Used to be if you wanted a fun family car, there was a simple decision process: Pick the one with the biggest motor, then go home to polish the ss badges on the flanks of your new Impala. But there’s no simple choice when it comes to the humble family car. You’ve got hybrids, plug-in hybrids, turbocharged four-cylinders, big V-6s, even a diesel or two. Four of them are fresh designs this year: The Honda Accord, Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima, and Ford Fusion each take a distinct approach to the midsize-sedan mission, but they all have one thing in common. Buried among the layers of option packages is a model infused with an extra dose of panache, a particular combination of ingredients that’ll wring actual fun from your ketchup-stained, child-seat-filled commuter pod. And it’s not always the one with the biggest motor.
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