A compact executive car or a compact luxury car is a premium car larger than a premium compact and smaller than an executive car. Compact executive car is a UK term and a part of the D-segment in the European car classification.

An executive car generally needs to be comfortable and well-equipped while also being cheap to run as a company car.[1] They may have performance features and are often viewed as status symbols. A high percentage of the "executive cars" market share consists of corporate-owned cars, or vehicles provided by a firm for the business and sometimes private use by employees.[2]

United States

2016 Cadillac ATS
2016 Cadillac ATS

The "compact executive car" description is not often used in the United States, but it describes certain models imported from Europe.[3]

The Cadillac ATS has been described as a compact executive car.[4][5][6] The ATS is now succeeded by the Cadillac CT4.

United Kingdom

1973 Triumph Dolomite Sprint
1973 Triumph Dolomite Sprint

The 1971 Triumph Dolomite is an early compact executive car.[7][8]

Jaguar's first compact executive car (although larger than the 1960s' Jaguar Mark 2) was the 2001 Jaguar X-Type.[9] Sales, however, were disappointing.[10] The X-type was replaced by the Jaguar XE in 2014, competing in the same sector.[9]


Alfa Romeo Giulia (1962-1978)
Alfa Romeo Giulia (1962-1978)

Alfa Romeo's models 75 and 155 are considered compact executive cars in the United Kingdom.[11] The 1996 Alfa Romeo 156 has been classified as such.[12][13] This was followed by the Alfa Romeo 159 and then the Giulia (Type 952).[12]

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 to 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 to 2005.[14][failed verification]


1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E
1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E

An early compact executive car produced in Germany was the 1966 BMW 02 Series, followed by the BMW 3 Series in 1975.

In 1965 Audi introduced their first compact executive model Audi 72.

The 1983 Mercedes-Benz W201 range (also known as the "Mercedes-Benz 190") was the first compact executive car from Mercedes-Benz.[15] In 1993, the W201 was replaced by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class range.[16][17]


Citroën DS5, 2013
Citroën DS5, 2013

Citroën offers a compact executive with its DS 5 hatchback.[18]


2019 Volvo S60
2019 Volvo S60

The Volvo S60 as well as its estate version Volvo V60 are considered to be compact executive cars.[19][20]


2019 Lexus IS
2019 Lexus IS

An early compact executive car produced in Japan was the 1988 Mazda Persona / Eunos 300.[21] The first Japanese compact executive car to be successful in overseas markets is the 1998 Lexus IS / Toyota Altezza.[22][23]

Other Japanese compact executive cars include the Infiniti Q50 (by Nissan),[24] Acura TLX (by Honda)[25][26][27] and Mazda Xedos 6.[28]

South Korea

2018 Kia Stinger GT2 3.3L AWD
2018 Kia Stinger GT2 3.3L AWD

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

See also


  1. ^ "Best executive cars 2021". What Car?. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Executive Cars: Europe". statista.com. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  3. ^ Jacobs, Andrew James (2016). The new domestic automakers in the United States and Canada: history, impacts, and prospects. Lexington Books. pp. 160, 169–170, 331, 412. ISBN 9780739188262.
  4. ^ "A 505HP Cadillac ATS-V May Be on the Horizon". motor1.com. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  5. ^ "2020 Cadillac CT5 Sedan Will Replace ATS, CTS, XTS". autoevolution.com. 30 July 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  6. ^ "2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Review, Trims, Specs and Price". carbuzz.com. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  7. ^ Bremner, Richard (4 March 2019). "Wolves in sheep's clothing: the Q cars". autocar.co.uk. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Icon of icons: Autocar Awards Readers' Champion - BMW 3 Series". Autocar. Retrieved 12 July 2019. But it set the template. Other cars might have made the market for what would eventually be known as the compact executive saloon. One was Alfa Romeo’s 1962 Giulia saloon, another the 1971 Triumph Dolomite, but their makers failed to fully capitalise, leaving BMW to develop the compact, sporty two-door saloon that was the E21 3 Series of 1975.
  9. ^ a b "Jaguar X-Type Model Description, History and Parts Information". Jagbits. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Jaguar X-type Facelift". 16 July 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  11. ^ Foskett, Robert (2013). Alfa Romeo 916 GTV and Spider: The Complete Story. Crowood. ISBN 9781847975331. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  12. ^ a b Lee, Daryl (11 May 2018). "Car Review: Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce is quite easily the best handling executive saloon". Singapore: Robb Report. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Compact Executives". autoexpress.co.uk. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2021. 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.
  14. ^ "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". italiaspeed.com. 20 June 2005. Retrieved 28 February 2019. 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.
  15. ^ Car: The Definitive Visual History of the Automobile. DK Publishing. 2011. p. 15. ISBN 9780756689384. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  16. ^ Pattni, Vijay (11 March 2014). "A brief history of the Mercedes C-Class". topgear.com. BBC. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  17. ^ Crouch, Jonathan (1 April 2009). "Mercedes-Benz C-Class (1993-2000) used car review". rac.co.uk. RAC Motoring Services. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  18. ^ "10 of the best compact executive cars". RAC Motoring Services. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  19. ^ Jonathan Lopez: A Swedish challenger for the German titan, 28 June 2018, retrieved 21 March 2019
  20. ^ Jordan Katsianis: New Volvo V60 estate aims its crosshairs at compact executive rivals, 22 February 2018, retrieved 21 March 2019
  21. ^ "Detailed specs review of 1989 Eunos 300 2000DOHC offered since October 1989 for Japan". automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Car Reviews: Lexus IS200 Sport - The AA". theaa.com. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Lexus IS200". autoexpress.co.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  24. ^ "10 of the best compact executive cars". raccars.co.uk. RAC Motoring Services. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2019. 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.
  25. ^ "The History and Evolution of the Acura TLX". moneyinc.com. 12 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Acura's 2018 TLX a bargain of an entry-level luxury sedan". boston.com. 14 June 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  27. ^ "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". businessinsider.com.au. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  28. ^ Jonathan Crouch (10 October 2005). "Mazda Xedos 6 (1992 - 1999) used car review". raccars.co.uk. RAC Motoring Services. Retrieved 2 March 2019. 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.