Today’s car buyer may have an insatiable appetite for crossovers, but sedans are still one of the most popular ways to get you, your kids, and everyone’s baggage (both literal and figurative) from A to B. Though budgets will obviously define which tier of sedans you can peruse, there’s something special in every sub-set of four-door vehicles on the market.
Here are the top 10 best sedans – in no particular order – for your shopping (or fantasizing) pleasure.
For as long as Honda has been building its mid-size Accord sedan, the nameplate has been in the conversation of best vehicles to buy. A simple, but elusive formula is realized through sporty driving dynamics, supple ride quality, efficient powertrains, and competitive pricing. “Better than ever,” is a term tossed around a bit too loosely for my liking, but it’s truly appropriate for the latest Accord. With a toned, fetching exterior and a slew of advanced safety options, buyers aren’t left wanting for anything – and that includes reliability.
Rivaling automakers have been attempting to crack the code on Honda’s Accord for decades now, but there’s some secret sauce hidden within the inoffensive bodywork. It all just seems like a killer package deal. Sure, you can find sportier sedans, more luxurious sedans, and more frugal sedans, but nothing brings it all together like the Accord. Barring monumental glitches in Honda’s engineering or quality control department, the Accord will be a permanent fixture on best-buy lists for decades to come.
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
If the Rolls Royce Ghost is the posh, sophisticated sedan, then the Hellcat is its counterpoint: a knuckle-dragging, violent brute. With 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque produced from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8, the Charger SRT Hellcat is one of the most powerful vehicles you can buy, at a price that settles neatly between a Honda Civic and a BMW M5. While some might bemoan the Hellcat’s heft, it is just as stupendously fun to hammer in a straight-line as it is to whip around a road course.
Layer in some top-notch convenience features, a thoroughly comfortable cabin, plenty of space for a full family, and bold-yet-handsome styling, and the Hellcat makes an excellent case for itself long before you ignite its massive motor. When Dodge finally does bid farewell to its HEMI V8, performance enthusiasts will make a three-mile-long queue to purchase a Hellcat on the secondary market, so might as well scoop one up now!
Cadillac really swung for the fences with its redesigned CTS. While the high performance “V” had already upset the German establishment, the standard CTS still struggled with a less than thrilling exterior and a cheap-o interior. That all changed with dramatic styling tweaks and a cleaner, more premium cabin. For the first time, GM’s luxury marque could go toe-to-toe with BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus not just in terms of lap times, but in convenience, refinement, and design categories.
Watching the CTS in motion is an occasion: sharp creases, clean lines, and attractive LED running lights draw the eye. Once inside, supple leather seats greet your behind while the remainder of the cabin is treated to textured wood, and metal. Though there’s still some work to be done on the automaker’s CUE infotainment system, it’s vastly improved over years past. Above all, though, the CTS is still the best bargain in town. Strong performance and refinement abound for thousands less than its closest rivals.
There are compact sedans, sporty compact sedans, and outright sports sedans. The Subaru WRX drives confidently into the latter category with a brilliant turbocharged flat-four cylinder engine, 268 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque, and a rally-bred all-wheel drive system. Though the more powerful STi derivative of the Impreza may be quicker around a dirt or tarmac track, the WRX is actually more rapid to 60 mph and delivers good ride quality. With a stiff-but-not-harsh suspension, a torque-vectoring drivetrain, and a progressive electric steering rack, the WRX will out-maneuver the competition without falling victim of the boy-racer stereotype.
Though the interior is relatively Spartan, drivers will forgive Subaru once they hit a curvy road. Nimble, compliant, and an all-weather workhorse, the WRX offers all the fun of a coupe with the utility and insurance breaks of a sedan.
Rolls Royce Ghost
While you could buy about a dozen very good sedans for the price of one Rolls Royce Ghost, you can’t really put a price of effortless luxury. The Ghost may be the introductory offer in the Rolls lineup, but there’s nothing “entry-level” about it. With self-leveling air springs, variable damping shocks, double-pane glass windows, immensely soft leather, and massaging seatbacks, the Ghost is the most comfortable way to pour on the miles.
