Five-year true cost of ownership: $31,886
Armed with its base 169-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine and the six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission, the Malibu 1LT delivers EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Of the family sedans on this list, only the Toyota Camry has more rear-seat legroom than the Malibu. The Malibu's cargo capacity is in the middle of the pack. The ride is comfortable and the cabin quiet.
Standard features include full power accessories, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, trip computer, OnStar telecommunications (free for a year, then it becomes a subscription service), and a six-speaker audio system with CD player and an auxiliary input jack.