Compact executive car

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A compact executive car is a premium car larger than a premium compact and smaller than an executive car. Compact executive cars are equivalent size to mid-size cars (called "large family cars" in the United Kingdom) and are part of the D-segment in the European car classification.

In North American terms, close equivalents are "luxury compact"[1][2][3][4] and "entry-level luxury car",[5][6][7] although the latter is also used for the smaller premium compact cars.[8][9]

United States[edit]

Cadillac Cimarron (1982-1988)

By the late 1970s, the energy crisis and inflation created an increased demand for smaller luxury cars, which were usually called "luxury compacts".[10] In 1978, the AMC Concord luxury compact was introduced.[11][12] Standard equipment included crushed velour upholstery, additional sound insulation and coatings, one-piece molded fiberglass headliner, and luxurious appointments such as super-thick carpeting on the floor, outer seat bottoms, and lower door bottoms.[13][14][15]

The Mercury Zephyr, a luxury compact based on the Ford Fairlane, was introduced in 1978.[16]

In 1982, the Cadillac Cimarron was introduced and the Chrysler LeBaron moved upmarket into the luxury compact category.[citation needed] The Cadillac Cimarron was based on the GM J platform.[17] The car was "developed in response to Cadillac dealers who were hit hard by the turnaround toward small cars in the latent fuel crunch."[18] By the mid 1980s, expensive-car buyers were looking for features such as "engine power and smoothness, nimble handling, and interior comfort and quiet" thus forcing the "prestige auto makers must sell product quality, not size."[19] The Cimarron helped to boost the automaker's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), but its badge engineering of a front-drive, high-volume model was evaluated as a low-value proposition in contrast to traditional Cadillac luxury.[20][dead link]

In the early 2010s, automakers again responded to changes in the marketplace and in the "mind-set" of consumers looking for status on a budget.[21] Traditional "luxury car makers are gearing up to offer small models that will test whether affluent U.S. car buyers are ready to concede that bigger isn't always better."[22] Facing higher fuel costs and traffic, changes are sweeping through the luxury car market and "Americans are beginning to catch up with global trends."[23] Part of this trend is a higher penetration by foreign brands in the US marketplace with examples such as the C-Class series of compact executive cars that became Mercedes-Benz's top-selling North American product line since 2000.[24]

United Kingdom[edit]

1973 Triumph Dolomite Sprint

The 1971 Triumph Dolomite is an early compact executive car.[25][26]

Jaguar's first compact executive car (although larger than the 1960s' Jaguar Mark 2) was the 2001 Jaguar X-Type.[27] Sales, however, were disappointing.[28] The X-type was replaced by the Jaguar XE in 2014, competing in the same sector.[27]


Alfa Romeo Giulia (1962-1978)

Alfa Romeo has long built sporty saloons and compact executives. The 75[29] and 155[30] and after that the 1996 Alfa Romeo 156 has been considered such.[31][32] This was followed by the Alfa Romeo 159 in 2004, which was built until 2011. After five years, Alfa Romeo returned to the sector in 2016 with the Giulia (Type 952).[31]

An early compact executive car from Lancia is the 1972 Lancia Beta (Type 828). The Beta morphed into the Lancia Trevi, which was produced from 1980-1984. Following an absence from the segment for five years, Lancia returned in 1989 when the Lancia Dedra replaced the smaller Lancia Prisma. The Dedra was replaced by the Lancia Lybra, which was produced from 1998-2005.[33]


1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E

Audi's first compact executive car is the Audi F103 (sold as the Audi 60-90 range), which was launched in 1965.[34]

The BMW 02 Series[citation needed] was replaced in 1975 by the BMW 3 Series,[citation needed] which has been produced in saloon/sedan, coupé, convertible, estate/wagon and hatchback body styles. Since 2013, the coupé and convertible models have been marketed as the BMW 4 Series.[35][36] There have been seven generations of the 3 Series; it is the best-selling BMW in the company's history.[37]

The 1983 Mercedes-Benz W201 range (also known as the "Mercedes-Benz 190") was the first compact executive car from Mercedes-Benz[38][39] introduced 23 years after the company produced its first prototype compact executive car.[40] In 1993, the W201 was replaced by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class range.[41][42][43]The C-Class is currently in its fourth generation and has been produced in saloon/sedan, estate/wagon, coupé, convertible and hatchback body styles.[44]


