Best luxury cars for 2020
By Daljinder Nagra
Article 14 of 16
The best luxury cars will whisk you from A to B in style, while also delivering reliability, and offering the refinement and comfort you deserve.
For a car to be truly luxurious it needs to be effortless to drive, with a buttery-smooth ride and fantastic interior comfort. But to become a Which? Best Buy, it must also offer reliability and reasonable running costs.
Rather than Rolls-Royces or Bentleys, we focus on more attainable luxury models such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class, the BMW 5 series and 7 Series, and the Audi A6, A7 and A8. And then there are the homegrown Jaguar XF and XJ, and the groundbreaking electric Tesla Model S.
Considering most of these extravagant cars cost over £40,000, you'd expect them to be universally excellent. Sadly, that's not the case.
Awful fuel economy, poor handling and sub-standard boot space are just a few of the problems that separate the best luxury cars from the worst. We've included three models that exhibit these traits and more, so you know which to avoid.
Want to know which luxury car you should buy? Below are the best luxury cars, both new and used. Scroll down further to find the ones that aren't.
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The best new luxury cars
Luxury shouldn't come at the expense of reliability or fuel economy. Our rigorous tests ensure you get a luxury car without something to hide.
Best new luxury cars
Sitting at the very top of this premium manufacturer's model range, you'd expect this model to excel in every respect. Largely it does, being excellent to drive and sit in, as well as boasting the latest in driver safety technology. If you can afford the asking price, you won't be disappointed.
The best used luxury cars
There are plenty of luxury options when buying used, and our experts have selected the very best models on the market.
Best used luxury cars
This brand has great experience with hybrid technology, and this old generation limousine shows it off to great effect. It’s supremely quiet and refined and returned acceptable fuel economy in our tests, despite the hybrid system being mated to a very large petrol engine. It’s also superbly well-made and backed up by the brand’s bomb-proof reliability record.
This popular luxury saloon is very good to drive, whether you opt for a petrol or diesel engine. The diesels are frugal but not quite as inspiring as the petrol versions. The handling and steering are top-drawer. The only real gripes concern visibility and an interior that can be daunting to get used to.
Not seen the car for you? Browse all our luxury car reviews.
And here are the luxury cars to avoid
Luxury cars should be without compromise; flawless and desirable with comfortable, lavish interiors overflowing with the latest technology. All those frills and high-quality materials don’t come cheap, which means many luxury cars will normally cost over £40,000. So you want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely.
No aspect of a luxury car should be overlooked and, when done right, they should be nigh on perfect.
Despite costing a small fortune, some luxury cars don’t fit the mould. Luxury equals space and most models will be comparable to large cars in size. But we’ve found cars with small boots you won’t have a hope of squeezing your golf clubs into.
It’s not just the look and feel of the car that should be luxurious - it needs to be effortless to drive, too. Unresponsive steering that means you need to make many small adjustments to keep the car straight is far from effortless and no fun either. Driving a luxury car should be a pleasure, but some models we’ve tested make it feel like a chore and that’s not what you pay a premium for.
Some luxury cars manage over 50 miles to the gallon. Others can't get over 25.
After spending so much money, long-term fuel costs might not be a huge concern, but you can have your cake and eat it. If you choose the right model, you can have excellent performance and fuel economy. Some luxury cars manage more than 50 miles to the gallon - others can’t get over 25.
These are the cars that didn’t come close to meeting our expectations of what a luxury car should be.
Luxury cars to avoid
This handsome saloon sits at the premium end of the large car market and is excellent to drive. It’s not so excellent for anyone riding in the back, though – the rear of the cabin is cramped, and the boot is too. It’s also performs poorly for reliability. This car isn’t a Don’t Buy, but it isn’t better than the cars it’s aiming to beat either.
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Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track, and on real roads – and we really clock up the miles, driving around 500 miles in every car we test.
Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between cars, helping us determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs.
And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Which? Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.
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