The death of the sedan has been widely exaggerated. Sedans may not be the moneymakers they once were, but the body style remains important to many brands’ lineups. These four doors come in a variety of forms, from performance-oriented sports sedans to practical family sedans to ostentatious luxury sedans. No matter your needs, there’s a sedan that ought to meet them.
In order to separate the great sedans from the merely good ones, our editors put every one of these four doors through our extensive testing regimen. The best sedans are not necessarily jacks of all trades but are masters of their given segment’s mission. For instance, we may weigh the results of our performance-related testing more heavily on a sports sedan than a family sedan.
The sedans on our Editor’s Choice list are among the best of their kind, expertly threading the needle between mastering the qualities of their mission, while simultaneously showing competence in areas their competitors fall short in.
The Kia Rio is a good car at a great price. Available as either a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback, the Rio offers simple transportation while delivering impressive city and highway fuel efficiency. Many of its former competitors, such as the Chevy Sonic, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris have since been replaced by larger and more expensive crossovers but the Rio hasn’t, and it’s one of the best of the few remaining subcompact models on the market today. Power comes from a 120-hp inline-four bolted to a continuously variable automatic. The Rio’s lack of power can make speeding tickets urban legend, but it deserves some credit for a well-tuned suspension. As one of the cheapest cars sold today, the Rio’s standard equipment makes it a tempting choice, and its low price makes it a no-brainer in the sub-$20,000 market.
Nissan has given the Versa an update for 2023, but the subcompact sedan remains true to its mission of providing cheap, competent transport. The already handsome front end now has a flashier grille with cascading silver trim pieces, and new optional 17-inch wheels are available to dress up the little sedan's looks. The Versa is powered by a four-cylinder engine, and while its 122 horsepower isn't going to win any stoplight drag races, this powerplant will return impressive fuel economy on the highway. The Versa also impresses with its smooth ride, and it packs a suite of high-tech safety features like emergency braking. The 2023 model also brings more interior features, like a larger touchscreen on the top SR trim and a wireless charging pad on the mid-tier SV. Combined with comfy front seats, the 2023 Nissan Versa has a well-appointed cabin for its affordable price point. Add to that its good driving dynamics and efficient engine and the Versa is a handsome, frugal, and solidly capable daily commuter vehicle.
For decades, the Honda Civic has given budget-minded buyers a compact car that makes them feel smart for being frugal. The latest generation, including the 2023 model, carries on this tradition and goes beyond, offering handsome interior trim and several features that very recently were considered luxuries. Sedan and hatchback body styles are available, and you can pick from a quartet of four-cylinder engines and two transmissions—a continuously variable automatic (CVT) or a six-speed manual. All models come with touchscreen infotainment and a generous list of driver-assistance features, with more desirable options available throughout the lineup. The Civic's combination of value, efficiency, niceties, and refined road manners make it a no-brainer, even when compared to similarly well-respected rivals such as the Hyundai Elantra, the Mazda 3, and the Toyota Corolla. Simply put, it's a great car at a great price, making it an ideal candidate for our 10Best award.
Honda Civic Si
Built with affordability and driving enthusiasts in mind, the Honda Civic Si is a front-wheel-drive sport compact sweetheart that doesn't cost a lot and is a lot of fun to pilot. Sold exclusively as a four-door sedan and only with a six-speed manual transmission, the Civic Si uses a 200-hp version of the normal Civic's turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four. Black cloth seats with red stitching and Sport Injected (Si) accents throughout the interior highlight a cabin with modern tech, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. While crossovers like the Volkswagen Taos and Hyundai Kona have replaced fun compact cars such as the Golf and Veloster, the Civic Si thrives as an entertaining alternative to a world largely populated by the mundane. Although it doesn't have as much horsepower as the Golf GTI hatchback, its lower starting price and standard equipment make it a temptation worth exploring—and one we are happy to have on our 2023 10Best cars list.
