10 car comparison is surprising

At least to me. But I’ll bet many of you are surprised too. Cars.com, USA Today, and Motor Week ran their periodic test of midsize sedans under $27,000. This year, all had a 4 cylinder engine. The results seem biblical: the last are first and the first last. Here is the order, from best to worst:

  1. Hyundai Sonata
  2. Subaru Legacy
  3. VW Passat
  4. Mazda 6
  5. Chevy Malibu
  6. Ford Fusion
  7. Dodge 200
  8. Honda Accord
  9. Nissan Altima
  10. Toyota Camry

All are 2015 models, and of course top trim levels are typically not that cheap. James R Healy, long time car tester for USA Today, participated and recently reviewed a Camry XSE with the V6. He liked that car very much, but said that his tester had a MSRP of about $38,000. He also did not like the under $27,000 Camry SE, saying it was slow, handled poorly, and had a cheap interior. Apparently, the other reviewers agreed with him. That was the biggest surprise for me, along with the low rating for the Accord. Toyota redesigned the Camry for 2015 and apparently didn’t do well enough to place above last.

For me, if I want a midsize sedan when I buy a new car, I’m going to look at and drive the Sonata, Legacy, Passat, and Mazda6. I may not want any of them, but a test like this piques my interest in cars I wouldn’t normally test drive. What do you think?

Overall, this is in agreement with the latest assessments from Consumer Reports.
That being said, I wouldn’t even consider the purchase of a Chrysler 200.

Agree with VDC.
Remember, these are recommendations on cars that have gotten closer and closer in performance. There is no input for reliability on the part of owners of these cars and reliability does not seem to be much of a factor in their recommendations. It’s like, this car drives well, accelerates well and brakes well. Of course, nothing says it will cost you a bundle to keep it running after the warranty runs out. These reports are made for people who lease cars and care little about long term reliability. This might include a big portion of the consumers but not those who can look beyond the ends of their nose.

When you include long term reliability from owner input and owner satisfaction, you could have a different list that will shift some of these cars around. If you look at consumer reports when they do their test ranking, they may have several of the top performing cars, like these, they don’t even recomend because of problems with reliability.

I would guess that is because you are skeptical of the 200s presumed reliability, and that is certainly reasonable. But reliability was not part of this assessment. Reliability is important to some, and less so to others. Healey test lots of cars, and recently said that if he had $70,000, he would buy a Range Rover Sport. He acknowledged the likely poor reliability and said he didn’t care. He rarely spends time thinking about it when he buys cars.

For me reliability is very important because if a car fits my needs I drive it to the ground and usually I am the one sweating under the car trying to fix a stupid oil leak. I hate rattle cans too.

Having said that, I know a few friends with Hyundai cars from 2008 & up who have not had any major repairs, one with 160K miles on a Sonata. So that car is my list. I have a Mazda CX-9 myself and at 50K mile it is fine, but I think it will have issues sooner than a comparable Honda or Toyota (& you guys would be the 1st to know…).

"He rarely spends time thinking about it ( reliability) when he buys cars."
That my friend is a definite reason to support publications like consumer reports. With out them, it’s opinion of paid Lackys and those who aren’t even in the same social economic group as the average car buyer. (Healey namely)

Reliability and longevity are at the top of my list. Personal experience is high too.
I’ll stick with makes long known for reliability and longevity. My experience has proved the common perception to be a better predictor of whether a vehicle will be a good purchase than any one comparison done by one magazine at one moment in time.

Be it known that I respect the different priorities of others. That’s why we have Malibus and 200s and Corvettes and Explorers available. If everyone’s priorities were the same, we wouldn’t have choices available.

I put almost zero credence into any poll, survey, study, or journalistic effort about best, worst, tallest, ugliest, or anything else. Those are subject to change overnight depending upon the name of the author(s) or entity behind them.

One of the most ridiculous ones I think that I’ve read was the one about a year ago listing “the richest places to live in your state” or something to that effect.
Ponca City, OK (not too far from me) was listed as a richest and nothing could be further from the truth unless one considers a median home price of 138k, sub 40k median income, and Wal Mart being the largest employer as the criteria for all of that wealth.

Even more humorous were the few random pictures presented as Ponca and which in fact were not even taken in that area.

I actually don’t have the foggiest idea what would replace my G6 and really don’t like reviewing cars. If I came up with a few though, (now don’t get big heads), I would trust what you folks have to say about issues and reliability rather than the other publications that I find rather useless. We may disagree on style etc., but if you folks think they are reliable and handle well, I think I could take that to the bank (literally). I hate computer issues too.

Fwiw hyundai has made leaps and bounds in the reliability department. Theyre a pretty solid car these days.

The list, to me says a lot of things. The Korean cars are now the measure of the best Japanese cars. The same for the American brands.

And ALL of these models are built in the USA, not exclusively, but every single one has a US plant.

Who says we don’t build anything anymore? Who says we can’t build a quality car in the US? 10 different manufacturers in just about as many states build these cars with American labor. Add to that, most of these brands engineer cars here, too, with technical centers across the US.

Toss in luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes being built in the US, too. Makes me proud to see how far we’ve come from the crap of the 80’s.

