Best New Luxury Cars Under $30,000

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - February 5, 2015

Luxury car manufacturers like to hook buyers early on in life, get them addicted, and create a customer for life. This is where the sub-$30,000 luxury car comes into play. Most fresh-out-of-college young executives can’t quite swing that Mercedes-Benz C-Class payment yet, but they sure do want the prestige attached to a premium brand name.

While you may not find brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW meddling in this price range, there is one famed German brand that offers a car just under $30,000 -- and plenty of second-tier luxury brands that have rigs to fit a younger buyer’s budget. To help you get a grip on what’s out there for you, we’ve come up with the four best luxury cars that fall under the $30,000 mark. Keep in mind that some of these cars don’t fit in their base format, and will need some extra options to truly fit the bill as a luxury car.

See more top luxury car picks in our 2015 buying guides »

Our Pick: 2015 Audi A3

Audi A3

In a class often dominated by its upscale German rivals, the Audi A3 sneaks into the number one slot, thanks to its plentiful features, outstanding design and a price tag that just barely comes in under $30,000. At the base price of $29,900, the 2015 A3 Premium comes standard with a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces a respectable 170 horses and 200 pound-feet of torque. Sure, its power may not be the greatest, but its comfortable ride, 33-mpg highway rating, and standard features that include leather seating, silver inlays, 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, dual-zone climate control and 10-speaker audio system all make it one of the best buys in the luxury car world. In 2014, the A3 would be fighting strong competition from the CLA-Class, but for 2015, the CLA-Class has jumped to $31,500, putting it out of the picture.

Second Place: 2015 Acura ILX

Acura ILX

With a base price of $27,050 and legendary Honda quality, the ILX is a sleeper in the sub-$30,000 luxury car world. We recommend bumping up to the 2.4-liter model with the Premium Package, which chimes in at $29,350. This nets you a 2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder that develops 201 horsepower and a six-speed manual gearbox. Standard features on this entry-level Acura include 17-inch alloys, fog lights, perforated leather seats with red contrast stitching, active sound control, stainless steel sport pedals, a seven-speaker audio system, and a five-inch color display. Note: There is a refreshed 2016 ILX right around the corner that comes standard with the 2.4-liter engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, but there is no mention of pricing yet.

See the best luxury sedans for 2015 »

Third Place: 2015 Buick Verano

Buick Verano

When one dives into the sub-$30,000 luxury car realm, a little creativity has to come into play, and that involves looking at tier-two luxury brands like Buick. The Verano has a base price of just $23,380, making it an insane bargain. However, to make this list, you’ll need to pack on the options. Jumping into the Leather Group trim level bumps the price to $27,975 and comes with premium features like 18-inch wheels, leather seating, a Bose premium sound system and all the safety goodies you need. Even after adding in a moonroof, the Verano still costs a mere $28,625. Unfortunately, you are stuck with the 180-horsepower 2.4-liter engine -- the range-topping Turbo model with the 250-horsepower 2-liter engine is just a tad over our $30,000 budget.

Fourth Place: 2015 Chrysler 200

Chrysler 200

The Chrysler 200 is another tiny luxury car that’ll make your penny squeal. Starting out at just $21,800, it is the cheapest model on our list, but loading it up with all the features needed for the luxury buyer, you’ll need to bump up to the $26,325 Chrysler 200C. At this level, the 200C comes standard with bi-function halogen headlights, ambient interior lighting, heated mirrors, a six-speaker Uconnect 5.0 infotainment system, leather seating with power driver and passenger seats, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Under the hood is a standard 2.4-liter engine that delivers 184 horses and mates to a fuel-saving nine-speed auto transmission. For those needing more grunt, there’s a 3.6-liter V6 that bumps output to 295 horses and increases the price to $28,320. You can even add in the Premium Lighting Group package, which includes HID headlights and LED fog lights, and still slide in under $30,000. If you need all-wheel drive, the 200C has you covered, but you’ll need to delete all of your options, as the 200C AWD bases at $29,520.

Search for affordable new cars here »

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website