The 2017 Best Luxury Small Cars for the Money
Automakers have recently stepped up the game when it comes to small luxury cars. As competition becomes fiercer, it’s more important than ever to offer customers a good value. The Best Luxury Small Cars for the Money have great quality, which is determined based on a vehicle’s overall score in our rankings, and are a good value over time, which is based on the price paid for the car as well as how much it costs to own the car. High quality combined with relatively low costs equals a great value. Shoppers who are considering a new luxury car should start by checking out the winner of our Best Luxury Small Car for the Money award, as well as the runner-ups.
No. 8: 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA
MSRP: $32,400 (Details Below)
The Mercedes-Benz CLA ranks in the lower half of its class, yet it still has a decent all-around score and plenty of desirable attributes. Experts say this five-passenger model is a good entry-level luxury car, because it has adequate performance combined with a smooth ride, and it offers lots of upscale features.
The CLA was already known for including a long list of equipment, and for 2017, Mercedes-Benz upgraded the model with a rearview camera that now comes standard, as well as a new menu of options and packages, both of which help increase the car’s value. The front-wheel drive version of the CLA is a good choice to save on fuel costs.
No. 7: 2017 Volvo S60
MSRP: $33,950 (Details Below)
The Volvo S60 compact sedan sits in the lower half of our rankings, but it has one of the highest safety ratings in the class. Buyers who are looking for the most cutting-edge safety technology should consider the S60. For 2017, Volvo added the high-performance Polestar trim level, which was previously found only on larger Volvo models.
The Volvo S60 is a good value because it has a relatively low entry price, yet comes with plenty of power and features. Volvo’s City Safety system comes standard and includes features that tend to be expensive options on competitors. Critics also like the base model’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine, along with the more powerful available engines.
No. 6: 2017 BMW 3 Series
MSRP: $33,450 (Details Below)
The BMW 3 Series is a small sedan with seating for five, offering entry-level, yet high-quality, German luxury and performance. The 3 Series is a long-time favorite of critics, who like its agile handing and powerful optional engines. Buyers will appreciate this BMW’s above-average safety and reliability ratings.
The 3 Series is known for being a well-rounded car and, though positioned as an entry-level option, there are lots of upgrades available. Reviews say that the 3 Series has an easy-to-use infotainment system and say that the interior uses high-quality finishes. Critics caution, however, that buyers shouldn’t expect great acceleration from the 3 Series’ base engine, but there are several other powertrain options that provide better performance.
No. 5: 2017 BMW i3
MSRP: $42,400 (Details Below)
The BMW i3 is a compact luxury hatchback with seating for four, powered by an electric motor with 114 miles of range. This vehicle has above-average reliability, and though it’s not currently tested by the IIHS or NHTSA, BMW offers plenty of safety technology. The 2017 model is offered in the new Range Extender trim level, which comes with a small gasoline engine that acts as a generator when the battery is dead.
As the only fully electric option on our list of the Best Luxury Small Cars for the Money, the BMW i3 is an interesting case. Its MSRP, $42,400, is a little higher than some other vehicles on the list, yet federal tax credits can shave up to $7,500 off that price. Critics say the i3 has good build quality, and cruising by the gas station will also save significant money.
No. 4: 2017 Lexus IS
MSRP: $37,825 (Details Below)
The top of our luxury small car rankings is currently (and generally) dominated by German options, but the 2017 Lexus IS offers something a little different. This five-passenger sedan has good safety and reliability ratings, as expected, combined with a driving experience that’s strongly oriented more toward comfort than performance,
The Lexus IS has a high base price, but offers customers a lot for the money. For example, Lexus includes standard driver assistance and active safety features that are expensive add-ons in many competitors. The 2017 IS also gets a mild styling refresh and a larger screen for the infotainment system.
No. 3: 2017 BMW 2 Series
MSRP: $33,150 (Details Below)
Available as a coupe or a convertible, the four-passenger BMW 2 Series is a more practical way to buy a less-practical car. Safety and reliability scores are strong, which are big points in its favor. Critics also enjoy the 2 Series, thanks to its potent engine lineup and agile handling.
This coupe is the BMW brand’s lowest-priced model, which alone is enough to make it a good value. That said, it cuts just underneath the roomier 3 Series, so BMW tries to make this less-practical option worth the money. Impressive 2 Series attributes include a strong base engine with competitive fuel economy, a sporty cabin, and decent standard features.
No. 2: 2017 Audi A3
MSRP: $31,200 (Details Below)
The Audi A3 lineup consists of a sedan, a convertible, and a Sportback plug-in hybrid. When considering its value for the money, though, the five-passenger sedan is the best bet. The Audi A3 has good safety scores, a high-quality interior, user-friendly technology, and a compelling engine lineup.
Though the Audi A3 is almost as good of a value as the Audi A4, the A4’s fresh redesign gives it a considerable edge. Still, the A3’s low entry price for the class is appealing, and critics say the base model delivers on its promises of high quality, comfort, and performance.
No. 1: 2017 Audi A4
MSRP: $34,900 (Details Below)
The Audi A4 has been completely redesigned for 2017, which helps this sedan take the Best Luxury Small Car for the Money award. Though the Audi A4 is a performance car, it doesn’t sacrifice passenger comfort in favor of driver enjoyment. It’s also a well-rounded and practical option, with strong safety and reliability ratings.
The redesigned A4 quickly earned top reviews from critics, who found very few flaws with the vehicle. They say most buyers should be satisfied with the base model, which comes with a potent turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Standard features in the base A4 are competitive for the class, including smartphone integration, a rearview camera, and several active safety features.
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