Citroën offers a compact executive with its DS 5 hatchback.[45]


2018 Volvo S60

Volvo launched the S60[46][47][48][49][50] in 2000 and it is now in its third generation.[46][49][51][52][53][54] It was joined in 2010[55] by an estate version called V60,[56][57] now in its second generation.[57][58][59][60]


2015 Lexus IS

Compact executive cars produced in Japan include the 1988 Mazda Persona / Eunos 300 and 1990 Nissan Presea.[citation needed] The first Japanese compact executive car to be successful in overseas markets is the 1998 Lexus IS / Toyota Altezza.[citation needed]

Other Japanese compact executive cars include the Infiniti Q50 (by Nissan),[61] Acura TLX (by Honda)[62][63][64] and Mazda Xedos 6.[65]

South Korea[edit]

Compact executive cars produced in South Korea include the 2017 Genesis G70 and Kia Stinger.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Comparison Test: German Compact Luxury Sedans". 4 December 2012. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  2. ^ "2018 Cadillac ATS-V Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos". Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  3. ^ "2018 Awards: Luxury compact car". Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  4. ^ "Consumer Reports: Most Reliable Cars". 28 October 2013. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  5. ^ "Top 7 Entry-Level Luxury Cars for 2014". Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  6. ^ "10 Entry-Level Luxury Vehicles For 2015". Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  7. ^ "Entry-Level Luxury". 6 April 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  8. ^ "What's The Best New Entry Level Luxury Car?". Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  9. ^ "Best Used Entry-Level Luxury Cars". Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  10. ^ Ceppos, Rich (October 1977). "AMC for '78 - a V8 for the Pacer and now there's the Concord". Popular Science. 4 (211): 98. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  11. ^ "Turnaround at American Motors". Fortune. 100: 66–80. 1979.
  12. ^ Automobile club d'Italia (1978). World Cars 1978. Herald Books. p. 72. ISBN 9780910714105. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  13. ^ Lamm, Michael (May 1978). "PM owners report: American Motors Concord". Popular Mechanics. 149 (5): 124–125, 266–267. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  14. ^ Lamm, Michael (October 1977). "Driving the 1978 cars from American Motors". Popular Mechanics. 148 (4): 107–107, 178, 180. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  15. ^ Tripolsky, Bob (December 1977). "Mechanix Illustrated - We test the New 1978 AMC Concord". Retrieved 2019-03-18. All that carpeting helps but all of these new compacts get the insulation treatment behind the dash and under the front floor as well. Areas where plastic meets plastic also get a sound-deadening coating. Included in the D/L option are rear floor and trunk insulation padding. A one-piece molded fiberglass headliner won't let you know that it's raining outside unlike the old-style roof covering, which left the pitter-patter of raindrops plainly audible. [...] The D/L had super-thick 12-oz. carpeting on the floor, outer seat bottoms and lower door bottoms.
  16. ^ Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (26 March 2007). "1980-1989 Cadillac". Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  17. ^ Dunne, Jim (January 1981). "GM designs for the '80's". Popular Science. 1 (218): 89. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  18. ^ Dunne, Jim; Keebler, Jack (August 1985). "Detroit vs Europe". Popular Science. 2 (227): 71–73. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  19. ^ Lanning, Mike (2000). Delivering Profitable Value: A Revolutionary Framework to Accelerate Growth, Generate Wealth, and Rediscover the Heart of Business. Basic Books. pp. 184–185. ISBN 9780738201627. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  20. ^ White, Joseph B. (14 April 2012). "The 'Near Luxury' Car Buyer, Myth or Reality?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  21. ^ White, Joseph B. (12 January 2012). "Luxury Car Makers Think Small". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  22. ^ Eisenstein, Paul A. (24 January 2012). "For many luxury car buyers, small is now beautiful". Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  23. ^ Jacobs, Andrew James (2016). The new domestic automakers in the United States and Canada: history, impacts, and prospects. Lexington Books. p. 169. ISBN 9780739188262. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  24. ^ "Wolves in sheep's clothing: the Q cars". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Icon of icons: Autocar Awards Readers' Champion - BMW 3 Series". 4 March 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  26. ^ a b "Jaguar X-Type Model Description, History and Parts Information". Jagbits. Archived from the original on 2017-07-06.
