For a lot of people, cars are mostly for basic transportation. They want to get from point A to point B, and they want their cars to avoid breaking while doing so. But not everybody thinks about cars that way. Whether they simply spend a significant amount of time behind the wheel, care a lot about owning a car that’s enjoyable to drive, or want a car with a prestigious badge on the hood, there are a lot of people who are still need the practicality of a sedan but want something that’s a little nicer than a Hyundai Elantra or Honda Accord.
But not everybody who wants a nicer car necessarily wants the same type of car. Some want to stay small, while others want to go big. Some want sporty performance, while others want maximum reliability. Luckily, there are high-end cars out there that will fit a wide variety of budgets and needs. As a helpful guide, Consumer Reports assembled a list of its highest-rated luxury sedans in nine different categories. What do you think? Did Consumer Reports get it right?
1. BMW 3 Series
If you’re looking for a compact sedan, the BMW 3 Series is about the best you can do. The back seat might not be the most spacious and some of the controls are complicated, but everything else about the 3 Series is praiseworthy. It’s a high-quality, well-built car that offers a lot of features while still remaining fun to drive. The 3 Series also comes in quite a few versions that cater to different buyers’ interests. The 320i is the budget-friendly option, while the diesel 328d averages 35 miles per gallon overall, and the M3 is tuned for ultimate performance.
2. Audi A6
For a midsize sedan, the Audi A6 is truly multitalented and your best choice in the segment. Its finely- tuned suspension and steering make it fun to drive, but it’s also incredibly smooth, quiet, and comfortable. The seats receive special praise for being extremely comfortable and supportive. The interior is decidedly businesslike, but quality and ambiance are excellent. Add in the wide range of technology and features that are available, and the A6 becomes a car that’s truly good at everything.
3. Telsa Model S
The Tesla Model S is an electric car, but it’s more than just an electric car. It’s actually the best sedan that Consumer Reports has ever tested. With its “razor-sharp handling, catapult-like acceleration, and excellent braking,” said the publication, the Tesla Model S is about as close to a luxury sports car as a sedan can get. Despite its focus on performance, it doesn’t lose its focus on comfort or practicality. The interior is luxurious and quiet, and it can seat up to five adults and two children. Plus, with a range of well over 200 miles, you can leave most of your range anxiety at home.
4. Lexus ES 300h
For the best fuel economy out of a car that isn’t fully electric, look no further than the Lexus ES 300h. It gets 36 miles per gallon overall but stretches it to 44 miles per gallon on the highway. That translates to a 620-mile cruising range, and even better, it does all of that on regular gasoline. The ES 300h isn’t a stripped-out, penny-pinching hybrid, either. The interior is comfortable, quiet, and well-appointed. It can’t completely escape its Toyota Camry underpinnings, but it still manages to pull of being a near-luxury sedan.
5. Lexus GS 350
If reliability is your top concern, go with the Lexus GS 350. It’s built incredibly well, and Consumer Reports expects it to be nearly 50% more reliable than average. Reliability isn’t the only commendable quality of the GS 350, though. It combines a luxurious, comfortable, and quiet interior with power and handling that compete with some of the best cars in its class. The design has aged well, and even several years after its introduction, it’s still a handsome car.
6. Lincoln MKZ
Determining what cars are truly American is harder than ever, but for someone looking to buy a luxury car from an American automaker, the Lincoln MKZ is a strong choice. It’s the “most appealing and well-executed Lincoln in recent memory,” said Consumer Reports, and the hybrid version is offered as a no-cost option. It might not be quite as sporty as the Cadillac CTS, but the hybrid gets 34 miles per gallon overall, making it great for road trips. The interior is also quiet, comfortable, and fairly luxurious.
7. Porsche Panamera
For the best in on-road performance, you can’t beat the Porsche Panamera. Its styling isn’t the most attractive, but from behind the wheel, none of that matters. The Panamera is as close as you can get to a 911 while still having four doors and space for four adults. In true Porsche fashion, it’s quick, offers excellent handling, and seats passengers in an incredibly comfortable and well-appointed cabin. It’s a low, firm car that sacrifices some luxury for sportiness, but the ride isn’t harsh. The five-door design and foldable back seat also give the Panamera a surprising amount of practicality as well.
8. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a legend among luxury sedans, and if you want the ultimate in luxury and pampering, the new version is still “a benchmark of excellence.” It’s going to cost you at least $100,000, but for that money, you get a car that is “a remarkable technological showcase” but still “hits the mark as a pampering, appealing, and enjoyable luxury liner,” according to Consumer Reports. The S-Class is nearly self-driving, and while some of the controls can be distracting, its suite of advanced safety features make it nearly impossible to wreck. The S-Class isn’t just a comfortable cruiser, though — when the roads get twisty, its advanced suspension gives it the handling of a much smaller car.
9. Chevrolet Impala
Not everybody wants to pay the premium that’s required to own a luxury car, but that doesn’t mean those luxury features aren’t still desirable. Buyers looking for a luxurious car that doesn’t necessarily cost as much as one from a luxury brand should take a serious look at the Chevrolet Impala. The nameplate might not be as prestigious as it once was, but despite that, the new Impala is spacious, comfortable, feature-laden, and truly luxurious to drive. With a huge trunk, a powerful engine, and a host of electronic safety features, the Chevrolet Impala is about as luxurious as non-luxury cars get. In fact, it’s one of Consumer Reports’ best-rated cars on the market.