The price of a car is always way higher than the components making it. That is because making a car takes more than bolting a few pieces of metal, plastic, and rubber together. A lot of research and development goes into making a car roadworthy.
However, sometimes, cars look like they are too good for their price tag or too cheap for the features they offer. The reasons for this are often unknown. In this article, we will analyze 40 such cars. Some have become cheap over time, others have an original price tag unmatched by what they have to offer.
If this car had the name of a German manufacturer’s name on it, the price would never have been under $30,000 like it is now. This Japanese gem of a car has a 228 hp motor, rear-wheel drive, and limited-slip differential.
Toyota 86 is the perfect car for the ones who need a fun daily driver that they can take to the track. The engine is responsive, weight distribution is next to perfect and it has one of the most well-tuned chassis of all time.
Jaguar S-Type R
Built to compete with the German icons like BMW and Mercedes, this Jaguar was a force to reckon with when it came out in the early 2000s with a price tag of about $70,000. It had a supercharged V8 with 400hp and an electronically limited top speed of 156mph.
However, you can now get one of these for just under $20,000. The price might have dropped but it still does 0-60 in 5.3 seconds and looks sick while it’s at it.
Third-Gen Cadillac Escalade Luxury
The Escalade is one of the most luxurious SUVs made in the US. The third generation of this gigantic family hauler was valued at $85,000 when it came out. Other than having a very smooth ride, this SUV had all the modern technological features of its time.
You can now buy one of these for under $35,000. That depreciation might be due to the criticism the brand receives, but that price for a 6.2L 403 HP and 417 lb-ft engine is a bit too low.
It’s a Caddy, it has a lot of power, and it does not have camshafts. Yes, it has a pushrod LS6 V8 that displaces 5.7 liters and converts them into 400 raw horsepower. All that and the luxury Caddy is known for are the highlights of this car.
However, despite all that, you can buy one of these amazing machines for under $20,000. That’s mainly because the big honking V8 is a gas guzzler and no one wants those in their lives.
Third-Gen BMW 650i Convertible
This BMW from 2012 came with a price tag of $88,000. One of the very few convertibles with usable rear seats, this car had all that made it worth that price. That included the innovations for safety and a big honking V8 spitting out 445 bhp.
Today, one of these can be yours for as low as $30,000. There is no concrete reason why the price of these cars has plummeted so much. It seems like a simple demand and supply situation where the demand for these things has dropped causing prices to go down.
Bentley Turbo R
This ‘Rod Holding’ Bentley was produced between 1985 and 1998. Unlike other Bentleys, it was focused more on performance than luxury. The things like anti-lock brakes, a fuel-injected engine, and a high rear axle made it fun to drive.
While the $45,000 price tag in the 1980s meant only the rich could afford to have one in their driveway, if you want to own a Bentley today, you can get a Turbo R for under $20,000.
First-Gen Aston Martin Rapide
This was the first 4-door Aston Martin and one of the first high-performance Saloon cars. It had a formidable 5.9L V8 under the hood producing 470hp that rotated a carbon-fiber driveshaft via a 6-speed automatic transmission to rocket this thing to 188mph.
All that could not save this car and there was next to no market demand for this marvel of engineering, driving the cost down to $30,000 from the initial $200k+ price tag.
This was another ambitious Bentley that was launched with a price tag of $200,000. That price might look like too much even today but this car came out in 1998, so just imagine. BMW blessed this 5-meter-long machine with a V8 and the most modern tech of the time.
However, today, all that tech is antiquated and these cars are available for as low as $20,000. The main reason these cars are so cheap today is the widespread availability of the, once premium, features on economy cars.
1999 Chevrolet Camaro SS
With a V6 producing 305hp and suspension tuned for sports, this is one of the best American cars of its time. While it should be a modern classic, in reality, you can get your hands on a fine example for under $5,000.
The reason for this car’s price going down is probably that there was not enough demand for it on the market and people now have better options than this antique if they have to spend $30,000 on a car.
