Picking and choosing among these models can be a tough decision

Buying a used family sedan is often as difficult as deciding what cut of meat you want in the supermarket. Preferences and priorities take center stage. Do you buy one with ample space in the interior? Do you buy one that drives like a butterfly? Do you buy one that’s loaded on tech and safety features? Or do you buy one that offers all of those things in one package, even if it means paying a premium for it? Choosing a used family sedan can be tricky, but we’re here to help you out in that regard with a list of 10 family sedans, ranked from worst to first, that you can get for an affordable price.

Nissan Altima

2016 - 2017 Nissan Altima High Resolution Exterior
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The Nissan Altima brings up the rear in this list because it’s in dire need of a next-generation model. Fortunately, that next-gen model is here. Unfortunately, it just arrived in dealerships this month, making it difficult to find one in the used-car market.

The Altima isn’t really a bad car. It has comfortable seats, plenty of seating space, and has excellent fuel economy.

The downside to the Altima is that its engines are weak compared to the competition. It also has aging technology, which, to be fair, has been addressed by Nissan in the next-gen model. Since we’re in the topic of aging technology, it took until the 2018 model year for Nissan to fit the Altima with standard forward collision warning, joining a menu of other standard safety systems including automatic emergency braking and a rearview camera. Other safety features such as adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert still come as options.

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Output: 182 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: CVT automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg city / 38 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 40 inches
Front Leg Room: 45 inches
Rear Head Room: 37 inches
Rear Leg Room: 36.1 inches
Cargo Room: 15.4 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $12,000 to $16,000
New Pricing Starts At $23,260

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Altima.

Subaru Legacy

Top 10 Family Sedans Ranked from Worst to Best High Resolution Exterior
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The Subaru Legacy is a decent car with quality looks.

It also offers standard four-wheel drive across its range, a rarity in this segment considering that not a lot of automaker offer AWD even as an option.

The Legacy also has a comfortable and spacious interior. It offers a good menu of safety and tech features, too, including the Starlink infotainment system that’s relatively easy to use. The standard 6.5-inch touchscreen comes with sharp graphics, and even the on-screen buttons are big and easy to see. Unfortunately, its powertrain choices are uninspiring at best. Worse, it doesn’t drive and handle as well as rival models in its segment. Those two elements are anchors in the legs of the Subie sedan. But the biggest drawback surrounding the Legacy is its price. A brand new model is already one of the most expensive models in its segment, and it’s the same story when you’re looking for a used version. There are better choices than the Legacy, especially at the price you’re expected to pay for one.

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Output: 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed CVT automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city / 34 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 40 inches
Front Leg Room: 42.9 inches
Rear Head Room: 37 inches
Rear Leg Room: 38.1 inches
Cargo Room: 15.0 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $16,000 to $21,000
New Pricing Starts At $22,545

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru Legacy

Volkswagen Passat

2015 Volkswagen Passat High Resolution Exterior
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The only European sedan on this list, the Volkswagen Passat is one of the most recognizable models in this segment.

It also happens to have one of the most generous amounts of space available to occupants.

You can sit in any of the seats inside the Passat, and you’re going to be comfortable in it. So why is the Passat ranked this low? For one, interior refinement isn’t as good as those seats are comfortable. There’s a good amount of plastic spread throughout the cabin, something that you don’t expect from a European automaker. The VW sedan also doesn’t score high in tech features. Sure, it has a lot of what other rivals offer, but some of what Volkswagen offers are pretty dated, to say the least. The infotainment screen, for example, is smaller than most rivals. It’s not difficult to use, but it’s not exactly noted for its intuitiveness, either. The Passat also suffers from the pricing disadvantage as the Legacy. A brand new model is priced higher than the competition. That reflects in the used-car market, as well.

Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Output: 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city / 34 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 38 inches
Front Leg Room: 42.4 inches
Rear Head Room: 38 inches
Rear Leg Room: 39.1 inches
Cargo Room: 16.0 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $15,000 to $20,000
New Pricing Starts At $22,995

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Passat

Chevrolet Malibu

2016 Chevrolet Malibu
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The Chevrolet Malibu is a decent full-size sedan.

