This will be our third Sedan Showdown in a row. Kicking us off were some basic full-size models, and through the “Not nice enough!” complaints, the Charger took home the win. Giving the people what they want, we turned the budget up to $45,000 and presented some luxury full-size sedans instead. Again, FCA took home a win; the Chrysler 300 easily overpowered the base Lincoln Continental, and pipped the top-trim Buick LaCrosse.
All the while, this third commenter-sourced trio waited in the wings, ready to pounce. Smaller than our previous two sets of cars, Bumpy ii wants to see you squirm and set fires. You ready? This couple is.
Today’s target budget was set around $30,000, for mid-sizers that lean toward full-size.
Volkswagen Passat GT
North America has had its own special iteration of the Passat since 2012. An update for the 2016 model year brought considerable visual change to the Passat, and in fact only the doors, roof, and side rails are shared with the previous version. Infotainment was the other big change with the 2016 model. VW’s MIB II is now under the dash, as well as automatic post-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and other driver assistance safety features. Two engines presently provide Passat power; a 2.0-liter turbocharged mill in various states of tune, or a 3.6-liter V6. The latter is in today’s upmarket GT trim, providing 280 horsepower. Visually, the GT comes with the R-Line trim’s sporty bumpers, and is available in white, black, or grey. All GT interiors are black and grey two-tone leatherette, as VW does not like color in this trim. Power slips through a 6-speed DSG transmission. The only options here are dealer installed accessories, and there’s no navigation available. As a result, the Passat V6 GT rings in at $29,995, no matter which color on the grey scale you select.
Kia Cadenza Premium
The Cadenza is Kia’s mid-large size sedan, slotting in under the larger K900 model. As replacement for the (frankly hideous) Amanti, it’s been available on our shores since 2010. A second generation debuted for 2016 and featured sharper, less conservative styling penned by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer. The base Premium trim is the one available today, and all trims offer the same proven 3.3-liter V6 engine from Hyundai. 290 horsepower travel through the front wheels via the 8-speed automatic. A few more colors are available than the Passat, though some exterior colors select either the black or beige interior for you. Seating surfaces are real leather, but we can’t add any luxury packages because of the Cadenza’s steep base price. This means we’ll make do with the standard 7″ touch screen featuring Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay. Cadenza rings in at $32,290.
Nissan Maxima S
Our final competitor is the 4DSC-equipped Nissan Maxima. Nissan’s long-running flagship sedan has been around since 1982, when it replaced Datsun’s luxury 810. Now in its eighth generation, the most recent Maxima was born for 2016. All US-bound Maximas are built at Nissan’s factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, and every Maxima has Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter VQ V6. That engine has been around for nearly 20 years now (remember the I35?), and has powered the Maxima since 2002. Our budget today requires us to shop the base S trim. The S has the same 300 horsepower as all other trims, traveling through the front wheels via CVT. Four colors are available without extra cost, one of which is blue. Cloth is the only seating surface available here, and there are no additional packages to buy. “This version comes equipped with many standard features,” says Nissan. That includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, and remote start. Final asking price trumps the other two, at $34,155.
Which one goes in the garage? Can you resist setting onlyÂ oneÂ of these on fire?
[Images: Bigstock, Timothy Cain, Chris Tonn, Nissan]