The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Introduction
The absolute mainstream of the sedan market, today’s V6 sedan is an absolute staple and lives in one of the most hotly contested segments of the marketplace. This is the segment in which the best selling cars on the market reside. Routinely selling around 400,000 copies a year, the Toyota Camry is regularly the best selling car in America. It plays in this segment, along with its chief rivals, Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima.
And while they don’t quite compete in terms of sheer sales volume, when it comes to performance, equipment, and value, the Dodge Charger and the Ford Taurus are also firmly in the hunt. In recent years, the Korean offerings have become considerably more compelling, thus Hyundai’s Azera also finds itself on our 10 Best V6 sedans list.
Volkswagen’s Passat has always been considered more upscale than the rest of the cars here, and for good reason. VW equips the car very well and its Germanic dynamics actually make it feel more solid on the road than its Asian competition. That said, performance oriented drivers shopping in this category will find much to appreciate in the handling and layout of the 2012 Mazda6.
Truth be told, there really is no such thing as a bad car anymore. These days it comes down to personal preference in terms of styling, driving characteristics, and equipment. In this segment, there really is something for everyone. The V6 engines all of these cars are equipped with also provide the best of both worlds in terms of performance and fuel economy.
What follows is our list of The 10 Best V6 Sedans for 2012.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Chevrolet Malibu
While the all-new 2013 Malibu debuted earlier this year, and promises to be a real winner, if you want a robust V6 engine in a domestic mid-size car with a nice balance between ride and handling and a handsome exterior, the 2012 Malibu is the car you’re looking for. GM has gone to a four-cylinder only strategy for the 2013 Malibu. Named North American Car of The Year upon its introduction in 2008, the Chevrolet Malibu has experienced considerable competition from its rivals in this segment, which just goes to show how good all the cars it’s up against really are. The V6-powered version of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is fitted with a 3.6-liter V6, capable of generating 252 horsepower and 251 ft.-lbs. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is the standard offering for this front-wheel drive entry on our list of the 10 Best V6 Sedans for 2012.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Dodge Charger
The only full-size rear-drive car in this gathering, the Dodge Charger is also one of the most exciting performance cars on this list of the 10 Best V6 Sedans for 2012. Sharing a platform with its more upscale Chrysler 300 luxury car sibling, the Charger represents something of a duality. On the one hand, it has the size and utility to serve as a very comfortable family car, but it also has the sheer dynamic ability to satisfy as a thrilling driver’s car as well. This, when combined with its very generous array of standard equipment, makes for quite the compelling entry on our list of the best 6 cylinder sedans for 2012. Two versions of the Charger are fitted with the V6 engine. The 2012 Dodge Charger SE and SXT use a 3.6-liter V6 producing 292 horsepower and 260 ft.-lbs. of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission comes standard on Charger SE. The optional eight-speed automatic transmission on the Charger SE is standard on Charger SXT. Rear-wheel drive is standard for both models, although the SXT can also be equipped with all-wheel drive.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Ford Taurus
The 2012 Ford Taurus is a different, yet somewhat traditional take on the full-size American family sedan. Different, in that it is front-drive in its standard form (rather than rear-drive), and relies solely upon V6 power (rather than offering a V8 as its top model), the 2012 Ford Taurus represents an entirely new take on the genre. However, while mechanically it differs from the traditional; size- and content-wise the Taurus is every bit the king of the Interstate you’d expect it to be—given its role in Ford’s lineup. With the demise of Ford’s Crown Victoria, the Taurus is suddenly the largest four-door sedan Ford sells. As such, it’s equipped to within mere inches of an entry-level luxury car. Plus, if you’re an out and out driving enthusiast, there’s a high performance version of the Taurus offered as well—the Taurus SHO. Qualifying Taurus for our list of the best 6 cylinder sedans for 2012, most versions of the Ford Taurus are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 263 horsepower and 249 ft.-lbs. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is available as an option. The Taurus SHO gets a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (referred to as an "EcoBoost" engine in Ford-speak), which makes 365 horsepower and 350 ft.- lbs. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles is standard equipment, as is all-wheel drive.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Honda Accord
In many ways, the Honda Accord has grown as Honda’s notoriety in the U.S. has grown. The first Honda Accord to come to the U.S. was actually smaller than the Honda Civic is today. As Honda’s reputation and influence has expanded, so has the Accord. Today’s Accord is pretty much a full-size family sedan, and is one of the most well respected offerings on the market today. Solidly built with an outstanding record of reliability, the Accord comes well equipped and delivers strong fuel economy. The Honda makes our list of the best V-6 sedans thanks to its 3.5-liter V6 engine, which delivers 271 horsepower and 254 ft.-lbs. of torque. These days however, offering a five-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment puts the 2012 Honda Accord somewhat behind the curve. Still, the rest of the car is so good; the Honda nevertheless qualifies as one of the 10 best V6 Sedans of 2012.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Hyundai Azera
