By on November 19, 2012

Hi Steve and Sajeev,

I’m a longtime reader but first time commenter.  I am looking for a late model “luxury” SUV for my wife who will only accept a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus.

Given that the German brands are known to be somewhat maintenance intensive, that has left me looking for a Lexus GX 470.  My issue is that almost all of these are being sold by dealers rather than individuals, and many of the cars are 100+ miles away.  I’ve read Steve’s  “how to buy a used car” series, which was exceedingly helpful, but am still unsure of how to proceed.  Another option is to have a dealer go to the auction to purchase one for me – a local shop offered to do that for $1000…

Look forward to hearing your feedback!

Steve Says:

My advice is to do more due diligence and be patient.

Why?

Because you are hitting the absolute heart of the financing world. A dank, dark torturous place filled with poor long-term value and terrifyingly high drive out prices.

There is a wide swath of vehicles that rarely get into the hands of a second owner who is willing to pay cash these days. The steep decline in new SUV sales during the 2009-2010 time period in particular has lead to some unique situations where the financing price of a popular late model luxury SUV can become surprisingly close to the original drive out price.

You want to buy a 2010 Lexus GX470 or a 2011 Mercedes GL550 tomorrow? Stand in line then. Right behind the new car dealers and their CPO programs. The exporters with his highly favorable exchange rate. The sub-prime used car dealers who caters to the pseudo-riche.

At the auctions, the few late model premium brand SUV’s that do squeeze past the fortified barricade of CPO programs are usually either repossessions or possess some nasty past history. Unless you are willing to deal with a court order title or a lemon law buyback, it’s going to be near impossible for you to find a fair deal.

Is there a ray of sunshine within all this?

Of course! You get to enjoy my six favorite words when it comes to any poor value.

“Don’t spend money, don’t buy anything!”

Sajeev Says:

Steve is right, as per usual.  Problem is, you need to buy one of these beasts…or get a divorce. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration. You can certainly try to sway a loved one from another brand, or a different platform. I’m sure this won’t piss off one’s concept of The Sanctity of Marriage, or so says the single guy.

Then again, you never told us how much federal green you got in your wallet.  Got a lot?  Just shut up and write the check for a GX that both of you like. You can do much worse.

Don’t got a lot in your pocket?  Well, that’s a little more complicated: time to figure out what’s really important to you.  Home? Kids?  Vacations? A Man Cave with a Home theater? Fantastic Shopping sprees? Because there are plenty of other things I’d rather buy than a luxury SUV from those automakers.  Good luck with that.

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163 Comments on “New or Used? The Trophy SUV For The Trophy Wife Edition...”


  • avatar
    Tosh

    A brand whore like that is just months away from dumping this poor sap.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      That’s ROUGH!

      But, I laughed a little.

    • 0 avatar
      magicboy2

      Great, first post of the thread, and we’re already at zero automotive value and 100% insulting the guy. This should be a productive comments section.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      A whore? Really? C’mon TTAC comment Police. I let the whole ‘TWAT’ thing slide because I figured most people in North America didn’t realise how derogatory a word it is in the UK, Australia, NZ etc… but now we’ve got comments like this appearing? Great. Really great.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Agreed. Any spouse who considers himself/herself too good for Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, etc. isn’t worth keeping. Forget looking for a used status SUV. Start looking for another wife before the demands on the current one really start to escalate.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Wise words.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        +1 syke.

        A lot of “brand whores” are beginning to feel what a real economic downturn looks like, and I’m quite confident that the massive government deficit spending of the last 4 years that has softened the real blow, with that real blow being delivered painfully and systematically in the years to come, will douse the empty aspirations of even more “brand whores.”

        Maybe that’s the one good thing to be born of economic downturns: At least some people wake up and realize what’s really important versus those things that are empty, shallow artifices.

        As far as what vehicle to buy, I’d get her a Suzuki SX4. There probably will be some raging good deals on them. Don’t pay more than $11,999 for the top of the line trim version, though.

      • 0 avatar
        TornadoGT1

        Chevy/Ford/Toyota/Nissan (and the others) literally represent the very bottom of the new car market…

        Its pretty easy to consider oneself ‘too good’ for them. And what if they actually are? Why is that a bad thing?

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      sometimes marriage is about making other people than yourself happy.

      and sometimes you need to STFU and mind your own business, which this is certainly the case. Would you say that to this person or his spouse’s face? Isn’t anonymity on the internet great for your self esteem?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I don’t think he meant “whore” in the sense many are reading into it.

        Also, airing one’s affairs and soliciting advice on the internet is akin to jumping into one of the worst fish bowls in modern society.

        I’m not justifying peoples’ behavior, but merely reflecting on the current reality of our web-era society.

      • 0 avatar
        korvetkeith

        If you were married and your wife demanded this, you’d A: flip out, break your phone, and divorce her. Or B: eat ramen noodles for 2 years and pay cash for it. Either way, you’d whine about it a ton.

      • 0 avatar
        RedNaziSled

        How’d that work out for you last time

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Could be worse — she could have asked for a Land Rover.

    • 0 avatar
      dsam

      Gold! I thought the same thing the moment I read the opening two sentences.

    • 0 avatar
      kuman

      gee.. somewhat familiar scenario… if your girl wants it. let her use her own money. or dump her for a real decent woman

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      People need to stop hating on this poor lady.she probably doesn’t know much about cars and just wants nice luxury vehicle from a respected ( read: non American) marque. You could probably pursuade her into getting an Infiniti or Acura. You should either buy new and keep it for a long time, or buy something a little older if lacking cash. The five or six year old cars now don’t look too dated anyway

  • avatar
    magicboy2

    Acuras are still perfectly acceptable to most of the snob set that it sounds like your wife is a part of. How about a nice two or three year old MDX at five figures under what a German equivalent would cost?

