Used luxury cars from a used car dealership are parked in a row, shown from a closeup of the front fenders.

Why You Should Consider Buying Used Luxury Cars

A luxury car is something that evokes images of great comfort, exceptional ride quality, and first-rate engineering. You get special add-ons that make the ride more stylish and comfortable, but that do not enable you to go farther or faster than with a basic passenger car. A luxury car is a status symbol that many are willing to pay big bucks to get into, but that is unnecessary. Instead, you can find great deals on quality used models at a used car dealership.

The market for used luxury cars is very popular and enables many to enjoy the first-rate ride quality and perceived status that goes along with driving a luxury car. A luxury car is an aspirational vehicle. That means it is the kind of vehicle that many aspire to own as a way to reward themselves for personal successes in life. Owning and driving a luxury car for many shows that they have accomplished something in life and are to be respected as intelligent and successful individuals.

Luxury Car Defined

A luxury car is something that goes beyond simple and basic transportation. Industry standards and consumer demand often do not create a huge need for the additional conveniences and comforts afforded by a luxury car. Typically luxurious accouterments include leather seats and upholstery, a premium sound system, a strong motor for long road trips, and ample comfortable seating.

A luxury car will also provide an exceptional ride with a top-of-the-line suspension, very quiet exhaust, and outstanding climate control. Seats might be heated for wintertime warmth and climate zones created to provide the ideal temperature for all passengers. Build quality is first-rate, and so are the materials used. All windows and locks are powered while the headlights and cruise control adapt to your driving conditions. Anything outside of the car seems nearly a world away with exceptional sound dampening to keep the interior quiet as well as comfortable.
Benefits of buying used luxury cars

In addition to the status that goes along with owning and driving a luxury car, when you buy a used model, you save a great deal on the cost of a new car. When someone buys a new luxury car, odds are it comes with a factory warranty protection and service plan. That helps to ensure it gets the best possible maintenance and stays in like-new condition. Most luxury cars are sedans, and the majority of new-car buyers are older.

A recent study by auto industry analyst Cox Automotive shows about 51 percent of sedan buyers are age 25 and over, and 48 percent are age 55 and over. Also, 90 percent of sedan buyers own their homes instead of renting them. Those numbers affirm the initial buyers of most luxury cars are older adults with the financial means to take care of their cars. They have safe locations to park them when not in use, and older drivers generally do not abuse their cars while driving. That adds up to potentially great-running used luxury cars available when those who first bought them trade them in on new luxury cars.

A silver 2018 Cadillac ATS is driving under a highway overpass.

Lower Payments and Warranty Protection

The cost of buying good used luxury cars is much lower than when buying a new model. Most used luxury cars retail for about 40 percent less than when they were new. Many also are coming off of lease agreements that limited the annual mileage, provided factory service, and seldom lasted more than three years. Good used luxury cars with low miles and that enjoyed factory service often are as good as brand new models and often prove to be just as reliable.

Even better, the cost of financing used luxury cars is significantly less than brand new models. The average payment when buying a new luxury car in 2018 was nearly $548. The average lease payment was nearly $465. Those who chose to buy used models paid about $411 per month, according to Cox Automotive. The average monthly payment made by new car buyers increased by 4 percent from the prior year, while the average payment for a used luxury car rose by only 2 percent.

With used models costing less to buy, they also are more affordable to insure. Depending on where you live, the cost of full coverage insurance on a new luxury car could run several thousands of dollars per year. The same used model would cost significantly less due to the lower purchase price and value despite delivering virtually the same ride quality.

Many used luxury cars undergo a certified pre-owned process that makes them eligible for continued factory warranty protection. Dealerships always offer service contracts that help to ensure first-rate maintenance. That makes it possible to find a quality used luxury car that has lots of good life left in it and should run reliably well so long as you maintain it properly.

Cons of Buying Used Luxury Cars

Two mechanics are working under a car.

A used luxury car does have some potential drawbacks to consider before making a purchase decision. If you buy one that was not maintained properly, you likely will wind up paying for maintenance and repairs that should have been done long ago. The cost of parts and labor to maintain and repair a luxury car generally is more than other vehicles, which can add up to high ownership costs.

Insurance for even a used luxury car can be expensive. Part of the problem is the size and weight of luxury cars make them even more destructive in an accident. The average cost for injuries and property damage can be higher when an accident involves a luxury car that weighs significantly more than a standard passenger car. If you finance the purchase, you also need to carry full coverage insurance to cover potential repair costs, which often run high on luxury cars with all of their special electronics and high-end equipment.

The fuel economy of a luxury car often is lower than smaller counterparts. A big engine, larger size, and greater weight add up to more drag and reduced fuel economy when compared to compact cars and mid-sized sedans. The average cost to insure, maintain, repair, and put gas in a luxury car can make the cost of ownership rise quickly and make the purchase less affordable for many.

How to Know a Used Luxury Car is a Good Value

Luxury cars generally enjoy a high-quality build at the factory. When their original owners maintain them properly and do not abuse the engines, lots of potentially great deals await the savvy used car buyer. Finding one takes some research, patience, and a little luck.

Kelley Blue Book is a commonly used resource for looking up the value of used luxury cars. You can compare that value and the various options listed against the cars you are eyeing. Those with relatively low miles and are priced at or below the Blue Book values are generally good options.

You also should check for maintenance and reliability issues with specific models. Many luxury cars have expensive electronics and other items that are costly to maintain, repair, or replace. The same goes for suspension parts and other common wear-and-tear items that need regular maintenance and repairs. The availability of parts and labor rates to work on luxury cars will have a big impact on whether or not you have a potentially great deal awaiting.

Parts availability also tends to be less with luxury cars due to the smaller sales numbers for the various models. Widely produced and sold vehicles that cost less tend to have more aftermarket support and greater parts availability than luxury cars. When you do your due diligence, you make it even more likely to find a great luxury car to buy at a used car dealership.