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Cars & travel.

Updated: 29 Dec 2021

Best large cars for 2022

Our expert lab and road tests reveal the very best large hatchbacks and saloons available now.
Daljinder Nagra
Best large cars 1

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.

Best new 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.

  • 71%
    £30946.00

    This model is the brand's bestseller, and it's obvious why. Over successive model generations it's been honed and polished into one of the very best executive saloons available. It's superbly well built and loaded with tech, and high performance versions are great fun to drive.

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  • 70%
    £25231.00

    This model represents excellent value for the sheer space you get inside. It's a great family car, not least because it's available with plenty of safety kit. Its quality and available tech will make you wonder why you need a car with a luxury badge at all.

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  • 70%
    £26921.00

    It's been an institution on British motorways for years, and with good reason. This large four-door saloon is comfortable, reasonably economical and superbly easy to drive. Only an awkward-to-load boot and its rather anodyne styling count against it. It's a deserved Which? Best Buy.

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  • 68%
    £23881.00

    This quirkily styled hatchback might be famous for its hybrid drivetrain, but there's plenty more to it than decent fuel economy. It's spacious and serene to drive, and is backed up a lengthy manufacturer warranty.

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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.

  • 79%
    £39900.00

    This upmarket, high-performance EV may be expensive, but it has the quality and luxury ambience to back it up. As we've seen in a number of EVs, its tested range doesn't match manufacturer claims, and all that power means it's a high energy consumer, but as an overall package, this is a seriously desirable electric saloon.

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  • 75%
    £34166.00

    It may not have the white-knuckle driver appeal of some of its closest rivals, but this spacious luxury saloon appeals in other ways. It's impeccably well built, comes with a robust standard equipment list and is impressively efficient. You can't tow with it, but for most people this will be a minor concern.

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  • 72%
    £92851.00

    This is a performance powerhouse - a saloon car with the performance to embarrass sports car drivers without breaking a sweat. It keeps the huge five-seat interior of the entry-level model and is no less comfortable on long distances. If you're brave enough, this could be all the car you ever need.

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  • 72%
    £58220.00

    Exclusivity isn't the only appeal of this left-field saloon. With a smart interior and keen drive, it's a match for its best rivals, but adds a serious sense of style to proceedings.

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  • 71%
    £83635.00

    This car proves it’s possible to make an electric car that not only goes fast in a straight line but is also truly rewarding to drive in other respects. It’s also very comfortable, with great refinement and ride quality, while the excellent cabin can seat four adults (although rear headroom is limited).

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  • 71%
    £52543.00

    Sitting at the very top of this premium manufacturer's model range, you'd expect this model to excel in every respect. Largely it does, being excellent to drive and sit in, as well as boasting the latest in driver safety technology. If you can afford the asking price, you won't be disappointed.

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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.

  • 76%
    £4336.00

    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.

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  • 75%
    £32127.00

    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. It's also one of the more affordable large hybrid cars you can buy, sealing its appeal.

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  • 74%
    £2318.00

    Superb comfort, refinement and an overarching feeling of quality is why this large car has topped the table for large car satisfaction. ‘It’s the best car I have ever owned,’ enthused one happy owner.

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  • 74%
    £40472.00

    This car is a style statement that doesn't compromise too badly on practicality. Rear headroom is a tad pinched, but it's sharp to drive and comfortable over long distances. It's a great choice of premium four-door coupe.

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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.

  • 84%
    £8954.00

    This brand has great experience with hybrid technology, and this old generation limousine shows it off to great effect. It’s supremely quiet and refined and returned acceptable fuel economy in our tests, despite the hybrid system being mated to a very large petrol engine. It’s also superbly well-made and backed up by the brand’s bomb-proof reliability record.

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  • 79%
    £13891.00

    Owners of this particular brand are amongst the happiest on the road, with it consistently scoring highly in our annual car survey. This generation of its large luxury saloon is a particularly fine example of the breed; combining sumptuous build quality with an understated and silky-smooth driving experience. It’s so good that it’s beaten far newer and more expensive luxury saloons for overall driver satisfaction.

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  • 78%
    £9110.00

    This oddly-shaped car sports superb engines, crisp handling and excellent dynamic feedback. Yet it's also superbly refined, with a composed ride and admirable noise suppression. It’s noticeably more practical than the model it’s based on, too.

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  • 77%
    £9164.00

    This popular luxury saloon is very good to drive, whether you opt for a petrol or diesel engine. The diesels are frugal but not quite as inspiring as the petrol versions. The handling and steering are top-drawer. The only real gripes concern visibility and an interior that can be daunting to get used to.

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  • 76%
    £6985.00

    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.

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

What to avoid when buying a large car

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.

Lastly, don't forget about reliability, which can be the undoing of some otherwise decent and popular large car models. The large car models we'd suggest you avoid, below, largely fall down due to a lack of dependability.

Large cars to avoid

  • 55%
    £2775.00

    A reasonably priced large saloon is rarely likely to get pulses racing, particularly as it ages, but drivers of this older model are particularly unimpressed. We’ve criticised it for a lack of rear headroom and an awkward boot, but for owners its poor all-round visibility has proved a particular bugbear. A lack of modern technology and iffy reliability seal its fate as the least satisfying large car to own.

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  • 46%
    £35303.00

    With a slightly sub-par infotainment system and interior quality, this large saloon can’t quite match its closest rivals in our independent lab assessment. However, it's poor brand reliability that puts us off most. Avoid if you want a peaceful motoring life.

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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.

Large car pros: passenger space and headroom

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.

You needn't fork out for an ultra-luxurious car like the BMW 6 Series GT or Mercedes S-Class to get decent space, though. More sensibly priced practical models in the large car class include the BMW 3 Series, Toyota Camry Hybrid and 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 - just watch out for expensive running costs on the most high-performance models.

Large car alternatives: consider buying an estate

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, 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.