QOTD: An Imbalance of Power Between Low Miles and Price?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd an imbalance of power between low miles and price

Last week, a Lexus ES300 caught my eye. Glimmering two-tone Multiple Taupe Metallic paint called out to me, and frameless windows over thin pillars promised stylish and understated luxury. The 300 lettering on the back guaranteed V6 power and pleasant NVH characteristics.

And the low miles guaranteed a final sale price that was ultimately insane. Is there a method to the madness?

The ES shown above was listed on the popular estate sale site EBTH (Everything But The House). For those not familiar, EBTH is in the business of handling estate sales from start to finish. The EBTH people come and catalog everything your dead parents owned and auction it off online. You get an easy way to dispose of their junk, EBTH takes a cut of the profits, and I get some rare artwork for my house. Win-win-win. Back to Lexus.

With just 21,000 miles on the odometer, this particular ES300 is indeed uncommon. Though not museum quality because of the scuffs at the front, it’s likely one of the cleaner ones you’d find anywhere in the country. Even the Lexus-branded coolers are present in the trunk. Curiosity piqued, I hit the little heart in the corner, and checked back in on Monday for the auction results.$10,250, before tax. A tidy sum indeed! This five-digit price got me thinking, and ultimately generated today’s QOTD: What’s the ideal balance of age, mileage, and price on a used car like this? It’s not especially uncommon, and there’s really nothing spectacular about this ES300 aside from the mileage. It’s likely to require reconditioning, as cars don’t take well to sitting on the sidelines — and that’s exactly what this one has been doing most of its life.

Is there an ideal balance somewhere between miles, model year, and price for vehicles which are not classics and are not rare, but merely unusual? Would this ES be more desirable with higher miles (and more regular usage), and therefore a somewhat lower price? How does one value such a vehicle, when standard consumer methods like KBB and NADA are of no help?Maybe I’m wrong; missing the point on this millennium-era marshmallow, and it’s definitely worth $10,000. Let me know in the comments.[Images: seller]

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4 of 136 comments
  • Robc123 Robc123 on Jul 19, 2018

    Value is one thing- what you are willing to pay is another. Over the last year I have moved more over to the dark side. Have an old car but use it very little- 3000km yr. I do car2go ($0.41 a min all in) for a Mercedes, or rent for the day, use someone else's or get an uber. This doesn't work for everyone, but if you are in a city, live uptown, work downtown- this is the way to go. $500-750++ a month saved or thousands upfront for a used car- that may need serious $$ injection to work- at the very least, tires, brakes, oil, trans, wipers, plugs and or injectors, and probably a new windshield and a car inspection to pass insurance if you buy used. Im done with that. OR Lease- cars now are so much safer, comfortable, faster. Adaptive cruise is great in stop and go traffic or on the highway. This lex is nice but get smacked by a new SUV....you are in ICU for sure. Then what did you save? maybe a passenger dies because the airbag didn't work- you idiots do know that you have to replace them every 10 yrs and the seatbelts too....

    • See 1 previous
    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jul 19, 2018

      "you idiots do know that you have to replace them every 10 yrs and the seatbelts too…." I sincerely hope that was a joke. If not, the only idiot would be the one staring back at you in the mirror. No manufacturer recommends replacing airbags or seatbelts every 10 years. Its true that some did way back when airbags first started appearing, but it was usually more of a recommended inspection, and that hasn't been the case in quite a long time.

  • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Jul 21, 2018

    It's all about condition. I've seen low mileage cars asking a premium that looked so beat up I suspected odometer shenanigans, meanwhile I have two higher mileage cars that look and drive about half their age. If the condition seems to match the mileage, as in Corey's ES300 example, then I think low mileage might be worth it. It's no guarantee of minimum repairs, but the mechanical bits can be made like new again easy enough. It's much harder to restore the paint, body work, and interior.

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.