Cars

The best sedans for 2020

Cream of the four-door crop: Here's the best sedan you can buy

While crossovers and SUVs rule America’s new car market, it’s far too early to write the four-door sedan’s obituary. It’s a body style that offers plenty of advantages, like sharper handling and better gas mileage. None do it better than the Honda Accord, the best new sedan you can buy in 2020. It’s a great all-around car that’s dependable, well equipped, and reasonably priced. It’s also a lot more enjoyable to drive than its predecessors.

If the Accord isn’t for you, there are plenty of competent sedans to choose from. Digital Trends has selected the best luxury sedan, the best performance sedan, the best affordable sedan, and a pair of electrified options.

At a glance

Product Category Rating
Honda Accord The best 4.5 out of 5
Tesla Model 3 The best electric sedan 5 out of 5
Toyota Camry The best hybrid sedan Not yet rated
Honda Civic The best affordable sedan Not yet rated
Volvo S90 The best luxury sedan 4 out of 5
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio The best performance sedan Not yet rated
Subaru Impreza The best all-wheel-drive sedan 3.5 out of 5

Honda Accord

The best

best sedans 2018 honda accord
Miles Branman/Digital Trends
Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: It’s the quintessential midsize sedan.

Who’s it for: Anyone who needs a car.

How much will it cost: $24,020

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.

Our full Honda Accord review

Tesla Model 3

The best electric sedan

Tesla Model 3 Red
Tesla Motors

Why should you buy this: It’s the best electric sedan, and one of the best sedans out there

Who’s it for: Those who want to never stop at a gas station again.

How much will it cost: $39,990

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.

Toyota Camry

The best hybrid sedan

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Why should you buy this: It offers Prius-like gas mileage in a sedan package

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Who’s it for: Those who want a Toyota hybrid that’s not a Prius

How much will it cost: $28,430

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.

Honda Civic

The best affordable sedan

best sedans honda civic
Why should you buy this: The Civic proves that value isn’t a dirty word.

Who’s it for: Commuters who want the most car for their money.

How much will it cost: $20,650

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.

Volvo S90

The best luxury sedan

best sedans 2017 Volvo S90 T6
Why should you buy this: Nobody does luxury like the Swedes.

Who’s it for: Drivers who want elegance, not pageantry.

How much will it cost: $50,550

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.

Our full Volvo S90 review

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

The best performance sedan

best sedans alfa romeo giulia quadrifoglio

Why should you buy this: The Giulia Quadrifoglio will raise your pulse as no other four-door can.

Who’s it for People who crave drama, style, and power.

How much will it cost: $74,245

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.

Subaru Impreza

The best all-wheel-drive sedan

best sedans 2019 Subaru Impreza

Why should you buy this: It’s a good sedan that will get you through the winter.

Who’s it for: Rally fans on a budget.

How much will it cost: $18,695

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.

Our full Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport review

How we test

The Digital Trends automotive team tests vehicles through a comprehensive scrutinizing process. We examine the qualities of the exterior and interior and judge them based on our expertise and experience in the context of the vehicle’s category and price range. Entertainment technology is thoroughly tested as well as most safety features that can be evaluated in controlled environments.

Test drivers spend extensive time behind the wheel of the vehicles, conducting real-world assessments, driving them on highways, back roads, as well as off-road and race tracks when applicable.

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