If there was one type of car most people would go for, it was the midsize vehicle. Once the titans of the automotive industry, crossovers have knocked them down a few pegs, but they're still fantastic vehicles. Some of the most recognizable names to roll off the production line are midsize cars. In fact, a lot of midsize cars are perfect for a variety of lifestyles.
Whether you want something with efficiency or sportiness in mind, there's definitely a midsize car that aligns with your needs. These are our choices for the best midsize cars that your money can buy. And don't worry -- if you're looking forinstead of sedans, we have a list for that, too.
If you've ever read any other list compiling the best midsize cars, the presence of the Honda Accord should come as no surprise to you. For years, Honda's ubiquitous midsize sedan has stood as a pillar of efficiency, comfort, value and reliability.
It's the Honda Accord. You can get it with a peppy (but still thrifty) inline-4, or you can move to an even more potent hybrid or, on top of that, a 2.0-liter turbocharged version. No matter the variant you select, though, you'll be rewarded with a car that is fun to drive but comfortable enough for long hauls, and that won't break your bank at what few gas stations you cruise through. Simply put, it's one of the best cars you can buy in the US today.
You didn't think you'd make it far into a list of midsize cars without at least one mention of the Toyota Camry, did you? If there's any other household name that can live alongside the Accord, it's one of the best-selling sedans of all time.
Sure, the Toyota Camry might not win many accolades in the excitement department, but that's not the point of this no-nonsense transportation. Like the Accord, the Camry is offered in varying shades of performance, although its unique TRD performance trim gives the 'Yota a slight performance advantage over the Accord. Regardless, whether you're opting for gas or hybrid power, the Camry remains one of the best ways to spend your hard-earned simoleons.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class might not have its name on the tip of everyone's tongues, but anyone who has trudged through the purchase process for a midsize luxury car has inevitably come across this car, which remains one of the best ways to drive around in comfort.
The E-Class leans heavily into luxury, especially when ordered with all manner of sumptuous leather surfaces and pillowy-soft air suspension. But it's a versatile platform, offering variants that are smooth and efficient alongside peppier offerings, like the one we mention below. If you want a luxury car that puts luxury ahead of just about anything else, the Mercedes is the one to get.
The Hyundai Sonata N Line might not have the full-fat N treatment that the Elantra, Kona and Veloster do. But make no mistake, just because it's an N Line doesn't mean this car isn't one seriously impressive mass-market performance sedan.
The Sonata N Line gets its motive force from a 2.5-liter turbocharged I4, the same one that finds use in the Genesis G80 and Kia K5 GT. With 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque coursing through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to the front wheels, the N Line is a hoot to drive in a straight line. The curves are mighty fun, too, thanks to a sporty suspension that does a decent job absorbing some of the car's inherent torque steer. And, like every other new Hyundai out there, it's loaded with some of the best cabin tech in the industry.
It's hard to separate Subaru and all-wheel drive. The automaker has pinned its reputation to offering standard all-wheel drive in every sedan it sells, and that bet has paid off, because Subaru continues to rake in damned good sales each and every month.
The Legacy is Subaru's answer to the Accord and Camry, and while it may not beat either of those two cars overall, there are many reasons to pick the Subie over its Japanese competitors. Standard all-wheel drive is just one part of the equation, alongside a properly cushy ride and one of the most visually impressive infotainment screens in a mass-market vehicle this year. Sure, it's a little vanilla in the looks department, but not everybody wants to shout for attention at all times.
Consider the Audi A6 to be the Subaru Legacy of luxury midsize sedans. Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system is standard on every variant the automaker produces, whether it's a base 45 TFSI or the sprightlier 55 TFSI.
Another thing that all A6 sedans have in common is quality. The A6 packs solid ride quality with a whole lot of technology, including the latest version of the MMI infotainment system that we've been enjoying for years now. It's just a stellar car, and it's definitely worth your attention if you're in the market for a luxury car with the extra peace of mind that comes with all-wheel drive.
It's not considered cheating in this category if an all-wheel-drive performance car is capable of sending its full output to the rear axle, right? Well, since I made this list, I make the rules, so the Mercedes-AMG E53 takes home the bacon for the best AWD performance midsize car.
The E53 combines a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with an electric motor to produce 429 hp and 384 lb-ft, with the electric motor providing an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft as it sees fit. It can send everything rearward for some sporty good times, or it can provide a more balanced blend of performance and luxury with all four wheels delivering that power. And for those of you wondering why the E53 is here and not the E63, well, Mercedes-Benz isn't really doing the whole V8 engine thing for 2022.
Considering the Honda Accord tops our list of the best midsize cars to buy, it shouldn't come as a surprise that its hybrid-electric variant is also the best midsize hybrid you can buy.
