When we think about luxury vehicles, there are definitely a few brands that come to mind: Lexus, BMW, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and everything in between. The same goes for affordable, mainstream brands as well: Honda, Toyota, Ford, and basically everything else we don’t consider as a luxury vehicle. That being said, what’s the real difference between luxury and affordable cars? Most notably, the biggest difference is price. While some luxury vehicles can reach upwards of one million dollars, mainstream cars tend to hover around the $30-50,000 range. The difference, however, goes a bit further than what we see on the price tag.
One major difference between the two types of cars comes down to bodywork and design. It should come to no surprise that luxury vehicles tend to have a sleeker, more futuristic look to them. Luxury vehicles also tend to have more features that attract bigger spenders. For instance, Acura pushed its GPS-linked temperature control system in its 2012 TL model. This system locates the position of the sun in relation to the driver, and adjusts the temperature accordingly in relation to where the car is receiving sun exposure. Another good example comes from the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This car, with its “attention assist” feature, collects data based on driving behaviors, and will alert the driver when their behavior suggests that they might be falling asleep or diverting their attention. Though this feature is now available for mainstream makes and models, it was definitely considered a feature only available for the luxury market.
Some attribute the difference between these two classes in terms of engineering, though this difference has been heavily debated. Those who champion luxury cars claim that there is less wind and tire noise when driving. The argument for this claim is that luxury car makers spend more money when developing these sorts of components, which is one of the main reasons (aside from brand recognition) that hikes up the market price.
Whatever the reasons may be, the decision to favor luxury cars over more affordable mainstream cars is a personal choice. More so than brand name and price tag, the most important thing to consider when purchasing a vehicle isn’t necessarily price, but your overall comfort and safety.