While the average family five-door hatchback serves a practical purpose, there will always be a place in the market for the more handsome traditional silhouette of a saloon.
Premium and luxury cars are often built as saloons, though there are still models available at much more reasonable budgets. We’ve picked ten of the best saloon cars on the market today. Put any of these cars in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
For the easily distracted – Mercedes S-Class
Those with a short attention span are well catered for in a Mercedes S-Class. Passengers are treated to massaging seats and, in long wheelbase versions, a reclining rear row for extra legroom.
The active cruise control can adjust its speed to match the car ahead, and can come to a complete halt and restart again in heavy traffic. A lane keeping assist feature is capable of following the lines on the road, so minor turns on motorways can be navigated with the minimum of input.
The business bargain – Toyota Avensis
For company car users, low carbon dioxide emissions and a low asking price are a must. In both aspects, the Toyota Avensis has them covered. When fitted with the 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, the Avensis emits just 108g/km of CO2, placing it in a competitive 19 per cent tax bracket.
It costs from £18,850 for the entry level diesel, but stretching the budget £3,000 further will bag the Business Edition model, which features an eight-inch touchscreen sat-nav, a reversing camera and a lane departure warning system all as standard.
The style-conscious choice – Maserati Ghibli
If a car’s looks are the most important factor when choosing a four door saloon, look no further than the Maserati Ghibli. In essence, the Ghibli is a high-end alternative to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class and, whichever angle you approach from, it looks stunning. The story is much the same inside, with a sea of gorgeous leathers greeting the occupants.
The most potent 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 accelerates from 0-62mph in five seconds, and makes a gorgeous noise when doing so. There’s even a diesel option, which will return 47.9mpg and, regardless of the engine sat beneath the bonnet, the Ghibli offers a feeling of agility which belies its size.
The ultimate lap of luxury – Rolls-Royce Phantom
Nothing can quite compare to the feeling of opulence you feel from behind the wheel of a Rolls Royce Phantom. The huge V12 engine under the bonnet provides seamless performance while the steering is light making it easy to drive.
But why would you want to drive it? The best place to appreciate the Phantom is from the back. The wonderful ride is unlike anything else on the road, the cabin is stunningly trimmed in acres of leather and wood and you’ll feel so cocooned from the outside world that it’ll make even the busiest of cities drift by in complete serenity.
The luxury bargain – Audi A3 Saloon
If a Phantom is just a little over your budget, there are much cheaper alternatives which will can still make you feel special from behind the wheel. The Audi A3 Saloon’s cabin might not match the Rolls – very little does – but the quality of the materials and the way they’re screwed together is superb.
Audi fans will love the ‘mini A4’ styling, while the three box shape of the saloon means the boot offers 45 litres more than the regular A3 hatch. Beyond that, it possesses all of the typical A3 virtues – a refined drive, a wide range of engines and top safety ratings.
The tyre shredder’s favourite – BMW M3
How do you make a BMW 3 Series more exciting? Simple – fit a 425hp, 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol, send the power to the rear wheels, and stick a badge on the back that reads ‘M3‘. Its mixture of power, handling prowess and agility makes the M3 one of the most intoxicatingly exciting cars on the road.
The modern-day hot-rod quality of the M3 makes it immense fun to drive, even when pottering about in a sensible manner. When you’d prefer to just relax, it feels every bit as civilised as a standard 3 Series.
The modern middle manager’s choice – Jaguar XE
The XE is as refined and comfortable as its rivals, yet testers say it’s arguably more fun to drive than the 3 Series, too. In terms of quality, it’s a match for the German pair, but it does so in its own unique way. If you’re just a little too tired of spotting a Mercedes, Audi or BMW on the road, the Jag might just be the perfect antidote.
The budget option – Mazda3 Fastback
The cheapest four-door car on sale today is the Mazda3 Fastback. The extra lump added to the back of the fine-handling family hatch boosts boot volume to 419 litres – not only above average relative to most rivals, but 55 litres more than the hatchback version.
Just over £17,000 will buy you an SE model with a 120hp 2.0-litre petrol engine, which features front and rear electric windows, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The one that’s getting us very excited – Alfa Romeo Giulia
Alfa Romeo is due to return to the saloon segment for the first time since the striking 159, with the all-new Giulia. The old car was criticised for being overweight and lacking in driving enjoyment compared to its rivals, so Alfa has pulled out all of the stops with the latest car.
Weight is kept low thanks to more efficient construction methods and lightweight materials, while drive is now sent to the back wheels, to improve the handling balance. A Quadrifoglio Verde version boasts a 503hp turbocharged V6 to take on the BMW M3 and Mercedes AMG C63. And if all that isn’t enough, it has its looks to fall back on…
The all-rounder – Volkswagen Passat
By any objective measure, it’s very difficult to find fault with the Volkswagen Passat. There’s acres of space inside, the 586-litre boot is huge, it’s a comfortable and refined companion for long journeys, and it’s built to a standard that few rivals can compete with. Best of all, it’s available for a price which isn’t far beyond the realms of sanity.
If we’re nitpicking, there are one or two cars in its class which are more fun to drive, and the engine lineup is diesel only. However, when the most frugal model can achieve a claimed 76.3mpg, and the most potent twin-turbo 2.0-litre unit is good for a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds, we’ll doubt that will worry many people.
Put any of these cars in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you’re still struggling to pick your next car, check out our car chooser.