The Honda Accord Hybrid doesn't sacrifice anything in the name of efficiency. Its 2.0-liter gas engine works in conjunction with a two-motor hybrid system to produce 212 hp and 232 lb-ft, which is actually a higher output than the base-model Accord. Yet, at the same time, the Accord Hybrid achieves a damned impressive 48 mpg combined, with the same values for both highway and city efficiency. It's capacious, it's comfortable and it's impressively thrifty. Like I said, it's a hard act to top.
Toyota has been cranking out efficient hybrid models for years, so it shouldn't come as a shock that its luxurious sibling Lexus can make some really good hybrid sedans, too. Case in point, the Lexus ES Hybrid.
The ES Hybrid combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine with a pair of electric motors to produce a net 215 horsepower. The ride is supremely smooth, although if you want a little dash of sporting pretension in the mix, the 2022 ES now lets you combine its hybrid powertrain with the slightly peppier F Sport trim. And with 46 mpg highway on offer, you can let those good times roll for quite a long time.
If you don't mind driving something that more closely resembles a spaceship than a sedan, the Toyota Prius Prime is an excellent way to ease into electrification with a plug-in hybrid. If you're not hip on all the lingo, plug-in hybrids have a large enough battery to drive for multiple miles on EV power alone, with the gas engine kicking in to charge the battery or provide a little extra motive force.
The Prius Prime isn't going to win any drag races with just 121 net horsepower on tap, but it's mighty efficient. Its battery is capable of providing about 25 miles of range per charge, so if you have a short commute and relatively unobstructed access to power plugs, you shouldn't use much if any gasoline. Yet, if you do need to hit the road for a longer trip, the gas engine will ensure you can cruise for those distances. And it's not like you'll be needing too many fill-ups anyway, because the EPA rates the Prius Prime's gas engine at 54 mpg combined.
Midsize luxury plug-in hybrids are few and far between, but thankfully, there's a very good Swede that fits all those qualifiers perfectly -- and it's even available in a couple different flavors, depending on your preferences.
The Volvo S60 Recharge is a plug-in hybrid that puts down some gnarly numbers. Its inline-4 engine combines with a proper battery and electric motor to provide a net 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet, figures that rise even higher if you opt for the super-sporty Polestar Engineered variant. But regardless of trim, you end up with a capable, comfortable midsize sedan that looks good inside and out.
The first year the Polestar 2 was available in the US, it was only offered in a dual-motor configuration that didn't focus on class-leading stats so much as it focused on style, tech and driving excitement. The addition of a second variant for 2022 doesn't change that; in fact, it only improves the vehicle's appeal.
Unlike many single-motor electric vehicles, the base Polestar 2 isn't rear-wheel drive, it's front-wheel drive. Its 231 hp and 243 lb-ft aren't going to roast the tires at every green light, but it's still a hoot to drive, and it'll save you a few thousand buckaroos over the 408-hp dual-motor variant. We're also in love with the Polestar 2's Google-based infotainment system, one of our favorites currently offered anywhere across the industry.
The Lucid Air may have the interior of a full-size luxury sedan, but with a physical footprint that places it within the midsize category, we believe this newcomer is already impressive enough to earn a spot on this list, although you may have to wait a little bit before one lands in your driveway.
In our limited time with the Air thus far, we've walked away impressed. It will eventually be available in several different configurations, but after taking a spin in the high-end Dream Edition spec, we think Lucid has a chance to build a luxury car that goes toe to toe with the best of what Germany has to offer. It's endlessly comfortable, it's quick as hell and it's loaded with interesting technology. We can't wait to see what Lucid cooks up after the Air.
Nearly every editor at Roadshow has taken a spin in a Porsche Taycan variant, and everyone who does comes back with one response: It's great. Really great.
The Porsche Taycan is one of the best-driving electric cars money can buy, regardless of segment. Even if you're sticking to a single-motor RWD variant for the sake of saving tens of thousands of dollars over the wild-eyed Turbo and Turbo S trims, the Porsche Taycan will deliver loads of luxury and handling prowess wrapped in a futuristic shell and loaded with interesting cabin tech. The only glaring downside as of this writing is a lack of Android Auto, but that's hardly a deal-killer here.
Welcome to the Honda Accord Show. Not only is it our favorite midsize car, and our favorite midsize hybrid, the Accord also offers the best nonelectrified fuel economy of any midsizer on the market.
The EPA estimates the 1.5-liter Accord's fuel economy at 30 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined, which are some pretty crazy numbers for a car big enough to haul a whole family (and their luggage) to the airport for vacation. And it's not like thrift is the car's sole selling point; the Accord is comfortable, fun to drive and loaded with safety and cabin tech.
The Honda Accord Show isn't over yet, folks.
