What is the difference between a normal and a luxury car?

What is the difference between a normal and a luxury car?
Photo: NejroN Photo, Bigstock

A luxury car is one that is more comfortable, has more safety features and costs more than a standard automobile. There is no set definition of a luxury car, although usually they will have leather seats, the latest gadgets in terms of maps and cameras and a powerful engine.

According to Mohammed Berrada from Location De Voiture Marrakech, some of the best-known brands in the world are famous for their luxury models, with Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW all sitting in this category. There is also a lot of overlap between sports models and luxury cars – after all, if someone is going to pay extra for a more powerful engine then they will usually want all the other trimmings as well!

What makes a luxury car?

It is hard to set down exactly what a luxury car is, given that accessories that could be extremely costly when they first come out often become standard after a few years. For example, keys with a button to unlock cars were the bee’s knees when they first came out, but are now incredibly common.

Cost is usually taken as a point of difference that endures longer than any individual feature. In Australia the luxury car tax applies to cars over a certain value, with new vehicles costing over $66,331 (or $75,526 for ones that are fuel efficient) attracting a 33% tax on the price paid over the threshold.

The price definition isn’t a perfect identifier, because plenty of working vehicles also cost a lot and need powerful engines. A number of four-wheel drives for brands like Toyota and Jeep also exceed the threshold for the LCT, without benefiting from the perception of being a premium vehicle. So what can you expect when you buy a luxury car?

What are the benefits?

In 2019 you can generally expect a luxury car to come with a few features to distinguish it from a standard model. Leather seats are always one factor that help to set this category apart, while new technologies like crash assist, rear-view cameras and parking assistance are usually also included to make driving easier and safer.

Safety features like crash assist are often overlooked, as people view sports cars in the same category and don’t usually associate these with safety. However, a premium vehicle will generally be made out of sturdy materials, have the latest technology to help prevent crashes and feature more airbags than a standard model. They will also usually be more environmentally friendly.

As can be seen, it is hard to pin down exactly what turns an automobile into a luxury car, and the precise features will change over time. Cost is a good indicator, although it doesn’t quite discriminate enough, while the features of today’s premium vehicle will be routine in tomorrow’s base model. However, right now a new luxury car will certainly be nicer than a standard one!