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Segment Spotlight: Midsize Sedans

If you’re in the market for a midsize sedan and are trying to make sense of all the options out there, you’ve come to the right place.  Here we’ll highlight all of the vehicles currently offered in the midsize sedan segment today, ordering them by last year’s sales volume from highest to lowest, and giving you a quick rundown on each one.

We’re going to keep things brief below just so that you can get an idea of who’s-who in the segment, but keep in mind that Autotrader offers in-depth reviews of each of the vehicles listed below.

Toyota Camry

2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Camry has been the top-selling midsize sedan in the US every year since 2002.  It’s offered with either a four- or six-cylinder engine, and also as a four-cylinder hybrid model.  The Camry can be optioned with all-wheel drive for the 2020 model year, but it’s only available with the non-hybrid four-cylinder powertrain.  There’s also a TRD V6 model that touts improved handling, more aggressive styling, and some other performance features.  The Camry offers great safety features and good available technology.  Ultimately, buyers tend to be drawn to the Camry for its familiarity and consistency, not to mention Toyota’s reputation for rock-solid reliability. Find a Toyota Camry for sale

Honda Accord

2020 Honda Accord

The Accord has long been the number two selling midsize sedan behind the Camry.  Like the Camry, it offers two-tiers of gas engine, although both are turbocharged four-cylinders.  There’s also a hybrid. Compared to the Camry, the Accord is a little more stylish, a little nicer on the inside, and a little better to drive in its most mainstream trims.  That said, there’s no all-wheel drive option, nor is there a performance trim.  Aside from the Camry’s edge in those areas though, the two are pretty close. Find a Honda Accord for sale

Nissan Altima

2020 Nissan Altima

The Altima was all-new for the 2019 model year.  Its powertrain options are a basic naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, or a new turbo four.  There is no hybrid.  The Altima differentiates itself by offering available all-wheel drive (only with its less-powerful engine) and a rather advanced driver assistance system that Nissan refers to as ProPilot Assist. Find a Nissan Altima for sale

Ford Fusion

2020 Ford Fusion

The Fusion is one of two midsize sedans still offered by an American automaker.  Long past its prime, 2020 marks the last year of sales for the Fusion, and production has already wound down.  That said, despite its lame-duck status, the 2020 Fusion has been built for 2020 with four different powertrains, one of which was a hybrid.  All-wheel drive is also available, and there appear to be plenty of AWD 2020 Fusions left on dealer lots.  Altogether, the Fusion offers a fair amount of choice, and remains a viable option despite its age, assuming there are still some left on dealer lots when you’re reading this. Find a Ford Fusion for sale

Chevrolet Malibu

2021 Chevrolet Malibu

Another American midsize sedan unlikely to see another generation is the Malibu.  On sale in its current generation since the 2016 model year, the Malibu may not be the most exciting option in the segment, but it can be had with some great features, such as standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for 2021.  Two powertrains are offered; a basic four-cylinder and a more performance-oriented turbo four-cylinder. There’s no hybrid variant, nor is AWD available. It’s rumored that this will be the Malibu’s last generation, as GM shifts its focus to crossovers. Find a Chevrolet Malibu for sale

Kia K5

2021 Kia K5

Kia’s midsize sedan will undergo a name change with its transition to a new generation for the 2021 model year.  The prior model was known as the Optima, while the new-generation will be known as the K5.  Sharing its platform with the new-for-2020 Hyundai Sonata, most trims of the K5 get a 180 hp 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, though a GT model offers a 290 horsepower 2.5-liter turbo. K5s fitted with the base engine can be optioned with AWD.  Altogether, the new K5 is a sporty, rebellious alternative to the norm in this segment, and it packs a killer 5-year/60,000-mile basic and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Find a Kia K5 for sale

Hyundai Sonata

2021 Hyundai Sonata

Another deviation from the norm, the Sonata was all-new for the 2020 model year and combines polarizing, dramatic exterior styling with an upscale interior.  Two basic four-cylinder engines, plus a hybrid, are offered for now, though a more powerful N-Line model is on the way.  If you like the styling, the Sonata provides an upscale experience at a great value, and like the Kia, it comes with a 5-year/60,000-mile basic and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Find a Hyundai Sonata for sale

Subaru Legacy

2021 Subaru Legacy

The Legacy’s calling card is its standard all-wheel drive system; available with both its entry-level and upgraded engines, which can’t be said for any of the other midsize sedans offering AWD in this segment.  Subaru also places a high priority on safety, and the company has cultivated a very loyal group of buyers over the years.  The Legacy was fully redesigned for the 2020 model year. Find a Subaru Legacy for sale

2021 Mazda6


The Mazda6’s biggest selling points are its attractive exterior design, premium cabin, and great driving dynamics.  Compare the Mazda6 to any other vehicle on this list and it’s clear that the materials and design are a cut above.  Most Mazda6s come with a basic four-cylinder, though upper trims get a turbocharged four-cylinder making 250 horsepower.  While it isn’t the newest midsize sedan on sale today, the Mazda6 remains one of the most emotionally appealing options.  If you’re looking for a luxury car at a mainstream price, you’ll find a lot to like in the Mazda6. Find a Mazda6 for sale

2021 Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat

The Volkswagen Passat sold new in the US today dates back to the 2012 model year, and despite a few updates over the years, it’s overdue for a full redesign.  Designed specifically for the US market, the Passat lacks the upscale European flavor of its predecessors but does offer ample rear legroom and one of the largest trunks in the segment.  While it was updated it for the 2020 model year, VW doesn’t seem to see much of a future for the US Passat, and the 2021 model is offered with just one basic powertrain, three available trim levels, and little else in the way of options. Find a Volkswagen Passat for sale

Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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