In April, the average new luxury car cost $64,144. That decreased from March’s average, but is still out of reach for many.
Used cars are a far more realistic possibility for most Americans. They sold for an average of $26,799 in April.
A used luxury vehicle makes a unique bargain. Luxury cars depreciate faster than more affordable cars, meaning you can often find a recent used model for just a fraction of what a buyer paid for it new several years ago.
Buying a used luxury car puts all the latest technology in your reach and gives you more power and a more refined suspension than you could likely afford in the new car market. It also lets you enjoy the luxuries of fine-grade leather, high-end audio systems, and that extra dash of panache that goes into the design of a luxury car.
But buying used denies you warranty coverage. Unless you find a way to get that, too.
About Certified Pre-Owned Cars
Certified pre-owned (CPO) cars are recent used cars that the manufacturer has inspected thoroughly and agreed to cover with a warranty.
They tend to cost a bit more than used cars without warranty coverage. But the extra cost is often worth the added peace of mind.
Related: What to Look For in a CPO Program
Lexus calls its CPO program L/Certified. It’s one of the best in the automotive industry. All L/Certified cars are six years old or newer and have less than 80,000 miles on the odometer. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average American drives just under 13,500 miles per year. So L/Certified vehicles have been used more lightly than the average car.
Lexus won Best Luxury Brand in our 2023 5-Year Cost to Own Awards because they cost their owners less than most rivals’ cars once they’re off the lot.
So an L/Certified car is a car that holds up better than most and has been driven less than average, anyway.
But even the best-built cars are subject to wear and tear and require regular maintenance. If you buy a used Lexus without the L/Certified imprimatur, you’re still gambling that past owners did all that maintenance on time.
L/Certified vehicles, however, have passed through a 161-point inspection at the hands of a skeptical dealership technician looking for flaws. The checklist Lexus technicians use includes an inspection of normal wear items like belts and hoses.
But technicians go further, checking maintenance records to ensure the car received required maintenance at the proper intervals, filtering the oil for contaminants (a sign of invisible damage deeper in the engine), and checking both the exterior and interior for nicks or signs of excessive wear.
They’re transparent about the process. If you’re curious, they’ll even show you the form inspectors use.
Lexus protects L/Certified cars with a 2-year warranty. Most CPO programs have a mileage limit on their warranties, but the Lexus program does not. That makes L/Certified cars particularly good choices for those planning to drive a lot. An L/Certified car has been driven lightly and is covered by a 2-year warranty even if you plan to drive it heavily. There is no deductible for covered repairs.
If the L/Certified vehicle you purchase is still covered under its 4-year/50,000-mile limited new-car warranty, the extra two years of coverage don’t start until that original warranty has expired.
Complimentary Maintenance, Loaner Cars, and More
The thrill of driving a luxury car is just part of the luxury car ownership experience. Special treatment from the manufacturer and dealership is the rest.
Lexus includes four complimentary factory-recommended service appointments in the price of every L/Certified car, provided you take advantage of them within the first two years or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first.
L/Certified owners also get roadside assistance, a loaner car during dealership appointments likely to take more than eight hours, and even a trip interruption plan that covers meals and lodging if a problem with the car leaves you stranded far from home.
The closest thing to a drawback to the L/Certified program is that the benefits don’t pass to a third owner if you resell the car. But that’s typical of CPO programs. Look for a CPO Lexus near you.