Luxury car and SUV sales are on the rise in recent years, making even some non-premium brands develop upscale vehicles. More customers are opting for better interiors with higher-quality materials, a quieter and more comfortable ride, and the desirability that a premium badge brings to the table.
But, what are the best-selling models of luxury cars and SUVs in America? We compiled the ultimate list of every luxury vehicle to give you that answer, plus a short review so you can have a clearer picture– we wouldn’t recommend them all!
Audi’s answer to the C-Class and the 3-Series is the clean-looking A4. Unlike its bitter German rivals, the A4 doesn’t impress with the dynamics, although it still feels stable at higher speeds. More importantly, the Audi A4 is a comfortable mile-eater, with excellent ride quality and a quiet cabin.
Moreover, the interior is very nicely laid-out with excellent ergonomics, comfortable seats, and generous space. The material quality is also second to none, and the fit and finish are top-notch. All available engines are also powerful and efficient, while the Quattro AWD system provides all-weather capabilities. It’s no coincidence, then, that the Audi A4 is popular among buyers.
The Infiniti Q50 shows that buyers aren’t always interested in the latest bells and whistles or the highest-quality interior. The Japanese sedan isn’t bad in that regard, but it still lags significantly behind the German competition. Notably, the infotainment system feels dated, and the material quality is questionable in some places.
However, Infiniti did the basics right – the Q50 feels dynamic enough through the corners, yet it also offers a smooth ride. The seats are also very comfortable and supportive, and the engine provides good thrust forward. Besides, the Q50 also undercuts its German rivals in terms of price, making it a very popular choice in the US.
Audi A5 / A5 Sportback
The Audi A5 takes everything that’s good about the A4 and puts it in a more desirable body. The A5 actually comes in two body configurations – a two-door coupe and a five-door coupe. Five-door? Yes, the longer version has a fifth “liftback” style door, making it more practical than the A4 sedan. Did we say it also looks much sexier?
Inside, you’ll enjoy similar amounts of space as the A4, although the interior is similar. That’s not a bad thing, of course, because Audi makes great interiors. Oh, and the A5 is slightly better to drive. No wonder it’s increasingly popular among younger buyers.
The BMW 3-Series has always been the sedan for drivers that wanted to have fun behind the wheel, and the latest model is no exception to the rule. Hence, the G20 3-Series is still a blast to drive on a twisty road and has engines to match that mantra.
However, the 3-Series can also be a relaxed cruiser when you need it. The interior is also nicely appointed and looks modern, and has enough space for the family. It’s no coincidence, then, that it continues to be one of the best-selling luxury compact cars in the US, but also globally.
The Swedish idea of luxury is all about simplicity, functionality, minimalism, and well-being. The Volvo S60 interior perfectly embodies these qualities, with a design that’s easy on the eyes and high-quality materials that feel luxurious to the touch. It’s not as flashy as the German-made autos inside, but that’s the whole idea.
The outer design carries similar styling cues and looks very elegant. The S60 isn’t as fun to drive as the German or Japanese competition, though, but that probably won’t play nice with the Scandinavian minimalism. Instead, the Volvo S60 all about maximum comfort and solace on longer trips.
Much like the Audi A5 is a sportier version of the A4, the BMW 4-Series is the same for the 3-Series. BMW’s model is also available as a coupe, convertible, and four-door coupe. All models are very dynamic and fun to drive fast but remain comfortable, even at higher speeds.
More importantly, the 4-Series Gran Coupe incorporates a fifth “hatchback” door, which creates a larger opening and makes the trunk more useful. Besides, one could argue that the 4-Series looks better than the 3-Series, although that was at the expense of rear-seat comfort, which is far from stellar.
Mercedes-Benz has been and will be an aspiring brand for many people, even those who can’t afford it. Fortunately, nowadays the entry into owning a new Mercedes-Benz is lower than even, thanks to the compact A-Class sedan. Based on the hatchback of the same name in Europe, the sedan brings style and lavishness at an attainable price point.
