Acura's answer to both those things is the new ILX at a base price of $25,900. It's a fuel-efficient compact car with luxury features. The fuel efficiency comes from Acura's sister brand, Honda. Under its distinctive skin is essentially a Civic, given a dash of upscale content in keeping with the Acura brand's theme.
From the Civic side comes the four-cylinder engine. The base unit produces smooth power, as well as fuel economy numbers of 24 city and 35 highway. There are also versions of two other Civic engines available, the sporty, high-revving one from the Si, and even a gas-electric option courtesy of the Civic Hybrid, which gets a rated city fuel economy number of 39.
Inside, the Acura signature instrument panel has been adapted to the smaller sedan, and things like navigation with traffic info as well as leather seats are available.
Essentially, the ILX has many, if not all, of the bells and whistles found on the larger Acura models.
One of the nice things about the ILX is that a lot of features come standard. Unfortunately for the tall, one of those things is a sun roof, which cuts into headroom.
There are a couple of other choices in small cars that can be considered luxurious, but have a bit more room inside.
Buick's Verano is new this year, and blends European sport sedan road manners with typical Buick comfort.
And Volkswagen's Jetta can be optioned up to include things like leather seats and other amenities, though it still doesn't carry true luxury car status nor a luxury brand name.
As for the small Acura, it probably came along at just the right time. It's easy on fuel like an economy car, but big on features like something much larger.
As more and more car buyers look for a combination of good gas mileage and luxury, we could see more cars like this one hitting showrooms in the coming years.