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Front Page - Friday, March 13, 2020

Behind the Wheel: Five sedans worth considering amid the SUV mania

SUVs are among the most popular vehicles on the road, and their sales growth has come at the expense of the traditional four-door sedan. Many shoppers are attracted to the greater utility and higher seating positions these vehicles typically provide.

But there are still some great reasons to buy a sedan in 2020.

Though sedan sales have lost their luster over the past five to six years, they still account for roughly one-quarter of all new vehicles sold in 2019. Compared to similarly equipped SUVs, sedans are less expensive, more fuel-efficient and typically a little sportier.

Here are five sedans that stand out from the rest and serve as solid alternatives to the SUV humdrum. We at Edmunds will also compare each sedan to a conceptually similar SUV in price and fuel economy to highlight the potential savings.

Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris is one of the most enjoyable small sedans available. Every Yaris comes with many features for the money, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Even fully loaded models don’t break the $20,000 mark. The Yaris is also fun to drive. While its modestly powered engine dampens expectations a bit, the Yaris does have uncommonly nimble handling for a vehicle in this price class.

Base price (with automatic transmission): $17,705 (all prices include destination)

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 35 mpg combined

SUV rival: 2020 Toyota C-HR at $22,415 and 29 mpg combined

KIA Stinger

The Stinger is a bit of an oddball in Kia’s lineup. It’s about the same size as the Optima midsize sedan, but it offers a sleeker look and stronger performance. It’s almost as if Kia’s engineers set out to build their own take on a European luxury sport sedan.

The Stinger’s interior is upscale and has a rear hatchback trunk design that makes it easy to load cargo. The only major drawback is a lack of rear headroom and legroom.

Base price: $34,125

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 25 mpg combined

SUV rival: 2020 BMW X3 at $42,945 and 27 mpg combined

Honda Insight

You can think of the Honda Insight as a Civic with a hybrid powertrain. It’s roomy, just like a Civic, and has plenty of luggage space as well as storage spots for your small personal items. The Insight’s hybrid components provide relatively sprightly acceleration and among the best fuel economy you’ll find from a traditional hybrid. Other than its occasionally noisy engine, this fuel-sipping sedan has no significant drawbacks.

Base price: $23,885

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 52 mpg combined

SUV rival: 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid at $29,470 and 40 mpg combined

Tesla Model 3

Yes, the Model 3 is an electric vehicle, but it’s so good that you could justify buying it instead of an SUV or even a traditional luxury sedan.

It’s fast, modern and surprisingly practical.

The Model 3’s lack of physical buttons for many of the controls is a drawback, but you do get a big touch screen and high-end features such as Tesla’s Autopilot suite of driving aids. It also boasts up to 322 miles of range before you’ll need to recharge.

Base price: $41,290 (not including tax incentives)

EPA-estimated efficiency: 24 kWh/100 miles (lower kWh is better)

SUV rival: 2020 Jaguar I-Pace at $70,875 and 44 kWh/100 miles

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Shoppers in the market for an entry-level luxury car could start and end their search with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Even the base version is equipped with a richly detailed cabin, attractive display screens and Mercedes’ superlative MBUX infotainment system.

While Edmunds’ experts have found the A-Class’ advanced driver aids a little too sensitive at times, it is overall a desirable small luxury sedan worthy of the Mercedes badge.

Base price: $33,795

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 28 mpg combined

SUV rival: 2020 BMW X1 at $36,195 and 27 mpg combined

Edmunds says

There are a number of intriguing four-door cars on the market for shoppers who prefer sedans over SUVs. It’s a class of vehicle that shoppers shouldn’t overlook since sedans are often more efficient and cost-effective than their SUV equivalents.

Cameron Rogers is a news and reviews editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @_crogers.