For decades the sedan reigned supreme as the practical choice for millions of car buyers. The four-door configuration means easy access for all passengers; large trunks and folding rear seatbacks offer a range of utility; and in the right designer's hands, a sedan can assume timeless style and proportions. The sedan is also one of the most versatile forms, ranging from econobox basic to first-class executive comfort to back-road speed special.
Today, the crossover SUV has replaced the sedan as America's vehicle of choice. An SUV's high seating position offers easy step-in entry and a commanding view of the road, and voracious cargo capacity makes them a staple for active families. But for many, a sedan offers a level of driver engagement, handling and performance that still eludes even the best crossovers, with enough space and utility to make it an ideal daily commuter or family hauler.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Fiesta: Few cars are better suited to the city than the Ford Fiesta, a pint-size runabout available as a hatchback or sedan. Sharp lines and angles and high-quality materials give the Fiesta one of the nicest cabins in its class, but quick acceleration and a firm ride also lend it a performance edge. The base four-cylinder engine delivers decent performance, but the diminutive turbo three-cylinder's 123 horsepower is more interesting. (But heads-up, it's only available with the manual transmission.) The Fiesta is available as a roomy sedan or hatch, both with impressive cargo and storage space, while the optional Sync 3 system is one of the best around for hands-free voice control of navigation, audio and phone functions. A fun, affordable car, the Fiesta belongs on any small-sedan shopper's list.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Hyundai Accent: Like the Fiesta, the Accent comes in sedan and hatchback body styles for broad appeal and versatility. The Accent doesn't stand out in any one area, but instead it does everything that a small, inexpensive car should do well. A 137-hp four-cylinder engine makes the Accent a quick car for its class, yet it retains a soft, quiet ride on the road. Comfort, interior quality, and cabin and passenger room all match up well with what rivals offer, and its lengthy warranty is unmatched. Subpar fuel economy is a concern, but otherwise the Accent merits a close look.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mini Cooper: Unique style, sporty driving character and an extensive options list make the 2017 Mini Cooper a standout among subcompacts. Mini recently added a four-door model to the line, pushing the Cooper's appeal beyond coupe enthusiasts. This welcome versatility adds to the Cooper's sharp handling and snappy performance, and it rounds out a car that is among the most rewarding to drive in any class. And though the Mini's cabin is far from spacious, and the car's price anything but compact, its overall quality, performance and customization potential make it an essential consideration for subcompact shoppers.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda Civic: An edgy design paired with improved performance, a roomier and quieter cabin, and upgraded interior materials and infotainment features make the latest Honda Civic a class leader. There's also plenty of the latest technology, from smartphone integration to advanced accident avoidance features. There's even a new hatchback version.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Kia Forte: Not long ago, the Kia Forte stood apart by offering many standard features that its competitors reserved for the options list. Kia also included a long and generous warranty. The Forte still offers those things today, but they're no longer the only selling points. Strong performance from three available engines, sporty design, and a spacious interior with quality materials and a clean, intuitive layout make the Forte an excellent small sedan choice. Add in both sedan and hatchback body styles (the latter called the Forte 5), and the Forte deserves a look from anyone seeking style, performance and utility.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Focus: The Ford Focus hasn't had a meaningful overhaul in nearly six years, making it one of the oldest cars in its class, but that doesn't make today's car any less relevant. A variety of configurations, features and options in four-door sedan or hatchback style keep the Focus in the conversation, even as competitors catch up. Ride and handling are strong points, and the Focus deftly balances driver engagement with comfort. It also offers advanced tech (the optional Sync 3 touchscreen media system excels at voice control for navigation, audio and phone functions) and top-notch interior materials. The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivers punchy performance when paired with the manual transmission, but we advise against the 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine due to its disappointing real-world fuel economy and performance.