Hyundai Elantra N
The Hyundai Elantra N carves through curves and whips down straights with so much gusto that it's managed to win us over despite its polarizing angry-catfish front-end design. Its fun-loving driving dynamics are made all the more engaging by a standard six-speed manual transmission and a rowdy exhaust note that's artfully balanced between playful and obnoxious. This racy quality carries over into the cabin with its edgy dashboard, aggressively bolstered sports seats, and N badges, which serve as reminders that this isn't just some ordinary Elantra. As if we needed any reminders. But the Elantra N is more than just sporty; it's a roomy, comfortable, and practical four-door sedan. Such versatility is part of what makes this sport compact sedan a winner—literally—something it proved in a recent comparison test against two highly respected peers.
Although it's priced just like other compacts, the 2023 Mazda 3 aspires to compete with more premium cars—and in many ways it does. The 3 is available as either a sedan or a hatchback, and both are equally as handsome and agile. Two four-cylinder engines are offered, including a punchy turbo, and you can even have all-wheel drive if you want—though that means skipping the excellent six-speed manual. Other compact cars such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Volkswagen Jetta might seem more practical or have more name recognition, but the Mazda 3 is made for those buyers who value a gratifying driving experience and seek premium interior materials in their small car.
Volkswagen Jetta GLI
The Jetta GLI is a sport compact sedan that begs to be driven with enthusiasm. Essentially a GTI hatchback with a trunk, the GLI is offered at a single fully-loaded trim level, similar to its turbocharged nemesis, the Honda Civic Si. Front-drive propulsion comes from a spirited 228-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual is standard and for a few dollars extra you can skip shifting by opting for the eight-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. While we appreciate the GLI’s roster of premium gear—heated and ventilated power front seats, leather upholstery, and crisp Beats audio system—a car this vivacious deserves better dancing shoes than its standard all-season rubber. Its red GLI badging and added performance make it a far more fun ride than the normal Jetta, but against a competitor such as the 286-hp Hyundai Elantra N, the GLI would benefit from some extra G-O.
The Honda Accord is a Car and Driver favorite, winning our 10Best award year after year with its spacious interior, driver-friendly road manners, and impeccable build quality. For 2023, it wins a 10Best award yet again for its stunning overall competence. The Accord is all-new for the 2023 model year, and it wears an elegant design that's arguably the prettiest ever applied to Honda's venerable family sedan. The hybrid powertrain has become a more significant part of the Accord lineup for this new generation as it's standard on all but the two least-expensive trims. Those two, the LX and EX, are powered by the familiar 192-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine carried over from the outgoing model—and they come exclusively with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The upper trims are all powered by a new 204-hp four-cylinder hybrid system borrowed essentially intact from the CR-V. The Accord's designers have complimented the handsome exterior styling by sprucing up the cabin with design elements borrowed from the recently redesigned Civic, CR-V, and HR-V, including honeycomb-pattern dash trim that hides the air vents and a freestanding rectangular infotainment display sprouting from the top of the instrument panel. Speaking of infotainment, the 2023 Accord features a host of updated tech, including a new standard digital gauge display and an available 12.3-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Hyundai gives an otherwise ho-hum segment—mid-size family sedans—some desperately needed flavor with the eye-catching Sonata. The Sonata makes a strong argument with a lineup consisting of a well-equipped base model, a gas-sipping hybrid, and a 290-hp N Line for thrill seekers who are okay with front-wheel drive. A pair of inline-fours round out the rest of the Sonata's powertrain lineup, with either a 191-hp base engine or a 180-hp turbo for SEL Plus and Limited trims. The Sonata Hybrid uses a gasoline engine with help from an electric motor to power the front wheels for a combined 195 horsepower with an EPA-estimated 51 mpg on the highway. However, even though the Sonata is an impressive bargain when viewed at the intersection of price and equipment, its handling leaves it still a few blocks over from the sharp and exciting Honda Accord.
With a fierce-looking mug and low-slung fastback shape, the 2023 Kia K5 sedan brings oodles of style to what has traditionally been a snooze-worthy segment. The K5's distinctive design isn't let down by a ho-hum engine, either, with two turbocharged four-cylinders that include the standard 180-hp version or the gutsy GT-specific 290-hp option. The mightier mill makes Kia's family sedan shockingly quick (60 mph arrives in just 5.2 seconds), but it's front-wheel-drive only and can easily overwhelm the tires resulting in squeals of wheelspin. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the GT alone has a quick-shifting dual-clutch gearbox. Those who want all-wheel drive will have to stick with the standard powertrain, which is solid for most commutes. With a handsome interior and desirable features, the 2023 K5 is a lot of car for the money. Sure, it's not as satisfying to drive as the Honda Accord, but the Kia is much more exciting than the Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima.
