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10 Best Used Luxury Cars Under $30k

Hanna Kielar8-minute read
January 25, 2022

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A luxury car is a big investment for anybody, so you want to get value for the price that you pay. Unfortunately, luxury cars tend to lose their value faster than any other class of car on the market. This is partly because they almost always have a higher list price than other classes, but their luxury features also don't age very well. Complicated computer systems can break down just as easily as leather upholstery cracks, so it's important to find the best used luxury cars on the market.

We developed our list of the top luxury cars on the used market by consulting reputable industry publications such as Motor Trend, looking up government figures for economy and performance and weighing each factor on a sliding scale for quality. Features that don't degrade over time, such as horsepower and fuel economy, were given more weight than ephemeral features, such as the latest computer tech. Finally, we looked over the average depreciation and the 5 year resale value average for each model from CarEdge.com to develop a list of the best luxury used car values you can find today.

Table Of Contents

    10. Volvo S90

    Volvo S90.

    Source: Xristoforov - stock.adobe.com

    Best for: Upscale cabin

    MPG: 24 City | 34 Highway

    Engine: Supercharged, turbocharged, and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4

    5-year resale value: $26,175

    For many, the heart of a luxury car lies in its comfortable interior. By that standard, the Volvo S90 more than delivers on its promises. The interior uses high-end materials that make cabin occupants feel like they're in a far pricier sedan than the car's resale price would suggest. Premium touches include open-pore wood accents and genuine leather that reflect the real investment made in developing their tight grain and reassuring thickness.

    The 14-way power-adjustable front seats are known to be comfortable for all body shapes. There's more than enough room in the cargo area, especially with the fold-down back seats. The manual steering adjustment may not be for everyone, though it maintains the austere aesthetic that the Swedish manufacturer is known for.

    Start browsing used Volvo S90 vehicles nationwide.

    9. Cadillac CTS

    Cadillac CTS

    Source: Aleksandr Kondratov - stock.adobe.com

    Best for: Sporty driving experience

    MPG: 18 City | 26 Highway

    Engine: 3.6L V6

    5-year resale value: $21,308

    Hit the road and chew up some asphalt, all in an affordable midrange luxury car, with the Cadillac CTS. This is one of the more affordable luxury sedans on the pre-owned market, but the tightly tuned suspension and powerful engine can make you forget that from time to time. Direct steering and front wheels that respond to your inputs almost before you make them give drivers a heavy, but still very responsive, feeling around turns.

    The CTS has a relatively high curb weight, which would be a drawback in other cars, but on the CTS, the result is a chassis that shoulders down into every turn like a race car. Cadillac salesmen of an earlier generation often told buyers that their cars have "ride,” and the modern CTS continues to deliver this iconic quality.

    Start browsing used Cadillac CTS vehicles nationwide.

    8. BMW 3 Series

    BMW 3 Series.

    Source: VanderWolf Images - stock.adobe.com

    Best for: Family driving

    MPG: 22 City | 30 Highway

    Engine: Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6

    5-year resale value: $19,324

    The BMW 3-Series is a luxury sedan designed around practicality and family driving. For drivers busy with work, kids, pets, and other distractions, the standard infotainment system can be controlled with voice commands.

    Options to look for in a used 3 Series include luxury upgrades like added front and rear seat heating, customizable interior lighting and a gesture-controlled cockpit. Another option includes rear- or all-wheel drive for winter weather driving. Later models might include a clean diesel engine for better fuel economy. You might also find a fuel-saving plug-in hybrid option to save gas money for family shopping trips.

    Start browsing used BMW 3 Series vehicles nationwide.

    7. Audi A3

    Audi A3.

    Source: VanderWolf Images - stock.adobe.com

    Best for: Driver assist features

    MPG: 29 City | 38 Highway

    Engine: Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4

    5-year resale value: $20,999

    It would be wrong to say that the Audi A3 drives itself, because no consumer cars have quite gotten to that level yet, but you definitely don't feel alone in the cabin when all of the driver-assist features are engaged. The A3 helps keep you safe with automated emergency braking as a standard feature for all trim packages and optional lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control that keeps an eye on the road on long trips.

    You can manage these features from the standard 10.1-inch touch screen or from the 12.3-inch upgrade available on most trims. The A3's dual-screen setup lets you manage your features, entertainment options and climate control simultaneously without losing the helpful on-screen map in the center of the instrument cluster.

    Start browsing used Audi A3 vehicles nationwide.

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    6. Infiniti Q50

    Best for: Reliability

    MPG: 19 City | 27 Highway

    Engine: Twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6

    5-year resale value: $21,596

    The Infiniti excels in reliability and is willing to bet on it by offering the best-in-class warranty terms you're likely to find. The powertrain alone carries a separate 6-year/70,000 mile warranty. When shopping for a used Infiniti Q50, check to see if it’s still under the manufacturer's umbrella for repairs and recalls as well.

    One drawback: Annual service is not an included benefit under Infiniti's warranty program, which is otherwise standard for most luxury cars. Despite this, the tested design of the 24-valve engine and utterly conventional powertrain are less trouble-prone than the flashier, high-tech cars on the pre-owned luxury market, especially as compared to same-class vehicles from BMW and Mercedes.

    Start browsing used Infiniti Q50 vehicles nationwide.

    5. Lincoln MKZ

    Lincoln MKZ.

