Luxury car brands offering models at prices many can afford

Luxury car brands usually command premium prices.

Well, anyway, more than most Americans can afford to spend on a new vehicle.

For example, it might be difficult to imagine purchasing a Jaguar, Tesla, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz or a few other luxury brands on a mainstream budget.

But that calculation is changing as luxury, or premium, brands go for more mainstream consumers.

Jaguar XE luxury car brand
Photo: Jaguar via Newspress USA
The XE is one of two Jaguars among affordable cars from luxury brands.

With the current average transaction price soaring past $36,500, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), some premium brands are running against the current by offering models starting under $40,000 manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and some for even less than $35,000.

In an unscientific study, we looked for affordable models (under $40,000) from so-called luxury brands. We did not include luxury vehicles from brands considered more mainstream.

So, for example, while the Toyota Avalon XLE may be a premium model, Toyota offers mostly mainstream vehicles from the Yaris with a $16,530 starting MSRP, according to TrueCar.com, to the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, Tacoma, Tundra, Sienna and others between $20,000 and $36,500.

You also won’t find Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Chevrolet or Ford models on the list even though they offer many well-regarded mainstream vehicles.

(Of course, Porsche, Aston Martin, Maserati, Bugatti and Lamborghini don’t appear on the list, either.)

Here are the 26 mainstream vehicles – 27 if you count the Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van – which provide affordability from brands typically associated with luxury.

The 10 brands represented are listed alphabetically, then from lowest to highest starting MSRP.

Affordable luxury

(Starting MSRPs from TrueCar.com)

Audi

Audi A3 – $33,495

Audi Q3 – $33,875

Audi A4 – $38,395

BMW

BMW X1 – $35,945

BMW 2 Series – $36,295

BMW X2 – $37,395

Cadillac

Cadillac XT4 – $35,790

Cadillac ATS – $39,990

Infiniti

Infiniti QX30 – $31,245

Infiniti Q50 – $36,645

Infiniti QX50 – $37,545

Jaguar

Jaguar XE – $37,990

Jaguar E-PACE – $39,895

Lexus

Lexus UX – $33,175

Lexus NX – $37,510

Lexus IS – $39,585

Lincoln

Lincoln MKC – $34,990

Lincoln MKZ – $36,990

Lincoln MKX – $39,960

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Metris – $31,845

Mercedes-Benz A-Class – $33,495

Mercedes-Benz CLA – $34,095

Mercedes-Benz GLA – $34,945

Tesla

Tesla Model 3 – $36,200

Volvo

Volvo XC40 – $34,695

Volvo S60 – $36,795

Volvo V60 – $39,895

KBB highest rated

About half the vehicles above got at least a four-star expert rating out of five from Kelley Blue Book, and all but one received at least a four-star consumer rating.

  1. Volvo XC40 – $34,695
  2. Audi A4 – $38,395
  3. Audi A3 – $33,495
  4. Mercedes-Benz CLA – $34,095
  5. BMW X1 – $35,945
  6. BMW 2 Series – $36,295
  7. Infiniti Q50 – $36,645
  8. Lexus IS – $39,585
  9. Infiniti QX30 – $31,245
  10. Lexus NX – $37,510
  11. Infiniti QX50 – $37,545
  12. Mercedes-Benz GLA – $34,945
  13. Lincoln MKC – $34,990
  14. Cadillac ATS – $39,990

This list provides a lot of good options to consider if your heart is set on purchasing a vehicle from a luxury brand even if you have a mainstream budget.

And more than a dozen even if you’re determined to stay under the average vehicle price.

It’s a lot of luxury for the price.

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