Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy.

Best Cars

Best Large Cars for 2017

By Martin Pratt

Article 6 of 15

Large cars are now better than ever, with the latest technology and efficient engines. Here are the very best large hatchbacks and saloons available now

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

The large-car class includes premium models – such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. There's also more reasonably priced mainstream designs, including the Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia and VW Passat

With plenty of sleek coupés and saloons available, plus slightly more practical hatchback models, there’s bound to be a large car to suit your needs and budget. Provided you choose carefully, that is.

Below are the very best large cars we’ve tested. These are Which? Best Buys that excelled in our lab and road tests, offering decent fuel economy and good reliability.

We’ve also picked out the worst large cars we’ve tested, to make sure you don’t waste your money on a car that’s short on space, is uncomfortable to drive or drinks fuel at an alarming rate.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the tables below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?. You'll also get access to all of our online reviews, including our expert car reviews.

Best new large cars

BMW 4 Series Coupe (2013-)
Typical price £30,307
Brand score 80%
Reviewed Oct 2013
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 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.

Toyota Avensis (2009-)
Typical price £17,431
Brand score 77%
Reviewed Jan 2009
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

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

BMW 3 Series (2012-)
Typical price £25,130
Brand score 76%
Reviewed Feb 2012
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Plies 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.

Best used large cars

Alpina D3 (2006-2012)
Typical price £8,269
Brand score 76%
Reviewed Mar 2006
Best Buy
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
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 benefited from upgrades to the engine, suspension, brakes and styling.

Toyota Prius (2004-2009)
Typical price £3,429
Brand score 76%
Reviewed Jan 2004
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 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.

Suzuki Kizashi (2011-2013)
Typical price £6,738
Brand score 74%
Reviewed Jan 2012
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
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.

Lexus IS (2005-2012)
Typical price £3,535
Brand score 73%
Reviewed Nov 2005
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This leftfield alternative in the executive saloon market is a solid premium car. It's not without its foibles, but it's a worthy alternative to the obvious German rivals.

BMW 3 Series Coupe (2006-2013)
Typical price £6,303
Brand score 73%
Reviewed Sep 2006
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This two-door model shares the rear-wheel-drive layout and rewarding handling of its saloon counterpart, and comes with a range of powerful engines. It's easy to drive and reasonably practical and civilised.

Not found the car for you? Head to all our large car reviews

And here are three large cars to avoid

If there’s one thing a large car should get right, it’s space. Whether driving or sitting in the passenger seats, no one should be short of room in a large car. 

The same goes for the boot. It should be big enough to fit a family food shop, a pushchair and an extra tyre, with room to spare.

It’s easy to assume that a large car will meet these requirements with ease, but that’s not always the case. A big boot doesn’t mean it’s well designed. We don’t just measure size: we also consider how easy a boot is to load. A high load lip may not seem like a huge problem – until you’re trying to heft your family’s holiday luggage into it.

A large car should absolutely be roomy and comfortable, but ample size and space doesn’t guarantee that a large car will be a gas guzzler. Our unique testing has found large cars that manage well over 60mpg, while others fail to get over 30, despite the sometimes outlandishly high figures claimed by some manufacturers.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access to our table and all of our online reviews by taking a £1 trial to Which?

Large cars to avoid

Volkswagen Passat (2010-2014)
Typical price £5,621
Brand score 57%
Reviewed Jan 2011
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This practical large car is cheap to run, but isn’t very exciting to drive and that’s what lets it down. It’s not a bad car by any means, but it’s hard to recommend when there are better alternatives.

Jaguar XE (2015-)
Typical price £25,554
Brand score 54%
Reviewed Dec 2015
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This handsome large car is aiming at the premium end of the large car market and it’s an excellent car to drive. It’s not so excellent for anyone riding in the back, though – the rear of the cabin is cramped, and the boot is too. It’s also the lowest-scoring large car in our survey for 0-3-year reliability. From the 129 owners we heard from, 42% reported a fault and 13% experienced a full breakdown – and this is for a car that’s just a couple of years old. This car isn’t a Don’t Buy, but it isn’t better than the cars it’s aiming to beat either.

Saab 9-3 (2002-2011)
Typical price £1,187
Brand score 49%
Reviewed Sep 2002
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Despite this car’s refinement and good looks, we can’t recommend it. It has high running costs and finding parts to get it repaired is difficult and expensive. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter problems, too, since this brand’s cars only received two stars for reliability in our latest Which? Car Survey. That means a high proportion of owners encountered breakdowns and faults with their car.

We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else

Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations and, because Which? is independent and doesn’t accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about every car we test.

Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track and on real roads – and we really clock up the distance, driving around 500 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between different cars, helping us to determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs.

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Which? Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.

To take the guesswork out of choosing your next car, take a Which? trial for £1 and you’ll receive access to all our expert reviews and advice, plus Which? magazine itself.

SHARE THIS PAGE