Mercedes’ smallest sedan looks very attractive on the outside, with an interior that might be even more impressive. The cabin is also comfortable and spacious, although the cargo area isn’t very competitive. Still, the A-Class drives very well, making it a great choice for younger buyers.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is easily one of the most accomplished sedans you can buy. It has an outstanding interior that doesn’t look out of place in cars that are double the price, it provides excellent performance, and is very comfortable. Sure, it might not be the most dynamic sedan out there, but most drivers care about comfort, anyway.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled an all-new C-Class for 2021, which will only be available with four-cylinder engines. For additional power, the company will use electricity, so expect some rapid plug-in hybrid AMG models. The current-gen is still an excellent car, but you might want to wait a few months for the all-new C-Class.
Lexus finally updated the aging IS for the 2021 MY. However, although the new model looks different on the outside, it still sits on the same platform. It looks striking from every angle, though. It also provides the driver with an excellent feel through the steering wheel and very good driving dynamics. Besides, like most Lexus models, you can expect a quiet and comfortable ride.
However, not everything is rosy. The 2021 Lexus IS shows its age inside, particularly in the infotainment system, which looks and feels dated. The materials are excellent, but then again, there is not much space for cargo and passengers. It’s no coincidence that it sells worse than the German competition.
The Acura ILX often flies under the radar in the subcompact sedan segment, and we can understand why. Particularly, the exterior looks a bit dated compared to other premium models, like the A-Class sedan, and the interior doesn’t do anything to fix that. It not only looks old-fashioned, but the material quality is also not on-par with the German rivals or Lexus.
Besides, the rear seats can feel cramped for larger passengers, and the driving experience is not particularly fun. However, buyers still opt for the ILX thanks to the traditional values it offers. Notably, it comes with more equipment and costs less than the German rivals, and also promises much better reliability in the long term.
Anyone that ever sat behind the steering wheel of the Kia Stinger will tell you that it’s a great car. The Korean sedan drives well through the corners and is comfortable on longer journeys. It also looks quite attractive on the outside, and the recently-updated engines provide enough oomph for spirited driving.
So, why doesn’t it sell as well as the German rivals? Well, it’s all about desirability. Kia is not a brand that you’d associate with luxury and it seems like nothing can change that. Besides, although the interior is fine for the price, it’s far from the poshness of the German rivals.
The CLA-Class is similar in dimensions to the A-Class, albeit with a sportier look and heart. It looks a bit more aggressive on the outside, and the engines are slightly more powerful. The suspension is also tighter, making the CLA-Class handle corners with a bit more speed.
However, what you get in style and driving enjoyment, you’ll lose in practicality. Notably, the sloping roof cuts headroom space on the read seats, and the trunk area isn’t as accessible. Fortunately, the CLA-Class retains the stunning interior from the A-Class, which has set a new benchmark in the subcompact category with material choice and features.
Genesis started pretty well for a new luxury brand, but it still has a long way to go to catch the German and Japanese rivals. Its entry-level model, the G70, somehow embodies that, although you should note that Genesis recently unveiled an all-new model, which looks very promising on paper.
Still, the current model lags behind the competition in crucial areas, such as interior design and tech features. It’s also not very roomy or practical. However, Genesis used high-quality materials throughout, and at least behind the wheel, the G70 is a joy to drive. Besides, the 3.3T engine is very potent, pushing the Korean luxury sedan to 60mph in only 4.7 seconds.
The Audi A3 has long been the top choice among customers looking for entry-level luxury cars. However, Audi’s subcompact sedan is an old model by now, with the A-Class and CLA-Class retaking A3’s place as a class leader. Fortunately, Audi has launched an all-new A3 for 2022 MY, which brings numerous improvements to the table.
The outgoing model is still a good car, with a nice interior, a fun-to-drive demeanor, and potent, yet efficient engines. Nonetheless, it does start to show its age in the styling department, both inside and outside, and the cabin isn’t particularly roomy or practical.
Since its inception as a brand, BMW took pride in providing excellent driving dynamics. And, up until today, the BMW’s simple recipe for driving fun was: engine in the front, power in the back, and ideal weight distribution. However, BMW changed that with the 1-Series and 2-Series Gran Coupe, both of which use a Mini-derived front-wheel-drive platform.
The Bavarian giant did that to cut costs and make the vehicles more practical, and it succeeded. However, the move also rejected many enthusiasts, and that shows in the sale numbers. Fortunately, BMW still offers the 2-Series coupe and convertible in RWD form, both probably the best drivers’ cars in the brand’s lineup.
