What does the current crop of cool sedans have in common? Outside of four doors, not very much. It turns out that cool comes in all different sizes and price points, and from automakers around the world. That said, some of our frosty favorites follow.
10 Cool Sedans to Consider
Photo Credit: Toyota
2016 Scion iA
The 2016 Scion iA marks a milestone for the brand: Yes, Scion has sold plenty of cool cars over the years, from the original xB to today’s FR-S. Those products weren’t cool sedans, however, they were hatchbacks and coupes. For its first traditional four-door, the company actually borrowed the next-gen Mazda2 from the zoom-zoom brand, but that’s a customer benefit, because the car is not otherwise sold in the United States. So the iA is the only way that U.S. shoppers can get their hands on a subcompact sport sedan Mazda’s hallmark handling capabilities, plus it also touts Scion’s high-value pricing. For $16,495, iA owners eyeball standard content ranging from an infotainment setup with both a 7-inch touch screen and voice recognition to a low-speed pre-collision safety system—also making the car the sole subcompact sedan to earn a 2016 Top Safety Pick+ recognition from the IIHS.
Photo Credit: Mazda USA
2016 Mazda Mazda3
Cool sedans can earn their chill reputations in a lot of ways, and the 2016 Mazda Mazda3 relies on a notably customer-friendly recipe. It starts with all the ingredients needed for a superior driving experience, including a pair of peppy yet fuel-efficient engines good for up to 40 mpg or 184 horsepower. It then adds a healthy mixture of infotainment and safety technologies. That means everything from a nine-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround-sound audio system to a comprehensive i-Activsense safety package that, in turn, provides Mazda’s Radar Cruise Control, forward-obstruction warning and Smart City Brake Support. The icing on the cool-car cake? The 2016 Mazda3 entry model, the i Sport sedan, is priced $600 lower than the same trim in 2015, with the car’s current MSRP of $17,845 covering amenities like filtered air conditioning, six-speaker audio, Bluetooth, push-button ignition and a Mazda Connect infotainment system.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2016 Chevrolet Malibu
Although some family-friendly midsizers can be fairly mundane, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu proves there are cool sedans available in even the most mainstream segments. For instance, two of the Malibu’s main technological advantages, mobile Wi-fi and 4G LTE connectivity, remain so cool that they’re missing from not only the car’s direct rivals, but from many premium entries as well. Chevy’s best-selling sedan also helped pioneer advanced smartphone integration in the segment, with the Malibu’s MyLink system now supporting both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and further next-gen features can be found under the hood. There, owners can choose from a standard 1.5-liter turbo engine that’s good for 160 horsepower and 37 mpg highway, a brand-new hybrid system expected to return an EPA line of 48 mpg city/45 mpg highway/47 mpg combined, and a high-output, 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo—all motivating a next-gen model that’s up to 300 lbs. lighter than its predecessor.
Photo Credit: Kia
2017 Kia Cadenza
Also important when considering cool sedans is the car’s design. It needs to be fresh and dramatic, but not quite so distinctive that it becomes dated after a few years. Kia’s chief design officer, Peter Schreyer, is an expert at creating that kind of look, which is among the highlights of the 2017 Kia Cadenza. Scheduled to go on sale later this year, the second-generation Cadenza is a few inches shorter than the typical full-size entry, but it’s also slightly lower and wider than the outgoing model, and rides on a longer wheelbase. As a result, the car shows off more athletic proportions than before, while additionally raising the bar for cabin comfort. The Cadenza is more dynamic to drive as well, thanks to suspension upgrades to its amplitude selective damping technology and the introduction of hydraulic rebound stoppers in the car’s new shock absorbers.
Photo Credit: Acura
2016 Acura ILX
Cool sedans often leverage the industry’s hottest trends, as is the case with the 2016 Acura ILX. The brand brought out the refreshed ILX for the current model year, and it joins an exclusive club by furnishing Acura’s Jewel Eye LED headlights as standard content in all trims. The lamps live up to their name by creating a gem-like row of LEDs on each side of the grille, with each row underlined by a further slash of light. Underlining the ILX’s athleticism is a new standard engine with 51 more horsepower than the previous entry unit and 10 more lb.-ft. of torque than the 2015 version’s premium engine. That twisting force is available much lower in the power band, too, and the full output—201 horses and 180 lb.-ft. of torque—is now managed by a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; “the most advanced transmission in its competitive set,” according to Acura.
