After singling out some of the best compact cars and hatchbacks for the 2019 model year, the time has come to turn our attention to the unavoidable sedan. This is the body style that’s been America’s top choice for decades and still holds its place in the market today. How else would you explain the fact that large international automakers often skip on offering some of their hatchback models on the U.S. market altogether, and make do with a sedan alone? Not to mention the big trio of domestic auto industry giants whose inventories traditionally consist of a large pickup, an intermediate and large sedan, and three sizes of crossovers. But which of these are the best sedans 2018 has in store for us?
That’s something we’ll try to answer in the following lines. Whether larger or smaller (preferably larger), expensive or affordable, we’ve done our best to shortlist 10 of the best sedans 2018 has to offer. Now, keep in mind that this list is more of a “best bang for your buck” type deal, but there are a few cars here to which that doesn’t apply. Some unjustifiably overpriced cars are simply too good not to mention (yeah, Germans, I’m talking about you). Still, we won’t go so far as to list the likes of Bentley, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, or any other ultra high-end manufacturers of the like. So let’s take a look at the best new sedans of 2018…but first:
If you’re looking for newer rides we’ve now released the Best Sedans of 2020.
What Are The Best 2018 Sedans Out There?
#10: Mazda 6
Affordable and reliable as any Japanese car, but above all else, stylish. That’s how the Mazda 6 sedan should be pitched. The world’s most underappreciated mid-sized sedan is arguably one of the most beautiful cars currently available and meager words can’t do it justice. That’s far from everything this intermediate import possesses, though. Although family-oriented, the Mazda 6 is nothing like a prototype boring family sedan. It’s sharp, aggressive, and handles like a charm. In fact, it’s one of the most fun to drive cars in its segment. The Mazda 6 was built with the driver in focus, and that clearly translates to one of the most enjoyable driving experiences in class. If handling piques your interest, this will be one of the best sedans 2018 is bringing your way.
Despite having great fuel economy ratings of 26/38 mpg (up to 40 mpg with optional regenerative braking on the top trim), the Mazda 6 could have come with more than one available engine. Every model is powered by the 184-horsepower 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder. Not that it’s bad – to the contrary – but a smaller turbo unit (or even a V6) would certainly give the car much wider appeal. Maybe that’s something the Japanese will look into at a later date. For now, Mazda 6 prospective buyers have to be content with a revitalized and much more upscale interior, standard infotainment system, and a choice between a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed auto.
#09: Audi A6
The Audi A6 doesn’t necessarily have to be out of the average Joe’s reach, but with a starting price just shy of $50,000, it definitely doesn’t come cheap. What’s more, like any German car, the A6 only starts here and ends up in a region well over $70,000 for top-tier models. It does, however, deliver on more than one front. Actually, it pretty much delivers on all of them. Exterior and interior styling, fuel economy, power, handling, available space…all of these can be counted among the A6’s advantages and fortes.
First, there’s a choice between a 2.0L turbo four and a supercharged 3.0L V6. The former makes an impressive 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, while latter generates 340 ponies and 325 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s a choice of transmission; the front-wheel-drive models come with a 7-speed dual-clutch auto, while Quattro all-wheel-drive models benefit from an improved 8-speed unit. The list of choices simply goes on in this well-balanced luxury sedan – especially in the optional features category where navigation is now standard. Despite the positives, the high price of top-tier models, a somewhat tight rear seat, and a harsh ride on uneven surfaces need to be mentioned as far as the A6’s downsides are concerned. Nevertheless, it is still a well-built German machine and there’s really no doubt that when it’s all said and done, this car is worth every last penny.
#08: Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry has always been a safe choice. America’s best-sold mid-size sedan for over a decade earned its laurels by being competitive in pretty much every important category. Safety, reliability, efficiency…you name it; the Camry has always delivered. Sure, it wasn’t the most inspiring of the bunch in terms of driving dynamics, but even that’s taken care of with the new model – to some extent, at least. Fully redesigned for 2018, the Camry brings a host of new available features. More importantly, it handles better and is somewhat sportier to drive. As an all-around people carrier, this is one of the best sedans 2018 has on tap.
The 206 hp 2.5L 4-cylinder and 301 hp 3.5L V6 are still there, only this time they’re mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The V6 alone makes the Camry worth consideration, as most mid-size sedans are now 4-cylinder exclusives. Of course, one mustn’t forget the hybrid, which is now rated at 52 mpg with the new lithium-ion battery pack. Older Ni-MH batteries are also available, but they “only” return 46 mpg. Despite the positives, one shouldn’t expect too much flare in the $23,500 base model. The thing is, neither one of Camry’s competitors manages to offer much more.
