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What's behind our luxury car Ratings?

CR’s Ratings include road test results and safety information. Reliability and owner satisfaction Ratings are based on surveys of millions of subscribers.
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We look for:
  • Overall Score
    The Highs, Lows, and Overall Rating refer to the model and trim line that we tested. A model earns the "CR Recommended" label by Consumer Reports when it has performed well in our tests, our subscriber -survey data indicate that it should be at least average in reliability, and has performed at least adequately in any government and/or insurance-industry crash tests or government rollover test, if tested. There are several reasons why a model would have no designation: It wasn't tested recently; it didn't test well; it did poorly in a crash test or tip-up in the rollover test; it has a below-average reliability record; it'S too new to have reliability data; or we have insufficeint reliability data.
  • Predicted Reliability
    Predicted reliability is our forecast of how well a model is likely to hold up derived from our latest Annual Car Reliability Survey. We averaged a model's Used Car Verdict for the newest three years, provided the model did not change significantly during that time. Refer to Reliability History for more detailed explanation.
  • Owner Satisfaction
    Indicates percentage of owners surveyed who would definitely purchase the same vehicle again.
  • Accident Avoidance
    A composite score of CR's test results for braking performance, emergency handling, acceleration, driving position, visibility, and seat comfort. Braking and emergency handling carry the most weight.
  • Overall (Mpg)
    Overall MPG (overall mileage) is CR's measurement based on a realistic mix of highway, country-road, and city driving.

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  • Buying Guide
  • Reliable Used
Luxury cars deliver comfort, convenience, infotainment, safety features, and refinement beyond the mainstream. We highlight the best based on our more than 50 tests.

Luxury car buying guide

Luxury car buying guide

For drivers looking for more comfort, convenience, infotainment, safety features, and refinement, upscale and luxury cars go above and beyond the mainstream. Upscale and luxury models can be found across most car types, including sedans, SUVs, and coupes. Many such models come from so-called prestige brands, known for high-end products and pampering ownership experiences, but well-equipped models are also available from mainstream brands.

Consumer Reports considers upscale models to be those that bridge mainstream and true luxury, and they can often include the entry-level models from prestige brands, such as the Audi A3 and A4, BMW 1 and 3 Series, Infiniti G Series, Lexus IS and ES, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Moving up to their larger counterparts brings greater levels of interior room, ride comfort, quietness, performance, and refinement. In other words, true luxury.

For much of this guide, we will use the term luxury to loosely address all models that are a cut above the mainstream.

Luxury and upscale vehicles tend to be thoroughly developed and feature the latest technology and a plush interior. Typically they represent the leading-edge of comfort, performance, safety, and other technologies. Generally, luxury cars have an innate quality that goes beyond leather upholstery and wood trim. Materials are of high grade with plush carpets, rich fabric, and quiet cabins. Basic power amenities and automatic climate control systems are expected, and uplevel audio systems and Bluetooth connectivity are common. Many luxury models also offer all-wheel-drive, even in sedans, coupes, and sometimes convertibles.

Prices run the gamut. Acura ILX and Audi A3 are priced in the low $30,000s. From there, luxury cars can reach all the way up to to $200,000 and more. The most expensive car Consumer Reports has tested is the $108,000 Fisker Karma.

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