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10 Luxury Cars From Non-luxury Brands

Something unique to the U.S. car market is how much importance we put on brands. What we call an Acura here is called a Honda in most of the rest of the world. If Americans are going to spend a lot of money on luxury cars, we want it to come from a luxury brand. For example, some affluent Japanese buyers will spend more than $50,000 on a car like the Nissan Fuga or Nissan Cima sedans.

But if the badges on your car aren’t that important to you, you can find some real bargains in nice cars from volume brands. Brands like Chevy, Nissan and even Kia are full of surprises when it comes to luxury and the latest technology. Here are 10 of the nicest luxury cars on the market from non-luxury brands.


2019 Kia K900

2019 Kia K900

The Kia K900 has been one of the best-kept secrets in the luxury car world since it was introduced for the 2015 model year. Now already in its second generation, the K900 borrows the Stinger’s fantastic twin-turbo V6 engine, and every new K900 comes standard with all-wheel drive. If you want a car with Genesis levels of luxury without spending Genesis money, the K900 is the luxury sedan for you. Pricing has not yet been announced for the second-generation K900, but the 2018 model starts at $50,900.

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2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature

2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature

Luxury crossovers are a hot segment right now, but you don’t need to go to a luxury brand for a well-appointed 3-row SUV. The range-topping Mazda CX-9 Signature offers the convenience and practicality of a big crossover and adds some nice features without breaking the bank. It comes with standard all-wheel drive, LED signature grille accent lighting, navigation, rosewood interior trim and Nappa leather seating, all for about $45,000.

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2018 Chevrolet Impala Premier

2018 Chevrolet Impala Premier

The Chevy Impala used to be associated with rental cars and fleet vehicles, but now it’s a bona fide luxury sedan in its higher trims. If you go with the Impala Premier, you’ll be treated to the latest safety tech, OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi, a huge interior, perforated leather seats and much more. This Impala is nice enough to save you a trip to the Buick or Cadillac dealer. The Impala Premier is a true luxury bargain, with a starting price of a little over $37k.

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2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier

The Chevy Tahoe Premier is not exactly a bargain, starting at over $60k, but it’s an attractive alternative to full-size luxury SUVs that cost even more, like the Lincoln Navigator and GM’s own Cadillac Escalade. Not only can this Tahoe tow your boat and pull out stumps, but it does it all in comfort and style. The huge interior has room for seven people, with cargo room to spare. If you want a big luxury SUV that flies under the radar, this rugged Tahoe could be for you. If you want to go even bigger, check out the Chevy Suburban Premier.

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2018 Ford Expedition Platinum Max

2018 Ford Expedition Platinum Max

Like the Tahoe Premier, the Ford Expedition Platinum Max is pricey, but not as pricey as similarly equipped competitors from luxury brands. The Expedition is all-new for 2018, and it shows in its styling, technology and engineering. The Expedition is a bit more modern than the Tahoe due to its recent restyling, and it’s a little better on gas thanks to its EcoBoost V6 engine. If you’re finding the new Lincoln Navigator hard to resist but can’t quite afford it, the Expedition Platinum Max is a good alternative. With the Platinum Max model starting at $75,720, this SUV isn’t cheap, but it’s still a strong value.

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2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum

What Nissan has long advertised as a “4-door sports car” is better than ever in its eighth generation. Not only does it provide luxurious appointments in the Platinum trim, but the Maxima has stellar driving dynamics and impressive performance, especially for a car its size. If you’re on the “love it” side of the Maxima’s edgy love-it-or-hate-it styling, then it’s one of your best options for a full-size luxury sedan that’s also fun to drive. The Platinum model starts at $40,940, which is a much lower price than full-size sedans from luxury brands.

