Best luxury cars for 2021
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 - something that luxury models can often struggle with.
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. Scroll down to find out which models exhibit these traits, so you know which to avoid.
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. Below are the best luxury cars, both new and used.
Best new luxury large cars
Best new luxury large estates
Best new luxury medium and large SUVs
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 large estates
Best used luxury medium and large SUVs
What to avoid when buying a luxury car
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.
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
We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else
Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations, and because Which? is independent, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about every car we test.
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.