This year's sedan nominees for our Best Car To Buy award include the Chevrolet Impala, Mazda 3, and Mazda6. Each of these earn an Overall Score of at least 8.0 in our full reviews; we rate every vehicle for Styling, Performance, Safety, and Features, and while it's all figured in, you can browse those individual sections on every vehicle based on what's more important to you. It's also worth noting that several missed the cut.
We should note that in order to be a nominee, a vehicle model also needed to have a starting price under $50,000. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, for example, sure didn't make that cutoff, even though it's one of our top-rated vehicles—and, surely, one of the contenders over at Motor Authority. This also doesn't include what we'd deem our luxury nominees—those models that are sold under a premium badge, or at a premium price that still falls within the $50k cutoff. We'll get to those nominees in an upcoming post.
All three of our sedan nominees are dramatically improved from what they were just a model year or two ago, and they represent to high achievers among this year's new models. Scroll through the following pages to see a summary of our 2014 Best Car To Buy Nominees, and check back for plenty more leading up to our big November 12 announcement.
Overall Rating: 8.0
Bottom Line: It took a while to get here, but the 2014 Chevy Impala fast-forwards over the past with fine handling and even better styling.
With this full-size sedan carried over with ancient underpinnings and substandard features and performance, year after year, GM almost ran its Impala nameplate into the ground. In the nick of time, the new 2014 Impala polishes those tarnished impressions—from first sight, really, as it's that good. The back seat is a little tight for a big car, and four-cylinder models aren't all that; but from its sleek look and great proportions, to its confident V-6 performance, well-designed interior, and top-notch safety and feature set, the Impala wows in nearly every way—and price is one of them.
2014 Mazda 6 Sport
Overall Rating: 8.2
Bottom Line: The 2014 Mazda 6 is a beauty, with refined, perky powertrains and a driving experience that mostly delivers on what the exterior suggests.
No other mid-size sedan looks quite as as racy and attractive as the 2014 Mazda6 on the outside. The proportions are a knockout, and Mazda has managed to inject a lot of personality into what's essentially, a very spacious, practical sedan that can get up to 40 mpg. Yes, we do wish for a little more power, but that's on the way with the still-postponed diesel model. And from the driver's seat the Mazda6 is one of the best-driving, best-handling models in its class.
Overall Rating: 8.0
Bottom Line: The 2014 Mazda 3 is no longer a niche compact; this year's redesign makes it a mainstream player that doesn't lose its sporty edge.
For those who appreciate a sporty driving experience but are on a budget, the Mazda 3 has long been one of the top picks among affordable compact cars. Although the styling here is more polarizing than that of the larger Mazda6, and we think Mazda could have done a bit better with its interfaces, the all-new 2014 Mazda 3 is quieter, more refined, more fuel-efficient, and better in just about every way.