    • 0 avatar
      FuzzyPlushroom

      Yeah, if she won’t even consider an MDX (or an SRX or FX35, for that matter, to name two other possible contenders) then that’s a pretty good giveaway that there might not be a whole lot of happy future there. If she’s just uninformed about other decent luxo-crossovers, though, and she likes what she sees irrespective of the brand, that’s not so bad.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    Might I suggest a Mitsubishi Montero? Nobody will know it isn’t expensive… And they had a ton of stuff, especially given the dealer in which they had floor space. They weren’t cheap new.

    Or, perhaps, a good deal on a new GMC Denali of some sort? Surely those BOF monsters aren’t selling well, 8 model years on and in the midst of a gas demi-crisis… I could be wrong.

    I see more Lexus SUVs (LX, GX) with air suspension problems than Lincoln Marks, I swear… Then again, I don’t see many Lincoln Marks anymore.

    Could I suggest a used Range Rover of some sort? Hell, if you’re gonna go balls to the wall with the depreciation and technology-from-hell feature, might as well go all the way with the class, too.

    • 0 avatar
      magicboy2

      > Nobody will know it isn’t expensive…

      Except for everyone who can read the word “Mitsubishi” on the back.

      The Denali is a better option, but it sounds like the wife knows nothing about cars, only brands.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, the badge is a dead giveaway. Too bad about that, I do like the Montero.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Consumer Reports actually rated the Acadia as one of the best vehicles in terms of overall ride quality, quietness, interior trim fit and finish, and even reliability, placing it ahead of some similarly sized vehicles costing much, much more, in the 2013 Auto Guide.

      • 0 avatar
        spinjack

        +1 on the Denali.

        We just moved to a more upscale suburb and there are Suburbans, Yukons, and Denalis, and Escalades everywhere. They far outnumber the German and Japanese luxury brands. Hell, they far outnumber just about anything else for that matter.

      • 0 avatar
        sfay3

        Denalis, along with the rest of GM’s oversized SUVs, are about the dumbest vehicles sold today. Fitting that the soccer mommies love them so much.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      “Could I suggest a used Range Rover ….”

      No. Just No! Step away from the used Range Rover slooooowly!

    • 0 avatar

      The Lexus SUVs don’t even come *close* to having as many issues as their British counterparts. Lexus worked out most of the GX 470′s issues within the first model-year (2003). Air suspension is one of the niggles, but it’s problematic in anything of that size and weight. But if you want total peace-of-mind and maximum tech, go with the post-facelifted ones (2008-2009).

  • avatar

    Get her a new GMC Yukon Denali in black. Tell her it’s what the real rich people drive, none of this poseur nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      2010 Escalades on eBay for low $40′s. Denali’s should be even cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @ John or a Suburban LTZ, the horsey set loves them too.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      I think it’s funny living in Denver – the poseur’s in Cherry Creek like to drive the latest Cayman or Evoque to show off their ability to afford a $1k a month lease.

      The real money just up the hills makes Obama’s motorcade of large, discrete GM SUV’s look like a shriner’s parade.

      Would you rather nail the blonde bankruptcy bimbo in the Porsche once, or the hot aristocrat who drives her own horses out to pasture?

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Neither because I’m having a meaningful sex filled relationship with the doctor who drives a prius? I know you’re just making a humorous point but I couldn’t help but think neither immediately because their both vacuous for different reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “The real money just up the hills makes Obama’s motorcade of large, discrete GM SUV’s look like a shriner’s parade.”

        Let’s get this straight once and for all. The “real money” drives whatever it wants. That may include Suburbans and Denalis but may also include Range Rover, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Jeep.

      • 0 avatar
        markholli

        +1 hubcap

        These generalizations are asinine. The CEO of the company I work for has a net worth close to 100 million. And you know what? He doesn’t drive a Jeep or a Yukon or a Volvo 240. He drives a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. And you know what his wife drives? A Porsche Cayenne S. And you can say for damn sure that he paid cash for both.

      • 0 avatar
        TornadoGT1

        I think peoples definition of ‘rich’ is all different as well.

        Its all relative. If you are making $42k/year (national avg) or with a household income of $52k/year (national avg) then I could see how $150k-$200k+/year might be considered ‘rich’.

        For people with those incomes, its not really rich at all. And this might be interesting speaking of ‘rich’.

        Avg. Owner Incomes (just a few of interest);
        Ferrari – $570k (with a net worth of $4M)
        Porsche – $240k
        Audi – $184k
        Merc – $175k
        BMW – $170k
        Lexus – $145k
        Cadi – $132k
        Infiniti – $115k
        Acura – $95k
        VW – $78k
        Honda/Toyota/Jeep – $62k
        Ford/Chevy/Dodge/Hyundai – $55k

        Per Capita Income – $42k
        Household Income – $52k

        Might change your perception of what is considered ‘rich’ and which owners would have more money.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        It’s pretty funny when people try to make characterizations of the rich here. FWIW, what people are saying about the horsey set is closest to accurate because they do need tow-capable vehicles, so Suburbans/Escalades/Yukons are common, although many of them also have F-250s (or larger) or Chevy 2500s.

