10 most affordable luxury cars

10 most affordable luxury cars

Here in the United States, cars are very much an integral part of our lives -- they are, in fact, deeply engraved within the social fabric of the American way of life. While cars are so important, not every car buyer is looking to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their next new purchase. Instead, many would be absolutely content with something that’s budget-friendly yet reliable.

However, there’s also a vast pool of buyers who want a car that isn’t just a simple mode of personal transportation -- but rather something that will make them feel a tad more special than just some econo-box. This is where luxury cars come into the picture, and even more specifically, those that are relatively affordable.

Assuming you have a budget of less than $40,000, we are here to tell you which are the top 10 most affordable luxury cars that you can buy, and of course, without breaking the bank. Do note that all the cars on this list represent their latest iteration (at the time of writing).

Lincoln Corsair

Lincoln Corsair front

A replacement for the MKC, the Lincoln Corsair is currently the entry-point into the upscale American brand’s crossover/SUV lineup. The Corsair is the most expensive car on this list - starting from $35,945 for the base trim. Based on Ford’s refreshed C2 architecture, the Lincoln Corsair is a compact luxury crossover, and quite a good-looking one at that.

Its design sure looks modern, and there are enough premium touches to elevate this crossover to “luxury” status. The bold but unmistakably Lincoln grille, stylish headlamps, sharp body lines, a ‘floating’ roof, and cool-looking LED tail lamps add even more to the overall design. On the inside, the Corsair feels contemporary, appropriately cushy, quite well-built, and packed with features, too.

Under the hood, the Corsair is offered with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 250 hp and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm) of torque. Paired to an 8-speed automatic and driving the front wheels, the Corsair can hit 62 mph (100 kmph) in about 7.5 seconds; with a combined mpg of 25 (10.6 kmpl), this crossover isn’t that thirsty, either.

In short, the Lincoln Corsair is deserving of its relatively-lofty price tag.

Cadillac XT4

Cadillac XT4 front

Next up, at $35,695, we have yet another American -- the new Cadillac XT4. Built on GM’s E2XX architecture, the XT4 is an entry-level luxury crossover in Caddy’s line-up. Just like other new Cadillac cars, the XT4 carries the brand’s new & revised look very well. It thus looks fairly sporty and well-proportioned for what it is.

The exterior design primarily composes an aggressive front end with a large grille, highly-stylized front lights and vents, a bold & muscular hood, sloping roofline, sporty rear spoiler, dual exhausts, and chic-looking L-shaped LED tail lamps. The cabin of the XT4 sports decent materials, good standards of fit & finish, comfortable seats, and there’s decent soundproofing as well.

Power for the base Luxury trim comes from a 2.0-liter turbo four-pot that’s paired to a 9-speed automatic gearbox. This motor develops 237 hp and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque. It means that the front-wheel-drive XT4 touches 62 mph (100 kmph) in approximately 6.6 seconds, and is rated at 26 mpg (11 kmpl).

BMW 2-Series Coupe

BMW 2-Series Coupe front

Costing from $35,300, the BMW 2-Series Coupe (in its 230i trim), is probably the best car on this list - at least as far as driver engagement is concerned. And while its design is not in line with the Bavarian marque’s latest models, there’s no denying that this is one of the cheapest BMWs that you can buy in the States.

The 2-Series Coupe boasts a sporty, low-slung but taut profile; there’s signature BMW kidney grille, double-barrel headlamps, crisp character lines, flared fenders, sloped roof, chiseled rear bumper, and large LED tail lamps.

The 230i gets a sporty & driver-oriented cabin with large instrument gauges, a three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters, and comfortable yet well-bolstered seats. As with most BMWs, overall build quality is very good, though some materials don’t necessarily feel all that great. Even so, nothing in here feels nasty.

In its 230i guise, this little Beemer comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger that outputs 248 hp along with 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of the maximum shove.  Given its near-50/50 weight distribution and a quick-shifting 8-speed transmission, the rear-wheel-drive BMW 230i can do 0-62 mph (0-100 kmph) in about 5.5 seconds or so.

BMW X1

BMW X1 front

Yet another BMW, the new X1 is currently the least expensive in the US - starting from just $35,200 for the sDrive 28i trim. Based on the manufacturer’s front-wheel-drive UKL platform, this compact luxury crossover is nowhere near as fun to drive as the smaller and more nimble 2-Series Coupe, but it is way more practical in every other sense.

The X1 features BMW's new design language -- meaning larger and a more prominent kidney grille, meaner-looking headlamps, sculpted front & rear bumpers, a fairly long snout along with a sloped roofline, sharp creases all over, a sculpted tailgate, and wraparound LED rear lights.

The interior of the BMW X1 looks sporty and is packing several modern features but doesn't feel cluttered or overdone. The seats feel really comfortable, whilst the quality of materials used and their fit-and-finish feel pretty top-notch.

The sDrive 28i gets the same turbocharged engine and 8-speed gearbox as the 2-Series Coupe that we mentioned earlier. However, unlike its sportier cousin, the X1 spins its front wheels instead of its rear. While it isn’t as quick off the mark as the 2-Series, the X1 still manages to get past 62 mph (100 kmph) in well under 7 seconds, and can attain 27 mpg (11.5 kmpl).

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 front

At $34,345, the base Volvo XC40 (T4 Momentum) is cheaper than the BMW X1 -- of course, not by a margin that’s huge enough to matter much. The XC40, however, does stand out far better than the X1 and that’s chiefly down to its unique yet sophisticated styling.  Riding on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), the XC40 is compact enough to be city-friendly but luxurious (and affordable) enough for you to consider it.

