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Sedan Guide

The traditional definition of a sedan is an enclosed passenger vehicle with two rows of seats. It’s an old idea, but it still works for most people and needs. If your car needs to hold five or fewer people, a good choice—compact to full-size—is probably here.

Lincoln MKS

Year: Starting at $42,810 MPG 19-28 Its split-grille face may say Voldemort, but its ride is Nimbus 2000 all the way. The 2013 MKS is a redesigned model that holds on to the smooth, refined ride a Lincoln buyer is looking for while adding lots of high-tech features. Chief among those is Lincoln Drive Control, a system that will let you change almost everything about the driving experience by changing the gear selector between Drive and Sport settings. Smoothness, however, is the main point of this car, as underlined by standard Continuously Controlled Damping, which monitors suspension settings 500 times per second and adjusts the suspension twenty times per second to tweak ride quality. While you’re enjoying that ride, there’s also a new lane keeping system that can warn you of potential accidents by making the steering wheel vibrate. What’s more, it’s customizable as to when alerts are sent and how hard they make the steering wheel vibrate. The MKS’s V-6 engine choices are slightly more powerful this year, with the most fuel-efficient choice being the 3.7-liter V-6 that makes 304 horsepower and provides 18 mpg in town and 27 mpg on the highway. An EcoBoost V-6 on the all-wheel-drive MKS ups horsepower to 365, although it offers slightly lower fuel economy at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The MKS’s looks are dominated by the new split grille, but updates have also been made to the fenders, headlamps, deck lid, rear end, and exhaust tips. The interior has an all-new instrument panel with MyLincoln Touch, an expanded Sync setup, and many new color schemes. Pricing range from $43,685 for the standard model to $50,685 for the EcoBoost model, including destination. …
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Chevrolet Malibu

Year: Starting at $21,995 MPG 22-34 Chevrolet completely redid the Malibu for 2013, giving it a more modern appearance, widening it for more interior room and trunk space, and going with the ecological flow by offering it as a hybrid. This mid-size sedan is available either as a four-cylinder/electric hybrid or with a standard or turbocharged four-cylinder engine, all of which are paired with a fuel-friendly six-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid version, called the Malibu Eco, has General Motors’ eAssist lithium-ion battery setup, giving the sedan a 37-mpg highway fuel economy rating. That’s impressive, but not the best you can do in today’s eco-competitive marketplace. The Eco model has been dressed up with metallic, chrome, or wood accents in the cockpit, plus ice blue ambient lighting and—surprise—a swiveling radio face that hides a six-inch-deep secret storage compartment. Chevrolet calls this “the quietest Chevrolet in history,” asking you to notice its use of sound-reducing and sound-absorbing materials inside the Malibu. While you’re enjoying the quiet, note the trendy dual cockpit and the presence of the Chevrolet MyLink information and entertainment system, standard on the Eco model. Even General Motors admits that the mid-size sedan segment is “vanilla,” but the company has worked hard to position the Malibu, now in its eighth generation, as a modern contender. …
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Chevrolet Impala

Year: Starting at $25,860 MPG 18-30 The spacious six-seater Impala sedan has been a stalwart in its segment for half a century. This year is the last for the current model, since Chevrolet has completely redesigned the Impala for 2014. That will present buyers of full-size sedans with a sleeker, much more modern-looking product. In the meantime, the current Impala will stick around in its current guise for 2013. Part of its appeal this year will be a Luxury Edition package that includes heated leather front seats, a premium Bose audio system with eight speakers, a universal home remote control, and other quality-of-life features. The uplevel LT and LTZ models will be available in a new Crystal Red Tintcoat color to help the old Impala go out with a flourish. The 2013 Impala comes with a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 300 horsepower, coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite its old-school size and shape, this sedan gets up to 30 mpg on the highway. The upcoming 2014 model will be available with a choice of three new engines, two four-cylinders (one of which is a mild hybrid) and a V-6, to go with its new look. It’s scheduled to come out in early 2013. The Chevrolet Impala may not get anybody’s heart racing, but it fills the bill just fine if what you want is a traditional big sedan. Get a good deal on the 2013, or look forward to the upcoming 2014? Decisions, decisions. …
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Chevrolet Cruze

