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There’s no catechism that American consumers are added absorption to SUVs — and to auto cars masquerading as SUVs — at the amount of accepted cars, but cars still represent millions of anniversary sales. Of those cars, mid-size sedans abide popular, and none are added accepted than three Japanese models that outsell competitors by a abounding margin, accounting for about 645,000 year-to-date at the end of September: the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.

2018 Mid-Size Auto ChallengeResults | How We Activated | Photo Gallery | Video

Now that Nissan has redesigned the Altima as a 2019 model, we set out to analysis it ancillary by ancillary with its top rivals, which were analogously overhauled for the 2018 archetypal year. We set a amount ambit of $28,000 to $32,000 (including destination charges), as equipped, and appropriate automated transmissions and a volume-selling agent choice. Our contestants accommodate mid-priced trim levels of anniversary model: the 2018 Honda Accord 1.5T EX-L, Nissan Altima 2.5 SV and Toyota Camry XLE. 

Three board abandoned awarded credibility in 12 categories: avant-garde seats, rear seats, multimedia features, autogenous quality, in-cabin storage, visibility, powertrain, ride quality, handling, braking, babble and value. 

Anniversary archetypal was additionally awarded credibility based on our abstracts of its burden aggregate and appraisal of associated factors, the avant-garde active-safety and driver-assistance appearance with which the analysis agent was equipped, and its grades in our Cars.com Car Bench Check, which gauges the adaptation of assorted child-safety seats (see our alignment in the How We Activated article). All categories accumulated for a accessible best account of 1,000 points.

Our Claiming board were:

This three-way Claiming accepted to be one of the abutting claiming in Cars.com history, and we’re assured a client could be analytic annoyed with any of the three — but preferences alter widely, so apprehend on to apprentice the arch and weakest aspects of anniversary contestant, and don’t absence the scorecards at the end for the big picture.

3 2018 Toyota Camry XLE, 700 out of 1,000 points

Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

As-tested price: $30,390Powertrain: 203-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder; eight-speed automated transmission; front-wheel driveEstimated city/highway/combined mpg: 28/39/32

The Camry fell to the Nissan Altima by aloof six credibility overall, and we can’t accent abounding what a able access the Toyota became aback redesigned for the 2018 archetypal year. Attending abandoned at the rankings and the Altima absolutely rated aftermost in added anticipation categories — eight against the Camry’s bristles losses — but area the Camry failed, it did so added dramatically, and the credibility totals reflect it. It additionally ranked aboriginal abandoned in aloof two categories, area the Altima led in four. 

Child-seat accommodation: “With the accomplished accessible array in our appraisal of car-seat accommodations, the Camry fabricated Cars.com’s 2018 Car Bench Check Honor Roll, one of abandoned eight cars to do so out of 85 tested,” said adjudicator Kelsey Mays. “Neither the Accord nor Altima fabricated the Honor Roll.”

Berth storage: “The abridgement of a sunglasses holder in our moonroof-equipped car is a drag, but berth accumulator contrarily abounds, with added cubbies and beyond compartments than either battling furnished,” Mays said. Jennifer Geiger added, “My admired is the abounding one beneath the altitude controls. It’s advanced abounding to host a brace accessories and some snacks.”

Visibility: Aaron Bragman cited “excellent afterimage from the driver’s bench acknowledgment to a aerial basement position and low beltline. The cocked greenhouse additionally helps for that rear three-quarters appearance into the dark spots.” Mays agreed: “The aerial basement with big, collapsed chairs and a low animate gives the Camry the atomic hunkered-down basement position of this group. It’s no SUV, but it ability feel the atomic altered for anyone advancing out of one.”

Handling: “The Camry has a smooth, well-damped ride that contributes to it actuality a affable commuter, but it doesn’t appear at the amount of administration prowess,” Bragman said. “The Toyota turns in smartly and doesn’t abash itself on arced anchorage at all — this may be the best adept, able-bodied Camry I’ve anytime sampled.” The Camry rated aloof one point abaft the top-ranked Accord for handling.

Powertrain: “The agent and manual are strong, accouterment affluence of ability for dispatch and passing,” Bragman said. Geiger added: “Its eight-speed automated is a accommodating and able accomplice with smooth, acknowledging shifts.”

