With each model year, the term 'luxury' evolves just a bit, it seems—and the idea of what makes a luxury car has changed profoundly in the past decade or two. Everyone associates luxury with step-above comfort, top-tier materials, and exclusivity. That much has remained the same. And if the brand goes above and beyond, and it altogether makes you feel special, or it makes you look better, that's luxury, too.
For some years, luxury cars were also being defined, to some degree, around their interfaces, connectivity, and active safety; but we're seeing all of those things democratized—and that means, delightfully, getting astonishingly good touch-screen interface in a Chevrolet Spark, or a top-performing accident avoidance system in a Subaru Outback.
Where does that leave luxury? Going back to what it does well, being flashier—providing great performance, boosting your image, wowing with technology, and making you feel special. And whether we're pointing to the better-yet Acura MDX crossover or the brand-changing Mercedes-Benz CLA compact, these are vehicles that achieve that.
And as we've already covered with our Best Car To Buy Sedan Nominees, in order to qualify for this shortlist, a vehicle must achieve an Overall Rating of at least 8 out of 10 in our full reviews, representing a composite of Styling, Performance, Comfort, Safety, and Features; vehicles must also be all new (or changed in a way that significantly changes or broadens its appeal), and have an entry price under the $50,000 mark.
Click through the following pages for a quick look at each of our luxury-category Best Car To Buy nominees, and check back for more between now and the big announcement on November 12.