Not too long ago, most of us were convinced that the concept of a “sports sedan” was an oxymoron. After all, sedans are the quintessential sensible city cars. Four doors, a bulky structure, and enough space for the baby seats are the kind of sacrifices that rarely go together with speed or smooth maneuvering. However, this has rarely stopped any industry from redefining compromises. Sport sedans started out as a series of isolated, very pricey models for those who could afford to have everything at once.
Fortunately for us all, with success came mass production. It was clear that a large sector was eager to jump on a vehicle that combined the attitude of a two-door coupe and the comfort of a full-sized four-door build.
Sport sedans are no longer exclusive to luxury brands and can, therefore, meet the needs of most budgets. After all, modern engineering techniques have pretty much erased all the physical impediments that would keep a dependable and roomy car from also feeling powerful and precise. Lower edges and modified engines, and clever solutions have allowed us to access an entirely new generation of models.
These are the best sport sedan alternatives for anyone who needs the extra trunk space but is not ready to give up on a fun drive or to hire private security to watch their car while they go to the movies.
The Civic may be widely regarded as a “dad car,” but there’s a reason why it has also become one of Honda’s most popular models ever. Its roomy interiors and resilient construction have always been a landmark of smart, family-friendly investment, so why can’t it just look cool as well?
The Si make offers subtle but powerful improvements to the classic Civic performance and looks; at first glance, only the smoother wheels and aerodynamic shape may be noticeable. However, the Civic Si has been provided with a four-cylinder engine with a 1.5-liter direct injection, and by keeping the overall construction efficient, this drives up the final torque to a full 192 pounds’ capacity and 205 horsepower.
Furthermore, the inclusion of dual driving modes (Sports and Normal) mean that this car is more than capable of reinventing its feel for the weekends. The adjusted damping and steering provided by its Sports mode will allow you to attempt tricks that should wait until the kids are back home, but the heated front-seats, capless fuel filler, and strong audio system will keep the family happy regardless.
BMW has been a synonym of luscious comfort and discreet power for long enough that explaining its credentials almost feels unnecessary. However, the unassuming 3 Series is still deserving of some extra attention; smaller and more economic than the more famous 5 series, it offers a very nimble driving experience and the executive interiors that are expected of any BMW.
The technical specs may not be flashy, but they are quite above anything else usually found at this size; the engine offers a turbocharged capacity of 2 liters, evenly spread across its 4 cylinders, and a maximum muscle of 180 hp. Depending on the final version, you can also opt in for additional improvements in suspension and faster brakes. In addition to spacious seats and adjustable drive modes, the Harmon Kardon sound system and the brand’s proprietary iDrive infotainment system will keep high-fidelity music at your fingertips.
The All-American rugged mystique that we all associate with Dodge is at one of its best-looking versions in the Dodge Charger. This is a well-muscled Sedan that is capable of competing with many top European players while still maintaining the ability to manage rougher terrains and longer distances.
In particular, the R/T variant leaves very boxes unchecked for those who need a spacious sedan that can prance like a horse (actually, like 370 of them) and still let you ride incognito when needed. The 5.7-liter V8 engine offers eight different speeds, a reliable automatic transmission, and quick acceleration. Plus, the infotainment system and its touch screen offer a superior amount of information for those who are looking to push the car close to the limit and stands in for its sport credentials.
Efficient brakes and an aggressive profile mean that the Dodge Charger R/T deserves a competent driver who can make the most of its capabilities on the track, and yet is maneuverable enough to keep city driving a peaceful, stress-free affair.
Lower grilles and wide constructions are usually great performers in flat tracks and smooth roads, but often turn treacherous in rural areas. It’s a pity, then, that it’s one of the best ways to turn a normal vehicle into an inherently aerodynamic drive.
The Subaru WRX has been built to overcome this conundrum; its aggressive shape performs well across most types of terrains, keeps turns fast and maneuverable, and never lets the torque fall below what’s necessary to conquer a steep hill. The four-cylinder engine has a capacity of 2.0 liters and can offer you up to 268 horsepower and a torque of 258 pounds. That means easy jumping, quick sprints, and fast running – much faster than it would seem given the roomy interior. The suspension system and advanced hydraulic brakes, on the other hand, increase the safety level back to the family-friendly sphere.
Ford has risen into one of America’s best-loved automakers thanks to a long history of sweat and honesty. Their wide variety of models and makes means that they have a stake on almost every possible niche market, and their sport sedan model, the 2018 Ford Fusion, does not disappoint.
The classic 4-door construction and extra legroom hide a 325-horsepower engine with a total capacity of 2.7 liters and a set of highly-responsive 19-inch wheels. Able to handle sharp curves, fast acceleration, and precise stops thanks to its dual exhaust and six-speed transmission, this model offers comfortable gadgets and high-tech specs both inside and outside. The seats are leather-wrapped, as any sports car seats ought to be, and the back seat can split-fold on a 60/40 basis. The infotainment system can handle a multitude of formats and offers high-fidelity, high-volume music at low energy consumption.
Great design and even better post-sales service are just the most recognizable signatures of the Lexus brand, but it is never wise to forget the cars beneath the name. The ES 350 F Sport is one of the toughest competitors in the sport sedan niche and offers one of the best-value options for those who enjoy a mid-sized budget.
There is an interesting duality to this model that allows its celebrity-worthy interiors to feel roomy and luxurious, while remaining completely invisible from the compact exterior. A set of neat controls that encompass brakes, steering, and smooth acceleration (that can go from 0 to 6 in just 6.6 seconds) alike will definitely provide a limo feel for the passengers even while the driver is sweating out his moves.
