The best sedans for 2020
Cars come in all shapes and sizes, and one of the most fundamental designs is the sedan. These cars are roomy and stylish and have plenty of trunk space. Most of them are fuel-efficient, and they have the features drivers want.
The best sedans for 2020 come from both foreign and domestic automakers in several styles. They come with electric, hybrid, and combustion engines, and they are available at a variety of price points.
Why we picked the Honda Accord:
Along with its rival, the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord has long been the default choice for a vast swath of U.S. car buyers. The name Accord is so associated with quality and reliability that Honda could probably sell it even if the seats were covered in spikes. But the current-generation Accord definitely earns its reputation.
The last redesign added some zest to the Accord, which is known for being both incredibly competent and somewhat dull. The current model borrows styling cues from the smaller Honda Civic, giving it a more stylish appearance that won’t offend buyers who just want to blend in with traffic. Honda also increased rear legroom and trunk space.
Drivers will find plenty to like, too. The Accord is one of the few midsize sedans still available with a manual transmission, and you can pair that six-speed stick with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine from the Civic Type R (base models get a 1.5-liter turbo-four). You don’t get as much power (just 252 horsepower, down from 306 hp in the Type R), but the Accord can definitely get out of its own way, and take corners with admirable poise.
The Accord also represents a good tech value. Every Accord trim level includes the Honda Sensing suite of safety features, which bundles forward collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and traffic sign recognition. A 7.0-inch touchscreen display is standard; an 8.0-inch unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is optional.
Tesla Model 3
The best electric sedan
Why we picked the Tesla Model 3:
Tesla enviably launched the Model 3 in a class of one, and it’s still the only electric model in its category. The head-start allowed Tesla to deliver a luxury sedan with a cutting-edge powertrain that offers up to 322 miles of driving range and a 3.2-second sprint from zero to 60 mph when properly configured. The entry-level, rear-wheel-drive model that corresponds to the car’s $40,000 price tag gets a 250-mile range and takes 5.3 seconds to reach 60.
The Model 3’s interior is an exercise in minimalist design. The giant, television-like screen mounted on the dashboard replaces nearly all of the stalks and buttons normally found in a car. It’s a layout that takes some getting used to, but thousands of Model 3 owners say they love it. The infotainment system is compatible with all of the cool tech features you expect to find in a Tesla, such as Netflix streaming and in-car gaming, but you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to unlock some of them. It goes without saying that Autopilot is available.
Rivals are on their way, but until they land and prove what they’re made of the Model 3 reign supreme.
The best hybrid sedan
Why we picked the Toyota Camry Hybrid:
The hybrid version of the Toyota Camry leverages technology sourced from the Prius to achieve 51 mpg in the city, 53 mpg on the highway, and 52 mpg in a combined cycle. These figures make it one of the most efficient sedans on the market. The Camry achieves them thanks to a 208-horsepower drivetrain made up of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that draws power from a lithium-ion battery pack. It seats five and offers 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space, which is on par with the non-hybrid version.
Above all, it’s a Toyota, so it will be dependable for miles on end. Camry is hardly synonymous with fun; in the past, it’s been a byword for a boring commuter, but the current-generation model is more appealing than its predecessors thanks to a better-tuned chassis and a more evocative design.
In the past, we’ve criticized the Camry (and other Toyota models) for their near-complete lack of useful connectivity features. That’s no longer the case; even the base model comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. Upmarket trims get an 8.0-inch screen, and navigation is optional.
The best affordable sedan
Why we picked the Honda Civic:
Honda is back in a big way these days, but its best car might also be one of its cheapest. Honda’s all-new Civic isn’t just striking to behold, it’s also a return to fun-to-drive form for the Japanese automaker. With punchy turbocharged engines, nimble handling, and a smooth-shifting six-speed manual on offer, car shoppers looking for personality shouldn’t feel obligated to break their bank accounts.
The sedan, coupe, and hatchback all bring the drama with aggressive exterior styling that, for its intended audience, is best described as “Instagram worthy.” Honda desperately needed a revamp after years of plain-Jane Civics, and whether it’s the large air inlets on the front fascia, slender LED headlights, or wonderfully-contoured door panels, the 10th-generation Civic has the attitude its predecessors were missing.
Inside, the new Civic can be optioned with the latest and greatest in safety and infotainment features to turn a compact commuter into a true entry-level luxury car. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic braking assist, haptic feedback controls … the list goes on. To top it all off, whichever engine you choose returns the best fuel economy figures in the class. Sometimes you get what you pay for — but in this case, you get more.
The best luxury sedan
Why we picked the Volvo S90:
Few sedans do luxury as well as the Volvo S90. The Swede doesn’t overwhelm its driver and passengers with an array of tech gadgets but instead tries to create a calming, upscale experience. The interior features some of the highest-quality materials you’ll find this side of a Rolls-Royce, including wood that is not only real, but actually looks it. The portrait-oriented touchscreen is easy to use, and everything feels solid and well-thought-out.
The S90 driving experience is best described as serene. The S90 is not a sports sedan, but its smooth ride makes it one of the best traditional luxury sedans around. It’s also fairly efficient for a big four-door, thanks to an engine lineup that consists entirely of 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mills, as well as a plug-in hybrid option.
In the end, the S90 exemplifies the transformation Volvo has undergone in the last few years. It’s handsome, understated, refined, safe, and intuitive, and although it’s not the sportiest option on the road, it stands out in one of the most competitive segments in the industry.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.
The best performance sedan
Why we picked the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio:
Alfa Romeo is essentially coming back from oblivion, and to do that, its first mainstream model in the U.S. in decades had to be epic. With the Giulia — particularly the high-performance Quadrifoglio model — Alfa has completely pulled it off.
Building a rear-wheel-drive sedan with an emphasis on sporty driving dynamics is a great way to start. Clothing it in gorgeous bodywork in the finest Italian tradition is an even greater idea. But Alfa went even further, bringing a nuclear weapon to a gunfight in the form of a 505-horsepower, 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 developed with input from Ferrari. The Quadrifoglio’s engine completely outclasses its German and American rivals in terms of power, and the Ferrari connection adds even more coolness. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is a sedan that thinks it’s a sports car.
The best all-wheel-drive sedan
Why we picked the Subaru Impreza:
Many buyers turn to crossovers because of their available all-wheel drive, but the Subaru Impreza has that covered. While all-wheel drive is a Subaru signature, there’s plenty about the Impreza to recommend besides its ability to handle snowy roads.
Other compact cars (like the Honda Civic) offer sharper handling, but the Impreza is no slouch in the bends. Thanks to its new Subaru Global Platform underpinnings, it compares well with the competition on refinement. The only available engine is a 2.0-liter flat-four, which produces 152 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Base models get a five-speed manual transmission, while other trim levels get a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in the name of fuel efficiency.
The standard 6.5-inch touchscreen is placed within easy reach from the driver’s seat, and Subaru offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility standard. The Impreza is also available with Subaru’s EyeSight bundle of driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and lane departure warning. Combine that with a reputation for bulletproof reliability and the Impreza adds up to a great sedan, even if you don’t need all-wheel drive.