A luxury vehicle is intended to provide passengers (and often the driver) with increased comfort, a higher level of a equipment and increased perception of quality than regular cars (such as economy cars, which are intended as basic low-cost transportation devices). The term is subjective and can be based on either the qualities of the car itself or the brand image of its manufacturer. Luxury brands are considered to have a higher status than premium brands, however there is no fixed differentiation between the two.
Some car manufacturers market their luxury models using the same marque as the rest of their models. Other manufacturers market their luxury models separately under a different marque, for example Lexus (launched by Toyota in 1989) and Bentley (purchased by Volkswagen in 1998). Occasionally, a luxury car is initially sold under a maintream marque and is later re-branded under a specific luxury marque (for example the Hyundai Genesis / Genesis G80).
The next category of luxury cars is known in Great Britain as a luxury saloon or luxury limousine, and is known in the United States as a full-size luxury sedan or large luxury sedan. It is the equivalent of the European F-segment and German Oberklasse segment.
Many of these luxury saloons are the flagship for the marque and therefore include the newest automotive technology. Several models are available in long-wheelbase versions, which provide additional rear legroom and often a higher level of standard features.
Long before the luxury SUV segment became popular in the 1990s, the vehicle in this segment was the 1966 Jeep Super Wagoneer,(p3) which was marketed at the time as a station wagon. It was the first off-road SUV to offer a V8 engine, automatic transmission, and luxury car trim and equipment. Standard equipment included bucket seating, a center console, air conditioning, seven-position tilt steering wheel, a vinyl roof and gold colored trim panels on the body sides and tailgate.(p3) By the late 1970s, optional equipment included an electric sunroof,(p4) The 1978 Jeep Wagoneer Limited was the spiritual successor to the Super Wagoneer and was the first four-wheel drive car to use leather upholstery.