An old saying goes; “The best used luxury car to buy is the newest one you can afford.” After all, while the price of entry might be well within reach of the average individual, maintenance expenses can often be reasonable only to those who could afford to buy the car new. If something goes terribly wrong, repair costs can sometimes mitigate much of the savings you achieved. Of course, purchasing a certified pre-owned luxury car could do much to alleviate this worry, which is why it is one of these 10 best reasons to buy a used luxury car.
The foremost reason to buy a used luxury car over a new economy car is the simple fact you get more car for less money. According to our friends at Kelley Blue Book, one can find a good clean 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 today (Aug 2014) for around $26,000. This is also about what you’d pay for a nicely equipped new Camry. Anyone who has ever driven a Mercedes E Class will tell you the experience is considerably more special than driving the Toyota. This is perhaps the most compelling of the ten best reasons to buy a used luxury car.
Ah, but you say, “Buying that four-year old Mercedes-Benz means I won’t get a warranty. What if something goes wrong?” Actually, that four-year-old Mercedes qualifies for the Mercedes-Benz certified pre-owned program—if purchased from an authorized dealer. And yes, the price we quoted above was for a certified pre owned (CPO) model. CPO cars are inspected rather thoroughly to ensure they won’t cost the manufacturer an arm and a leg to keep running after you make the purchase. This is a nice bit of insurance to have, and nearly all companies offer them now on their select used models.
Another nice bit of insurance to have when purchasing an older luxury car is an extended warranty. However, shop carefully, and make sure the extended warranty you purchase will cover the things likely to go wrong. To make sure yours does, before you buy, spend some time in the online forums dedicated to the model you’re considering. Join and ask questions about the model you’re intending to purchase. Pay close attention to what people say most often goes awry and make sure any extended warranty you purchase will cover it. Otherwise, you’ve just bought an expensive piece of paper.
Over the period of time you own the used luxury car, odds are it will depreciate less than a new car would. In most cases, a new car can lose as much as fifty percent of its value over four years. The price of the used Mercedes-Benz bears this out quite well. Thing is, after that, it doesn’t depreciate quite as quickly. So over the four years you own the more economical car, you could see considerably more depreciation than you would over the four years you own the luxury car. Of course this varies from model to model.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a used luxury car, the services of a good, honest, independent mechanic, one thoroughly knowledgeable in the ways of the car you’re considering are an absolute must-have. Again, online forums can be of considerable service. Cast about in your area for people who own cars like the one you’re considering and ask about mechanics. Yelp.com can also be a helpful resource when you’re trying to find a good mechanic. BTW, your relationship with this person should begin before you buy the car. A pre-purchase inspection is an absolute must on any used car purchase.
If you’d like a used luxury car, but you’re really concerned about the costs of maintaining exotic imported machinery, one consideration is to go domestic. Over the years, American luxury cars have come to resemble their European counterparts quite a bit in terms of the way they are equipped, as well as the way they drive. However, since they’re built here, in many cases replacement parts are considerably less expensive. Further, in many circumstances, a Ford mechanic can handle a Lincoln and a Chevy mechanic can do a lot of work on a Cadillac. This could save you money.
We kind of covered this above, but it’s worth repeating. Once you’ve experienced the smoothness, power, and feature set of a good luxury car, it’s very hard to go back to driving a more economy-oriented automobile. You’ll miss the comfortable ambiance of the interior, the seamless power, the broad array of luxurious convenience features, and (at the risk of sounding incredibly shallow) the exceptionally good feeling you get walking up to a prestige car when you’re leaving with acquaintances. It’s human nature, and absolutely OK—as long as you’re not making an fool of yourself by bragging about it.
It’s a fact, the vast majority of safety innovations we take for granted today in mainstream cars were introduced first in luxury cars. Seat belts, air bags, backup cameras, blind-spot monitors, rear cross traffic alert, smart cruise control, even keyless entry and push button start were featured on luxury cars first. What’s our point here? In many cases, a four-year old luxury car will offer more safety features than a brand new economy car at the same price. If you’re looking for a solidly rational reason to justify buying a used luxury car, rather than a new economy car...
Like safety equipment, many of the commonly accepted comfort and convenience features routinely found in mainstream cars these days debuted in luxury cars. The electric starter, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, GPS navigation, power windows, self-dimming headlights, power mirrors, and specifically tailored audio systems, all made their debuts as features on luxury cars. So, if you’re looking to take advantage of tomorrow’s best comfort and convenience features today, a four-year old used luxury car can take you well into that realm. These days, features like soft-close doors, power-operated trunk lids, and smart windshield wipers are found primarily on luxury cars.
We mentioned the most compelling reason not to buy one briefly in the introduction. Buying a used luxury car at the price of a new mainstream car does not mean you will get to maintain the used luxury car at the same price points as the new mainstream car. It’s going to cost more. Therefore, when you’re considering going with an older luxury car instead of a new economical car, you need to make sure you can afford to keep the luxury car in good condition. The best things in life might be free, but they are never cheap.