Infiniti has long tried to differentiate its coupe offering from the Nissan 370Z, and with the latest naming scheme, it finally succeeded. However, that doesn’t hide the fact that the Q60 sits on the same platform as the 370Z, which is a decade-old model by now.
Should that worry you, though? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for in a compact coupe. The Q60 is undeniably beautiful with sleek lines. The engine is very potent, and the chassis still feels balanced. That wasn’t enough to lure buyers from German coupes, which do the exact same things, while also having much higher-quality cabins and an even more refined ride.
The Lexus RC has almost the same problems as the Infiniti Q60 – it looks striking on the outside, has a good engine selection, and even a high-performance “F” model with a 472-HP V8.
Sadly, though, the RC is also based on an old platform. It’s actually a combination of the IS (front) and GS (rear) sedans. As a result, it weighs more than it should, which hurts performance and driving dynamics. Like always, Lexus offers an excellent interior with high-quality materials, but the tech inside looks and feels antiquated. It’s still a good buy if you’re interested in style and reliability, but don’t expect it to light your pants on fire.
The Jaguar XE lags far behind the best-selling compact luxury cars, and there are a few reasons for that. The first one is brand desirability – buyers simply don’t think of Jaguar when purchasing luxury cars.
On top of that, the XE’s interior feels a bit dated, and the material quality isn’t on par with Mercedes-Benz or Audi. If that wasn’t enough, Jaguar’s compact sedan is far from practical – the rear bench is tight, and the cargo area is small. The problem is, customers see these things without even test-driving the car – if they did that, they might’ve been tempted by the excellent driving dynamics and great steering feel.
The Cadillac CT4 follows the brand’s muscular and dynamic style on the outside, and we must admit, it looks quite attractive. However, Cadillac hasn’t followed the same mantra inside. The interior looks interesting, but the material quality is far from the class average – German and Japanese rivals are simply more classy. Besides, passengers on the rear bench won’t be happy with the amount of space.
Fortunately, the CT4 has a very important redeeming quality – it’s a blast to drive. From the potent engine to the playful chassis, the Cadillac CT4 is among the most entertaining sports sedans out there.
The Arteon is one of the best-looking luxury compact cars on sale, especially if you pull towards elegance. It’s also surprisingly practical – the interior seats four adults in absolute comfort, the trunk is huge, and the rear hatch door makes it even more practical.
However, VW isn’t a very desirable brand among premium buyers, especially since the Volkswagen Group already has Audi as a competitor there. The Arteon also has other problems, like an interior that doesn’t feel premium and a Passat-like driving experience. Besides, the 2.0-liter turbo-four isn’t particularly fast, nor it produces good noise.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is an Italian take on the compact sports sedan, with eye-catching looks inside and outside. It also drives like a proper sports car – the chassis is playful, and the engines are very potent. Alfa Romeo also offers a Quadrifoglio version, which is a real rocket. If you’re an enthusiast driver, few sedans do it better than the Giulia.
Sadly, though, the Giulia lags behind in many other areas and consequently, in sales. In particular, the interior feels cramped, the materials are a step behind its German and Japanese rivals, and the ride is stiff.
Now that we exhausted every compact luxury car, why not see the most popular compact luxury crossovers? The list starts with the Audi Q5, an SUV that buyers can’t have enough of, and there are numerous reasons for that.
Apart from the smart and elegant exterior styling, the Q5 has arguably the best cabin in the category. The design and materials are top-notch, and there is ample space for adult passengers. The cargo area is also among the largest you’ll find. Add a quiet and comfortable ride, good driving manners, and powerful engines, and it becomes obvious why the Q5 is so popular.
Although the NX is an antiquated model by now, it continues to be very popular in the US. Lexus’ compact crossover probably lures buyers using its larger mid-size brother, the RX, which is still the most popular luxury vehicle in the nation. In other words, those that can’t afford the RX usually go for the NX.
