Choosing from today’s huge group of midsize sedans can be a difficult process. Not only are there many models to choose from, but each one comes with a wide array of available options and features that can make your decision even more challenging. Which features should you pick? We have some suggestions about the options that you won’t want to miss when the time comes to buy your next midsize sedan.
So you’re growing up and swapping your sporty coupe or convertible for a family sedan. That doesn’t mean you need to skip out on style — which is exactly why you should make sure your next midsize sedan includes alloy wheels. They’re more expensive than steel wheels with hubcaps, and they’re more prone to curb damage and a rougher ride, but there’s little doubt that alloy wheels help you stand out far more than generic steel wheels with hubcaps. They may not be a must-have like safety technology or a great stereo, but alloy wheels give you an attractive look. They’ll also make things easier when it’s time for resale.
No matter which midsize model you choose, you’ll want to spring for some sort of camera technology — both for convenience and safety. Our favorite system is Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, which activates when you put on your turn signal in order to show you what’s in your blind spot. Even if you don’t end up with an Accord, most midsize sedans offer useful backup cameras that give distance markers showing exactly how far you are from any objects — a useful feature that can come in handy for tight maneuvers in small spaces.
Heated Rear Seats
It may seem opulent, but more and more mainstream cars — from midsize sedans to compact hatchbacks — are now adding available heated rear seats. If you have kids, you’ll want to check this option box; they’ll love the novelty of the feature, and they’ll also appreciate its practicality on cold days. But even if it’s only a few other adults that you’ll be shuttling around, you’ll find that heated rear seats will impress nearly anyone who rides in your car — all for just a few dollars extra on your monthly payment.
In modern cars, infotainment is everything. You won’t want to skimp on your infotainment choice, since not all systems are equal to one another. We happen to like Chrysler’s Uconnect system, though Ford’s recently improved MyFord Touch is also among our new favorites for ease of use and responsiveness. As you consider your options, you’ll also likely find that most systems have a few unusual features not offered by competitors. Examples include geofencing — a feature that’s unique to Hyundai Blue Link that allows you to keep tabs on a teenage driver’s whereabouts — and the wide variety of Toyota Entune functions, including the ability to order movie tickets or make restaurant reservations on the go.
Remember back in the early 2000s when remote keyless entry was such an exciting feature to have in your car? Today’s version of that cutting-edge sophistication is called keyless access, though various automakers have different names for it. Regardless of what it’s called, however, it offers impressive convenience: You can walk up to the car, open the door and turn on the car’s engine without ever removing the key from your pocket. It’s all thanks to a proximity sensor that lets the car know when the key is close by even if you don’t have it in your hand to press any buttons. Most midsize sedans offer the feature as an option or as standard equipment in their higher trim levels, and we think that once you use it, you’ll never want to go back to a key with a remote.
If you have kids, rear-window sunshades are a must, as most new parents will attest. Enter the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, which offers built-in rear-window sunshades — big news for many young families, since it means you won’t need to buy an aftermarket solution that struggles to cover most of the window and includes hard-to-use suction cups. Instead, the Sonata’s shades slide up from the door panel, making it especially easy to shield your infant from the bright sunlight. We wish more cars offered this, though we’re happy to see it available on the Sonata.
Safety Warning Systems
In today’s modern world, many new cars offer a series of safety warning systems that will dramatically help out even the most experienced driver. We strongly recommend that you get at least a few of these features, which include forward-collision warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, a system that’s designed to monitor the road behind you and alert you of any problems as you back out of a parking space. While these systems won’t prevent a crash, they can certainly make it a lot easier to avoid one — good news if you have kids in the car.