  27. ^ "Jaguar X-type Facelift". 16 July 2007. Retrieved 2019-02-03. By these standards, the X-type - like much of Jaguar's and Ford's performance in the past years, has been disappointing. X-type sales fell to 32,500 units in 2006, compared with BMW 3-series sales of over 500,000 units in the same year.
  28. ^ Google-kirjat: Alfa Romeo 916 GTV and Spider: The Complete Story - Robert Foskett - Google-kirjat, accessdate: 17. March 2019
  29. ^ Future Classics: ALFA ROMEO 155 | Future Classics, accessdate: 17. March 2019
  30. ^ a b Daryl Lee (11 May 2018). "Car Review: Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce is quite easily the best handling executive saloon". Singapore: Robb Report. Retrieved 2019-03-01. The Alfa Romeo Giulia (rival to the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and even the Volkswagen Arteon) is the best looking compact executive saloon on sale today. [...] But all this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Alfa Romeo, after all, has a fantastic track record of making gorgeous compact executive saloons – the Giulia immediate forebears, the 159, 156, and 155 all come to mind.
  31. ^ "Compact Executives". Dennis Publishing Ltd. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 2019-03-04. Let battle commence. Up for grabs is the title of world’s best compact executive car – an award BMW’s 3-Series has made its own since the launch of the current fifth generation in 2005. [...] Waiting in the wings to snap up buyers with an eye for style, value and individuality is the Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTD.
  32. ^ "As the final Lancia Lybra rolls out of the Mirafiori factory this month after a six-year stint, we pay tribute to this excellent, yet underrated, bearer of the famous shield". Interfuture Media. 20 June 2005. Retrieved 2019-02-28. The Lybra's death brings to an end, at least temporarily, Lancia’s offerings in the compact executive class, a line which stretches back from the Lybra to the Dedra, Prisma, Beta and Flavia/2000.
  33. ^ "Audi specifications catalogue". Retrieved 1 March 2019. The F103 is the earliest car listed as a Compact Exec
  34. ^ Nick Trott (8 December 2014). "BMW 4-series Gran Coupe review - price, specs and 0-60 time". Dennis Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 2019-02-28. The latest in BMW's ever-expanding range of 3-series spin-offs, the 4-series Gran Coupe can be thought of as a five-door, hatchbacked version of a two-door coupe based on a four-door saloon. The closest we can come to a description is a ‘compact executive four-door coupe’, but ‘not-quite-a-saloon, not-quite-a-coupe’ does the same job.
  35. ^ "2018 BMW 4 Series: New Car Review". Autotrader Inc. February 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  36. ^ Dennies Flierl (11 September 2015). "What makes the 3 Series the best-selling BMW of all time". Torque News. Retrieved 2017-05-30. BMW has not forgotten what their core values are and have kept the 3 Series responsive, compact, fun to drive and connected to the driver.
  37. ^ Car: The Definitive Visual History of the Automobile. DK Publishing. 2011. p. 15. ISBN 9780756689384. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
  38. ^ "Mit dem „Baby-Benz" und der A- und B-Klasse in neue Segmente" [With the 'Baby-Benz' and the A- and B-class into new market segments]. (in German). Daimler AG. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 2019-02-27. Das unter der Leitung von Hans Scherenberg im Februar 1974 vorgelegte erste Lastenheft für die Baureihe W 201 legt bereits eindeutig die Schwerpunkte und die Maße für den zukünftigen kleineren Mercedes-Benz fest. Die Abmessungen sind so klar definiert, dass das Serienfahrzeug, das erst fast neun Jahre später auf den Markt kommt, kaum von diesen Vorgaben abweicht. Und noch etwas schreibt das Lastenheft damals schon fest: 'Der 201 soll sich aufgrund der unter dem Markensymbol vom Kunden erwarteten Eigenschaften bezüglich Qualität, Sicherheit und Fahrkultur bewusst von anderen Fahrzeugen der Mittelklasse* absetzen'." Translation: "The first specification sheet for the type W 201 was propounded in February 1974 under the direction of Hans Scherenberg and already clearly defined the focus points and dimensions of the future small Mercedes-Benz. The dimensions are so clearly defined that the production model, which was brought to market nearly nine years later, barely deviates from the specifications. Another thing the specification sheet established back then: 'The 201 should deliberately set itself apart from other compact executive vehicles in terms of quality, safety and driving culture as the customers expect from the brand'."
