Vaughan: The Altima outsells Accord and Camry in Canada and Nissan is determined to keep it that way with the fifth-generation of its mid-size sedan. That’s why it’s loaded with safety and comfort features and claims the best fuel economy in its class. There’s a four-banger and a six offered, all with CVT only (continuously variable transmission). Nissan has the best CVT in the business so enjoy it for the 10 per cent fuel economy boost it provides. The engineers have pulled out all the stops to keep Altima in first place, knowing that the competition never rests.
Vaughan: Honda used to be awesome. It has suffered a gradual decline but now has thrown everything into re-making the mid-size family car – the Accord – great again. The new, ninth-generation Accord is smaller than the flabby gen eight and is packed with the kind of engineering excellence that once made Honda stand out. Honda is an engine builder and it has put its best engine tech into the Accord. You won’t be dazzled by the exterior design but it’s function over form that prevails in the long run. There is lots of competition in the segment, but finally an Accord reminiscent of the glory days.
Cato: The most handsome car in the Volkswagen brand lineup is the CC. The CC part once stood for “comfort coupe,” even though we’re talking about a four-door car. The idea is to sex-up a sedan with slick styling. And it works here. Where the VW Passat sedan now in showrooms is as bland as any mid-size offering in the world, the CC has a sweet shape, one that turns dull on its head. Perhaps this design is too daring to the typical mainstream buyer, but if you must get a VW sedan bigger than a Jetta, this is the one you should buy. Your neighbours will be impressed. “That’s a VW? Really?” they’ll say. And you will nod knowingly.
Cato: Something odd has happened in the design studios at Ford – odd in a good way. Ford is designing some of the most elegant cars on the planet. The Fusion is the prettiest mid-size sedan you can buy for less than $40,000 and less than $30,000, too. You can get it in hybrid form, or with powerful and fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines. You want technology? The MyFord Touch control system is easier to operate than critics would lead you to believe. And when you climb behind the wheel, you will be entertained. If there is a question mark, it’s quality. Ford has had problems. But the Fusion is so good, many will take a chance.