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How to Choose a Sedan

picture of grey sedan

There are many different vehicle categories in the marketplace currently, and one of the most sought after is the full-size sedan. Sedans are cars with four doors and a trunk, not a hatch or liftgate.

Even among full-size sedans, there are different variations:

  • Entry-level full-size sedans
  • Family sedans
  • Luxury full-size sedans
  • Sports sedans

While the overall design of a full-size sedan is similar from model to model, the vehicle’s options vary widely. You can choose a sedan with a tame, fuel-efficient powertrain, a high-performance engine, an economy cloth interior, a premium leather interior, and basic power functions inside or a plethora of luxury amenities and comforts.

You’ll need to narrow down your options to find the right full-size sedan for you. Here’s how to choose a full-size sedan to suit your situation.

Part 1 of 4: Decide on a budget for your full-size sedan

As the options offered by the many car manufacturers vary so much, the selling prices can range just as much. If you’re in the market for a luxury sedan, you can easily spend a six-figure sum for a car. Determining a realistic budget for you car will help you narrow down your options.

car payment calculator
Image: U.S. News

Step 1: Determine how much you can afford to spend on a car. Use an online calculator tool such as the one offered by USNews to determine how much you can afford to spend on a car.

Enter the amount you can spend on car payments, your down payment, the value of your trade-in, your state sales tax, the interest rate you expect to receive, and the amortization period of the loan you want.

Click “Update Price” to see how much you can spend on a full-size car.

Step 2: Pay as much on a down payment as you can. This will increase the overall purchase price you can afford.

The down payment directly increases the value of the car you can buy by exactly the same amount.

Step 3: Take into consideration the maintenance and repair costs over time. Ensure that you leave yourself enough money month-to-month to pay those costs.

Your budget will dictate which cars you can look at buying. A lower budget will be able to look at economy models from domestic and Asian brands, while a high budget opens up options including premium models in domestic, Asian, and European makes, as well as luxury full-size sedans from more exotic or luxury brands.

Part 2 of 4: Determine your purpose for buying a sedan

You have a reason for looking specifically for a full-size sedan, and that reason can help you narrow down your search.

Step 1: Consider family-friendly options. If you are looking for a vehicle for you and your young family, you may want to consider a car that has easily-cleaned leather or vinyl rear seats, and one that has rear entertainment options like headrest DVD players.

Step 2: Consider your commute time. If you are looking for a full-size car for commuting, look for one with a smaller engine that is rated well on combined fuel economy.

Step 3: Consider your desired image. If you are looking for an executive level car or a car to display your status, look for premium or luxury models from distinguished car brands to set you apart.

Step 4: Consider your desired driving experience. If you are looking to experience invigorating performance, find a car with a large V8 engine or a supercharged V6 engine to satisfy your need for speed.

Part 3 of 4: Determine the features you want in your car

Features are continuously changing in cars. It used to be that only premium brand cars had options like power windows and door locks, while now virtually every full-size sedan will have a host of power amenities. Below are some of the basic features included with every full-size sedan.

common features in full sized sedan

Step 1: Determine if the basic features are what you want. If you are looking for an economy car or basic transportation for a few full-grown adults, these basic features will do.

Step 2: Consider extra options. You may be interested in a sunroof, heated seats, or leather interior appointments.

These features will make the driving experience more comfortable with a mild bump in the budget.

features available from luxury cars

Step 3: Consider luxury features for your full-size sedan. These features include cooled seating surfaces, wood-grain interior details, premium sound system, dual-zone climate control, and navigation.

The luxury features enhance your driving experience further and set you apart from the more basic cars on the market.

Part 4 of 4: Choose a manufacturer and model

There are dozens of car makers to choose from when it comes to full-size sedans. Your selection will be based on your budget and your desired features, along with your purpose for buying a full-size sedan. Listed below are several popular full-size sedans from various brands according to the different price points:

popular sedans from different brands

When you are shopping for a full-size sedan, don’t get caught in the excitement of buying a new car. Think logically about your decision to ensure you are buying the right vehicle to suit your needs. A great salesperson may suggest a different car that you hadn’t considered previously, but that may fit your needs even better, so keep an open mind.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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