New or Used? The Trophy SUV For The Trophy Wife Edition

new or used the trophy suv for the trophy wife edition

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.


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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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Nov 20, 2012

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

    • See 2 previous
    • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Nov 20, 2012

      @corntrollio 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.

  • Wstansfi Wstansfi on Nov 25, 2012

    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.)

  • IBx1 For all this time with the hellcat engine, everything they made was pathetic automatic scum save for the Challenger. A manual Durango, Grand Cherokee, Charger, 300C, et al would have been the real last gasp for driving enthusiasts. As it is, the party is long over.
  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.