Saloon cars are sometimes overlooked in favour of SUVs and crossovers, but don’t rule them out until you’ve taken a closer look.
They really do have a lot to offer. The best saloon cars are the perfect car for business travellers, with good reason. The extra comfort in a saloon, and those luxurious extras make travelling long distances, on a regular basis, a joy rather than a chore.
Saloons are not just practical, if you’re looking for something to make even more of an impact, there are also an increasing number of the best sports saloons to consider.
On our list are some of the best family saloons too. With bags of room in the boot as well as copious amounts of legroom and headroom, you’ll be impressed at just how spacious saloon cars really are. They’re also economical to run on longer drives without the extra weight of a high ride vehicle.
Take a look below at our pick of the 7 best saloon cars with the input of our resident Motoring Journalist John Swift:
Audi A4 Saloon
You know you’re getting a quality vehicle when you buy a new Audi, and the Audi A4 saloon car is no exception. With a smooth engine, and low cabin noise, you’re guaranteed a relaxing ride in the Audi A4.
There are so many other reasons why the A4 has made it onto our list of best sedans. With this car you get a lot of power, but at a low cost, as fuel economy is very good. Interestingly, the 2.0 litre petrol actually costs less to run than the 1.4 litre petrol, so if you ever needed an excuse to get a more powerful engine, here’s a good one for you! You’ll get up to 58.9 mpg (combined)* with the 2.0 litre Audi A4 TFSI.
The exterior is classic Audi styling and once you get inside you’ll really start to appreciate this car. The interior just oozes quality and luxury. You’ve got all the entertainment and navigation tools you could ever wish for, accessible by a touchscreen display – a must have for any of the best saloon cars, especially if you’re likely to be making long journeys.
If you need a car for business during the week, but want to get out and about with the kids at the weekend, this is a good choice when thinking about which car to buy. There’s plenty of legroom in the passenger seats, and the boot is a pretty impressive 505 litres with seats up, and a whopping 1,510 litres with the rear seats down. You’ll be pushed to find another saloon with such a generous capacity.
While there’s loads of room in the Audi A4, take a look at our list of the best family cars if you think you might need a bit more room for your nearest and dearest.
John’s Verdict 9/10
Likes: 30 years ago the forerunner of this model laid the foundation for the company’s current success. Audi hasn’t lost that formula and if you drive this latest generation you’ll see why. Stylish, solid, excellent in all its versions. Still THE yardstick for the sector.
Dislikes: : PCP finance offers mean that our roads are full of them. Does risk becoming commonplace?
Like all Jaguars, if you drive the XE, you’ll certainly turn heads and not just because it’s one of the best sedans. It’s a stunning looking car that drives like a dream with brilliant handling. It’s the detail that makes the Jaguar XE so special. From the distinctive J-Blade running lights, to the low bonnet and roofline that puts it on the list of the best sports saloons, it’s definitely a statement saloon. However, this low roof does mean you miss out on some headroom, so if you’re very tall, you certainly need to try this one out for size before you put in your order!
If you’re after something altogether more racy, why not take a look at our recommendations for best sports cars?
The interior of the Jaguar XE is no-nonsense and straightforward. There’s everything you need, such as touchscreen navigation and parking sensors. The controls are easy to get to grips with, giving the interior a feel of luxurious minimalism.
With a capacity of 455 litres, the XE doesn’t have the largest of boots, but it does have plenty of storage spaces throughout the cabin, both for front and rear passengers which has got to be a great feature for any of the best family saloons.
John’s Verdict 9/10
Likes: : Jaguar gives the German manufacturers a good run for their money in mid-size business car market. New engines are great.
Dislikes: : Not much!
The biggest advantage of the Seat Toledo, other than the fact that’s it’s a great price, is the space. It’s one of the best family saloon cars; you can get the whole brood into this motor without problem. Even if you’re tall, there’s plenty of headroom and legroom, and rear passengers don’t lose out either – there’s ample space in the back too.
You get a 500 litre boot, and the seats also fold down to give you extra space. With 60/40 split rear seats, the SEAT Toledo is one of the most versatile saloon cars we’ve seen and also appears on our list of most economical cars.
The SEAT Toledo also scores highly when it comes to safety. It’s packed full of safety features as standard, including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and lots of airbags, the peace of mind you need when looking for the best family saloon car. It’s also received the full five star Euro NCAP rating, so you can rest assured that you and your valuable cargo are well protected in the SEAT Toledo.
