With a new decade recently rung in, it’s once again time to reevaluate what you drive. Life’s too short, after all, to drive a clunker. If you’re the kind of person who peers longingly into the windows of luxury dealerships, who test drives your favorite cars but never pulls the trigger, or who can’t help but browse car blogs just to drool over the latest models, then use 2021 as your excuse to finally start driving your dream car.
But before you rush to the dealership and make an impulsive decision, consider these few handy hacks. Not only do you want to make sure that the vehicle you choose is perfect for you, but you want to get the best bang for your buck.
In this article, let’s look at a few ways you can narrow down your search, and a few easy tips you can follow to save money and ensure you get the best vehicle possible. Luxury cars aren’t cheap, but if you shop the right way, you’ll be surprised what you can afford.
1. Write Down Your Criteria
The best place to start in researching your dream luxury vehicle is listing your must-have criteria. This can be as broad as listing the type of car you want – a sports car, an SUV or a sedan, for instance – or as specific as listing a minimum horsepower.
It can be as broad as naming the manufacturers you want – Mercedes-Benz, Audi or Ferrari, for instance – or as specific as selecting the color you want. Try to be open-minded throughout this process, and don’t simply jot down a single make and model.
Whatever the criteria, it’s handy to have it all written down as you start your research. If you discover that, in fact, you really want a silver BMW sedan, your search will go a lot smoother.
2. Consider Your Unique Needs
At a certain point, your dream vehicle needs to dovetail with real life needs. If you have a family, you’ll doubtless want to research relative safety ratings, storage, seating, etc. If you have a long, everyday commute, perhaps you’ll want to consider fuel economy in your overall decision. If you simply want a car that’s fun, you can bump speed and handling above other considerations.
Everything personal consideration should be accounted for, all the way down to the amount of cup holders you need. The more you tailor your wish-list criteria to the constraints of your daily personal life, the more likely you’ll get a vehicle that you love.
3. Try Leasing
On to the money-saving hacks, the easiest way to get the best bang for your buck is to consider leasing. When compared to traditional purchase financing, leasing has (far) lower monthly payments, little to no down payment and superior flexibility.
Rather than being locked into an ownership period that could last ten years, you get to experience your dream vehicle when it’s at its peak, and only when it’s at its peak. After the two-to-four year term is up, you can trade your vehicle in for a new dream luxury car.
It’s a surprise more luxury vehicle aficionados don’t go the leasing route. Lease-focused dealerships like Autoone.ca routinely post upmarket luxury vehicles for a fraction of the monthly cost as purchase-centric dealerships. It makes the luxury sector much more affordable, since, with a fixed monthly budget, you can afford a far finer car on a lease than you ever could when purchasing.
4. Go Used
You likely already knew this, but it bears repeating – the first couple years of a car’s life are when its value depreciates the most, but it doesn’t necessarily become a “worse” car. If you can get over the shared cultural obsession gearheads have with newness, you’ll open yourself to a much wider, much more affordable range of vehicles.
Do yourself a favor and use this car depreciation calculator to calculate the potential savings of a one-, two- or three-year-old vehicle, and see if it changes your mind.
Let someone else eat the cost of depreciation in those first couple years, and then nab the vehicle when it’s less expensive but still every bit as functional and aesthetically pleasing.
5. Join a Car Subscription
They’re new, they’re different, and they fundamentally restructure the way you think about vehicle use. Rather than buy or lease a vehicle, with car subscriptions, you “subscribe” to a service, usually through a dealership, which gives you access to a number of different cars.
You have the choice, on a monthly basis, of renewing or swapping your vehicle, and rather than pay a lease or finance payment, you pay a flat, monthly subscription payment. It might not be for everyone, but if your dream driving scenario is getting behind the wheel of a new luxury car every other month, this might be the best way to go! They aren’t available everywhere (just yet) but a quick, regional Google search should tell you if it’s offered in your area.
6. Consider Entry Level Models
Entry-level luxury models don’t need to be a consolation prize. These more affordable siblings in a manufacturer’s roster are usually built with the same quality engineering and aesthetics, without the grand price tag.
The Mercedes A-Class, for instance, may not have the same size and power as the E-Class or AMG line, but they are still damn fine cars. The Porsche Cayman might not be able to hit the same eye-watering top speeds as the 718 Spyder, but it’s an amazing vehicle and it’s roughly half the price. If your dream vehicle is the 718 Spyder, there are far worse fates than settling for a leased, used Porsche Cayman.
There’s a better, more affordable way of stepping into your dream vehicle in 2021. With a little research beforehand, including listing your criteria and unique needs, as well as few simple money-saving hacks, you can drive your dream car without clearing out your bank account.
Make the 2021st the decade you stop dreaming and start driving!