Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A popular used SUV for sale, a white 2018 Cadillac Escalade, is parked in front of a beach house at sunset.

Luxuries Are Affordable When You Buy A Used SUV

Everybody loves a good deal. There really is nothing like getting more value than you paid for. This is especially the case when the economy is down. Your money is a little tight, but you don’t want to fall into the trap of becoming a cut-price person in a low budget land. So how can you avoid this problem when you are in the market for your next vehicle? Guess what, you are not alone, and the situation is not so bad. Let’s say you are looking to make your next vehicle an SUV. You could buy, lease or finance a brand new SUV, but it’s going to cost you. That new car smell comes at a premium, and it can take a huge bite out of your budget. Your best bet is to find a used SUV for Sale. A used SUV will give you more bang for your buck since new cars can lose up to half their value in just the first two years. That’s right. While there may not be anything inherently wrong with a two-year-old car, the market still places a massive premium on being brand new. Although the rest of the world might misjudge a used car, you don’t have to fall for that nonsense. Instead, you can use that to your advantage by buying one of many Used Luxury SUVs for the same price as you’d pay for an average new model. As you will see, one of the keys is to not only know the luxury brands, but also the luxury trim levels on the standard makes of SUVs.

What Are The Luxury Brands?

A gray 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS is driving along a coastal road and shown from the side..

We’ve all heard many of the great brand names and models of luxury SUVs. These are the ones with all the so-called bling that you see parked outside of law offices, brokerage houses, and fancy restaurants. They are the ones that we associate with affluence. The names are writ large: Cadillac Escalade, Lexus NX 200t, Acura RDX, Audi Q series, Mercedes-Benz GL, BMW X5, F-Pace, and Porsche Cayenne. They range from compact and crossover SUVs to three-row full-size models. What they all have in common is attention to detail that is second to none.

The luxury brand SUVs have all the features you’d expect in a vehicle that is about pampering the drivers. Leather interiors and leather-wrapped steering wheels are common, as are infotainment systems with multi-speaker audio systems from premium companies like Bose, Bang & Olufsen, Mark Levinson, and Burmester. These are the same brands that audiophiles look to for their home entertainment systems, turning your SUV into a mobile concert hall.

In addition, these infotainment systems on newer used luxury SUVs will include key features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Some may even have cordless charging stations and built-in navigation, so you won’t need to rely on smartphone apps like Waze and Google Maps. While this equipment is usually standard on all of the SUVs produced by the luxury brands, you should always check to make sure the one you are about to buy has all the features you desire.

There is one other thing that often comes with luxury brands-performance engineering. Brands like BMW, Lexus, Cadillac, and Mercedes-Benz earned their stripes by having a history of exceptional powertrains and drivetrains, as well as solid construction. When you are buying a used SUV from one of these brands, you are paying for the peace of mind that comes with buying a vehicle that is dependable and able to perform the task you are looking for. This is in addition to the fancy styling and creature comforts that are inherent to luxury automakers.

There is one downside to buying a used SUV from one of these premium brands: their vehicles tend to have a higher resale price based on Kelley Blue Book. This is a function of the SUV having a higher Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (“MSRP”) when it was first bought. You are only getting 50% of a higher price than a vehicle that had a lower MSRP to begin with. The other side is that these makes have earned a higher resale value based on a reputation for dependability. The market sets the resale price, and the market considers these premium automakers to build better vehicles. While this may or may not be true, it still factors into the price you are going to pay if you buy a used SUV from one of these automakers. So, what do you do if you want a luxury SUV but can’t afford a used Porsche, Infiniti, Cadillac or Audi?

Know Your Luxury Trims

A burgundy 2018 Chevy Tahoe Z71 is parked in front of a brick building.

Practically every automaker has a hierarchy of trims ranging from a base model to a top-of-the-line version, with a number of special editions and dedicated models along the way. That is why it is of prime importance for you to get to know the different top trims of the various SUVs on the market, especially from standard and economy manufacturers like Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, and Honda. These will have the luxury features you desire, but at a more affordable price when you are buying used. This includes active safety features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring systems, and lane change assistance. It also means having a fully loaded infotainment system with all the features you want, including a premium audio system and navigation.

Most of all, it will give you the plush leather interior, specialized grilles and exterior detailing, and automatic tailgates that you expect in a luxury model. Best of all, these top trims on used standard SUVs will generally cost you less than if you buy a used SUV from a premium luxury brand.

It then becomes critical for you to learn the different top trims when you go out to find your used luxury SUV. Just make sure you read the available features as these sometimes change from year-to-year. If you are looking at a used Chevy Trax, Equinox, Blazer, Traverse, Tahoe, or Suburban, the top trim to keep an eye out for is the Premier. Chevy has included a High Country trim for the 2021 Tahoe and Suburban, but these will not be available on the used market.

Sticking with General Motors, things get a little more confusing with Buick. The compact Buick Encore has a top trim of the Essence, the midsize Envision has the Premium as the top trim, and the Enclave Avenir is the top trim of that model. Thankfully, GMC makes matters a little easier with the top trim Denali available on the Terrain, Acadia, and Yukon models.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles takes two different approaches. For example, the top Dodge Durango is the Elite, which is a name that makes perfect sense. However, the top trims for the Jeep Grand Cherokee are the SRT and Trackhawk. The difference is that the SRT is more on-road performance, while the Trackhawk is designed to appeal more to off-road enthusiasts.

Fortunately, if you want to buy a used Ford SUV in the top luxury trim, things are a little similar, as Ford Motor Company seems to like rare precious metals. The top trims of the Escape and Edge are Titanium, while the top Explorer and Expedition models are Platinum. Don’t ask me which metal is more valuable. I’ll leave that to the experts in numismatics. I’m guessing the folks at Nissan feel the same way, as the top luxury trims on their Murano, Pathfinder, and Armada SUVs are also Platinum. Maybe this means platinum is more valuable than titanium?

The Korean automotive powerhouses Kia and Hyundai also keep things simple. If you want a used luxury Kia Sportage, Telluride, or Sorento, look for an SX trim, while the top luxury trim on the Hyundai Palisade is the Limited. Things become a little more confusing when you cross the Korea Straight to the great island nation of Japan. For Honda, the top luxury trim on the CRV and the HRV is the Touring. Sounds simple, right? Hold on. The top luxury trim on the three-row midsize Pilot is the Black Edition, and the two-row midsize Passport has an Elite top trim.

Toyota is even more confusing. The Highlander has a Platinum top trim (again with the metals), the aptly named Armada has a Heritage Edition, the Sequoia’s top trim is the TRD Pro, and the 4 Runner lists its top trim as the SR5 Premium. Please don’t ask me what it all means. Just know that I’m glad that the folks at Mazda chose to give its CX-5 and CX-9 SUVs a top trim called the Signature. After putting this list together, I’m about ready to sign off. Just don’t forget to print out a copy of this article so you can keep track of all this.

With all the options available to you from used luxury brand SUVs and top luxury trims from mainstream automakers, the only problem facing you is deciding which of these amazing vehicles you ultimately decide to buy. Just make sure to decide on the size of model you need, the luxury features you want, and the price you are ready to pay for all this great luxury. Now go out and get your next used luxury SUV and hit the roads.

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