Subcompact and compact vehicles have become very popular over recent years as more and more people look to buying more frugal, economical, and well-rounded vehicles that pack plenty of value for the money. A small car is the ideal urban runabout, offering peppy performance and nimble handling paired with frugal fuel economy and modern cabins brimming with features. There are countless options out there, too, filling up just about every classification and price range. Focusing on the premium division of vehicles, there are options like the Mercedes-Benz GLA Class, Tesla Model Y, and Volvo XC60 to consider, all managing to tread the line of luxury and practicality as crossover SUVs.
But cruising in style is not limited to the SUV segment. Gorgeous sedans like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volvo S60, and the Audi A3 are smaller in size and still big on comfort and opulence. Here are our five favorites to consider:
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV
The GLA-Class is a subcompact luxury crossover SUV boasting a contemporary and sporty new sheet-metal design that is distinctly Mercedes-Benz. On the inside, a beautiful, hyper-modern aesthetic is complemented by Merc’s familiar design ethos and intuitive layout, and rounded off by a subtle two-tone color scheme. Dual 10.25-inch displays that cover driver information and infotainment also lend to the futuristic impression. Powering the cruiser is a 221-horsepower, 258-lb-ft 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that is capable of propelling the crossover from 0 to 60 mph in a rather mediocre 8.6 seconds.
Tesla Model Y
Another crossover SUV from the pint-sized division, the Tesla Model Y brings ridiculous levels of performance and a more minimalistic approach to exterior and interior design. It’s one of the most competitive fully electric vehicles money can buy, proffering insane acceleration times, confidence-inspiring range, and a comprehensive selection of advanced driver-assist technologies. A massive 15-inch tablet-like touchscreen display takes center stage within the commodious interior. In terms of performance, the sport-focused models are imbued with 480 hp and launch from 0 to 60 mph in a blistering 3.5 seconds.
Flashy and upscale, the A-Class sedan is for the young, up-and-coming business person looking to get about in style and in the utmost comfort. While it won’t get you anywhere overly fast, it is exceptionally compliant and composed around corners and also very comfortable on the road. Thanks to its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot unit, gas mileage is pretty decent, too, with the front-wheel-drive base model returning 25/36/29 mpg city/highway/combined. There’s plenty of passenger space, creature comforts, and conveniences, but cargo room is on the restrictive side, however.
When it comes to vehicle safety, it doesn’t get any better than Volvo, and while luxury brands can be expensive even at entry level, the S60 sedan is a fairly affordable option in the market. A 2.0-liter turbo-four motor imbues the S60 with 250 – 415 hp depending on the powertrain chosen – T5, T6, or T8, the latter being a hybrid variation. A Four-C active suspension system has the S60 drive compliantly and smoothly just about all the time in Comfort or Eco mode, and becomes impressively adherent in Dynamic mode. Whether you’re looking for something sporty and capable, sophisticated and comfortable, or something with a little of both, there’s an S60 ready to cater.
Available in Sportback and Convertible designs too, this slight sedan is a little longer in its newest iteration, but it boasts great interior space or the class. It’s jam-packed with technology and a smart, sporty interior. There’s a 10.1-inch infotainment display and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is included as standard on a 10.3-inch screen in the cluster. It looks assertive and still maintains an air of class. Driving the A3 is a joy, too, with excellent road-holding and comfort levels, as is expected from the brand.
So, are these competitors worthwhile? Yes, they may be pricier than the more regular bijou commuters you get out there, but luxury compact vehicles compound on the well-roundedness of the compact, crossover designs with added luxury. Because of this, they still do package plenty of value for the money and are well worth considering as daily runabouts.