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mazda 3: Many compact sedans and hatchbacks offer spirited performance, but few can lay claim to being a driver's car quite like the Mazda 3. With a choice of two four-cylinder engines, manual or automatic transmission, and finely calibrated handling, the Mazda 3 begs to be driven fun and fast. But those aren't its only tricks. Fuel economy is impressive (up to 32 mpg combined), interior quality is high, and tech features are first-rate. Rear-seat legroom and trunk/hatch space lag behind that of rivals, although folding down the hatchback's rear seats opens up above-average cargo capacity. Classy, versatile and entertaining, the Mazda 3 is a top pick for a small sedan.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Fusion: Attractive style and a quiet cabin with near-luxury levels of quality and ambience make the Ford Fusion an excellent candidate in a competitive class. But it's the Fusion's sharp handling and wide range of power choices that make it a solid pick whether you prefer it for style, performance or practicality. There are two energetic turbocharged four-cylinder engines and a pair of hybrid models. One, a straight hybrid, returns 42 mpg. The other is a plug-in hybrid (Ford Fusion Energi) that can travel 22 miles on electricity alone. The Fusion is one of the more well-rounded choices in this class.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mazda 6: Mazda infuses every car it makes with a feeling that "the drive" comes first. If you regularly seek out winding back roads, the Mazda 6 is for you. But even if you're not a closet Indy racer, the Mazda 6 still offers plenty of reasons to give it a look. Beyond the stunning, evocative styling, Mazda's midsizer offers a comfortable ride, excellent fuel economy and a spacious, high-class interior with one of the best technology interfaces available. Comfortable, spirited and sensible, the Mazda 6 is one of our favorites.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda Accord: Since its debut 40 years ago, the Honda Accord has set a high standard for what a family sedan should be. Roomy, comfortable, fuel-efficient and powerful enough to move swiftly, the Accord is one of today's best all-around sedans. It boasts distinctive style, powerful four- and six-cylinder engines, a composed and comfortable ride even on rough roads, an airy cabin that's easy to see out of, a large trunk and plenty of tech features. You can even get an Accord as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Camry: The Toyota Camry consistently ranks as one of the best-selling cars in America, but in our testing, we often found it fell short of other top midsize sedans. That's changed with the recent Camry, however; extensive improvements to suspension and body structure make the Camry a more engaging car than it's ever been. Today's Camry also has vastly better interior materials and a more modern touchscreen interface. Whether you opt for the comfort-oriented LE and XLE trims or the more spirited SE and XSE trims, the Camry is an excellent all-arounder.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Hyundai Sonata: The 2017 Hyundai Sonata isn't as visually appealing as the previous-generation model, nor is it as engaging to drive as some of the other choices in this segment. However, the 2017 Sonata is a resolutely sensible midsize family sedan that does just about everything you would want it to. It delivers superior value by way of its generous features for the money and a lengthy warranty that can only be matched by its Kia Optima corporate cousin. Its cabin is well put together, incredibly spacious and easy to use thanks to user-friendly tech features that now include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for 2017. An updated hybrid and a new plug-in hybrid model join the lineup this year.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Dodge Charger: The Charger is a big, bold modern link to the classic days of American muscle cars. Those alone are reasons to buy it, but it's the wide array of configurations, engines and options that make this rear-wheel-drive sedan (all-wheel drive is optional on some versions) stand apart from other big sedans. No other full-size sedan offers such a broad range of performance, from the stout, standard V6 to the 5.7-liter V8 middle ground to the Hellcat model's unmatched 707 hp. Regardless of what's under the hood, every Charger boasts a huge interior with one of the better tech interfaces around, a smooth ride and big, comfortable seats. If you want a big family car with a flair for the dramatic, the Charger's your pick.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Kia Cadenza: While many large sedans walk the line between cushy comfort and engaged performance, the Kia Cadenza errs on the side of luxury and isolation. Nothing wrong with that, especially when the Cadenza's cabin is almost whisper-quiet at any speed, on nearly any road surface. The Cadenza accelerates to cruising speed without much effort, but we wouldn't call its handling ability spirited. And that's fine, too. The Cadenza makes no pretense to be what it's not. Instead, the Cadenza is a big premium sedan with an unrivaled warranty and features you're more likely to find in more expensive luxury sedans. The Cadenza makes a strong case for big luxury on a budget.