It’s a great choice if you’re looking for an affordable model that’s got a good amount of space in the cabin.

It’s fuel-efficient, too, at least compared to other models in its class. It even has an intuitive Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, provided you don’t get the base L version, which only nets you a basic stereo and not much else. There lies the problem with the Malibu. The base model is barren on standard features. You might as well ignore it because, for an extra $1,500, you can get the LS trim and all the standard features it comes with. You’ll get a Wi-Fi hotspot, a rearview camera, and the aforementioned infotainment system with smartphone integration. In a nutshell, the Chevrolet Malibu is a cheap option, provided you’re not picky with your standard features. If you are, you’re going to have to spend more, and if you do that, you might as well get another model that offers more at that price point.

Engine: 1.5-liter four-cylinder
Output: 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg city / 36 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 39 inches
Front Leg Room: 42 inches
Rear Head Room: 38 inches
Rear Leg Room: 38.1 inches
Cargo Room: 15.8 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $16,000 to $20,000
New Pricing Starts At $22,090

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu

Ford Fusion

2013 Ford Fusion High Resolution Exterior
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The Ford Fusion is one of the most reliable full-size sedans in the market today.

It doesn’t stand out in one particular thing, but it does have a lot of good qualities that are attractive to prospective customers.

Cabin and cargo space aren’t problems for the Fusion. You get a lot in both departments. It doesn’t have the most expansive list of standard features, but it does have a four-speaker stereo, the base SYNC infotainment system with voice controls to make phone calls and play music, and a user-friendly touch-screen infotainment system that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The engine lineup isn’t going to wow anybody, too, but it makes do with what it has and still have enough to offer balanced handling and a solid overall ride. If you’re going to buy the Ford Fusion, do so with the understanding that it has good and bad qualities. It’s up to you determine if the good outweighs the bad, or vice versa.

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Output: 175 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 39 inches
Front Leg Room: 44.3 inches
Rear Head Room: 38 inches
Rear Leg Room: 38.3 inches
Cargo Room: 16.0 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $18,000 to $22,000
New Pricing Starts At $22,840

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Fusion

Mazda6

Top 10 Family Sedans Ranked from Worst to Best Exterior
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To be clear, there are flashier full-size sedans in the market compared to the Mazda6. There are also more affordable options in the market.

But the 6 is the better overall buy because it has one of the best interiors in the segment and, more importantly, it delivers the kind of fun and engaging performance that very few of its rivals can match.

The 6’s performance credentials translate to a smooth ride, which itself is complemented by a spacious interior and well-appointed interior. Mazda also isn’t short-changing anybody with the standard features on the 6. The sedan comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a six-speaker audio system, HD Radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, and the MazdaConnect infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen. That’s an impressive lineup considering all of these come standard on the sedan. You’re not going to go wrong with the Mazda6, but there are still better choices out there, too.

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Output: 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed manual transmission
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg city / 33 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 38 inches
Front Leg Room: 42.2 inches
Rear Head Room: 37 inches
Rear Leg Room: 38.7 inches
Cargo Room: 14.7 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $15,000 to $20,000
New Pricing Starts At $21,950

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda6

Kia Optima

2016 Kia Optima
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The Kia Optima - and the next model on this list — is considered one of the two real threats to the segment supremacy of the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.

The Optima is one of the best full-size sedans in its class. It looks fresh and modern and has a spacious interior with loads of tech features.

It has a versatile lineup of engines and above average gas mileage. The Optima also has a prominent list of safety tech that includes a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. These features come standard in every Optima trim level. A number of other advanced driver assistance technologies are available in up-level trims and through add-on packages, including autonomous emergency braking, a forward collision warning system, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and a surround-view camera. The Accord and the Camry are still the gold standards in this market. But the Optima’s making a legitimate run for that title.

Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Output: 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed manual transmission
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city / 36 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 40 inches
Front Leg Room: 45.5 inches
Rear Head Room: 38 inches
Rear Leg Room: 35.6 inches
Cargo Room: 15.9 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $15,000 to $20,000
New Pricing Starts At $22,900

Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Optima

Hyundai Sonata

2018 Hyundai Sonata High Resolution Exterior
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Other than the Kia Optima, the Hyundai Sonata is chomping at the bit to take the fight to the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. Just like the Optima, the Sonata is entering this battlefield with a lot of weapons in tow. We’re not done with the Optima comparisons, too, because the two models are related to one another.

