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Resurgence of the Mid-Size Sedan

In this era of downsizing automobiles to improve fuel economy, not everyone is quite ready to squeeze themselves or their family into a Prius.

Mid-size sedans might not be able to compete directly with the hybrids and compact cars out there, but they can present good bang for your buck if you still need passenger and cargo space without the crappy gas mileage of sport utility vehicles.

Middle of the Road

A desert roadwayThe mid-size sedan is and has been a fixture on American roadways for quite some time. They often top lists of the nation’s best-selling automobiles.

Automotive industry watchers have noted a resurgence in the sedan’s popularity with the fall of the SUV, and dwindling truck sales.

The sedan is basically a passenger car with two rows of seats, and the rear seating area is large enough for adult passengers. They also almost always have a sizable separate trunk for cargo and luggage in the rear.

Sedans come in various body styles, such as

  • The Notchback
  • The Fastback
  • The Hatchback

Most have fixed window frames, as the hardtop style without a pillar between side windows has fallen out of favor.

Types of Mid-Size Sedans

The NotchbackThe Notchback - The most typical of the mid-sized sedans and they can be identified by looking from the side, and noticing a large passenger volume compared to the volume of the trunk. Both are basically parallel to the ground, but the roof is much higher than the trunk line, hence a “notch” on the backside.

The FastbackThe Fastback - With these models, there is no notch because the passenger roof blends into the trunk. Fastbacks are considered a bit sportier; and automakers have shown an inclination to promote them more due to aerodynamics and saving gas mileage where possible.
Image from Euro Car Blog

The HatchbackThe Hatchback - Also called a liftback, hatchback models look similar to fastbacks but the entire back of the car lifts up for access to the trunk. Sometimes these are called five-door sedans, with the typical four passenger doors on the sides, and the fifth door allowing access to the rear of the vehicle.

Can A Sedan have 2 Doors?

There have been debates in the industry about whether there can be a two-door sedan, versus a coupe. Additionally, some automakers tout a “sports sedan,” which industry watchers have criticized as cheap marketing verbiage.

Much depends on passenger volume. A true sedan is built to carry people and therefore is roomy inside.

The word sedan, after all, came from European nations and generally means a windowed box with a passenger seat carried by two or more persons.  In short, they are people movers.

What is Selling Today

A woman pulling money out of her purseToday sedans come in a wide range of makes, models, styles and prices. 

Several new models are available for less than $20,000

  • Toyota Camry
  • Nissan Altima
  • Honda Accord
  • Ford Fusion
  • Hyundai Sonata

More luxurious models can be purchased for a bit more

  • BMW 328i
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Saturn Aura
  • Chrysler 300

The Japanese models have proven popular with America’s motoring public for their reliability, and fuel economy.

Other imports, such as the Volvo 850R or Volvo S60R, carry a reputation for safety – a big deal for families going with a mid-size sedan over an SUV or minivan.

The mid-size sedan was impacted for several years due to the popularity of the SUV. However record-high gas prices have turned the table on the SUV, and cars such as the Camry, Altima and Maxima have regained previous popularity.

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