Don’t drink beer out of green bottles, don’t forget to stretch, and always remember to write your grandmother a thank-you note. Along with these basic rules for success, when researching new cars, I’ve always eliminated options that were available only with automatic transmissions. Car enthusiasts argue over almost every imaginable detail, save this one. Perhaps it has to do with their beloved “involvement” with the machines that they adore, but manual transmissions have long been a unanimous preference for card-carrying members of the local gearhead union.
There was a time, not too long ago, when buying a luxury car meant taking possession of a land yacht – a large, floating cruiser meant to provide the ultimate in comfort.
Think of the old Lincoln Continentals, Cadillac Eldorados, Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The cars were long, heavy, fuel-thirsty beasts decked out in all the latest conveniences and technology.
Today, that large luxury mentality still exists in the form of the Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX and of course, Rolls-Royce and Bentley still embrace the large-and-in-charge attitude. But there’s also a new class of luxury developing; cars that are small and cheap (in comparison) and sip fuel while still surrounding the driver with plenty of dead cowskin and oodles of distracting technology.
Keep reading for a glimpse into the world of smaller and cheaper luxury cars.