In the world of midsize sedans, comfort and passenger amenities are key, especially since most people who are in the market for a larger sedan rarely self-drive. But there are also those that prefer larger sedans as daily drivers, allowing for sizable cabin space, premium materials, and an overall more comfortable driving experience. Luckily, the Philippine market has a handful of choices from established brands, and each brings their own unique take on the contemporary midsize executive sedan.
We’ll be looking at six contenders in this article, and they consist of longtime nameplates, two relatively new contenders, and a surprise entrant from an up and coming automotive brand. All of these cars offer plenty of power, impressive cabin amenities, and even some head-turning styling to match. Which one is our pick? Read below to find out.
When GAC launched their newest lineup of vehicles at the latter part of 2018, a few eyebrows were raised when one of their newest cars happened to be positioned at the midsize sedan segment. The GA8 defies the convention that most Chinese brands are more concerned with affordability, and venturing into a more premium market would prove to be a difficult move. The GA8 certainly has the looks down pat for an executive vehicle; chrome touches, striking lighting signatures, and a wide stance. Very European in design, and we happen to like it a lot. It’s upscale without being over the top, and the GA8 does turn heads as it drives by.
Powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine that makes 194 hp and 300 Nm of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission, it sits comfortably in the middle pack in terms of performance. Light steering and a rather quick-revving engine allow drivers to get up to speed quickly and maneuver with ease. It’s also decent at the pump, returning highs of 12.6 kilometers per liter on the highway. On the inside, the cabin is mostly beige leather with wood accents. It’s flashier than its contemporaries, but it does get the job done if you’re into more vibrant interiors. When it comes to technology, the GA8 also has a few tricks up its sleeve. It has a 360-degree camera system, a triple zone climate control system, a floating 10-inch infotainment system, and blind spot cameras that are activated when a turn signal is activated. You also have the usual retractable window shades in the rear for privacy, automatic headlights with cornering function, cruise control, auto dimming rearview mirror, remote trunk opening, as well as real-time tire pressure monitoring. Six airbags are standard, parking sensors on the front and rear bumpers, impact-sensing door unlocking, seatbelt reminders, anti-theft system, ISOFIX mounts, and an engine immobilizer take care of safety.
If we had to nitpick, it would be that the center console is a little too busy with all these different buttons (almost 30 in total), but if you’re in the backseat, you just have so sit back and relax as you get to your destination.
Introduced last year as the flagship sedan of Volkswagen’s newest fleet of vehicles, the Volskwagen Lamando positions itself as a midsize sedan, despite being compact in size. The good thing is that it’s a definite looker, and is largely based on the Arteon’s design language. It has a slightly sportier look than most, and the 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, and more adventurous styling cues help the Lamando stand out nicely. Definitely one of the best looking Volkswagens on the market today.
A 1.4L turbocharged engine propels the Lamando, and it’s good for 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque. It’s on the slightly smaller engine output side of things in this comparison, but the seven-speed DSG transmission allows for brisk acceleration and buttery smooth gearshifts. Steering is light and changes weight nicely, and the smaller dimensions allow for less body roll and more agile handling than most. It’s quiet, planted, and a breeze to drive; perfect if you want to get behind the wheel yourself. There’s some annoyance in the hesitation of the gearbox in low speed traffic, but that’s something that can be ironed out with smooth application of the gas pedal. Best part? You can get up to 21.7 kilometer per liter on the highway. On the inside, the cabin is rather straightforward and mature; soft touch plastics, leather, and synthetic materials can be found everywhere, making the cabin feel fitting for an executive. Technologically speaking, you have a good 9.2-inch infotainment display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers, parking sensors all around, and a slightly gimmicky gesture control. On the safety front, you also have adaptive cruise control, seven airbags, ISOFIX mounts, and the usual ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, and stability control.
If you’re looking for a smaller executive sedan to fit your everyday driving needs, the Volkswagen Lamando is a good choice. It might not have the largest rear seats, but if you’re after a German driving experience, then the Lamando has it in spades.
Honda’s Accord has always been one of the top choices for those looking for a midsize sedan, and while it is getting slightly long in the tooth, the Accord’s design has still aged nicely. A solid wing chrome grille flanked by LED headlights look neat, and the clean lines and stately profile round off the look. It’s not the most dynamic looking midsize sedan, but it isn’t boring either.
You get a 2.4L engine in the Accord, and it makes a decent 175 hp and 226 Nm of torque together with a slightly aging five-speed automatic. It’s a puchy engine and it helps that the car handles well, too. Ride comfort is a compromise between sporty and floaty, finding a neat comfortable balance, and the cabin is well insulated from outside noise. Behind the wheel, the chassis feels planted and secure, but doesn’t really tug at the heartstrings. If you’re going to be driven around, the Accord’s back seats are a peach. The cabin itself is a mix of leather, wood trims, and soft touch materials, and it’s a safe and logical execution. Buttons are uncluttered, and there’s a handy console in the back to adjust your volume, climate controls, and active the motorized rear shade. The best seat is definitely in the back, and passengers will enjoy the comfortable cabin and focused amenities. The driver gets a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and you’ve also got automatic headlights with cornering function, reverse camera with rear parking sensors, and the handy right turn camera found on most Hondas. In terms of safety, you’ve got six airbags, lane keep assistance, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, stability control, and ISOFIX mounts.
