10 Best Luxury Cars Under $35,000 (2015)
Thanks to a strong influx of smaller, more affordable luxury-brand cars and SUVs over the past year, we dropped the cutoff for our annual list of top entry-lux vehicles from $40,000 to $35,000. More than half the entries on this list are all-new or redesigned for 2015, and four of the five SUVs didn't even exist in 2014. Here's the cream of the crop in entry-level luxury version 2.0.
In a clear case of having your cake and eating it, too, the most affordable BMW is also among the most fun to drive. There's even a cherry on top in the form of highway fuel economy that tops out at 36 mpg. Available features like a parking assistant, Track Handling Package and BMW Apps add touches of BMW-style luxury.
This 2-row SUV is a shining example of what Acura is all about. It has a driver-centric attitude and a crisp, modern cabin with luxury amenities, but it's also fuel-efficient and practical. And while value isn't always something you find in a luxury vehicle, the RDX boasts the most standard equipment in its segment.
Audi's all-new small SUV surrounds all on board in the kind of modern, well-crafted cabin Audi is known for. The Q3 has the handling to make twists and turns in the road entertaining, yet its suspension is compliant and the ride is comfortable on the open highway. Features like Quattro all-wheel drive and premium interior amenities set the Q3 apart.
The newest, most affordable Lincoln might be the best-looking vehicle in its lineup. The new-for-2015 small SUV combines attracting styling, impressive tech amenities and fun-loving driving dynamics.
Draped in curvy sheetmetal that evokes its relationship to the pricier CLS-Class, the CLA-Class offers the attitude and performance of more expensive Mercedes vehicles. Between the high-performance AMG option and features like a panoramic moonroof, you can enjoy a luxurious Mercedes-Benz at a more reasonable price.
Replacing both the TL and the TSX, the TLX has the handling prowess of a smaller sport sedan with the packaging and interior space of a larger one. The TLX has a tech-savvy attitude, plus driver-friendly features like Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, 4-wheel steering and an 8- or 9-speed automatic transmission.
The Mercedes-Benz lineup expands for 2015 with the addition of a new, smaller SUV. The GLA is roomy enough for five people, plenty of cargo or a mix of each, but it rides and handles more like a car than a traditional SUV. The GLA comes with a bevy of luxury-level safety equipment as standard, and you can get it with all-wheel drive and still come in under the $35,000 mark.
The ATS, available as a sedan or a coupe, makes excellent use of Cadillac's angular styling to make this sport sedan stand out from the rest of the crowd. But it takes more than good looks to do well among "the rest of the crowd," which includes the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the BMW 3 Series. The newcomer ATS holds its own thanks to great engine choices and fantastic handling.
Lexus enters the burgeoning small luxury SUV segment with its NX, and has hit the ground running with what may be the best vehicle in its class. The NX, available with a gas or hybrid powertrain, is both fun to drive and offers a surprising amount of passenger room for its size. Its aggressive styling sets it apart from previous Lexus models, but the nicely equipped interior falls right in line with the standard of luxury Lexus has set.