Decision Guide


15 'extremes' of the truck world15 'extremes' of the truck world

Standout pickups — from horsepower and torque to mileage and towing.



Mar 22, 2013 1:28PM
Not many years ago most of these so called Luxury vehicles could be purchased for around $30K, now they are just under $40K, too bad everyone in the market for a new vehicle hasn't seen their wages go up this fast.
Mar 22, 2013 12:47PM

Since the list is 20 Luxury cars under $40,000 shouldnt the 3 cars over $40,000 not qualify?

Mar 23, 2013 7:34AM
The sad part is, not all these vehicles qualify as luxury cars to begin with. The Audi and BMW, and Mercedes are pint size sport sedans with some nice fit and finished interiors, but there are many cars today narrowing the gap on the features of these noted so called luxury cars. Audi and BMW aside from their handling characteristics, are NOT worth the money they ask, yet I continue to see people packed in them things like sardines. Just two days ago I saw a man and his wife probably in their 60's driving a new BMW 328 with two passengers in the back. These looked uncomfortable as hell....all of them. The 135 and 320 are a poor persons BMW for a ridiculous price...same with the Audis. An A4 can set you back far more than 40K while loaded they are realistically worth 35K.  Even the over priced Acura TL is larger and roomier than those cars.  A luxury car is a comfortable car and it does not specify having to be nimble. The Maxima can be obtained for far less than 39K loaded, more like 34k with more room and features than any of the three German auto makers for the money. The 300C is a loaded luxury vehicle lock, stock, and barrel. You may have LUXURY AMENITIES in your little two bit luxury sport sedans, with tiny 2.0l motors and turbos straining to pull them 2 tons things, but you cannot call many of the price gouging shoes boxes LUXURY CARS!!
Mar 9, 2013 2:33AM
My random thoughts (biased as I am towards the performance side of the equation):
Meh. Dressed up Hondas. I guess they might be reliable like Hondas at least.
Audi A4 Allroad:
I like Audis, but have no use for tall AWD station wagons. Buy a proper A4.
BMW 135i Coupe:
In no way is it a luxury car, but that said, it's a hell of a sports coupe.
BMW 3-series:
Lots of people love them, but I'm not interested.
Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac ATS:
Stablemates that from what I've heard are above average sporty mid-luxury sedans. And attractive, too. Way to go GM.
Cadillac CTS Coupe:
I really like the sedan and wagon (especially in -V form!), but for some reason (that heavy-looking ****-end maybe?) I just can't bring myself to like the style of the coupe.
Chrysler 300:
Style and interior are light-years ahead of the previous gen. I like it a lot and would buy a 300 SRT8 over the Charger if I was buying one today.
Ford Taurus:
I'll damn it with faint praise: it's a decent looker, but MyFord Touch will completely keep me out of Fords until above version 25.0. Chrysler rules that space over all manufacturers with their uConnect.
Hyundai Genesis:
I remember Ponys & Stellars from when they were first introduced in Canada, but I won't hold that against them. Any Hyundai is a very nice car nowadays.
Infiniti G37:
Nicely upgraded Nissan. The G35 was actually on my short list when I was shopping before I bought my SRT8.
Lexus ES 350:
A mid-luxury appliance. There's nothing good or bad to be said about it for people who want to forget they're driving.
Lexus IS 250:
A surprisingly sporty(ish) car from Toyota. I looked at an IS-F briefly.
Lincoln MKZ:
What a looker! Unfortunately, it's got MyFord Touch, too.
Mercedes-Benz C250:
Can't go wrong with a MB. I'd go for the CLA45 AMG myself, but it's 10,000 more than the cap in this article.
Nissan Maxima SV:
Another "they're OK I guess".
Subaru Legacy 3.6R:
Nice car with the famous boxer engine and Subaru's bulletproof AWD. Great car for the snowbelt.
Toyota Avalon:
Ugh. That nose! An unattractive version of an appliance for people who don't like to know they're driving.
Volkswagon CC:
Very nice looking sedan, but I get mixed signals from VW owners that I know with the "I will definitely/definitely not buy another" reports.

Flaming starts in 3. 2. 1...
Mar 22, 2013 12:34PM
If I had $40K laying around, I sure wouldn't spend it any of these cars.  I would buy a used, two-year-old version of a vehicle I really wanted and invest the rest of the money.  Or better yet, I would just keep the car I already have and invest all of the money.  With the possible exception of certain collectable cars, there's not a worse use of money out there than a new car.
Mar 22, 2013 12:08PM

I'm sure they're all nice but I cannot bring myself to spend 40 large for any car let alone a Taurus or 300C.  Call me a snob if you want but I think they are examples of everything that is still wrong with American auto makers. 

Mar 22, 2013 2:11PM

I have an old Acura TL - love the car to pieces but wouldn't buy another one unless the completely redid it.


1. They are downright fugly now.  It needs a complete makeover.

2. Who cares how many HP it has?   Unless you are towing a double wide house, 0-80 is all that matters.

3. The gas mileage sucks.

4. Fix the sound insulation - might as well drive a jeep with the top down.

Mar 10, 2013 5:16AM
It is hard to find true luxury for under $40K, and I'll go along with the Taurus (geezer car), Avalon, (REAL geezer car), Volkswagen (reliability issues), and Maxima (CVT transmission will be trouble) because they are near luxury cars, but I have to take issue with the Subaru. It may be the nicest Subaru out there, but that is no luxury car. I understand that Subaru is truing to move upscale, but if this is their best, they have a long way to go.
Mar 22, 2013 12:30PM
Too much road noise in a Subaru. I like the V-6 2dr Honda Accord just fine over the Acura. Plenty for the money and I'm not spending 50K on an Acura period!
Jun 2, 2013 7:49AM
Hate to break it to you, but most of these aren't considered luxury cars--not even by their manufacturers.
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