Depreciation is a disappointing reality for new car owners, but it also has a bright side for those who avoid buying new: allowing magnificent machines to become easily affordable in just a few years. If you don't mind your “new" ride having some miles, depreciated mega luxury and exotic vehicles may have exactly what you're looking for at an unbeatable price. We get that these types of cars are often more expensive to repair or harder to find parts for, making them still out of budget for a lot of us. However, consider us dreamers. Since the average new car costs just over $33,000, let's look at a few head-turning examples that undercut your everyday rides.
Aston Martin DB7Let's start off big. Less than $30,000 buys a hand-built British super-coupe with a 5.9-liter V12. The DB7 still looks and sounds amazing today, and low mileage examples are easily found online. At this price point, your Aston will be a little older—about turn of the millennium—but it will be loaded with luxury features. Unfortunately, it won't have rockets or ejection seats, but it will make you feel as cool as James Bond.
Audi S8Audi's big sedan drives as beautifully as it looks, partially due to the 5.2-liter V10 delivering 450 horsepower. The Tiptronic six-speed transmission sends that power to all four wheels, so this can be your practical winter car. There's also adaptive bi-xenon headlights, Alcantara and aluminum trim, and a seven-inch nav screen. How much does all that cost? Under $20,000 if you don't mind a decade back, but still under $30,000 for a gorgeous 2009.
Cadillac EscaladePerhaps a big family hauler is more of your dream ride. If the Aston won't carry your five kids, take a look into a used Escalade. New examples start at $75,000, but if you don't mind the previous body style, you can score a 4WD luxury SUV for less than half that price. Expect leather and speakers everywhere, tons of convenience features, and a 6.2L V8 making the best tow rating on this list. Who says your dream ride can't be practical?
Chevrolet Corvette Z06Surprised to see a Chevy here? The sixth-generation Z06 put supercars on notice, with 505 horsepower coming from one of the biggest engines available in modern times, a 7.0-liter LS7 V8. The on-track performance was incredible, even with a base price of 70 grand. The years have been kind to this 'vette, meaning you can score a reliable and powerful coupe for around $30,000. That might be the most horsepower you can buy for the money.
Hummer H1If you're more of the off-road type, we've got you covered. The original H1 was a military brute barely adapted for street use. It was not the greatest daily driver due to the Spartan interior (the features list is just an AM/FM radio), but over the years it forged a massive cult following. You won't win any races with more than 7,000 pounds and a 6.5-liter diesel V8, but getting to your favorite fishing hole will be easy and fun. Originally six figures, 20-something models will set you back far less.
Hyundai EquusNot many kids put posters of a Hyundai on their bedroom walls, but that could be changing. Evidence lies in the excellent Equus, mainly known as the most expensive Hyundai ever made, fully optioned to nearly $70,000. That cash buys a lot of car here, as the Equus is comparable to a loaded BMW 7-Series. Power is impressive, from the 5.0-liter “Tau" V8 driving the rear wheels, and an eight-speed auto keeps the shifting refined. This isn't your buddy's Sonata, but a used one is the same price.
Land Rover Range RoverIf you enjoy off-roading and a vehicle with civil on-road manners, don't buy two vehicles, just get a supercharged Range Rover. The blower helps the 5.0-liter V8 churn out 510 horsepower, turning this classy British SUV into a genuine hot rod. Sure, there's leather, Bluetooth, and dual-zone climate control, but it also has air suspension, descent control, and gigantic 15-inch Brembo brakes.
Lotus ElisePossibly the most head-turning ride on this list, the Elise may be old enough to buy alcohol, but it still gets lots of looks. The mid-mounted Toyota sourced 1.8-liter inline four cylinder isn't all that impressive at 189 horsepower, until you realize it only has to push 1,900 pounds. That's less than half a Dodge Challenger. The lack of weight makes the Elise quick, especially around corners. If you can swing Toyota Camry money for a reliable and fun two-seat roadster, get this one.
Porsche 911Yes, even legends depreciate. Under $30K used to mean you were stuck looking at a less desirable 996 model. While they are smokin' bargains right now, the 997 series (2005–2012) is better looking and more capable. The 3.8-liter flat six is up to 355 horsepower, and the engine sound from behind you is absolutely perfect. The interior is refined and modern, but not busy with extra tech. If it has all its service records, a 911 can even be reliable. You won't get a GT3 for this price, but the Carrera S is just as nice if you squint. While these depreciated dream rides do have some miles on them, they can usually serve as daily drivers if you keep up on the maintenance. That's a small price to pay for a vehicle that will put a smile on your face every time you see it. Thinking of buying your dream ride? Let us know what you're searching for in the comments below.
Last updated June 6, 2018