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How Do You Talk About Your Luxury Car Without Sounding Like a Jerk?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2016

Hello, readers of Oversteer, and welcome to this week's version of Ask Doug, wherein you ask Doug some sort of automotive-related question, and Doug provides a serious, no-nonsense response that's at least partially related to what you've asked.

If you'd like to ask Doug a question, you can! Just email him (me) at OversteerDoug@gmail.com, and he (I) will respond to you in a timely, professional manner! (Just kidding. I will probably disregard your email and laugh at your predicament.) You can also send me a note on my Facebook page, which I will excitedly read until I am stimulated by something else, such as a fly.

Anyway, this week's letter comes to us from a reader I've named Anton. Anton writes:

Doug,

To accommodate a growing family and my wife's desire to own a large SUV, we recently purchased a Lexus GX 470. Although it's almost 10 years old and costs less than a Honda Fit, it's still our first experience owning a luxury vehicle. Since this is new to us, I am finding it difficult to talk about the car without being paranoid of coming across as pretentious. You've owned several luxury and exotic cars, so my question is, how can I talk about my luxury car and not be THAT guy?

Thanks,

Anton

Anton, this is an excellent question, because I've experienced the exact same thing. Allow me to explain my situation: When I was younger and had just started working, I went out and bought a used Range Rover because I thought it would make me seem awesome and rich. I did not, at the time, realize that when people see a used Range Rover, their primary feeling is pity, not jealousy.

It's now been 4 years since I bought that vehicle, and my tastes have changed -- I think the whole thing is a little embarrassing. My current thinking is that Range Rovers are for rap videos, professional athletes and the kind of people who get mad when they go to a restaurant and someone else is sitting at their table. Compounding matters is the fact that my formerly pristine 6-year-old Range Rover is now approaching 11 years old, and it has all sorts of scuffs, scrapes and other forms of damage that I say are from city life, even though really it's from me backing it into stuff.

So I'm always reluctant to discuss the Range Rover, and when I do, I try to be hush-hush about it. The way I do this is, I refer to it as "my truck."

Here's an example: Someone asks me what car I'll be taking on a road trip. If I say "my Range Rover," I come off as pretentious. If I say "my truck," I come off as some guy whose job requires him to use a saw. It's great. I don't even have a make and model of my vehicle. I just have my truck. It's so casual. "Oh, I'm taking my truck down to the beach." People think of jeans and some shaggy dog who gets sand everywhere.

But Anton, I've discovered a problem with this: The other day, after referring to my Range Rover as "my truck" for months, someone asked me to help them move. Then I had to quietly explain that I do not have some cool, old pickup truck, but rather I have a Range Rover and I would be happy to help them move, as long as they don't possess anything larger than a coffee table. And oh, by the way, my job does not require me to use a saw -- I'm actually a writer, so the largest thing I've lifted today is the giant mug at my local coffee shop.

I believe the resulting judgment of this person was far worse than the combined judgment of all the people who have heard me call it "my truck" over the last few months. So really, this backfired.

So here's my suggestion: Don't call it something it's not. Just put the word "old" in front of it. You no longer have a Lexus. You now have an old Lexus. What are you driving, Anton? Oh, just an old Lexus. Your friends will no longer have visions of overstuffed leather seats and infotainment systems that read your mind and have screens the size of Honduras. "Old Lexus" makes you think of something with cracking leather seats and a rattling sunroof.

But this doesn't always work, either. If you have an old Mercedes, your friends might think you have some high-dollar collectible. In this case, I would suggest an entirely different course of action altogether: Get new friends.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
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RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2007 Lexus GX Models
Used 2007 Lexus GX Models
$8,995
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.
How Do You Talk About Your Luxury Car Without Sounding Like a Jerk? - Autotrader