Notions of luxury can differ from person to person, particularly when it comes to cars. One may favour the luxury of performance, another person the quality of the cabin, a third the ride comfort, and a fourth may prefer high levels of technology and safety equipment. Of course, when it comes to the best small luxury cars, you should expect a high standard in a combination of these areas.


By their very essence, luxury cars strive to offer the best, whether in comfort, technology, performance, or a combination of domains. Naturally, buyers should expect a fair bit more for their money. And premium vehicles rarely disappoint. Typically, they have:

  • The latest safety kit
  • Very stylish looks
  • Strong build quality
  • Very comfortable interiors
  • The latest state-of-the-art technology
  • Resale value – luxury cars tend to depreciate in the first year of sale when bought new, then level out to depreciate a lot slower, holding more of their value than non-luxury cars
  • Prestige – luxury cars carry brand and badge appeal, which can be enticing in itself


As luxury cars tend to be filled with the latest technology and safety equipment, it should come as no surprise to find that all of the cars on this list scored an impressive five stars out of five in rigorous Euro NCAP safety tests, with the exception of the Mini Clubman and the BMW i3, both of which achieved a respectable four stars. Please, read on to discover our top 10 best small luxury cars.


The BMW 1 Series provides everything you’d expect from the renowned German marque, but in a smaller package. It offers a fun driving experience, strong build quality, stylish looks, refined manners, and a top quality cabin. It also offers state-of-the-art technology like Park assist, which can bay and parallel park automatically, keyless ignition, and a high-tech touchscreen infotainment system. The interior is finished with soft materials for an upmarket look and the seats are comfy too. Furthermore, you can increase the comfort levels by adding heated seats and leather upholstery. The 1 Series also carries the prestige of its badge and that appeal goes a long way. On the used car market, you can find thousands of models available with an average sale price of £13.5k, bringing a healthy slice of luxury at affordable prices.

Best features:

  • Fun driving experience
  • Strong build quality
  • Stylish looks



A close contender to the 1 Series, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has very similar qualities to its rival, from the excellent build quality, to the premium badge appeal, and a high-quality cabin laced with cutting-edge technology. However, the A-Class takes a slightly different approach to luxury motoring. Where the 1 Series goes for fun and driver engagement, the A-Class opts for a more refined and relaxed experience, ditching sporty handling for extra comfort. And it excels in this department, with a class-leading interior that is very plush and stacked with equipment as standard, including: two 7.0-inch infotainment screens, with a voice-control system, DAB radio, and comfy fabric/man-made leather seats. The A-Class also comes with cruise control, keyless go, and comprehensive active safety equipment.

Best features:

  • Refined and relaxing
  • Class-leading interior
  • Cutting-edge technology


3. AUDI A3

The Audi A3 rounds off the final podium position, although really the three German vehicles largely stand shoulder to shoulder with one another in terms of luxury and quality. Likewise, the A3 enjoys a first rate cabin, sophisticated styling, prestigious brand appeal, and an enjoyable driving experience. Inside, it comes with a digitised 10.25-inch cockpit, a brilliant 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system (well-positioned by the driver’s hand) and a lot of equipment as standard, including: cruise control, rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, and lane departure warning. Unsurprisingly, the A3 is a best-selling car for Audi, which is great news for those looking to purchase a pre-owned luxury vehicle, as it means there are thousands available on the market. Average used prices are around £15k, but thanks to its popularity you can find a wealth of excellent Audi A3 deals.

Best features:

  • First rate cabin
  • Sophisticated styling
  • Enjoyable to drive



4. MAZDA 3

When it comes to styling, Mazda know how to make a great looking car and the 3 is no different, enjoying a premium exterior that warrants it a place on this list alone. But it doesn’t end there: the interior continues the allure finished to a high-quality with soft materials. For the full luxury experience, we recommend opting for the trim above the entry-level, as this will net you cosy heated seats, dual-zone climate control for comfort, and a handy reversing camera. Having said that, the base trim still comes very well-equipped with rear parking sensors, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a heads-up display, and a host of safety kit and driver assists, such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and a driver attention alert. And when it comes to driving, the Mazda 3 provides a great experience thanks to an excellent seating position, a clever cockpit layout, and composed handling.