The Sonata excels with a breadth of offerings that are the best, or right near the top, in its class.

While it doesn’t look as attractive as the Optima, the Sonata has one of the best interiors in the segment. Space isn’t an issue as the sedan can comfortably fit five people with plenty of leg space to spare. The sedan’s sloping roofline is an issue for taller passengers, but it’s not that big of an issue that it knocks the sedan out of its place on this list. Cargo space isn’t an issue for the sedan, either, as there are more than 16 cubic feet of space in the cargo area. As far as novelty tricks go, the Sonata also comes with a hands-free power trunk. On the tech side, the Hyundai sedan comes with plenty of standard tech features, including Bluetooth, a USB port, a seven-inch touch-screen display, and Hyundai’s Blue Link infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Sonata is also a fun car to drive. It’s engaging, and it delivers composed handling for a sedan in its class. It’s not as agile as the Accord or the Camry, but overall, it’s the one model that can give the establishment a run for its money as the best full-size sedan in the market today.

Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Output: 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city / 35 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 40 inches
Front Leg Room: 45.5 inches
Rear Head Room: 38 inches
Rear Leg Room: 35.6 inches
Cargo Room: 16.3 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $15,000 to $20,000
New Pricing Starts At $22,300

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Sonata

Honda Accord

2018 Honda Accord High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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You know you’re getting your money’s worth — and maybe more — when you get the Honda Accord. The long-standing sedan is now in its tenth generation, and yet, it’s still considered as one of the best full-size sedans in its segment, maybe even the best.

The Accord has a lot of strengths and very few weakness, if there is one, to begin with.

It’s a nice-looking car from the outside and downright beautiful in the inside. The interior is decked with soft-touch materials, and there’s enough space to comfortably sit as many as five adults, all of whom get the pleasure of sitting down in some of the most comfortable seats in its class. It’s also rich in standard tech features, which include dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports, a four-speaker audio system, a 7-inch display screen, and Siri Eyes Free. The Accord’s base engine is as potent as they come, and it’s not just about the power figures, too. The acceleration is smooth, the handling is superb, and the overall ride is just top-quality. You’re not going to find a midsize sedan with the credentials of the Accord. Ok, maybe there’s one…

Engine: 1.5-liter four-cylinder
Output: 192 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 30 mpg city / 38 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 40 inches
Front Leg Room: 42.3 inches
Rear Head Room: 37 inches
Rear Leg Room: 40.4 inches
Cargo Room: 16.7 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $20,000 to $22,000
New Pricing Starts At $23,570

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

2018 Toyota Camry
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The Toyota Camry gets better with age. It’s been around since 1982, and it’s evolved greatly since its early years.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is its quality and reputation. To date, the Camry is still the best full-size sedan in the business.

It has its flaws — no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto available — but for the most part, it’s the most complete model of its kind in the market today. The Camry has serious good looks on its side. It also has a spacious interior with comfortable seats throughout. Power isn’t an issue; the Camry has a four-cylinder engine that produces 203 horsepower, making that four-cylinder one of the most powerful non-turbocharged engines in its segment. Driving the Camry is as easy as it looks, too. The ride is excellent, and the car itself is as agile as they come. On the tech front, the Camry boasts the market’s best infotainment system. It’s a pity that you can’t get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto with it, but Toyota has done a great job of providing access to a variety of apps. There are other full-size sedans in the market that claim to be the best, but until they prove themselves against the Camry, the Toyota remains the gold standard in this segment.

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Output: 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 29 mpg city / 41 mpg highway
Standard Seating: Five people
Front Head Room: 38 inches
Front Leg Room: 42.1 inches
Rear Head Room: 38 inches
Rear Leg Room: 38 inches
Cargo Room: 14.1 cubic feet
Average Used Car Price: $18,000 to $22,000
New Pricing Starts At $23,845

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry

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