Now may seem like an odd time to be shopping for a luxury car, but it isn’t really. In fact, with persistence and a keen eye for details, you can find some great deals in an excellent used luxury car. As always, the best advice is to buy the most you can get for the price. If a few dollars here and there means more luxury amenities, go for it.
What constitutes best luxury cars for the money? Well, look at reputation, power, amenities, style, handling and performance, as well as safety and fuel economy. In short, you want it all, wrapped up in ultra luxury – or, as much luxury as you can afford. Here are our Best Luxury Cars for the Money, with comments from automotive experts to back up our choices.
- Lexus ES 350 – U.S. News and World Report singles out the 2009 as its “Best Car for the Money” in the upscale car class, saying it’s an “entry-level luxury sedan with one of the smoothest rides in the upscale midsize class and the kind of sumptuous interior Lexus is famous for.” Lexus ES also won the publication’s Best Midsize Car for the Money award for its “tremendous value…reputation for dependability, combined with a reasonable entry price.” Downside is that the ES is included in a massive Toyota recall for floor mat design and alleged unintended acceleration. Motor Trend says the 2007 ES 350 has “an interior equal to the Audi standard, and every modern gizmo Lexus can imagine.”
- BMW 325i – Money Magazine named the BMW 3-Series as the best small luxury sedan for 2006, saying that “its subtle gains in power, braking and handling have vaulted the four-door to the top of the pack once again.” Look for the “bargain Bimmer” in the 325i that Money says is “the first BMW in years that feels more like a deal than a guilty splurge.” Consumer Guide names BMW 3-Series a Best Buy in the premium compact class for “dynamic capabilities second to none… reasonable base prices… and resolute focus on balanced performance.” Rear seat room and some wind noise are minor negatives.
- Acura TL – Forbes named the 2008 as one of its “Best Luxury Cars for the Buck,” commenting on its “beautifully styled interior, including bolstered, perforated leather seats and available voice recognition system,” plus the fact that it’s “one of the least expensive cars for running costs at any price.” Consumer Guide says TL is “packed with safety features” and the “base model…is the better choice in this lineup.” But the ride is somewhat stiff and handling not up to German competitors.
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