They may not be in vogue at the moment, but compact luxury cars aren’t going anywhere. Not only do they play an important role as a more affordable entry point into brands with cachet, but they also come with all-wheel drive more consistently than their mainstream equivalents. This is a motivating factor for taking a step up in style to Canadians who appreciate the compact car’s smaller footprint and better handling.
What’s great in this space going into 2020 is that cars you’ll find on this list of autoTRADER.ca Awards finalists feel like legitimate luxury cars – these aren’t low-rent compromises with a shiny badge slapped on to entice people with lofty aspirations and low budgets. Every one of these compact luxury cars is a proper and proud representation of what its brand has to offer but in a downsized package.
These are the top five selections in the segment according to more than 20 of autoTRADER.ca’s expert automotive writers, who considered and evaluated every single luxury compact car on sale in Canada to vote on shortlisting these finalists. In the compact luxury car segment, the eventual winner will be what our judges determine to be the most effective combination of performance, refinement, style, and the level of cutting-edge integrated technology that today’s high-end buyer expects from their investment.
The jurors will continue their deliberations over the coming weeks, and the winners in each category will be announced on January 20, 2020. Here is more information on our finalists for Best Luxury Compact Car.
A facelift is on the way for the Audi A4 in 2020, and after completing the first drive, autoTRADER.ca’s Jil McIntosh called it “as lithe and lean as a cat, as nimble on its toes as a ballet dancer, and basically makes you glad you learned to drive.” Pricing hasn’t been announced, but is expected to climb slightly from the 2019 model’s starting price of $39,800, and it will carry forward with the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that cranks out 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Notable upgrades include updated styling and a larger infotainment screen with a new operating system. The Audi A4 has always impressed with its dialled-in driving dynamics and high-quality interior.
autoTRADER.ca expert Benjamin Hunting reviewed the 2019 BMW 3 Series and says this car is “a comfortable, stylish, and feature-laden luxury car – if you’re willing to pay the price to enjoy what it has to offer to the fullest.” With pricing starting at $49,000 for the most affordable 3 Series and $53,550 for the 4 Series, both the sedan and the coupé come with a variety of four- and six-cylinder turbocharged engines ranging from roughly 250 to 320 hp, depending on the model. The 3 Series was completely overhauled for 2019 and has impressed our jury with its driving dynamics, technology and style, though our experts miss the high engagement from previous-generation models and feel that this model can get quite expensive once loaded up.
The Genesis G70 is highly rated by autoTRADER.ca expert Tom Sedens, who says that “Genesis has made no bones about it. The G70 is here to compete.” The smallest and most sport-oriented entry in the Genesis lineup has a pair of engine options, a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that’s good for 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 with 365 hp and 376 lb-ft. Prized for its power, exceptional handling, and attention to detail in styling, the G70 comes in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations and starts at all-in pricing of $42,000 for the entry-level Advanced trim, topping out at $58,000 for the 3.3T Sport. Besides offering real value, the G70 is everything a sport sedan should be.
When Peter Bleakney first drove the new-to-Canada 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class, he said that it “may be Benz’s new entry-level offering, but there’s nothing entry-level about it.” It’s available as a sedan from $34,990 with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing 188 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, and as a hatchback from $38,300 with the same engine tuned to 221 hp and 258 lb-ft equipped with standard all-wheel drive. While the A-Class is an all-around great compact car, perhaps its most significant feature is the MBUX infotainment system with its “Hey, Mercedes” assistant and optional augmented reality navigation. The interior is also as luxurious as anything else wearing a Mercedes badge, which is impressive considering the reasonable price.
“It’s tough to find a car better equipped to handle the wild extremes of a Canadian winter,” says autoTRADER.ca expert Jeff Wilson, who recently reviewed the 2019 Volvo S60 R-Design. Ranging from $42,400 for the Momentum model to $53,900 for the Inscription, the S60’s T5 and T6 configurations of Volvo’s four-cylinder Drive-E engines create 258 and 295 lb-ft of torque, respectively. Available in front- or all-wheel drive, the S60 stands out for its simple and refined Scandinavian style that makes tasteful use of colour and materials, along with a serene and minimalistic cabin. The driving dynamics are also some of Volvo’s best and the handsome, confident style helps it stand out.