Funny that the two topping the list were recent redesigns. I bet a similar list from last year would have neither the Hyundai or the Subaru at the top. The new Sonata is a handsome car, if less striking than the last. The Camry has not evoked much enthusiasm among reviewers. It’s just too bland and lacking in fun. And the jv-5y the As a transportation appliance it is hard to beat. The current Accord is quite wonderful and very popular with the car magazines. It is very comfortable and just the right size. I can only guess price pushed it down their list. The new Chrysler 200 hasn’t been getting generally poor reviews. It is a very pretty car, if slightly generic, looking quite a bit like a Fusion or Sonata.

I bought a new car last year and I did a lot of research first. In Consumers Reports, the Camry was #1 and the Legacy was a very close second.

I have always maintained that the American worker can make anything equal or better in quality to any car (or anything else) made anywhere else. It just takes direction from the corporate heads to move in what ever direction they feel they need to. Back in the 80’s, American car companies, including Ford and others made some really crappy cars. but, so didn’t many other companies, They also made under the same nameplate, some of the most reliable and best performing heavy equipment and motors and transmissions to be used in other areas then cars sold to the average Joe.

@dagosa, Healey said IF he had the money. He is a journalist, and clearly does not have cubic yards of income. I don’t know what he drives, but it is much more like what the rest of us drive. He has a different set of priorities than you do. That only makes him different, not wrong.

Note that the Camry was redesigned for 2015, too. Toyota appears to have done a very poor job compared to Hyundai and Subaru. In any case, the point is to compare cars, not just buy something because it is at the top of the list. Lists like this bring cars to the public’s attention and might lead people test drive something they might not otherwise have done. Also, remember that these are the less expensive models of all midsize sedans. Other testers may like cars like the Camry, but they may well not be the SE trim but a more expensive model.

" In any case, the point is to compare cars, not just buy something because it is at the top of the list."

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am tired of reading posts from people who have bought a new car and only “discovered” after purchase that…
the ride is too hard…
it has too much road noise…
the seat isn’t wide enough for their butt…
it doesn’t handle as well as they would like…
or…in the case of one of the most bizarre complainers from a few years ago…
that they don’t like the upholstery pattern!

If these lists get people to enter showrooms that they wouldn’t have previously considered, that is a good thing, but people still need to use their eyes, their ears, and their brains during an extended test drive in order to determine if a vehicle really meets their needs.


If everybody followed your advice, I would not be able to get good deals on used cars :slight_smile:

I also should add that in my case, if I am buying used, I like to chase something that depreciates more, if I am buying new I look for something that maintains its value well, you never know if you will need the car for a long time and it doesn’t hurt to have good resale value. So if a 200 and an Accord were close in price and ride/etc, I would still go with the Honda just because of good resale value. The 200 might be a good car to buy used though.

Mustangman, IMHO the problem was never the workers. These same workers are now making top quality vehicles. under Toyota, Honda, and other management. The problem in my opinion was, and still is, the management. Chrysler, well, they’re shrapnel of their former selves. GM went through bankruptcy, needed a government bailout of hundreds of billions of dollars ten billion of which they were never able to return, is still having serious problems, and Ford was saved by Allan Mulally, a manager from another industry entirely.

In short, we can and do build quality cars in the U.S… Just under different management.

However, there’s no question that we’ve lost a great deal of manufacturing to other countries. A review f the Department Of Labor (D.O.L.) data is undeniable. In NH alone we lost over 25,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector just between 2000 and 2005 (my project with the DOL ended then and I stopped keeping track). NH used to be a manufacturing rich environment, and we now have 43,000 fewer jobs than we did 20 years ago. Our textiles are gone, our shoe manufacturing is long gone, even casket manufacturing has left. The VP/GM of Batesville Casket told me perhaps 10 years ago (just before closing the Hudson facility and retiring) that it was cheaper to cut the trees in Canada, ship them to Mexico, and ship the finished caskets back than it was to cut the trees and manufacture the caskets in New England. I could relate other stories, including a casting house story, but those companies still maintain a presence in NH and their senior people aren’t retired, and their struggles have never been made public, so I’ll maintain confidentiality. Ten years ago Teradyne employed 4,000 people in four facilities in Hudson and Windham, and are a shadow of their former self. They were bought out by Amphenol and employ about 1,000 max now, perhaps less. Osram Sylvania just announced (not too many months ago) the closure of their Manchester, NH facility due to (according to Osram) the new laws prohibiting the manufacture of most incandescent lightbulbs. That was the Manchester product line.

A large part of the problem is corporate profit taxes. We have some of the highest rates (35%) in the world. That alone has driven countless companies to other countries.

But the problem never was the workers. The workers are capable of the finest manufacturing in the world. Sadly, politics and bad management have robbed many of them of the places to do it.

The Camry has been redesigned twice since the 2014 model. Toyota has not said why, but in Dec 2013, about a week after my daughter bought hers, Toyota put a stop sale on all 2014 Camry’s and then came out with a 2014 1/2 Camry. A few months later, they introduced the 2015. I’d sure like to know what was wrong with the 2014 and if it so important that they did a stop sale, why hasn’t the ones sold been recalled?