What Does “Luxury” Actually Mean?
When it comes to defining a luxury car, we’d say that it’s any car whose comfort and convenience factors outweigh those that are needed to operate a basic vehicle.
So, What Does that Mean?
Well, think of it this way: Do you need GPS to drive your car? You might argue that you need it to know where to drive, but the truth is that you could, theoretically, drive the car without it. Thus, GPS is a luxury, and could probably be found in a luxury car, as could bun warmers and extra cupholders.
As you can imagine, you must pay more to get… more. However, we hope we offer you a pleasant surprise when we tell you that there are still “basic” or “entry-level” luxury models that still offer some extra comfort without too much of the extra price.
So, want to buy a luxury car? We’ve got advice for you:
- Consider leasing a luxury car if you can’t afford to buy one outright (and you just have to have one). However, always buy with your budget in mind. Assuming you want money for your kids’ college or your retirement, we offer you this sound life advice: NEVER BUY WHAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD. Simple as that.
- Research dealer markups. Dealerships make their money on people willing to spend a ton on luxury cars assuming that the sticker price is pretty close to the manufacturer’s price. Don’t make this mistake. Check out the Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader.com, or Edmunds to get the scoop on the actual fair market value of the luxury car you want, then go to the dealership armed with this number for your negotiations.
- Think about purchasing an “off-lease” vehicle. What is “off-leasing,” you ask? This means purchasing a luxury vehicle that another driver formerly leased. It can significantly reduce the cost of driving a luxury car!
- Only purchase a car with the luxury features you want and will use. You’re already going to pay more. Why pay even more for a super electronic, flashing-LED cigarette lighter/holder combo when you don’t smoke? (Warning: we made up this feature. As far as we know, it’s is not currently on the market, so please don’t ask the dealer about one…) The point is, you should pay for the luxuries you want, and you should not pay for the ones you don’t.
- Do your research. Dealerships do not price their cars the same way. Thus, it may be that the SAME CAR is offered for less money at the next dealership you visit. Shop around to get the best deals!
- Know the actual cost of the car. If you think you can afford a luxury car, think again. Maybe you can, but your budget should include ALL the costs of owning a new luxury car, including the car insurance, dealership fees, and tax, title, and licensing fees. The sticker price on the car is never the take-home price!
So, You Want to Lease a Luxury Car?
There are some benefits to leasing, of course. The monthly payments and down payments are undeniably cheaper, and you can usually get a new model every few years. However, you will have to return the vehicle when the lease is over, so you can’t fall in love. Also, you may have to purchase extra insurance and stay within strict mileage limits. Leasing isn’t for everyone, so do your research first to see if it’s best for you!