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Aug. 10, 2020, 5:05 a.m. EDT

The best small luxury cars of the year

From Audis and Alfas to Jaguars and Infinitis, they are better than ever

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By Autotrader


Audi
The Audi A4

Small luxury cars are a great way to enter the world of automotive luxury without spending a fortune. With the best examples offering a satisfying blend of practicality, performance, luxury, and the latest technology, small luxury cars in 2020 are better than ever.

Here are the best small luxury cars of 2020.

1. Audi A4 — $37,400

The Audi A4 sits at the top of our list for doing just about everything well. It has a conservative sense of elegance inside and out, the ride is comfortable, and it offers a tremendous range of turbocharged engines that are both powerful and efficient. This Audi got a nice refresh for 2020 with updated styling and a more user-friendly touch screen infotainment system than the one it replaces. Our only complaint is the pricey options like active safety features that come standard on some more affordable offerings. 


2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class — $41,400


Mercedes-Benz
The Mercedes-Benz C class

Available as a sedan, coupe, or convertible there’s a Mercedes-Benz C-Class for everyone in the market for a small luxury car. Having been a segment benchmark for decades, the C-Class continues to be a well-rounded luxury car that blends luxury, performance, and technology in one attractive package. The starting price is a bit high for this class, but this Benz has a generous list of standard options, which now includes blind-spot monitoring and a 10.25-inch infotainment system for 2020. 

3. BMW 3 Series — $41,250


BMW USA
The BMW 3 series

Coming in right behind its longtime rival, the BMW 3 Series is another segment benchmark that continues to be a standard-bearer in its class in 2020. Its legacy as a driver’s car is intact with an engaging driving experience and a fun-to-drive character no matter which powertrain configuration you go with. It’s also quite practical with a roomy cabin and trunk and excellent fuel economy from its base engine. However, be warned; the infotainment system has a bit of a learning curve. 


4. Genesis G70 —$35,450

The Genesis G70 blew us away when it came out in 2019 arriving in a super competitive segment that could go toe-to-toe with established class leaders that have been in the game for decades. Not only is the G70 really that good, but it comes with a price tag that just might make it the best value in compact luxury sedans. Performance is excellent, especially from the available twin-turbo V6, and it comes with tons of standard features making every trim a great value. What holds it back from a higher ranking on this list is so-so fuel economy and cramped back seats. 


5. Volvo S60— $36,050


Volvo
The Volvo S60

Volvo has always been a quirky alternative to more mainstream European luxury cars and the Volvo S60 is no exception. It may not have the finely-tuned sporty handling of more expensive rivals, but we love the distinct styling of the S60 and it offers a very upscale interior for the money. The ride is smooth and the strong powertrain options have something for everyone. As good as the S60 is, it’s a bit oddly proportioned with a pretty roomy cabin, but a disappointingly small trunk. Also, the infotainment controls are downright confusing. 


6. Infiniti Q50— $36,400


Infiniti
The Infiniti Q50

The Infiniti Q50 is an often-overlooked luxury sedan, but it’s quite a good buy for shoppers who prioritize value and comfort over performance. It’s been a while since the last redesign of the Q50 and it’s starting to show its age, particularly in the interior, but its virtues include a roomy cabin, two strong V6 engine options, and an enjoyable driving experience for both the driver and the passengers. Android Auto and Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -3.17%   CarPlay become standard features in the Q50 for 2020, but the dual-screen infotainment system is a bit confusing. 


7. Lexus IS— $38,560

The current-generation Lexus IS is in its final model year before a redesigned 2021 IS arrives in showrooms, but the 2020 IS still has a lot going for it. It has the rock-solid reliability rating that Lexus is famous for plus a luxurious, comfortable interior and a refined driving experience. However, there are a lot of small gripes with the IS that add up like unimpressive fuel economy, a small trunk, a frustrating infotainment system, and an interior design that is showing its age. Also, its price is a bit high for a Japanese luxury car. The current IS is good, but the all-new version that’s on the way will likely be worth the wait. 


8. Acura TLX — $33,000

The Acura TLX is on the bigger side of the small luxury car class blurring the line between compact and midsize. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a comfortable, roomy luxury sedan with an attractive price tag making it a strong value. It’s not as sporty or as fancy as many of its rivals, but it makes a strong case for value because of its low cost of entry and for practicality with its spacious interior. There’s an all-new TLX on the way for 2021 which looks like it will be worth the wait, but in the meantime, the 2020 TLX is still a good buy for drivers looking for a comfortable luxury car that won’t break the bank. 


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9. Alfa Romeo Giulia — $39,400


Alfa Romeo
The Alfa Romeo Giulia

The stunning Italian design of the Alfa Romeo Giulia might be its greatest strength, but other than that, there isn’t much that makes this sedan stand out from its competitors. It’s certainly a sporty sport sedan with impressive performance from its two available engine and true sports car-like handling. However, it’s a bit lacking in practicality with a small trunk and tight rear-seat space. If you’re looking for a stylish car that’s a blast to drive, the Giulia is worth a look, but for most luxury car shoppers, better value can be found elsewhere. 


10. Jaguar XE — $39,900

The Jaguar XE suffers from a case of not being a bad car, but not being good enough to really compete with the best small luxury cars of 2020. With a pretty rich starting price, it’s hard to argue the Jag as a value proposition when you can get more car for your money from most of its rivals. That said, the XE has some of the classiest styling in its class and it’s enjoyable to drive. Plus, it got some minor styling updates for 2020 along with more standard and available features, but it dropped the V6 and turbo-diesel options as well. 


Also see: These are the most popular cars this summer

11. Cadillac CT4 — $32,995

As of this writing, we haven’t given the Cadillac CT4 an official rating yet. This newcomer replaces the outgoing Cadillac ATS as the brand’s entry-level sedan and what we can say is that it has an attractive aesthetic and an even more attractive price tag. The CT4 doesn’t quite have the prestige or the performance of the top players in this class, but it’s a strong value choice in compact luxury sedans.

Also see: These 3 EVs are the lowest cost to own over 5 years

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com .

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