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2019 Toyota Avalon Limited

2019 Toyota Avalon Limited

All-new for 2019, the Toyota Avalon could easily be mistaken for a Lexus, both in its bold new design and in its well-appointed interior. The Avalon Limited features real wood interior trim and unique quilted stitching in the leather seats, which you might find surprising in a Toyota. If fuel economy and environmental friendliness are as important to you as luxury, the Avalon Limited is available as a hybrid. At $42,200, this Avalon Limited is a little pricier than the Maxima Platinum, but perhaps its more refined styling can take the edge off the extra cost.

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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

Gone are the days of Jeep being a brand exclusively of rugged off-roaders where the nicest ones might have a CD player and power windows. When you get into the higher trims, Jeep is a full-fledged luxury SUV brand. The best example of Jeep luxury is the Grand Cherokee Summit, which offers Land Rover levels of luxury at a more affordable price point. The classy exterior of the Summit model sets it apart from lesser Grand Cherokees, and niceties inside like available quilted leather seats and standard safety tech like LaneSense might make you forget you’re in a Jeep. Not only that, but the 4-wheel-drive variant delivers the off-road capability you’d expect from a Jeep. At $50,995, this Jeep is still a bargain when compared to Land Rover and other comparable luxury SUVs.

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Certified Pre-owned 2017 Hyundai Azera Limited

Certified Pre-owned 2017 Hyundai Azera Limited

With Hyundai spinning off Genesis into its own brand, it might be easy to forget about the Azera, which was just discontinued. This makes a certified pre-owned Azera especially compelling. The base Azera is pretty luxurious, with standard features like leather seats and navigation. The Limited trim adds a panoramic sunroof, forward-collision warning and 19-inch alloy wheels. Everyone you drive by might think it’s just another Sonata, and if that subtlety is what you’re going for, check out the Hyundai Azera Limited. The Azera Limited is already an excellent bargain at $39,300, and you can probably find some nice incentives on top of that since it’s an outgoing model.

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2018 Honda Accord Touring

2018 Honda Accord Touring

The Honda Accord has been a tried-and-true midsize family sedan for decades. It’s often thought of as a humbler commuter more than a high-end sedan, but the Touring trim pushes this Honda into luxury territory. There’s a lot to love about the all-new 2018 Accord, and the Touring trim is the best the newly updated car has to offer, with tech like a head-up display and wireless charging, along with a roomy, comfortable cabin with leather seats. Like the Avalon, the Accord Touring can be had as a hybrid, with all powertrain options coming pretty close to the overall average transaction price for a new car. Starting at $33,800, the Honda Accord Touring is a fantastic value proposition in luxury sedans.

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Just doing some shopping around for these cars is a good way to discover you don’t need a luxury brand’s badge to get a comfortable, well-appointed car with the latest technology. Any car or SUV on this list is a great way to get a lot of luxury bang for the buck.

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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  1. Do not buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee. They are garbage. I have a 2015 and it has been recalled numerous times. I have to miss work to go to the dealer and never have been offered a replacement vehicle. Never once got an apology. It doesn’t live up to the advertised gas mileage and I drive very carefully. The seats are “leatherette” and the color is already wiping off. The heated steering wheel only heats in some places. The touch screen only responds when it wants to. The check engine light is always on. Jeep doesn’t care about customers. They only care about unloading these garbage machines as fast as they can. 

  2. I do not know who writes these articles, but I own both a Summit and Range Rover. While my wife’s car has a better infotainment system, ACC, and much cheaper that is where the comparable items end. My RR is much more plush and rides 10x better. The cabin is whisper quiet compared to the Jeep. Both are great but there is no comparison.

  3. K900 is a very slow seller, according to CU, as is the Maxima, both considered not good at residual value.  Any orphan, including the Azera, may be a “bargin” as dealers want to clear out vehicles no longer in production, but come trade-in time, it won’t be worth much.  The Jeep?  While Jeeps have a huge cult following, they are notoriously unreliable, plagued with electronic and mechanical flaws. Report say the Impala will soon join the Azera as an orphan.

    • I think you meant Kia Cadenza instead of Impala. GM will hold on to the Chevrolet Impala for the foreseeable future as long as fleet sales are strong and there is a loyal customer base. 

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