Full-size sedans were once de facto family cars, but the appearance of SUVs and the emergence of mid-size four-doors as legitimate, well-rounded commuters have pushed full-size cars further up the ladder in terms of prestige and comfort. Most automakers still rely on a full-size sedan to fill the flagship role, but other brands are taking chances with their large cars and asking them to occupy performance, style, and technology niches that they might not have previously occupied. The end result is a healthy amount of choice when shopping for this type of automobile.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best full-size sedans for 2014 and see what they have to offer.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 01 - 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class represents the pinnacle of the luxury automaker's line-up. All-new for 2014, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class full-size sedan incorporates class-leading safety technologies (including follow-along adaptive cruise control and automatic braking), excellent interior design and materials, and the ultimate in on-road comfort (with available massaging seats and exception second-row passenger room). Built around a smooth chassis and a 4.7-liter, twin-turbo V-8 engine good for 449 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque in the S550 model, and with the option of all-wheel drive, the S-Class has become the ultimate status symbol for modern executives.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 02 - 2014 Toyota Avalon
At the other end of the pricing spectrum is the 2014 Toyota Avalon, a full-size sedan that has gone through a recent evolution of its own in order to update its driving experience and present a stronger portfolio to those seeking a quiet and composed sedan. The Toyota Avalon's 3.5-liter V-6 produces 268 horses and 248 lb-ft of torque, which isn't all that exciting, but it does deliver 31-mpg on the highway (impressive for so many cylinders). The Limited trim level packs in HID headlights, three zones of automatic climate control, a touchscreen navigation system, heated and cooled leather seats, and a number of advanced safety features in order to spoil those willing to spend top dollar.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 03 - 2014 Hyundai Equus
The 2014 Hyundai Equus is a disruptive entry into the same full-size sedan space claimed by the S-Class. Although not a legitimate uber-luxury competitor, the Hyundai Equus has been able to steal sales away from lower runs of the premium big car ladder, including poaching customers from the Lexus LS. With the ability to configure the automobile to include a reclining rear seat and numerous passenger accoutrements typically reserved for the big German names, coupled with a smooth ride and a powerful 5.0-liter good for 429 horses, the Equus has impressed even those who don't need to save the ten to twenty thousand dollars that its modest sticker price represents compared to rivals.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 04 - 2014 Ford Taurus SHO
The 2014 Ford Taurus SHO revives a moniker familiar to anyone shopping for a family car in the 90s, but appends it to a vehicle that is considerably larger than its predecessor. The Ford Taurus SHO is now a full-size sedan, and it brings with it a concomitant increase in thrust: the Ford's twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 can be counted on to produce 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. A standard all-wheel drive system channels the SHO's output, and the car also comes with a trick suspension system, a sporty exterior look, and quicker steering to go with its spacious interior and enormous trunk.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 05 - 2014 Buick LaCrosse
The 2014 Buick LaCrosse is one of the current crop of sedans that has made many upscale shoppers take a second look at the domestic automaker's lineup. The Buick LaCrosse is quite accommodating, with a generous passenger compartment and classy materials use throughout, and its focus on providing a quiet interior sets it apart from other GM models. You can get a mild hybrid version of the LaCrosse, if miles per gallon is your primary focus, but there's also a 3.6-liter V-6 that generates 303 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque (which can be sent to either the front or all four wheels if optional all-wheel drive is selected).
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 06 - 2014 Jaguar XJ
The 2014 Jaguar XJ can be thought of as the dark horse in the European luxury segment, a driver-focused full-size sedan that can also be ordered in an extended-wheelbase model to best please rear seat riders (XJL). With an all-aluminum body, the Jaguar XJ is lighter on its feet that most of its competitors, and power is never in question whether you opt for the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 in the base model (340 horses) or the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 (470 ponies) found in the Supercharged trim. If you want to go all-out, you can even spec a 550 horsepower version of the eight-cylinder mill (XJR) for the ultimate in highway dominance.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 07 - 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI makes our list of the best full-size sedans for two reasons. For starters, the Volkswagen Passat TDI offers a surprisingly large rear seat, which is made even more impressive by the fact that its exterior dimensions hint at a more modest passenger compartment. Even better is the significance of the three letters appended to the Passat's name, as TDI denotes that this automobile features a turbodiesel drivetrain. The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder unit delivers 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, but more importantly it also allows the Passat TDI to post fuel mileage figures of 31-mpg in city driving and 45-mpg on the highway, which takes top marks in its class.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 08 - 2014 Kia Cadenza
The 2014 Kia Cadenza can be thought of as traditional American luxury seen through a Korean lens. The Kia Cadenza features a gorgeous exterior and an equally pleasing cabin that feels more elegant than sporty. This impression is backed up by the Kia's ride, which is a bit floaty but definitely more sumptuous than anything else in the automaker's stable. A large back seat and good power from a 3.3-liter V-6 (293 ponies) round out the Cadenza's big sedan statement, along with a high level of standard equipment when option for the mid-range Premium package.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 09 - 2014 Chevrolet Impala
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala rides on the same basic platform as the Buick LaCrosse but it's priced to be more affordable to a wider range of potential buyers. Like the Buick, the Impala features a hybrid option that offers better all-around fuel mileage, and it also tops out with a 3.6-liter V-6 (this one generating a couple of extra horses to come in at 305 total). The Chevrolet adds the wrinkle of a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine at the entry level, and this mill is good for 195 horses and 187 lb-ft of twist. A new Impala starts at just under $27,000, which is a strong value for a full-size car.
Best Full-Size Sedans 2014 - 10 - 2014 Dodge Charger R/T
The 2014 Dodge Charger R/T is a full-size sedan that, like the Taurus SHO, emphasizes performance. Unlike its cross-town rival, however, the Dodge Charger R/T relies on eight-cylinder American muscle to light up its tires. The Charger R/T is outfitted with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that offers up 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, and whether the car is equipped with optional all-wheel drive or left in standard rear-wheel drive form, it's a lot of fun for its lucky owners. When not being pushed hard, the Dodge also embodies the same smooth and comfortable qualities that most families prize in a full-size car, which makes it a versatile choice.