The Best Entry-Level Luxury Cars
Cheaper luxury cars, called entry-level luxury cars, form an interesting little group that don't get a ton of attention. They start at a much lower price point, which allows buyers to drive around with a luxury badge without breaking the bank, but they are smaller, less powerful and don't have as many features.
This, of course, doesn't make them bad cars. But when comparing them to their bigger brethren (for example, the Lexus CT 200h to the Lexus IS), it's obvious that you're generally getting what you pay for with less space and features.
Here are the best entry-level luxury cars. These are all around $30,000 and come with a nice, fat luxury badge attached to it, allowing you access to that cache without breaking the bank. Click through to see which of these cars is best.
6. Acura ILX
Sticker Price: $25,900 - $29,200
Invoice Price: $24,452 - $27,507
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg city, 35 mpg highway
Although the prospect of scoring a car with a luxury badge for under $26,000 is certainly tempting, remember that you're going to get what you pay for. The ILX is a inexpensive, sure, but it's also underpowered and has a lackluster interior. All in all, it's just a plain, boring car. It does have a major redeeming quality in that its fuel economy is stellar.
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5. Lexus CT 200h
Fuel Economy: 43 mpg city, 40 mpg highway
Essentially a luxury version of the Toyota Prius, the Lexus CT 200h has a pretty nice interior and is a true fuel sipper. The fact that it's a hatchback also makes it quite versatile. Unfortunately, it is by far the least fun to drive car on this list. Luxury vehicles should have great driving dynamics and the CT 200h lacks of any hint of them, placing it near the bottom of our list.
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4. Buick Verano
MSRP: $23,080 - $29,105
Invoice: $22,157 - $27,941
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
The little Buick Verano is surprisingly good. Although it's underpowered -- even when it's equipped with a turbo engine -- and lacks some versatility with a smaller trunk and backseat, it has some great luxury amenities, a solid infotainment system, a smooth ride and is really, really quiet inside. And it starts at a remarkably low $23,000.
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3. Audi A3
MSRP: $27,270 - $30,850
Invoice: $25,361 - $28,691
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway
With its versatile trunk space, great luxury interior, fun driving dynamics and available all-wheel driver system, the Audi A3 is a excellent choice for a luxury vehicle around $30,000. You can even get the A3 with a diesel engine, which improves fuel economy to 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway. The A3 will come to the U.S. soon in an updated sedan form as the German automaker looks to gain more sales in this segment.
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2. BMW 1 Series
MSRP: $31,200 - $36,900
Invoice: $28,705 - $33,950
Fuel Economy: 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
The BMW 1 Series tends to fly under the radar for car shoppers, but it's legitimately one of the most fun to drive cars out there right now. Its 3.0L 6-cylinder engine coupled with its lightweight body and superb handling make it an absolute delight on the road. Purists may enjoy its no-frills attitude -- the 1 Series has no infotainment system or drive modes -- but the lack of a some luxury features on the inside keeps it out of our top spot.
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1. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
MSRP: $30,825 - $33,500
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg city, 33 mpg highway
It's pretty hard to argue with the numbers on the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class: 208 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque, 33 mpg on the highway and a base price of $30,825. Those are awesome. Although this is entry-level luxury, that doesn't stop the CLA from driving or feeling like a true Mercedes. It has a great interior with a nice infotainment system, it's a blast to drive and it looks just great on the outside.