For the last decade, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have dominated sales in the family sedan segment. But impressive products from many other automakers are beginning to steal their thunder -- and sales.
Nissan got serious about its Altima model more than 10 years ago, and it's now a top seller. So, too, is the Ford Fusion -- the first serious American midsize contender since the original Ford Taurus. But between these two rivals for the Camry-Accord throne, one has a serious edge over the other.
What We Like About the Ford Fusion
Walk up to the Ford Fusion and the first thing you'll notice is breathtaking styling. Its grille is reminiscent of an Aston Martin; the side profile brings Audi to mind. Such European influences aren't surprising -- the Fusion is sold in Europe as the Ford Mondeo.
It bristles with technology, too, from efficient four-cylinder EcoBoost engines to options like MyFord Touch and active park assist.
What the Nissan Altima Gets Right
The Altima's less dramatic styling is tasteful, like many of Nissan-Infiniti's current models, and even mid-specification trim levels have nice touches like navigation and keyless entry/start. Its engine choices could be more refined, but they deliver terrific fuel efficiency. The Altima also offers good value -- a similarly-equipped Fusion will sticker for thousands more.
Why One Is the Obvious Choice
Nissan may have hit the target for Toyota Camry buyers who want nothing more than comfortable transportation, but Ford is setting new standards for design and technology standard that could actually draw new buyers into the family sedan market.
Our Verdict: Ford Fusion
The Altima is a good car that addresses the needs of family sedan buyers -- but the forward-looking Fusion does that and more.