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Meanwhile, the marketing mavens from Mercedes are boasting that the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is “perhaps the most technologically advanced sedan of all time.” Which is saying something from the same brand behind such ultra-lux cool sedans as the current S-Class and Mercedes-Maybach. The next-generation E-Class, due at dealerships this summer, looks to be at least as luxurious as its larger siblings. Yet it’s the details that make a difference. Thus, the E-Class doesn’t merely heat its uniquely ergonomically designed seats and a new steering wheel with integrated touch-sensitive control buttons, it also warms up the door armrests and center console for maximum driver comfort. Ensuring maximum driver enjoyment will be new powertrain choices that start with a standard 9-speed automatic transmission and a 241-horsepower turbo engine, and M-B’s AMG performance engineers are already hard at work on the E43. That bad boy is expected early next year backed by a 396-horsepower biturbo V6.
2016 Cadillac CT6
Some cool sedans, such as the 2016 Cadillac CT6, are cool under the skin, too. Cadillac’s brand-new range-topper follows the template set by its rivals, relying on an aluminum-intensive body structure for light weight, yet that was only the starting point. The car’s body is built from 11 different materials that blend together to allow new benchmarks for Cadillac strength, performance and efficiency. In fact, though the CT6 competes with other larger luxury sedans, it weighs less than midsize German competitors including the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class. And despite its low curb weight, this Cadillac is heavy on high-tech luxury cues. Enhanced night vision, a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, mobile Wi-Fi, wireless phone charging and the proverbial much much more are all on board the Cadillac flagship, as are front seats with multiple massage programs and a Bose audio system with an incredible 34—yes, 34—speakers.
Photo Credit: Nissan
2016 Nissan Maxima
Delivering maximum style for the 2016 Nissan Maxima, the brand’s new SR Midnight package clocks in with $2,195 worth of appearance upgrades at just $1,195 MSRP. Along with that deep discount, the setup also serves up blackout-style design cues like 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a rear sport spoiler and bumper diffuser, and a Charcoal leather cabin environment, the latter complemented by Alcantara seat inserts that are standard on all SR models. The SR, of course, is the most athletic Maxima model, matching a 300-horsepower V6 engine with a performance-tuned suspension. Nor should you doubt the car’s credentials as a “4-door sports car.” In 2015, a Maxima SR outran that year’s BMW 328i, Audi A4 2.0T quattro and Acura TL 3.5L in testing at Buttonwillow Raceway; the car’s track record also includes serving as the safety car at Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas, and the Virginia International Raceway, near Danville.
Photo Credit: FCA Media
2016 Dodge Charger
The fastest, quickest and most powerful sedan in the world—according to its maker—naturally makes its own appearance among our list of cool sedans. We’re talking about the 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, the four-door muscle car that features a 6.2-liter HEMI engine. That supercharged V8 is like kryptonite for the competition: By pumping out 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, it lets the Charger chew up the quarter-mile in as few as 11 seconds, then fly to a top speed of 204 mph; the Hellcat also has the ability to sprint from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. Moreover, designers have moved quickly to satisfy customer demands for a more premium cabin. New-for-2016 niceties now include ultra-premium Laguna leather appointments, along with a Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch screen, navigation and five-year subscription for SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic services.
Photo Credit: Tesla
2016 Tesla Model S
It’s probably no big shock to see the 2016 Tesla Model S as part of our collection of cool sedans. True, the Model S sports a liftback at the rear instead of a traditional trunk, but that’s all part of Tesla’s very non-traditional approach to the premium transportation. Remember, the Tesla S is an all-electric sport sedan with both a zero-emissions driving range that reaches 270 miles and a ludicrously low 0-60 time that can be squeezed down to 2.8 seconds. Tesla engineers also have answered owners’ call for ongoing innovations. For example, the new “Summon” app let’s owners park and retrieve the Model S after first exiting the vehicle, allowing it to slip into tighter spots and just generally showcasing the latest advance in Tesla’s AutoPilot autonomous driving capability.