All-new for 2012, the Hyundai Azera was one of the first cars to signal Hyundai’s move upmarket when it was initially introduced back in 2006. More luxurious, more handsome and just plain better in every way than any Hyundai passenger car offered before it, the argument can be made the Azera paved the way for the Genesis and the Equus—both of which are considerably more upscale offerings. Another thing the Azera demonstrates is just how far the two leading Korean manufacturers have come in terms of quality, style, power and reliability. So much so, the Azera was a shoo-in for our list of the Best V6 Sedans for 2012. Long story short, the all-new Hyundai Azera is one exceedingly handsome and very stylish car. Powering the 2012 Hyundai Azera is a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 293 horsepower and 255 ft.-lbs. of torque. Hyundai’s proprietary six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the Azera’s front wheels.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Mazda6
Precious few cars on this list of 10 Best V-6 Sedans for 2012 can genuinely claim to appeal strongly to driving enthusiasts. The Mazda6 is one of them. Fact is, Mazda has long been the go-to Japanese manufacturer when agility is a highly valued attribute and actually, Mazda considers the Mazda6 more of a sports sedan than a family car. Behind the wheel, the emphasis placed on the driver is readily evident in the layout of the controls, the seating position and the heft of the steering wheel. That the V6 is offered primarily with the sportiest variants of the car is another telling statement. That said, the 2012 Mazda6 models are powered by a 3.7-liter V6 capable of producing 272 horsepower and 269 ft.-lbs. of torque. The front wheels get the engine’s output by way of a six-speed automatic transmission.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Nissan Altima
By the last year of the lifecycle of most models, particularly in a class this competitive, the car has been so outclassed by the competition’s newer models it really becomes difficult to recommend—let alone to name to a list of the 10 Best V6 Sedans for 2012. Yet, here’s Nissan’s Altima, one of two Nissan products to make the list actually. The winning attribute for the Altima is that it manages to be many things to many different people. The Nissan successfully blends the needed attributes of a family car with the contemporary tech a model needs to appeal to younger drivers. It then delivers it all wrapped up in a package that will captivate those who love to drive as well those who simply need to. The V6 powered version of the Altima features a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 270 horsepower and 258 ft.-lbs. of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with pre-determined ratios mimicking shift points for “manual” operation is standard equipment.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Nissan Maxima
Labeled by Nissan as its "Four-Door Sports Car," the Maxima has long traded on its performance capabilities to win the hearts and minds of many a nation. Slotting in just beneath the luxury sedan market, if the Maxima were a rear drive car, odds are it’d be badged an Infiniti. If you’re someone who loves to drive and you are looking for a ride with a high-end feel—but a mainstream badge, the 2012 Nissan Maxima is a very enticing proposition. It’s also one of your 10 Best V-6 Sedans for 2012. A 3.5-liter V6, which puts out 290 horsepower and 261 ft.-lbs. of torque, strongly motivates the Maxima. Just as with its smaller Altima sibling, the Maxima’s power output is sent to the front wheels though a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with pre-determined ratios mimicking shift points enabling “manual” selection of “gears”.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Toyota Camry
Perennially one of the best selling cars in the United States of America, Toyota’s Camry proves most people are more interested in solid, reliable, comfortable transportation than they are in a distinct personality. Okay, maybe that was a bit unfair, the Camry does have a distinct personality—if unobtrusive could be considered a personality trait. All new for the 2012 model year, this is in fact the best iteration yet, of an already excellent car. Toyota’s development team worked hard to inject a bit more athleticism into the Camry, while maintaining comfort and quietness. Build quality has been improved, as well as the trim, materials and overall ambiance of the interior. Landing the Camry on our list of the Best V-6 Sedans is a 3.5-liter V6 generating 268 horsepower and 248 ft.-lbs. of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
The 10 Best V6 Sedans For 2012: Volkswagen Passat
The only European car on the list, which is quite remarkable given the Continental’s affinity for the six-cylinder engine, Volkswagen’s Passat is all new for 2012 and offers a significantly engaging driving experience. Thanks to the new Chattanooga, Tenn. factory, it can also now play the “built in America” card, along with all of its other attributes. With crisp lines and solid characteristics on the road, the Passat brings a nice European car within the affordable range of nearly every family. In fact, some changes made to the car were done specifically to entice the average American; chief among them is the newfound spaciousness of its interior. Booking the front-drive Passat a spot on our list of best V-6 sedans for 2012 is one of the most powerful engines in the class; a 3.6-liter V6 spinning out 280 horsepower and 258 ft.-lbs. of torque. Adding to the enjoyment of the engine is VW's six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, paired as standard equipment.