    Source: Belogorodov - stock.adobe.com

    Best for: Winter weather

    MPG: 20 City | 29 Highway

    Engine: Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4

    5-year resale value: $19,803

    The Lincoln MKZ got a total redesign for the 2022 model year, but the older generation is pretty dialed as one of the more driver-friendly vehicles in the used luxury car market. The generation you’re most likely to find on the used market carries a wide range of features that give the MKZ a distinct advantage when driving under challenging conditions, particularly in winter.

    The very generous driver-assist package keeps you aware of quickly changing conditions on icy roads. Upgrade to the twin-turbo V-6, however, and you're plowing through the slush like a premium luxury bulldozer. Every trim level on the MKZ is outfitted with an exceptional climate system and cozy interior.

    Start browsing used Lincoln MKZ vehicles nationwide.

    4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

    Mercedes Benz C Class.

    Source: andrey gonchar - stock.adobe.com

    Best for: Pure luxury

    MPG: 22 City | 31 Highway

    Engine: Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4

    5-year resale value: $25,387

    Mercedes-Benz invented luxury as a market segment back in 1896, when "premium package" meant your horseless carriage had a fourth wheel and there was a compartment to hold your driving goggles when you didn't need them.

    Today, the C-Class may be the best used luxury sedan, with a very high-end interior that prioritizes infotainment tech. A floating touch screen is mounted over the three air vents in the center of the console, surrounded by seemingly endless high-quality wood and leather accents. It's true that the C-Class is a little short on cargo space, compared with the Audi A4, but the 13 cubic feet you do get feels like enough for most purposes.

    Start browsing used Mercedes-Benz C-Class vehicles nationwide.

    3. Acura TLX

    Best for: Luxury value retention

    MPG: 19 City | 24 Highway

    Engine: Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4

    5-year resale value: $23,359

    Instead of losing over half of its value in the first 5 years like most luxury sedans, the TLX relies on its excellent overall build quality and too-smart chassis tuning to retain its resale value better than most luxury vehicles. A sporty front-wheel drive is standard in all TLX models, as are a cluster of analog gauges and a drive mode selector wheel in the middle of the dash console. Look for the flashy aluminum accents that set off genuine leather surfaces inside the cabin. Another option on Acura that some drivers really like is a 10.5-inch heads-up display (HUD), which projects key performance and safety information onto the windscreen.

    If you do wind up getting a TLX, try to schedule time in the driveway to experiment with its customizable ambient lighting settings, each of which is named after a different racetrack.

    Start browsing used Acura TLX vehicles nationwide.

    2. Tesla Model 3

    Tesla Model 3

    Source: Sundry Photography - stock.adobe.com

    Best for: Best electric luxury vehicle

    MPG: 120 City | 112 Highway (MPGe rating)

    Engine: Front: induction AC motor; Rear: permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor

    5-year resale value: $26,372

    While virtually every OEM has jumped into the electric car market as of 2022, no carmaker has pushed the needle on electric vehicles like Tesla. After making a splash (and experiencing some big growing pains) with the all-electric Model S and the even larger Model X, in recent years Tesla has struck gold with the smaller Model 3, a futuristic, high-tech electric car that has become a big seller all over the world. Because of its relatively low resale price and government discounts, the Model 3 made owning a Tesla possible for many more consumers, and those vehicles are now more and more available on the used car market.

    The updated Model 3s ditch their old nickel-cobalt-aluminum batteries for shiny new Li-Ion ones that will carry you up to 358 miles. The dual-engine setup delivers Tesla's trademark acceleration, and the low-slung center of gravity the battery provides makes for some tight cornering and agile performance worthy of the gasoline-chugging V8 engine it doesn't have.

    Start browsing used Tesla Model 3 vehicles nationwide.

    1. Audi A4

    Audi A4.

    Source: VanderWolf Images - stock.adobe.com

    Source: VanderWolf Images - stock.adobe.com

    Best for: Overall value

    MPG: 24 City | 31 Highway

    Engine: Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4

    5-year resale value: $20,870

    The Audi A4 is a compact luxury sports sedan that maintains one of the most well-rounded overall packages you can find for less than $30,000 on the used car market. The Audi A4 doesn't have a class-leading luxury cabin, but the leather trim and real wood are a solid choice. It doesn't rip the guard rails off the highway when you corner, but the handling is nice and lively with a well-tuned chassis.

    The Quattro all-wheel-drive system comes standard on every trim level, while the optional Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster makes the snug, tightly designed interior feel like the cockpit of an F-16. Your rear seat passengers have enough room to stretch out in the A4, with a nicely thought-out cushion design that feels pretty good on long trips. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports and voice command all come standard, and you can get Navigation, SiriusXM and in-car Wi-Fi hotspots as options if you shop around for the trim package that you like. If you're into music, you might consider opting for the powerful Bang & Olufsen audio system with 19 speakers.

    Start browsing used Audi A4 vehicles nationwide.

    The Bottom Line: Used Luxury Cars Can Be Affordable

    You don't have to compromise when you're shopping for a used luxury vehicle. Many of the used luxury cars you can find on the market right now come with a suite of features that would have been out of reach for middle-budget consumers in the past.

    Buying used allows you to redirect your money from paying off steep depreciation on a new car towards buying a higher quality vehicle that’s just a few years older. Get the most for your money when you buy a luxury car by researching how to get the best deal on a used car.

    What's your car worth?

    Get a great offer on your car, instantly.

    What's your car worth?

    Get a great offer on your car, instantly.

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    Hanna Kielar

    Hanna Kielar is a Section Editor for Rocket Auto℠, RocketHQ℠, and Rocket Loans® with a focus on personal finance, automotive, and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.