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2013 Family Sedans: Buyer’s Guide


2013 Dodge Dart test drive, Austin, Texas, April 2012

2013 Dodge Dart test drive, Austin, Texas, April 2012

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Consumers in the market for feature-packed, affordably priced family sedans have a number of all-new 2013 products to consider in the compact, mid-size and large sedan categories.

Compact

2013 Dodge Dart

With its distinctive sporty styling, surprising interior space and comfortable seating position, the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan is Chrysler’s re-entry into the small car market—since the demise of the Dodge Neon--in a big way.

In terms of interior volume, the EPA classifies the Dart as a mid-size, although Dodge is pricing it to compete with compacts. That means lots of room for driver and passengers—always a welcome attribute for family buyers. Soft-touch materials on the dash, 10 standard airbags, a full suite of electronic safety items, as well as blind-spot alert and cross-traffic detection are other stellar selling points for the Dart that our editors noted, giving it an 8.2 (out of10) overall rating.

The 2013 Dodge Dart is available in SE, SXT, Rallye, and Limited trims, along with the high-performance Dart R/T, and the Dart Aero coming in the third quarter of 2012.

2013 Nissan Sylphy, Beijing Auto Show

2013 Nissan Sylphy, Beijing Auto Show

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2013 Nissan Sentra

Previewed by the Sylphy Concept at the Beijing Auto Show in April, the 2013 Nissan Sentra is a fresh and welcome styling take on the compact sedan that Nissan says will be a global vehicle, eventually sold in around 110 countries around the world. While more details on the next-generation Sentra are coming out this summer, what we do know is that the Sylphy is the “basis” for compact car that arrives on U.S. shores.

Expect a range of economical and fuel-efficient engines, perhaps including one that is in the 40 mpg highway range to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Cruze Eco and the Ford Focus SFE.

Slight differences will likely include less chrome in the U.S. version—not a bad thing. As for the interior, it’s “clean, simple and modern.”

Mid-size

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

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2013 Chevrolet Malibu

Its nameplate spans 35 years and eight generations, and the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan is well-equipped to take on best-sellers in the segment like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion (the latter two with their own 2013 redesigns).

First out is the 2013 Malibu Eco, on sale since March. This will be followed by the 2.5-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine, due out this July, and the Malibu Turbo model coming this fall, powered by a new Ecotec 2.0-liter turbocharged four. Chevrolet says that rear seat-mounted thorax/pelvis side airbags will be standard across the Malibu lineup this summer, bringing the total number to ten. Also in the pipeline are optional forward collision alert and lane-departure warning systems.

Deeply pocketed front seats, Chevy’s new MyLink connectivity system, a rearview camera system and rear parking sensors are standard on Malibu Eco.

Other safety features include StabiiTrak full-function traction control, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, cornering brake control, brake fade assist, panic brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, hill assist and pedal release system. Be sure to check out our first drive review of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco.

2013 Ford Fusion

2013 Ford Fusion

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2013 Ford Fusion

Introduced at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, the 2013 Ford Fusion mid-size family sedan coming out this fall will be available in three four-cylinder gasoline engines, as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. The plug-in hybrid model, the Fusion Energi, comes out a “bit later” and will be able to deliver a combined gasoline and electric efficiency rating of more than 100 MPGe—13 MPGe or better than the Toyota Prius plug-in, and 8 MPGe or better than the 2012 Chevy Volt.


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