Buy/Drive/Burn: Untouchable Large Luxury Sedans of 2018

buy drive burn untouchable large luxury sedans of 2018

Our last few entries in the Buy/Drive/Burn series have been stuck in the 1990s, and we’ve had a request recently to talk about something a bit newer, perhaps even… current. While you recover from your immediate shock, I can assure you we aren’t going completely mainstream. No talking about boring everyday things. No, these three will likely all qualify as Rare Rides subjects in the future, assuming I’m 70 years old and there’s still an Internet media (hopefully there isn’t).

Three untouchable large sedans, all of them trading on their luxury intentions. Remember, you only get to burn one, and one has to go home to your garage.

Acura RLX

Acura’s replacement for the long-running RL nameplate has been with us since 2014, undergoing a significant facelift for the 2018 model year. Prices on the RLX start at $54,900. For that chunk of change you get standard leather and navigation, and power is generated by Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 engine, sending 310 horsepower through the 10-speed transmission to the front wheels. (Off limits is the hybrid all-wheel drive version, which costs $7,000 more.)

Infiniti Q70

The oldest model of our trio, the Q70 actually dates back to when it was called the M37; a redesign gave it the metal it wears today. A minor visual update occurred in 2014, when Infiniti branding underwent the change from various letters to “Q.” The value-priced option of our trio, the base 3.7 LUXE trim sends all 330 horsepower to the rear wheels and comes with leather and navigation. It’s yours for $51,000.

Kia K900

Available in 2013 in the North American market, Kia’s largest sedan replaced the unfortunately styled Kia Amanti. While a new K900 has debuted, that one will be a 2019 model. Our contender is the one we’re used to seeing — or rather, not seeing very often. Kia had enough inventory of 2017 models to cover the 2018 model year; the newest K900 you can buy in the current year is the 2017 model. Today’s price bracket nets you a V6 Luxury trim, with a 3.8-liter sending 311 horsepower to the rear wheels. Upgraded Nappa leather is standard on the $54,900 Luxury, as well as the shift-by-wire transmission and a navigation system.

Three loaded-up large sedans, virtually untouchable per every possible sales metric. Which goes home with you, and which one burns away to molten lava?

[Images: Acura, Infiniti, Kia]

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  • Farhad Farhad on Mar 31, 2018

    Buy: Acura. Shall be the best resale value. Drive: Infiniti. Nicer than the others, and more fun to drive. Burn: Kia. Ugly and no resale value.

  • John Horner John Horner on Apr 03, 2018

    Don't buy any of them new. Wait three years and buy a CPO off lease version for 50% or more off. Of these three, the Infinity is the most interesting. The Acura RL/RLX has been an also ran forever. I would happily drive one if it showed up in the garage, but wouldn't buy it. The K900 might be ok at 75% off original price :).

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.