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The Best Sedans of Today

Chris Kaiser

Comfort, style, and sporty driving, these are the qualities that make a sedan great. Here are our picks for the very best sedans on the market today.

Sedans Still Matter

Rumors of the death of the sedan are greatly exaggerated. Yes, their sales have declined significantly over recent decades and now comprise approximately twenty percent of new vehicles sales (compared to SUVs at nearly fifty percent). And yet, between the diminished driving dynamics and the additional price premiums of SUVs, there’s still a lot to appreciate about the embattled sedan. In fact, after driving some of the cars below, you begin to wonder why people have been turning to SUVs at all. Sporty, comfortable rides, refined cabins, and loads of modern tech at prices below comparable crossovers and SUVs, these sedans are among the best things you can buy on four wheels. We recommend people start cross shopping sedans like these with SUVs just to make sure they’re finding the best day-to-day automotive experience for their money. Here are our picks for the very best sedans available today.

Best Small Sedan – Honda Civic

2021 Honda Civic - hondanews.com
2021 Honda Civic - hondanews.com

The Honda Civic has been around for decades with a deserved reputation for value and reliability. Over the years, the Civic has gotten a bit bigger, considerably more refined, and lot more fun. Even discounting the performance Type R and the Si versions, the Civic’s still a great driver’s car. The base engine is a 2.0L 4-cylinder making 158hp. The more powerful 1.5L turbo-4 makes 174 or 180hp depending on configuration. There are options for either a six-speed manual transmission or a not-too-shabby CVT. The turbo-4 combines with a well-tuned suspension for a fun and sporty driving experience. Among compact cars, the Civic feels like a class above in terms of spaciousness. Layout and design are user-friendly and modern. Among small cars, the Civic still stands out for it’s combination of sportiness, quality, and affordability.

Best Mid-Size Sedan – Honda Accord

2021 Honda Accord - hondanews.com
2021 Honda Accord - hondanews.com

Like the Civic, the larger Accord seamlessly blends sporty dynamics and a comfortable ride. That the Accord also offers a best-in-class interior, styling, and affordability makes it arguably the best sedan you can buy for the money. The Accord offers three different powertrains, two turbocharged four-cylinder engines a 1.5L and 2.0L, and then a hybrid that tacks on two electric motors for 48 mpg combined. The 2.0L is the most exciting choice and delivers good punch off the line and in passing situations. The interior of the Accord is also top notch, with quality materials and an impressive amount of space, especially for rear seat passengers. The standard 8.0-inch touchscreen comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The Accord also comes with a long list of standard safety features including lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and much more. To top it all off, the Accord looks great, not as aggressive as the Toyota Camry but with plenty of modern flourishes. The top Touring trim comes fully loaded and at $36,700 might be one of the very best deals in the auto industry today.

Best Full-Size Sedan – Toyota Avalon

2021 Toyota Avalon - pressroom.toyota.com
2021 Toyota Avalon - pressroom.toyota.com

The Toyota Avalon, Toyota’s full-size sedan, embodies everything we’ve come to admire about the smaller Corolla and Camry only in a large form. Build quality, practicality, and comfort are all exceedingly good. And like the Camry, the Avalon received an AWD option for the first time (though only in the four-cylinder configuration). Like the Camry and Accord, the Avalon features three powertrains: a smaller four-cylinder, a sportier engine, in this case a V6 making 301hp, and a hybrid offering (a 2.5L 4-cylinder and two electric motors) getting 43 mpg combined. Similar to the rest of Toyota’s passenger cars, the Avalon comes standard with a class-leading array of safety options including blind monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking to name just a few items.

Best Small Luxury Sedan – Genesis G70

2022 Genesis G70 - media.genesis.com
2022 Genesis G70 - media.genesis.com

Like big brothers the G80 and G90, the smaller Genesis G70 distinguishes itself with a gorgeous cabin, refined ride, and spritely acceleration. The G70 comes in with two engine options a 2.0L turbocharged I4 making 252hp and 260lb.-ft. of torque or a 3.3L twin turbo V6 making 365hp and 367lb.-ft. of torque, both can be had in either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The latter of the two engines, the 3.3L, provides excellent power to the lighter G70 and delivers a zero to 60 time just under five seconds. Handling is sporty with accurate and responsive steering. Like the rest of the sedans on this list, that power and agility is balanced by a refined ride and an even more refined cabin. The G70 cabin features high-quality materials all around. Combined with a forward-looking design, the G70’s interior rivals anything from comparable European brands. Features include safety equipment like blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise, and a heads-up display as well as a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and a sunroof. The 2022 facelift for this upcoming year improves on an already great looking car.

Best Mid-Size Luxury Sedan – Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class - mbusa.com
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class - mbusa.com

The current Mercedes-Benz E-Class is as refined and well-wrought as any Mercedes ever. In many other cars and in many other luxury brands, you can identify the corners cut, where cost or engineering expediency have trumped that premium level experience, but not in the E-Class. This is a car defined by detail, and the details are impressive. Consider the powertrains. There’s the entry-level 2.0L turbo four good for 255hp, the 3.0L I6 received a slight upgrade with a mild-hybrid assist now making 362hp. That might appear more than adequate, and it is, unless you ask AMG. The AMG tuned I6 adds an electric supercharger to the mix, netting 429hp. The AMG V8 features a thundering 603hp. And yet the E-Class isn’t chiefly a sporty car, it’s really a comfort-oriented cruiser. The E-Class is composed around corners and lighting quick, but most importantly it provides a buttery-smooth ride. But the area where the E-Class distinguishes itself is the interior quality. Materials are sumptuous and technology is second to none. The twin 12.3-inch gauge cluster and infotainment screens are crystal clear, and the latter houses the MBUX system featuring a voice command system that’s the envy of the industry. On top of it all, if you like the E-Class but don’t really want a sedan, there are also coupe, cabriolet, and wagon versions.

Best Full-Size Luxury Sedan – Porsche Panamera

2021 Porsche Panamera - newsroom.porsche.com
2021 Porsche Panamera - newsroom.porsche.com

The current Porsche Panamera has overcome its former aesthetic shortcomings to look as good as it drives. The Porsche name consistently delivers thrills thanks to excessive levels of power and responsive, nay, telepathic handling in nearly any guise, and the Panamera is no exception when it comes to this kind of performance. That the Panamera also does a decent job as a luxury highway cruiser shouldn’t come as a surprise either. The Panamera comes in a dizzying number of configurations, there’s the 4, 4S, Turbo, Turbo S, GTS, and on and on. There are six different engines to choose from starting with the base turbo V6 at 330hp all the way up to the Turbo S E-Hybrid’s V8 and it’s 680hp and 0-60 time of 3 seconds. The E-Hybrid, which is a plug-in hybrid, also sports 14 miles of all-electric range. The PDK transmission is as good as an automatic transmission in existence. Inside the Panamera is understated compared to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but it is still exceedingly comfortable, with excellent seats and a smooth ride that isn’t compromised by the sport tuned suspension. Befitting a Porsche, the Panamera offers a generous range of options and features including an incredible Burmester stereo, quad-zone climate control, four-wheel steering, and carbon ceramic brakes. The 2021 Panamera is scheduled for release in the next few months.

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Chris Kaiser
Chris Kaiser

Chris’ greatest passions include topiary, spelunking, and pushing aging compact cars well past 200,000 miles on cross-country road trips. His taste in cars runs from the classic and esoteric to the deeply practical with an abiding affection for VW Things, old Studebakers, and all things hybrid-crossover.

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