Autogenous quality: “Our mid-priced trim level’s berth looked top-trim-worthy to me,” Geiger said. “Highlights accommodate its handsome stacked-dashboard design, color-contrasting checky seats and interesting-looking accents on the dashboard and doors. Our model’s huge across-the-board moonroof additionally gave the berth a faculty of accessible airiness the others lacked.”

Additionally noted: As equipped, our Camry was the abandoned adversary with several appearance and attributes: chargeless appointed aliment (two years or 25,000 miles), a across-the-board moonroof, acme acclimation for the avant-garde commuter seat, one-touch windows for the rear doors as able-bodied as the fronts, and constant berth abstracts in the backseat.

Multimedia system: “The Camry’s arrangement is a tired, overcomplicated assortment of screens, console buttons and knobs aloof allurement for retirement,” said Geiger. “Dated cartoon and a abridgement of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto accomplish it angle out as the old-timer in the group.” (Note: Toyota has added Apple CarPlay for the 2019 archetypal year.) Bragman added: “Why is the aggregate bulge all the way up on the top of the touchscreen, as far from the disciplinarian and commuter as it can be? And those buttons acquire the aforementioned 1990s boombox feel as the Honda Accord’s multimedia arrangement — abominable compared with the glossy feel of the Altima’s buttons. “

Noise: “Road, wind and drivetrain babble are excessive,” Mays said. Bragman agreed: “Driving abutting to big trucks on the artery can accomplish you cringe. It doesn’t feel well-insulated from noise.” And Geiger accumulated on: “Even at idle, the Camry is loud and its abrupt agent agenda intrudes into the cabin.”

Brake pedal: “I’m not a fan of the Camry’s brakes — they acquire doughy antecedent feel aloft appliance and don’t advance as you access the pedal pressure,” Bragman said. Mays said the absorptive pedal “diminishes endlessly confidence.”

Backseat: “In a acreage of abounding backseats, the Camry’s feels abandoned OK,” Mays said. “Knee approval is unexceptional, and the accommodation for abounding allowance is a low basement position.” Bragman acclaimed there’s “noticeably beneath allowance amid my knees and the avant-garde seatback, and the amplitude beneath the bench for toes is cramped.”

Additionally noted: Geiger begin the council too heavy, Mays cited too abundant adjournment for multiple-gear downshifts and Bragman noticed “the non-covered avant-garde bench accumulator bins are all adamantine plastic, no elastic liners, so annihilation in there rattles about while you’re driving,” abacus to an already diffuse babble menu.

Research the 2018 Toyota Camry | Search Inventory | Car Bench Check

2 2019 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV, 706 points

Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

As-tested price: $29,030Powertrain: 188-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder; continuously capricious automatic; front-wheel driveEstimated city/highway/combined mpg: 28/39/32

Though it ranked aftermost in eight categories, the Altima counterbalanced things out by arch in four. Conceivably its greatest ability is earning attenuate acclaim for a arguable manual type. 

Value: “Our cloth-trim archetype was added affordable than the Accord and Camry by added than $1,000 yet still arranged a assembly of multimedia technology and best-in-group self-driving features,” Mays said. “That’s cogent value.”

Powertrain: “The 2.5-liter and continuously capricious automated manual are a solid pair,” Geiger said. “Power is abounding and the CVT is amid the best acknowledging and natural-feeling I’ve sampled acknowledgment to its apish accouterment that feel and complete believable.” Bragman alleged the manual “the aboriginal archetype of a CVT that I’ve absolutely enjoyed active — it’s responsive, quick to acknowledge to disciplinarian inputs, and makes the Altima feel ablaze and fun.” The buyer of a fourth-generation Altima, Mays said, “Nissan has appear a continued way.”

Multimedia system: “This is the best multimedia arrangement in the group, and conceivably the best one Nissan has yet appear up with — clean, accessible to use and it displays abandoned the aliment so as not to distract,” raved Bragman. “Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are present, as are concrete aggregate and affability knobs, a brittle 8-inch awning and a best-in-group four USB ports,” Mays tallied. Geiger added, “Its afterimage aerial on the birr is good, and its card arrangement is accessible to amount out.”

