Buy/Drive/Burn: It's a 2018 Full-size Sedan Showdown

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn its a 2018 full size sedan showdown

A recent report on the potential demise of the long-running Taurus nameplate brought mixed reactions in the comments section, and is still doing so as of this writing. Said report also inspired today’s Buy/Drive/Burn, in a get it while you can sort of way. Soon, the Blue Oval in this trio will take the dirt nap.

But that’s then and this is now — and you must choose what to do with three full-size American sedans on sale in 2018.

Ford Taurus SEL

In its sixth generation since all the way back in 2010, the Taurus was updated for the 2013 model year. Exterior updates matched with an upgrade to the standard 3.5-liter V6 engine, bringing horsepower up to 288. Selected for today’s challenge is the SEL model, which is front-drive and comes with standard dual-zone climate control. Seats are cloth, and a sunroof is not included. You do get SYNC and a backup camera. The Taurus is yours for $30,120.

Chevrolet Impala 1LT

Newer than the Taurus by a few years, the 10th-generation Impala debuted in 2014. Trims have been shaved from the Impala gradually since this model’s introduction, and for 2018 number just three: LS, LT, and Premier (formerly LTZ). Today’s specified model is a 1LT. This trim nets the 3.6-liter V6 engine, along with cloth/leatherette seating. The six-speed auto sends power to the front wheels, and MyLink is standard on the 8-inch screen. The Impala will set you back $31,595.

Dodge Charger SXT Plus

The only rear-drive option of our trio, the Dodge Charger has been with us in seventh-generation format since 2011. Since its debut, Dodge has upgraded the Charger’s transmission from five to eight speeds and implemented a new version of the easy-to-use UConnect system. The most significant change was a restyled exterior for the 2015 model year. The SXT Plus trim has the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, producing 292 horsepower in current guise. The cloth front seats are heated, and a variety of exterior colors are available at no additional cost. Without navigation or sunroof, the SXT Plus asks $32,495.

There you have it — a trio of large American sedans in an ever-shrinking segment. Which one do you grab while you can, and which is only worth a bonfire?

[Images: Ford, Chevrolet, FCA]

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2 of 98 comments
  • Akear Akear on Apr 11, 2018

    The charger looks to be the future of US law enforcement. The charger will probably become as ubiquitous in police departments as the crown Victoria is today.

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Apr 17, 2018

    I just had a Taurus as a rental car. It was brand new, only 13 miles on it, so I was the first person to rent it. It was a Limited trim ( about 37k on the build and price) you do get all the stuff. And a lot of it; heated and cooled leather seats, Sony audio system with SYNC which worked well and sounded good. But also, you can get that stuff in an an uplevel Hyundai or Kia too. The seating position is high, which I remember when the Taurus was introduced as the 500. You lose some of the rolling bunker aspect, unlike the Chrysler. There's lots room, but it feels a little tight due to the design of the interior. SYNC is pretty intuitive and I only used the Apple CarPlay, but it was all fine. The powertrain is coarse and while you never want for power, it doesn't feel like its power rating. Throttle response is almost 80's-90's GM hair-trigger: Lots of initial response, but not that much more when you plant it. It can be hard to smoothly pull away from a stop until you're used to it. According to the trip computer, I averaged 22 mpg across PA from NJ in moderate traffic and about 75-80mph average. Our Sienna does that with a full load of people and stuff. Ride and handling were OK. It didn't drive big, but you certainly know you're piloting a big car. Ride is a bit cloppy and stiff over uneven stuff, largely due to 19 inch wheels wearing the awful and ancient Goodyear RS-A. I'm sorry, but my Golf feels much more linear in response and composed over the road at nearly half the price of this car. I know this is an old platform and the VW is new, but the Taurus doesn't feel like 37k worth of car. The Ford does feel solid though, more solid than our Sienna, which is as old of a platform. An SHO might be fun, but I don't need a giant car and it's not worth the 40k+, not with the awful resale these cars have. I'd go with the Chrysler if I was going for a big car. For me, I'd: Buy (or lease) the Charger Drive the Ford Burn the Chevy (sorry, not a GM fan at all, even though these are decent cars)

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.