Car News:  Oversteer

Early Japanese Luxury SUVs Make Really Good, Cheap Used Cars

RELATED READING
See all Lexus RX 300 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro March 2017

Here's something you probably haven't considered: Most early luxury SUVs make good, cheap used cars. This may come as a surprise to anyone who's considered a cheap used car and thought they'd have to make do with an old Ford Focus or a Toyota Corolla with mismatched tires. Not so: I think you should instead consider a used luxury SUV.

To be clear, I'm not referring to something like a 12-year-old Range Rover, or a Volkswagen Touareg, with questionable dependability and all sorts of complicated electronics that could cause problems. And I'm not talking about something weird, like a Laforza or a Lamborghini LM002 or an old Land Rover Defender. Instead, I think people interested in a cheap, reliable used car should consider a used Japanese luxury SUV. An Acura MDX. A Lexus RX 300. An Infiniti QX4.

The primary reason for this is also the most obvious: They're cheap. You might think of an early 2000s Lexus RX or Acura MDX as a luxury car, but the average asking price for a 2001-2004 MDX on Autotrader right now is just $6,100. A Lexus RX from the same year range is around $8,500, but that's mostly because there was a substantial redesign in 2004. Dial it back to 2000-2003, and the average asking price is $6,300. And the average asking price for an early-2000s Infiniti QX4 is just $5,000.

More importantly, they're reliable. Although modern MDX, RX and Infiniti SUV models have a lot of luxury technology that could, someday, become troublesome down the line, older ones simply don't. The most advanced feature you had in a 2002 MDX was an optional navigation system -- and it's the kind of thing where the center screen was only the navigation system. Everything else is done with pressable buttons, which are highly unlikely to break. Issues with major components like the engine and transmission are largely unknown in early Japanese luxury SUVs.

Another benefit: These Japanese luxury SUVs are plentiful. While the QX4 is starting to get less common, the MDX and RX are still available in huge numbers, with hundreds currently listed on Autotrader. If you absolutely must have an Infiniti, you could probably make do with the brand's next-generation model, the FX, which is a bit more expensive but a lot more common. Either way, it's unlikely you'll have to travel far to find one of these old luxury SUVs for sale in good shape.

And, finally, there's the last benefit to an old luxury SUV: They're kind of nice. Admit it: If you have a $6,000 budget, you probably think you'll be stuck in some economy car that will be intimidated by tractor trailer trucks as you drive down the highway, causing it to seek refuge on the shoulder. A used luxury SUV has a little more style, a few more amenities, a little more relevance and a little more of a solid, substantial feel on the road. At $6,000, you probably aren't looking for features or luxury equipment -- but a used luxury SUV will deliver it anyway.

That's my view, anyway. Now, as per our usual agreement, you can tell me why I'm deeply wrong.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
The BMW Isetta Is the Weirdest Car BMW Ever Made
These Are the Strangest Taxis in the New York Taxi Fleet
Can You Post a List of Every Car You've Ever Owned?

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Early Japanese Luxury SUVs Make Really Good, Cheap Used Cars - Autotrader