Safety and self-driving tech: Though the contestants were actual close, the Altima belted out the others because it was the abandoned car to action lane-centering council all the way to a stop, a affection bedfast until afresh to big-ticket affluence cars.

Babble levels: Though the Accord rated a brace of credibility higher, “For this group, babble abatement is exceptional,” Mays noted.

Additionally noted: Ultra-quick-ratio steering, high-quality feel to the controls and a Rear Aperture Alert arrangement that reminds you article — or addition — could still be in the backseat. As equipped, our Altima had the abandoned acrimonious council caster in the test.

Avant-garde seats: “The avant-garde seats feel short, defective in thigh support, and their aerial position makes me feel like I’m sitting on the bend of the bench instead of aback in it,” Bragman said.

Autogenous quality: “The Altima’s autogenous is a big letdown,” Geiger said. “The cutting affair is chintzy: lots of driver-knee-area adamantine plastic, broken-down attractive faux carbon-fiber trim on the aperture panels and cheap-feeling velourlike bench upholstery angle out.” Bragman said, “The touchscreen arise in accurate seems fabricated up of several baby genitalia that accompany calm area a larger, seamless allotment would attending and accomplish better.” Mays added, “You could book up the missing appearance in our Altima SV to its lower price, but the abasement of berth affection is beneath excusable.”

Berth storage: “There isn’t a lot of front-seat accumulator for passengers’ electronics, and the able-bodied that is provided isn’t all that deep,” Bragman said. Mays acclaimed that “storage beneath the centermost armrest analogously underwhelms. The cuff alcove is small, too — a analytical about-face from a cast whose cuff boxes generally could be mistaken for tunnels to China.”

Ride quality: “The Altima’s ride has a astringent case of the wiggle-jiggles,” Geiger said. “Small bumps agitated accord and beyond ones ripple through the berth unsettlingly.” 

Child-seat accommodation: “The backseat cushions are too short, and poor apartment for our booster bench dinged the Altima’s array for child-seat provisions,” Mays said.

Visibility: “Visibility to the rear corners is clear, but what’s with that behemothic brakelight in the centermost of the aback window?” Geiger asks. “It appears taller than others and impedes the appearance beeline back.”  

Block space: “As-tested burden amplitude fell abbreviate of both the Camry and Accord, and the aperture amid block and berth with the seats bankrupt was conspicuously abate than the Accord’s,” Mays said.

Steering: “The Altima’s council is a anemic point — it feels light, ambiguous and contributes to an all-embracing disconnected-from-the-road feeling,” Geiger said. Bragman agreed: “It doesn’t bout the powertrain’s capabilities. The arrangement is quick and the car is responsive, but the council feel is video-game numb, eliminating a aloft allotment of active pleasure.”

Additionally noted: “With a phalanx of ProPilot Assist buttons, the council caster feels too crowded,” Mays said. “And colossal altitude dials that assume like they were plucked from a auto truck.” As equipped, the Altima was the abandoned adversary after a ability avant-garde commuter seat.

Research the 2019 Nissan Altima | Search Inventory | Car Bench Check

1 2018 Honda Accord 1.5T EX-L, 729 points

Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

As-tested price: $30,865Powertrain: 192-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder; continuously capricious automatic; front-wheel driveEstimated city/highway/combined mpg: 30/38/33

Typical of Cars.com Claiming winners, the Accord was able in abounding anticipation categories admitting topping abandoned four abandoned — and never by a advanced margin. As important, it ranked aftermost abandoned in abandoned two categories, and in those cases abandoned by a few credibility against the second-place finisher. 

Block space: “Cargo aggregate was best in the accumulation by our measurement, as was the acceptable aperture amid the block and berth with the backseat bankrupt down,” Mays said.

Babble levels: “I begin the Accord to be affably abandoned in the loud ambiance of city Chicago,” said Bragman. “Not abundant alley babble entered the berth either on the potholed streets or at acceleration on the highway. I acclaim the car’s accomplished damping and solid-feeling architecture for creating a berth that feels abundantly cloistral from the alfresco world.”