With its trademark Volvo styling, boxy silhouette, cool design cues, and striking body line, cuts and ridges, the XC40 will have no trouble turning heads. The interior ambiance is also a far cry from Volvos of yore -- the minimalistic but upscale design & layout catches your eye without being much of a distraction whilst driving.

Under the hood, the XC40 T4 Momentum features a turbocharged four-popper that makes 187 hp and 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) of torque, while an 8-speed automatic takes care of transmission duties. The XC40 can do 130 mph (209 kmph) and hit 62 mph (100 kmph) in around 8 seconds. It’s quite frugal too - managing 28 mpg or 11.9 kmpl.

Audi A3

Audi A3 front

The Audi A3 sedan price starts from $33,300 and is by far the most affordable Audi in the US. While the A3 may not boast an extremely interesting or dramatic exterior/interior design, its compact but well-groomed exterior looks well-proportioned and really urbane - it is almost like a miniature A4.

Due to its compact dimensions, the A3 sedan isn’t the most spacious car on this list but its cabin features good quality materials, great build quality, and there’s also a panoramic glass roof and fancy LED ambient lighting to further this little Audi’s appeal.

In its 40 TFSI Premium avatar, the Audi A3 packs a 2.0-liter turbo-four that produces 184 hp and 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) of twist. Mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the sedan can make it to 62 mph (100 kmph) in under 7 seconds, while still achieving 30 mpg or 12.7 kmpl.

Acura TLX

Acura TLX front

The mid-sized Acura TLX price starts from $33,000 and is tagged as the Japanese marque’s “performance luxury sedan”. It’s likely not the most stylish car that Acura makes - the large chrome grille, sleek LED headlamps, and soft yet well-defined character lines make the TLX quite a looker from certain angles.

The TLX’s interior is well-built, featuring decent equipment and features; while there’s enough room for all occupants and comfort levels are good, too. As for matters that concern performance, the entry-level Standard trim of the TLX comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that’s good for 206 hp and 182 lb-ft (247 Nm) of peak torque.

This motor is attached to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox which enables the TLX to scoot to 62 mph (100 kmph) in approximately 8 seconds. Acura claims combined fuel consumption of 27 mpg or 11.5 kmpl.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mercedes-Benz A-Class front

The subcompact Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan (priced at $32,800 for the A220 trim), is the most affordable Benz that you can buy in the country. Despite its low price tag, the A-Class sedan sure looks satisfyingly elegant, upscale, and is undeniably a modern-day Mercedes-Benz product in almost every way imaginable.

While its cabin may not feel as roomy as that of the Audi A3 sedan, it definitely scores on sportiness and suave factor. The new A-Class also does well as far as build quality goes, as the company has injected more “posh juice” as part of the car’s upgrade from its previous iteration. You now also get more features & equipment for your money.

Propulsion comes from a turbocharged in-line four which develops 188 hp along with 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch handles the cogs, while the dash to 62 mph (100 kmph) takes just over 7 seconds.

Lexus UX

Lexus UX front

Costing $32,300, the Lexus UX is a subcompact luxury crossover that’s not only extremely fashionable, bold and all cool looking, but its low price tag won’t hurt the wallet as well. Like most new Lexus models, the UX’s design is unabashedly bold and thus, you will either love it or won’t.

The UX rocks its “spindle grille” without any remorse, while the razor-sharp LED headlamps, overtly-flared wheel arches, bulging fenders, crisp body lines, a sporty rear bumper, and tail lights that get an LED strip in between won’t leave you wanting for much more - especially given the affordability of this thing.

The interior of the Lexus UX looks and feels sporty enough, while the layout of the dash, instrument gauges, dials and control switches make this cockpit feel quite modern and quirky in its appeal. Of course, Lexus is renowned for its superior build quality and use of premium materials - something that (mostly) applies to the UX as well.

The base front-wheel-drive UX is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that outputs 169 hp and 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) of peak torque. With a combined rating of 33 mpg (14 kmpl), this unit utilizes a CVT which comes with 10 ‘simulated’ gear ratios. The UX will go from 0-62 mph (0-100 kmph) in 9.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 118 mph (190 kmph).

Acura ILX

Acura ILX front

At only $25,900, the Acura ILX is arguably the most affordable luxury car on sale right now. Based on the platform that underpins the Honda Civic, the ILX is a sedan that offers most buyers most of the tech and features that are expected of a luxury car and does so without placing undue stress on your bank balance.

From the front, the ILX can’t be mistaken for anything but an Acura. It looks sleek, sporty, and enough cuts & creases to keep things interesting. However, the side profile isn’t all that intriguing. The rear flares better, with its subtle but noticeable boot-lip arrangement and Sharply-styled tail lamps with snazzy LED running lights.

While the cabin gets some high-quality materials in most places and the fit-and-finish is great, the overall design certainly looks old and outdated, surely by 2020 standards. Also, the styling and choice of trim in this entry-level ILX isn’t anything to write home about, either. Thankfully, this cabin is fairly quiet and the seats are also pretty cushy.

The ILX houses a 2.4-liter four-popper that produces 201 hp and 180 lb-ft (244 Nm) of torque - all of which is controlled by an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. In terms of performance, the ILX takes approximately 7.5 seconds to do 62 mph or 100 kmph. And finally, the ILX’s fuel economy is rated at 28 mpg or 11.9 kmpl.

So there are the ten most affordable luxury cars which you can buy under $40,000.

Also read: Most reliable used trucks under $20,000

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