In the larger picture, for anyone doing primarily a lot of city driving, one of the two larger Prii should be a prime choice. I know they are not sedans, but I don't care. Anyone not buying a practical family car just based on form factor prejudices is, at the minimum, myopic.
The Passat and Accord seem to be reasonable choices otherwise, although I would of course pick the TDI if a lot of highway/country/suburban traffic was involved (my FIL gets pretty bad highway mileage and fills up oil he keeps in the trunk every 2nd to 3rd tank - but that's a V6).
I don't know what the comparative industry family sedan retention rate is, but everyone I know who at one point owned a Nissan or Mazda in this category has since moved on. This is also of course true for many prior Passat owners - but at least in the latter case there is lots of evidence that the main reason for such a move (annoyingly frequent repairs) seems to become a thing of the past. We'll have to see how the 1.8T does; generally speaking, this is very mature technology for VW/Audi by now, if it were not for the exhaust cooling, mixed injection, and a few other items. Not sure I would be ready to gamble on that in the first couple of years...
Aung San Suu Kyi
Basically, there's no evidence to support what you're saying, minus anecdotes.
I admitted as much, basically asking for numbers. At least here in suburban NorCal, both family sedan Nissans and Mazdas seem to have become very rare, e.g., compared to Prii and Jettas and Passats. Perhaps elsewhere with different demographics things are quite different. I mean, I have seen two Fiat 500s on a single intersection at the same time, numerous times, now! I don't claim to live in Middle America.
Aung San Suu Kyi
My level of care in this segment couldn't possibly be any lower... I have to agree with Sporin... getting riled up over it is silly. I'd test drive the Fusion and the 6, and wouldn't even look at the others... why, you ask? They're the two best looking of the bunch by a long-shot, and all the objective numbers are close enough that... really... who cares about the nitpicking. Sometimes it's okay to have favorites... well... unless it's the Malibu... cuz then you're just dumb.
Hmm. I was in NorCal pretty recently and I saw plenty of Altimas. All over San Francisco (those could of been rentals) but even all the way up in Danville. I have yet to go somewhere and notice there's a dearth of Nissans. The Murano is a pretty strong contender in the mid-size SUV market as well.
Fusion (but preferably with Euro "Mondeo" badging)
The upcoming Mazda6 that isn't even for sale yet anywhere in the world
Most Righteous: Kizashi
Anyway, I do hope my comments about the Malibu were taken as sarcasm as intended... if someone likes the Malibu the best out of this group, I wouldn't shy them away from purchasing one.
I think a TCL Shoot Out would include:
1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4.0
1st Gen Miata
VW Mk. 1-4 GTI
1998 Honda Accord and Civic
Any diesel powered manual trans wagon
Any Ford that is only available in the UK
The next all new sedan/wagon from Mazda or Subaru
The often promised yet never delivered RWD flagship from Cadillac
I wonder what the brand-jumping rate is on midsize sedans? I bet most folks buy within 1 or maybe 2 brands that they are comfortable with and have owned before and don't even consider the rest (I'm talking about real, new car buyers, not TCL'ers looking for used cars "someday")
I know TCL'ers have nothing but time and spousal-patience on hand but if Team Sporin wanted a new midsizer right now, we'd probably go drive the new Accord (Sport/Manual) and if we both liked it, that's what we'd get. The others fall into a black hole of no local dealer/bad local dealer/never liked/ and not compelled to bother checking out.
All this bitching about rear leg room is a bit overblown. I'm 6'1" and fit in the back of my Sonata. Sure, there isn't ample space, but I fit without any real issues and it only has 34.6" of rear leg room.
2016 Mazda CX-3 GT (Dynamic Blue Mica)
2015 Kia Soul + (Caribbean Blue Special Edition)
Succumbing to a life of quiet desperation since 1998.
"Never attribute to maliciousness that which can be attributed to stupidity."