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Best cars

Best large cars for 2019

By Daljinder Nagra

Article 6 of 16

Our expert lab and road tests reveal the very best large hatchbacks and saloons available now.

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The very best large cars are reliable, economical, practical, and far sharper to drive than an SUV. 

The large car class includes premium models – such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. There are 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 is bound to be a large car to suit your needs and budget. Provided you choose carefully, that is.

In the tables 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.

If you're in the market for an upmarket large car that prioritises passenger pampering, you'll be pleased to know we've also separated luxury models, both new and used, into their own category. This will make it easier for you to find the best large car for your needs.

Plus we’ve 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.

Scroll down to the tables below to see our best new and used large cars recommendations. We also reveal a model you should avoid.

If you want to find out more about how to buy the best large car, you can use the links below to jump to:

The best large cars 

Our lab and road tests are impartial and independent, so you can trust our reviews. Only Which? members can view our expert reviews in the tables below.

Log-in to see the large cars we recommend. If you're not already a member, join Which? to unlock our results - you'll also get access to our Best Buys, Don't Buys and all of our exclusive, expert car reviews.

Best new large cars

79%
£29,997
Reviewed

This model provides the perfect riposte to the sporting bent of its main rivals, with a refined hybrid drivetrain that makes for serene progress. Cabin quality is second to none and it's very reliable.

76%
£31,480
Reviewed

Building on the excellent saloon version, but with an enlarged body for additional passenger and luggage space, this model is a consummate all-rounder. It’s expensive to buy, but offers superb quality and comfort.

75%
£30,005
Reviewed

Proof that large cars don't need to be powered by diesel to be economical, this hybrid model excels across the board. It's comfortable, easy to use and is backed up by its maker's rock-solid reliability rating.

75%
£27,770
Reviewed

The model is a technological tour-de-force, which we’ve come to expect from the brand. It's available with a huge array of convenience and safety technology, as well as a wide range of engines. It might not be the most entertaining steer, but comfort, quality and refinement are all very high.

74%
£61,500
Reviewed

If you want to run a car that minimises your environmental impact, this model makes a pretty good case for itself. Its only emission when it's being used is water - yet it's much more feasible to run every day than most zero-emissions cars because its range is good and it can be refuelled quickly rather than plugged in for hours.

The best new luxury large cars

Looking for a premium large car? We've got your covered - drive in comfort with the best-performing luxury large cars that have aced our expert tests below.

Best new luxury large cars

79%
£34,270
Reviewed

This car is one of the most complete large saloons available. Not only is it spacious and practical, it’s more engaging to drive than you’d believe of a car of its size. It’s proving reliable, too, which is impressive given the amount of high-end technology available.

78%
£37,779
Reviewed

This practical model hits all the high notes for uxury and usability. It’s a stellar effort, which makes you question why you’d need anything else. The styling won’t be to all tastes, however.

78%
£62,069
Reviewed

This luxury limousine is dripping in opulence and technology. The best kit may be optional, but it makes it one of the most advanced cars currently available. It’s just a shame the styling is so conservative.

77%
£36,839
Reviewed

This large two-door coupe turns heads with its voluptuous styling. It’s not just a pretty face either – it’s available in both petrol and hybrid guises, and comes with a very high quality interior. Despite its aggressive looks, it’s relatively easy to drive, too, but don’t expect to get anyone in the back seats.

77%
£42,516
Reviewed

The space and comfort of a luxury saloon, but the more interesting styling of a coupe; this car is an intriguing proposition that’s thankfully more than a styling exercise. It justifies its high price with superb long distance comfort and some very advanced, yet easy to use technology.

The best used large cars

Large cars don't have to stretch your budget - find the best large cars below available used for a great price.

Best used large cars

77%
£3,583
Reviewed

This large car appeals to the head rather than the heart. What it lacks in styling or performance appeal, it makes up for with high levels of quality and safety, efficient engines and a well-ordered, practical cabin.

