There are few segments which are as important and competitive as the mid-size sedan segment. The body style is outsold in the United States only by Detroit’s full-size pickup trucks and consumers have no shortage of options when looking for a vehicle in the segment. Almost all automaker’s mid-size sedan offerings are strikingly similar in performance, value and fuel economy too, making Motor Trend’s mid-size sedan comparison especially important.
For their comparison, MT rounded up some of the segment’s strongest offerings. Their group consisted of the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, 2014 Kia Optima, 2015 Chrysler 200, 2014 Mazda6, 2014 Honda Accord and the 2014 Nissan Altima. MT noted this was one of the most closely matched tests they have ever featured, saying they were “astonished” at how competitive the segment was and how there simply was no car in the test which could be considered bad. However, they did stick the Chevy in last place behind the Nissan Altima.
MT says the Chevy came in last for a number of reasons. The biggest contributing factor could have been its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which MT says “makes a bad buzz over 3500 rpm and, because of the wide, tall gearing, the car tries to sit in fourth gear on the freeway.” It also delivered the third slowest 0-60 mph acceleration time and the worst real world fuel economy, returning 26 mpg combined. They also lambasted the Malibu for the “cramped rear seat” and “hard, dreary” interior plastics. There were some redeeming factors though, such as the ride and handling, 7-inch infotainment screen and relatively low road noise.
To see how the full test panned out and to read more on MT’s reasoning for ranking the Malibu dead last in the mid-size sedan segment, read their full comparison here.