Year: Starting at $17,130 MPG 26-36 The Chevrolet Cruze name may not have the historical cachet in the small-car segment that is enjoyed by such competitors as the Honda Civic, but it has a lot going for it. For one thing, it’s peppy, with good highway smoothness and well-designed suspension. You can get it with a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine or a 1.8-liter engine with variable valve timing that makes 138 horsepower and yields 36 mpg on the highway. Beating that is the Cruze Eco model, which has lighter suspension parts and low-rolling-resistance tires, taking top honors for a non-hybrid at 42 mpg highway for the manual-transmission model. Chevrolet has also upped the technology ante on what was already a pretty great interior. Chevy’s MyLink information and entertainment system is standard on most versions, offering Bluetooth streaming audio and voice recognition. There are also two new audio systems on offer, including one with GPS navigation and a seven-inch color touchscreen. Perhaps the most appreciated 2013 addition is an optional Enhanced Safety package with park assist, blind-spot alert, and rear cross-traffic alert systems. To dress up your Cruze, there’s an RS appearance package with a rear spoiler, rocker moldings, an upgraded fascia, and chrome instrument panel accents instead of the standard silver. Top it off with a sliding power sunroof on LT and LTZ trim levels. …
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Mazda MAZDA6

Year: Starting at $29,990 MPG 18-27 The Mazda 6 has always been an excellent choice if you’re the type of person who cringes when you see another person wearing the same dress that you have on at a party. With the Japanese midsize sedan, you won’t see yourself coming and going on the road like you will with some of the domestic competition. Mazda is in somewhat of a holding pattern with the Mazda 6 at this point, since a fully redesigned model is on tap for the 2014 model year. In the meantime, there are no significant changes to the Mazda 6. The current generation sedan has a striking presence, with a long hood and flared front fenders. Mazda pitches it as being “sexy, yet sensible.” The base car is nicely equipped with standard air conditioning, power accessories, cruise control and a stereo system with six speakers. The base Mazda 6 is equipped with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine linked to a six-speed manual transmission. The top-of-the-line model gets a 272-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. There are numerous options, including a rear spoiler, remote engine start on automatic-transmission models, pearl exterior paint and a power moonroof. A $1,785 technology package bundles several items, including LED rear lights, heated side mirrors and a power front passenger’s seat. On the downside, there is no hybrid option as there is with some of the competition. …
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Chevrolet Sonic

Year: Starting at $14,185 MPG 26-35 Sometimes you shop for a subcompact because you’re looking for a cute first car or a nimble city transporter. Sometimes you are motivated by concern about fuel economy and a small carbon footprint. And sometimes you are just plain too broke to buy anything bigger. Don’t feel deprived: the Chevrolet Sonic is actually pretty good. Available in both sedan and hatchback body styles, the U.S.-built Sonic weighs a pretty imposing 2,600 pounds and has ten standard airbags, so it’s no lightweight either literally or figuratively. Its four-cylinder engine choices are the same as those on the larger Cruze. There’s also a turbocharged RS sport hatchback, new this year, which will go on sale in late 2012. The RS’s sportiness is telegraphed by four-wheel disc brakes, a lowered ride height, more assertive chassis and transmission setups, and a leather-trimmed interior, plus red accents and aluminum pedals. You could actually plan to carry back-seat passengers without apologizing, thanks to a relatively roomy interior. An optional Connectivity and Cruise package adds a USB port, Bluetooth audio, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, and cruise control, and Chevrolet’s MyLink information and entertainment system is available on the uplevel LTZ model and the RS. All in all, you are sure to feel less penalized than you might have expected. …
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Lexus GS350