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Buick LaCrosse: When it comes to big, classy full-size sedans, Buick's reputation precedes itself. Given the automaker's history of building a historical record for large, near-luxury four-doors, this is one category Buick was born to own. The new LaCrosse has a timeless look and a sophisticated, high-quality cabin. All the trademarks are here: a soft ride that soaks up bumps, confident handling and control, and a spacious interior with loads of legroom. There's also plenty of leather, wood and bright accent trim, not to mention library-quiet isolation from the world outside.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Avalon: Like the smaller Camry, the Toyota Avalon is a must-consider large sedan simply because it hits all the points with precision. Attractive styling, a roomy and quiet interior, a large trunk and better-than-average fuel economy make the Avalon a top choice among its competitors. A 268-hp V6 engine that delivers strong acceleration, a suspension that provides sure-footed handling, and the availability of a hybrid model further sweeten the deal. A high degree of craftsmanship and materials quality also makes the Avalon interior feel more luxurious than its price would suggest.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Audi A3: The A3 delivers the same crisp handling, snappy turbocharged acceleration and modern-cool interior ambience as the larger, pricier sedans in Audi's lineup. A 186-hp four-cylinder engine keeps things moving, a new seven-speed automatic transmission balances performance and fuel economy, and Audi's trademark all-wheel drive remains an option. (The engine gets a boost to 220 hp in AWD models, too.) The cabin is assembled with the same meticulous attention to detail as in Audi's more expensive cars, and the tech features are among the most modern you'll find. Not surprisingly, you'll feel the pinch in the back seat and trunk, but if you're not often carrying adult passengers or bulky cargo, the A3 makes a good fit and a top pick for those seeking luxury flavor in a shrink-wrapped package.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 BMW 3 Series: Few sport sedans are more respected than the BMW 3 Series. Its balance of ride, handling and power is copied by competitors and aspirants with only varying degrees of success. But the 3 Series' special sauce involves more than one ingredient these days — it's just as much a luxury sedan with supremely comfortable seats, abundant convenience and tech features, and top-notch interior trimmings. Apart from the overpriced hybrid, all of the 3 Series models earn our full approval. The 328i and diesel-powered 328d stand out for remarkable blends of power and efficiency. Still the benchmark in this class, the 3 Series is an easy choice if you're serious about your driving.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: With styling inspired by the uber-luxe S-Class, sportier driving dynamics than ever, and an elegant high-tech interior, the C-Class offers a sophisticated, old-world approach to performance luxury. Your hardest choice is which one to get: the C300 with a turbocharged four-cylinder (rear- or all-wheel drive), the burly twin-turbo-V6 AMG C43, one of two V8 versions of the AMG, or a hybrid. Whichever model or trim you choose, you're getting a truly world-class luxury sedan.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Audi A4: Within the spectrum of comfort to sport driving, the Audi A4 hits the sweet spot, not to say anything of its timeless shape and style. A turbocharged four-cylinder generates 252 hp, delivers ample power, and comes standard with front-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission. You can also get a six-speed manual transmission but only on optional all-wheel-drive trims. A fuel economy-minded trim level called the Ultra is also available, but engine power is significantly reduced to 190 hp. Audi's hallmark interior quality is also baked into the A4 and makes it an exceptional example in the segment. A joy to drive whether slicing through switchbacks or traffic on the daily commute, the A4 belongs on your short list.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Audi A6: An exquisite interior, responsive driving character and cutting-edge tech are enough to make the Audi A6 one of our favorite luxury sedans. As comfortable as you'd expect a premium sedan to be, it's also got quick reflexes for a big car that reward during enthusiastic driving. The A6 is not inexpensive, but you get what you pay for. That includes a choice of high-powered turbo four-cylinder engine or a supercharged V6 that makes up to 340 hp. Both deliver seamless thrust at almost any speed and pair with a taut suspension that keeps the A6 glued to the road. Factor in slick navigation, entertainment and smartphone interfaces, and it's no surprise why the A6 remains a favorite.