However, that doesn’t make the NX good – it actually lags behind its closest competitors. Particularly, the infotainment system looks very old and doesn’t suit a 2021 luxury vehicle. Fortunately, Lexus will launch a vastly-improved version this year with all-new infotainment and a modern plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The GLC-Class takes everything good about Mercedes-Benz and packs it in a more compact package. Although less pricey than the GLE-Class, Mercedes’ compact crossover continues to impress with the interior, which looks and feels classy. It also offers ample space for passengers and cargo and excellent infotainment hardware and software interface.
Besides, being a Mercedes-Benz, it provides a posh driving experience – the cabin is hushed, and the suspension irons out bumps easily. The engines are also strong, although this is not the best option for enthusiast drivers. Still, the classy nature of the GLC-Class is enough to lure thousands of buyers into Mercedes-Benz dealerships every year.
Acura RDX’s exterior design undoubtedly plays a big role in the model’s popularity in the US. It looks sporty, without being too aggressive or imposing. The interior continues with the good-looking theme while also being very ergonomic for the driver. Acura should replace the touchpad interface for the infotainment with a touchscreen, though.
Regardless, there is enough room for adult passengers inside, and the cargo area is sufficiently large. Acura also made sure the RDX drives well, especially with the SH-AWD model, which has torque-vectoring to aid in cornering. Ultimately, the RDX costs less than its German competition, which is a very big magnet for buyers.
The X1 carries the title of “BMW’s smallest crossover,” but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not practical. BMW used every trick it has to make the interior roomier and more practical, and it succeeded. Four passengers will ride in good comfort, and there is enough cargo room for the family.
Moreover, the X1 drives very well through the corners, just like any other BMW, and it is also quiet and comfortable. Drivers will also be satisfied with the power on tap from every available engine. The infotainment uses a generation-old interface, though, but customers don’t seem to care – it still sells in the tens of thousands.
BMW X3’s larger brother brings several improvements to the table. First and foremost, thanks to the larger dimensions, the interior is even roomier, providing passengers with absolute comfort. There is also more room for cargo, and the material quality is higher. However, the X3 still uses the old i-Drive infotainment interface, which looks dated to Mercedes’ system in the GLC-Class.
Nonetheless, the X3 still provides an outstanding driving experience – it’s agile in the corners, yet comfortable and quiet. The engines pull very strongly, too, while also being very economical. It’s no coincidence, then, that it’s very popular among families in the US.
The Cadillac XT4 has one of the smartest-looking exteriors of any compact luxury SUV. It looks sporty and energetic, but it also has an elegant and classy side. The styling alone is a big reason why buyers are attracted to it, but the XT4 has other things going for it. Namely, the cabin is very spacious, both for passengers and cargo, and looks modern.
However, the XT4 still lags behind the German competition in material quality. It’s also not as quiet as you’d expect from a luxury vehicle, and we’d like to see improvements in the ride quality.
Tesla Model Y
If you only judge a luxury vehicle by the quality of materials and fit and finish, the Model Y would certainly not fit the bill. The plastics inside are hard and feel cheap, and the finish is questionable in places. However, what the Model Y lacks in perceived quality, it compensates with the driving experience.
Since it drives on electric power, the Model Y is mega-fast in a straight line. It also feels stable through the corners, although the heavy batteries spoil the agility. Still, the Model Y provides by far the longest range of any luxury compact EV, the infotainment interface is the most intuitive, and the cabin is very spacious. If you want an EV, this is the one to go for.
The Audi Q3 borrows everything good about the larger Q5 and throws it in a smaller body. Notably, the interior boasts a modern infotainment system and generally good ergonomics, ample space for passengers, and a spacious cargo area. The Q3 is also very good to drive, thanks to the dynamic chassis, while also being very quiet and comfortable.
It’s not all rosy, though – the material quality is questionable at places since it looks like it’s borrowed from some Volkswagen vehicles. Still, buyers don’t seem to care, as the Q3 continues to sell in the thousands.
Volvo’s sales numbers can’t compare directly to the German and Japanese competition, but the Swedish brand has a very loyal customer base. A quick look at the XC60 will show you why – Volvo’s compact SUV looks minimalistic yet classy on the outside, and the interior follows suit with a simple yet luxurious design.
The XC60 also provides ample space for passengers and cargo and has probably the best seats in the business. Besides, the Swedish SUV is quiet and comfortable on the road, adding to the zen experience inside the cabin. We would like to see an improved infotainment interface, though.
