Sports cars are sexy, SUVs are rough and rugged but sedans are the glue that holds the automotive industry together. Without these practical four-door automobiles, life would be undoubtedly more uncomfortable and inconvenient, because while it’s fun to go mud bogging or blast down the race track at 100 miles per hour, at the end of the day most people want to get behind the wheel of a comfortable automobile that has enough room to haul them and all of their friends or family from point A to point B.
With that in min, let’s take a look at 10 brand new sedans that are definitely worth a closer look from drivers in the market for top notch transportation.
01. 2011 Jaguar XF
The 2011 Jaguar XF continues to wow buyers looking for an ultra-modern luxury sedan. This mid-size automobile threw away the Jaguar styling rulebook when it first hit the streets in 2009, and its angular, aggressive looks set the tone for the next generation of premium cars from the British brand. Throw in the fact that the XF maintains the same high standard of traditional Jaguar luxury and it’s clear to see why the sedan has managed to live up to its hype three years later.
The 2011 Jaguar XF doesn’t skimp when it come to power, either. The base XF is outfitted with a 5.0-liter V-8 that provides 385 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, while the XF Supercharged model squeezes out 470 horses and 424 lb-ft of torque from the same engine due to the addition of a blower. If that’s not enough, then there’s always the XFR, which offers up an impressive 510 supercharged horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque through more aggressive engine management. Each engine is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, and the XFR is capable of hitting 60-mph from a standing start in just 4.5 seconds.
02. 2011 Chevrolet Volt
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt tosses aside traditional notions of how an electric car should drive and instead offers a complete compact car package that just happens to benefit from a battery-powered drivetrain. Taking the Chevrolet Volt for a spin reveals a very capable sedan that is well suited for both urban traffic and highway cruising, and the vehicle’s passenger compartment is comfortable enough to handle as many as five occupants without any issue.
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt’s ace in the hole is its electric engine. Capable of driving roughly 40 miles before requiring a charge, this plug-in EV also features a backup gasoline motor that serves as a generator, extending the vehicle’s range another 300 miles before requiring fill-up. In effect, the 149 horsepower Volt is an electric car that does away with the anxiety that has typically dogged these types of automobiles, allowing drivers to go green without having to trade in peace of mind.
03. 2011 Volkswagen CC
The 2011 Volkswagen CC proves that affordable mid-size sedans can pack a serious style punch. The Volkswagen CC’s swooping rear roofline gives it an almost coupe-like profile, and inside the four-passenger cabin is well turned out, offering standard features such as leatherette seats, a trip computer, power windows and door locks and an MP3-capable, six-CD changer mounted in the dash. High end CC models benefit from equipment upgrades that include a navigation system, a hard drive for storing digital music files and leather sport seats.
Under the hood, the 2011 Volkswagen CC starts out with a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that squeezes 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque out of its 2.0-liters of displacement. Transmission choices for this engine include a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Those who would prefer additional traction need to choose the vehicle’s optional 3.6-liter V-6, which comes with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. Rated at 280 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, the larger motor is matched with a six-speed automatic gearbox. Of the two engines, the 2.0-liter unit turns in the best fuel mileage: 22-mpg city and 31-mpg highway.
04. 2012 Acura TL
A welcome refresh has made the 2012 Acura TL a good choice for mid-size premium sedan shoppers who prize high tech accoutrements in their luxury automobiles. The Acura TL’s revised styling is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the improvements that have been made to the automobile, as it can also be had with an updated navigation system, a stunning 440-watt surround sound system and a quieter cabin.
The 2012 Acura TL maintains the same engine choices as the year before: a 3.5-liter V-6 (280 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque) in the base model, and a 3.7-liter V-6 (305 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque) in the SH-AWD model. The latter comes standard with Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, which is designed to enhance cornering performance as well as straight-line grip. A six-speed manual transmission is optional with the SH-AWD model, but standard on all trims is a new six-speed automatic that adds an additional forward gear compared to the previous year. It also brings with it improved fuel economy, with the auto-only base model now returning 20-mpg around town and 29-mpg on the highway.
05. 2011 Volvo S60
A complete redesign for the current model year has helped to make the 2011 Volvo S60 a compelling choice amongst European premium sedans. The mid-size Volvo S60 is longer and wider than the vehicle it replaces, but it offers tighter handling and more responsive steering, thanks in part to the availability of a new adaptive suspension system. The four-door automobile also features advanced safety technology, including Volvo’s Pedestrian Detection system which can automatically stop the S60 should someone walk directly in front of the vehicle.
The 2011 Volvo S60 is offered with a single drivetrain choice, a six-cylinder engine that uses a turbocharger in order to produce 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque from its 3.0-liters. All-wheel drive is standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission featuring manual shift control is also included free of charge with the S60. Fuel mileage for the sedan is rated at 17-mpg in stop and go driving and 26-mpg on the highway.
