It’s that time of year again when many of you will be filing your taxes and getting a lot of money back. Some more than others, sure, and probably not enough to buy the kind of car you probably want, but could that be enough for a down payment? Seems fair – and, if you’re anything like me, you’re about to make a very bad decision.
Why are you making a bad decision? Because you said the words, “Why would I buy a new Accord when I could buy a used one?” [insert German sports sedan] for the same price? aloud, and somehow raw. If only a little.
Or, I don’t know. Maybe you are smart. If so, sit down, get ready for some Schadenfreude, check out some of the ridiculous cars we idiots will be spending our tax money/ruining our lives on once the H&R Block check will be reached.
IMPRESS THE NEIGHBORS
There’s something about that three-pointed star that elicits compliance with standards, and something about the “E500” badge that makes older enthusiasts sit up and take notice.
And, of course – it’s fake 500 E, but most people have no idea that Mercedes resale values drove the Russian ruble down to zero for most of the millennium, and the cars that wore labels high prices can now be bought for – well, if not a song, then certainly less than my “winter” Civic.
The relatively clean 2005 above, with only 102,000 miles on the odometer, is no exception. The body looks straight enough, the interior clean enough, and the V8 growl enough to turn heads, and that mileage is nothing for a well-maintained E-Class.
That said, what are the chances that it was properly maintained? Almost every W211 E we traded in at my dealership had a leaky rear main seal, front engine leaks, and a bad crank position sensor.
I didn’t even have to google it.
Plus, the E500 had the same troublesome air suspension as the larger S- and SL-class cars, and they cost just as much to replace. Expect a four figure repair bill every time you hit a pothole, or just over time – rubber dries out, cracks and leaks, so if this Benz hasn’t had it replaced airbags for the past 17 years, it’s probably due. If he needs all four? You may owe your mechanic more than you paid that dealership for the car. And that’s too bad. The Merc deserves better.
IMPRESS THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST
Sure, the normies like the Mercedes, but the B&B knows best. The highlight of the automobile here seems to be the 1995-2000 Lexus LS400, and for good reason. More Teutonic than the Teutons, this big sedan wrecked Mercedes’ premium market share like never before or since, and continues to impress people who drive it today.
Alas, all is not well with these cars. They age, the electronics that power these cars peel off with age, and spare parts (when they are needed) become harder and harder to find. Will the part you need to run your big Lexus two, three or five years from now be available?
It’s hard to say – which is why I would choose this slightly newer LS. It still has that late 90s German vibe, but it still has a few more years to go before something breaks beyond repair and the car breaks your heart.
Don’t get hurt, guys. Just keep scrolling.
THE MIDDLE-LIFE CRISIS CONVERTIBLE
I’m a big fan of the Nissan Z, ever since GI Joe bought Barbie in one. That said, it feels like every one of these cars has been whipped around mercilessly by the type of guy who shifts his automatic like it’s a manual in a ridge runner arcade game.
This one looks pretty clean, and these cars are more reliable than most midlife crisis convertibles (*cough* Chrysler 200 *cough-cough*), but the sporty back-to-basics handling the Z has been famous for in recent years doesn’t lend itself to smooth cruising, and all those years of high-speed antics are sure to catch up with this upcoming 2007 Nissan. owner, sooner or later.
THE ONE WHO STARTED IT ALL
It’s not only any Range Rover Sport is the Range Rover Sport which originally inspired this list when one of the guys from the local dads group asked me about it.
With over 140,000 miles on the odometer, the list of things that could go wrong with this Range Rover is longer than the list of what’s probably right with it. A quick Google search shows failing air suspension bits, differentials and a litany of failing electric gremlins as “common problems”, but – by some strange coincidence – each one that has ever crossed my path as an adviser service had leaking head gaskets and an ABS warning light.
There’s no way this Range Rover Sport won’t eat you away from home. A few years ago, Doug DeMoro bought his own 2006 Range Rover and slapped an excellent CarMax warranty on the car. He paid $26,988 for the car, and CarMax ended up paying $21,276 in repairs…and that Range Rover Sport? Let’s just say it’s probably not as mechanically sound as the 2006 Doug bought himself in 2012.
That said, the Range Rover Sport has always been a favorite of mine, and I don’t drive this a lot, with all the pressers and the motorcycles. Arlington Heights is not that far…
[Images: Screenshotted by the author, chayanuphol/Shutterstock.com]
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