In the 1950s, “large” was the only size car many makes offered. Since then—mostly due to cost and fuel economy—small cars all the way down to “tiny” have been made available. But some people still like ’em big.
For those buyers, the pickings are rather slim—at least compared to other automotive classes. We count just seven vehicles in the Large Car class, a number that has gone down significantly in recent years.
Pickings are also pretty slim when it comes to body styles. All the cars come only as 4-door sedans…no exceptions. V6 engines are standard in all, with only two offering an optional V8. Anyone who just woke up from a 40-year nap would be appalled.
On the heels of the redesigned-for-2017 Buick LaCrosse and Kia Cadenza, there isn’t much big news in the big-car segment for 2018. The LaCrosse’s sophomore-season updates are detailed in its Best Buy review, and the second-generation Kia Cadenza sees no changes of note after its debut last year. The Chevrolet Impala gets a few new features as standard equipment. The Chrysler 300’s model names are revised to better align with the Chrysler Pacifica minivan’s model structure, and there is a new base Touring model with cloth upholstery and 17-inch wheels. The Dodge Charger lineup’s model names also go through some reshuffling—the base SE model is dropped, and all-wheel-drive models are now called GT. The Charger SRT Hellcat gets a new grille design and fender badges, and all Charger R/T and SRT models get a number of new appearance options. The Ford Taurus loses its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine option, but is carried over otherwise. The Toyota Avalon is carried over unchanged.
The large car class shrinks by one for 2018 with the discontinuation of the Hyundai Azera. Also, note that with the launch of Hyundai’s new Genesis luxury brand for 2017, the Hyundai Genesis sedan was rebadged as the Genesis G80 last year. In light of its luxury brand name and higher level of standard equipment, the Genesis G80 became a member of our premium large car class.
The Buick LaCrosse and Toyota Avalon offer the choice of a hybrid powertrain. The Buick LaCrosse and Ford Taurus offer all-wheel drive in place of front-wheel drive.
Then there are the similar Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, which also offer all-wheel drive, though in these cases, it’s in place of rear-wheel drive (the 300 and Charger are the only RWD vehicles in the class). But their real claim to fame is that they offer a V6, a V8, and really stompin’ V8s. A 370-horsepower 5.7-liter “Hemi” V8 is offered in standard models, but the potent Charger R/T 392 and SRT 392 versions come with a 485-horsepower 6.4-liter V8, and the Charger SRT Hellcat packs a supercharged 707-hp 6.2-liter V8. These are executive hot rods that can rival some far more expensive premium sedans for performance.