There's a point in every driver's life when he wants to experience a comfortable ride, something that's above the average run-of-the-mill driving experience. This is what spawned the advent of the luxury car, which was originally an exclusive breed of vehicles that was confined to Cadillacs and Mercedes-Benz models. These cars were exclusive with such rarities as power windows and air conditioning that weren’t generally found on cheaper car models. And as time has progressed, luxury cars have made huge progress. With many new one-of-a-kind features that have defined the luxury car business, there has never been a better time than now to buy a used luxury car.
Finding a used luxury car isn't a hard task because there's such a high turnover rate for these vehicles, with owners generally trading them in within three years for a newer updated model. The luxury car marketplace is very saturated, and as such, there have been literally hundreds of different models released over the past few decades. Many of these luxury cars have been released by US auto manufacturers that were working hard to try and stay relevant with the Japanese and German auto manufacturers. Unfortunately, many of these models, such as the Cadillac Catera, were of substandard quality. There are many used luxury car models that should be avoided at all costs due to quality issues as well as reliability issues that have plagued certain models over the past few decades.
25 BMW 7 Series
There are quite a few large luxury sedans that rule the used car market, and one of them happens to be the BMW 7 Series. This is the top-of-the-line beamer that you can get, but the 7 series is plagued with electrical problems that make the model horrendously hard to maintain and keep on the road. The 2003 model is the worse for these problems, and although you can get a good deal on this big beauty, it's going to cost a good deal of money to keep it rolling. (Cargurus.com)
24 BMW 5 Series
The smaller BMW 5 series is an awesome car that combines a reasonably sized interior with a powerful V6 or V8 engine, and when the car is well maintained, it'll last for a good while and provide a reasonable driving experience. Buy a lemon, and you’ll be stuck with one of the most expensive cars on the road to fix, and that's only half the problem. The BMW 5 Series of the early 2000s, while cheap to buy, suffers from a problematic transmission that can cost a whole lot of money to repair. (Cargurus.com)
23 BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series has always been a reasonable way to get into a BMW for the first time, and while the car is an excellent budget performer, this is one of the worst used cars that you can get. The early 2000s models are notoriously unreliable with an engine that's known to blow head gaskets and overheat, creating a car that's simply undrivable. The 3 Series came in quite a few flavors, and it's recommended to simply avoid this car like the plague if you're going to be buying it used. (Cargurus.com)
22 Jaguar X-Type
During the early 2000s, Jaguar had been purchased by the Ford Motor Company, and they were trying to make a resurgence.
The Jaguar X-Type is a very stylish sedan that was ahead of its time in terms of style and substance, but unfortunately, the car suffered from horrible reliability issues and an engine that was known to run through head gaskets quite frequently.
The transmission was also notoriously unreliable, and the X-Type was on the side of the road more often than it was actually driving. (Cargurus.com)
21 Jaguar S-Type
This was Another Jaguar of the early 2000s that really made the brand have a surge in popularity; unfortunately, the S-Type was just as unreliable as the X-Type with a faulty transmission that was known to lock up and simply go out even though the car was still low in mileage.
The S-Type was a stately sedan that had a comfortable interior and a stylish exterior, and you can find one for a relatively low price.
However, the problem with the reliability makes the car one that should be avoided at all costs unless you're ready to dump some money into it. (Cargurus.com)
20 Infiniti J30
The notorious Infiniti J30 is a car that's not seen very often, and it's with good reason. The overall design, based on a standard Altima with a smaller trunk, was something of a nightmare due to an awkward exterior design that featured a bubble butt.
The J30 wasn't only weird-looking; it also suffered from many transmission issues, which made the car, coupled with the high price of the dealership, a pain to work on.
The Infiniti J30 is really worth avoiding at all costs, especially since there are other luxury cars in this price range that are much better. (Cargurus.com)
19 Infiniti I30
The other Infiniti brainchild of the nineties was the I30, a model that was based on the larger Nissan Maxima.
The I30 was a little larger than the J30 but not by much, and with a different front clip and fender, the car didn’t vary that much from the Nissan Maxima, which it was based on.
