The Sweet Spot: Economy "Luxury" Cars

A family member of mine was shopping for a new (used) car recently. A car for going to and from work and occasional outings on the town. The requirements were simple; Leather, heated seats, heated steering wheel, back-up camera, and a sharp design that doesn't look like a Fiat Multipla.

As a car guy obsessed with the sports and super car world, it’s kind of tough shopping and doing research on these cars. My personal philosophy is if the daily car isn't a fun car, it should be as economical as possible. Hence my daily being absolute a bare bones civic. No luxuries. This is important to note if you use any of this for your own personal car searches; I bias towards a mostly functional and economical daily driver.

After scavenging each manufacturer's site for cars that fit the role of an economy “luxury” car, I started searching the used market. Always try and look for cars 1-5 years old when buying used and locate the point at which a majority of the depreciation has been already been eaten. The sweet spot.

The Contenders

2015 Kia Cadenza

2015, 18k miles, $18K USD - 2015, 27k miles, $18K USD

2014 Honda Accord Touring

2014, 18k miles, $18.5K USD - 2014, 35k miles, $18.8K USD

2015 Mazda6 Mazda Grand Touring

2015, 13.4k miles, $17K USD
2015, 30k miles, $16.5K USD

2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited

2015, 16k miles, $15K USD - 2015, 36k miles, $14K USD

My personal favorite and final recommendation was a 2015 Mazda6. It has all the amenities on the list, with a very clean exterior and interior design, and being a Mazda means it probably has a sportier driving feel than your standard Hyundai. Alas, in the eyes of the buyer, the Mazda6 fell short. The final purchase ended up being a Hyundai Genesis. Coming in at $20,000 more than the cars I thought to be the best fit - there wasn’t much of a fight put up by the contenders.

Although none of my suggestions “won”, there was an important lesson in all of this. I find it pretty incredible that around $15,000, will get you a modern design, leather seats, heated seats, heated steering wheeling, backup cameras and more. If you tried to get all these features a decade ago you would be spending significantly more money. We should all be appreciative of these cars, and what they can offer for such a relatively low cost.