Before the SUV boom — which shows no signs of abating — full-size sedans were some of the top sellers on the U.S. market. Although they now roll in the shadow of the vaunted sport utility, sedans quietly continue to offer sensible choices across a broad spectrum of the market, providing comfort, luxury and dynamic performance to challenge the current consumer devotion to crossover SUVs. Take a balanced look at large-sedan SUV alternatives, and determine if your ride could shed some excess bulk.
Starting Price: $54,900
The largest car in the Acura lineup, the Acura RLX luxury sport sedan is restyled for 2018, adopting the Acura diamond pentagon grille and the brand’s new design direction dubbed Precision Crafted Performance. The Acura RLX P-AWS with Precision All-Wheel Steering is powered by a direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 producing 310 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque, combined with a new 10-speed automatic transmission.
The most powerful model in the Acura lineup after the NSX supercar, the top-level RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD combines a direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine with a 3-motor hybrid system and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive with electric torque vectoring. Total system output is 377 peak horsepower and 341 lb-ft of torque. For 2018 the starting price of the RLX Sport Hybrid drops to $61,900 — a reduction of $4,050 compared to 2017 — and has an EPA fuel-economy rating of 28 mpg city / 29 mpg highway / 28 mpg combined.
Starting Price: TBA
The fourth generation of Audi’s flagship A8 sedan debuted at the Audi Summit in Barcelona last summer, and the 2019 Audi A8 is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. in fall 2018. The exterior styling is evolutionary, but the new A8 is revolutionary under the skin and inside the cabin with an array of new technology.
Up front, the new A8 features Audi’s signature Singleframe grille, but now the grille is wider and has a hexagonal shape surrounded by stylish headlights that offer available HD Matrix LED high-beam lights with laser lighting, although the system is not yet approved for the U.S. market. Other technology includes a new active suspension system, side-impact protection, Traffic Jam Pilot and Remote Parking. A mild hybrid system and a plug-in hybrid are coming later.
BMW 7 Series
Starting Price: $81,100
For almost 40 years, the 7 Series has been the flagship BMW sedan. The sixth-generation 7 Series arrived as a 2016 model and is offered in six versions for 2018. The 740i is powered by a 320-horsepower 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 6-cylinder engine, and the 750i is powered by a 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 engine producing 445 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Both 740i and 750i are offered with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive.
BMW 7 Series
The 740e xDrive iPerformance is a plug-in hybrid 7 Series that combines a 2.0-liter TwinPower 4-cylinder engine that produces 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque with an electric motor integrated into the 8-speed transmission for a total system output of 322 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. At the top of the 7 Series lineup is the M760i xDrive, the first M Performance 7 Series powered by a V12 M Performance TwinPower Turbo producing 601 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque.
Starting Price: $54,095
The CT6 sedan debuted as Cadillac’s new top model for 2016, built on a lightweight aluminum-intensive body structure designed to offer new levels of driving dynamics in a large luxury car. The top engine choice is a new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 404 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, combined with a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
Two other engines are offered for the CT6: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder unit that produces 265 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.6-liter V6 that generates 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. For 2017 Cadillac added a CT6 plug-in hybrid, powered by a new 2-motor rear-wheel-drive electric variable transmission combined with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for a total system output of 335 horsepower and 432 lb-ft of torque.
Starting Price: $27,895
An iconic nameplate, Chevrolet’s full-size Impala flagship sedan was a top seller in the 1960s, and today’s 10th-generation Impala continues to be one of the top-selling full-size cars in America. The Impala has a standard 196-horsepower 2.5-liter engine with start/stop technology, or a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine available with LS and LT and standard for Impala Premier. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability allows MyLink to display smartphone content including messages, music, maps and more on the multicolor screen.
For 2018 Keyless Open and Start is standard for all trim levels, while LED running lights and remote start are standard for LT. A heated steering wheel is available on LT as well as a Sunroof and Spoiler Package. New exterior colors are Nightfall Gray Metallic, Graphite Metallic and Cajun Red Tintcoat. Heated leather-trimmed driver and front passenger seats are standard on the Premier trim and available on LT. Available features include Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist and Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert.
Starting Price: $28,495
A full-size rear-wheel-drive 4-door sedan, the Charger is a sporty-looking sedan with retro styling cues and a name from the muscle cars of the 1960s that make it a unique choice in today’s market. Charger returned to the Dodge lineup for 2006, and it was the top-selling full-size car in America for 2017. This large car is all about a variety of powertrain choices, ranging from a 292-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 to the extreme 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 in the Charger SRT Hellcat. A 5.7-liter HEMI V8 produces 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, and a 6.2-liter HEMI V8 delivers 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque, available in the Charger R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392 and SRT 392.
