Everything You Should Consider Before Buying A Luxury Vehicle

Buying a new vehicle is one of the most important decisions you can make in your life. For many, the ultimate dream is to go one step further and buy a BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porshe, or another top luxury vehicle. Before you head down to the showroom, though, you need to ask yourself – is owning a luxury vehicle worth every penny? These are the reasons you should or shouldn’t buy a luxury vehicle to help you decide whether it’s time to get behind the wheel of your dream car.

Luxury Vehicles Are Not Budget Friendly

a luxury car driving down the freeway
Martyn Goddard/Corbis via Getty Images
Martyn Goddard/Corbis via Getty Images

If you’re hoping to buy a brand new luxury vehicle, prepare for your bank account to take a hit. The chances of finding one under $30,000 are nearly non-existent, and most models will start no lower than $40,000.

Before pulling the proverbial trigger on your purchase, ask yourself, “does this fit into my budget?” Remember, a luxury vehicle is exactly that – a luxury. You can get around in your daily life just fine in an economy car, such as Toyota or Honda.

Resale Value Is Limited

porsche on display
HAROLD CUNNINGHAM/AFP via Getty Images
HAROLD CUNNINGHAM/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to buy a Benz with hopes to sell it in a few years get ready for a reality check. After driving off the lot, your brand new luxury ride will immediately lose 15 percent of its value. After three years, it will be worth roughly 40 percent of what you paid for it.

In comparison, a non-luxury vehicle like a Toyota is only estimated to depreciate by 50 percent after three years of ownership. And as you drive it off the lot, it will only lose 10 percent of its value.

The Cost Of Repairs Could Leave You Crying

working on a car in an auto repair shop
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Another questionable reason to go all-in and buy a luxury vehicle is the cost of maintenance. Once your warranty expires, you’re stuck paying for everything, and it’s not cheap.

To start, an oil change, which costs anywhere between $50 and $100 for a Honda, will be double that for an Acura. As for the other repairs? Because you now own a luxury vehicle, the prices for replacement parts and labor will be suited for a king.

Peak Performance Can’t Be Beat

ferrari parked in front of a building
VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images
VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

On the plus side, when you invest in a luxury car you pay for the best performance your money can buy. What’s underneath the hood of your car matters, and luxury automakers go all out with the best engines that push the limits of power.

Even older luxury cars tend to out-perform their non-luxury counterparts. The powerful engines, as well as the sleek lines that turn heads on the freeway, are undeniable advantages to choosing a Lexus over a Toyota.

A Used Luxury Vehicle Is Still A Luxury Vehicle

mercedes benz dealership
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

If you are dead-set on getting a luxury car, but a new one isn’t quite in your budget, then it’s time to consider the secondary market. You already know that a luxury vehicle will depreciate by 60 percent or more in three years, so why not buy a three-year-old-model?

After only a few years you are essentially buying a new car for a fraction of the price. You get all the performance, the sleek good looks, and the heads being turned on the freeway at a price that won’t make you cry on the inside.

High-End Safety Features Usually Come Standard

a man dressed as a crash test dummy
DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP via Getty Images
DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Another advantage of choosing to buy a luxury vehicle are the safety features. Not only are you getting high-end performance out of your new ride, but you are also getting top of the line safety features without having to upgrade.

Common safety features on most luxury vehicles include a full set of airbags, a reliable anti-lock braking system, and traction control. These automakers know that because you are choosing to make an investment in them, they need to make an investment in you as well.

You Can’t Beat The Tech Included

tech inside a vat
Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Another convincing reason to buy luxury is the tech included. Similar to the vehicle’s safety features, a number of high-end tech accessories will come standard including wi-fi hot spot capability and in some case in-headrest TV screens.

It’s no secret that drivers want tech-friendly cars today, and luxury makers like Mercedes have made sure not to let anyone down. The German manufacturer even has some cars that come with voice control!

Luxury Vehicles Will Increase Your “Social Standing”

nice car parked outside restaurant
Epics/Getty Images
Epics/Getty Images

If you are the type of person who wants to turn heads when you step outside of your car at a restaurant, then you will want to own a luxury vehicle. Even if your income places you in a non-elite class, owning a Porsche will instantly up your social standing.

On the other side, if how society sees you is not your top concern, then window shopping for luxury is about all you should do. After you’ve seen the best, it’s time to head to your local Ford dealer.

It Can Be Harder To Find The Best Repair Shops

luxury car engine
Visual China Group via Getty Images
Visual China Group via Getty Images

While you already know that owning a luxury car means that you need to be willing to accept a higher cost of repairs, there is one more thing you need to be okay with. Not every auto-garage or repair shop is certified to repair luxury vehicles.

Depending on where you live, you may have to drive several miles out of your way just to get your car repaired. Now getting your auto fixed is just costing you money, it’s also costing you time.

Luxury Vehicles Aren’t Always The Best For Families

kids hanging out on BMW
ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images
ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images

If you are a parent and you are considering upgrading to a luxury vehicle, remember that kids will add cost. Sitting in the back seat and playing, the wear and tear on the interior of your new car could be immediate.

