More expensive and exclusive than mainstream models, luxury cars are about wants rather than needs, and about image rather than utility. If you’re planning an upgrade to a premium car, this buyer’s guide provides details about the 10 most popular* luxury cars in America, including pricing; quality, reliability, and appeal ratings; fuel economy; safety ratings; and cargo volume.
*Popularity based on calendar-year sales through July 2016
1) Mercedes-Benz C-Class (43,579 sales)
For many people, Mercedes-Benz ownership signals success and serves as a reward for a job well done. No wonder then that the C-Class, one of the most affordable Mercedes models, is the best-selling luxury car in America. A range of turbocharged 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, and 8-cylinder engines are available; the latter are reserved for the AMG performance-tuned versions of the car. All-wheel drive is an option, and a plug-in hybrid variant supplies 20 miles of pure-electric driving range.
Initial Quality—Not rated
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—Not rated
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—18/34
Fuel Economy Rating for Plug-in Hybrid—Not yet rated
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars*
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Testing incomplete
Cargo Volume (E-Class)—12.6 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (E-Class Plug-in Hybrid)—11.8 cu. ft.