Buying Guides

2018 Best Full-Sized Sedans

Large and in charge in a struggling segment

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

With automakers killing off their sedans left and right in favor of more profitable crossovers and SUVs, the full-size sedan has become much less common. Most people looking for plenty of room opt for a vehicle that stands tall, but that doesn't mean there aren't exceptional large sedans out there. These cars offer fantastic levels of comfort, oodles of leg, hip, and headroom, and a spacious trunk for all your junk. They also tend to drive better than SUVs and most crossovers, and if you don't need the added utility a CUV or SUV provides, you'll likely be happiest in a full-size sedan. Here are the best ones on sale in 2018.

2019 Toyota Avalon

  • PROS: Power is up across engine lineup, much more exciting styling, improved driving dynamics, a much-improved infotainment system.
  • CONS: Huge grille is a bit too huge, fuel economy could be better in non-hybrid models, feels less airy than the last model.

The best thing about the 2019 Toyota Avalon is that it’s drastically different from the previous version of the car, which inspired thousands of people to finally break down and get their AARP card. The new Avalon's styling is more dramatic, with its large, gaping maw, complex headlights, and strong character lines. It is better to drive thanks to a stiffer chassis, long wheelbase, improved steering and handling, and a stronger engine lineup. The interior, too, is vastly different than before. It features a completely new look and includes a new infotainment system with a 9-inch touchscreen, comfortable seats, and plenty of space. This is the best Avalon ever, and it might even make you feel a little younger than you are.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

  • PROS: Much better grille, attractive exterior styling overall, plenty of power from a hybrid powertrain.
  • CONS: Rivals are more engaging to drive, infotainment system looks and feels dated.

The Acura RLX received a refresh for the 2018 model year, eliminating the unsightly beak-like "Power Plenum" grille that the automaker was known for. The 2018 model has the brand’s new "Diamond Pentagon" grille and a completely new look from the A-pillars forward. The rear of the car features new taillights, a revised trunk lid, and a new rear bumper. Under the skin, the car has an innovative powertrain based on the Acura NSX, but don’t let that make you think this is some kind of super sedan. It’s sporty, but not the sportiest sedan of its size, erring on the side of comfort. The car features a good-looking cabin with high-class materials, and a long list of diver assistance features, including forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, head-up warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and traffic jam assist all wrapped up into the standard suite of AcuraWatch features. One of the car’s only downsides is its somewhat dated infotainment system. The two-screen arrangement lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which can be had in many competing models.

2018 Cadillac CT6

  • PROS: The best-looking Cadillac today, livelier to drive than you expect, comfy seats.
  • CONS: Trunk on the smaller side, firmer ride than expected, interior materials could be better.

The CT6 is Cadillac’s most attractive car. It’s long and low, and in white or black, it is one of the more elegant cars on the road today. The CT6 is sportier than you might expect a large Cadillac sedan to be, especially with the top-of-the-line twin-turbo V6. This isn’t your grandfather’s Cadillac. The car’s stiff chassis and firm suspension mean someone looking for a cushy ride won’t be happy. Inside, the seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room, but some of the materials could be better. Cadillac has improved its CUE infotainment system over the years, making it more responsive. Still, other automakers have systems that are easier to use. That said, Caddy’s CUE system has a long list of highly desirable features, including 4G LTE Wi-Fi, in-car navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

2018 Genesis G90

  • PROS: Packed with high-end standard features, sumptuous and cavernous interior, strong engine lineup, superb seats and spacious cabin, and a fantastic warranty.
  • CONS: Handling could be better, fuel economy is just okay, almost no brand recognition.

The Genesis G90 is one of the best cars out there for the price. It’s large and spacious, has modern technology and amenities, and powerful engine options. Hell, it's pretty much a Korean Bentley. Its cabin is comfortable for all occupants, and the seats are some of the best for a car at this price point. Also impressive are the high-class materials. Everywhere you look in the car you see real wood and aluminum trim. Genesis didn’t cheap out anywhere. One of the G90’s best features is its clear controls for the gorgeous infotainment system. The system itself is fast and smooth, making it a true pleasure to use. If you pair that with the rest of this large and luxurious car’s offerings, you have a real bargain.

2018 Volvo S90

  • PROS: Original and stunning interior, peerless seats, sophisticated and beautiful styling, long list of driver assistance tech.
  • CONS: Great for cruising but not curves, wagon looks better than the sedan, Sensus infotainment system can lag at times.

The Volvo S90 is a bit unconventional when compared to the competition, but that makes it stand out in a very good way. The car features one of the most sophisticated exterior and interior designs out there right now, and it offers a fantastic alternative to the American, Japanese, Korean, and German brands. It’s different in all the right ways. The S90 features one of the most unique and beautiful cabins in its class, and has a long list of driver assist features, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross traffic alert with automatic braking. Pair that with strong engine options, and a spacious cabin with seriously comfortable seating, and you have one of the best large sedans you can buy.

What to look for in a good full-sized sedan

  • Plenty of leg, hip, and headroom.
  • Comfortable seating and high-quality materials.
  • Spacious trunk for cargo.
  • An excellent suite of tech features.
  • Smooth ride and powerful engine options.

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