Series 3 Alfa Romeo Spider
Not the fanciest or the most insanely powerful Alfa Romeo out there but an Alfa, nonetheless. This machine has a 2.0-L I4 engine, classic 1980s styling, and an interior dominated by leather and other premium materials.
If you want to look cool cruising around in the neighborhood, you can buy one of these for just $6,000. The side skirts, 15-inch alloy wheels, and streamlined headlamp cutouts give this car some serious looks.
2003 Bentley Arnage R
When this car debuted, it was valued at $199,999. That’s more than $300,000 in today’s money. The Arnage was on the bleeding edge of technology for its time. It had a DVD navigation system and radical new features like parking assist.
However, even the 6.75L 400hp, 612lb-ft V8 could not save this car from going down in value and now you can get one of these for under $35,000. Part of the reason for this is the introduction of the same features and ride quality in cheaper cars.
First-Gen Dodge Challenger
It won’t be wrong to say that the Challenger is the single most iconic car ever made by Americans. It is the pinnacle of American automotive engineering. The Challenger came with engines up to 7.2L and had all that it takes to make a great car.
However, now that people want more fuel-efficient cars and the tech in this 1970s vehicle is a story of the past, the prices for these have gone ridiculously low. You can get one for $8,000.
Maserati Quattroporte V
When Pietro Fura designed this Italian beauty, he’d never have thought that this thing would be changing hands for $9,000 after a pandemic in 2020, but it happened. Other than looking upscale and being loaded with the most luxury materials, this car is a good performer too.
It has a 4.7L V8 that produces 395hp and can take this car to 60 mph from a standstill in just over 5 seconds. However, as everyone knows Maseratis are not the most reliable cars out there, so no one is paying a premium price for these.
2015 BMW 428i Gran Coupe
The stats of this machine are amazing. We’re talking 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, 320hp, 310lb-ft, rear-wheel-drive, and a limited-slip differential. All that and a chassis that seems like it was tuned by an F1 driver.
This car cost $66,000 new. Now, however, you can get one of these for well under $25,000. The main reason these things are so cheap these days is the general unreliability associated with the BMW brand name.
First-Gen Jaguar XF
The 2010 facelift of the first-gen Jaguar XF had it all that you could demand from a performance luxury car at that time. The features like computer-controlled dampers, electronically actuated limited-slip differential, and Jaguar Drive Mode Selector made this car amazing.
Now, however, you can get all those premium features for just $10,000. If you have the money to maintain this car, which is very very expensive, this will be an awesome addition to your garage.
Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II
It has Connoly leather seats, a walnut dashboard, and lamb wool carpets. Did I mention the 6.7L V8 under the hood and a 3-speed automatic transmission? When this beast of a car came out in 1979, it was the ultimate car for the uber-rich.
Now, these things are hardly worth over $22,000. Reason? Well, the complicated braking system is prone to failure and the maintenance is very expensive. The rear suspension, made for comfort, is also not the most durable one on the market.
Lexus SC Convertible
The pre-LFA Lexus models didn’t get the appreciation they deserved. As a matter of fact, people did not take this Japanese luxury car brand seriously before the LFA made its debut. The SC convertible, a memory of that era is a car that’s nothing short of perfection.
It has a 4.7L V8 with 300hp, a double-wishbone suspension, a retractable roof, and all the touches of luxury you can ask for. Still, this reliable Japanese performance luxury car can be yours for $10,000.
The price tag of $26,000 for a Bugatti looks like a joke but it is true. Even though only 43 of these were ever made by Bugatti, people don’t seem to treat this machine as a rare collectible.
This car did have a 200hp engine and a top speed of 120mph but the 1937 technology is more than outdated now. It looks like people favor a new Civic more than this Bigatti because the former has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay!
Fifth-Gen Chevy Corvette Convertible
Not all cheap cars are ancient. This Corvette is from the early 2000s and will cost you just under $20,000. It does not have antiquated technology either. Powered by a 5.7L V8, this car has 360hp on the wheels.
It is available with a manual or automatic transmission with pretty respectable handling and the inside is fairly comfortable. If you don’t worry about poor gas mileage and want a fun daily driver that turns heads, this is the one.
