While the Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Camry have both lost some sense of direction; and the Nissan Altima, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata have all gained ground with new design and useful new features, it's the Honda Accord that's effectively cleaved the current group of mid-sizers in two.
Those that appear to prioritize form over function, and those that prioritize function over form.
Honda clearly takes the function over form route, but it's a more attractive effort than the Camry, which goes the same route.
Compared to the Camry, the Accord looks like it will have more personality, and the Honda's feature set looks more impressive from the outset.
Somewhere in the middle is the Chevrolet Malibu, which was redesigned last year but is neither as large nor as roomy in back as the model it replaces.
The new Malibu is a small step up in interior refinement and fuel economy, however.
The model in this class that arguably walks the line between function and form the best is the Volkswagen Passat; the VW manages to pack a lot of space into an exterior that isn't at all daring but is classy and cohesive—and it's a good value for the money.
The daring Ford Fusion is a step in the opposite direction; its sleek, rakish design and Euro-sporty look aren't for everyone, although its surprisingly spacious interior and tech-savvy feature list might win over shoppers who dismiss it at first as not practical enough.
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|21 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 47 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy||20 MPG City / 43 MPG Hwy|
|Regular Unleaded I-4||Gas I4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-5|
|Mid-Size Cars||Midsize Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Large Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Mid-Size Cars|
|4-Door I4 Manual LX||4-Door Sedan LS w/1LS||4-Door Sedan S FWD||4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic GLS||4-Door Sedan I4 Automatic L (Natl) *Ltd Avail*||4-Door Sedan 2.5L Manual S *Ltd Avail*|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|Manual w/OD||Automatic||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Manual w/OD|