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

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
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buy drive burn it s 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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Writing things for TTAC since late 2016 from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find me on Twitter @CoreyLewis86, and I also contribute at Forbes Wheels.

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  • 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)

  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.
  • Stuki Moi "How do you take a small crossover and make it better?Slap the AMG badge on it and give it the AMG treatment."No, you don't.In fact, that is specifically what you do NOT do.Huge, frail wheels, and postage stamp sidewalls, do nothing but make overly tall cuvs tramline and judder. And render them even less useful across the few surfaces where they could conceivably have an advantage over more properly dimensioned cars. And: Small cuvs have pitiful enough fuel range as it is, even with more sensible engines.Instead, to make a small CUV better, you 1)make it a lower slung wagon. And only then give it the AMG treatment. AMG'ing, makes sense for the E class. And these days with larger cars, even the C class. For the S class, it never made sense, aside from the sheer aural visceralness of the last NA V8. The E-class is the center of AMG. Even the C-class, rarely touches the M3.Or 2) You give it the Raptor/Baja treatment. Massive, hypersophisticated suspension travel allowing landing meaningful jumps. As well as driving up and down wide enough stairs if desired. That's a kind of driving for which a taller stance, and IFS/IRS, makes sense.Attempting to turn a CUV into some sort of a laptime wonder, makes about as much sense as putting an America's Cup rig atop a ten deck cruiseship.