Related: 2016 Honda Civic Sedan First Drive Review
The stately estate comes equipped with a 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 and 563 horsepower on tap, meaning it’s no slouch. There’s also a satellite-controlled transmission to dictate gear changes based on your geography. While certainly pleasant to pilot, it’s just as easy to turn over driving responsibilities to your chauffeur while you enjoy the rear seat infotainment, individualized climate controls, reclining and massaging seats, and personalized umbrellas (ready to spring from the doors at the touch of a button).
While the Cadillac CTS may be fighting America’s battle in the upper tiers of luxury, let’s not forget the everyman’s transportation. Chrysler comes to the rescue with a muscle-car V8 wedged within an attractive, well-equipped package. The 300C has been around for a number of years now, but Chrysler has totally nailed it lately, refining its unique breed of luxury down to a smooth science.
Comfort and power (363 horses of it) are among the 300C’s highlights, but the sedan is also an eager handler and a quick-shifting delight. With an adjustable suspension, steering rack, and throttle response, the 300C can transform into a sporty sedan with just a few inputs, though it stops short of becoming a too-taught performer. If you can resist the urge to tally up the options list, Chrysler’s midsize estate car is a bargain, delivering the right amount of luxury to appease the masses.
Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
The whole idea of a hybrid sport sedan may feel like it’s played out at this point, but the better way of looking at it is that some automakers are bringing the concept to its climax. Acura’s sophisticated all-wheel drive system can be found in the all-new NSX and performs just as admirably in the RLX Sport Hybrid. With three electric motors, a V6, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the luxury sedan delivers a forceful 377 horsepower and 341 pound-feet of torque. Matching its grunt is nimble, responsive suspension tuning.
Inside, the RLX’s cabin is a cocoon of Milano leather, quality touch points, and advanced technology. To prove the latter point, the car’s climate control system is linked to the weather, so it knows when the sun will be most harsh (and therefore when to dial down the cabin temperature). Rear seat passengers enjoy as much legroom as in Jaguar’s XJ and back seat drivers are empowered with voice control functions. It’s a classy experience for the anti-badge-snob crowd.
The word “diesel” has been met with shudders lately – largely due to Volkswagen’s dishonest marketing practices – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good, efficient diesel sedans available today. Mercedes-Benz wowed us with its new C-Class from the inside out. Though just a small step up from the brand’s entry-level CLA price-wise, the C-Class interior is incredibly luxurious and beautifully designed. Add to that a peppy, frugal motor and you have the makings of a truly great, affordable luxury commuter.
With 201 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque on offer, the C250d has plenty of grunt to turn long drives into short ones, and the addition of self-driving technology makes the daily slog to and from work that much easier. The automaker’s COMMAND infotainment system isn’t the most intuitive, but every all-star has its weakness – this shortcoming, when considered as part of the complete package, is hardly noticeable.
Honda is back in a big way these days, with three cars that appear on this list, but the best might also be the cheapest. Honda’s all-new Civic isn’t just striking to behold, it’s also a return to fun-to-drive form for the Japanese automaker. With punchy turbocharged engines on offer and a smooth-shifting six-speed manual, compact car shoppers with personality shouldn’t feel obligated purchase a Mazda3.
Both the sedan and coupe bring the drama with aggressive exterior styling that, for its intended audience, is best described as “Instagram worthy.” Inside, the new Civic can be optioned with the latest and greatest in safety and infotainment features to turn a compact commuter into a veritable entry-level luxury car. Apple Carplay, Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic braking assist, haptic feedback controls…the list goes on. To top it all off, whichever motor you choose returns the best fuel economy figures in the class.
Mercedes-Benz has been outselling its rivals’ flagship sedans for months now, and it’s all thanks to the complete overhaul that is the S-Class. Beautiful, comfortable, and incredibly advanced, the new S-Class trumps the competition with a pillow-soft ride and one of the finest cabins in any vehicle segment. It’s hard to un-see the smiling clown steering wheel, but there are more than enough tech treats to distract you. The new S-Class has so many toys, it’s almost overwhelming, but that also means you can customize your ride or drive to even the most precise personal preferences.
The S-Class Maybach may be the true range-topper of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, but unless you can afford a chauffeur, the S550 is the perfect blend of luxury and performance. With 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque at your disposal, few cars will be able to beat you onto the highway, and even fewer will get you to your destination more relaxed than when you started out.