        The income/price ratio of vehicles has changed a little bit over the years, but some of the relative differences (excluding Ferrari) have stayed roughly the same. Here is some old data on price/income ratio from the late 90s:

        http://www.csparks.com/bmw/CarPriceVsIncome.xhtml

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        What I think is really funny is the assumption that wealthy “horse people” cannot afford a second car to drive when they aren’t towing a horse trailer.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        mnm4ever, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that they don’t. I doubt the stump-pulling vehicles are the typical daily drivers, and are probably more likely the weekend-drivers. But sure, hubcap has this right.

  • avatar
    rwb

    If there is any question around your ability to afford one of these cars or their upkeep, but your wife is demanding one, you’re screwed, buddy.

  • avatar
    shamrock73

    If she is that superficial I’d recommend shopping for a new wife instead.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Why is she sold on the Lexus GX 470? It’s a gussied up 4Runner, which isn’t really a bad thing, but there’s nothing remarkable about it either.

    If she doesn’t need off-road capability, then an RX330 might be a viable option as well.

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    Damn, I mean it’s almost 2013. Can’t she buy her own?
    The women I know with uber-rides did.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    If you can’t afford a new luxo european SUV, then you can’t afford a used one neither.
    Buy an Infiniti M45. It’s got the luxo name and luxo look, and by now depreciated substantially already.

    • 0 avatar
      thesilence

      My wife also loves the Germans, but is much more realistic. We test-drove an Infiniti EX35 and she was pretty happy with the way it handled. Of course, its not as large as an X3 or Q5, but definitely the same size as the brand new X1.

      We could afford a 2008 or high mileage 2009. We looked around for at least a month before finding a 2010 that had just been listed at a local dealer for the same price as the 2008′s were listed. Managed to get the dealer to drop $1000 off the list price and we were happy.

      I agree with Steve, wait and see.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      My wife actually did not like the Germans, even though I liked the driving dynamics. She thought the interior layout/design was too old-fashioned and “cigar room” for her. Not to mention that she’s a cheapskate at heart and the Infiniti was just a much better deal with an interior and cockpit arrangement that she actually liked.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        If she was really a cheapskate you’d have a Nissan not an Infiniti. Infiniti products are the most disappointing of all the pseudo-luxury brands, all image and profit margin.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Infiniti products are the most disappointing of all the pseudo-luxury brands, all image and profit margin.”

        Sir I believe you’ve described just about every so called luxury marque out there.

      • 0 avatar
        TornadoGT1

        mnm4ever – I agree.

        28-cars-later – What he meant was that the ‘Nissan-ness’ is all too apparent in Infiniti products. Same with Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus.

        BMW/Merc have NO mainstream bits to share. Audi BARELY shares anything with VW anymore.

        Its not even close to same in actuality. Just perception.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        @Tornado You do realize that they all sell stripped down, cloth-upholstered, plastic knob cars in Europe, and export a big chunk of their luxury line to the US, right? Kinda like what the Japanese are doing?

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I feel like the first generation of recent Infiniti cars (i.e. not talking about the 90s Q45, J30) can sometimes be a little bit too much like a Nissan.

        For example, the 1st generation (in the US) G35 seemed to have mostly the same switchgear and interior feel of a Nissan Maxima. In addition, the 1st generation had all the control knobs for radio, nav, and climate on the right side because they made so few changes from the RHD JDM Skyline.

        The 2nd gen G made the car more luxury-feeling and differentiated it from a Nissan. The price did go up, of course. I’m also wondering if the new JX35 is too close to the new Pathfinder, but I haven’t been in either one yet — but they physically look a lot a like, which I felt was a mistake.

        Also, +1 to onyxtape.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        A few guys at work have newer model Infinitis… G37 coupe and sedan, an M hybrid, an FX, and an EX. All of them just aren’t all that great, esp the interiors on the Gs and EX. Sure they are better than the last-gen, but then again so is the Nissan models. My friend just got a new Maxima and its just as nice as the M and the Gs, another guy’s 370Z is just as nice too. I haven’t checked out the new JX, but it is so clearly based on the new Pathfinder, I am willing to bet its the same old story there too. They seem to make less effort than the others, especially on the interiors.

      • 0 avatar
        TornadoGT1

        onyxtape

        FEATURES (Quantity) don’t make luxury products luxury products, they make them more luxurious.

        QUALITY is what makes luxury products luxury products.

        I am well aware of BMW/Merc/Audi products in the European market. But having less features doesn’t change the build/material quality, fit & finish, attention to detail, and overall engineering of the product. The QUALITY remains, even if the QUANTITY is altered for the given markets.

        THAT is largely what separates the belief behind the Japanese ‘luxury’ products and the Euro TRUE luxury products. The Japanese luxury makes just add more stuff to otherwise mainstream products. The Euro makes add better stuff.

        Some value QUANTITY > QUALITY. Others (myself included) value QUALITY > QUANTITY.

        People have a hard time understanding this because you can’t readily see/measure QUALITY but you can easily see/measure QUANTITY. Its immediately apparent and obvious. It takes one more discerning who knows what they are looking for to identify quality differences.

        I am discerning to a fault and most of the details I obsess over in cars are likely things you have never noticed.

        Infiti, Acura, and even Lexus as of late aren’t even close to BMW/Merc/Audi in terms of LUXURY (even if they have equal or more features (QUANTITY).

        Best way to think of this perhaps is in other luxury consumer markets. Watches for example. What makes a Panerai a luxury good and a Fossil not? Features (Quantity)? Nope. Quality? Yes.

