Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata or Mazda 6?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Nov 24, 2011

Hi, Botchi!

I am currently wondering about which midsize sedan to get.

I consider myself lucky as I have come across columns where you wrote about the things you don't like about the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry, the Subaru Legacy and the Hyundai Sonata. Out of those cars, I have narrowed down my choices to the Sonata, the Accord 2.4 and the recently refreshed Mazda 6. The Mazda is my first choice and the second is the Sonata. The old but reliable Accord is my last resort.

I am 25 years old and I feel that the Mazda 6 is more sporty than the Sonata. The only thing that bothers me about the 6 is its 2.5-liter engine that produces lesser HP than the Sonata's 2.4-liter engine. Correct me if I'm wrong about that though. I'm also concerned about it being in midlife as the 2013 may come with the Skyactive technology. Is it still worth getting even if it's in its midlife? Is it even a decent car to begin with? I can hardly see this car on the road and exclusivity is a plus.

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The Sonata, on the other hand, really looks sleek, new and feature-packed with the moon roof, iPhone connectivity, etc. My only gripe about this car is that it really looks executive-looking. I'm also biased toward Japanese cars. I must admit that Hyundai has come a long way and the brand has improved a lot. Still, it's not Japanese. That aside, the white body color actually makes the Sonata sporty enough for me. Besides, my dad loves this car.

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I am really having a difficult time deciding and I was wondering if you could give me a piece of advice. I have been researching endlessly to no avail.

Hope to hear from you.

Don from Cebu

Hi, Don!

We at Top Gear are pleased to hear from you and we're more than happy to help you out with your dilemma.

The Mazda 6 is admittedly rare on our roads. The engine is punchy despite producing less horsepower as you've mentioned. The numbers do not lie but they never tell the entire truth. Sometimes, car manufacturers rate an engine to produce a specific power and torque output but using higher quality, high-octane fuel whereas the other manufacturer states that its particular engine produces less power and torque output but using low-octane fuel. Should you use higher-octane fuel, the output goes up considerably.

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The Mazda 6 is very responsive and is fun to drive out on the road. I like it a lot and the leaf-themed design (look closely and the headlights, air inlets and the shape of the bumper that are stretched like a four-sided leaf) is very impressive given the attention to detail. You'll love this one if you're the sporty-driver type, more so than the Accord and the Sonata. Schedule a test-drive with this one and see for yourself.

The Hyundai Sonata is also impressive. It's super cool with its tech and gadgets, and a glass roof. With the right set of wheels and a slightly lowered stance, the Sonata looks so bling or so bippu (VIP in Japanese), you'll wonder why everyone else hasn't made a car as cool-looking as the Sonata. My only gripes with the Sonata are: the interior materials are hard and harsh, and they seemingly attract a whole lot of dirt and grime to stick to it incessantly so it's difficult to clean. Plus, the ride is slightly on the harsh side of what's acceptable--probably down to the low-profile wheels and tires.

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The Honda Accord is just too daddy-looking, too understated and too conservative a choice. It's a good car, indeed, and it probably has the best ride comfort, best resale value and, by design, the best engine among your options. It also has the most number of aftermarket options and goodies available for it. But in my humble opinion, it's just too conservative a choice considering there are a lot of other more interesting, more exciting options such as the aforementioned Mazda 6 and Hyundai Sonata.

My top pick would be the Sonata because it just looks so damn good and it has lots of toys and goodies included. The glass roof is very impressive and the all-black roof adds an aura of mystery and excitement. As for the interior getting dirty, well your favorite detailing shop will get busy with your car!

The Mazda 6 is my second choice because of its sporty demeanor. It's highly underrated but still a fine driver's car: very sharp, very responsive and rare, too!

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The Accord gets last spot--not because it's a bad car. In fact, it's very good but it's not a very exciting, adventurous and unique choice.

If, however, you can hike your budget a bit, the Subaru Legacy would be the best pick in this class. It's fast, fun, refined, rare and it's a real-driver's car!

Good luck in picking a car. My regards to you guys down south. Take it easy on the Cebu lechon! God bless!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

Lost in a sea of cars and not quite sure which one to get? Click here to email your car query so Botchi can help you pick the right vehicle!

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