Family sedans tend to be the automotive equivalent of Valium (minivans are horse tranquilizers, in case you were wondering), but times have changed. Family men no longer need to sacrifice
too much in the way of driving excitement and looks in order to transport tykes and trikes. We get it. You’d rather be doing some tire ripping, engine-snorting performance runs on your way to drop off your son at school, but your wife put the kaibosh on the Porsche 911 purchase since Gogurt doesn’t go well with Alcantara. We’ve compiled our list of “family sedans” that take let you perform your dad duties with aplomb while still allowing you more than a modicum of manly fun.
If you haven’t noticed the new Lincoln Motor Company and their modernized design language, you’ve been somewhere under a rock. They’ve captured a unique and American aesthetic that works as much for them as edgy stealth fighter lines worked for Cadillac. The MKZ is no longer the silver-spooned big brother of the previous generation Ford Fusion, and that’s a good thing — plus, it looks like no other car on the market. The split winged grille is more fluid; together with full-width taillights, the look is sexy and sophisticated, while the interior is true posh American.
Chrysler 300 SRT8
It’s always been the badass Russian limo we covet, but this one’s from Detroit and it hauls. The second generation is a bit more ornate in design than the first edition, but it works, primarily because the shape of the thick and muscled sedan is largely unchanged. In SRT8 garb, the 300 is a powerhouse, with 470 horsepower that gets the rear wheels to 60 mph in a scant 4.7 seconds. Okay, so it’s nearly twice as expensive as a basic family sedan, but we don’t think you’ll complain once you get in the pilot’s seat.
Whoever thought one of the big three would produce a sexy, euro-style family sedan that looks more expensive than it is? The Fusion is just that car. Sure, it steals an Aston Martin grille, but the build quality, interior design and driving dynamics make the Fusion stand out in just about any crowd. The myriad engine options, including the highly efficient 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine (which can be mated to a manual transmission), give you a range of petrol-sipping options. Plus, with the gorgeous sheet metal, you’ll look more James Bond than Jim Belushi while you’re toting the family around town. Getting this kind of styling for $22K seems like something only a secret agent could get away with.
Back in 1982, Honda made a daring move by opening up a a manufacturing plant in Marysville, Ohio. Building on the success of their wildly popular Honda Civic, they would produce a relatively unknown sedan called the Accord. Seven years later, the Accord would become the best-selling car in the U.S. — the first under an import brand. It still has a firm grasp on that title today.
A dozen variations of the Accord later (including the ultra-cool-but-not-for-the-US Accord AeroDeck and the ugly stepchild Crosstour, which we still don’t get), the Accord has managed to become a beloved automobile by not just the practically minded but also auto enthusiasts, SEC sorority girls and hot-import night nuts, though we can’t imagine the latest variant showing up in Fast and Furious 6.
Today, the Accord has grown up and out, but it still drives like it means it. Plus, it’s still available with a slick shifter and a sweet i-VTEC inline-4. The edginess is a bit diluted with the colossal fat of safety measures, but in a sea of barge-helming soccer moms, you can still find the savvy driver of the household steering (and hopefully rowing his own gear) an Accord with a grin. – Eric Yang
2014 Chevy Impala
If ever a flagship sedan needed a makeover, the Impala was it. The 2014 redesign is a much welcomed one, looking aggressive and sculpted in contrast to the door-to-door-salesman appearance of the current car. From the deeply carved sides to the Camaro-inspired grille, the new Impala is a stunner. We laud Chevy for taking some well-executed design risks that toss out the old design completely. Choose the 303 hp V6 that offers up 28 mph highway, and you’ll be even more proud to leave this car outside the garage for you lozenge-driving neighbors to envy. Even better, wait for the mad SS version.
As much as we liked the last generation Mazda mid-sizer, the new Kodo design language takes things up a notch for the 2014 Mazda6, if you could actually call it that. With more room and cargo capacity, you’d still never guess this was just a family sedan. No longer just sleek, the New 6 sports a more distinct grille and better profile lines than before, giving it a more noticeable body, too. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder SkyActiv engine is efficient and high-revving; plus if it’s true to Mazda form, it’ll be a blast to drive. You can still be a responsible family man, but at least you don’t have to look as bored as congressmen on C-SPAN while you’re behind the wheel.
Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
The S60 isn’t a brand new design, but its sheet metal has stayed crisp and modern. One of Volvo’s best designs, the car’s not only a testament to Swedish safety: it’s swoopy in all the right places, upstaging even the flagship S80. Plus, in R-Design trim, the S60 has all-wheel-drive for snowy and slippery climes, as well as a whopping 325 horsepower from its 6-cylinder turbocharged engine. It’s a long way off from the classic 240 sedan, which looks like it was inspired by milk crates when compared to the S60.
Honda Accord V6
No best family sedan list is complete without the Honda Accord. Granted, mere mention of it can often send people to sleep, but the 2013 is all new and pretty damned incredible. Built around the capable i-VTEC V6 engine, the Accord generates a huge 278 horsepower. Plus, it steers and handles about as well as a front-wheel-drive family sedan can. It does everything else well, too: great driver ergonomics, passenger comfort and capacious cargo room means it’s the one to beat. It’s not the most thrilling design, but it is handsome in its own right. Plus, the V6 will do 0-60 in 6.1 seconds. Try that in your minivan. Yeeha!
Seriously, the Avalon? What, are we going to play shuffleboard? The new model changes the Avalon game, frankly, and you should take notice. It’s no longer the buffet shuttle with its sleeker lines, more handsome fascia and full-width taillights that are very Mercedes S-Class. The complete redesign is welcomed for the big sedan, as is the use of a 268 horsepower V6 engine, paddle shifters and even a Sport Mode to reemphasize your manhood. Just don’t get it in gold. Please.
Dodge Charger R/T Max AWD
The 300C’s baby brother is arguably a more aggressive design, and though it doesn’t boast the size of the bigger sedan, it’s more than capable with a 370 horsepower HEMI V8 and all-wheel-drive. You’ll tackle tarmac and snow alike, while looking decidedly more masculine than the guy in the light blue minivan who’s drooling over your ride. The huge side scallops and the big grille also communicate to your fellow suburban dads that you don’t like to drive bored out of your noggin’.
Ford Taurus SHO AWD
The Super High Output Taurus is back, and though it’s not nearly as purist as the original, it still means family business. It’s big and a tad brash without going over the top. Only car guys will notice the SHO badge, but the 365 horsepower just might give you away. Still, or a big all wheel drive sedan with a 3.5 liter V6, the SHO can manage 25 mpg highway. If you opt for the SHO Performance Package, you can add some nice bits, like upgraded brakes and suspension, and for “SHO”, the 20-inch wheels and sweet Alcantara lined steering wheel. Who’s your daddy now?