For your average car, time is its worst enemy when it comes to value. Every year, a new model is introduced with minor or major improvements, and every mile you drive your car is one mile closer to a needed service or a worn-out part. Some cars are victims of their own popularity, and the available models drive down the price. Sometimes, it's just a bad car sandwiched between two better versions. Even for heavy drivers, depreciation is still generally the bigger column in a car's 'true cost of ownership.'
For low and midpriced car buyers, this isn't always as painful. Generally speaking, they can squeeze enough value out of their car in the normal use cycle to fund their next ride, keeping them in the car market at regular intervals. For the luxury or status car buyer, the loss can be quite significant. It's not out of the question for a high-end luxury car to depreciate enough to buy a new mid-priced car with change to spare. No one goes into this blind; it's well known that the expensive Mercedes-Benz you buy today will be the car you'll sell for less than a Versa in ten years. That's part of the cost of having that brand-new luxury. The numbers can be astounding, though. Here are 25 cars from the early 2000s that were expensive when new but are cheap now. Current values are based on NADA 'Clean' estimates, but prices will, of course, vary, depending on what you're willing to accept.
Porsche played chicken with its faithful at the turn of the century. In 1998, they made the 996, which will be covered later, and then, they introduced their first SUV, the Cayenne. SUVs were popular, and Porsche needed to sell units. They had already had success with the 'entry level' Boxster. Porsche was determined to honor the 'sport' in 'sport utility vehicle' with a turbocharged version putting out 450 hp. The engine was good enough for Action Express Racing to put in a Riley chassis and win the 24 Hours of Daytona. The truck was popular and, more importantly, flawed and much improved in subsequent models, making early 2000s Cayennes a cheap buy.
There's no shortage of praise in the auto journalist community for the BMW M-series cars. While most of that's reserved for the smaller and lighter M3 (now M4), the M5 has continued to be the 'muscle car' of the group.
In 2001, that muscle meant a warmed over V8 putting out close to 400 hp. With all that well-earned praise from the experts, the BMW is a popular car but also an expensive car to maintain, driving down the value of older models.
Car companies can get known for making one kind of car: luxury, sports cars, trucks, or whatever it is, companies can fall into a niche. When they're part of a brand portfolio, this kind of thing makes sense. In the case of Volkswagen, they owned the portfolio but were a bargain car brand. They tried to expand this image in the early 2000s with a luxury sedan with an engine layout and a chassis from Bently. No one was able to take a VW luxury car priced near $100,000 seriously even with 400 hp, and the little-known luxury car can be bought cheap if one can be found.
For most of us, $45,000 isn't a 'cheap' car, by any stretch of the imagination. That's a hefty hit to the wallet. It is a fraction, however, of the over $140,000 the previous owner lost owning the car for just over 10 years. Of course, during that time, they got to enjoy what Car and Driver called a '604 hp slap to the face.' They also report that the chassis wasn't up to the engine's magnificence, so in addition to keeping up with the 13 mpg, you'll also be spending deep on rubber for the rear tires.
For those looking for a tamer ride but only a little, then the mad speed scientists at AMG had a different weapon in the 2003 CL55.
Where the previous models featured a warmed-over engine, the 2003 got a supercharger that brought it just shy of 500 hp.
All of that was packed into a small sedan capable of pretending to be tame until you put the right foot down and let out the power. If you bought one new 15 years ago, it lost over $100,000 in value since then. While the price is low, the maintenance costs likely won't be.
When Maserati left the US shores in the 199os, it wasn't with the best image. They had a long association with Chrysler, and their last two models weren't exactly the kind of sexy one comes to expect from an Italian manufacturer.
Back in the hands of Fiat and Ferrari, Maserati returned in the 21st century with some properly attractive models.
They even managed to pave the way for four-door cars from sports cars like the Panamera and the upcoming Lamborghini. In 2008, that would've set you back $150,000, now for well over $100,000 less.
The Jaguar XJ Super V8 was everything that the Volkswagen Phaeton wanted to be. It was a gentleman's car. Jaguar, no matter who owns it, isn't one to change for change's sake, and the XJ is an example of that. There had been a version of the XJ with only mild cosmetic changes since 1968. With luxuries like a rear entertainment system, a supercharged V8, and an extended wheelbase, buyers got a lot of luxury for their money. That longevity can sometimes tank resale values. Now, you can get that luxury for far, far less.
