A great used luxury car for less than $25,000 may sound like a fantasy, but they’re as real as rain. You just need to know what cars to shop.
Luxury cars are notorious for shedding value, which makes them great used car buys, and there are millions of nearly new, fun-to-drive, leather-lined sedans and coupes out there from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, and other luxury brands just waiting for their next owners.
If you’re like most of us, you can count your car “collection” on one finger, so whatever you drive needs to do a lot of things well. It needs to get you back and forth to work without fail. It needs to keep your maintenance and upkeep costs to a minimum. And of course it needs to be fun.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take out a big loan or be Jay Leno to buy a fun set of wheels that can double as a practical daily driver. Indeed, there are some very entertaining choices out there to be found in nice shape with low mileage for less than $10,000 — whether you need something that seats the whole family, or you can make do with just room for two.
From hardcore off-road enthusiasts looking to tackle the next trail to LA’s high school kids cruising Santa Monica, the popularity of the Jeep Wrangler is wide ranging. Sales for the 4×4 continue to climb. Last year, Jeep sold about 240,000 units, and over 90 percent of them were the 4-door Unlimited model that debuted over a decade ago (2007).
The Wrangler is so popular most of its rivals have ceased production. Over the decades, the Jeep has driven trucks like the Nissan Xterra, Isuzu Amigo, and Chevy Tracker right out of business. And Jeep doesn’t just sit back and collect the cash. It continues to invest in its iconic 4×4, launching the latest generation of the Wrangler, the JL, in 2018.
Sports cars are an indulgence. Comfort, space and even reliability are all sacrificed on the altar of Handling and Speed. And if that altar is busy, then all that can be offered up to the God of Beauty and Allure instead. In most ways, sports cars are just like other cars.
But it’s the ways in which they’re no like other cars that matter most.
It’s no secret that we’re fans of the Mk6 generation Volkswagen Golf. In our model-specific buying guide, we say that anyone “looking for one car that’ll do it all” for under $15,000 should look no further than VW’s popular hatchback, which manages to balance performance, economy, refinement, and even reliability with surprising grace.
At the time, we stopped short of recommending any of the turbodiesel, or TDI, variants. That’s not because they aren’t good cars. On the contrary, VW’s punchy turbodiesel engine pairs quite nicely with the Mk6 chassis, making for an efficient and fun-to-drive all-rounder. However, in the wake of VW’s emissions scandal, aka “Dieselgate,” there was too much uncertainty about how the the TDI models would be affected to give them a solid thumbs up.