The Charger GT is powered by a 300-horsepower version of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and features an advanced all-wheel-drive system with an active transfer case and front-wheel disconnect to improve fuel efficiency. For 2018 the Charger SRT Hellcat receives a new grille; new fender badges; optional Matte Vapor wheel finish; optional black, orange and gunmetal Brembo brake calipers; and new optional Demonic Red Laguna Leather interior. Red Brembo brake calipers are optional for the Charger R/T Scat Pack and Daytona 392. IndiGO Blue and F8 Green are new exterior paint colors, while B5 Blue and Plum Crazy return for 2018.
Starting Price: $27,595
The original Ford Taurus was a new midsize car introduced in the 1980s to compete with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, but today the Taurus is Ford’s full-size sedan. The Taurus received a major redesign for 2010 and continues for its seventh year with minor styling updates along the way.
The standard Taurus engine is a 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V6; an optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder unit produces 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The powerful Taurus SHO has a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 producing 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
Starting Price: $68,350
Genesis became the separate luxury line of Hyundai for 2017 featuring the G80 and G90 models. The flagship of the new Genesis brand, the G90 aims to compete with top luxury vehicles through a combination of technology, refinement, dynamic performance, design and ownership experience. For 2018 the G90 3.3T Premium adds standard full LED headlights with Dynamic Bending Light and the G90 5.0 Ultimate features a rear-seat entertainment system with dual 10.3-inch HD monitors.
Two engine choices for the G90 are a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, or a 5.0-liter V8 producing 420 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Both engines have 8-speed automatic transmissions and are available with an H-TRAC all-wheel-drive system.
Starting Price: $75,400
The Jaguar XJ has always been one of the most elegant luxury sedans, and the current version debuted for 2011 with a dramatic new design and all-aluminum construction. For 2016 the XJ got exterior updates, an enhanced infotainment system and new driver assistance features. A long wheelbase version offers more than five inches of additional legroom for rear-seat passengers.
The Jaguar XJ sources power from a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine producing 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, and the XJ Supercharged is powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 producing 470 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque. For the XJR, the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 gets pumped up to 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. In 2017 the XJR575 was added as the new performance flagship, with 575 horsepower and a top speed of 186 mph.
Starting Price: $49,900
Kia developed a reputation in the U.S. for small, fuel-efficient cars that represent a good value, and then moved upscale in 2014 with the Cadenza, followed in 2015 by the K900. The K900 is Kia’s top-line rear-drive sedan with a striking design that leaves a bold impression, from the vertical mesh grille to the swept roofline and high decklid. Standard HID headlights and optional LED headlights with Dynamic Bending Lights adjust to follow road curves.
The K900 derives motivation from a 420-horsepower V8 engine powerplant mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission, or a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 unit. The luxurious interior features standard heated and ventilated seats for the driver and front-seat passenger, as well as heated seats for outboard rear-seat passengers.
Starting Price: $75,000
The top sedan of Toyota’s luxury Lexus division, the original Lexus LS 400 debuted as a 1990 model and went on to challenge the traditional players in the luxury car segment. Redesigned for 2018, the all-new Lexus LS 500 is probably the most dramatic visual update in the history of a traditionally conservative model. The new LS is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, with a more coupelike roofline and the latest iteration of what is now the trademark large spindle grille. Based on the same new platform as the LC 500 coupe, the LS 500 is powered by an all-new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine rated at 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, teamed with quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, occupants find a level of comfort, luxury and technology expected of a Lexus flagship. The available 28-way power front seats that feature heating, cooling and massage will please front-seat dwellers, while rear-seat passengers enjoy an expansive space with Shiatsu massage, reclining seats and a raised ottoman. The LS 500h hybrid is powered by the new Multistage Hybrid System, which debuted in the LC 500h Coupe, and combines a naturally aspirated Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators to deliver 354 horsepower.
Starting Price: $45,160
The full-size Continental sedan returned to the Lincoln lineup for 2017 with a focus on quiet luxury and elegance. Continental offers a new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that is exclusive to Lincoln and produces 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque on 93 octane fuel. Also available is a 305-horsepower V6 and a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.
The new Continental’s available all-wheel-drive system incorporates Dynamic Torque Vectoring to transfer torque between the rear wheels when cornering for better handling and stability. Also offered are Perfect Position seats that can be adjusted up to 30 different ways with heating, cooling and available massage functions.