The V6 engine has a total capacity of 3.5 liters and can reach a torque of up to 267 pounds and 302 horsepower. The transmission is fully automatic, but it offers eight different speeds, which are more than enough to ensure nobody will miss the manual option.
Kia is no longer the new kid on the budget wheels block, as they have spent over a decade continuously improving their offers. Nowadays, they have a firm foothold established in budget and high-end models alike, and the Stinger is the new jewel on their sporty crown.
Thanks to a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, equipped with up to 255 horsepower and a flexible 8-speed transmission, this model offers a high-end experience at a very comfortable price. The brand has not cut any corners with the accessories or the sound system; from its 18-inch alloy wheels through its highly-sensitive Bluetooth infotainment system, this ride includes all the bells and whistles to keep you calm and stress-free over the week.
For your crazier weekend rides, you’ll still have the option to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds, and to lie back to your heart’s content in its superbly flexible seats; 12 positions and four different options for lumbar support provide the most customizable ride in its price range.
For a cult-worthy brand like Mazda, even a mid-range model should be worthy of exalted praise. The utilitarian engine and elegant silhouette of the Mazda 6 Sport have accomplished its mission; while meeting all the reliability requirements of a good old family Sedan, this vehicle is capable of very non-family-friendly feats when given the opportunity.
The steering wheel is remarkably responsive, which allows this car to pivot with ease and to accelerate in the blink of an eye. This allows the Mazda 6 to compensate for an engine that appears modest on paper –with just 227 horsepower – and to turn its seemingly low numbers into an impressive output.
Finally, this car further improves its offer with an extra layer of Mazda classic style; from its aerodynamic and resilient grille to hand-stitched leather interiors, this is the kind of car where money is spent smart, rather than hard.
German carmaker Audi has the unique privilege of a well-established racing history and a well-earned regard among the brand-conscious and the engine-savvy alike. This means that their flagship sports sedan model, the A4, is actually a very easy sell in the sports market but often gets overlooked for those who are looking for a “sensible” ride.
This is unfair, as there is nothing crazy or outrageous about this model. On the contrary, the Audi A4 is a great statement to cleverness and efficiency; its impressively light body is about 100 pounds lighter than the average sedan, although it does not feel flimsy. Such a slim trim allows the car to make the most of an already turbocharged engine. 252 horsepower and 273 pounds of torque go a long way when combined with deluxe wheels, a good driver, and an empty trunk.
For weekday use, this model will still pack everything you need: from assisted parking to a 12.3-inch touchscreen that offers instant navigation, music, and smartphone synchronization.
If there is an American car manufacturer that has tried very hard to embody the ideal of “luxury for the everyday person,” it’s Buick. Their Regal model is one of the most spacious and comfortable sedans available right now, as they clearly aim to stay true to their name. However, the Sportback version adds an extra layer of exclusivity to this experience.
From the outside, this car looks largely similar than the normal Regal, with the exception of slimmer edges and a more elegant facelift. The secret is in the completely redesigned engine, which now packs 295 pounds of torque and up to 250 horsepower. The all-wheel-drive feature also offers superb acceleration, front pedestrian braking, collision alert, and a five-link rear suspension.
Finally, this model is made even more remarkable by its unparalleled amount of trunk space; 31.5 cubic feet may slow you down if you fill it to the top, but it will be invaluable if you have a large trip to pack for or need to take care of the kids.
A well-established model such as the Camry can always use some improvements and extra perks, and this is exactly what Toyota has provided us with their 2018 XSE version. In addition to an edgy facelift and the option to go green and hybrid, the Camry XSE also offers a completely redone engine that reinvents the feel of its drive.
The V6 engine has a total capacity of 3.5 liters and can push all the way up to 301 horsepower and 267 pounds of torque. Although the amount of trunk space is a bit disappointing, the sensitivity of the steering wheel and the responsiveness of its high-tech brakes are new upgrades. An automatic transmission with eight different speeds, a moon roof, and accurate climate control further round out the offer.
Green drivers have been stuck on the sensible and flimsy side of the budget for far too long. Long gone are the days where electric cars felt like an oversized city tricycle, and the Tesla Model S is clearly meant to do away with this stereotype for good.
The all-electric drivetrain and superb maneuverability are enough to make this car a true pleasure to drive or ride. However, if you are eager to test its full capabilities, just make sure you can handle its insane acceleration first; it can go from 0 to 60 miles per hours in as little as 2.4 seconds, which makes it competition-worthy.
Finally, the wide variety of trims can offer you this unique piece of technology with a lot of perks, depending on how dead set you are on getting leather seats.
Across the pond, a Jaguar meets the same audience as a Cadillac; it is the object of desire and of gloating for children and newly tenured executives all over. Its well-known logo is synonymous with speed, power, and elegance, just like the real-life great felines.
For all their reputation, an entry-level Jaguar is actually surprisingly affordable, especially now that the brand is trying hard to expand its market share. The Jaguar XE is a perfectly reasonable sports sedan that is nonetheless capable of reaching powerful limits thanks to its 340 horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine. Add dual automatic and manual transmissions, and an efficient all-wheel drive, and get ready to conquer the highway.
Just because it doesn’t look like a sports model at first glance does not mean that the Genesis G70 is not equipped with track-worthy technology. This hidden gem can produce up to 365 horsepower and has a twin-turbo engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a supremely responsive set of brakes. This should provide you with everything you need to come out to play on the weekends, despite the sensible looks it will offer you from Monday to Friday.
Whether you are a fan of letting go of extra worries or simply want to devote more brainpower to anything else while you go for a long drive, this car’s computer will take over the transmission in a remarkably intuitive manner. Finally, the infotainment system will offer you a quick and sonorous soundtrack for your weekend escapades.