- Automakers are discontinuing sedans.
- In general, automakers are ditching passenger cars in the US.
- SUVs may be surging, but there are still plenty of great sedans on the market.
- We’ve driven many four-doors over the past few years.
- Here are 12 of our favourites.
One of the big stories in the car business over the past two years has been the realignment of sales in the US. Pickup trucks have always done well, but as the market was setting records in 2016 and 2017, SUVs were moving up while sedans were moving down.
Ford announced last year it would no longer invest in passenger cars for the US markets, and General Motors has been existing car-heavy markets for years, most recently selling its Opel division in Europe. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles got on the trend earlier, transforming car plants into SUV plants.
So four-doors aren’t the be-all and end-all products they once were, for both mass-market and luxury brands. But for luxury brands in particular, mainstays such as the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes S-Class have been watching as their SUV counterparts capture new buyers.
Does that mean that the sedan is truly dying? Not entirely. Ask anybody in the industry, and they will tell you that Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords are still important vehicles. Audi continues to take four-doors seriously. Yet it’s also clear that a customer can now start out with a small SUV and work his or her way all to a big one, and never look twice at a sedan.
Too bad, as there are some great ones for sale. We rounded up a dozen of the best:
The Stinger takes things to a whole new level. This is easily the best car Kia has ever made, but more than that, it’s among the best cars of its type that I’ve driven. The comparison that jumped immediately to mind was the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, a 505-horsepower beast that was a finalist for Business Insider’s 2017 Car of the Year.
We were impressed enough the say in our review that the $US90,000 bimmer is “easily the finest 7 Series that BMW has ever built.”
Plus, we named it a finalist for our 2015 Car of the Year. The new 7-Series is basically incredible. Crammed with technology and capable of BMW-level performance and pure cruising comfort, it has reset expectations for what is probably BMWs history least-loved car.
The 7-Series is getting a major update for 2019.
In our review of a $US52,000 tester, Business Insider’s Ben Zhang wrote that the “Audi A4 is everything you could want in a modern compact luxury sedan,” adding that “it’s the best car Audi has ever made.”
The A4 was a finalist for BI’s 2017 Car of the Year. It was also one of those cars that we unanimously adored. We literally couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Nothing.
Our tester was the T6 AWD Inscription, a top trim level, priced at over $US66,000 with plenty of options.
In our review, we said that the “S90 is a meaningful departure from the good-old Volvo’s of yesteryear and a solid update of the brand’s cars from the 2000s and 2010s. But it also has an abundance of Nordic reserve.”
Volvo has been making a play to join the upper levels of the luxury market, after occupying a sort of sub-niche for decades. The S90 make a strong case for that strategy.
When I tested a LaCrosse Avenir – the upmarket trim level – that came in a just under $US50,000, I was delighted:
The LaCrosse is really a joy to drive on a freeway-heavy journey. Smooth, quiet, powerful, with supportive seats and a distinct lack of interest in emulating a BMW or Audi, this big Buick cruises like no other. Around town, the power-steering has that old-time feel, so you can whip the wheel around with one hand and glide in and out of driveways and parking lots.
Our test car was about $US72,000. And worth it.
“The new 5-Series is, simply put, excellent,” I said in my review. “It’s a lovely freeway cruiser, but it can go all BMW and stiffen up, rewarding a driver who wants to tuck into some corners. The steering could be crisper, but that’s nitpicking.”
And I added: “What we have here is a literally perfectly boring car. BMW has had decades to set the bar, and it has gotten very good at that responsibility to the legacy of the 5-Series. It cannot disappoint, and it doesn’t.”
If the 5-Series isn’t enough for you, there’s always the M5.
It must be pretty good. The Panamera was our 2017 Business Insider Car of the Year.
“It’s a cliché to suggest that a car can make you a different person, but that Panamera makes good on that promise,” we wrote.
“It looks good, feels good, sounds good. As with all great machines, the thrill is a combination of the visceral and the cerebral. Everything about the Panamera says quality and the engineering is beyond world class. When you drive the car, you know why many people think Porsche is the best automaker on the planet.”
It will set you back anywhere from $US85,000 to $US180,000, depending on trim level and options.
Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid
This is what we call a sleeper Caddy. The non-hybrid CT6 is the flagship. But the hybrid is the secret weapon.
“I typically don’t make purchasing recommendations, but if I were going to buy a Caddy, and I wasn’t going for something bonkers like the Corvette-with-four-doors CTS-V, I’d get the CT6 plugin,” I wrote in my review.
“It has everything the regular CT6 does, plus excellent MPG numbers. And at less than $US80,000, with Cadillac’s premium appointments, a nice big back seat, and GM’s industry-leading suite of infotainment and connectivity features, it’s an excellent value even before you add up the fuel savings.”
Speaking of flagships, how about this American classic?
Our tester came in at $US72,000, well-optioned, and was a runner-up for our 2016 Car of the Year. What did I think?
“I decompressed with every minute I spent behind the wheel of the new Continental, and over the hours I was consumed by a Zen-like state of emotional and intellectual clarity,” I wrote in my rave review. “Did I want to sling this big sedan around corners? Nope. But it isn’t made for that. The 7-Series and, to a degree, the CT6 are.”
And I added: “But the Lincoln Continental doesn’t go there. It doesn’t need to. It never went there even before it went away for a little while. This car is for the smooth rollers in life. And if you aren’t a smooth roller, the Continental might make you want to be one.”
Acura TLX A-Spec
The Acura TLX A-Spec was a surprise contender for 2017’s Car of the Year.
“The TLX A-Spec offers a convincing alternative to a BMW 3-Series with comparable options, given that everything can be had standard for the just a scooch more than $US45,000, with the only uptick from the $US44,800 ticker being the $US950 destination charge,” I wrote in my review.
“This is how Acura greatness sneaks up on you. And it’s why the brand should always be in the top-tier luxury conversation, even if it’s rarely included in that club. I should have known that this would be one of the best cars we’d drive all year”
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Woof! What a car! Again, a sedan – and a 2017 Car of the Year finalist.
Our tester was well-equipped, coming in a few grand under $US80,000. I was smitten. In my review, I cited, “the savage growl of its glorious 505-horse six-banger” and noted that “there’s Ferrari DNA in there … this is the same engine that goes into the new twin-turbo V-8 in the 488 GTB, minus a pair of cylinders.”
I also adored “the marvelously light and balanced feel of the car,” adding that “the Alfa comes off as downright tossable in your hands. At 3,800 pounds, it isn’t a featherweight, but its power-to-weight ratio is ideal and makes it drive like a leaf on the wind.”
We’ll make it an even dozen with the four-door Corvette, the mighty Caddy CTS-V.
Our tester was $US85,000, and it was something special.
“Cadillac has been working on taking it to BMW’s M cars for some time now, and with the CTS-V … well, it may have taken it PAST the M’s,” I wrote in my review.
“The CTS-V bears no resemblance to the Caddys of the Carter and Reagan administrations, and it has grabbed the sports-sedan concept and pushed it into new territory. You can now have your midlife crisis without embarrassing yourself.”
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