The mainstream of the sedan market, today’s V-6 sedan is an absolute staple and lives in one of the most hotly contested segments of the marketplace. This is the segment in which many of the best selling cars on the market reside. 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 V-6 engines all of these cars are equipped with also provide the best of both worlds in terms of performance and fuel economy. And because of this category’s popularity, there are usually plenty of good used options on the market. Let’s take a look at some of the best used V-6 sedans available.
If you want a robust V-6 engine in a domestic mid-size car with a nice balance between ride and handling and a handsome exterior, the seventh generation Malibu (2008-2012) is the car you’re looking for, since 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 V-6-powered version of the Chevrolet Malibu is fitted with a 3.6-liter V-6, 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 best used V-6 sedans.
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 best used V-6 sedans. This era of the Charger was welcomed in for the 2006 model year, and is still available as of 2015, so there are plenty of examples on the used market to fit every budget. 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, thanks to its 3.6-liter V-6 engine producing 292 horsepower and 260 ft.-lbs. of torque. This, when combined with its very generous array of standard equipment, makes for quite the compelling entry on our list of the best used 6-cylinder sedans. Rear-wheel drive is standard for the Charger, although all-wheel drive is available as an option.
The 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 V-6 power (rather than offering a V-8 as its top model), the sixth generation of the Ford Taurus (model years 2010-2015) 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 currently 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 used V-6 sedans, most versions of the Ford Taurus are powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 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 EcoBoost V-6, 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.
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 in the ninth generation, which was introduced in 2013. It’s 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 used V-6 sedans thanks to its optional 3.5-liter engine, which delivers 278 horsepower and 252 ft.-lbs. of torque.
The Hyundai Azera was one of the first cars to signal Hyundai’s move upmarket when it was initially introduced back in 2006. The current generation, introduced in 2012 and still available as of the 2015 model year, is 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 used V-6 sedans. Long story short, the Hyundai Azera is one exceedingly handsome and very stylish car. Powering the Hyundai Azera is a 3.3-liter V-6 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.
Precious few cars on this list of the best used V-6 sedans 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 V-6 is offered primarily with the sportiest variants of the car is another telling statement. Second generation Mazda6 models, which were on the market from 2007 until 2012, are powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 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. As the third generation Mazda was phased in, Mazda moved to a four-cylinder drivetrain for the current version of the car.
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 best used V-6 sedans. Yet, here’s Nissan’s 2007-2012 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 V-6-powered version of the Altima features a 3.5-liter V-6 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.
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-wheel 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 seventh generation 2008-2014 Nissan Maxima is a very enticing proposition. A 3.5-liter V-6, 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 CVT gearbox with pre-determined ratios mimicking shift points enabling manual selection of gears.
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. The current generation of the Camry was introduced in the 2012 model year, giving it plenty of time to demonstrate that it’s 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 used V-6 sedans is a 3.5-liter V-6 generating 268 horsepower and 248 ft.-lbs. of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
Photo by Toyota Media
The only European car on the list, which is quite remarkable given the continent’s affinity for the six-cylinder engine, the current version of Volkswagen’s Passat was introduced in 2012 and still offers a significantly engaging driving experience in 2015. Thanks to the 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 spaciousness of its interior. Booking the front-drive Passat a spot on our list of best used V-6 sedans is one of the most powerful engines in the class; a 3.6-liter V-6 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.