Kizashi Beats Accord, Optima in CR Test; New Explorer Trashed

Better than Accord?

Once upon a time, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry reigned supreme at the top of all midsize sedan battles.

Over the last decade or so, scrappy newcomers have chipped away at the old timers’ rule by introducing new styling and lots of standard equipment. Today we see names like Altima, Kizashi and Optima right up there with, and sometimes on top of, Camry and Accord.

Consumer Reports released its June issue yesterday, and the capable testers there have let us know which four-door, four-cylinder sedans have laid claim to kings of the mountain.

I’ve been a fan of Suzuki since the 2007 SX4 came out, so it’s no surprise to me that the 2011 Kizashi earned big praise from the folks at Consumer Reports.

In fact, the much-overlooked Japanese hotshot earned a higher rating than the Honda Accord. That’s a mighty significant win for Suzuki! I hope that the victory puts the Kizashi directly onto the radar screens of the mainstream sedan-buying public.

CR's favorite sedan

The same could be said for the Kia Optima, which came in behind the Kizashi but also in front of the Accord. CR says,

Kia’s Optima drew praise from Consumer Reports’ engineers for its handling, transmission, controls, fuel economy (25 mpg overall in CR’s own tests) and its crash-test results. Its lows included road noise, low rear-seat height, and limited rear visibility.

While the Optima scored a “Very Good” rating, it wasn’t enough to knock off the current midsize king: the Nissan Altima. The Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry round out the top three.

On the SUV side, the redesigned Ford Explorer landed in 17th place out of 19 vehicles tested, falling way short of leaders like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Volkswagen Touareg TDI.

Would you buy a Kizashi over an Accord?

-tgriffith

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