        And then of course there is a degree of relativity as well. Drive a Nissan/Toyota/Honda and then an Infiniti/Lexus/Acura and they are amazing. Drive a BMW/Audi/Merc for a while and suddenly an Infiniti/Lexus/Acura just won’t do…

        Now, some people simply just don’t know or aren’t aware of these differences because frankly, most don’t care. Others just convince themselves they aren’t worthwhile because they can’t afford to value them. In either case, that doesn’t mean the differences aren’t there…

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        @Tornado I did choose based on quality > quantity. Having driven exclusively Audis and BMWs 10 years prior, I’ve had just quite enough. It’s nice to have something that doesn’t leave me stranded all the time or require multiple days in the shop. And before you clump me in with those “others” who neglect their cars – I do my own timing belt changes and have always practiced good maintenance religiously – it takes too much time and I should really be paying someone else to do it considering the opportunity costs – but I’m a car guy and have always liked to do this kind of stuff.

        I did notice the difference alright. I’m not stranded on the freeway with non-German makes in the rain for the 5th time in a year or with a 4-digit repair bill with a non-German car. Is that what passes for “good engineering” or “quality” or “workmanship”? If you were purchasing a house from a high-end builder with top-of-line finishes, would you accept a faulty foundation 2 years into move-in?

        In the end, my purchasing decision came down to a G37 vs a 335. G37 gave me 85%-90% of the same driving dynamics with lightyears more in reliability/workmanship, and for $10k less. And according to that table you posted somewhere in this thread, I should be driving a Porsche – so it’s not that I can’t “afford” a German make – I’m just at the point in my life where I need reliable transportation. Giving up a few percentages in perceived “luxury” and performance is well worth it for me. Audis may have better paint or trunk gaps are closer or have secondary backup turn signal light bulbs or whatever, but none of that really excites me if I can’t rely on it to get me to my clients.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    A wife like that will be fickle enough to not bother buying anything. Lease her something, because before the lease is up she will want something different to impress her friends. Shop around for the best lease deals on whatever luxury brand she prefers. Then you can shop German or British and really make her happy. Because everyone knows a Lexus is just a Toyota, so it isn’t nearly as impressive to the other trophy wives.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    Just go CPO with a 100K mile warranty and live worry-free about the maintenance costs. A practically brand new low mileage BMW X5 CPO costs $40K, or $30K less than new and no maintenance or repair worries. Sure you can get a cheaper price at auction or whatever, but you want a warranty with these lux cars because repairs cost too much.

    • 0 avatar
      JGlanton

      although, you have to think about extra coverage for things that normally wouldn’t worry you. When your windshied gets hit by a flying rock from the back of a bulldozer hauling trailer, you get to find out that a rain-sensing, heads-up display, windshield will cost more than that heart-shaped diamond pendant you were going to buy the woman to keep her friendly for a few more weeks.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Why would you own a $40K+ vehicle and not carry comprehensive insurance on it? I carry that on my $3500 heap of a Jeep! Costs effectively nothing, and claims do not count against you within reason.

        I agree though, these Bling-buses are best LEASED, not owned. Get whatever has the best lease deal today and call it a day. Mama can have a shiny new one every 36 months.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I don’t know that I’ve ever priced comprehensive only, but adding comprehensive and collision to my ’95 Avalon that’s worth around $2k would raise my monthly premium from $57 (good liability w/ renter’s insurance) to almost $200. So, basically, I could buy my car anew every year I carried that coverage on it.

      Besides, my rule of thumb is anything valued at below $5000 book means the insurance industry considers it imminently total-worthy. Anything worth reporting to insurance is going to equate with the insurance totalling out the car, making it basically a monthly donation to your insurance company.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        My collision is about $160, comprehensive is about $40… If your insurance company offers them separately then usually comp is pretty low.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Collision would be the majority of the difference. For me it is under $10/month with $0 deductible on the glass, $100 on anything else. I have ALWAYS carried comprehensive even on cars where I did not bother with collision.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Most X5s don’t sell for $70K. If you have a fully loaded 3.0 V6 or a relatively loaded 4.4 V8 twin-turbo, then sure, you could hit $70K, but most people are probably in the $47-60K range.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      This is the first sane piece of advice that I have read in a stream of snarky marriage advice and sour grapes political commentary. Go get a CPO car with the aforementioned 100k warranty for 2/3 of what they cost new. Keep your wife and your accountant happy without having to deal with private sellers, assuming that there are any. I did this for the wife’s RX a while back and managed to get a great deal on the exact car we were looking for because it had sat on the lot over 60 days (I guess it helps to consider unpopular colors).

      I’m willing to give the OP and his wife the benefit of the doubt and assume that his wife is a lot like mine – she would drive a clapped out Chevy worthy of TTAC approval if she had to, but she doesnt so she doesn’t.

  • avatar

    I am quite familiar with the Lexus GX 470 and the newer GX 460, both of which are sold in other countries as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. Keep in mind that–despite the suspension–the GX does not have a cushy or sporty ride like its crossover competition (Acura MDX, BMW X5, Audi Q7, etc…). It drives and handles like the truck that it is. Also the facelift for the GX 470 was done for MY2008. Older versions will be lacking in certain modern features like Bluetooth and MP3/AUX connectivity. I don’t believe the 2003 was available with the reverse camera.

    But it is good, reliable truck, and resale values are quite high…

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Didn’t the first few years of GX have tranny issues? Still an issue? Maybe someone could point out the good years?

    Perhaps a new RX would be more appreciated than a used GX? They hold value so well, you don’t need to feel like buying new was a bad decision. She can choose colors and options. It’s also easier to handle than the larger models. Another option would be the Q5 which compares well with X5. Actually less car, but very good looking.

