Do Luxury Cars Last Longer? An Expert's Perspective

Most cars will travel around 200,000 miles, which is roughly ten to fifteen years if the vehicle is taken good care of. If it seems that luxury cars can outlive a mid-range car, there are two important reasons. First of all, luxury cars get better. The prestige of a luxury car will always help its resale values.

From that point of view, it may not be life on the road that matters to you as much as the amount you will get when you operate it. Unfortunately, luxury cars lose value rapidly in the early years. An older luxury car often retains more value due to all of the reasons already listed that give it a long road life. This means that if you sell it after five years, your return is not as good as if you kept it and sold it after ten years.

The mid-size Acura TL is our budget option for long-term luxury with a sporty twist, primarily because of Honda's well-deserved reputation for reliability. While the TL has been replaced by the TLX in the Acura line, it enjoyed a four-generation race starting in 1995 and peaked in sales in the mid-2000s, ensuring ample supply. While luxury cars generally last longer, we believe this is due more to driver care than to the cars themselves. In fact, today's normal and luxury cars contain parts of comparable quality due to the newest technology.

With regular care and maintenance, most cars, regardless of model, will last around 200,000 miles. Luxury cars are built with quality in mind. But quality comes at a price. While first-class components used in luxury cars tend to outlast mass-produced parts used in economy models, the cost of repair or replacement is often significantly higher when they eventually break down.

If you plan to spend your money on a used luxury car, it's essential that you factor in the higher repair costs in your total cost of ownership. Power gives the new Lexuses and Audi the best marks in its reliability studies, but your mechanic friend says you'll go bankrupt buying an old Jaguar or BMW - what's the problem? Are luxury cars more expensive to maintain than conventional cars? Are luxury cars less reliable than conventional cars as a second-hand purchase? If you're considering turning your next vehicle into your first luxury vehicle, whether new or used, keep the following facts in mind to help you decide. Sometimes luxury cars come with features, parts, and systems that can increase long-term ownership costs. For example, luxury cars often have high-performance lighting arrangements, large wheels and tires, and rigorous maintenance programs designed to keep your high-performance transmissions running smoothly.

Replacing any of the above can be more expensive than the average driver of a vehicle is used to. In addition, many luxury cars require the use of premium, more expensive fuel, unlike the cheaper regular quality gasoline you give your Dodge Stratus. While it's not possible to generalize across all luxury cars, these are factors worth considering before making a decision. Also check your insurance rates before buying.

Sometimes, but not always, a luxury car is more expensive to insure than a more conventional model, although there are many variables at play. Are luxury cars more or less reliable than conventional cars? The answer depends on too many variables to say for sure. Although the Internet hosts a multitude of lists and opinions that claim superiority over which luxury cars are the most reliable, most don't consider the very different ways in which an owner may have cared for their vehicle during their time with it. Brands such as Lexus, Buick, Infiniti, BMW and Audi feature prominently in the annual J D Motor Vehicle Reliability Study (VDS), which considers real-life ownership experiences during the first three years of a given model's life.

The most reliable used luxury cars tend to be the ones that have been best cared for by their previous owners with regular dealer service, inspections and maintenance. For best results, forget about the hood badge and look for a meticulously maintained unit of your choice that is familiar to the sales dealer. Buying a used luxury car with an unclear service and maintenance history is not recommended. Maintenance costs are among the highest ongoing costs of owning a new or used car.

Familiarizing yourself with the maintenance requirements (and associated costs) of the luxury vehicle you are considering is a great idea before you buy. You can find the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual which describes what service the vehicle needs and when - ask a dealer to help you describe the costs of each. You'll also want to consider the costs of replacement brake and tire parts which will eventually wear out and require replacement - some luxury vehicles and especially high-performance ones may require a lot of maintenance compared to your Corolla or Civic - this surprises some homeowners and even causes some to increase or skip maintenance intervals to keep costs under control - remember that failure to properly maintain your new luxury vehicle will reduce its resale value shorten its useful life and void any remaining warranty coverage. Don't buy a used luxury car until you can confirm that it has been properly and continuously serviced - should I let a certain used luxury car pass by because 57 people on a forum experienced engine problems? Do an Internet search to check the reliability of any make or model of luxury vehicle and you will see a wide range of search results - some may include discussions in owner forums where dozens or hundreds of owners report a similar problem or defect in their vehicle that presents a nuisance - others may include a high reliability rating in a list of the most trusted luxury cars - remember that cars are machines made of parts and components that eventually wear out and need to be replaced - remember too that a few hundred reports of faulty transmissions sensor failures or premature suspension wear can seem daunting but don't necessarily reflect on all vehicles from that make or model.

Shari Venturelli
Shari Venturelli

Professional beer trailblazer. Total communicator. Freelance web expert. Wannabe coffee practitioner. Hardcore sushi maven. Passionate food guru.