Cream of the four-door crop: Here’s the best sedan you can buy

Today’s car buyer may have an insatiable appetite for crossovers, but sedans are still the most popular ways to get you, your kids, and everyone’s baggage (both literal and figurative) from A to B.

Though budgets will obviously define which tier of sedans you can peruse, there’s something special in every sub-set of four-door vehicles on the market. Below is our list of the best sedans for your shopping pleasure.

Our pick

Mazda6

Best sedans

Why should you buy this: It’s affordable, reliable, good-looking, and fun. What more could you want?

Who’s it for: Those who want a well-built daily that can put a smile on their face

How much will it cost: $21,945

Why we picked the Mazda6:

The midsize Mazda6 is exactly what automotive journalists are always nagging carmakers to build. It’s a no-nonsense car that checks all of the daily-driver boxes but isn’t the least bit dull. Mazda continues to show that commodity cars can still be emotionally engaging.

An attractive exterior is matched with a driving experience that lives up to Mazda’s “Zoom Zoom” moniker, and that’s what separates the 6 from other great sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It’s comfortable and roomy inside, yet it remains exciting, tossable, and responsive compared to its rivals. There’s nothing fancy here, just a willing, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, an available six-speed manual transmission, and a chassis that was set up by people who seem to genuinely care about handling.

At the same time, the 6 offers decent fuel economy, an impressive suite of standard features, and it scores well in Consumer Reports reliability ratings and crash tests. It really is the complete package.

The best affordable sedan:

Honda Civic

best sedans my18 civic4d exterior gallery 03
Why should you buy this: The Civic proves that value isn’t a dirty word

Who’s it for: Commuters who want the most car for their money

How much will it cost: $18,740

Why we picked the Honda Civic:

Honda is back in a big way these days, but its best car might also be its cheapest. Honda’s all-new Civic isn’t just striking to behold, it’s also a return to fun-to-drive form for the Japanese automaker. With punchy turbocharged engines, nimble handling, and a smooth-shifting six-speed manual on offer, car shoppers looking for personality shouldn’t feel obligated to break their bank accounts.

The sedan, coupe, and hatchback all bring the drama with aggressive exterior styling that, for its intended audience, is best described as “Instagram worthy.” Honda desperately needed a revamp after years of plain-jane Civics, and whether it’s the large air inlets on the front fascia, slender LED headlights, or wonderfully-contoured door panels, the 10th-generation Civic has the attitude its predecessors were missing.

Inside, the new Civic can be optioned with the latest and greatest in safety and infotainment features to turn a compact commuter into a veritable entry-level luxury car. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic braking assist, haptic feedback controls … the list goes on. To top it all off, whichever motor you choose returns the best fuel economy figures in the class. Sometimes you get what you pay for — but in this case, you get more.

The best luxury sedan

Volvo S90

2017 Volvo S90 T6
Why should you buy this: Nobody does luxury like the Scandinavians

Who’s it for: Drivers who want elegance, not pageantry

How much will it cost: $48,100

Why we picked the Volvo S90:

Few sedans do luxury as well as the Volvo S90. The Swede doesn’t overwhelm its driver and passengers with an array of tech gadgets, but instead tries to create a calming, upscale experience. The interior features the highest-quality materials you’ll find this side of a Rolls-Royce, including wood that is not only real, but actually looks it. The portrait-oriented touchscreen is easy to use, and everything feels solid and well-thought-out.

The S90 driving experience is best described as serene. The S90 is not a sports sedan, but its smooth ride makes it one of the best traditional luxury sedans around. It’s also fairly efficient for a big four-door, thanks to an engine lineup that consists entirely of 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mills, as well as a plug-in hybrid option.

In the end, the S90 exemplifies the transformation Volvo has undergone in the last few years. It’s handsome, understated, refined, safe, and intuitive, and although it’s not the sportiest option on the road, it stands out in one of the most competitive segments in the industry.

Our full review

The best performance sedan

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

best sedans alfa romeo giulia quadrifoglio feat

Why should you buy this: The Giulia Quadrifoglio will raise your pulse like no other four-door can

Who’s it for: People who crave drama, style, and power

How much will it cost: $72,000

Why we picked the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio:

Alfa Romeo is essentially coming back from oblivion, and to do that, its first mainstream model in the U.S. in decades had to be epic. With the Giulia — particularly the high-performance Quadrifoglio model — Alfa has completely pulled it off.

Building a rear-wheel drive sedan with an emphasis on sporty driving dynamics is a great way to start. Clothing it in gorgeous bodywork in the finest Italian tradition is an even greater idea. But Alfa went even further, bringing a nuclear weapon to a gunfight in the form of a 505-horsepower, Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6. The Quadrifoglio’s engine completely outclasses its German and American rivals in terms of power, and the Ferrari connection adds even more coolness. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is a sedan that thinks it’s a sports car.

Want more proof? The Quadrifoglio managed to lap the Nurburgring in just 7:32.00, making it faster around the famed German track than the Pagani Zonda F and McLaren 650S. Mercedes-AMG and BMW M cars are so far in the rearview that they’re not even in the equation at this point. If it’s a sedan with bombastic performance you want, look no further than Alfa.

How We Test

The Digital Trends automotive team tests vehicles through a comprehensive scrutinizing process. We examine the qualities of the exterior and interior and judge them based on our expertise and experience in the context of the vehicle’s category and price range. Entertainment technology is thoroughly tested as well as most safety features that can be evaluated in controlled environments.

Test drivers spend extensive time behind the wheel of the vehicles, conducting real-world assessments, driving them on highways, back roads, as well as off-road and race tracks when applicable.