Starting Price: $105,600
Maserati’s flagship sedan, the Quattroporte was updated for the 2016 model year with new bumpers, a new grille with vertical chrome elements, a matte black extractor at the rear, matte black side skirts and matte black mirrors. Quattroporte S is powered by a 3.0-liter Ferrari-produced Twin-Turbo V6 engine producing 424 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque.
The top-of-the-line Quattroporte GTS is powered by a 3.8-liter Ferrari-sourced Twin-Turbo V8 engine generating 523 horsepower and 524 lb-ft of torque. Both Quattroporte S and GTS are offered in GranLusso and GranSport trims with the GranLusso emphasizing luxury via exclusive materials and Italian craftsmanship, while the GranSport focuses on a sporty character and a more aggressive appearance.
Starting Price: $89,900
Long recognized as a benchmark among luxury cars, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class continues to be one of the top-selling large luxury sedans on the market today. Although based on a platform introduced for 2015, the 2018 S-Class receives significant updates including new engines, luxury interiors and new technology. Exterior updates include new headlights, taillight and, bumpers; the grille that was previously exclusive to V12 variants is now standard across all trim levels.
The S-Class model lineup includes the S450 and S560; Mercedes-Maybach comes as S560 and S650; Mercedes-AMG is available as an S63 or S65. The S450 gets a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 producing 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 9-speed automatic transmission and either rear-wheel drive or 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The S560 is powered by a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 generating 463 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The engine built for the S63 is a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 producing 603 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. The S65 as well as the Maybach S650 are powered by a 6.0-liter biturbo V12 creating 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque.
Starting Price: $33,270
When Nissan first launched the Maxima in the 1980s, the automaker coined the phrase 4-Door Sports Car to evoke the new Maxima’s sporting demeanor. The moniker returned with an aggressive redesign of the 2016 Maxima, adding more power and improved performance for a decidedly sports car feel with the comfort of a large sedan.
Maxima is powered by a 300-horsepower version of Nissan’s award-winning 3.5-liter V6 engine, combined with an Xtronic continuously-variable transmission to achieve an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 30 mpg. The exterior design features black-accented V-Motion front end, signature boomerang lights, kick-up C-pillars and a unique floating roof appearance. The popular Maxima SR Midnight Edition package includes a rear spoiler, 19-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, Intelligent Around View Monitor, black badges and a black V-Motion grille.
Tesla Model S
Starting Price: $74,500
The Model S is Tesla’s high-performance all-electric luxury sedan offered with either rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive. The rear-drive Model S is powered by a 285-kW motor with either a 60 kWh, 75 kWh or 90 kWh battery and driving ranges of 210 miles or 249 miles.
Tesla Model S
All-wheel-drive versions of the Model S have two 193 kW motors — one for each axle with four battery choices: a 60 kWh (218-mile range), a 75 kWh (259-mile range), a 90 kWh (294-mile range) and a 100 kWh (335-mile range). The Model S 90D receives the highest EPA rating at 102 MPGe city / 107 MPGe hwy / 104 MPGe combined. High-performance all-wheel-drive versions use the 193kW motor for the front axle and a 375 kW for the rear, with either a 90 kWh or a 100-kWh battery. Model S P100D will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds.
Starting Price: TBA
The top sedan in the Toyota lineup, Avalon joined the Toyota family in 1995 as a slightly larger version of the Camry. The all-new 2019 Avalon debuted in January at the Detroit Auto Show with a much more aggressive design than previous models. Moving into its fifth generation, Avalon is now built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture, which allows the premium model to be longer, wider and lower for a more aggressive stance.
Up front, the new Avalon’s narrow headlights flank a large grille, further emphasizing the big sedan’s width. Avalon uses distinct grilles to differentiate trim levels. The centerpiece of Avalon’s new interior is a 9-inch display that integrates into the climate control system. Avalon is available with either a 3.5-liter V6 engine or a fuel-efficient hybrid system. This new Avalon also comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P — a full suite of the latest high-tech safety features. The new Avalon goes on sale late spring 2018.
Starting Price: $48,100
The Volvo S90 was an all-new model for 2017, taking its place atop the current Volvo lineup. As a replacement for the venerable S80, the new S90 offers a higher level of style and luxury befitting the Swedish automaker’s flagship sedan. And being a Volvo, the S90 comes well equipped with the latest high-tech safety features.
The S90 has a much more expressive design than previous generations of Volvo flagships, with an attractive, luxurious design highlighted by a new concave grille and “Thor’s Hammer” headlights. Inside, the S90 interior is covered with soft leather and natural open-pore walnut trim; the environment feels more living space than luxury sedan. The center stack features a 9.3-inch Sensus Touchscreen display that can be swiped like a typical tablet with a home screen that always displays navigation, media, phone and applications.