What really makes this small sedan impressive is it safety, as Volvo continues its reign as one of the safest automakers on the planet.
Starting MSRP: $33,950
Standard automatic emergency braking
Incredible crash-test results
Well-equipped and peaceful cabin
Slower than the competition
Rides a little stiffer than expected
Iffy infotainment system
Lexus is back on the list for a second time with its IS sedan. While most buyers prefer the more powerful IS 350, the IS 300 and its 241-horsepower 2.0-liter engine is a nice No. 2.
The IS does excel in many areas, like acceleration and reliability, it struggles in some key areas, like owner satisfaction, braking, ride quality, and rear seat comfort, pushing it further down our list.
Starting MSRP: $37,825
Outstanding reliability for a luxury car
After-purchase customer service is among the best
Cramped interior that’s not easy to get in and out of
Horrific fuel economy
Remote Touch Interface is ridiculously difficult to use
Infiniti is another brand that’s come a long way in recent years, and the Q50 stands out as one of the best luxury cars on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
What helps push the Q50 up our list is that buyers can choose from the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 208 horsepower or the 3.0-liter turbo V-6 engine with 300 horsepower and still end up under out $40,000 limit. The latter powerplant makes this the quickest model on our list.
Starting MSRP: $34,200
Super-quick 0-to-60 time
Impressive handling and braking
Plenty of room inside
Controls are a bit overwhelming
Cabin isn’t very quiet
Subpar front-seat comfort