Luxury and Premium Makes and Models: What’s the Difference?

To the average car buyer, the terms “luxury” and “premium” might seem one and the same. After all, they’re both expensive, and they’re both models average car drivers may not be able to afford. However, there are certain nuances that differentiate premium and luxury cars.


With most luxury vehicles, a major indicator of quality in design is the bodywork. The chassis of certain luxury model vehicles is styled in a different manner than that of premium and mainstream vehicles. Luxury engineering also results in a smoother, more refined ride. These cars speed up faster, don’t jump on the start, and luxurious vehicles, just feel smoother to drive in, and they’re more comfortable for the passenger.


With a better body, better materials, and an improved overall design, luxury vehicles tend to run better than premium cars and are obviously better than mainstream cars. The mechanical work, internal configurations, updated computers, and overall enhanced craftsmanship are signs of superiority. Most owners of luxurious vehicles aren’t worried about their car leaving them stranded roadside. Nor do they worry about the battery dying on them after a long weekend road trip.

The craftsmanship and mechanical improvements of a luxury vehicle exceeds that of premium vehicles and is noticeable from the first moment drivers sit behind the steering wheel.


Another clear indicator that you’re looking at a luxury vehicle is that luxurious features are standard. Whereas, in a premium vehicle, they’ll have upgraded leather seats, but the
deluxe features are going to cost more. BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes vehicles typically come standard with leather seats, navigation systems, seat warmers and coolers, and other features. If you were to buy a premium vehicle, you’d be paying an upgraded premium price for these optional features.

Things like adaptive headlights, ventilated seating, dual and tri-climate zones, and heated seats, are the standard in this lineup. Drivers who shop for these models are looking for these features when they buy.

Overall quality

It’s not just the bodywork of luxurious vehicles that’s superior to premium and mainstream vehicles, it’s an improved overall design that sets them apart. The quality of luxurious vehicles is simply superior to that of other vehicles. They’re constructed better, the leather interiors are smoother, they offer increased safety features, enhanced overall drive, navigation, and high-end detail work. Whether it’s a Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, or Land Rover, it’s easy to see the quality just looking at these vehicles. And, the moment you step foot inside, it’s easy to see how well made they are.

Status matters

One of the reasons buyers are inclined to choose a luxury make and model vehicle is the status and prestige that comes with owning one of these highly-priced vehicles. It’s a sign of success, how much money people earn, and the crowds they keep. It’s also an indication that they can afford more expensive items in their home, and have higher standards as it relates to other aspects of their lives. For those who want others to see how well they’re doing, or know they earn a certain income, a luxury vehicle is a clear indicator of that.


In the world of car buying, better means more. Not just better features, quality, and superior rideability, but a better brand name associated with prestige and notoriety. Manufacturers of luxury vehicles make sure to use this to their advantage in marketing. For those in the market for a new car, if you’re considering premium, you know you’re going to pay a premium price for the leather trims and interiors. But, if you’re at the top echelon and want to buy the very best, you know the luxurious features (which are considered standard in luxury cars), the design, and overall quality of these upscale makes and model vehicles, are going to come at a higher price tag.

Therefore, it’s important to budget accordingly and find the best premium or luxury vehicle that falls in your budget. Understanding that luxury means better quality and style, and comes with a higher price tag, will allow you to set your expectations accordingly when choosing a new car.

To the discerning buyer, luxury cars are held to a higher standard than premium cars. They tend to have nicer detail work, the bodywork is superior, and the overall design is better. To the average buyer, both premium and luxury cars might be out of reach. There are subtle nuances between the two categories, and buyers who are looking for the ultimate in quality, design, and drive, will typically opt for a luxury vehicle. They might cost more, but the quality, prestige, and reliability are things that are worth the increased price tag for drivers who are in the market for the best of the best when buying a new car.

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