Best Cars Under $50k 2021

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Genesis Motor America

Drive Luxuriously Without Breaking the Bank

Luxury cars may seem out of reach for the average shopper, but that isn’t quite the case. There are lots of reasonably priced options in this segment, from the $33,000 Cadillac CT4 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class to the $35,000BMW 2 Series. The key is to set a reasonable budget and stick to it.

We’ve outlined the best luxury cars of 2021 with starting prices under $50,000.

BMW of North America, LLC

2021 BMW 4 Series

Base Price: $45,600 | Overall Score: TBD

The redesignedBMW 4 Seriesrings in at the upper end of this price range, but it offers the performance, refinement, and technology to back it up. Offered in coupe and convertible models, the 4 Series sports an elegant interior with quality materials, an intuitive infotainment system, comfy seats, and a trove of standard driver assistance features. This BMW strikes a nice balance between handling agility and ride comfort as well, and even the base 430i model packs a muscular turbocharged engine.

Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC

2021 Jaguar XF

Base Price: $43,995 | Overall Score: TBD

Jaguar recently trimmed its sedan lineup to just one model, and this is it. The refreshedJaguar XF sees a big drop in its price and an influx of new tech features, like a curved 11-inch touch screen. The only real drawback is the departure of its optional supercharged V6, though the standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine is perfectly sufficient.

The XF provides an easy-going ride quality, generous seating space for taller occupants, and upmarket cabin materials. It also has one of the largest trunks of any luxury midsize car, making it a fine partner for family road trips and golf outings.

Nissan North America, Inc.

2021 Infiniti Q60

Base Price: $41,650 | Overall Score: TBD

TheInfiniti Q60 is a pretty compelling value if you’re shopping for a high-powered luxury coupe. Starting at under $42,000, the Q60 packs a 300-horsepower turbocharged V6, sensuous body lines, and a chassis that can both tame corners and smooth out bumps. 

The main caveat is that the interior looks and feels a bit dated. The Q60’s front seats are spacious and nicely cushioned, though the backseats are admittedly snug for anyone over the age of 10.

Mercedes-Benz USA

2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Base Price: $33,650 | Overall Score: TBD

Looking to spend even less? Check out theMercedes-Benz A-Class. The A-Class shares a lot in common with the CLA, from its interior styling and MBUX infotainment system to its sporty driving dynamics and authoritative acceleration. The key difference is that the A-Class costs just under $34,000 and its higher roofline translates to more backseat space. In fact, it’s the least-expensive car in Mercedes’ U.S. lineup.

The standard A 220 model offers a lot of features and performance for the money. If you’re looking for more muscle, though, consider upgrading to the 302-horsepower A 35 model, which retails for $45,850.

Cadillac

2021 Cadillac CT5

Base Price: $36,995 | Overall Score: TBD

The new Cadillac CT5 is a bit of a tweener. It’s priced in line with compact rivals like the Audi A4BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but it’s actually more similar to the A65 Series, and E-Class. This makes the CT5 a bargain if you’re shopping for a luxury midsize car. It’s very spacious, it’s well-equipped with standard tech and safety features, and it soaks up rough roads with aplomb. 

The base turbo-four engine is sufficient, but the twin-turbo V6 is a welcome upgrade. On the downside, the CT5’s interior feels somewhat cheap, even considering its lower price point.

Cadillac

2021 Cadillac CT5

Base Price: $36,995 | Overall Score: TBD

The new Cadillac CT5 is a bit of a tweener. It’s priced in line with compact rivals like the Audi A4BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but it’s actually more similar to the A65 Series, and E-Class. This makes the CT5 a bargain if you’re shopping for a luxury midsize car. It’s very spacious, it’s well-equipped with standard tech and safety features, and it soaks up rough roads with aplomb. 

The base turbo-four engine is sufficient, but the twin-turbo V6 is a welcome upgrade. On the downside, the CT5’s interior feels somewhat cheap, even considering its lower price point.

American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

2021 Acura ILX

Base Price: $25,950 | Overall Score: 6.5/10

Much of theAcura ILX’s “goodness” lies in its value. This is a luxury sedan for the price of a midrange Honda Civic. The ILX has sharp exterior styling, many standard driver assistance features, and impressive fuel economy. The tradeoff of the ILX is that its interior is cheap-looking and its infotainment system is outdated and cumbersome. If you simply want a luxury car at a bargain price, the ILX may suit your needs. Otherwise, keep reading.

BMW of North America, LLC

2021 BMW i3

Base Price: $44,450 | Overall Score: 7.2/10

The BMW i3 has been around for a few years now, and its relative age weighs on it like an anchor in the quickly evolving world of electric vehicles. Its 153-mile driving range on a full charge is a fraction of what the best EVs can provide. The i3 is also rather stingy on active safety features. That said, there’s still a lot to love about this quirky BMW. It accelerates briskly, maneuvers gracefully around turns, and it sports a high-end interior with unique materials like eucalyptus wood and wool.

The next-generation of BMW electric cars are coming, but for the moment, the i3 still does the job in style.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

2021 Lexus IS

Base Price: $39,000 | Overall Score: 7.2/10

Lexus refreshed theIS sedan for 2021, and it’s a big improvement overall. Its exterior styling is cleaner and more sophisticated, its infotainment system is far easier to use, and it slices more confidently around turns, thanks to its retuned chassis. Some things haven’t changed, though. 

On the plus side, the IS continues to rate highly for predicted reliability, and it comes packed with active safety features. On the downside, its engine lineup could use a lot more muscle; the available 311-horsepower V6 feels marginally zippier than the standard 241-horsepower four-cylinder.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

2021 Lexus RC

Base Price: $42,120 | Overall Score: 7.5/10

TheLexus RC coupe is greater than the sum of its parts. Its front suspension is derived from the now-discontinued Lexus GS, and its rear end comes from the Lexus IS, but it all plays in harmony, and it makes for a four-seater that is comfortable to drive for long distances but still engaging to pilot when the roads get twisty. Other RC coupe highlights include a sterling reputation for reliability and a wealth of standard safety features.

On the downside, the RC’s touch-pad infotainment system can be pretty unruly, and its backseat is snug, though that’s not surprising for a two-door sports coupe.

BMW of North America, LLC

2021 BMW 3 Series

Base Price: $41,250 | Overall Score: 7.8/10

For many of us, the BMW 3 Series is what comes to mind when we think of a luxury car. The 3 Series is elegant but understated, powerful yet efficient, and comfortable to drive but still an all-star on winding tarmac. Powertrain options include a turbocharged four-cylinder, a plug-in hybrid, and a turbocharged straight-six. 

The 3 Series sedan has a quality interior and roomy seating space in both rows as well, plus a mostly intuitive infotainment system. All that being said, the 3 Series isn’t exactly a steal at $41,000-and-up.

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