HONDA ACCORD SEDAN
Base price: $25,490
As tested: $26,690
The Honda Accord narrowly won this category.
More than 80 journalists gave the Accord a slim victory. It finished just one point ahead of the Ford Fusion.
The areas where the Accord led the pack were interior design, perceived quality, driver position, ergonomics, roominess, comfort and convenience, throttle response, engine smoothness and refinement, transmission, handling, brake feel and effectiveness. Combine these factors with the lowest price of the category and you get a winner.
The Honda Accord has been a favourite of Canadians since it was introduced in 1976. The ninth-generation Accord has been restyled, has more power while using less fuel and costs less than the outgoing model. It also plays host to the first North American application of Honda's next-generation 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine with direct injection. It was paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission as driven at TestFest.
Base price: $24,499
As tested: $29,669
The Ford Fusion topped the Honda and others in the category in the following parameters: exterior styling, interior, convenience and entertainment features, braking distance, cargo capacity, fuel emissions and safety features. The Fusion scored a tie in the areas of steering and NVH (noise-vibration and harshness). But it was the most expensive car in the class by a few hundred dollars.
Base price: $23,698
As tested: $28,033
Third place in the category went to the Nissan Altima. The Altima was the fastest car in the class, accelerating from rest to 100 km/h in 8.6 seconds and from 80-120 km/h in 5.7 seconds. It also has the best fuel economy numbers.
CHEVROLET MALIBU ECO
Base price: $27,940
As tested: $28,945
The Malibu led the pack in ride comfort, fared poorly for styling, engine response and several other areas and trailed in steering, handling, brake feel and effectiveness and acceleration from 80-120 km/h. The Malibu Eco uses GM's eAssist system to eek out additional fuel mileage. A large belt-driven motor/alternator provides the start part of a stop-start system and adds a little power during acceleration.
MITSUBISHI LANCER AWC
Base price: $27,998
As tested: 27,998
The Lancer trailed the pack, coming in last in numerous individual areas including: style, quality, driver position and ergonomics, visibility, roominess and comfort, convenience and entertainment features, NVH, engine smoothness, ride comfort, braking, fuel economy and safety feature. It was the slowest from rest to 100 km/h but second-fastest from 80-120 km/h.