With the success of their Corvette-powered mid-sized coupe, the CTS V, Cadillac went Audi S8 hunting with a 500 hp full-size STS, but this time, they relied on the tried and true Northstar V8, the roots-supercharged big Caddy sports 469 hp. In Car and Driver's Bahn Burners (get it?) comparison, they slotted the luxurious hot sedan between the SL55 (3rd) and the BMW M5 (1st) but noted that while not as fast as the other two, the luxury and dollar value make up for it. Now, that value is even higher at a seventh of its original price.
Since the 1998 spy thriller Ronin and the Transporter series, there's been a warm spot in daydreaming getaway drivers for the Audi flagship model. Despite that, the A8 was always a distant third to Mercedes and BMW in the luxury car market in the US. Audi sought to change that with their eighty-five-thousand-dollar refresh of the model. Fourteen years on, and the A8 is still the third choice, and the car that was once just shy of $85,000 can be had for just north of $5,000.
When the price of the used 2004 Maybach is close to or, in some cases, higher than the 'when new' price of most of the cars on this list, it's hard to justify the 'lost all value' status. That's before factoring in the $359,000 starting price for the Mercedes-Benz coach-built luxury brand. Meant as an even more exclusive competitor to Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the Maybach exudes the kind of luxury exclusivity bemoaned in Lorde's Royals. While she can no doubt afford a new one now, she could get a used one for that first-hit-album money.
There are a lot of things that went wrong with the 996 when it replaced the 993 as Porsche's flagship 911. It was the first to use a water-cooled engine after decades of air-cooled allegiance. It was larger than the 993, embracing a change to grand touring over pure sports car. Finally, it shared a front-end look with the down-market 986 otherwise known as the 'Boxster.' While $30,200 is still a lot of money to most of us, consider that would barely get you a base-model normally aspirated 993 from the '90s.
All things considered, this car has actually held up relatively well compared to its contemporaries.
While it's lost over $100,000 in value from new, it's still in the category of mid-range luxury vehicles.
The DB7 was a return to form for Aston Martin as a company, and, by the early 2000s, had really begun to come into its own. With refreshed Bond movies putting the super spy back in the seat of the new Aston Martins, the classic high-end British sports car maker might be around for a while.
Once upon a time, Maserati was a dominant sports car manufacturer from Italy. They made world-class racing and sports cars, and when Joe Walsh wanted to demonstrate how good life had been to him, he sang that his Maserati "does one eighty-five." Under Fiat stewardship, they're slotted between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari as a sports car maker. Their first set in that role was the simply named GT, which was moderately priced at $77,175 new, all things considered, but now can be picked up for a cautious bargain (you still have to pay premium Maserati repair prices) at just short of $25,000.
The Jaguar XK8 was meant to be a return to form, a modern version of their legendary XK-E or E-type. It was a good-looking car, and with the addition of the supercharger for the XKR, it had the digits to keep up with its more expensive competitors.
In the end, though, it's still a Jaguar with Jaguar problems.
Now, the 550 hp car with a zero-to-sixty time of 4.0 seconds is an even bigger bargain at just over $10k.
The Cadillac Escalade was the ultimate expression of excess for the late '90s and early 2000s. The big Cadillac SUV, along with the Hummer H2, began to symbolize the issues of conspicuous consumption that defined that time period. Perhaps fittingly for a symbol of excess for that era, the truck can be had cheaply at close to a tenth of the cost when new. Of course, that leaves a lot of money left over for garish modifications that also have become synonymous with the Escalade.
All things considered, the value of the now-defunct Hummer consumer flagship has held up relatively well comparatively. That might be in part to Hummer, as a brand, no longer existing.
If the Escalade was the expression of excess, the H2, made up of a mishmash of other GM SUVs, was its loud obnoxious cousin.
The enormous SUV was so big, it fell into a tax loophole meant to make it easier for businesses to buy light trucks, and status seekers ended up covering the expense of the luxury SUV with the tax break.