The 2023 Audi A3 packs a lot of premium content into its compact four-door body, and it also features spry handling and strong performance. As the entry point to the Audi brand, the A3 distills much of the lineup's tech-focused ethos into a smaller, less expensive package. It's a desirable choice among its entry-luxury rivals which include the Acura Integra and the BMW 2-series Gran Coupe. The A3's cabin is snug but is outfitted with a large infotainment display and a digital gauge cluster, among other luxury and convenience features. A 201-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is standard, and Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system is optional. For those seeking even more thrills in their small luxury car, the more powerful S3 is worth a look; we review that model separately.
Audi's smallest offering, the A3 sedan, looks and drives great, and the 2023 S3 improves on that solid basis with a hotter 306-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a suspension tuned for more fun. A sports sedan of this size fits into a narrow niche, but enthusiast drivers will find plenty to love about the S3, even when compared to rivals such as the BMW M235i Gran Coupe, the Cadillac CT4-V, and the Mercedes-AMG CLA35. Like the regular A3, the S3 wears a youthful but premium appearance and has an interior that's crammed with thoughtful tech. Our favorite thing about the S3 is the way it drives, as its fun-to-drive factor is high and its acceleration is impressive, despite some turbo lag. Considering the S3's relatively affordable starting price, it provides an impressive combination of luxury and performance. Those who want even more power will gravitate more toward the raucous RS3, which we review separately.
Few cars are capable of serving the gods of both comfort and sportiness as well as the 2023 BMW 3-series sedan. This perennial favorite can be outfitted as a corner-carving sports sedan or a well-appointed entry-luxury car—or a combination of both. Its three available turbocharged powertrains deftly walk the line between power and polish. The entry-level 330i and plug-in hybrid 330e offer impressive performance with above-average fuel economy, while the turbocharged inline-six in the top-dog M340i packs 382 of the biggest, strongest horses this side of the Bavarian Alps. The 3-series doesn’t have the style of the Alfa Romeo Giulia or the value-packed features list of the Genesis G70, but it’s so well-rounded, athletic, and engaging to drive that it stands at the very top of our segment rankings.
The all-electric BMW i4 sedan is an important piece of BMW's expanding EV portfolio. It offers the style of the 4-series Grand Coupe with a battery powertrain and highly refined road manners, which combine for a 10Best award-winning combination. There are three distinct i4 flavors: The first two are single-motor rear-drive, with the eDrive35 offering 281 horsepower and 260 miles of EPA range, while the eDrive40 produces 335 horsepower with an estimated 300 miles of driving range. That figure drops to 245 miles in the spicy, all-wheel-drive 536-hp i4 M50. The latter drives like a better-riding M3, which is a mega compliment. The M50 reaches 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than an M3 Competition, and it can jump from 50 to 70 mph in just 2.0 seconds—0.7 seconds quicker than the Bimmer. When not performing ab-exercising acceleration runs, the i4 is an admirable daily driver. Although it lacks the steering feedback we prefer in other M cars, it's an exciting and refined sedan with a supple ride and deeply satisfying sports-sedan handling.
German automakers have had their thumb on the entry-luxury sedan segment longer than print magazines have sold cigarette ads—but times have changed, and the Korean-built Genesis G70 sedan is a smoking-hot challenger. To compete against sporty sedans such as the BMW 3-series the G70 is offered at two levels of temperature: warm and hot. The base engine is a 252-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, but the 365-hp V-6 is where the G70 transcends into an experience that's more than just comfort. Both powertrains come standard with rear-wheel drive but offer all-wheel drive for extra coin. Based on the same platform as the rowdy Kia Stinger sports sedan, the G70's ride is controlled and as neat as the stitching on the seats. An affordable starting price supplemented by an outstanding 10-year powertrain warranty makes the G70 a sensible choice with plenty of sporty upsides.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Italy may be best known for pasta, wine, and the Vatican, but it's the country's performance cars that live rent-free in the fevered minds of car enthusiasts like us. The 2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is one such thoroughbred. It boasts 505 horsepower from its sizzling twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6, serves up keen handling, and is draped in gorgeous sheetmetal that turns heads no matter what color it's painted. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be an Alfa without a checkered history for reliability—something we experienced when we had one for an extended 40,000-mile long-term test. But to diehard drivers, the Giulia's performance and extroverted personality are worth any service headaches. There are other fun-to-drive sports sedans with better reputations, such as the BMW M3, the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing, and the Mercedes-Benz C63, but the Giulia QF can go wheel to wheel with any of them—and it always feels fully alive and vibrant, no matter what kind of road you're on or how fast you're going.