Merc CLS 63 AMG
It has the performance, it has the looks, and it has the luxury, but most important of all, it can be yours for just under $20,000. Yes, a top-of-the-line 5.5L twin-turbo Mercedes with 18-way adjustable seats. a heated steering wheel, and everything in between.
Even though the low price is an insult to the great car that the CLS is, it has made it possible for an average man to own a Merc. The maintenance is, however, a whole different story.
Second-Gen Porsche Cayman S
It’s a Porsche, it has a 2.7L flat-six, 245hp, and 201lb-ft of torque. However, like any other German luxury performance car, its price has seen better days. When this thing was new, in 2007, Porsche suggested a retail price of $60,000 and people paid that.
Now, however, you can park one of these in your driveway for just over $20,000. Like any other Porsche of that time, it will need a lot of expensive maintenance but that’s the price you pay for enjoying a modern classic at a discounted price.
Bentley Continental GT
The name Bentley almost guarantees that the owner would be a millionaire but that’s not totally true. Although the Continental GT came with a price tag of $200,000 when new, fine examples can be found for just under $40,000.
What that money gets you is a magic carpet ride, a 551hp 6.0L W12, and a top speed just north of 200mph. However, this W12 motor is infamous for being unreliable and costly to maintain. It’s a Bentley nonetheless.
Third-Gen Cadillac DeVille Coupe
This is a pure classic, reminiscent of the glorious 1970s. The fact that examples of this are changing hands for under $15,000 is an insult to this car, but it is what it is.
This classic has more than just looks. It was loaded with luxury, technology, and innovations unheard of in the 1970s. Things like headrests, FM/AM radio, and heated seats were just the beginning of the spec sheet of this car.
When the A6 was introduced, Audi had the intention of making a ‘subtle understated car that only the knowledgeable could appreciate.’ It looks like the engineers at Audi took that a bit too far.
The A6 is a proper luxury car with a supercharged 350hp engine and a fuel consumption of 18mpg. However, probably because it does not look like an upscale car is the reason that you can get one of these for under $20,000 today.
Second-Gen Aston Martin Vanquish
Other than looking like it eats Civics for breakfast, the Vanquish has a 6.0L V12 with 565hp and a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds. Like any other car of this brand, it is loaded with luxury features.
Even though it was released with a price tag of $134,000 in 2014, it is now available for under $20,000. The reason for this masterpiece of automotive art being so cheap is that things are expensive to maintain and the repair bill starts exponentially increasing as the odometer crosses 50,000 miles.
Honda S2000 AP-2
This small Japanese convertible from the mid-2000s is one of the most fun small cars that you can own. All that you need to get one of these is $12,000. What you’ll get is a 2.0L I4 engine that pumps out 237hp.
Not the most powerful car out there but the S2000 is a good sports car for starters and is great for the ones who want an inexpensive first car for high school.
Now we are in the realm of cars that have not depreciated and rather come with a humble price tag as compared to the features they offer. The Q50 is one of the prime examples of that. For a base price of $37,000, you get a V6 with 300hp.
Though not the most ‘luxurious’ interior out there but Nissan’s luxury brand has put together all the small things that you’ll need for a comfortable commute. The thing is, luxury cars and $37,000 don’t belong in one sentence, but Nissan has made that possible.
Another luxury car under the 40 grand mark is the Lincoln Corsair. It comes from one of the oldest and most well-reputed American car brands. Powering the car is a 2.0L turbocharged I4 but you can get up to 2.5L motors engines and a hybrid motor.
Lincoln overhauled the Corsair in 2020 to give it the touches of luxury associated with the Lincoln name. If American luxury cars are your type, this is a good point of entry.
Let’s be clear, the CLA class introduced by Mercedes was nothing like a Mercedes. It had a mediocre interior with unrefined driving characteristics and manufacturing defects. The GLA Class is a real Mercedes just in a smaller package.
You can get this car for $35,000. It comes with a 188hp turbocharged 2.0L engine. The interior is upscale and the car drives like a real German performance car. Mercedes has probably priced the car so low to compete with the likes of Civic TypeR, Toyota GR Yaris, and other hot hatches.