In the early 2000s, Chrysler was in the process of putting a supercharged Hemi V8 in everything they made that would take it, including Dodge pickups, Jeep SUVs, and the top luxury sedan for Chrysler, the 300. The engine was good for 425 hp, making the 300 good for 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. Buyers looking for muscle car power generally went with muscle car looks in the Dodge Charger SRT8, meaning you can get a slightly heavier if a bit slower SRT8 now in a used 300.
If the Escalade and the H2 are symbols of excess, the Range Rover is the luxury SUV of the refined person of excess. The Range Rover is the well-appointed version of the go-anywhere Land Rover, and the supercharged Sport is the go-fast version of that.
Close to $70,000 new, the supercharged Sport is good for 390 hp.
What surprised Car and Driver more was the stopping power, the vehicle being able to shed 70 mph in 165 feet. These days, a 2006 Sport slots between an H2 and an Escalade.
Lexus started out the 'more or less as well appointed' Camry as a way for Toyota to go upmarket. Over time, Lexus would gain its own line of cars that are distinct from their Toyota progenitors. Perhaps the most unique is the strange-looking sports coupe, the SC 430. Car and Driver referred to it as having 'pumpkin seed styling.' The non-licensed counterpart in the video game Grand Theft Auto was perhaps a little more popular. For those with the acquired taste, it can be had for a fraction of the original $69,280 asking price.
Lincoln and Mercury carried the luxury banner for the Ford Motor Company for years. While Mercury is no longer with us, Lincoln carries on quietly, trying to uphold the luxury end for Ford. Lacking the garishness of the Escalade or H2, the Navigator is the luxury SUV for the polo shirt crowd. That unremarkableness comes with a $50,000 dive in value from when new, with a NADA value of $6,275. Without much change in the Navigator over the years, who's to know how old yours is.
In 2002, Chevrolet made the unpopular decision to bring the long-lived Camaro to an end. The hot pony car slotted just below the Corvette had been losing ground to the equally long-lived Mustang, and since it had become less of a 2+2, it started cutting into the sales of the more upmarket Corvette. What came next was even more confounding, leaning into the 'new wave retro' of the time that saw a throwback design of the Thunderbird and the New Beetle and Mini: they released an art-deco factory hotrod pickup truck.
With oddball looks and a 300 hp engine that didn't take anyone's breath away, the SSR soon went away, and a proper Camaro took its place.
The value has held up relatively well if you can decide that's your thing.
There was a longstanding joke about Volvos: that they threw away the car and kept the box. Two things that everyone knew about Volvo were that they were safe and that they were square. The C70 was the Volvo that was to break that tradition by actually being a styled car. To make the car sporty, they partnered up with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, who had been racing Jaguars in the '90s, among other successes. The C70 carried the torch for the new Volvo until 2013 as a sport coupe. Now, though, the car that once closed in on $40,000 is just over $3,000.
There was no mistaking a Saab when you saw it. The oddball Swedish car manufacturer made a series of unmistakable cars until they closed their doors in 2011. They had a long relationship with small turbocharged engines. In 2000, GM had acquired Saab and started transferring the car maker from hatchbacks to sedans and convertibles with the new 9 series, the compact 9-3, and the midsized 9-5. The 9-3 was considered a fair competitor for the $40-50,000 European convertible market, but now, the final Saab is only a little over $3,350.
The Jaguar S-Type was Jaguar's entry into the new-wave retro of the late '90s and the early 2000s. The design was meant to evoke their legendary Mk.II sedan of the sixties, whose sport model also bore the S-Type moniker. Jaguar was already a manufacturer that didn't change things often. For almost three decades, the company used a variation of the same XK6 motor. The S-Type was a 'love it or hate it' model. For those that spent the $61,755 new for the 4.2 model, they no doubt hate the massive depreciation to just shy of five thousand dollars.
This is another case of the current price not really being 'nothing.' For most people, $37,200 is a lot to spend on a car. When that car is the exclusive Bentley Arnage, however, $37,200 can seem like nothing. Factoring in that the car costs over two hundred thousand dollars, $37,200 is almost a steal. The Arnage is a nod to Bentley's Le Mans heritage, named after a famous turn on the race track. Since the brand was bought by the Volkswagen Group, they've been regaining the reputation for fast luxury and have grown more popular than their former stablemate, Rolls-Royce. More copies mean that there are more used models driving that exclusive price down.
Sources: NADAguides.com caranddriver.com jalopnik.com autotrader.com