Best small luxury cars 2023
Fancy a touch of luxury from your small car? Here are eight cars that offer class and sophistication but are still affordable
Picture a luxury car in your head. The chances are it will be big, lavish, slightly 'OTT', with an upmarket badge on the front. While it’s certainly true that some of the world’s best luxury cars could rival a hotel room in terms of size and opulence, you don’t need to go large to enjoy the high life.
To qualify as luxurious, a car needs to be finished to a high standard, with a focus on making its occupants feel comfortable and relaxed. It also needs to feature quality materials and modern technology, plus styling that makes it look a touch more special than mainstream rivals.
We’ve pulled together a list of luxury cars that prove that good things can come in small packages. With BuyaCar, one of these luxurious small cars could be delivered to your doorstep with a money-back guarantee. And what could be more luxurious than having a car delivered to your front door?
The smallest luxury cars for sale
The Ford Fiesta might be one of Britain’s most popular new cars, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. The Fiesta Vignale is a cut above the rest - an upmarket version that sits at the top of the range - with a host of features you’d associate with a more expensive luxury car.
On the outside, you’ll find smart 17-inch alloy wheels, a unique front grille and Vignale badges, but it’s the inside where you’ll notice the biggest difference. Comfy seats with partial artificial leather, heated seats and steering wheel, plush floor mats and Vignale sill plates look and feel the part. You also get adaptive cruise control, front parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring.
If you want your small, luxury car to look a bit more obvious on the outside, this could be the machine for you. The current Audi A1, introduced in 2018, is one of the used car market’s best-kept secrets. It might be the smallest and most affordable Audi you can get, but it packs many of the features you’d find on a larger and more expensive model.
Even the entry-level A1 feels a cut above most small cars, so you get to benefit from the feel-good factor of the upmarket interior, which features high-quality materials and plenty of in-car tech, while the bold design and large four-ringed Audi logo on the front makes a good impression, too.
The list of standard equipment on the Technik model is as impressive as it is long: LED headlights, 15-inch alloy wheels, an 8.8-inch touchscreen media system, a 10.3-inch customisable digital instrument panel, Apple CarPlay, digital radio, a lane departure warning system, air-conditioning and a leather steering wheel are just some of the key features.
With the Audi A1, the entry-level model could provide all the luxury you need. In the case of the previous generation Peugeot 208, on sale from 2012 to 2019, you need to climb the trim ladder and go for one of the higher specification models to get your luxury fix. Look out for names like XY, Allure, GT Line and Roland Garros.
The Peugeot 208 XY, introduced in 2013, is a particular treat. It might look like the sporty 208 GTI hot hatchback, but the focus is on luxury rather than high-performance appeal. The dark metallic paints, smart detailing and stylish alloy wheels certainly look the part. On the inside, a blend of upmarket materials and supremely comfortable seats help to cement the feeling of luxury. A panoramic glass roof is standard - an unusual feature for a car of this size.
There’s a strong argument for space being the ultimate luxury. Hardly the best introduction for a diminutive city car, you might think. However, the Volkswagen Up is a triumph of great packaging, because while it might be small on the outside, there’s plenty of room on the inside.
High Up is the most indulgent trim. Highlights include 15-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake grip, chrome effect detailing and a choice of dashboard colours, depending on the exterior paint colour. Look out for models with the optional leather effect upholstery for an even more plush feel.
Our pick Vauxhall Corsa Elite Nav Premium
Used deals Limited stock
The Vauxhall Corsa isn’t a name you’d readily associate with luxury cars, but hear us out. The new Corsa, introduced in 2020, is a far more impressive supermini than the previous version, with improvements across the board. Choose the right version, and you even get a touch of luxury.
All versions come with a long list of standard equipment, but the Ultimate Nav is the most luxurious. Some of the features wouldn’t look out of place on a car costing twice as much. Highlights include a leather driver’s seat with massage function, a 10-inch colour touchscreen media display, matrix LED headlights, LED rear lights, 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, a wireless phone charger and electronic climate control.
Yes, brand new Corsas are pretty pricey for a small car - especially in Ultimate Nav form - but as with all luxury cars, these versions lose value pretty quickly from new. This means that you can save yourself many thousands by choosing a model that's only a year or two old. Do this and the Corsa can be both luxurious and great value for money.
Our pick Mazda 2 GT Sport Nav
Used deals Limited stock
Not only is the Mazda 2 one of the most stylish small cars you can buy, but it also features one of the most upmarket interiors short of buying something with an upmarket badge and a far higher price tag. It’s also great to drive, with power sourced from engines that blend excellent fuel economy with great performance.
Go for high specification GT Sport Nav trim and you get a genuine touch of class. The list of equipment includes a heated steering wheel, heated leather seats, a seven-inch touchscreen media system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, LED headlights, privacy glass and a clever head-up driving display, which displays information in the driver’s line of sight.
So, the Mazda 2 may be small, but it's far more sophisticated and packed with far more kit than you'd expect, making it a great value small luxury car.
Compact SUVs are amongst the most popular cars in Britain. Drivers appreciate them for their high driving position, chunky styling, good practicality and reasonable running costs. If you’re after a touch of luxury from your compact SUV, there are few better options than the Range Rover Evoque. No, it's not the smallest car you can get, but as luxury cars go, the Evoque is still reasonably small and easy to drive.
Although the first-generation Evoque has been replaced by a new model, it remains an excellent choice for motorists in search of a bargain. The five-door version offers the best practicality, although the three-door is arguably the better looking of the pair - so take your pick.
All versions feature plenty of equipment, but the Autobiography does a passable impression of the full-size Range Rover with tonnes of high-end kit. Highlights include 14-way electric front seats that are heated and cooled, heated rear seats, soft leather upholstery, illuminated tread plates and plush carpets.
If luxury was measured in terms of feel-good factor, the Volvo XC40 would be at the top of the scale. From the upmarket styling to the modern and sophisticated interior, it’s hard to find fault with the XC40. This is an extremely comforting and relaxing car - it can make even the most tortuous of car journeys feel like a painless experience.
Entry-level Momentum models include all the equipment you could realistically need, including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a large nine-inch central touchscreen media system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel. Go for Inscription versions and you get a more luxurious feel, while R-Design versions add a touch of sporty flair.
*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:
48 monthly payments of £192
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.