The V6 engine was quite reliable, which is great, but the car suffered from a good deal of electrical issues, which make the model a pain to deal with and maintain. (Cargurus.com)
18 Lincoln LS
During the early 2000s, the Lincoln brand was trying to compete with the Japanese luxury brands, and they only had heavy V8-powered sedans to offer consumers. While this was great for the Baby Boomer customer base, younger buyers wanted something that was more sporty and fuel efficient. The Lincoln LS was based on Jaguar parts, and the car was known for having one of the most problematic engines to be released by Ford. The transmissions in these Lincoln models are also very faulty, and this is a luxury car that's better left alone. (Cargurus.com)
17 Jaguar XK8
The Jaguar brand was really making a push during the early 2000s, and the Jaguar XK8 was a very fast V8-powered coupe and convertible. While the car is absolutely beautiful to this day, it suffers from one of the most problematic transmissions to be released in the history of a Jaguar. The Jaguar XK8 was released for over a decade until finally being replaced, and although this beautiful sports car can be had for a little bit of nothing, the reliability issues are a real concern that'll cost you some serious money. (Cargurus.com)
16 Chrysler Sebring Convertible
Chrysler has long been known as a mid-range luxury car manufacturer similar to the Buick brand, and their products appeal to a broad generation. The Chrysler Sebring Convertible is a luxurious convertible that combines a comfortable leather interior with a stylish exterior that's made the car quite a success.
Unfortunately, the V6 engine in the Sebring is notoriously unreliable and prone to engine failure very early on.
This car, unless you can find it with very low mileage, is better left avoided for the most part. (Cargurus.com)
15 2006 Chrysler 300C 2.7 V6
The Chrysler 300C changed the game for Chrysler by introducing the world to a big, bold and different-looking luxury sedan that was powered by a powerful Hemi V8. The problem with this car was the fact that it was also released with the problematic 2.7 V6 that's known for engine failure early in the car's life. This engine was also vastly underpowered for such a large sedan, which made it something of an underpowered failure that looked good but couldn’t perform. (Cargurus.com)
14 Lexus ES250
The very first small Lexus to be sold in the US market was the ES250, which was released alongside the LS 400 luxury sedan. The ES250 is a car that you don’t see very much of and with good reason, as the car was nothing more than a dressed-up Toyota Camry. None of the signature Lexus quality was found on this sedan, and that's what makes it a luxury car that should be avoided at all costs. You would be better served by either getting an LS 400 or a newer model ES300 sedan, which were both known for high quality. (Cargurus.com)
13 Infiniti G20
The nineties were a cruel time for the Infiniti brand, as they were just unable to get a foothold in the US market with models that would catch on with consumers. The G20, which was a small luxury sedan that was underpowered and generally cramped in terms of space, is one such occasion. Reliability is also an issue on earlier models of the G20, especially when it pertains to the transmission. The G20 was a car that never really found a marketplace, and while you might be able to find one cheap, this is a car that's better left avoided. (Cargurus.com)
12 BMW Z3
Another small luxury car that's worth avoiding is the BMW Z3, which was a compact roadster that was released by BMW in the latter part of the nineties.
The Z3 is plagued with reliability issues that pertain to the engine and the transmission, making for a car that can be quite costly to repair.