    * Mittilklasse is the German equivalent of compact executive car
  39. ^ Jason Torchinsky (6 October 2016). "How This Gorgeous Mercedes Prototype Made Modern Volkswagen Possible". Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  40. ^ 1993 Mercedes C Class Road Test. Presenter: Jeremy Clarkson. London, England: BBC. 1993. Retrieved 2018-05-15 – via Youtube.
  41. ^ Vijay Pattni (11 March 2014). "A brief history of the Mercedes C-Class". BBC. Retrieved 2019-03-01. The 190 kick-started the C-Class story: its successor, 1993’s ‘W202’ saloon, was the first to get the C-badge.
  42. ^ "Mercedes-Benz C-Class (1993-2000) used car review". RAC Motoring Services. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 2019-02-28. The range was launched in October 1993 to replace the popular 190 and featured a rather unique portfolio of trim packages which enabled the buyer to tailor each car to his or her own individual lifestyle. The surprisingly well appointed entry-level package was badged Classic, while those in search of brighter colours and a more youthful appearance could opt for similarly-priced Esprit models.
  43. ^ "Mercedes C-Class review". Dennis Publishing Ltd. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-12. The updates bestowed on the new Mercedes C-Class see Merc’s compact executive challenger return right to the sharp end of the class in style. We were so convinced we named it our Compact Executive Car of the Year at the 2018 Auto Express New Car Awards. . . . The C-Class was the junior Mercedes in 1993 when it first arrived, but the A-Class followed soon after as the German brand pushed deeper into the mainstream and an expanding A-Class range has pushed the C-Class further upmarket. The C-Class for sale today is the newly facelifted fourth generation model, and as well as the regular saloon you can buy a C-Class Coupe, a C-Class Cabriolet and a C-Class Estate.
  44. ^ "10 of the best compact executive cars". RAC Motoring Services. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  45. ^ a b "Volvo S60, generation I (2000 – 2009)". (in German and English). Volvo Car Austria. Retrieved 2019-03-02. By the end of summer 2000 it was time for the launch of S60, a sporty, compact executive saloon, with definite influences from coupé styling. It had a dynamic, sporting charisma, but was at the same time a spacious and practical five-seater saloon.
  46. ^ Richard Dredge (1 September 2016). "Used Volvo S60 review". Dennis Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 2019-03-12. Volvo S60 Mk2 (2010-date) – Second-generation compact exec is a fine alternative to the mainstream
  47. ^ Volvo S60 saloon review. Presenter: Mat Watson. CarBuyer. 26 August 2010. Event occurs at 0:00–0:07. Retrieved 2019-03-12 – via Youtube. If you want a compact executive car but fancy something that isn't german, the Volvo S60 is an obvious choice
  48. ^ a b "2019 Volvo S60 Teased Once More, It's "Refined and Beautifully Balanced"". Retrieved 2019-03-12. Following the XC60 and V60, it’s high time for the S60 to be overhauled from the ground up. And for the 2019 model year, the compact executive sedan is all new, down to the smallest bolt of the platform and even in regard to where it is made. The third generation of the S60 will go into production immediately after reveal at an all-new factory in the United States of America. Located in Ridgeville, South Carolina, this facility will be the home of the S60 once production of the second generation at the Chengdu complex in China is phased out in the first part of 2019.
  49. ^ "Last Volvo S60 rolls off the assembly line in Ghent". (Press release). Volvo Car Corporation. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 2019-03-02. S60 is one of the longest running Volvo models in the plant. The highest production volume of the model was reached in 2001 when 108,906 S60 cars were produced. "The Volvo S60 was an important model for Volvo Cars Gent," says managing director of Volvo Cars Ghent Derek Jessiman. "Now we will focus on a flawless launch of the new S60." And preparations for the new S60 model which will enter production in Ghent in 2010 are already underway. . . . The Volvo S60 has received a number of awards during the years: . . . Compact Executive Car 2002 (UK)