Hyundai’s luxury motor division, Genesis, has made this car compete with the BMW 3-series and it has proven to be a worthy enemy. It has a 252hp 2.0L I4 that can be upgraded to a 365hp V6.
Offered in a rear-wheel-drive configuration, the G70 is luxurious and fun to drive while costing under $40,000. The best part about this deal is that Genesis offers 100,000 miles or a 10-year warranty on the car.
If you want a car that handles like a dream and costs as much as a new Corolla, the BMW 2-series is the way to go. The base model comes with a very responsive 2.0L I4 that asks you to push the accelerator harder.
The rear-wheel-drive chassis and available 6-speed manual transmission make this car a real tarmac shredder. If the 248hp I4 is not enough for you, you can upgrade to the 335hp I6.
This entry-level Cadillac crossover is a nice point to step into the luxury car market. The base price is $36,000 but if you can spare four grand more, you can configure this thing to be a real luxury car on the inside.
Under the hood is a 237hp turbocharged I4 that motivates the front wheels and AWD is also an option. All in all, it gives you the prestige of driving an American luxury brand for a steal of a deal.
No matter how much the BMW fanboys might cry about the X1 being a crossover and having a transverse-mounted engine with FWD as the standard configuration, it is a practical, comfortable, and capable crossover that you can get for just $36,000.
At the heart of BMW’s smallest crossover is a 2.0L turbocharged I4 that produces a respectable 228hp and moves the car with considerable agility. Inside, the car is spacious and has plenty of cargo space.
Costing just $35,000, the Audio Q3 is another of the unbelievably low-priced German cars. The standard engine on this car is a 184hp 2.0L turbocharged motor that can be upgraded to a 228hp one.
The main highlight of this car is its modern and upscale interior. You’ll find yourself surrounded by tech like a 10.1-inch infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch instrument cluster displaying all the information about the car.
The smallest SUV from Volvo is a cute car that is offered in a number of colors and trims. The recent addition of the T4 trim has made this car accessible for a lot of people. This new model costs just $36,000.
What that money gets you are a 187hp 2.0L turbocharged engine and a very comfortable interior. There’s one downside though, this car is not offered as an AWD version so you’ll be stuck in FWD mode.
For people who want to buy an original American sedan for a good price, the CT4 can be one of the best options. It costs just $34,400 and comes standard with a 237hp 2.0L turbocharged engine that can be upgraded to a 2.7L version with more than 300hp.
This Cadillac sedan is characterized by sharp exterior styling, a balanced chassis, and a luxurious and comfortable interior.
This is the car the Japanese luxury brand has made as a cheap option for the customers coming to a Lexus dealership. With a price tag of under $34,000, it can be a good point of entry for anyone looking for a reliable luxury car.
The base model has a 169hp gas engine that can be upgraded to a hybrid powertrain with a combined power output of 181hp. It is only offered in FWD configuration.
BMW 2-Series Grand Coupe
If the regular BMW with its price tag of $40,000 is a bit too costly for you, this is another option. BMW is offering the Grand Coupe for the first time in a front-wheel-drive configuration that further decreases the price by a couple of thousand dollars.
The car still has a 228hp four-cylinder motor and is comfortable for long and short journeys. Unlike many other coupes, it also offers a reasonable trunk.
This is the cheapest luxury-branded car that you can buy in the US today. The asking price for one of these is under $28,000. It is powered by a 4-cylinder engine that produces 201 horsepower.
The car got a major styling and feature upgrade in 2019 and is now aesthetically, mechanically, and technologically relevant and at par with more expensive German and American offerings. Being made under Honda’s supervision also makes these things insanely reliable.
Okay, not technically a car but this is vehicle is also a steal of a deal. For just $40,000, you can buy this van, the most practical van in all of the US. While intended mainly for cargo, this RWD van can very easily be converted into a camping vehicle.
It has a 208-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine and is every bit as comfortable as any other Benz on this list. So, not a bad deal!