    A five year old land cruiser or LX is a good value.

    On the bright side, she didn’t insist on a Range Rover, so it could worse. :)

  • avatar

    sounds like the female counterpart to the husband in the movie
    “Jeff, who Lives at Home”. Great first 15 min. where a guy who cannot afford it, trys to sell his wife on the idea of a new (expensive) car.

  • avatar
    ott

    So when does filming begin on RHOTTAC?

  • avatar
    Waterview

    My wife loves the functionality of her 2004 RX330 Lexus and I love the low maintenance cost. It’s basically a Camry with all-wheel drive, a higher seating position, and a wood steering wheel. Parts and labor are very reasonable, it’s safe, and the rear liftgate is automatic. Be careful on the GX470 – the rear hatch opens sideways (i.e. like another door). Doesn’t make any sense to me. A used RX330 or new RX350 would be a good call.

    • 0 avatar
      4LiterLexus

      I suppose I might feel differently if I had to park in the city, but the side-hinged rear hatch was one of the few things I liked about my old ’97 Rav4. I often bump my head on top-hinged hatches, and top-hinged hatches can fall on you if the gas struts fail. Side-hinged rear hatches don’t have these problems.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Used RX350s in the second gen body style are available as well. The 3.5L has plenty of power even in the RX and supposedly included more sound deadening with the facelift. Just skip the nav unless you absolutely need an integrated unit. As Alex and Michael have noted in their reviews here, the Lexus system seems 5-8 years behind the competition.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    X5 Diesel

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I don’t get it. Why not just agree on a budget, then let the woman drive them all and tell you which one she liked best? Then you work out which year, how many miles, CPO or not or even new and how to pay for it.

    However, do encourage her to try an RX. Unless she is accustomed to piloting trucks around, I think she is much more likely to enjoy driving the RX than the GX.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Original Poster,

      I reread your note. Driving 100+ miles just to look at a vehicle is really painful. Definitely see if she’ll look at an RX. They are likeable and luxurious and I believe they are much more common. You have a better chance of finding one closer.

      Tell her the GX/LX is about the same size as a Suburban or Tahoe (probably true). Find a new but bare-bones Suburban or Tahoe and have her wheel around in one of those to get the feel of a vehicle that size. Then go drive a nicely equipped RX. It will be much easier to drive and the plush factor will hit her like a ton of bricks.

      It appears that the GX/LX vehicles are far more expensive; you might be able to go new with an RX.

  • avatar
    GST

    What about the Audi Q 5? My wife really loves her’s. It is the 4 cylinder and
    has enough power. Very nice interior, we think.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    buying from an auction I wouldn’t suggest even my fnd who owns a small lot, they got burned couple of times as bought a remon/lemon without knowing it until too late!
    both times needed a rebuilt tranny.

    for a dealer when bought a remon they’ll either sell it back at the auc or retail her by adding more coins to it.

    but for us joe public, we’ll be eating it for sure.

    i wouldnt buy anything unless i can test drive her on the autobahn, metal to the pedal and try shake & bend her see what falls out?

    auction is a bit too risky, here in vancouver they’re allowed to speed up in a short drive, but then is not u driving it, anyways when it comes to my $ i need to be pretty careful.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      At some auctions (Manheim), you can buy a right of inspection. If the car has serious problems, you can send it back within the prescribed amount of time.

      However, I’d add that typically at Manheim, their visual inspection of the car is probably more thorough than most people’s typical inspection of a used car. Of course, you can’t tell everything by a visual inspection, but you can tell a lot.

      At more fly-by-night auctions, anything goes.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Manheim in these parts I believe called it ‘post sale’ inspection. If I was buying anything truly expensive or anything German, I would spend the $200 and take it through post sale.

  • avatar
    Turkina

    Is the wife spending her own money, or his money? Perhaps he’s just trying to get the best deal to help her out.

    Otherwise… honestly, I despise ‘brand whores.’ Now, there’s a certain level of need when buying a car. Buying a Nissan Versa is silly when you have the money to buy a comfortable ride. I feel it’s important to buy the car that works for you, not the car that you have imagined. Sets you up for disappointment and usually lots of trips to the dealership for repairs.

    On the home front, I think my prayers have been answered. My sister (she has 2 babies) is getting rid of her F-150 crew cab, which seems to have the electrical difficulties of a Land Rover. Thankfully, she’s looking hard at getting a Chevy Traverse, rather than the utter behemoth of a Nissan Armada. I get scared when she captains a full sized SUV, but she thinks size matters :P

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    Just buy her what she deserves. If mama ain’t happy then NO ONE is happy, including Mr. Happy!

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Right you are. My wife always drove the car she wanted. She kept it practical,and within our budget. But if she came to me, and said she wanted a particular vehicle. She got it.

      It was a policy that cost me a few bucks over the years.

      Worth every nickel!

  • avatar
    AJ

    WOW… I’d drink a lot with a wife like that.

    My wife is driving a seven year old Jeep Liberty. She was thrilled when I hand washed it for her last night.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    If one must be stuck with one of these ridiculous contraptions, then the RX is hard to go past. My mrs wants one and they do come with some useful features suck as power lift gate and sliding rear seats. However a Ford Edge has this too and at a lower price, question being is the long term maintenance and resale worth the extra on the RX? The problem with the Ford is it looks really masculine, kinda butch, the RX is a little more svelte.