Best features:

  • Premium styling
  • High-quality interior
  • Great to drive



The Porsche Macan may be an SUV, but it’s a small crossover SUV and its luxury status cannot be denied, hence it earns a place on our list. The car is a beauty to behold too, with that distinctive Porsche rear end and streamlined front nose with angular headlamps. The highly refined cabin is spacious and very comfortable, and can be further improved with an optional leather finish and seat ventilation. It comes with an upscale 10.9-inch touchscreen and a state-of-the-art surround sound system, as well as three-zone climate control for optimal comfort. And as you’d expect from Porsche, the Macan has some power behind the steering wheel with impressive acceleration. Naturally, it’s a lot of fun to drive. When it comes to luxury and sheer driveability, the Porsche Macan is a class-leader in the crossover SUV market.

Best features:

  • Class-leading car
  • Prestigious brand appeal
  • Spacious and comfortable



Another compact crossover SUV, the Volvo XC40 earns a place on this list for being one of the safest cars on the market. Yet it has more going for it than that massive selling point. It also enjoys a stylish exterior, without being showy or ostentatious, really strong build quality, and fantastic interior design, with high-levels of comfort. For greater refinement, we recommend the Momentum trim (one above the entry-level) as it comes with dual-zone climate control, keyless start, rear parking sensors, cruise control, and a high-tech infotainment system. As extras, you can also add heated front seats and a heated windscreen, allowing you to enjoy the comfortable ride experience all the more.

Best features:

  • Class-leading safety
  • Strong build quality
  • Comfortable and refined


7. AUDI A1

For a luxury car with compact dimensions, the Audi A1 is the supermini of choice for many. It has the appeal of the Audi brand and all the hallmarks of quality you’d expect from the German manufacturer. It has a stylish exterior and interior, it’s great to drive, and it has good levels of practicality for a car of its size. It also comes laden with tech as standard, with lots of excellent safety equipment. It is on the pricier side for its segment, but then luxury usually demands a premium. However, you can find some fantastic used deals for the Audi A1, with average prices around £13k, but with hundreds of models available for under £10k.

Best features:

  • Premium supermini
  • Great to drive
  • Lots of technology



The Lexus UX is our third and final compact SUV on this list. It’s also the most like a small hatchback in its quirky, yet stylish design, as well as in its handling and driving experience. To many, this will be a positive point as it is good to drive with agile steering and impressive fuel economy. For those wanting an SUV that gives you a raised ride height and a commanding view of the road, however, you may be disappointed. Then again, there is a lot to love about this car. It has an excellent reliability rating, it uses a hybrid powertrain for better fuel economy and lower running costs, plus it has a premium cabin. For added luxury, options include an active dampening system to smooth out any bumps in the road for a more refined journey, comfortable heated front seats, and fashionable leather upholstery.

Best features:

  • Good to drive
  • Excellent reliability
  • Impressive fuel economy



Offering all the charm and iconic styling typical of the Mini brand, but with added space and practicality, the Clubman estate enjoys a winning combination of traits from the outset. Like its siblings within the Mini range, the Clubman is also fun and invigorating to drive with a focus on agile handling, which really comes into its own on snaking country lanes. However, it also enjoys softer suspension for a more comfortable ride experience, adding to its luxury status. Inside, the Clubman’s interior is just as distinctive as its exterior, with a quirky dashboard dominated by a central dial for the infotainment and sat-nav displays. Although not as well equipped as others on this list, (Clubmans come with a leather steering wheel, DAB digital radio, cruise control, and rain-sensing wipers as standard), there are a wealth of optional packages and personalisation options for safety, tech, and comfort, that really let you personalise the car to your tastes and needs.

Best features:

  • Iconic styling
  • Fun to drive
  • Personalisation options


10. BMW i3

If you like a car that stands out from the rest, then the BMW i3 certainly fits the mould. BMW’s first foray into the world of all electric motoring (also available as a range extender with a two-cylinder motor) has its four wheels firmly in the future, offering an unusual and funky design that’s different from other cars on the road. The appeal continues on the inside as well, with a well-laid out cabin finished to a high level, as you’d expect from the premium German marque. The car has excellent range and it is relatively quick to charge too, providing a punchy and nimble driving experience that is plenty of fun, once you master the regenerative braking system. Furthermore, it comes well-equipped with sat-nav, comfortable heated front seats, parking sensors, and DAB radio.

Best features:

  • Funky looks
  • Good to drive
  • Nimble and quick


Think you won’t find luxury in a small car? Think again. You’ll love the style and sophistication available at

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Back to articles January 29, 2021

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