Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Luxury Car

Potentially get more for your money by purchasing a used luxury car.

by Spero Financial

When it comes to buying a car, you have a lot of decisions to make! New. Used. Make. Model. Compact. SUV. The choices can seem endless. 

But before you head to the car lot, here’s one more option to consider: Instead of opting for a brand-new economy model, could you get more for your money by purchasing a used luxury car? Perhaps you’ve considered a loaded Toyota Camry or Honda Accord but realized, for that same $30,000, you could get a pre-owned BMW 3-series or Mercedes C-class. Before making your final decision on whether to purchase a used luxury car, be sure to check out these pros and cons.

Pros of a Used Luxury Car

Higher Quality

It seems a little redundant to mention that luxury cars are crafted with higher quality, but facts are facts. From indulgent leather seats and heated steering wheels to premium suspensions and driver-assisting technology, upscale cars offer features that go well beyond the basics. That’s the point. In addition to the style points, these cars traditionally have more powerful engines, which can lead to longer engine life than you would find with less-expensive models.

Better Care

This may seem like a pretty big assumption, but let’s be honest—people don’t spend money on luxury cars in order to mistreat them. When you buy a used luxury model, you can be reasonably confident that the previous owner took good care of it. Of course, it can be dangerous to purchase a car based solely on assumptions. Even if you’re buying a luxury car from a reputable dealer, it’s always a good idea to review the CarFax vehicle history report to find out what service work has been completed on the vehicle.

Less Depreciation

On average, new cars depreciate by 10% in the first month after purchase and nearly 20% within the first year. Extend the time frame a little further, and you’ll find that most new cars lose almost 50% of their value after five years. Since new luxury cars generally come with higher price tags, the amount lost to depreciation can be substantial. Purchasing a used luxury car gives you the chance to drive a quality vehicle without the rapid decline in value that accompanies brand new models.

Certified Pre-Owned Programs

Most arguments against purchasing a used car focus on the fact that it won’t include a money-saving warranty. But thanks to Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programs, you may be able to buy a used luxury car that includes a warranty. Certified pre-owned luxury cars may cost a bit more than non-certified models, but the price difference generally ensures you are buying a late-model vehicle that has passed detailed inspections and includes an extended warranty from the certifying manufacturer or dealership. 

Cons of a Used Luxury Car

Maintenance Costs

Due to years of wear and tear, used cars require more maintenance than new cars. Luxury cars are no exception. If you decide to purchase a used luxury vehicle instead of an average new car, it will obviously come with higher mileage. As a result, you should plan for increased maintenance costs to keep it functioning properly. Before making your final purchase decision, be sure the luxury features you’re looking for are worth the inevitable maintenance costs that come with buying a used vehicle. 

Price of Repairs

Luxury cars are built with quality in mind. That’s part of their appeal. But quality comes at a price. While high-class components used in luxury cars usually last longer than mass-produced parts used in economy models, the cost of repair or replacement is often significantly higher when they finally do break down. If you’re planning to spend your money on a used luxury car, it’s essential that you factor higher repair expenses into your overall cost of ownership. 

Decreased Fuel Efficiency

When car buyers decide to splurge on a luxury car, efficiency is rarely their top priority. If you’re in the market for a premium model, you know this is true. You’re probably drawn more by plush interiors, pillow-soft suspensions, and indulgent driving experiences than you are by optimal fuel efficiency. As you choose your new ride, it’s wise to remember that luxury cars often feature heavier frames and larger, more powerful engines. That means you’ll need to fill up with premium gas more often than you would in a less-extravagant vehicle.

Dated Technology

If the information age has taught us anything, it’s that technology can become obsolete almost as quickly as it’s introduced. If you’re buying a used luxury car that’s five-years-old, there’s a good chance that the cutting-edge technology it featured as a new car is probably less impressive than the new technology that comes standard on more recent models. For some, this isn’t a big deal. But if you’re a more tech-focused consumer, this could be a major consideration. 

As with most purchases, the ultimate decision comes down to a matter of personal taste. If you’re in the market for a car and you’ve decided you want a luxury vehicle, buying a used luxury car is a smart way to get the prestigious make and model you want and save thousands of dollars in the process. 

This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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