If you’re the type to be chauffeured around, then the Honda Accord is a solid choice. It’s comfortable, safe, and one of the most affordable choices out there, even if it is in dire need of an update very soon.
When Chevrolet brought in the Malibu to take on the midsize segment, it quietly did its thing, offering a taste of American sedan niceties. It’s definitely a more aggressive and sportier design language than what we expect from a brand that focuses mainly on SUVs in our country. We like it a lot, and it showcases a side of Chevrolet that’s premium and well-thought out, especially when you consider the spec. There are a lot of swooping lines and design cues that come together nicely, and there are those that will say that it’s busy and overstyled, but we like it because it’s different. LED lighting is standard all around, and you’ve got a nice set of 18-inch alloys to give off a sporty stance.
with a six-speed automatic transmission. Accessible power and a smooth shifting transmission allow the Malibu to pick up speed quickly, and it can be a fun car to drive fast. Nicely weighted electronically assisted steering and a feeling of agility help the Malibu lean towards a fun midsize sedan. Definitely something you want to drive. It helps that the cabin is nicely appointed in a brown, earthy theme. Leather is everywhere, and so are the soft touch materials. Button layout is also logical, save for the buttons behind the steering wheel that control the audio. An 8-inch infotainment screen features Apple CarPlay, and you also have wireless charging, automatic climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, memory seats, ventilated front seats, mirrors that tilt down when reversing, reverse camera, parking sensors, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and even a self-parking function. That’s a lengthy feature list. Safety is also top notch, with eight airbags, rear cross traffic alert, emergency braking, ISOFIX mounts, the usual ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, stability control, and blind spot monitors.
All things considered, the Chevrolet Malibu is a highly underrated midsize sedan that needs more attention. It’s one of the most equipped in the segment, and it’s also a great car to drive, making it a great choice.
When most people think midsize sedan, they think Toyota Camry, and the new Camry aims to continue the legacy of one of the most beloved sedan nameplates. Sporting more than a nip and tuck, the 2019 Toyota Camry takes a more slick approach, ditching any safe design cues to give you a rather head-turning and more prominent stance.
The Camry retains the familiar 2.5L gasoline engine that’s good for 181 hp and 231 Nm of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic, it’s not the fastest out of the gate, but it does go with decent oomph. Handling is nice and there’s a good weight to the steering wheel in all types of driving situations. It’s a sure footed car that’s also comfortable and sedate when cruising. The cabin is awash with nice materials, and is pretty darn close to what you’ll see in a more expensive Lexus. There’s some dark wood trim, but it’s executed to much better effect here than older versions. Infotainment is where the Camry falls flat, offering a dated system that isn’t in keeping with the rest of the cabin design. Rear passengers get a touchscreen interface to control things like climate control, shades, and recline the seats, and that’s a definite winner for those who prefer the back. In terms of technology, the Camry gets automatic LED headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control, and rain-sensing wipers. Unfortunately, you’ll definitely miss having a rear parking camera. Front and rear proximity sensors are there, however. Safety is good with blind spot indicators, emergency braking, lane keep assist, eight airbags, ABS, and stability control.
With significant updates across the board, the Toyota Camry is one of the newest midsize sedans offered on the market as of this writing, and it ticks all the right boxes to stay at the top.
Mazda has always had a good hold on the midsize sedan segment, offering cars that are comfortable yet fun to drive. For a long time, they were considered the antithesis of this segment, being driver focused. The recently introduced Mazda6 is no different, and it comes into the ring swinging. Dare we say that this new Mazda6 is the best looking midsize sedan right now, offering smart looks, clean lines, and tasteful execution all around. It’s definitely got that upmarket vibe, and the nice lighting signature and 19-inch alloys lead to a stunning appearance.
The Mazda6 also has the distinction of being the only diesel powered midsize sedan right now, offering a 2.2L turbocharged diesel engine that makes a pokey 190 hp and 450 Nm of torque. Power is transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s refined for a diesel and has plenty of power on tap, allowing for brisk driving at will. It also feels planted and stable at any speed, and the ride comfort leans more towards sporty, which will reward self-driving owners. The cabin is a mix of premium materials and execution, paired with less clutter and more driver focused controls. It’s a great place to be in, and any seat is a treat, with leather and soft touch materials to be found everywhere. Technology is also pretty good with an eight-inch infotainment screen, automatic adaptive headlights and wipers, a 360-degree camera system, lane keep assist, cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot indicators, a remote trunk opener, a head-up display, and an 11 speaker Bose sound system. Very nice indeed. Safety is courtesy of six airbags, torque vectoring, ISOFIX mounts, ABS, stability control, and parking sensors all around.
If we were to choose our favorite among the list, the Mazda6 would occupy our top spot. It combines premium touches, handsome looks, and offers a comfortable and safe cabin experience for all passengers, whether you’re driving or at the back. You really can’t go wrong with this choice.