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Live large, spend wisely; here are the 11 Best Luxury Cars for 2016

To be a true luxury car in an age when family sedans boast amenities that until recently were premium-class exclusives requires a special automotive alchemy. A genuine luxury-brand origin is essential. So are performance, comfort, and features that elevate it above basic transportation. Roominess is an underappreciated luxury marker, too, which is why the 11 Best Luxury Cars of 2016 are dominated by full-size sedans and seasoned by a couple of midsize models of special merit. We present them least expensive to most, with base prices that include manufacturer destination charges, which average around $950.

1. Cadillac XTS – Living Large

Base price range: $45,655-$70,780

The full-size Cadillac XTS is a throwback to the 1980s, when most domestic-brand cars were converted to front-wheel-drive configurations and downsized and lightened to meet newly established fuel economy standards. (Yes, Caddies from the 1970s were actually larger than this garage filling four-door.) XTS doesn’t ride or handle with the sporty sophistication of its European rivals, all of which are rear-drive, with optional all-wheel drive. But it’s nonetheless well mannered and isolates its occupants from bad pavement. Credit the standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension system that reacts and adjusts in real time according to road conditions and driving situations. All-wheel-drive is optional, providing added foul-weather traction and absorbing the front-drive model’s nominal torque steer (what happens when a powerful front-drive car pulls to the side during rapid acceleration). The standard 3.6-liter V-6 delivers a sufficient 304 horsepower. The top Vsport model has a twin-turbocharged 410-horsepower version of that engine and standard AWD. The sole transmission is a six-speed automatic (in a class where 7- and 8-speed automatics are the norm). The interior is sufficiently plush, tainted only by the difficult-to-operate CUE (Cadillac User Interface) multimedia system. The system gains added connectivity with Apple’s iPhone for 2016. Myriad high-tech safety and luxury features are offered, including a new-for-‘16 “Surround Vision” display that provides a 360-degree video view of the vehicle’s exterior for easier and safer parking.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]