The M3 is BMW's most iconic driver's car, and the current model shows that the company still remembers what made many previous M cars instant favorites. The standard version of the current M3 is a rear-drive 473-hp sedan available only with a six-speed manual transmission. Opt for the 503-hp M3 Competition, and you'll have to settle for an eight-speed automatic. The M3 Comp is available with either rear- or all-wheel drive, and its track-tuned chassis is stiff-riding to the point of being close to a race car-like experience. All M3s are quick: in our testing, the rear-drive Competition model's 60-mph time of 3.5 seconds was 0.4 seconds quicker than our long-term base car's. Both versions will thrill you on the road or on the track, and the base model can transform into a surprisingly comfortable cruiser if you're patient enough to solve its Rubik's Cube of drive modes. Rivals such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing do an even better job of making the car-to-driver connection—but the M3 is nonetheless a joyously visceral experience.
Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing
Greatness is often measured in physical strength, and the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing's punch is Herculean. Its superpowers include communicative steering, a well-balanced ride, racetrack-capable handling, and a 472-hp twin-turbo V-6 that pairs nicely with sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and rear-wheel drive. While not as brazen as the bigger 668-hp CT5-V Blackwing, a six-speed manual-equipped model we tested did post an impressive 4.0-second launch to 60 mph and crossed the quarter-mile mark in 12.4 seconds at 116 mph. Unfortunately, in the mythos of top-tier sports sedans, the CT4-V Blackwing isn't immortal; along with its CT5-V Blackwing big brother, it's likely the final chapter of high-octane, gas-fed performance from Cadillac. The next generation of hot Caddys will be electric. One thing's for sure, though: the CT4-V Blackwing will be remembered as a hero, one of the best driver's cars of all time, which is why we named it to our 10Best list for the second year in a row.
The 2023 A6 is the quintessential Audi luxury sedan, featuring a cabin stuffed with technology that's expertly put together using premium materials. Models wearing the 45 designation are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder; all-wheel drive is standard, as is an eight-speed automatic. The A6's 55-series models come with a punchy 335-hp turbocharged V-6, but a sports sedan this car is not. The A6's handling is competent but coolly distant, delivering a more relaxed ride than more performance-focused competitors such as the Mercedes-AMG E53 or the Maserati Ghibli. The A6 is a more natural rival to other soft-riding mid-sizers like the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-class. The A6's styling may strike some as staid, so Audi offers the fastback A7 with a bolder fastback look; we review that model separately.
Refinement is the name of the game in the luxury-sedan class, and the 2023 Genesis G80 delivers plenty of it—from its elegantly-shaped exterior to its effortlessly chic cabin. It serves as the mid-range model, above the sporty, compact G70 and below the new G90 cruise ship, and favors comfortable cruising rather than performance driving. So long as you aren't expecting corner-carving prowess, the G80 is a honey-flavored delight, even with the base turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine whirring away under the hood. The more powerful twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 turns up the heat and the 3.5T Sport trim brings crisper handling but even so, it's no BMW M3 rival. Instead, the Genesis challenges the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5-series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class—and does so at a significantly cheaper entry price.
Frankie Cruz is a hands-on car guy with a wealth of experience modifying, repairing, buying, selling, and—most important—driving cars. He got his start as an automotive journalist in 2014 as an undergrad at Penn State, and he has owned a plethora of vehicles including a Saab 9-3 Turbo X, a Subaru STI S209, and a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. His current daily driver is a Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.
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