Midsize cars account for a tremendous number of U.S. sales. Three of the four top-selling cars—the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima—are members of this segment.
Because midsize cars are so popular, virtually every major mainstream manufacturer offers one. Some even offer two. In all, the class contains 15 contenders.
Considering those numbers, there really aren’t many variations available in the class. The majority of the cars are only offered as 4-door, front-wheel-drive sedans. However, there are three wagons to be found, and there are four vehicles available with all-wheel drive.
Powertrains are more diverse. Four-cylinder and V6 gas engines dominate, but there are also eight models that offer a hybrid.
After a handful of redesigned and significantly refreshed models for 2016, the midsize car class is less dramatically changed for 2017. The biggest news is the extensively updated Ford Fusion, which gains revised styling, a freshened interior with a rotary-dial gear selector, and an available adaptive suspension with pothole detection technology. Hybrid Fusions get a more efficient electric motor, and new top-line Platinum and Sport models join the lineup. The performance-oriented, all-wheel- drive Sport is powered by a 325-hp turbocharged 2.7-liter V6.
The Honda Accord line sees the return of a Hybrid model, and the Kia Optima adds both Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models after its redesign last year. The Subaru Legacy sedan gains a new Sport model and the Subaru Outback wagon gets a line-topping Touring model; both Legacy and Outback add available auto-dimming headlights and Reverse Automatic Braking. The rest of the premium midsize-car class is either unchanged or sees minor revisions such as updated infotainment systems and/or changes in standard equipment and option packages. The 2017 model year will be the last for the slow-selling Chrysler 200, at least in its current form, as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shifts production capacity to more-popular truck and SUV models.
With several of the cars available in hybrid form, it’s hard to call any of them “out of the ordinary.” But the Ford C-MAX and Toyota Prius v are the only wagons in the hybrid group, so maybe those qualify.The Volkswagen Passat formerly claimed the only diesel-engine offering in the class—though due to VW’s diesel-emissions-rigging scandal last year, the engine was pulled from the market; it’s unlikely to be offered again anytime soon. The Mazda 6 was originally slated to get a diesel powertrain, but development delays have continually pushed back its introduction—it’s doubtful it will arrive during the current-generation 6’s life cycle. Subaru’s Legacy sedan and Outback wagon, the Ford Fusion, and the Chrysler 200 offer all-wheel drive. The Honda Accord offers the class’s lone coupe body style.