Mid-sized sedans, the proverbial family car, havent lost their allure amid the consumer rush to SUVs and light trucks, and they still offer a broad range of selection from affordably basic to impressionably ritzy.
Four of the 10 top-selling vehicles in the U.S. last year were sedans, according to Forbes magazine.
The choices are mind-boggling. Domestic and foreign, sporty and boxy, powerful and sedate, and with mileage ratings and prices for most tastes. And those choices are expanding. Among the new mid-sized sedans out this year are ones from each of the Big Three automakers.
Though most dealers here are still selling 2005 models, John LeFriec, general manager of Mercedes-Benz of Spokane, says he already has 2006 models on the ground.
While it isnt the first auto you think of when you think about family sedans, the 2006 Dodge Charger, which should arrive on lots here this spring, is a car that Tom Maine, sales manager at Dishman Dodge, of Spokane, is touting as an upcoming force in the mid-sized sedan market.
A remake of the 1970s muscle car, the standard Charger will come with a 3.5 liter, 250-horsepower, V-6 engine, or the optional 5.7 liter, 340-horsepower, V-8 HEMI, says Maine. The vehicle comes with rear-wheel drive.
The five-passenger Charger is rated at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. It will carry a starting price of about $26,000, while a fully equipped
HEMI version with such upgrades as leather heated seats, will be priced at about $32,500, says Maine.
Another new American-made mid-sized sedan now on the market is the Ford Five Hundred, which was designed to replace the Taurus, says Ken Roberts Sr., sales manager at Wendle Ford-Suzuki Northtown, in Spokane. The Five
Hundred is available in four trim styles and an optional all-wheel drive (AWD). The basic version seats five and is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 3 liter, 203-horse V-6 engine. Its gas mileage ranges from 21 to 29 mpg, though the AWD version gets slightly lower gas mileage.
The Ford Five Hundred is the only vehicle to receive the quad five-star safety rating without more than standard air bags, says Andy Keys, general manager at the Northtown store.
Prices range from about $20,000 to $28,000, says Roberts.
Meanwhile, the recently released Pontiac G6 is already George Gee Automotives top-selling vehicle, says George Gee, owner of the Liberty Lake dealership. The five-passenger G6 comes in two trim packages, both with a 4-speed automatic transmission and a 3.5 liter, V-6, 200-horsepower engine. The G6 averages 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, while the G6-GT trim rates slightly lower. The G6 is priced from about $20,000 to $24,000.
The Chrysler 300 was named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2005, says Jay Griffiths, Spokane Chrysler sales manager. What impresses me about the Chrysler 300 is that it appeals and sells to both hip-hoppers in their 20s and retired doctors in their 80s, says Griffiths.
The Chrysler 300 is available in eight trim packages ranging in price from $23,000 to $40,000. Among the options are a variety of engines ranging from a 2.7 liter, 190-horse V-6 to a 5.7 liter, 340-horse V-8, in the 300C. Gas mileage ranges from 17 to 28 mpg.
The German-made BMW 300 series includes models that can serve as family sedans, says Darrin Haman, new-car manager at Camp BMW A Litha Store Inc., of Spokane.
The 325i comes with a 2.5-liter, 184-horsepower inline-six that averages 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. A 5-speed manual transmission is the normal choice. The 330Xi attains about the same mileage, but is powered by a 3-liter, 225-horse inline-six, typically with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Prices for BMW 300-series sedans range from about $30,000 to as high as $50,000 for a fully equipped 330, he says.
The Mitsubishi Galant has been on the market roughly 15 years and, as with most Japanese-made cars, its design changes significantly every four or five years, says Glen Edie, sales manager at Appleway Mitsubishi, in Spokane Valley. He says the last major change was in 2004.
The five passenger Galant comes in four trim packages and ranges in price from about $16,500 to about $26,000, says Edie. The basic Galant DE package has a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 160 horsepower and is rated at 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The upgraded Galant GTS has a 3.8-liter, V-6 with a 230- horse engine and slightly lower gas mileage. Both come with an automatic transmission standard.
