For 2013 Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, and Nissan have all redesigned their midsize sedans. Toyota and Volkswagen did the same last year. Is any of them clearly a better value than the others? Maybe the new Accord? Honda claims to have added “thousands of dollars in new standard features” to the 2013. Or, as is often the case in highly competitive product classes, are the key competitors all priced similarly once feature differences are accounted for?
Below we start with the base prices for the lowest trim level that includes an automatic transmission, cruise control, and remote keyless entry (to weed out two loss leaders that exist largely in ad copy). With the top-selling Camry as the focal vehicle, we then adjust for feature differences using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool. All are 2013s except the Camry, which is a 2012.
Lightly Equipped Midsize Sedans
|Toyota Camry LE||178hp 2.5L I4||23,360|
|Volkswagen Passat 2.5L S||170hp 2.5L I5||24,335||-155||24,180||820 more|
|Nissan Altima 2.5 S||175hp 2.5L I4||23,280||+35||23,315||45 less|
|Honda Accord LX||185hp 2.4L I4||23,270||-720||22,550||780 less|
|Ford Fusion S||175hp 2.5L I4||22,495||-85||22,410||950 less|
|Chevrolet Malibu LS||197hp 2.5L I4||23,150||-1030||22,120||1,240 less|
|Hyundai Sonata GLS||198hp 2.4L I4||21,670||-530||21,140||2,220 less|
Using TrueDelta’s default values for features, the new Accord LX compared to the 2012 has $1,500 in additional content. Not quite “thousands” (unless you also include the additions to other variants), but enough to significantly undercut both the Camry and the Altima, much less the relatively pricey Passat. Though in the same range as the new Accord, the new Fusion and Malibu are even less expensive. This is a bit of a surprise given how much they’ve both been upgraded. Down in the bargain basement we have the Sonata. Entering its third model year, the Hyundai is the geezer of the bunch, but any discussion of value must include something from Korea. While the key players are closely bunched, the full range is considerable, about $3,000.
Perhaps you’re looking for a car with a bit more on it. Let’s re-run the same comparisons with a powerful engine, upsized rims, leather upholstery, sunroof, premium audio, and nav.
Heavily Equipped Midsize Sedans
|Toyota Camry SE V6||268hp 3.5L V6||31,180|
|VW Passat V6 SEL Premium||280hp 3.6L V6||34,320||+185||34,505||3,325 more|
|Honda Accord EX-L V6||278hp 3.5L V6||32,860||+160||33,020||1,840 more|
|Nissan Altima 3.5 SL||270hp 3.5L V6||31,950||+35||31,985||805 more|
|Chevrolet Malibu LT||259hp 2.0L I4 turbo||32,075||-715||31,360||180 more|
|Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T||274hp 2.0L I4 turbo||31,270||+75||31,345||165 more|
|Ford Fusion Titanium||240hp 2.0L I4 turbo||32,685||-1,755||30,930||250 less|
With the cars loaded up, the price spread grows a little, to about $3,500. All of the cars lose ground against the Toyota, largely because the Camry SE V6 is priced very aggressively even compared to other Camrys. If you wouldn’t personally pay a cent for the SE’s body kit and rear spoiler, then subtract $550 from the others’ adjusted prices, restoring some of the lost ground.
Despite having 17-inch wheels to the others’ 18s, the Accord is now the most expensive aside from the Passat, which is far above the bunch. Loaded up and turbocharged, the Sonata also doesn’t seem nearly as good a value.
The surprise in the bunch is the heavily equipped Fusion. Though the new Ford has one of the highest sticker prices, this is for the top trim level with a ton of stuff. If you can do without the Titanium’s 390-watt surround sound Sony audio system, the Fusion SE with an equipment level just $170 short of the Camry’s lists for $30,980, less than any of the others.
Add in build quality suitable for the European market, and the Fusion seems like the winner here. Its main weaknesses: the 2.0T engine isn’t as strong as the other turbos and V6s, and some recently redesigned Fords have been glitchy during their first model year. Will the new Fusion fare similarly? Check TrueDelta’s car reliability stats in nine to twelve months.
Want to run the numbers with the features you want? Just head here.
Which car strikes you as the best value of the bunch?