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7 Sedans That Drive Like Sports Cars

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2014

Many drivers think buying a sedan means the end of the fun and enjoyment that comes from owning a coupe or a convertible, but we don't think that sedan ownership has to involve surrendering to practicality and responsibility. For proof, we've created a list of seven excellent sedans that combine sedan practicality with sports-car driving characteristics such as strong acceleration and sharp handling. Best of all, we've focused on reasonably priced models that won't cost big money to buy or own.

Buick Regal

You might be surprised to hear that Buick makes a sporty sedan worth your consideration, but that's exactly the situation with the brand's midsize Regal. Powered by a 259-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, all Regal models are surprisingly spry -- likely a result of the car's European engineering. They're also well priced given that the sedan's $30,700 base price includes luxury features such as automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels and more. For the most eager of enthusiasts, there's even an available 6-speed manual transmission on the GS model, which also includes an adjustable sport suspension, a rear spoiler and larger wheels.

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Dodge Charger

The Dodge Charger is a full-size sedan that offers varying levels of fun and driving enjoyment. We find base-level Charger SE and SXT models ($28,000 and $30,600, respectively) to be highly exciting, largely due to their muscular 292-hp 3.6-liter V6s and -- in SXT models -- an 8-speed automatic transmission. Of course, the V8-powered Charger R/T ($31,700) is even more fun, boasting 370 horses and an impressive 0-to-60 time of around 5.4 seconds. And then there's the raucous Charger SRT8, which uses a 470-hp 6.4-liter V8 and starts from $47,400 with shipping. We also love the Charger's rear-wheel-drive platform and its roomy interior, which is more upscale than ever following a 2011 face-lift.

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Honda Civic Si

If you're interested in an exciting compact sedan, the Civic Si is the best of all worlds. One reason is pricing: With a base price of under $24,000 with shipping, the Civic Si is one of the most affordable sporty cars available in its segment. We also love its rev-happy standard engine, which boasts 205 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. We're most impressed with the sedan's handling, which transforms the standard Civic sedan into an exciting sports car through the corners. Of course, the Civic Si also offers many other benefits such as traditional Honda dependability and a long list of standard equipment.

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With only 184 hp, the Mazda6 doesn't quite offer the impressive acceleration that some driving enthusiasts will want in a sport sedan. But the Mazda6 does boast some of the best handling of any midsize sedan, and that makes it one of our favorite practical vehicles when it comes to speeding through the curves. The Mazda6 is also one of our favorite midsize sedans for its long list of features -- both standard and optional -- and its reasonable pricing, which starts around $22,000 with shipping. The sedan's handsome styling is just icing on the cake.

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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Despite rumors that it may soon be canceled, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is alive and well for the 2014 model year, and it remains one of the most exciting rides currently available in its segment. Much of the reason is its 291-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which is coupled with all-wheel drive to offer one of the most enjoyable driving experiences of any new car on the market. We also love the so-called Evo's quick-shifting transmission, its grippy seats, its excellent handling and its bulky styling. Maybe the only drawback is pricing: At $36,000 with shipping, choosing the Evo means that you'll be paying a lot to get some serious sport with your new sedan.

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Subaru WRX

The Subaru WRX is probably the ultimate example of sedan practicality combined with sports-car driving pleasure. Inside, it's all business, with a simple, somber interior that offers ample room for a compact sedan. On the outside, the WRX's true purpose becomes a little more clear thanks to a hood scoop and bulging fenders, but the Subaru's most exciting item is hidden under the hood: a 268-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder capable of propelling the sedan to 60 miles per hour in just over 5 seconds. If all that sounds appealing, you're in luck: The WRX starts at a reasonable $27,300 with shipping.

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Volkswagen Jetta GLI

If you're interested in sporty cars, then you're probably well aware of Volkswagen's exciting GTI hatchback, but did you know that the automaker sells a sedan version of the GTI? Dubbed the Jetta GLI, it offers an impressive 210-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that remains one of our favorite powerplants thanks to a combination of strong acceleration and excellent gas mileage. We also like the GLI's reasonable $25,500 base price -- a good figure considering the car's excellent handling and long list of equipment that includes Bluetooth, a center-mounted touchscreen, 17-in alloy wheels and keyless entry.

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7 Sedans That Drive Like Sports Cars - Autotrader