Josh's Picks: Family sedans
1) Honda Accord
This midsize sedan can hold up to five passengers in comfort and with style, with optional XM Satellite radio, navigation system and leather interior. It also has an optional 240hp, 3.0 liter V-6 engine or the standard 160 hp, 2.4 liter 4 cyl, with available 5 speed automatic or 5 or 6 speed manual.
The Accord Hybrid is supposed to launch in late 2005, with an EPA-estimated gas mileage of 26/city and 34/highway, which is average for the normal sedan. Also the Accord is available in the two door coupe version. Honda's clean reliability level is an average 10 out of 10 so this is a good buy. It has a good amount of space in the back and space to stretch legs in the front. The ride is soundless with the V-6 engine. As I noticed it has a lot of power going up hills with both engines, but the Hybrid may not do so well on steep hills. The Accord's nice sharp turns can get thru the morning commute with ease. Pack up your things. It is a wild ride!
Pricing: MSRP $16,195 - $26,800
Two door : $19,775 - $26,000
2005 Honda Accord shown
2) Toyota Camry
Toyota's fifth generation Camry has an exterior light design changed from the 2004 model. The Camry can have an optional 225hp with a 3.3 liter V-6 with 5 speed manual or 5 speed automatic. Unfortunately, the side curtain airbag system that protects the front and back side seating is optional for every type of Camry, and there is no XM radio available. There is an optional satiability control system and adjustable pedals for the LE V-6 and up. The average EPA gas mileage is 24/city and 34/highway.
The Camry has a clean ride and reliability but it lacks power and standardized features. The turning is not as good as the Accord but can get you around the commute. As you can tell by the pricing below it is worth every penny!
Pricing: Starting MSRP $18,000 - $26,000
2005 Toyota Camry shown
3) Hyundai SonataIt
I was surprised that a Hundai got into 3 rd place but its true. The Sonata is a good midsize sedan, with available 170 hp 2.7 liter V-6 or 138 hp 2.7 liter V-4 with 4 speed automatic or 5 speed manual. Sadly the Sonata only got one new change in 2005; electro-chromatic mirrors with Home Link is now standard in LX models. The Sonata gets about 22/c ity 30/highway. There are not many standard features on the Sonata and there never were. With cruise control optional you can see that Hundai holds back on essential standard features. But Hundai gave a nice base price, nice ride and enough horsepower to get you around on the highway.
But the thing that blew me away was the reliability. Hundai did a nice job. It's as reliable as the Camry and the Accord, and reliability is my number one priority!
Pricing: Starting MSRP $15,999 - $19,799
2005 Hyundai Sonatalt shown
The Mazda6 is the sportiest in the passenger car section, with available 220hp 3.0 liter V-6, or the standard 155hp 2.3 liter V-4. The 6 has a standard 4-speed automatic, or 6-speed manual or automatic, which shows what's sporty under the hood. The exterior is the same as the '04 model, but the interior includes leather, navigation, and a 6-CD changer. Mazda is partly owned by Ford which is not a good thing. Ford has a history of unreliable cars, trucks, and SUV's. The 6 is based on the Ford Focus base, but the engine is modified and so is the leg room. With 15.2 cubic feet of space in the interior it is a little bigger than the Focus. The 6 is also available in Sport Wagon or Hatchback models.
What brought this car in forth is its reliability. Because of the Focus base and Ford parts in the engine the 6's reliability is fair but not so good. This car will probably last about 65,000 miles before breakdown. The EPA gas mileage is 23/city and 31/highway.
Pricing: Starting MSRP $18,995 - $26,795
Sport wagon MSRP $22,895-$26,795
Hatchback - $22,025-$23,995
2005 Mazda Mazda6 4dr Sedan
5) Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable
Mercury's parent company Ford is putting the Taurus/Sable into 2005. Surviving the debut of the Five Hundred/Montego sedans, they come with a front wheel drive standard 153hp, 3.0 liter V-6. For the interior, leather is available. Not much has changed for both cars for '05 inside and out. Anti- lock brakes are standard, and traction control is optional for both models. The EPA gas mileage is about City: 19 – 20 Highway: 27 . As I said in the Mazda 6 article, Ford is not the most reliable company or the cheapest. The Taurus is not really up to date with style and features. The Taurus and Sable are still using most of the parts from 2001 when Ford redesigned the Taurus and Sable. The Sable is more expensive than the Taurus for no reason. Usually the Sables come with standard leather, but not for this year. The Ford and Mercury reliability will get you to 50,000 miles with minor problems, but after that I don't know what to tell you!
Pricing: Sable: Starting MSRP $21,200 - $24,165
Taurus: Starting MSRP $20,830 - $22,740
Pricing courtesy of cars.com; Photos courtesy of cars.com.
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