#07: Honda Accord
The Honda Accord is right there with the Camry. It’s fully redesigned for 2018 and ready for another, more or less, worry-free 5-year cycle. The new Accord starts around $24,500 and base models are already well worth the investment. Top trims that go for well over $30,000 only add to that. In fact, with noise cancellation, wood trim, leather seats, LED headlights, active electronic safety systems, an 8-inch infotainment system and a 10-speed automatic transmission, they’re practically entry-level luxury cars. Minus the luxury badge, of course.
Besides the mentioned 10-speed auto, the 2018 Honda Accord comes with either a CVT or optional no-cost 6-speed manual transmissions. At least, the base 192-horsepower 1.5L turbo four-powered models do. Opt for the larger Civic Type R’s 252-horsepower 2.0L turbo four, and you’ll end up with either a 10 or a 6-speed gearbox. Then, there’s the hybrid version which should be capable of returning around 50 mpg on average when the EPA finally rates it. Both of the Accord’s engines are much weaker than those of the Camry, though. The Honda Accord has never been a sporty car and a recent redesign hasn’t converted it into one. Yet, both of the Accord’s petrol engines are more efficient than Toyota’s mills, and the car feels more comfortable and better equipped overall. All things considered, this is arguably one of the best sedans 2018 has to offer, and Kelley Blue Book recently concurred on the matter.
#06: Nissan Maxima
Although technically a full-size sedan, the Nissan Maxima competes with both its flagship rivals and their smaller mid-size counterparts. In fact, it’s only an inch or so longer than the in-house mid-size counterpart Altima. Of course, its starting price of $33,000 poses a serious obstacle for prospective mid-size sedan buyers, but the Maxima does offer a lot of features its smaller entry-level counterparts don’t possess. For starters, there’s the powerful 300-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine tied to a CVT gearbox. It successfully negates most full-size cars’ weight problems making the Maxima one of the most fun to drive flagships around. However, it’s still far from being a sports sedan.
However, the Nissan Maxima pays a hefty price for being one of the quirkiest flagships around. A smaller frame severely impacts both the rear passenger and cargo room where its rivals traditionally thrive. In other words, the Maxima probably isn’t the best choice for buyers that emphasize on utility and rear passenger comfort. Then again, Nissan’s largest sedan offers a well-appointed, borderline luxury interior stacked with a plethora of standard features. And its safety ratings are almost impeccable. Especially since it sports standard automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and a rearview camera.
#05: Chevrolet Impala
Speaking of flagship sedans that traditionally offer lots of cargo and rear passenger space, none do it better than the Chevrolet Impala. One of the best sedans 2018 has to offer comes with precious few notable shortcomings. The underpowered base engine is arguably its largest downside. The 2.5L in-line four makes only 196 horsepower which could prove bothersome to those in need of sharper acceleration. Then again, they’ll likely opt for the available 305-horsepower 3.6L V6 which suffers from no such ailments. 6-speed auto is something both types of buyers will end up with if they choose to go with the Impala.
Although it’s fairly efficient, the 4-cylinder’s 30 mpg on the highway and mid-twenties combined figure aren’t exactly class leading. Needless to say, the V6’s ratings dive even deeper. The 2018 Chevrolet Impala, however, does offer a quality and comfortable ride. A feat that’s further complemented by an abundance of standard features like an 8-inch touchscreen display, active noise cancellation, and cloth/leatherette trim in base models. As a true full-sizer, the Impala proves you don’t need an SUV in order to fit five adults.
#04: Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S might be an atypical sedan, but it’s a sedan nonetheless – and one of the best ones, at that. Aside from legendary fuel efficiency estimates rated from 89 to 104 MPGe combined by the EPA, the Tesla Model S now offers ludicrous performance to boot. The P100D with aptly named “Ludicrous” mode reaches 60 mph in under 3 seconds. That’s hypercar acceleration in a family sedan, in case you weren’t aware. Of course, don’t expect your Model S to deliver a full 219 to 337 miles of range with that kind of driving. A heavy foot will quickly drain even the largest 100 kWh battery packs.