06. 2011 Jaguar XJ
Jaguar’s flagship sedan, the 2011 Jaguar XJ, is not only completely new from the ground up but it is priced much more affordably than many of its full-size luxury sedan competitors. Making a break from the styling norms that had dictated its shape for decades, the 2011 Jaguar XJ now offers an aggressive yet still elegant representation of what British luxury is all about. Also available in a long wheelbase model (the XJL), the XJ is capable of providing decadent comfort and eye-popping features.
Like the Jaguar XF, the 2011 Jaguar XJ is also offered with the choice of three V-8 engines, each displacing 5.0-liters. The entry-level model comes with 385 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, while the Supercharged and Supersport editions benefit from a supercharger that ups output to 470 horsepower and 510 horsepower, respectively. A six-speed automatic transmission is paired with each XJ model, and the quickest of the three reels of a zero to 60-mph time of 4.7 seconds.
07. 2012 Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen has gone back to the drawing board with its Passat mid-size sedan, ignoring the 2011 model year altogether and coming up with the radically revised 2012 Volkswagen Passat. Everything about the Volkswagen Passat’s platform has been reconfigured in order to offer greater appeal to the American buyers that make up the core of the family sedan market for Volkswagen. Larger both inside and out, and with styling that is more conservative in years past, the Passat forges a new path for the German brand.
The only real link that the 2012 Volkswagen Passat shares with its predecessors can be found in the engine bay, starting with the vehicle’s base 2.5-liter, 170 horsepower five-cylinder engine. Also capable of producing 177 lb-ft of torque, this engine is matched with either a six-speed automatic or a five-speed manual gearbox. The top of the line motor is a 3.6-liter V-6 that grinds out 280 horses and 258 lb-ft of twist, sent to the front wheels through a six-speed dual clutch automated manual tranny. Wedged in between the two is a turbodiesel unit that displaces 2.0-liters and offers up 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. This engine borrows the DSG six-speed from the V-6 (and can also be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission), and unsurprisingly offers the best fuel economy of the trio: 31-mpg city and 43-mpg highway.
08. 2012 Infiniti M
Continuing the trend of recently refreshed sedans is the 2012 Infiniti M, which saw an infusion of new blood just last year. The 2012 Infiniti M continues its practice of balancing a sporting chassis and drivetrain with upper tier luxury in a mid-size sedan package. On top of available equipment that includes sumptuous heated and cooled leather seats, a unique air purification system and a surround sound system, the Infiniti M can also be had with four-wheel steering, a stiff sport suspension and high performance tires.
The 2012 Infiniti M is initially offered with a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that is good for 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Next in line is a 5.6-liter V-8 that puts out 420 ponies and 417 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are shifted through a seven-speed automatic transmission, and their respective fuel economy ratings are within spitting distance of each other (with the V-6 taking the lead thanks to its 18-mpg city and 26-mpg highway performance). If fuel mileage is a priority, then the M35h hybrid model offers 27-mpg city and 32-mpg highway from its 360 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and electric motor combination.
09. 2011 Lexus IS
The 2011 Lexus IS offers an alternative to the European luxury sport sedans that typically dominate the entry-level premium market. The Lexus IS is a real looker, and it backs up its compact and sleek appearance with standard equipment that includes a sunroof, dual automatic climate control and power leather seats. A navigation system, a 14-speaker surround sound system and HID headlights are also available as options.
The base 2011 Lexus IS 250 comes with a 2.5-liter V-6 that purrs along with 204 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque on tap. A six-speed manual transmission can be had with rear-wheel drive models, but choosing an all-wheel drive layout makes the vehicle’s optional six-speed automatic standard. Fuel mileage for the small sedan shows as 21-mpg around town and 29-mpg highway. The Lexus IS 350 ups the ante with the introduction of a 3.5-liter V-6 that provides 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive remains available, but the six-speed manual tranny is not an option on the larger engine. Fuel economy figures for the 3.5-liter V-6 come in at 20-mpg city and 27-mpg highway.
10. 2011 Nissan Maxima
The 2011 Nissan Maxima proves that larger mid-size family sedan buyers don’t have to give up on grin-inducing driving dynamics in order to park a practical vehicle in the driveway. The Nissan Maxima features the same kind of chassis tuning and attention to suspension development that have made sports cars like the Nissan 370Z such popular options. The sedan also comes with a long list of comfort features as standard equipment, and it can be upgraded via a number of different options packages that offer items such as a dual panel sunroof, a voice-activated navigation system and even a heated steering wheel.
All editions of the 2011 Nissan Maxima come with the same 3.5-liter V-6 that provides 290-horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to a continuously-variable automatic transmission (that can also offer the option of six “virtual” gear ratios accessible via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles), fuel economy for the front-wheel drive sedan is rated at 19-mpg in city driving and 26-mpg during highway cruising.