspension.

    Any suggestions for an adult looking great handling 4 door compact without the German badge premium?

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Mazda 3 or perhaps a Kia Forte or Hyundai Elantra GT.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Mazda 3 or Elantra Sport (would have included the Civic Si, but for the “adult-looking” requirement).

        Would hold off on looking at the Elantra GT until the next gen model hits the lots.

    • 0 avatar
      habib

      Right there with you. I have a 2007 Forester, which is about as big as I can reliably find parking for every day. If I can’t find street parking then I get to pay $10-$15 a day to park – so you can see how a larger car would add up in a hurry.

      When comparing lengths – the closest thing to my current car is a CrossTrek or Impreza. 2017 Forester is 5 inches longer and 2.5 inches wider. CrossTrek is an inch shorter. Even a 2017 Mazda3 is almost 4 inches longer than the old Forester.

      I’d love something bigger for the creature comforts and better ride, but the extra cost in parking would be hard to justify. I have two kids, but we have a van to handle road trips and transporting big items.

  • avatar
    DearS

    The Civic Hatch is a great deal new, look for that awesome depreciation in the next couple of years :)

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Just recently traded a midsize (Camry V6) for a compact (Elantra Sport).

    Just wanted back into a manual transmission.

    It does fine with two car seats.

    It’s bigger than the 86 Cutlass Ciera that I rode around in when I was a kid.

    The “midsize” cars these days are huge. I’m confident that you could fit an entire 1986 Accord hatchback into the trunk of a 2017 Accord.

  • avatar
    beacio_mo

    My neighbor had a 98 Accord and exterior and interior dimensions were very close to my 2015 Civic.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The Accords of the 90s and Civics of today are in the sweet spot of interior volume. As the market continues to coalesce around specific size and body configurations (compact sedan, compact crossover, 3 row crossover, pickups), everything off of the sweet spot in either direction- subcompacts, midsizers and large sedans- will continue to fall off.

    It also doesn’t help that said small cars can be equipped exactly like the larger cars for much less money. OK, the new Civic is grotesque… let’s not use that as an example. How about the Elantra? Can anyone come up with a good reason to buy the Sonata over the Elantra, even at the same price? Only reasons I can see would be to fit infant child seats (which a Tuscon would be better for) or if you have a family of over 6 footers you regularly shuffle around.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      When I bought my Elantra, some Sonatas had $7K on the hood where my Elantra had $2K.

      I could’ve easily got a nicely equipped Sonata for the same price as my Elantra, but didn’t even consider it, because manual.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Given that I’m 6’9″, you hit it… because I’m 6’9″ haha. thats why I bought the Sonata.

      There are a few other minor reasons though:
      the 2.0T in the Sonata is a wonderful engine with a great torque curve. Its well tuned. Unfortunately the Elantra Sport gets the 1.6L, which is fine, but then the limited comes with the NA 2.0L. There’s no “great” high end trim and motor option for the Elantra. You have to go to the Sonata to get the Limited 2.0T which I think is the sweet spot for Sonata ownership.

      On the flip side, the Elantra Sport has a Manual transmission which is AWESOME, but then they keep you from getting options (not awesome). I don’t know why it has to be “nice car OR sport car” why can’t I have both?

      But thats not here nor there.

      2 reasons for the Sonata:
      -Because your tall and your families tall
      -Because you care about BMW-Style Tuning (Peak low RPM torque)

  • avatar
    brn

    I own a full size (technically “executive class”) vehicle. The out the door price was every bit as good as a similarly featured mid-sized. Actually lower, once you added the larger engine to the mid-sized.

    My prior car was the size of today’s compact and it was nice, but I can’t go back. No compact rides like my big cruiser (and visa versa). Commuting to work is less stressful now. Vacations are easier. When it comes time to replace it, I might consider a mid-sized. Maybe. Compact is out of the picture.

    If I ever feel the need to own a nimble car again, I’ll buy a weekend hobby car.

  • avatar
    Reino

    Transverse-engine FWD midsize sedans may be on a deathwatch, but longitudinal RWD premium sedans will survive. Nothing else offers the best combination of performance driving and daily usability.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    What’s amazing to me is that midsized cars are losing market share when they have gotten so good. Last year I had extended rentals of both A Chevrolet Malibu and a Ford Fusion. Both were comfortable, quiet, had good performance, fuel economy that would have been the province of subcompacts a decade ago, and nice space for people and luggage. With standard engines, the tend to get almost 30 MPG overall and still have 0-60 in the 8s. Comparably equipped, they are a lot cheaper than midsized SUVs.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    I personally think mid sized sedans have bloat… they are now up to 4,000lb and are bigger than most people need.

    I drove a Mazda 3 SP25 sedan. Its all one needs for say 4 people, maybe 5.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “they are now up to 4,000lb ”

      Citation needed.

      I think it’s more like 3200lb-3400lb, a few nearing 3800lb on the heavier end. The old malibu was a real porker at around 3800lb IIRC, the new gen one cut a crazy amount of weight. I can see an AWD Fusion or 200 V6 AWD being near 4k-lb.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        The 2008-2012 and 2013-2016 style Malibu did not weight 3800 LBS. The LS/LS versions of the 2013 on up are listed at 3393-3439 LBS. The LTZ trim is listed at 3547. SPecs right from Media.gm.com/media/us/en/chevrolet/vehicles/malibu/2014.tab1.html.

        I spent considerable time in both a new style Malibu and Cruze. The Malibu was superior in most ways and felt and drove like a nicer, larger car. The fact that there was only $1500 difference in actual transaction price between both LT trim examples solidified it for me. Unless mileage is your top priority, which is strange in a world of cheap gas the past 2 years, the mid size car makes far more sense to me.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    100% agree with everything you say, but I would add another point – the fact that there’s not a single liftback model of a midsize sedan available. Yea we say American’s don’t like hatchbacks, but the reality is that virtually every compact car has a hatchback model available, and those have cargo space than their midsize sedan cousins, not to mention with mail slot trunk openings becoming the norm with sedans, the available space is much easier to access. Indeed, all the compact hatchbacks offer at least 20 cubic ft of cargo space, beating not only the midsize sedan competition, but in today’s post Panther world, the full size ones as well.

    With the driving experience and options and features in compacts no longer being that of a penalty box and rear seat room now being adequate, the compacts are actually the more practical cars. Performance also probably plays into it. In the past, compact car with upgraded engines were typically still slower than their midsize brethren’s with base engines. That’s no longer always the case. Acceleration is similar between top of the line compacts and base model midsize cars, and in some cases such as the Golf/Passat, Civic/Accord, and Mazda 3/6, the smaller car shares its engine with the midsizer and is actually quicker. this is all before their greater efficiency and cheaper prices are considered.

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