Boasting the longest EV range on the market and equally impressive performance among electric cars aren’t the Tesla Model S’ only strong points. A luxuriously crafted, smart and technologically advanced interior play an important role as well. Then, there’s the matter of a $7,500 federal tax credit. Speaking of prices, stock models now range from around $70,000 to the neighborhood of $135,000. The Tesla Model S is still an expensive affair, but it’s becoming less and less so as time progresses. Furthermore, fast charging infrastructure is growing by the day. However, Tesla’s resale value is still a wild card and the top model’s price can reach the $160,000 mark with all option boxes ticked.
#03: Alfa Romeo Giulia
Let me start with a disclaimer here – not everyone will enjoy an Alfa Romeo, but for those that will, this might just be the best sedan in the world. Especially the high-performance Quadrifoglio four-leafed clover version with Ferrari-sourced 2.9L twin-turbo V6 and all of its 505 horses. The true problem is that Alfas were never exactly reliable. Then again, which Italian car is? That’s why, in order to own an Alfa, you’d have to be a special sort of a masochist. Something like being a Buffalo Bills or a Chicago Cubs fan should do the trick.
So, why is Alfa Romeo still being touted as one of the most inspiring automakers by countless numbers of gearheads? Because Alfa has that something special. A sort of X factor, if you will. For starters, almost every Alfa Romeo in the automaker’s rich history has been a looker, and Giulia is no different. It’s a stunner, actually. Moreover, the Giulia is tons of fun to drive – even with the base 280-horsepower 2.0L turbo four mill underneath the hood. Finally, for a luxury badge, the starting price of $38,000 feels like a good deal. Then again, how luxurious, really, is Alfa Romeo? And what to think of the Giulia’s mediocre fuel efficiency and somewhat outdated technology? I guess that’s something a true gearhead wouldn’t worry himself about, especially not when the word ‘Quadrifoglio’ is introduced. If performance is in your best interests, this is certainly one of the best sedans 2018 brought us.
#02: BMW 5 Series
The 5 Series has long departed from its old ways. New BMW 5 Series models put much more emphasis on comfort while losing some of their edge in the performance department. That’s not to say that they’re underpowered – quite the contrary, in fact. It just seems the Bavarians have finally caved after seeing both Mercedes-Benz and Audi prosper by taking the same approach. The BMW 5 Series brings a host of powertrain options to the table. A 248-horsepower turbo four, 335-horsepower turbocharged straight-six, and 456-horsepower turbo V8 are already a handful, and BMW also offers the 4-cylinder in a hybrid setup. For now, though, the iconic M5 is still in the works.
Aside from quite a bit of firepower under the hood, the BMW 5 Series now offers state-of-the-art technology in a comfortable interior environment. The 20-way power-adjustable front seats are capable of starting heated arguments over who’s riding shotgun. That does not, however, mean the rear seats can get cramped. Even the trunk can swallow up to 18.7 cubic feet of cargo. And mentioning BMW’s advanced technology features is unnecessary. Despite the positives, BMW 5 Series is now more expensive than it’s ever been. Base 4-cylinder models start from around $51,000, while in order to get a V8, you’ll need to cash in as much as $74,000. Keep in mind these are stock model prices. Optional extras – and BMW always comes with a lot of them – will drive the price to even steeper cliffs.
#01: Mercedes-Benz S Class
The epitome of a luxury sedan. The king of the high-class auto society. Monikers stack up but the meaning remains unmistakable. Although it starts from around $90,000 and, despite fully-stacked models reaching as much as three times that, the Mercedes-Benz S Class simply can’t be omitted from our best sedans list. The 2018 S Class Mercedes-Benz’s are some of the best sedans 2018 has to offer. Since their exorbitant price tags are practically their only downsides, let’s focus on what their owners are getting for their money.
For starters, there’s industry-leading innovative safety gear and an incredible assortment of tech features. Of course, one shouldn’t expect anything less from the S Class. Then, there are the engines. The cheapest S450 sedan packs 362 horses thanks to the twin-turbo 3.0L V6. The S560 gets a 463-horsepower 4.8L twin-turbo V8, while the coveted AMG S63 sedan comes away with a handcrafted 603-horsepower version of the same engine. Finally, at the top of the pantheon, sits the absolutely ridiculous AMG S65 sedan whose 6.0L twin-turbo V12 generates as much as 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Finally, words can’t do the S Class justice when it comes to meticulous attention to detail and interior refinement. The only way to buy something more upscale than the S Class is to go the exclusive automaker’s way. Names like the Maybach, Rolls Royce, and Bentley come to mind, but they’re way beyond the reach of we mere mortals.