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There Are Now More $200,000 Cars Than $20,000 Cars


If you’re in the market for a brand new sub-$20,000 car, you’ll find slim pickings this year. Why not up your budget a little? Will something over $200,000 suit your fancy?

Probably not, but if you’re one of the few who plans to do more than kick tires in the rarified over-$200,000 class, you’ll have far more car models to pick from than if you set a budget of half the average transaction price of a new car last year.

We’ll say that again: There are more ways to spend $200,000 on a car than there are to spend less than $20,000.

You could walk into a Nissan dealer and drive off with 10 shiny new Kicks SUVs for the price of a base, zero-option Lamborghini Urus, for instance. Actually, you can well bet that your local Nissan showroom will gladly throw in a leftover 2020 Versa or two to sweeten the deal. There are more than 1,000 new 2020 Nissan Versa models currently advertised on Autotrader, after all. That’s a lot of leftover inventory in need of a new driveway.

That last point illustrates part of the reason there are so few cheap cars left: Americans simply don’t seem to want them. Honda and Toyota exited the sub-$20,000 game entirely for 2021 when they dropped their Fit and Yaris models – and those are two brands that have long staked their claim on having frugal lineups. Don’t look for a Mazda, a Ford, or a Dodge with a list price of under $20,000, either. And if you think Plymouth, Pontiac, Saturn, or Scion when you think budget-friendly new car, set your wayback machine to a very different era. And maybe stay there – in hindsight, 2020 wasn’t so great.

Instead of cheap new cars, we’re enamored with big SUVs and full-size pickups, which cost a lot of money. The least-expensive 2021 Ram 1500 crew cab carries a list price of $36,740, but that buys you a wash-out, work-friendly cabin and rear-wheel drive, not a plush family hauler. The full-size trucks consumers are more likely to park in their driveways sticker for $45,000 or more.

That’s why Kelley Blue Book found that the average new car transaction price topped $39,000 last year.

At least the ways to spend north (or well north) of $200,000 are highly entertaining.

A few bucks under forty grand for the average new car is equivalent to a couple of monthly payments for a Ferrari SF90 Stradale, the most expensive base price from a relatively mainstream manufacturer. Ferrari can pretty much slap whatever price it wants on its cars, but we do know that a base SF90 Stradale runs around $630,000. The ultimate Ferrari delivers 986 horsepower, though it doesn’t have Android Auto. For $14,395, you can plug your Android phone into a 2021 Chevy Spark and have your Spotify playlist pop up on its touchscreen. It’s a nice distraction from the fact that the Spark has less than one-tenth the horsepower of the SF90 Stradale.

But Americans like SUVs, let’s not forget this. A new Lamborghini Urus will run you about $210,000 if you resist the myriad options available. Nobody does that, of course, which but it’s worth noting that there are more than 20 times as many used Urus models on Autotrader at the moment than there are new 2021 Chevrolet TrailBlazer examples with a list price of less than $20,000.

Here’s a quick look at the ways you can spend north of $200,000:

Aston Martin – 1 model

2018 Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin vehicles may look like a million bucks, but every model except the flagship DBS can theoretically be found for under $200,000. That even includes the DBX SUV, though good luck finding many that aren’t loaded up. Find an Aston Martin on Autotrader

Bentley – 3 models

2018 Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley tempts with three models priced above $200,000: the ever-popular Continental GT in hardtop and convertible forms, the Flying Spur sedan, and the Mulsanne that’s best experienced from the back seat. Find a Bentley on Autotrader

Ferrari – 6 models

2021 Ferrari

Technically a sister brand to Jeep, Ferrari lives la dolce vita with more than a half dozen different choices once you count various different versions of its supercars. Amazingly, there’s no Ferrari SUV — yet. Stay tuned. Find a Ferrari on Autotrader

Lamborghini – 3 models

2020 Lamborghini Huracan

The remarkably successful Urus SUV anchors the Lamborghini lineup at around $210,000 to start, but let’s remember that it is sports cars that have long been this brand’s true calling. The Huracan Evo is the ultimate in V-10 power, while the Aventador delivers nearly 800 horsepower of old-school V-12 supercar power. Find a Lamborghini on Autotrader

McLaren – 3 models

Learn more about the new 2020 McLaren GT

A relative newcomer to the high-end world, McLaren essentially builds Formula 1 cars with airbags and air conditioning. McLaren actually has a broad lineup of sports cars, including the reborn GT that offers a slightly more usable platform. McLaren learned that practicality matters, even if you’re spending upward of $215,000. Find a McLaren on Autotrader

Rolls-Royce – 5 models

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Don’t go into a Rolls-Royce showroom without at least $300,000 to spend, and that’s only if you’re a shrewd negotiator. The Ghost may share links to the BMW 7-Series, but you’ll be on the hook for at least $310,000 for one, and the lineup climbs from there. The Cullinan is the SUV of choice right now, and it runs about $335,000. Find a Rolls-Royce on Autotrader

Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz is an author specializing in helping in-market consumers get the most bang for their buck -- and the best car, while they're at it. When not virtually shopping for new and used cars, Andrew can probably be found under the hood of a vintage classic that's rapidly losing fluids.

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