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Why Do You Have to Buy a Bigger Car to Get a Nicer Car?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2016

Hello and welcome to another installment of Ask Doug, where you Ask Doug an automotive question, and Doug responds as if he knows exactly what he's talking about, even though his knowledge on the topic probably only extends to three Google searches.

If you want to participate in Ask Doug, you can! Just send me an email at OversteerDoug@gmail.com, or send me a note on my Facebook page. I promise I will thoroughly read over your response before I print it and burn it for pleasure.

This week's letter comes to us from a reader named Jackson, who lives in Florida. Jackson writes:

Doug,

Why is it the conventional wisdom of car manufacturers to offer increasingly more features and nicer interior finishes proportionate to the size of the vehicles they sell? Only need a compact sedan but want a leather dash and ventilated seats? Gotta buy full size to get that. If you are OK with driving a three row SUV the size of a city bus, the interior is appointed like a private jet and somehow packed with more infotainment screens than seats. Want something small enough you can still park in the city without 360 degree cameras? You will be staring at wide expanses of plastic and something that looks like a $50 aftermarket GPS glued to the dash. Is it totally inconceivable that someone might want nicer things, be willing to spend more money, but not want a larger vehicle than they need to get it?

Thanks,

Jackson

For those of you who did not read Jackson's entire letter, because he is from Florida and therefore probably trying to ask you to sign up from a multilevel marketing company, allow me to summarize: Jackson is asking why he cannot purchase a small vehicle with high-end amenities. Instead, to get nice stuff, you have to buy a big luxury car. Why is that? Why aren't there any decent high-end small cars?

Well, Jackson, my response to you is twofold. Number one is, I completely agree. Small luxury cars are the coolest things ever, and living in a big city, as I do, they're virtually the only thing I want. Ever. Parking is tight, streets are narrow, there are bicyclists and tour buses and those horse-drawn carriage things everywhere, and I simply don't want to cruise around in a giant full-size vehicle just because I want a navigation system that looks like it was designed after the flip phone.

But Jackson, I have good news for you: There are a lot of awesome little luxury cars.

Take, for example, the MINI Cooper. This is an excellent little car that's zippy, and fun, and well-built, and full of high-end options and amenities. Need more space? There's a 4-door version. Need more room? There's an SUV version. Need less roof? There's a convertible version. You're a bit strange? There's a 2-door SUV version.

And how about the new crop of compact luxury cars from virtually every automaker? The Audi A3, the Mercedes CLA-Class, the BMW 2 Series, the Acura ILX, the Buick Verano. All of these cars offer high-end features and equipment without forcing you to get a 47-seat SUV with 847 horsepower that does 0-to-60 in 2.4 seconds because it can.

The world of subcompact luxury SUVs is even taking off. Want a high-end vehicle with good visibility, ground clearance and fuel economy, that you can park in a small space? Choose from the Audi Q3, the Buick Encore, the BMW X1, the aforementioned MINI Countryman, the Mercedes GLA-Class, blah blah blah, I could go on, but you get the point. And the point is: There actually are small luxury vehicles that do exactly the job you want.

Now, I admit, this wasn't always true. Six or seven years ago, nobody was in this segment except the Audi A3 hatchback. But since then, people have asked for exactly what you're asking for, Jackson, and automakers have responded. And now you no longer need to get a vehicle the size of an armored troop carrier in order to have a little luxury.

So you may thank me, Jackson, as I have opened up your mind to the world of little luxury cars. I promise your life will be better now that you know about them.

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RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Acura ILX w/ Premium Package
Used 2016 Acura ILX
$19,950
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Acura ILX w/ Premium Package
Used 2016 Acura ILX
$20,890
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Acura ILX
Used 2016 Acura ILX
$18,800
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Acura ILX
Used 2016 Acura ILX
$18,400
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Why Do You Have to Buy a Bigger Car to Get a Nicer Car? - Autotrader