  50. ^ "Volvo S60 (2008 – 2018)". (in German). Volvo Car Corporation. Retrieved 2019-03-02. Die dritte Generation des Volvo S60 wird im Jahr 2018 vorgestellt und basiert auf der skalierbaren Produkt-Architektur (SPA) von Volvo. [The third generation of the Volvo S60 will be unveiled in the year 2018 and is based on the scalable product-architecture (SPA) by Volvo]
  51. ^ "New Volvo S60 2019 review". Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  52. ^ "Sedans". Volvo Car Corporation. Retrieved 2019-02-27. The Volvo S60 is our compact executive sedan, it offers sporty and dynamic driving with excellent comfort and safety.
  53. ^ "Comparison: 2019 Volvo S60 Vs. 2019 Mercedes C-Class". Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  54. ^ Stephan Bähnisch (5 July 2010). "Pariser Autosalon 2010: Volvo V60-Vorstellung" [Paris auto salon 2010: Volvo V60 unveiling]. (in German). AutoBild. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  55. ^ "Volvo V60 (2011-2018) review". Dennis publishing Ltd. 23 May 2018. Retrieved 2019-03-12. Eye-catching looks, an upmarket cabin and diesel engines that blend strong performance and excellent efficiency make the Volvo V60 tempting choice in the compact executive estate class.
  56. ^ a b "Volvo V60 review". Dennis Publishing Ltd. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 2019-03-12. This is the second generation V60, and it's a rival to the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class Estate. That's all of the rivals the V60 has, because there aren't estate variants of other compact executive saloons such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE and Lexus IS. Although obviously there's nothing stopping you choosing a V60 over any of these, unless you really hate estates... The Volvo V60 makes a strong case for itself in two ways - it uses the same running gear as other Volvos such as the XC90, XC60 and V90 estate, plus it has the biggest boot of any model in the compact executive estate class, at 529 litres. Add in a stylish interior packed with tech, and it's clear why we awarded it a commendation in our most recent New Car Awards.
  57. ^ "Volvo V60 (2011 – 2018)". (in German). Volvo Car Corporation. Retrieved 2019-03-02. Die zweite Generation des Volvo V60 wird im Jahr 2018 vorgestellt und basiert auf der skalierbaren Produkt-Architektur (SPA) von Volvo. [The second generation of the Volvo V60 will be unveiled in the year 2018 and be based on the scalable product architecture (SPA) by Volvo]
  58. ^ "Road Test: Volvo V60". 1 February 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  59. ^ Jordan Katsianis (21 February 2018). "New Volvo V60 estate aims its crosshairs at compact executive rivals". Dennis Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 2019-02-03. The new Volvo V60 is hoping to bring some Swedish charm to the compact executive class — Volvo’s proliferation of new models are still streaming out of its Gothenburg HQ in an overhaul that has replaced nearly all of the marque’s line-up in under four years. The latest is the new Volvo V60, a compact executive estate aimed directly at the BMW 3-series Touring, Audi A4 Avant and Mercedes C-class estate.
  60. ^ "10 of the best compact executive cars". RAC Motoring Services. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 2019-03-03. The Infiniti Q50 is a forgotten compact executive contender. It’s Nissan’s successful upmarket brand taking on Europe with a dedicated compact saloon model, and there are several attractions such as a high-quality interior and gadget-packed cockpit. Another non-obvious choice.
  61. ^ "The History and Evolution of the Acura TLX". 12 December 2018.
  62. ^ "Acura's 2018 TLX a bargain of an entry-level luxury sedan". 14 June 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  63. ^ "We drove a $54,000 Audi A4 and a $46,000 Acura TLX to see which luxury sedan we liked better — here's the verdict". 12 April 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  64. ^ Jonathan Crouch (10 October 2005). "Mazda Xedos 6 (1992 - 1999) used car review". RAC Motoring Services. Retrieved 2019-03-02. The Xedos 6 was the car that launched the Xedos (pronounced 'ker-see-dos') brand back in 1992, Mazda's attempt to break into the BMW, Mercedes and Audi-dominated compact executive saloon sector.