The Infiniti QX50 doesn’t sell badly, but it’s still way behind bitter rivals from Lexus and Acura. We can’t be sure why customers prefer the competition, but it’s probably the CVT transmission, which doesn’t feel very natural to drive. Besides, Infiniti definitely has to work on its infotainment interface.
Other than that, the QX50 is a very accomplished luxury SUV. The cabin is spacious, both for passengers and cargo, the material quality is very good, and the driving experience is posh. We especially like the serene and comfortable ride, even at higher speeds.
Mercedes-Benz has recently completely redesigned the GLA-Class, making it much more spacious than the cramped first-gen model. Since it’s a new model, the sales are still ramping up, so expect it to climb up the table in 2021, especially because the new model is an excellent all-rounder.
The 2021 GLA-Class has a very spacious cabin, larger cargo area and looks quite attractive on the outside. Mercedes has also brought its A-game in the infotainment interface, which now features two large screens. However, you’ll need to pay extra to have the best infotainment experience, and it won’t be cheap. Other upgrades are also very costly, quickly pushing the price to the stratosphere.
The Porsche Macan doesn’t sell as well as other offerings for the simple reason that it’s more expensive, especially after you add some options. The lack of space and practicality may also detract some customers, but we are really nitpicking here – it should still be good for a family with two kids.
Overall, the Macan is one of the most accomplished compact luxury SUVs on the market. It comes with powerful engines and drives like a sports car, yet it remains quiet and comfortable. The cabin also boasts very high-quality plastics, and the infotainment is very modern.
Buick made big strides toward the best compact luxury SUVs with the all-new Envision. Although the Germans remain an ultimately better proposition, the Envision has some notable advantages. For instance, it costs less than other premium rivals, and the options are also less expensive.
Furthermore, the cabin is very spacious, both for passengers and cargo, and in regular Buick fashion, the ride is very quiet and comfortable. We also think that is looks sweet on the outside and inside. Still, Buick needs to work on the material quality inside to climb on the top. Regardless, expect sales number to grow in the coming years.
The GMC Terrain sits on the same platform as the Buick Envision and shares some traits, like the roomy cabin and large cargo area. However, in attempt to make it sportier, GMC spoiled the ride quality. Now, this means that the Terrain is better to drive in the corners, but that won’t matter much after the recent ax of the more powerful 252-HP 2.0-liter turbo-four.
GMC also didn’t do anything about the interior, which looks and feels cheap, questioning the “luxury” adjective. It’s no coincidence, then, that sales in 2020 were more than 15% lower than the year before. Let’s see what the 2021 facelift can do for GMC’s compact luxury SUV.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is an odd duckling in the compact luxury SUV category since it focuses on performance rather than practicality. The result is by far the best drivers’ SUV south of Lamborghini Urus, with swift and responsive steering, excellent chassis dynamics, and very potent engines. That’s especially true for the 505 HP Quadrifoglio model, which provides supercar-like driving fun.
However, the interior disappoints with the material quality, and Alfa Romeo also isn’t very good with the fit and finish. Moreover, rear-seat passengers won’t be happy with the amount of space on offer, and the cargo area is limited.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class shares the platform with the GLA-Class but puts a boxier body on top. Some might prefer the sportier look of the GLA-Class; still, in every other area, the GLB-Class is clearly the better SUV. Notably, the interior is outstandingly roomy for passengers, and the cargo area is surprisingly big. Besides, you still get the new-gen Mercedes infotainment, classy design, and excellent materials.
Now, you won’t have much fun behind the wheel since the suspension is tuned for comfort, and the engines aren’t very potent. However, those things don’t matter much in SUVs, so expect sales numbers to grow in the coming years.
The UX is an attractive subcompact luxury SUV, but it probably won’t bring Lexus many customers. That’s because the Japanese brand focused on styling rather than practicality. Notably, the rear bench is cramped, and the small windows only add fuel to the fire, while the cargo area lags behind the competition by a significant margin.
Lexus also offers only one engine in the US, which isn’t particularly potent. That’s a shame because the UX corners flat and with poise, while the suspension remains comfortable over bumps. The interior also boasts excellent materials, but the infotainment system feels dated.