The Toyota Camry is the best selling midsize sedan and, indeed, remains the top selling car year after year. Through the first six months of the year, Toyota has strengthened its position with the Camry, even as it readies a significant mid cycle refresh for the 2015 model year.
If you are considering buying a midsize model, the Camry and three other models are battling it out for top honors, with the distant fifth place spot now belonging to the Hyundai Sonata as Chevrolet Malibu sales continue to flag.
1. Toyota Camry
Six months in and Toyota Camry sales are up by nearly 8 percent to 222,540 units sold. And that is for a model that will soon benefit from a significant mid product cycle update that will change nearly everything about the Camry except for its roof and powertrain.
The next generation Camry will go further than any Camry has gone in a bid to lose its appliance look. The most recent model made a good effort, but some have felt it did not go far enough. The 2015 edition seeks to keep up with its competitors, by offering a model that is stylish, sporty and a great value.
2. Honda Accord
Accord sales are down 0.2 percent through June, but when you figure in EV sales, this model is performing quite well. Through June, 195,000 Honda Accord models have been sold, keeping the Accord in second place, but with little hope of catching the Camry this year.
The Honda Accord Hybrid does not get quite the attention that it may deserve. It is rated at 50 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, numbers that compete with the smaller Toyota Prius. A plug-in version is also available, but through June Honda has sold only 180 PHEV models for the year.
3. Nissan Altima
Nissan had been selling twice as many Altimas as any other model, but this year sales of the Sentra and Rogue have risen much faster than for the midsize sedan. Through June, Nissan has sold 176,453 units, up 5.2 percent for the year. That’s the same pace as the second-place Accord (with hybrids), thus Nissan may be content with holding on to third place while holding off the Ford Fusion.
The Nissan Altima is in its second year for the current generation. It sits on a 109.3-inch wheelbase, matching the current Nissan Maxima, its large car. Buyers continue to embrace a model equipped with a continuously variable transmission, what Auto Trends has previously reviewed and found that works satisfactorily and helps provide excellent overall fuel economy.
4. Ford Fusion
Don’t look now — the Ford Fusion is gaining ground, outselling the Nissan Altima in June. Its sales are up 2.7 percent for the year on 165,498 units sold. Although the Altima’s overall pace is quicker for the year, Ford is determined to push sales in a bid to take advantage of expanded, but underutilized capacity.
Ford offers three four cylinder engine choices for the Fusion and like Honda also sells hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. The automaker took some heat last month when it recalculated and lowered the mileage estimates for six models, including both hybrid Fusions. That move will cost the company millions of dollars in payouts to lease holders and owners.
5. Hyundai Sonata
The fifth place position has the Hyundai Sonata moving ahead of the Chevrolet Malibu, reversing the place that these two models held at the end of 2013. Through June, Chevrolet Malibu sales were down by 6.8 percent on 103,505 units sold and Hyundai Sonata sales were up by 3.2 percent to 106,347 units to overtake Malibu.
Look for Hyundai to solidify its position as the year moves forward. An all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata is already on sale, with more than 25,000 units of old and new models sold in June. The new model is slightly larger than the previous generation Sonata and is powered by a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine; a 2.0-liter turbocharged edition also returns. New for 2015 is a late available 1.6-liter turbocharged four paired with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
Midsize Models: Looking Ahead
With Toyota defending first place with gusto, the likelihood that we’ll see a competitor better positioned to provide a strong challenge to the Camry may still be several years off. That sentiment was shared by Mike Rabkin, President, From Car to Finish who noted, “As to the future, I am not sure if anything will unseat the Camry per se unless the mid cycle refreshes for the Accord/Altima/Fusion are something special. Since all three were totally redesigned for the 2013 model year, the 2016 model year is probably the soonest they will see major changes.”
And those changes will have to convince thousands of current Camry owners to look elsewhere, a highly unlikely proposition given their loyalty for a once bland, but now sporty midsize sedan.
See Also — The Five Top Selling Midsize Sedans of 2013