Redefining Luxury…To Be A Car That Actually Works

My dad always held the belief that a Mercedes Benz was an investment. He believed, in 1983, that if he had only splurged in 1963 to buy that Benz he’d contemplated buying, he’d still be driving it those 20 years later. If only he had made that investment, he could have saved the thousands on all those other cars that he purchased in those 20 years.

“It is the world of luxury that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth…”

When I bought our Mercedes ML350 a few years ago, I heard the same mythology over and over, that a Mercedes is an investment, that luxury cars are investments. It is a myth that has been successfully perpetuated for decades, long before my dad bought cars, and I suspect will continue for years now that he’s passed away, a myth that I had unfortunately subscribed to.  But as Morpheus says in the awesome Kia spoof of The Matrix above, “This is what luxury looks like; this is what it feels like…” (you have to watch the rest).

If you define an investment as being something you continually and perpetually pour money into to maintain a sense of comfort and a minimal level of usefulness (nay, a below-minimal level of usefulness), then perhaps a Mercedes ML350 will suit you. If you define luxury as the leather, power, features, and amenities that you can’t get in another vehicle, then you’ll find it hard to exclude a Kia K900 from the ranks of luxury cars, as is the point in this hilarious Super Bowl commercial.  If you haven’t seen the full-length version of the ad, it deserves your 90 seconds of attention.

As for me, I now define luxury as being a comfortable car that works without requiring continual, incessant, and inexplicable repairs totaling thousands of dollars. I have now “invested” in a Nissan Rogue, where I don’t expect to be required to spend $300 to replace the battery, where I doubt I’ll have to replace the transmission with barely 60,000 miles on the vehicle (yes, we had to replace the transmission on our ML350 with just over 60,000 miles on the car), and where replacing a single part costing less than $100 will require a total engine rebuild (ok, well CarMax paid for that one–kudos and thanks to CarMax, by the way). As for me, an “investment in luxury” won’t leave me stranded on the Interstate (again, with barely 60,000 miles on the odometer) but will keep me safely on my way to New England (as you’ll soon read about).

Where they guy in the commercial says, “We just want to get our car,” I say, “I just want a car that works.”  Goodbye, Mercedes; hello, Nissan.

Leave a Reply