Buy/Drive/Burn: 2018 Upmarket American Sedan Showdown

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn 2018 upmarket american sedan showdown

Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we took a look at full-size sedans of an American persuasion and non-luxury intent. The consensus was loud and clear on which vehicle of the trio to burn; the Taurus was the subject of a flame war. Citing the sedan’s outdated everything and bad packaging, most of you didn’t like it.

Some of you also complained that the three offerings were too basic, and lacking in content and luxury. Today we turn up the luxury dial and look at three full-size Americans which are a bit more aspirational.

Ready, comrades? This might be tough.

A target price of about $45,000 for our premium large sedans nets different badges on the grilles of each. Chevrolet becomes Buick, Ford becomes Lincoln, and Dodge becomes Chrysler.

Buick LaCrosse Avenir

For 2018, Buick rolled out a brand new top-spec for its LaCrosse large sedan. Sharing the platform with the Impala from our previous sedan trio, the Avenir comes loaded with standard equipment. A panoramic sunroof fills the cabin with natural light, highlighting the black leather seats. Bose sound pairs with the 8-inch infotainment screen, along with standard navigation. Front-drive is the base Avenir configuration, and standard is the 310 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 from the Impala. Not present here is the HiPer Strut suspension option. Avenir asks $45,795.

Lincoln Continental Premiere

Initially, there was going to be a Taurus SHO in this space, but the visceral B&B reaction to the regular Taurus means we need to aim higher (and remain within budget). The Premiere is the base model of Lincoln’s new Continental, a name which returned to dealers in 2017 after a 15-year absence. Standard on this model is the 305 horsepower 3.7-liter Ford V6 and six-speed automatic. The 3.0 twin-turbo is very much out of our price range. Soft Touch (read: not leather) seats are yours in either black or light beige. Sync is included on the Premiere, but unavailable are the adaptive cruise control, or indeed any navigation system. Premiere owners also make do with a 10-speaker Lincoln audio system, rather than the Revel 13-speaker arrangement. The Continental Premiere is $45,160.

Chrysler 300C

The upmarket brother of the Charger is of course the 300, and today’s price range nets us the top-tier C trim. It’s not exactly new like the other competitors for your cash, but Chrysler makes that up to you in equipment. Standard is rear-drive and a 5.7-liter Hemi V8. Said V8 produces 363 horsepower, and shifts through an eight-speed automatic. Your rear rests on quilted Nappa leather seats (brown or black); also standard. The low base price of the 300C allows the addition of a $3,695 option package including premium 19-speaker Harmon Kardon sound, dual-pane sunroof, Sirius XM, and navigation on the 8.4-inch UConnect screen. Again, FCA offers more no-cost color options than the other two. Total price rings in at $45,785.

Which of these full-sizers ends up putting a $45,000 dent (less in reality) in your bank account?

[Images: Ford, General Motors, FCA]

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2 of 92 comments
  • Farhad Farhad on Apr 13, 2018

    Buy the Lincoln Drive the Buick Burn the Chrysler

  • MyerShift MyerShift on Aug 29, 2021

    BUY Chrysler 300. Drive it too. Great Chrysler engineering with Mercedes-Benz bits. No, it was NOT based on the out-going E-Class. Chrysler was going RWD with Gen III LH which is what the 2005 300 was. Mercedes simply crammed their parts down Chrysler's throat. Steering columns, a transmission, and some rear suspension know-how do NOT a platform make. Anyone that claims otherwise is ignorant and willfully so. Comfortable, quiet, solid. RWD. Available V8. Compared to the other two, this is the MOST American sedan here. An aged platform is not a problem at all when it's good and safe! DRIVE Buick LaCrosse. It should have the best HVAC performance and looks good in front and inside too. Name is Quebecois slang for masturbation. Too bad it's a tarted up, updated Opel Vectra (Insignia, sorry) underneath. So, another Epsilon car. Unworthy of Buick or Cadillac. Terrible roofline and rear styling. All the Giant Epsilon cars have this terrible "Startled Cat" stance. Will probably have all the front suspension bushings shot within 60K miles. BURN Lincoln Continental. Again, just a redone Taurus like before in the 1990's. At least the Taurus now had a good, Volvo based architecture. Age? Pretty sure it's just as old as the Chrysler LX platform. A joke for a top-of-the-line Lincoln. A good Mercury it would be though. The only redeeming things are the profile and slick door handles.

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.