As it turns out, Honda's venerable midsize champion also has the biggest boot on the block, so long as you're only taking sedans into account. With 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space on offer, the Accord blows past its competitors, most of which can't escape the 15s. I don't really have much else to say here. It has a big trunk -- the biggest, in fact.
It's hard to deny Tesla's offerings for packing far more tech than the competition when driver aids are included. In fact, considering the breadth of these offerings, it'd be hard to pick any other midsize car for proper tech lovers.
The Model 3 is, as of this writing, currently available in one single-motor configuration alongside a pair of dual-motor offerings. But the in-house technology moves far beyond mere motive force. Its full suite of active and passive driver aids provide a "driving" experience that's unlike anything else -- when it works flawlessly, something we know isn't a given based on our experiences with its similarly sized SUV sibling, the Model Y. But when everything jibes, there's simply nothing to compare it to.
Hyundai, Kia and Genesis can all take the top honors for having the best midsize-car warranty, because they're all underneath the same corporate umbrella.
All three automakers offer a five-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, numbers that can be found from other automakers. But it's the powertrain warranty and its 10-year, 100,000-mile terms that simply can't be matched. No matter the vehicle purchased from one of these three automakers, you get the same warranty coverage, and that extra peace of mind goes a long way.
Comparison of the best midsize cars for 2022
|Category||Name||Base engine||Output||Fuel economy (mpg, city/hwy/combined)||Base price|
|Best midsize car overall||Honda Accord||1.5-liter I4 turbo||192 hp / 192 lb-ft||30 / 38 / 33||$26,485|
|Best midsize car overall runner-up||Toyota Camry||2.5-liter I4||203 hp / 184 lb-ft||28 / 39 / 32||$26,320|
|Best luxury midsize car||Mercedes-Benz E-Class||2.0-liter I4 turbo||255 hp / 273 lb-ft||23 / 31 / 26||$56,000|
|Best performance midsize car||Hyundai Sonata N Line||2.5-liter I4 turbo||290 hp / 311 lb-ft||23 / 33 / 27||$34,455|
|Best AWD midsize car||Subaru Legacy||2.5-liter H4||182 hp / 176 lb-ft||27 / 35 / 30||$23,955|
|Best AWD luxury midsize car||Audi A6||2.0-liter I4 turbo||261 hp / 273 lb-ft||23 / 32 / 26||$56,945|
|Best AWD performance midsize car||Mercedes-AMG E53||3.0-liter I6 turbo hybrid||429 hp / 384 lb-ft||21 / 29 / 24||$76,050|
|Best hybrid midsize car||Honda Accord Hybrid||2.0-liter I4 hybrid||212 hp / 232 lb-ft||48 / 47 / 47||$27,685|
|Best hybrid luxury midsize car||Lexus ES Hybrid||2.5-liter I4 hybrid||215 hp (net)||43 / 44 / 44||$43,475|
|Best plug-in hybrid midsize car||Toyota Prius Prime||1.8-liter I4 hybrid||121 hp (net)||133 MPGe (54 mpg gas-only)||$29,245|
|Best plug-in hybrid luxury midsize car||Volvo S60 Recharge||2.0-liter I4 hybrid||400 hp / 472 lb-ft||69 MPGe (30 mpg gas-only)||$48,695|
|Best electric midsize car||Polestar 2||Single electric motor||231 hp / 243 lb-ft||TBA||$47,200|
|Best electric luxury midsize car||Lucid Air||Single electric motor||480 hp||131 MPGe (130 city / 132 highway)||$77,400|
|Best electric performance midsize car||Porsche Taycan||Single electric motor||402 hp / 254 lb-ft||79 MPGe (79 city / 80 highway)||$84,050|
|Best midsize car for gas mileage||Honda Accord||1.5-liter I4 turbo||192 hp / 192 lb-ft||30 / 38 / 33||$26,485|
|Best midsize car for cargo space||Honda Accord||1.5-liter I4 turbo||192 hp / 192 lb-ft||30 / 38 / 33||$26,485|
|Best midsize car for tech lovers||Tesla Model 3||Single electric motor||283 hp / 307 lb-ft||142 MPGe (150 city / 133 highway)||$46,190|
|Best midsize car for the longest warranty||Kia K5||1.6-liter I4 turbo||180 hp / 195 lb-ft||29 / 38 / 32||$24,685|
How we made our list
By driving them, silly! CNET Cars editors have combined decades of experience driving a new slate of cars year after year, which gives us all the we need in order to give you our recommendations.
But that doesn't mean you should take our word for it without doing some legwork on your own. Your experience is what matters most when buying a car for you or your family, and as always, we recommend heading down to your local dealerships to take a few test drives and determine how closely our opinions align with your own. It's also worth noting that the prices above are merely suggestions set by the manufacturer; every individual dealership is in charge of its own pricing, and it may take a little haggling to get a better deal out of 'em.