IRVINE, Calif., June 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The expert editors of Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, have published their 2014 Midsize Sedan Comparison Test, detailing findings from an extensive evaluation that included a two-day road trip that comprehensively tested eight vehicles in the popular segment.
"Once upon a time, recommending the best midsize sedan was simple: 'Get a Toyota Camry,' we'd say, or 'Get a Honda Accord,'" said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com. "While those two perennial favorites remain excellent choices, today's stiff competition gives buyers a much broader menu of excellent models to choose from, each offering its own twist on the four-door midsize-sedan formula in an effort to attract different buyers."
To find out which car appeals best to whom, the KBB.com editors gathered eight midsize sedans, including the 2014 Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda6, and Kia Optima. They also included the all-new 2015 Subaru Legacy fresh from its press introduction. The two-day road trip took the KBB.com editors up the California coast and then inland over hills and valleys, and the variety of terrain and roads allowed them to sample how the cars coped with different roads, from Interstate highways, to city traffic, to two-lane roads that wound through mountains and arrowed through wide-open countryside. Along their journey, they tested how well the features like navigation, Bluetooth and other gadgets worked. With a largely similar price-and-features set, the editors also compared how much car your dollar got you in each circumstance, and examined side-by-side differences in front and rear seat comfort, interior room, cargo space, along with the quality of construction and materials.
"While it was clear that some of the eight cars we tested had more strengths than others, we were impressed that none of these were what we'd characterize as 'losers,'" said Nerad. "The differences were in the details, and each car had a unique take on the midsize sedan formula, be it lots of features for the money, a roomy rear seat, a huge trunk, or just love-it styling."
Summary from KBB.com 2014 Midsize Sedan Comparison Test
(Vehicles listed in alphabetical order. Prices listed are the Kelley Blue Book® Fair Purchase Price, which is updated weekly to show shoppers what others have been paying for this car recently. Fair Purchase Price data listed was sourced from KBB.com in June 2014).
2014 Chevrolet Malibu LT, $26,595: The Chevrolet Malibu LT included a Premium Package, adding a power driver seat, sunroof, remote start, and rear camera. We all liked the styling and comfortable, quiet ride, but we couldn't ignore the cramped rear seat and small trunk.
2014 Ford Fusion SE, $27,595: The sporty Ford Fusion SE offers beautiful design, and it was fun to drive, too. Still, we couldn't overlook the tiny center display, surprisingly small rear seat, and that our test Fusion came without the optional backup camera.
2014 Honda Accord EX, $26,470: We all regarded the Honda Accord EX as one of the best all-around midsize sedans in the test, with good fuel economy and a good mix of features for the price. We wish it was quieter though, and wonder why Honda alone uses a single-piece folding rear seatback.
2014 Kia Optima EX, $27,900: The good looking and comfortable Kia Optima EX felt like a premium midsize sedan. That said, we disliked the tight rear-seat headroom, while the car's odd steering and suspension made it the least rewarding of the group to drive. Some thought the price should have included a navigation system.
2014 Mazda6 Touring, $24,940: Easily the sportiest of the midsize sedans, the Mazda6 Touring's upscale styling and excellent fuel economy charmed us, and even after adding $1,000 for the automatic it remains the least expensive. However, the rear seat was smaller than others in the test, and some thought the interior was too cozy.
2014 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV, $27,800: The comfortable Nissan Altima SV had a big trunk, and the rear seat was also very good for shorter passengers. Complaints focused mostly on the small navigation screen, lack of adjustability on the driver's seat, and the bland exterior and interior styling.
2015 Subaru Legacy Premium 2.5i, $27,480: The all-new Subaru Legacy Premium 2.5i was the only all-wheel drive midsize sedan in our test, offering a good value thanks to features like active cruise control and collision warning. We wished for more dynamic styling, and that the too-eager gas pedal didn't make it feel so jumpy.
2014 Toyota Camry XLE V6, $33,335: The V6 engine in our Toyota Camry XLE V6 made it the hot rod of the group, if you skip the engine and leather -- saving several thousand dollars -- the comfortable interior, huge rear seat, and great highway ride outweigh its bland styling and clunky infotainment interface.
To see KBB.com's full 2014 Midsize Sedan Comparison Test, including editorial comments about each model, vehicle photography, pricing details and much more, please visit http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/new-midsize-sedan-car-comparison-2014/2000010836/.
For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb, and get updates on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+kbb.
About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values, and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity by the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study and has been named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year for three consecutive years. Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a Cox Automotive company.
SOURCE Kelley Blue Book