76%
£5,342
Reviewed

Using such a good base car as a starting point was always going to be a wise move. This model improves it with revised suspension for a comfy yet engaging drive. It’s also pretty exclusive and will return decent fuel economy.

75%
£2,701
Reviewed

This generation of 3 Series shows why it’s such a popular model. It’s great fun to drive, has an upmarket interior and came with a range of powerful and efficient engines. The dated infotainment controller may take some getting used to, though.

75%
£2,771
Reviewed

This is a solid premium car. It's not without its foibles, but it's good enough to be a Which? Best Buy and a worthy alternative to ubiquitous German offerings.

75%
£11,699
Reviewed

The economy of a regular hybrid, boosted by a far greater battery range. It's not the most fun to drive, and visibility is poor to the rear, but it’s a Best Buy due to decent comfort, refinement and reliability.

The best used luxury large cars

Looking for a great deal on a premium large car? We reveal the best models to choose in the table below.

Best used luxury large cars

85%
£9,468
Reviewed

If you want the ultimate executive transport, this luxury limousine is hard to beat. With so many creature comforts, it's almost a home on wheels.

81%
£3,571
Reviewed

This car is laden with gadgets and is superbly relaxing. Quiet, refined and solidly built, this remarkable car has a fantastic reliability record, making it an ideal used buy.

80%
£9,537
Reviewed

If this model is about anything, it's about practicality. Despite this, boot space is disappointing unless you fold the rear seats, which isn't easy. It drives very well, but it's pricier than the saloon version.

78%
£7,010
Reviewed

Its styling certainly divided opinion, but in all other respects this was the best iteration of the model we’d yet seen, upon its launch in 2008. It’s supremely comfy and spacious and handles quite well for such a large car. Petrol engines are thirsty.

77%
£16,861
Reviewed

Jaw dropping engines and a spacious, well-appointed cabin ensure this car’s grand-touring credentials. It’s not the most involving two-door model to drive, but for effortless glamour and comfort, it’s right up there.

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

And here's a large car 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 lift your family’s holiday luggage into it.

A large car should be roomy and comfortable, but ample size and space don't necessarily mean 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.

Large cars to avoid

45%
£1,407
Reviewed

Where once it was a solid new car purchase, the long term reliability of this model is so bad we simply cannot recommend it.

How to buy the best large car

From checking you have enough rear passenger headroom to what to look for when buying a premium brand, there's a large car to suit every budget. 

Our tips will show you what to look for and consider before buying a large car.

Best large cars: passenger space and headroom is key 

The main reason for choosing a large car over a medium model is that they offer a greater amount of space for passengers and luggage. However, our tests have shown that just because a car takes up a lot of room on the road, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be cavernous on the inside.

For instance, you may be surprised to hear that upmarket models such as the Audi A4 and Lexus IS are pinched for rear passenger headroom, and fitting three in the back will be a squeeze.

Practical models in the large car class include the BMW 3 Series, Ford Mondeo and the Skoda Superb.

Premium handling and performance 

Don’t think you need to look to a sports car or compact hot hatchback for driving thrills. Some large models are amongst the best cars to drive, with responsive handling and decent long-distance comfort.

Premium German marques such as BMW and Mercedes produce particularly driver-focused large cars, though most manufacturer model ranges have a breadth of engines to suit most tastes and budgets.

Consider an estate car 

Estate cars have fallen out of fashion in recent years, as family buyers turn to SUVs and crossovers for their perceived additional practicality. However, if you don’t like the image of a 4x4, or don’t want to compromise on driving dynamics, a large estate car may prove a better bet.

Estate models are often only a few thousand pounds more expensive than the equivalent saloon they’re based, but often offer much greater boot space with little or no compromise to the car’s other facets.

See our expert pick of the best estate cars.

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, join Which? and you’ll receive access to all our expert reviews and advice.

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