The saloon car has formed the backbone of motoring for many years. Capable of transporting passengers in high levels of comfort while still offering an involving experience for the driver, it’s little wonder why they’reso popular.
Though the car market is awash with niche models, there’s still a place for the more traditional saloon car – and there are plenty to choose from. We’ve picked out some of the best.
BMW 3 Series
It’d be hard to put this list togetherwithout the all-conquering BMW 3 Series. A resounding success, the 3 Series is a firm favourite with drivers across the country, and has become a household name in the process.
Fortunately the latest generation car, introduced this year, has continued the legacy of the great-to-drive, solidly-built saloon. Though its styling may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, it’s still a looker out on the road.
Audi’s A4 has, much like the BMW 3 Series, been quite the success story. It’s easy to see why, with excellent build quality, solid residuals and a comprehensive range of engines helping the A4 become one of the frontrunners in the saloon car segment.
The most recent incarnation of the A4 debuted a sharper look, as well as some of the most cutting-edge technology we’ve seen in the market, such as the Virtual Cockpit digital instrument setup and traffic jam assist. The S4 and RS4 models still cater for the enthusiast drivers, too.
Completing what you could call the ‘holy trinity’ of saloon cars is the Mercedes C-Class. Whereas the 3 Series prioritises driver involvement above all else and the Audi A4 build quality, Mercedes has worked hard to make the C-Class as high-tech as possible.
Though it’s been in production for over 5 years, the C-Class remains on the cutting-edge, with a comprehensive update in 2018 helping to keep it current.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Alfa Romeo has ahistory of building saloon cars which delivered theatre and drama but lacked reliability and build quality. The latest Giulia, it seems, has addressed these issues, without losing that all-important flair.
This is a very accomplished car, with one of the most immersive driving experiences you’ll find in this segment. Even the base-spec models are excellent to drive, meaning that no matter what trim of Giulia you opt for, you’ll be rewarded with great dynamics.
Mazda 6 Saloon
Mazda has traditionally had the needs of the ‘enthusiast’ driver covered, and this is also– rather surprisingly – the case with the 6 saloon. You’d expect a car of this size to struggle when it comes to involvement for whoever is behind the wheel, but you’d be wrong – the 6 is excellent to drive, and dispatches bends as easily as it does long motorways hauls.
It’s a smart looking model, too – we’re particular fans of the ‘Soul Red’ colour scheme. And plenty of standard equipment means you shouldn’t have to go overboard with the optional extras to make it feel well-specified.
Skoda has a reputation for high quality, solidly practical mainstream family cars that are great value and the latest-generation Octavia – the firm’s compact saloon does nothing to dent that reputation. It’s a multi-tool of a car, delivering plenty of excitement without forgetting key saloon requirements; space, refinement and value-for-money.
It’s particularly on this last point that the Octavia impresses. Like most Skoda vehicles, the Octavia is jam-packed with equipment, even on lower specification models. A high-performance vRS model has those after a little more performance catered for, too.
If there’s something Volvo know a thing or two about, it’s making big, comfortable saloon cars. The latest S90 fits the bill completely, thanks to a luxuriously soft ride and an interior so comfortable that many would rather it be reclining in their own lounges.
It’s great to look at as well, with clean lines which don’t demand attention. It’s not all show without the go, however – the S90 remains great to drive, and, as you’d expect from Volvo, is packed with safety assistance features as well.
Jaguar’s XF may have been around for some time now, but regular updates have ensured that it’s not getting too long in the tooth. Jaguar certainly hit the nail on the head with the XF’s dynamics – it’s an involving car to drive, and it sits on the sportier end of the saloon scale.
New upgrades to the interior have helped the XF fend off rivals, as have several new engines. Though Jaguar has pushed hard in developing its range of SUVs, the XF is still a car well worth considering.
Though the Passat hasn’t always represented the most exciting of saloon car choices, it’s consistently been a solid and reliable one. Volkswagen has just updated it too, adding more in-car tech alongside revised looks. A plug-in hybrid GTE version remains in the car’s list of powertrains, too.
It delivers when it comes to practicality, as there’s a wealth of boot space, and the area for passengers in the back is spacious, to say the least.
Kia has been taking the motoring world by surprise recently, thanks to cars like the Niro EV. The Stinger – the firm’s latest saloon car – is equally as impressive, thanks to its jaw-dropping looks and equally astonishing drive.
Not only that, but it still gets Kia’s 7-year warranty, meaning that the first years of ownership can be as hassle-free as possible, though the firm’s good reputation for reliability should see to this anyway.