Another import thats making inroads in the mid-size sedan market is the Saab 9-5, a car made in Sweden with a reputation of being a fabulous snow vehicle, says Mark Jaremko, an owner of Jaremko Nissan Saab Inc., of Spokane. The five-passenger Saab 9-5 comes in two trim packagesthe Arc 2.3t and the Aeroand a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. Saabs differ from many mid-sized sedans in that they are equipped with turbo-charged engines.
Saabs have been producing turbo engines since the early 1980s, says Jaremko.
Saabs Arc 2.3t has a 2.3 liter, 220-horse inline-four that averages 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The Aeros standard engine produces a more powerful 250 horses and gets slightly better gas mileage. Saab prices can range from about $36,000 on the low end to the high $40 thousands, says Jaremko.
Perhaps the current mid-sized sedan with the longest history and most trim packages is the Honda Accord, which has been marketed since the mid-70s, says Ken Snyder, general manager of Coeur dAlene Honda Kia. He asserts that the Accord has been on Car & Driver Magazines 10-best car list for the past 14 years. The five-passenger Accord is available in 14 trim packages.
New for 2005 is the Honda Accord Hybrid, which has a 3 liter, 240-horse, gas-electric V-6 engine that averages 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, says Snyder.
Among the other Accord packages is the DX, with its 2.4 liter, 160-horse inline-four, and the EX, equipped with a 3-liter, 240-horse V-6.
Prices on the Accord range from $17,000 to the low $30 thousands for the Hybrid, says Snyder.
The well-known Subaru Outback has one variation that qualifies as a mid-sized sedan, the Outback 3.0 R. Its available with a 3-liter, six-cylinder, 250-horsepower engine that gets 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The Outback 3.0 R offers some luxury features, such as leather heated seats, plus climate control, and normally sells for around $33,000, says Dave Mazzuca, salesman at Select Subaru, in Post Falls.
An American mid-sized sedan thats trying to compete in price and quality with any in the market is the Cadillac CTS, says John Yarno, general sales manager at George Gee Cadillac, in Coeur dAlene. He and general manager Joe Young contend that Cadillac, to compete with European mid-sized models, has spent heavily to produce a more competitive product than it had five or 10 years ago.
The CTS ranks high on performance, handling, styling, and quality, says Young.
The five passenger CTS, which was first produced in 2003, is available in two trims and is a rear-wheel-drive sedan. The CTS 2.8L has a 2.8 liter, 210-horse V-6, with gas mileage ratings of between 17 and 27 mpg. With the same mileage figures, the CTS 3.6L has a 3.6 liter, 255-horsepower V-6. In addition to these two trims, another model, the CTS-V, sports a 5.7 liter, 400-horse V-8, with slightly lower gas mileage.
Prices on the Cadillac CTS range from about $33,000 to $50,000, says Young.
The 2006 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has five available trims, the E350 and E350 4-matic, the E500 and E500 4-matic, and the top-of-the-line E55 AMG, says LeFriec, of Mercedes-Benz of Spokane. The five-passenger luxury cars come standard with seven-speed automatic transmission and a 3.5 liter, V-6, 268-horse engine, with the exception of the E55 AMG, which has a more powerful 5.5-liter, 469-horse V-8.
Gas mileage ranges from 18 to 24 mpg on the E350 and between 14 and 21 mpg on the E55. Mercedes-Benzs 4-matic trims give the consumer an all-wheel-drive option.
Prices range from just below $50,000 for the E350 to about $82,000 for the E55 AMG.
The Toyota Camry, meanwhile, remains one of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S., says Tom Price, sales manager at Downtown Toyota, of Spokane.
The Camry is consistently rated high by Consumer Report for both resale value and reliability, says Price.
The Camry comes in seven trim packages, including the LE and the XLE V-6. The LE has a standard 2.4-liter, 160-horse, inline-four engine that averages 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. It comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. The XLE V-6, with a standard 5-speed automatic transmission, has a 3-liter, 210-horsepower V-6 that averages 20 mpg in the city to 28 mpg on the highway.
Prices range from about $19,000 to about $27,500, Price says.
A host of other mid-size sedans also are available, including the Chevrolet Impala, Buick La Crosse, Subaru Legacy, Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Mercury Montego, and others.
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