The field of affordable family sedans is as wide as ever, yet many shoppers still stick with the same two or three predictable brands. Want to be different? These family-friendly four-doors offer style, value and performance, while ensuring you won’t get lost in the masses.
Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Kia Forte 4-door Sedan Auto EXEnlarge Photo
2010 Kia Forte
There’s no room for rolling matchbox jokes here. The 2010 Kia Forte has stylish, European-inspired looks thanks to a former Audi exterior designer. Inside the setup is basic and simple, with standard techno-goodies like a CD player, USB connector and Bluetooth. Good rear legroom keeps passengers from feeling squished, and trunk space rivals any car in its class. Power is provided by a 156-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine on the LX and EX models. The souped-up EX steps up to a 173 hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. And while the 2010 Kia Forte might not win any drag races, it’s capable and comfortable cruising the open road. What it lacks in off-the-line power is made up in fuel economy – the base model gets an impressive 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway with the 5-speed automatic.
Hatchback is expected to be revealed closer to the car’s sales launch early next yearEnlarge Photo
2010 Mazda3 Sedan
The 2010 Madza3 is the holy grail for families who put performance at the top of their lists. With its sporty front haunches and big-mouth grille, it looks as if it could literally swallow the competition. Responsive steering, athletic cornering and readily available power make the 2010 Mazda3 the driving enthusiast’s choice. Engine choices include a 2.0-liter inline-4 that’s good for 148 hp and 135 pound-feet of torque, or a 167-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 good that offers up 168 lb-ft of torque. The Mazda3 interior is crafted with high-quality materials and comes standard with a CD player and aux jack. Trunk space falls short, but with the 2010 Mazda3’s stiff ride, it’s probably best to keep one’s cargo tightly packed. Fuel economy checks in at 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for the 2.0-liter automatic.
2010 Suzuki SX4 Sport SedanEnlarge Photo
2010 Suzuki SX4 Sedan
No longer just associated with boxy SUVs, Suzuki is as competitive as ever in the sedan market. The 2010 Suzuki SX4’s design is attractive and refined. The interior offers a comfortable amount of space, although the base model is pretty bare bones in terms of features. And while it may lack the dynamics of its sportier rivals, the Suzuki SX4 eats up the bumps in the road without feeling numb or overly cushy. Trunk space is large for its class and offers as much space as some larger sedans. The Suzuki SX4 is powered by a 2.0-liter inline 4 that makes 150 hp with a six-speed manual transmission, or 148 hp with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which electronically selects the most fuel-efficient gear ratio. Although fuel economy isn’t stellar, the 2010 Suzuki SX4 sedan posts a still respectable 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the CVT.