    In any case, don’t buy anything and she might forget about it as mine has done until she whacks her head putting the sprog into the 9-3.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The Edge rides like a dump truck compared to the RX.

      I’m sure some will accuse me of some sort of anti-Ford bias for making such an incredible statement, and I would merely respond that the reality in this case of ride quality between these two vehicles has an anti-Ford bias.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        @deadweight

        “I’m sure some will accuse me of some sort of anti-Ford bias…”

        Dude, you should preface every statement you make about a ford vehicle with the above phrase. But hey, you wear it well!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        hubcap, this is going to blow your mind, but I’m considering buying a Ford Fusion in a couple of years if the new one proves reliable and I can negotiate a reasonable price on a manual gearbox equipped one.

        I still have to test drive it and compare it to the competition, but at least I’m thinking about it.

        Your move, Mr. Ford. Make me an offer on a provably reliable, smartly executed, class competitive midsize sedan, and if I like the way it drives, handles and behaves, it’ll firm my opinion that the Germans are going to be in deep doo-doo in the price-point centric economy to come.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I’ll be the first to offer you X plan, if that’s the case, DeadWeight.

        Also, I don’t think the manual will out live the first MY due to capacity constraints. I hope I’m wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        “the Germans are going to be in deep doo-doo in the price-point centric economy to come.”

        Not VW, they’re doing very well with their US-market lineup.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        tres, I may very well take you up on that. Be prepared, amigo!

        Sam, you’re exactly correct. I predicted that VW was going to gain massive market share in the U.S. as soon as it was clear that they were going to lower the price points on their cars (as well as super-size them) sold (and many made) in the U.S., and that’s exactly what’s happened.

        It’s not like it was a hard prediction to make; we’re in a truly price-point oriented economy now, and it’s probably going to increasingly become so in the years that follow.

    • 0 avatar
      RocketSurgeon

      A few years ago my parents were shopping for a new vehicle for my mother and I joined them for the day as we went around to several different dealerships. We checked out the TDI Touareg, Cayenne, Range Rover Sport Supercharged (my and dad’s pick), the RX (her pick) and Land Crusiers – we all liked them but they weren’t really a serious option since every other flippin’ car here in the middle east is a white Land Cruiser/Lexus LX. Since we were already out at all the dealerships we stopped in at Ford to check out a new GT500 just for fun and while my dad and I ogled the blue and white one they had on the floor my mom killed time by checking out what else they had. The dealership had just received their first shipment of Edges from the states and they were all still in plastic in the back lot. We left 45 minutes later in one of them and 4 years later my mom still couldn’t be happier with her choice. We’ve always been a Ford family but I still can’t believe she picked that Edge over all the other options she was presented with.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Gelandewagen. That’s all. Get a clean used one for about $50K and it will still have resale value 100K miles later. Plenty of snob appeal. Might cost a bit to run, but unlikely to hit you any worse than a few of the usual failures of a YuSuburbaHoe. And once again, unlike everything else, it’ll have resale value even at 300K miles.

    The US market ones are now luxurious compared to when you had to pick them up gray market from Europa in Sante Fe.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Some commenters derogatory and cheaply insulting comments about “the wife” are not worthy of TTAC or even this century.
    Worrying about maintenance costs with a top end SUV is a bit like worrying about gas costs when buying a Chevy Tahoe. You know what you are getting into and you get what you pay for. If maintenance is high, cough up and pay because it’s part of the deal.
    That said, don’t spend money you don’t have but do not compromise.

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez

      +1 to the first sentence.

      Commenters are really just revealing their own insecurities, small mindedness, and prejudices. Do people need this to feel better about themselves? Sad.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Agreed on the first sentence. This is one of the worst comments section I have read here in a long time, and the tone was set by Steve and Sajeev with the headline.

      I basically expect this kind of thing from Derek or Jack, but it’s unusual from Steve and Sajeev.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Yeah, it’s a sad commentary on the commenters on this site to see the misogynistic comments in this thread. As I said above, there have been a lot of cheap shots taken on this thread, and it comes from people’s own insecurities, as Dingleberrypiez said.

      I also wonder if the original poster’s wife actually said she wouldn’t drive something other than a BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus, or if that’s his interpretation of it.

      • 0 avatar

        Corntrolio,

        Have you ever used the word “misandry”?

        I’ll just note in passing your attempt to play the shame game with the cliched accusation of “insecurities”. Do all those insecure men drive big powerful SUVs too?

        We live in an era of two X chromosomes good, one X chromosome bad.

        Unless you’ve ever critiqued the way men are portrayed in popular culture, particularly advertising (intended to pander to female biases and insecurities), I don’t think I can learn anything from you about gender politics.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Strawman Ronnie, I’m pretty sure I have used the word misandry at some point and I’ve certainly critiqued stereotypes of men too, but I don’t see why it’s relevant to the thread at hand.

        In any case, the insecurities seem a lot about money and somewhat about women. And I’d add, as I did above, that none of these people know the actual people for whom the car is being sought and what she actually said except for the OP, and that people are critiquing the OP without knowing how much money he makes or whether it makes sense in context.

        But hey, you hear the same sort of thing on this site regarding people who buy European cars as in other threads that have been active recently.

    • 0 avatar
      sfay3

      Sorry, but if it offends you to call a spade a spade, perhaps you ought to ignore the comments instead.

      • 0 avatar
        Dingleberrypiez

        This is BS. All beer boy, burgers, and corntroll and myself are saying that people are reaching ridiculous conclusions about someone they know zero about. The same kind of comments crop up EVERY time an ask the B&B question brings up a proposed expensive purchase. It really brings into question why commenters are so interested in other people’s purchases. And frankly, some of these comments are misogynistic and reflect poorly on our community.