Year: Starting at $46,900 MPG 19-28 Lexus’ mid-size GS sedan has never made much of a spectacle of itself in the two decades or so that it’s been around, but consider its wallflower status a thing of the past now that the all-new 2013 GS has debuted. The first Lexus model to brandish the company’s bold new design language now spreading across the lineup, the GS conveys emotion from its spindle-shaped grille all the way to its shapely tush. And that tush, along with the nose, gets even shapelier when the new-for-2013 F-Sport model is selected. More conservative folks may want to stick to Premium and Luxury models. Regardless, no GS can be considered a penalty box by any stretch of the imagination, and the Luxury model in particular is as lavish as most full-size luxury cars, complete with reclining rear seats, window shades, and a dramatic caramel-and-black color scheme that you gotta see to believe. The aforementioned F-Sport model comes with a metal and leather-trimmed cabin and boasts numerous performance enhancements, too, while the hybrid model returns for 2013 with a combined fuel economy rating of 31 mpg (versus 23 for the standard GS350). Like most Lexuses, the 2013 GS features an available infotainment system with the company’s Remote Touch interface that allows even more technology to be bundled into an already highly advanced—and highly satisfying—package. …
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Lexus LS460

Year: Starting at $71,990 MPG 16-23 Lexus made its mark in 1989 with its LS flagship, a full-size luxury sedan that could give the most lavish chariots from Mercedes-Benz and BMW a run for their money, and for less of it. Two dozen years later, Lexus once again is putting the industry on notice with its latest technological tour de force, the all-new, surprisingly emotional 2013 LS. Indeed, the LS460 and the long-wheelbase LS460L have never looked better, their crisp sheetmetal offset by just the right amount of ornamentation. Lexus’s new spindle grille is flanked by high-tech headlamps, the bodysides are clean and straight, and the rear is set off by discreet trapezoidal tailpipes and beautiful taillamps with clever L-shaped LED strips that mimic the Lexus “L.” For 2013, Lexus is offering more flavors of LS than ever: customers with a wild side may opt for the first-ever LS F-Sport model, which rides lower to the ground and dons aggressive front and rear styling and technical-themed interior trim; those in colder climes may be interested in all-wheel-drive LS models; wealthy greenies may consider the pricey hybrid LS600h. Regardless of variety, each LS contains more standard comfort and technology features than we could possibly list, and among the many decadent options are a shiatsu massaging rear seat package, three different wood choices, and a “Climate Concierge” system that automatically activates seat heaters and coolers in addition to the A/C to maintain individual comfort for all passengers. The LS even rides on noise reduction wheels to ensure quietness. Once focused on chasing the luxury leaders in the segment, the 2013 LS proves that Lexus wants to lead. …
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Lincoln MKZ

Year: Starting at $35,925 MPG 22-31 Lincoln’s mid-size MKZ sedan is all new for 2013, and Ford’s luxury brand is calling it nothing less than “the future of Lincoln.” For a car that’s not top of the lineup, the MKZ has a lot of technology and luxury to call its own, including an enormous, sweeping retractable glass roof, Active Noise Control on the inside, and real wood trim. Mechanically, there are three engine choices: a four-cylinder EcoBoost, a 3.7-liter V-6, and a hybrid version that uses the four-cylinder and gives this sedan a 41-mpg highway rating. Lincoln Drive Control is standard. As for safety features, the MKZ gets a lane-keeping suite that includes a rearview-mirror-mounted camera to read lane markers up ahead, and there’s adaptive cruise control, blind spot alert, and a collision warning system that puts on the brakes for you if you’re about to hit something. For the back-seat passengers--and you can invite them along without guilt thanks to the interior spaciousness--there are inflatable rear seatbelts on top of the eight airbags this car already has as standard; those inflatable belts are a class exclusive, Lincoln points out. All-wheel drive is an option, and active park assist is the icing on this already very well-accessorized cake. …
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