The Next-Generation Family Sedans Will Display Stunning Fuel Efficiency
As society grapples with austerity measures and steep gas prices, alternative energy vehicles and compact cars enjoy media buzz and growing popularity. What about the good old midsize family-sedan?
According to Edmunds Inside Line, Midsize family sedan shoppers are now offered a selection of the most fuel efficient models yet. Looking ahead, the influx of all-new 2013 models are set to deliver fuel economy ratings that will raise the status quo even higher.
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Start the slideshow to begin the list of midsize vehicles you should pay attention to.
Photo:Hyundai 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
First launched in 2011, the Sonata Hybrid sedan features a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed transmission. Combined with a 30kW electric motor and 270V lithium polymer battery, the hybrid system is rated at 35 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 37 mpg combined. Comparatively, the standard Sonata model is rated at 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, well below the hybrid's numbers.
While fuel efficient, the Sonata Hybrid also posts respectable performance numbers at 206-hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.
Hybrid prices start at $25,850
Photo:Toyota 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid
2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Redesigned for 2012, the Toyota Camry sedan has been a consistent bestseller and category leader for decades.
Although the market has become highly competitive, steady upgrades, an evolutionary design, and a reputation for dependability makes Camry still the midsize car to beat.
The 2012 Camry Hybrid receives an EPA rating of 43 city and 39 highway, thoroughly superior to the 25/35 mpg in the base Camry model. The base Camry starts at $22,055 and the 2012 Camry Hybrid now starts at $25,990, a good $1060 less than the 2011 model.
Photo:Chevrolet 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco
2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco
Launched in 2012 as a 2013 model year, the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco features the Chevy staple 2.4L Ecotec direct injection 4-cylinder engine good for 182-hp. Combined with regenerative braking, a drivetrain management and energy capture system called eAssist, as well as a 15kW electric motor, the Malibu Eco earned an EPA rating of 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The Malibu Eco also features a clever system that allows accessories to be switched from gas powered to lithium-ion battery powered when the vehicle is stopped.
Prices start at $25,235. Currently sold alongside the outgoing 2012 Malibu, the 2013 Malibu Eco will be joined with a base 2.5 liter Ecotec trim later this year.
Photo:Volkswagen 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI
2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI
While the other automakers are pushing hybrid technology, Volkswagen is characteristically partial to diesel powerplants.
The 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI packs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel that earns an EPA rating of 31 mpg city and 43 mpg highway. These numbers effectively place the Passat TDI at the top of the table for the highest EPA rating of any non-hybrid model in the family-sedan segment. While its 140-hp output sounds a bit asthmatic, the TDI produces a hearty 236 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 2012 Passat TDI SE starts from $25,995.
Photo:Nissan USA 2013 Nissan Altima
2013 Nissan Altima
Hitting showrooms this summer, the all-new 2013 Nissan Altima is so new, in fact, that the EPA only rated the vehicle earlier this month. Earning an impressive 27 mpg city, and 38 mpg highway, the latest Altima is the new title holder for the most fuel efficient gasoline model in the segment
Featuring a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), the 2013 Altima will arrive to U.S. dealers later this month. Prices will start at a very affordable $21,500.
Photo:Ford 2013 Ford Fusion
2013 Ford Fusion (Energi shown)
The 2013 Ford Fusion goes on sale this fall, and will offer three trims, featuring both gasoline and hybrid options.
Although the EPA has yet to rate the 2013 Fusion, Ford assures that upon its release in January, customers will be happy to learn that the Fusion 1.6 liter will deliver 26 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, figures only 1 mpg lower than the new Altima.
On to the Fusion Hybrid, a new 2.0-liter gasoline engine combines with Ford's hybrid system to return a remarkable 47 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway. Not only will this figure propel the Fusion to the top of the board as the highest-rated midsize hybrid, but its figures are just 4 mpg down from the world standard that is the Prius.
Finally, The new Fusion Energi model is fundamentally using the hybrid system from the Fusion Hybrid, but with a twist. The Fusion Energi offers a trick plug-in hybrid system that encourages pure electric driving for short distances. Information is limited but Ford expects for the Fusion Energi to achieve up to 100 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent).
2013 Ford Fusion models start at $22,495.
Photo:Honda 2013 Honda Accord Concept
2013 Honda Accord (Shown: concept coupe)
While a redesigned 2013 Honda Accord sedan is slated for release this fall, details remain scarce.
The outgoing model features a 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine that returns 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
As for the 2013 model, we expect to see a new, low friction, 2.4 direct-injection engine, a more aerodynamic exterior, and weight saving materials combine into a recipe for improved fuel economy.
What's more, an all-new Accord Plug-In Hybrid with a two motor system is expected for winter release. So far, Honda is keeping its numbers and information very close to the chest.