Backseat: “It’s a bit stingy on headroom, but legroom is endless,” Mays said of the top-rated backseat.

Ride and handling: “The Accord’s alley amenities are solid,” Geiger said. “It strikes the best adequate antithesis in agreement of ride and administration — bumps are well-damped and it maintains accord in corners.” Mays characterized the council as “not as quick-ratio as the Altima’s, but it’s abutting to it — and it has a lot bigger feedback.” Bragman said, “This car feels like it’s a chic aloft the added two — it has a backpack to it, a abounding feel like it’s an entry-level affluence car, not an acclimatized ancestors sedan. The ride is cushy, the council is solid and not over-boosted.”

Avant-garde seats: By the numbers, the Accord angry with the Camry in this regard, but “I begin the Honda had the best adequate avant-garde seats in the group, with continued cushions and accomplished adjustability,” Bragman said. It additionally had 12-way against 10-way ability adjustments and the abandoned seat-position anamnesis in the test, as equipped.

Autogenous quality: “At aboriginal glance, the berth may assume boring, but attending again: Its alloy of affection soft-touch abstracts and absorbing trim accents amalgamate for an chaste but adult look,” Geiger said. “It doesn’t absolutely bout the architecture pizazz of the Camry,” with which it ties for aboriginal place, “but it’s leaps and bound advanced of the Altima in both affection and style.”

Multimedia system: Though it trailed the Altima by one point, “the Accord multimedia arrangement has accomplished touchscreen cartoon and abrupt acknowledgment times, with an automatic interface that organizes aggregate into apps,” Mays said. “Smartphone users will aces it up in no time.” Geiger cited the added knobs as able-bodied as the awning location: “Its adjustment aerial on the birr is abundant for visibility, and its tabletlike appearance and brittle cartoon accord the berth a avant-garde look,” she said.

Additionally noted: “Hey, a accepted accessory selector!” Mays exclaimed. “The push-button selector that comes with the Accord’s beyond agent is a ambagious mess. I’m animated the bottom variants abstain it.” He additionally alleged out “the Audi-like council thumbwheel and the accurate tick-tick-tick aback you about-face the altitude and stereo dials.”

Transmission: “The CVT does the agent no favors — it isn’t responsive, doesn’t acknowledge bound to disciplinarian inputs and, in any affectionate of advancing driving, disappoints in its laggy performance,” Bragman said. Geiger added: “Its elastic band-like aberrant feel and loud bombinate annoy.” The CVT is amenable for the Accord’s last-place drivetrain ranking.

Value: Priced $475 aloft the Camry and $1,835 aloft the Altima as tested, the Accord had the accomplished amount in the claiming yet didn’t accommodate abounding added appearance to absolve it, so it absent credibility for value. 

Low basement position: Though the seats themselves are his favorite, Bragman said “that low roofline leads to a low basement position, authoritative me feel like I’m sitting in a tub — a awe-inspiring aboriginal for a Honda product, which acclimated to acquire low beltlines and amazing visibility. It additionally makes backseat admission and departure a claiming — aloof try not to hit your arch on that low C-pillar.” Mays agreed: “Shoppers acclimatized to coupes ability acquire the Accord’s active position, but I’ve got abounding of a beef with it to charge A.1. steak sauce.”

Child-seat accommodation: “Although two car seats fit calmly in the backseat, the Accord absent credibility in the Car Bench Check for its buckles,” Geiger explained. “They sit even with the upholstery and again bore bottomward into the cushions aback pushed; this could accomplish them boxy for kids to butt and use independently.”

Additionally noted: “The multimedia arrangement is bigger than the antecedent bearing and its touch-sensitive panels, but it’s still a ability to the buttons about the touchscreen, best of which attending bargain and acquire a 1990s boombox feel,” Bragman said. As equipped, our Accord had two USB ports, the atomic in the contest.

Research the 2018 Honda Accord | Search Inventory | Car Bench Check

Cars.com cartoon by Paul Dolan

Cars.com’s Editorial administration is your antecedent for automotive account and reviews. In band with Cars.com’s abiding belief policy, editors and reviewers don’t acquire ability or chargeless trips from automakers. The Editorial administration is absolute of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored agreeable departments.

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