In the automotive market, one would be hard-pressed to find a more competitive segment than that of midsize sedans. Due to such close competition, industry sales figures fail to accurately represent the class in terms of ranking the best available models.
For instance, though sales would imply the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are the top two midsize sedans, many automotive experts argue that both the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion are better cars. While this may be true, it can also be difficult to determine whether the Sonata or Fusion deserves more buyers.
What the Hyundai Sonata Gets Right
If anything, the Sonata has proven Hyundai is capable of building a sedan that's affordable and likable. While the low price and long warranty coverage (10 years/100,000 miles) are this four-door's most obvious attractions, its classy styling doesn't hurt.
The base Sonata comes well-equipped, making the lower price point seem even more attractive. The Sonata's standard engine is capable of delivering 29 mpg combined, or even more for drivers who don't slam the gas pedal to the floor. The optional 2.0-liter, turbo engine delivers 245 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque, but its performance is hampered by a traditional six-speed transmission. Additionally, there is an Eco trim that delivers 38 mpg highway and sporty performance thanks to a 177-horsepower, turbocharged engine and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission.
What the Ford Fusion Gets Right
Decades ago, Ford dominated the midsize sedan segment with the critically-acclaimed Taurus. Today, the folks at the Blue Oval hope to do the same with the Fusion. Featuring upscale but aggressive exterior design, the Fusion seems to understand it is a four-door sedan and not a two-door coupe, unlike some competitors.
Once on the road, it handles better than any other affordable sedan, and provides a comfortable ride at cruising speeds. Multiple turbocharged engines are offered -- one optimized for fuel-efficiency and the other for performance. The Fusion's interior cabin is comfortable and spacious, and offers the latest in automotive technology.
So why are neither the Sonata or Fusion among the two top-selling models in the class?
The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have, over time, built a larger group of loyal repeat customers. So, while a Sonata or Fusion may be the better choice, a former Camry owner is likely to purchase another Camry based on past satisfaction.
Our Verdict: Ford Fusion
While both models deserve more recognition from shoppers, the Fusion beats the Sonata with numerous fuel-efficient powertrains and a fun-to-drive ownership experience.