QOTD: Most Overpriced Non-luxury Vehicle of the 2000s?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
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qotd most overpriced non luxury vehicle of the 2000s

I hinted at today’s QOTD last week, when the original post for this line of questioning got the ball rolling. Last time we asked which non-luxury vehicles of 2019 were the most overpriced. The subsequent comments reflected a wide variety of nuanced opinions, ranging from “Everything over $25,000 is overpriced” to “Cars should come used from the factory.” Just kidding (maybe).

Today we step back over a decade and talk about everyone’s favorite rounded and cheap plastic era: the 2000s.

As the Nineties said goodbye, the Golden Era of this and that faded from view. Cost-cutting became more apparent, styling entered a bubble-cum-retro phase, and interior buttons for many vehicles were sourced from Fisher-Price. Corny pixelated displays arrived, reflecting climate controls which were once directed by buttons. Satellite navigation was the hot new luxury option, allowing your car to yell at you while you were lost in a bad part of town. At least the satellite connection brought with it much music and entertainment for car journeys.

Amid all the chaos of emerging infotainment and accountant-engineers, some vehicles were certainly overpriced. Have a look at this dandy.

I’m picking on Ford again for this special offering. Five years after the demise of the prior generation, Ford decided to reincarnate its Thunderbird in an all-new retro style, as was the fashion in the early 2000s. Returning to traditional form, rear seats vanished. The convertible which was absent through prior generations returned, with an optional hard top to make things coupe-like. Jaguar contributed its 3.9-liter V8, and the Lincoln LS was the bin used for the underwhelming interior.

The first year models sold well, and Motor Trend even awarded Thunderbird its North American Car of the Year award. Speaking of sales, we should check the pricing. Prices ranged between $36,960 and $38,890 (about $50,000 in 2019 dollars), before any additional dealer markup — which was, at times, considerable. It was an opportunistic sell based upon retro styling and a legendary nameplate. Sales dropped off soon after, and 2007 was the coffin year for Thunderbird. Good riddance.

Let’s hear your picks for overpriced rides of the 2000s.

[Images: Saab, Ford]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Writing things for TTAC since late 2016 from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find me on Twitter @CoreyLewis86, and I also contribute at Forbes Wheels.

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4 of 99 comments
  • Cook_diesel Cook_diesel on Mar 13, 2019

    For me I would say the worst offenders regarding bloated prices during the 2000s would be the VW Touareg and the V6 version of the 06' VW Passat.

  • James Charles James Charles on Mar 13, 2019

    Pickup trucks, by 25%.

    • See 1 previous
    • Hydromatic Hydromatic on Mar 14, 2019

      @DenverMike I'm beginning to think you're the only one who really cares about this stuff.

  • MaintenanceCosts I've worked 4-day weeks in previous careers. Unfortunately, my current business requires responsiveness to clients on all five business days, so it's not really an option for me right now.But 4-day weeks are outstanding. The longer weekend leaves you with a true day of rest after you complete all of the errands and chores that we all have to do throughout most of our weekends. I, at least, felt so much better during the work week when I had that third day off. Based on my own experience, I'm fully prepared to believe the studies and anecdotal reports that say employers are experiencing no drop in productivity when they move to a 4-day schedule.
  • FreedMike Pour one out. Too bad FCA let this get stale - I was always a fan of this car.
  • Theflyersfan I'm still trying to figure out the meaning of the license plate. This'll be the hill I'll die on, but I think this was truly the last excellent E-class model (W124). In 1995, for 1996, the W210 "radical front" quad headlight model was released and all signs pointed to this being the first model being built to a price point and not to engineering excellence, cost be damned. Future models were nice looking and had all of the latest tech, but for those of a certain age (read: older), the upright, wood-lined interior with the clickty-click buttons and the aroma of the old leather Mercedes used - that is the Mercedes that some of us remember. For $2,500, this Benz could be an interesting project car for someone with deep pockets and infinite patience. It's cheap enough to where if you get started and then realize that this will nuke the budget, you'd still be able to sell it and recoup something.
  • Tassos These cabrios, while mechanically identical to the sedan Es of the time, were incredibly expensive, $80k when the sedan was barely $40k, in 1990s money. This does NOT mean an $80k car today, but an $160k car or MORE.AND with $160k today, you can get the most wretchedly excessive E class AMG version.(Not the S class AMG 65 tho, this will set you back $250k worthless Biden dollars).Back to this cabrio, it's a great, timeless design that looks and feels solid, yet when you sit in the cabrio, and I did, it does not feel half as safe as in the Sedan or Coupe.The engine is way underpowered compared even to the one in the Es of 10 years later, gas or diesel.They are also smaller and lighter (the sedans) than their 'kids' and 'grandkids"This may make a good COLLECTIBLE 10 years from now. As a daily driver, it is rather spartan today, except for the luxury interior.Again, this is yet another one of Tim's collectibles misposted as daily drivers.PS the Great Bruno Sacco designed this E class series, as so many other iconic Mercs. But you need to have TASTE to appreciate the smooth design.
  • Lorenzo The 300 sedan was the last of the RWD American freeway cruisers. Even the somewhat decontented later year models were still the most comfortable rides on 200+ mile freeway trips. It was also formidable to smaller car drivers: I rented one for two weeks, and not one driver in a Corolla or Civic tried to cut me off! That was a constant occurrence with my Buick Verano.