Best large cars

Cars

Best large cars

By Martin Pratt

Article 4 of 12

Large cars mightn’t be as popular as they once were, but these Best Buy hatchbacks and saloons are better and more comfortable than ever, with the latest technology with efficient engines.

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The large car class includes premium models such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, plus more modest mainstream designs such as the Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia and VW Passat. 

With plenty of sleek saloons available, plus slightly more practical hatchback models, there's bound to be a large car to suit your needs and budget.

Below are the very best large cars we've tested - Best Buy designs that excelled in our tests, offering decent fuel economy and good reliability.

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Best new large cars

BMW 3 Series
Typical price £23,872
Brand score 80%
Tested Feb 2012
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
5 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Plying a conservative path in styling terms but offers premium-large-car buyers a broad spread of qualities. Its ride quality is also much better than other cars of the same badge, and there's a strong range of engines to choose from.

Toyota Prius
Typical price £21,910
Brand score 80%
Tested Jun 2016
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

King of the hybrids? This all-new model is kind to your fuel-budget and enjoyable to drive.

Audi A4
Typical price £23,817
Brand score 78%
Tested Mar 2016
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Larger than and more efficient than ever before and packed with impressive new kit, this car has always been a popular choice - and it's impressed us enough to be a Best Buy.

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid
Typical price £30,111
Brand score 77%
Tested Jul 2012
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This plug-in hybrid works well as an everyday car - you'll struggle to find a more fuel-efficient vehicle around town. A worthy Which? Best Buy.

Toyota Avensis
Typical price £17,522
Brand score 77%
Tested Jan 2009
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It you're looking for quiet, safe, comfortable transport, this car delivers.

BMW 3 Series GT
Typical price £28,372
Brand score 77%
Tested Jun 2013
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
5 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Launched in 2013 as the most practical version in its range, the manufacturer of this car hopes to spread its appeal by offering it as a five-door hatchback for the first time.

BMW 4 Series Coupe
Typical price £27,285
Brand score 75%
Tested Oct 2013
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
5 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A well-proven engine line-up, sharp steering and solid roadholding make this a very competent car, if not an overly sporty one. The high refinement, smooth ride and good level of comfort make it more of a tourer than anything else.

Best used large cars

Toyota Prius (2009-2015)
Typical price £21,874
Brand score 78%
Tested Jul 2009
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
3 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Now in its third generation, the latest car drives well and offers ample comfort. There's also plenty of room in the back, and the boot is a decent size.

Mercedes-Benz CLK (2002-2009)
Typical price £2,964
Brand score 77%
Tested Jun 1997
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
5 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This four-seat coupé is solidly made, well finished and offers all the cachet of the three-pointed star badge for a comparatively reasonable price on the used market.

Toyota Prius (2004-2009)
Typical price £2,835
Brand score 77%
Tested Jan 2004
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
3 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This hybrid isn’t short on space even with the on-board batteries. As you might expect, it's cheap to run too.

Skoda Superb (2008-2015)
Typical price £5,609
Brand score 77%
Tested Sep 2008
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This large car borders on being a limousine but it still handles well and it's cheap to buy.

BMW 3 Series (2005-2011)
Typical price £4,143
Brand score 76%
Tested Mar 2005
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Towing the line between luxury car and family saloon, this iconic car isn’t short of admirers.

Mercedes-Benz C-class (2007-2014)
Typical price £6,741
Brand score 75%
Tested Jun 2007
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This large car has a smaller cabin and boot than its rivals but it compensates with luxury and class.

Honda Insight (2009-2014)
Typical price £6,191
Brand score 75%
Tested Apr 2009
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It may not be the most exciting car out there but this large saloon is, at least, economical and comfy over long distances.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe (2011-2015)
Typical price £15,307
Brand score 74%
Tested Jun 2011
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
5 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Launched in 2011, this car cuts a classy, upmarket figure. Even the entry-level model is an eager performer and blends a comfortable ride with sharp handling. It's a refined car with a great cabin and a decent-sized boot.

Toyota Avensis (2003-2008)
Typical price £1,592
Brand score 74%
Tested Mar 2003
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

The quality of this car shines through even though it's not the most inspiring to look at. We were impressed by the range of options and relatively low price.

Renault Laguna (2007-2012)
Typical price £2,321
Brand score 74%
Tested Oct 2007
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This roomy hatchback is cheap to buy and run thanks to an array of economical diesel engines. It's a perfect family cruiser too, thanks to its high safety rating.

Peugeot 407 (2004-2011)
Typical price £1,467
Brand score 74%
Tested May 2004
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This low-priced large car is worth every penny wth good handling and comfort.

Alpina D3 (2006-2012)
Typical price £6,377
Brand score 73%
Tested Mar 2006
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

An impressive mix of style and exhilarating performance. This is a car that has been taken from a production line, and has benefited from upgrades to the engine, suspension, brakes and styling.

Suzuki Kizashi (2011-2013)
Typical price £7,836
Brand score 73%
Tested Jan 2012
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This four-wheel drive family saloon didn’t last long on the market, which is a shame - it's a well-equipped, attractive car that deserved better.

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