QOTD:  Is This the “Golden Age” for Mid-Sized Sedans?


If you’re an auto enthusiast and are of “that age” where you’ve had the opportunity to experience all things automotive for the past fifty years or so, you’ve probably concluded we are in a pretty good place in 2016.  Certainly from a performance perspective we survived the lows of the ‘70s, and are enjoying a real performance renaissance – Hellcat, Shelby GT 350, Corvette Z06, M4, GT-R, P90d – we’ve never had it this good, and that includes that hallowed era that spawned legends such as the Hemi, Boss 429, ZL-1, and GS Stage 1…

But there is one segment that has really reached a peak – and it’s a segment that has not typically been known for innovation, design leadership or “emotion” – that segment is mid-sized sedans.  Let’s take a quick look at three I think really stand-out…

Mazda 6

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I already have offered my view on how well-styled I think the Mazda 6 is – it’s just an absolute stunner.  In addition to its good looks, it provides sports car levels of handling and balance.  Some have criticized its lack of a performance engine, but Mazda spent time and effort ensuring the SkyActiv engine and transmission complimented each other perfectly – the powertrain is amazingly smooth and linear.  And knowing Mazda’s emphasis on performance, I’d bet there’s a turbo or supercharged mule running around a Hiroshima test track right now – maybe even one with a next generation rotary.

Ford Fusion


Look back over the past several decades – can you name one where Ford’s mid-sized sedan offering was considered its best looking product?  Fairlane (60s)?  Torino (70s)?  Tempo (80s)?  Contour (90s)?  I don’t think so.  Yet today, while Ford’s line-up has some great looking vehicles, I’d vote the Fusion as No. 1.  It’s beautiful – not a bad line on it.  And Ford has continually put money to update it – you may have seen the recent announcement of an upcoming ST model with AWD and 325 hp – I’ll be the first in line at the dealership for a test drive…

Chevy Malibu


I actually didn’t pay much attention to the new Malibu’s introduction as my expectations were pretty low.  While the 2008-12 version was considered a competent mid-sizer, the 2012-15 version was routinely derided as cramped, clumsy and crude.  So when I first saw this 2016 version I was pretty staggered – “looks nice, no, actually looks real nice……”  I saw one magazine refer to it as looking like a US version of an Audi A7.  I may not go that far, but again, look throughout GM’s line-up – Buick, Cadillac, other Chevy’s – I think the Malibu comes out on top.  And early reviews also give high marks to its interior and driving dynamics.

So – back to our question, is this a golden age for mid-size sedans?  I’d say yes.

What do you think?