For a lot of people, that’s not ideal when it comes to high-quality leather seats. The good news is that more and more luxury companies are designing cars for families. Lincoln even recently started an ad campaign with the slogan, “Luxury should be lived in.”

Some Non-Luxury Brands Use Luxury Parts

chevy tahoe on display
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Before committing to buying that brand new Cadillac Escalade, first consider this: While the Escalade is brandished with the Cadillac name and logo, it actually shares a lot of parts with the Chevrolet Tahoe.

Essentially, if you want luxury quality, but aren’t as worried about social branding, the Tahoe is a more affordable option. Always research before buying to make sure you are getting exactly what you want at the price you want to pay.

A Luxury Vehicle Could Help Ease Back Pain

cadillac seats
Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images
Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Because of the superior build quality of luxury vehicles, several models could actually help ease back pain. According to best-selling health author Darren Zeer, six of the ten cars with the most comfortable seats belong to luxury brands.

Still, he warns, “During long drives, it’s important to pull over at least every two hours and take a walk and stretch break. Move around, shake your body, and stretch. This will help your back but also get you refocused and wake you up. As you stretch focus on breathing, slightly activating your core and belly muscles.”

Just Because Some Features Come Standard, It Doesn’t Mean They’re Functional

lexus luxury vehicle
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

As tempting as all the high-end tech in luxury cars might be, it’s important to remember that just because a trendy feature comes standard, it might not be functional. We’ve already mentioned that the tech is one reason to consider a luxury vehicle, just make sure you know what that tech is.

The Remote Touch system that Lexus included in the 2016 model of the RX 350 was notoriously dysfunctional. BMW’s iDrive system has had similar complaints since being introduced.

Luxury Vehicles Have Shorter Warranties

lexus dealership
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

Every new car you buy, and even used cars in some cases, come with warranties. Depending on how in-depth your warranty is, most repairs are covered and you won’t have to pay for them.

Compared to luxury cars, mainstream vehicles tend to have longer warranties. The less time you have to worry about the maintenance, the better as far as we’re considered. And if you’re buying used, depending on how old the car you’re looking at is, it may still be under warranty.

Fuel Efficiency Isn’t Always Top Priority

cadillac escalade on display
Kim Jong Hyun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Kim Jong Hyun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

With so much packed under the hood of a luxury vehicle to improve performance and power, it should come as no surprise that these autos tend to be less fuel-efficient. Would you rather fill up your gas tank once a week or every two weeks?

A question like that is important to consider when buying a car, especially if you are in the SUV market. The fuel efficiency of a Cadillac Escalade is about two-thirds of what the fuel efficiency of a Ford Escape is.

A Smoother Ride Comes With A Cost

a very shiny luxury car
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

One of the top features that helps distinguish luxury vehicles from economy models is the overall smoothness of the ride. Luxury makers tend to put more care into the quality of “harshness” engineering.

That means the luxury car will almost always have a better suspension system and sound-deadening materials than their mainstream counterparts. For the price you pay, you end up getting a smoother ride with less tire and wind noise as you drive down the freeway.

They Sometimes Share Chassis With Mainstream Cars

ford fusion on display at an auto show
Todd Korol/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Todd Korol/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Earlier we noted that some luxury brands share components with their more affordable counterparts. What we didn’t reveal was that they often also share chassis. For example, Ford owns Lincoln, so many models share bodies.

The Lincoln MKZ shares the same basic design and chassis as the Ford Fusion. While some angles might be changed, and some parts might be upgraded, this is one way that Ford can keep production costs down while maintaining, or even increasing MSRP.

Mainstream Tech Is Catching Up

honda civic on display
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As the years go by, the tech features being included in mainstream vehicles are beginning to catch up to luxury models. We’re used to seeing Bluetooth connectivity as a standard feature in luxury vehicles, but not elsewhere without an added charge.

Not so anymore. A Honda Civic comes standard with Bluetooth. As cars like the Civic or Corolla catch up, they become viable options for any drivers looking for top-of-the-line features at a reasonable price.

There’s A Difference Between Premium And Luxury

kia optima on display
HAROLD CUNNINGHAM/AFP via Getty Images
HAROLD CUNNINGHAM/AFP via Getty Images

One of the ways mainstream auto brands will try to compete with luxury brands is through a premium label. Be warned, however, that this label does not mean everything you think it might.

Typically, the premium version of a vehicle model is just the base version with the highest trim level added. By the time you look at the price tag of a premium Kia Optima, it may cost the same as a Lexus.

Make The Choice You Want To Make

bentley in a parking lot
Michel Stoupak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Michel Stoupak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At the end of the day, only you know which car is the best one for you to buy. If you have your heart set on a luxury vehicle, the best advice we can offer is to do your research. Make sure you know what it is you want so you don’t get tricked into something you don’t.

Amazingly, the same advice applies if you are buying a mainstream car. Do your research, go for a test drive, and know what features you want and want vehicles can offer you the best value for it.