        Fortunately among the hundred plus comments, most at this point have centered on actually addressing the question, rather than attacking the questioner. That’s why I read the comments. Starting to regret getting involved in this, but I’m so tired of people looking down on folks who just want a nice damn car.

  • avatar

    I bet she is into Kubang.

  • avatar
    markholli

    Interesting example of how the title of the article can slant the readers perception. Right off the bat, people were harshly criticizing the guy’s wife because the headline already told you that she was a “trophy wife.” The actual question from the reader doesn’t use that term once.

    Having driven a GX470, I can say that they are a sweetheart of a machine. Smooth as a baby’s bottom. That being said, they really are large (they seat 7) heavy (lots of real 4×4 bits) and have a high center of gravity.

    Unless you intend to take it off road, or have 5 kids, I’d find her a nice little RX. It will be dead reliable, smooth riding, and it will sit up high and get you through the snow. And when it comes down to it, that’s what most women want in an SUV anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Good insight.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I think it has a lot less to do with the title than the content of the question wherein spoiled brand whore wife will only be seen in a late model BMW or Benz.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        +1

        There is a huge difference between “Gee honey all these cars are really nice, but wow, it would be really nice if I could get a Benz or BMW or Lexus, since they are not that much more than the other brands and I have always wanted one” and “I will not accept anything except a Benz, BMW, or Lexus”.

        One statement makes you want to find a good deal on something that will make her happy, and in turn, make you happy every night. The other makes you want to drop her off at the next buy-her-pay-here lot and see how she gets home.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    Get her a Jeep Grand Cherokee and tell her to suck it up. More truly weatlhy actually drive Jeeps anyways!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Agreed. The faux-wealthy (aka up to their eyeballs in debt) tend to drive the more expensive vehicles, while the actually wealthy (aka flying under the radar and too smart to expend savings, let alone rack up debt, on depreciating assets) buy practical, less expensive vehicles for the most part.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed.

        So what do you think will happen when the debt chickens come home to roost for the faux wealthy (and dot gov)?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I don’t think anyone really knows the answer to that given how broken markets are, and given how dislocated everything is in terms of the very distorting impacts on the economic structure that TARP, TALF, Quantitative Easing, etc. have had, along with the government’s unprecedented molesting of supply/demand forces.

        But I’m pretty confident that the ultimate outcome isn’t going to be pretty.

        I have a pretty good rule of thumb that I use to judge clients and their real financial situations: The more expensive and rare the vehicle they drove, the far more likely they would suffer a significant adverse economic event within 3 years (e.g. bankruptcy, major litigation initiated by creditors, etc.).

        Clients driving German or Italian vehicles that cost in excess of $100,000, such as a Bentley (it’s German), Mercedes S550, Maserati Qattroporte, were, NEARLY without exception, giant red flags flapping loudly in the wind.

    • 0 avatar
      TornadoGT1

      That is just not true at all. Have you seen the owner demographics? I have. BMW/Merc/Audi owners have/make MUCH more money than GC owners.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        The stats for BMW, Mercedes, and Audi are above.

        What people are conflating when they say “More truly weatlhy actually drive Jeeps anyways!” is the following two statements:
        1) on average, BMW, Mercedes, and Audi owners make more money than Grand Cherokee owners
        2) however, there are some rich people who will drive Grand Cherokees to stay under the radar, and these rich people tend to have a lot more income than the average BMW, Mercedes, and Audi owner

      • 0 avatar
        sfay3

        There is a big difference between income and wealth. Read “Millionaire Next Door.”

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Yeah sure, I’ve heard the Chris Rock segment on rich vs. wealthy too. What I said still stands though — people are making a logical fallacy here. You’ll notice I was talking about income.

        The other generality you will sometimes hear about people who have larger amounts of assets (as opposed to income — we’re talking old money here) is that they drive station wagons more often than SUVs. Yes, they are luxo station wagons with lots of leather and options, but they are wagons nonetheless.

        In any case, there are plenty of income-rich and asset-rich people who drive Lambos, Ferraris, and Porsches, and there are several that drive Detroit iron too. It’s hard to make too many generalities, other than rich horse-people tend to drive something that can tow a horse-trailer.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        haha I was kidding of course! Poking fun at the generalizations!

        Besides, most of the horse people I know drive banged up early 90s F250 diesels that are anything but luxurious.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I would reccomend an Audi Q7 4.2 or Volvo XC90 V8 if your going used. Both great cars. Pay as much as possible for the Q7. Gotta keep the resale value high.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    How about the Porsche truck? While not any cheaper, it might drive a little better on pavement. The first generation at least was available with a stick, so it has one redeeming quality.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    If nothing else, this article makes me realize how awesome of a wife I have. She appreciates quality, but would never even think of laying down a brand ultimatum. The fact that she loves wagons, and her favorite car of all time is a 30 year old Porsche 928….well, that’s just a bonus.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Hmm, after 35 years, what’s harder, buying her what she wants or me pretending Jessica Alba is out there waiting for my ugly old ass and saying no? Buy her what she wants, if she’s been worth it, she’ll let you smoke your cigars and buy a garage full of your toys. Sheesh. Anyway, to the vehicles at hand, drive them all, decide which on you really want and give yourself 6 months, one will turn up. They always do.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My wife will be happy once I get our 01 Elantra back on the road. I’m deep-diving on several repairs at the moment – in my garage.