The convertible top is also an expensive part to be repaired on this small car, and the coupe version of the Z3 is very rare and awkward-looking. (Cargurus.com)
11 Lincoln Zephyr
The Lincoln Zephyr was released alongside the new Ford Fusion, and the car was supposed to ignite interest in the Lincoln brand. Unfortunately, the Lincoln Zephyr was quite unreliable and suffered from numerous faults, including electrical failure and a transmission that would die out under 100k miles. Although the car is quite luxurious and actually looks really stylish, the mechanical failures can end up costing you more than a used version of this car will run you, and thus, this car is better left avoided. (Cargurus.com)
10 Cadillac Catera
Dubbed 'the worst Cadillac model of all time,' the Cadillac Catera is a forgettable blip in the history of the otherwise legendary luxury brand. The Cadillac Catera, with an odd-design that was designed to appeal to younger buyers who would traditionally go toward a BMW or a Lexus, was notoriously unreliable. The Cadillac Catera was regarded as one of the worst Cadillac models of all time, and the model was eventually replaced by the much better Cadillac CTS, which featured a modern design and a brand-new engine. (Cargurus.com)
9 Cadillac CTS First Generation
The first-generation Cadillac CTS was, in every way, a better car than the Cadillac Catera that it replaced. The Cadillac CTS had a bold new style that was in line with Cadillac’s new arts and science design philosophy. While the sedan was a bold new direction for styling, the transmission was known for being faulty on the sports models, and this can be a very expensive fix if you're buying this car on the used car market. This version of the CTS is better left avoided, as it will cost far too much to fix. (Cargurus.com)
8 Cadillac DTS
The Cadillac DTS is a big luxury sedan that was released to replace the aged Cadillac Deville sedan, and while the DTS was quite luxurious, the car had some major faults. The Northstar Motor is an excellent performer, but when the engine blows a head gasket, the entire block has to be removed from the car. This creates a repair that can cost literally thousands of dollars to get this big car back on the road, not to mention the numerous transmission problems that follow the big DTS as well. (Cargurus.com)
7 Cadillac STS First Generation
The nineties were a time when there were quite a few luxury cars that were making waves for excellent performance, and the STS was one of these cars. Unfortunately, the STS was known for transmission failures left and right. The transmission that's in this car is very expensive to replace, and for an old V8-powered luxury sedan, this just isn’t worth the trouble. The Northstar V8 is also a very problematic engine that has to be removed from underneath the car to get any work done on it, which is also very pricey. (Cargurus.com)
6 Cadillac STS Second Generation
The second generation of the Cadillac STS suffered from many of the faults that the first generation did, with the main one being the faulty transmission that can tend to cost thousands to fix. The car is simply not worth investing that much money into, as it's just a tired old V8 sedan, and there are newer Cadillac models that are less problematic to maintain. Coupled with the transmission failure, the V8 engine that's in the STS is also a pain to maintain, and thus, the entire sedan was eliminated from the lineup in 2002. (Cargurus.com)
5 Cadillac Eldorado Final Generation
Long before there were exclusive Japanese luxury coupes or German luxury coupes that rule the exclusive communities of the country, there was the Cadillac Eldorado.
This exclusive coupe was mated with a powerful V8 engine that gave the car some serious push, and the interior, with plush leather seating, was just as nice.
Unfortunately, the Northstar engine is a pain to work on, and the labor hours that it can take to repair this old engine will end up costing you more than the car is worth. (Cargurus.com)
4 Lincoln Mark LT Truck
The Lincoln Mark LT was a luxury truck that was released in 2006 to introduce buyers to a big and beautiful truck that features a design that's similar to the Lincoln Navigator. The Lincoln Mark LT had most of the features that the Lincoln Navigator had, and the big truck had the versatility of the Ford F150. Unfortunately, the Lincoln Mark LT has a lot of electrical problems that can make the truck very costly to repair. A better choice would just be a fully loaded Ford F 150 truck, which has most of the same luxury features with less of the complicated electronics. (Cargurus.com)
3 Mercedes ML320 First Generation
The first-generation Mercedes ML320 is notable for its appearances in the Jurassic Park film franchise, and this generation was an excellent choice for luxury SUV buyers. The ML320 was a stellar SUV in many aspects, but in terms of being a used vehicle choice, this model should be avoided because it requires a very expensive set of repairs, including transmission failure, which occurs quite often on the Tiptronic transmission. The ML320 has deteriorated in terms of resale value, which is great, but repairing the SUV can, in the long run, cost thousands. (Cargurus.com)
2 Acura RL
The market for big luxury sedans has always been large, especially in the US. The Acura RL was a big and bold sedan that was released to compete with the BMW 7 Series and the Lexus LS 400. The bad thing about the Acura RL was the fact that the sedan featured an underpowered V6 engine, while the competition had large V8 motors that gave them substantial power. The Acura RL also only came in one trim package, which made the car a poor choice when compared to the Lexus LS 400. (Cargurus.com)
1 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The Mercedes Benz C-Class has always been the entry-level Mercedes to get if you wanted to own a brand-new Mercedes Benz. Unfortunately, on the used car market, the C-Class isn't the most reliable car to enter the field. The main gripe with consumers of this small sedan seems to center around the transmission failing, as well as unexplained overheating of the engine. Repairs on this small sedan can rack up quickly, and unless you're a specific collector, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is better left avoided. (Cargurus.com)