This segment may be pretty boring, but these are our five standouts.
When car enthusiasts talk about the hottest new cars they'd love to drive, these conversations tend not to include non-luxury midsize sedans. This segment is often known for being the most boring and least enthusiast-focused in the industry. However, in the last few years, there have been a few bright spots. The midsize sedan segment may not be an enthusiast's paradise, but we have picked out five models (from non-luxury automakers) that are actually fun to drive.
The clear winner on this list (if we had to pick one) would be the all-new Kia Stinger. This choice is a bit of a technicality because the Stinger is a very luxurious car, yet doesn't wear a luxury badge. The Stinger is also the only model on this list that comes with RWD, a true sign of an enthusiast car. Kia will offer two engine choices: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 255 hp and a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 with 365 hp. Unfortunately there won't be a manual transmission on offer, but if you want a RWD sport sedan with plenty of room and plenty of features, this is looking like the only option.
Even though the midsize sedan segment has always been a bit boring, the Honda Accord has been the one rare exception. Honda has just revealed a radically redesigned Accord with all-new engines. The V6 option is no more, replaced by two four-cylinder turbo engines. The 1.5-liter unit will produce 192 hp and the 2.0-liter unit (borrowed from the Civic Type R) will produce 252 hp. Honda has seen fit to retain the Accord's optional six-speed manual transmission. Clearly Honda seems to have a decent pulse on the enthusiast community, and will continue to offer a manual Accord, now with turbo power.
The Mazda 6 has been heralded as one of the best driver's car in the midsize sedan segment. This car offers good steering feel, a nicely sorted chassis and an upscale interior that makes many entry-level luxury cars blush. It even comes with an optional six-speed manual transmission for added fun. The only complaint about the Mazda 6 is its lack of power. The only engine choice on this car is an adequate, but less-than-thrilling, 2.5-liter four cylinder with 184 hp. We know that Mazda is capable of putting a more powerful turbocharged engine from the CX-9 into this car, but continues to leave it too underpowered to be considered a true segment standout.
The Ford Fusion has been a very pretty car since its refresh in 2013. The only thing missing seemed to be a great engine to help it stand above the competition. Ford decided to go all out and create the one-of-a-kind Fusion Sport, which kind of stands in a class of its own. This car is powered by a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 with 325 hp, making it the second most powerful on the list. Power is sent to all four wheels through an AWD system borrowed from the Focus RS. The Fusion Sport is sadly tuned more for comfort than performance, but that power will certainly make enthusiasts happy.
The Volkswagen brand is a variable maze for enthusiasts. On one hand there are sporty models like the Golf GTI and Jetta GLI, and on the other there are boring options like the latest Tiguan and Passat. This could start to change because VW has plans to introduce a new Passat GT model that will go on sale in 2018. The Passat GT will look like the recently revealed concept car and be powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 280 hp. This car will sadly be FWD but that should help enthusiasts get a little tire squealing action. The Passat GT will be the closest thing the US has ever gotten to the Europe-only R36.