John’s Verdict 7/10
Likes: Solid, dependable, affordable.
Dislikes: Perhaps the least characteristic of SEAT’s models and not as good to drive as the closely related Skoda Octavia.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
If you’re looking for a car that’s fun and exciting to drive then take a close look at the rear-wheel drive Alfa Romeo Giulia. Steering is quick, the gears shift is fast and it grips the road well too. All in all, it’s a fantastic car to drive.
But it’s not all about how the car handles, is it? You want a car with stunning good looks too and the Alfa Romeo Giulia won’t let you down in that department! It’s truly gorgeous. We highly recommend you see one in real life, it could be the start of a long love affair!
With its long wheelbase, you get plenty of legroom in the Alfa Romeo Giulia. You should also find the headroom to be perfectly sufficient. The Speciale trim model is well worth a look with 18 inch wheels, twin exhausts and xenon lights – it’s got all the coolest extras!
John’s Verdict 6/10
Likes: Gorgeous styling.
Dislikes: I still have some doubts over quality when up against the German brands or Lexus.
The Volkswagen Passat is a great saloon that doesn’t skimp on quality. In fact, go for the GTE with interior brushed chrome detail and blue stitching on the leather steering wheel and gear knob, and you get a feeling of true luxury.
The Passat really comes into its own on the motorway, making it perfect for the long distance traveller, whether you’re looking for the best family saloon car for day trips or a business car for commuting. Cabin noise is kept to a minimum and the suspension does a pretty good job of giving you a smooth ride.
If a functional family motor is important to you, take a look at our list of the other best family cars which are also great for commuting.
Buy a Passat for great fuel economy – up to 76.3 mpg (combined)* with BlueMotion and 156.9 mpg (combined)* with the GTE. CO2 emissions range from a measly 40 g/km (GTE) to 146 g/km (2.0-litre TSI) so the first year rate for road tax is extremely reasonable. Low levels of depreciation compared to other similar vehicles, mean that when it’s time to move on to a new car, you could be in for a nice surprise with the trade-in value.
John’s Verdict 9/10
Likes: Unbelievable value. How do they make them this good this cheaply? All round brilliance.
Dislikes: Not the flashiest machine in the company car park.
Peugeot 508 Saloon
The Peugeot 508 is one of the great all-rounders on our list of the best saloon cars. In fact, it’s got it all. It’s great looking, it’s good to drive, it won’t cost you a bomb to run it and it’s spacious too.
The list of features included as standard is also pretty good. This saloon car gives you sat nav, electric windows, air-con, cruise control and alloy wheels, all included in the price, making the Peugeot 508 a pretty good deal.
Inside and out, this is also a good looking vehicle – like many of the best saloon cars. The exterior has that gorgeous coupé shaped styling, while inside it’s obvious that Peugeot hasn’t skimped on materials. Everything is to a very high quality. Useful controls are handily located on the steering wheel to make driving the Peugeot 508 and absolute dream
John’s Verdict 8/10
Likes: New styling looks good, lovely interior, traditional French comfort ride.
Dislikes: Still hasn’t got the premium image of rivals.
Audi A3 Saloon
The sporty, curvaceous Audi A3 saloon certainly has the looks. But it’s also a car that will impress on many other levels too. It’s a comfortable car, great for long journeys, handling well with a driving position that’s spot on. If you’re looking for fuel economy, the 1.6 litre TDI diesel is a great choice.
You’ll get a decent infotainment system as standard, but there are also several upgrade options such as HDD sat nav, DVD player and Bang & Olufsen surround sound speakers.
As a driver, you’ll find plenty of scope for adjustment in your seat and steering wheel allowing you to really make this car your own. The low roofline gives the A3 a sporty look, without compromising on headroom – another of the best sports saloon cars.
John’s Verdict 8/10
Likes: Audi image, quality interior.
Dislikes: As with the rival MINI, the prices seem a little ambitious.
John’s Choice: Audi A4 as the best all-rounder.
Have any of these ideas tempted you to check out a new saloon? If so, take a trip to your local Swansway Group showroom and take a look for yourself. Need any help or advice? Then just give us a call or drop us an email – we’re waiting to help you pick your next car.
*Fuel consumption figure is obtained under standardised EU test conditions and may not be the actual fuel consumption achieved in ‘real world’ driving conditions