Buy/Drive/Burn: 2018 Upmarket American Sedan Showdown

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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 Citing the sedan’s outdated everything and bad packaging, most of you didn’t like it.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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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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.

  • Lorenzo All the efforts made over decades to reduce/eliminate NVH in ICE cars, and now they're putting noise and vibration into electric cars. It reminds me of efforts to make veggie burgers taste like meat. Vegetarians don't want the taste of meat, and meat eaters will want meat, not veggie burgers.
  • Jalop1991 A true golf cart.Sure, it's a penalty box inside. But you're not in it for more than a few minutes at a time during commutes and in between charging stops.Ergo, it's the cart.
  • Zipper69 I'm sure it will sell just fine at all trim levels.I'd only note that IMHO the dashboard is a bit of a busy mess.
  • MaintenanceCosts Why do you have to accept two fewer cylinders in your gas engine to get an electric motor? (This question also applies to the CX-90.)
  • Zipper69 Do they have unique technology that might interest another manufacturer?