    I’ve threatened to trade it; she’s the one who wants to keep it. Having a low-maintenance wife is a wonderful thing; high-maintenance cars not so much. Sadly, the original poster is about to have both be high-maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      ^^^This!

    • 0 avatar
      TornadoGT1

      That makes sense but chances are you attracted a low maintenance wife because you yourself are low maintenance and that is why you appreciate a low maintenance wife.

      It’s all relative.

      And I know for me I see a high(er)-maintenance wife like a high(er)-maintenance German/Italian car (for example). Sure, it requires some extra attention and care (and money) to keep it in tip top shape but when it is it is better than anything around and makes the maintenance easily worth while.

  • avatar
    sideshowtom98

    I have experience with Lexus SUV’s. After they are a few years old, they are very problem prone, and expensive to maintain. I recently bought a KIA Sorento SX AWD. It has seating for 7 and loaded with every option I was out the door for 34K. I have had it 3 months and so far I really enjoy it.

    If she insists on brand over value, I would recommend a BMW 5 Series Touring Wagon. They last year they imported them was 2010, I believe. They have more cargo room than the X 5, and are much more fun to drive. They are available in AWD also.

    Now that I can drive whatever I want, I care much less about brands, and more about what I like, and what makes sense.

    • 0 avatar

      I live in Germany and Audi/BMW wagons are the hot ticket but in North America wagons are as loathed as hatchbacks and minivans by a certain demographic. I can’t imagine a woman wanting a luxury SUV could be convinced by a Touring Wagon. RX is the most logical, as many posters have noted.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Grand Cherokee and a year’s tuition for your first-born.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Get her the GX470 and know in your heart of hearts, while she impresses her friends in it that underneath all that leather is the same vinyl clad Land Cruiser Prado I bound around Kandahar Airfield in. Then at least when she is done with it in a couple years and want something new you’ll have a fairly capable 4×4 to get away in…something tells me you are going to need it.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Ahhh, first world problems.

    I knew from the article headline that the comments would not disappoint. And thusly, I am not disappointed.

    “my wife who will only accept a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus”

    You just made me appreciate my fiancee that much more. Nothing beats a non-materialistic woman.

  • avatar
    Pastor Glenn

    Buy a used Hyundai Veracruz, pull the badges, put on Lexus badges, pocket huge amounts of money and never tell her.

    (Shame on me – a Pastor telling someone to lie).

    OK I can do better than that!

    Take her to see a used Hyundai Veracruz, let her drive it, then spring the price difference on her – or the mileage difference (“this car has 1/2 the miles of the Lexus for the same money…”)

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’d go with the divorce.

  • avatar
    JohnTheDriver

    5 year old X3s just coming off warranty are going for mid-teens (you definitely want ’07 or later with the xdrive). The N52 inline 6 is about as bullet proof as they come (it’s badged as the 3.0si) These comments are NOT approved by TTAC.

  • avatar
    waltercat

    Pastor Glenn, +1! Last year, my low-maintenance wife fell in love with a Santa Fe, which has almost all the bells and whistles of the high price stuff, and it has reasonable running costs and a long warranty. And my wife (probably the original poster’s wife, too) isn’t too interested in off-roading or driving some impossibly large truck.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Buy a government spec Tahoe or Suburban used at an auction for 25 grand, pay a good upholsterer 1500 to cover the seats in leather.

    Replace the 17” steelies with tasteless 20-22” chrome dubs of your choice.

    Put an MB logo on the hood and I bet you she won’t be able to tell.

    Bloated truckasaurus all drive and handle the same, only the cost is different.

  • avatar

    Don’t the Mercedes GL550 and Jeep Grand Cherokee share a platform?

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      So does the Durango, but they don’t have very much in common anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I’m not sure. I know the 2011 and later JGC and the 2012 and later Mercedes ML share a platform. My guess is that the 2013 and later Mercedes GL uses an extended version of the ML.

      It’s a little different from the passenger cars, where I believe Chrysler vehicles were using old Mercedes platforms, rather than current ones.

      I believe there are chassis commonalities and suspension commonalities, but the engineering and tuning were done separately.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        AFAIK, the GL is a stretched ML. That being said, especially as the GL is on gen-II, I guess it just depends on how one defines “platform sharing”.

        Kinda like the old GM days where the GTO, Monte Carlo, and Buick GS, and Cutlass all looked like the same car, but the save for some mechanicals, there wasn’t much that could be swapped. I would hazard that this is even more true with essentially separate companies, but I haven’t spent much time mucking around on any of those platforms. So I could be terribly wrong.

        Besides, the tuning and components are really far more important than the platform. Nothing illustrates that better than driving some old horrid “muscle-car” that’s been properly pro-tourerized. New suspension, new brakes, new engine, trans, and some upgraded systems and it doesn’t matter that the original car was GM 1968 horrid in every respect – the “new” car is quite fast and liveable. Same “platform”, just better developed.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    Love the pic in the headline!
    Lots of negativity towards the wife.
    I’ll agree that the interior leather, etc, may be nicer in the big euro brand names, but the reliability of the mechanicals is still not up to the japanese – Acura and Lexus (and Honda and Toyota.)
    I too have priced out late model SUV’s to help satisfy my wife’s request for 3-row seating.
    My impression was that 30-50k miles did almost nothing to decrease the price of SUV’s from the major Japanese manufacturers – when I have to eat that pill, I will just buy new.
    (And it will be a Japanese pill, because children are very abusive to the interior of a car, and there is no sense wasting fine wood and leather on a bunch of 6 year olds.)


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