Top 10 Least Expensive Midsize Sedans for 2009

2009 Kia Optima
2009 Kia Optima

1.  2009 Kia Optima - $18,170

What we think
For the price, the Optima’s outstanding array of standard features can’t be beat. Power windows and locks, heated side-view mirrors and a six-speaker sound system are just a few of the niceties this low-cost car offers. The Optima has upped the power output of available engines this year, making the drive more enjoyable and competitive in the field. Armed with a five-star crash rating and Kia’s 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, this midsize is an all-out contender

2009 Hyundai Sonata
2009 Hyundai Sonata



2009 Ford Fusion
2009 Ford Fusion

At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, 175 horsepower, 169 lb-ft of torque; 2.7-liter V-6 engine, 185 horsepower, 182 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic transmission

 MPG: 22 city/32 highway (four-cylinder), 20/28 (V-6)

2 2009 Hyundai Sonata - $18,700
What we think: Hyundai’s entry into the midsize market also carries an unexpected number of creature comforts, even in base trim. It’s clear that the Sonata has its sights set on more mainstream cruisers like the Camry and Accord, as the car’s 2009 refresh added many new tech options, like a standard auxiliary input jack and cruise control, and instated a more refined interior space. The V-6 has great get-up-and-go, easily rivaling the more dominant players in the class. And with this low price, the Sonata definitely deserves a look. Putting power to all four wheels will drain fuel economy, but it will also help make sure you and your family get where you’re going safely, even in the worst of weather. Though only available in SE and SEL trim, the system bumps the Fusion’s price tag up to a still manageable $21,810. If you think this is good, just wait until you see their all-new redesign for 2010. It just gets better and better.


At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder engine, 160 horsepower, 156 lb-ft of torque; 3.0-liter V-6 engine, 221 horsepower, 205 lb-ft of toque; 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive with optional full-time all-wheel drive.


MPG: 20 city/29 highway (four-cylinder, manual), 20/28 (four-cylinder, auto), 18 /26 (V-6, auto, front-wheel drive), 17/25 (V-6, auto, all-wheel drive)

 4.  2009 Toyota Camry - $19,145

What we think

The benchmark to which all other automakers strive, the Camry still remains the best selling car in America. While virtually unchanged for 2009, the Camry holds its own and with a clean design, legendary reliability and a good smattering of standard features packed into a low entry price, there’s little wondering why. The Camry comes with power windows and locks, keyless entry and a kicking stereo, all standard. There’s even a hybrid version for the eco-minded.

At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, 158 horsepower, 161 lb-ft of torque; 3.5-liter V-6 engine, 268 horsepower, 248 lb-ft of torque; 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder hybrid engine, 147 horsepower, 138 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic transmission


MPG: 21 city/31 highway (four-cylinder), 19/28 (V-6), 33/34 (hybrid)


5.  2009 Mazda 6 - $19,220

What we think

After a complete redesign for 2009, we’re shocked that the Mazda 6 has remained on this list. The sexy new body design has allowed for almost six more cubic feet of passenger space, making all seats roomy for adults. Interior build quality is superior to the outgoing generation’s, and the instrument panel now boasts a sleek and highly intuitive look and feel. Two engine types give you loads of options; the four-cylinder packs a ton of fun into 170 horsepower and the 3.0-liter V-6 has been replaced by a 3.7-liter engine.

At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder produces 170 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission; 3.7-liter V-6 with 272 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed automatic transmission


MPG: 20 city/29 highway (2.5-liter, manual), 21/30 (2.5-liter, auto), 17/25 (3.7-liter, auto)


6.  2009 Nissan Altima -  $19,900

What we think
At a price just shy of $20,000, the Altima wows with its standard features and powerful base model engine that produces 175 horsepower. Fit and finish in this sedan is top notch and exterior styling strays away from the bland bodylines adopted by some in this class. Drive quality is strong too, as Nissan continues its line of sporty cars. Rear legroom may not be as generous as others, but trunk space is still roomy enough for luggage for five.


At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 175 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque; 3.5-liter V-6 with 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, CVT automatic transmission or 6-speed manual

MPG: 23 city/31 highway (four-cylinder, CVT), 19/26 (V-6, CVT), 23/32 (four-cylinder, manual), 19/27 (V-6, manual)


7.  2009 Mercury Milan - $20,030

What we think

The Fusion’s corporate cousin, the Milan, sports an extra level of refinement in base trim. A premium sound system with audio input and MP3 capability is standard, as is a fold-flat passenger seat that allows you to haul longer objects. Outside, the slick LED taillights and tinted glass make the Milan look a little classier than its Ford brethren, while maintaining performance levels with two shared engines.

At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder engine, 160 horsepower, 156 lb-ft of torque; 3.0-liter V-6 engine, 221 horsepower, 205 lb-ft of toque; 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive with optional full-time all-wheel drive.


MPG: 20 city/29 highway (four-cylinder, manual), 20/28 (four-cylinder, auto), 18/26 (V-6, front-wheel drive), 17/25 (V-6, all-wheel drive)


8.  2009 Pontiac G6 - $21,160


What we think
Though the G6 loses some of its snappy interior looks and power in base trim, it manages to retain most of its more robust sibling’s allure. The sedan has had some mid-year changes, including freshened styling and a revised audio system. The dash still wears the same cool analog gauges inside, and as with all General Motors vehicles, OnStar ensures you never lock yourself out. Of course, for a little extra change you can opt for any of the sportier performance packages to make the drive a little more entertaining.


At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, 164 horsepower, 156 lb-ft of torque; 3.5-liter V-6 engine, 219 horsepower, 219 lb-ft of torque; 3.6-liter V-6 engine, 252 horsepower, 251 lb-ft of torque; 4-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic transmission.


MPG: 22 city/30 highway (2.4-liter), 17/26 (3.5-liter, 3.6-liter)

 

9.  2009 Dodge Avenger - $21,255

What we think
With bold styling that stands out from the crowd, the Dodge Avenger’s body borrows heavily from the iconic Charger. Powered by a stout 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the car’s 173 horsepower is enough to back up the aggressive exterior. Though a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive are optional, the base model’s 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway is well worth sacrificing for.


At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, 173 horsepower, 166 lb-ft of torque; 3.5-liter V-6 engine, 235 horsepower, 232 lb-ft of torque; 4-speed and 6-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive with optional full-time all-wheel drive.

MPG: 21 city/30 highway (four-cylinder), 16 /26 (V-6)


10.  2009 Chevrolet Malibu
$22,275

What we think

The 2009 Malibu remains largely unchanged after 2008’s miraculous evolution out of its former Play-Doh design into an incredibly striking sedan. A proud nose blends seamlessly into sculpted sides, and the exterior continues to meet the class’ expectations. Cruise control, XM satellite radio and OnStar come standard, and Bluetooth connectivity became an option for the first time this year.

At a glance

Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, 169 horsepower, 160 lb-ft of torque; 2.4-liter hybrid inline four-cylinder engine, 164 horsepower, 159 lb-ft of torque; 3.6-liter V-6 engine, 252 horsepower, 251 lb-ft of torque; 4-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic transmission.


MPG: 22 city/30 highway (four-cylinder, 4-speed), 22/33 (four-cylinder, 6-speed), 17/26 (V-6)



Track Your Service Records
Get Recall Alerts
Get Updated Value Estimates on Your Car.
Go to a Review