Auto123.com will be crowning winners of the 2019 Auto123.com Awards for best vehicles of the year on November 21 in Toronto. We’ve already unveiled the three finalists in each of the 19 categories; today we look in more detail at the Midsize Car of the Year finalists.
We wrote earlier this year about the sales struggles of the redesigned 2018 Accord. Its excellence as a product is undeniable, yet it’s fighting against some pretty irrepressible market trends as consumers continue flocking to SUVs.
Still, there are an awful lot of people out there who still prefer a good old sedan over a utility model, and the Accord is right up among the best of the choices on offer for those consumers.
For 2018, The model did lose its two-door variant, but got pretty comprehensively modernized. Both the design and the mechanics have been updated, although the Accord is still recognizable as an… Accord.
The old V6 is gone, replaced by a pair of available turbo engines (a 1.5L version producing 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque via a CVT transmission, and a 2.0L 4-cylinder, generating 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque with a 10-speed automatic transmission).
While our reviewer was unimpressed with the first of those engines, he felt the Accord came into its own when powered by the second. For the rest, it offers an exceptionally comfortable interior, a smooth ride yet responsive ride and carries Honda’s well-deserved reputation for reliability.
Like its eternal rival the Accord, the Camry also got a comprehensive makeover for 2018. Considering how interlinked these competing models are, could it have been any other way? For 2018, the redesign of the Accord starts with an all-new front end and a sleeker silhouette. And unlike its arch-enemy, the Camry still can be had with a V6, which offers just over 300 hp; the other option is a 2.5L 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine.
As for the interior, we liked that Toyota had the courage to try some new things in terms of the layout and ergonomics, while maintaining a high level for the quality of construction throughout. Also earning kudos were the fairly plush front-row seats.
The 2018 Mazda6 benefits from a smooth-operating 2.5L turbo engine (187 hp, 186 lb-ft of torque) that provides power without effort as well as remarkable fuel economy, thanks in part to Mazda’s new cylinder-deactivation system. That allowed our reviewer’s on-highway fuel consumption to dip to 5.8L/100 km – which no one would scoff at, especially in such a roomy sedan.
Also cited for their excellence was the incredibly comfortable seating, a spacious, near-luxurious interior that is the equal of many a BMW sedan, strong acceleration from a stop and overall great handling.
We were less impressed by the display on the central screen, which seems outdated. But we’re scratching our heads trying to come up with any other notable faults.
Oh right, there’s the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a nearly unforgivable crime for many consumers today. At least we know the first one of those is now available for 2019! In fact, Mazda is even offering a package to retrofit your 2018 Mazda6 with Apple CarPlay compatibility. Now, if only Mazda would include all-wheel drive in this thing…