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 BMW 5 Series: An all-around leader among luxury sedans, the BMW 5 Series burnishes its credentials with a redesign for 2017. New styling, lighter mass, new engines and a broad range of new tech features continue to make the 5 Series a formidable competitor. Earlier 5 Series models were known for quick sport-sedan reflexes, but today's 5 Series, dare we say, is softer and prioritizes comfort and luxury. The new 2017 model offers trick optional front-seat adjustments and an added 1.2 inches of rear legroom. That said, with a 248-hp turbo four-cylinder and an optional turbo V6, the 5 Series is still a very capable car. The latter engine will haul the 540i model from zero to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Like its closest rival, the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class also gets a full redesign for 2017. From updated styling to new engines and tech, the E-Class borrows heavily from the opulent S-Class, especially from the flagship's graceful interior design and materials and cutting-edge safety features. With its firm but compliant ride, vault-quiet cabin, and even the way its doors thump when closing, the E-Class consistently satisfies. Under the hood of the E300 trim is a 241-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. The high-performance AMG E43 uses a turbo V6 for a blistering 396 hp. Regardless of trim, the E-Class delivers world-class luxury, performance and comfort.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Audi A8: Although luxury flagship sedans aren't necessarily built with cornering performance in mind, the Audi A8 manages the rare feat of feeling smaller than it is. The A8 is blessed with confident, athletic road manners that complement its fundamental goal of blissfully swallowing highway miles. Power unravels seamlessly from either a 333-hp supercharged V6 or a 450-hp turbo V8. The latter carries the A8 from zero to 60 in around 4 seconds. The tech interface for phone, navigation and audio feels a little dated compared to fresher rival systems, but it's fully functional for most of today's connected needs. A full redesign is another year away, but this year's A8 still holds its own among the best.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Bentley Flying Spur: For half of the Bentley Flying Spur's $200,000 base price, you can find a half-dozen equally satisfying, better-equipped luxury sedans. Then again, none will offer the impeccable, old-world opulence and craftsmanship of this grand Bentley. A knurled metal shift knob, damped vent plungers, stunning veneers and the supplest leather imaginable are just a few indulgences. Despite its size, the Flying Spur also boasts shocking performance from eight- or 12-cylinder engines that nicely complements the isolating ride and competent handling. We've called it a living room that can travel 200 mph, and it may be of questionable value, but it's unquestionably excellent.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 BMW 7 Series: After a full redesign last year, the BMW 7 Series continues to burnish its credentials. There's now a plug-in hybrid variant with 20 miles of electric range and a base model that offers all-wheel drive. Unlike past 7 Series models, today's 7 Series is available only in a stretched wheelbase that is 2 inches longer than its Mercedes S-Class competitor. Sleek styling does a good job masking all that length, but your rear-seat passengers won't mind how it looks. Like the Benz, the 7 Series also offers a standard adaptive air suspension that can scan the road ahead for imperfections and adjust the suspension before you feel them. It's also tremendously powerful, offering a range of engines including from a 320-hp turbo six-cylinder, a 445-hp turbo V8 and a ridiculous 601-hp 12-cylinder that can heft this beast from zero to 60 mph in an estimated 3.7 seconds. In a battle of superlatives, the 7 Series and S-Class make fine sparring partners.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: The flagship of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the S-Class is not only the automaker's crown jewel, but it's also the yardstick by which other elite executive-class sedans are measured. The big, quick, opulent Benz is also an industry-recognized technology leader, boasting countless advanced safety features, brag-worthy luxury indulgences and engineering feats such as Magic Body Control, which visually scans the road ahead and prepares the suspension for road imperfections ahead. With a choice of two turbocharged V8 engines (449 hp and 577 hp, respectively), two V12 engines or even a plug-in hybrid, the S-Class never lacks for power or grace. Quite simply, the S-Class is a car of superlatives.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Porsche Panamera: The awkward proportions of the Porsche Panamera might put off some, but make no mistake: This fast, focused and exceptionally well-mannered big four-door continues to be the driver's choice among full-size luxury sedans. You can choose from turbocharged V6, turbocharged V8, regular V8 or supercharged V6 plug-in hybrid powerplants to experience Porsche's single-minded focus on performance. No other full-size sedan handles curves quite as confidently as the Panamera. There's even an Executive model with an extended wheelbase to give rear-seat passengers VIP repose and relaxation.
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