“Big-ass cars for big-assed people!” Let’s face it, every class of vehicle has increased in size. The biggest perpetrators are the compact and midsize sedan and CUV segments. They have been given longer wheelbases, wider stances, and a focus on practicality. This means our beloved large cars are being pushed into an uncertain market position. I don’t want to lose my large, non-luxury sedans!
Now I know all you enthusiasts don’t care about the death of heavy, V6, FWD sedans. To that, I completely agree! Don’t act surprised, I’m an enthusiast too after all! That’s why I say the first thing fullsize sedans require is:
Need I say more? Let the midsize offerings be FWD and charge a premium for AWD versions. However, if someone is shelling out the dough for a Taurus Limited it should be better than a Fusion Titanium. Make the AWD system standard and make sure the fullsizer can compete with the decked-out midsize sedan option. While we are at it:
Standard Premium Engine
The top engine offering in the midsizer needs to be the base engine in the fullsizer. This means that the Impala is unacceptable with a 196hp four banger. If the vehicle isn’t making mucho low-end torque-o, it’s no bueno Amigo!
Higher Standards of Build Quality
This one isn’t an issue. The fullsizers typically have more advance suspension tuning, better interior materials, and great use of lightweight construction compared to the midsize sedan or CUV options. This is why any large sedan from a Toyota Avalon, to a Hyundai Azera, or Buick LaCrosse is always a surprisingly engaging and enjoyable driving machine (by that brand’s standard). Seriously, if you haven’t driven a 2012 MY and up fullsize sedan, you are missing out on some of the most fun road cars from mainstream manufactures you can find.
Manufacturers need to take what is already being done well up one more notch. After that, offer adjustable suspension options or special leather packages. I think magnetic ride control on a Buick LaCrosse would get a lot of people to at least open the driverside door on the thing.
Rear Seat Room
Now this one is going to sound odd, but I don’t think it matters whether or not the fullsize sedan is more roomy or numerically larger in dimensions than the midsizers. However, that doesn’t mean they should be tiny! I think there is nothing wrong with the Altima being a larger or more practical car than the Maxima. What I would have issue with is a large sedan not having a large enough rear passenger space to fit three average childseats across.
They shouldn’t just fit three children, but be developed for three kids. This means window shades, lower shoulder lines, no coupe-like styling taking place if it compromises the rear cabin. Let the midsizers have the swoopie roofies. The rear passenger area also needs great ventilation, easy access Isofix points, and wide rear door openings for ease of childseat installation. The best part is that the better suited these vehicles are for childseats and the precious cargo that rides in them, the better they are for moving three adults!
Fullsize sedans aren’t luxury limos. The only buttons in the backseat should be for the window and heated seats. Rear passengers don’t need a console to control anything, and I would say that screens on the front seatbacks are unnecessary (meaning a great top level option package). In fact, with every car having dual climate control nowadays, there should be a button that switches from syncing the rear seats with the driver’s climate settings to the front passenger’s climate settings. One of those two is bound to be something the rear passengers like. I’m not saying don’t give the rear passengers a way to close the vents or adjust their own climate control. I’m saying it would make life easier on the kids and animals that can’t control that temperature or vent. Everything else from radio to navigation controls, just let the backseat occupants ask, they’re going to be vocal anyways.
Fullsize offerings should be packing the most standard safety features of any vehicles on the market. There seems to be a system in which automakers divide these up, so I’ll leave it to those that know what all goes into safety tech. Here’s a quick list from Wikipedia on just the Driver Assistance Technology that’s super common:
- DADS:’ DADS : Driver Alertness Detection System  System to prevent crashes caused by fatigue
- Automatic Braking systems to prevent or reduce the severity of collision.
- Infrared night vision systems to increase seeing distance beyond headlamp range
- Adaptive headlamps control the direction and range of the headlight beams to light the driver’s way through curves and maximize seeing distance without partially blinding other drivers
- Reverse backup sensors, which alert drivers to difficult-to-see objects in their path when reversing
- Backup camera
- Adaptive cruise control which maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front
- Lane departure warning systems to alert the driver of an unintended departure from the intended lane of travel
- Tire pressure monitoring systems or Deflation Detection Systems
- Traction control systems which restore traction if driven wheels begin to spin
- Electronic Stability Control, which intervenes to avert an impending loss of control
- Anti-lock braking systems
- Electronic brakeforce distribution systems
- Emergency brake assist systems
- Cornering Brake Control systems
- Assured Clear Distance Ahead measurement and speed governance systems
- Precrash system
- Automated parking system
- Obstacle detection sensor systems notify a driver how close their vehicle is to an object - usually providing a distance measurement, to the inch, as to how close they are.
Regardless of the way in which safety tech gets packaged together, fullsize sedans should be the flagships for safety and convenience tech.
Future of Fullsize Sedans
To recap, fullsize sedans should be:
Standard with AWD, equipped with engines focused on delivering large amounts of low-end torque at broad RPM ranges, better built/manufactured than midsize sedans and midsize CUVs, focused on rear seat comfort for three children in childseats, and the flagship models for safety and convenience tech.
I know that sounds like asking a lot, but honestly most of these sedans are already doing everything I stated. The AWD and dumping the rental spec versions are all it would take to keep these vehicles a logical buy over the comparatively large midsize options, the versatile CUV options, or the tech heavy compact sedan options. This does mean that finding a fullsize sedan under $31,000 is out the door, but the Avalon, Azera, Cadenza, Maxima, LaCrosse, Lexus ES, and most of the non-fleet Tauri and Impalas are in that $35,000 and up range anyways!
Of course the midsize CUV option is still the better one for the most part, but it’s nice to have a large sedan because you can access the trunk inside of a home garage. I would say garage-ability is the primary seller of a sedan over anything with a hatch. Take advantage of that, and play up the “family” sedan angle as often as the “business” sedan angle. I’m not saying this will save the mainstream fullsize sedan, I’m just saying this would give them a reason to live.