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Luxury cars for DIY mechanic?

What are the easiest to work on and affordable (maintenance wise), luxury cars for DIY mechanic?

Lexus ES350 - it’s a Camry under the skin.

If you want a “dumb” luxury car, take the Lincoln Town car. It’s Crown Victoria under the skin and repairs shoud not be too expensive.

Lexus ES350 or Toyota Avalon.

Both draw heavily from the Camry parts bin, both have readily available aftermarket parts, and both have excellent reliability and longevity reputations. The easiest car to fix is one that never needs fixing. Toyota isn’t perfect, but IMHO it’s still better than the rest.

Stay away from the Germans (or any European cars for that matter), parts are very expensive and the cars are difficult to work on. @texases and @Docnick both point out in their choices, these are luxury versions of very mainstream volume cars. I’d add a Lexus RX350 if you want a small SUV, also a Camry platform.

Consider near luxury cars as well. Basic cars like the Ford Taurus can be loaded to the hilt with luxury options as can SUV’s and trucks. Luxury isn’t just an image like BMW or Mercedes, it is content like heated leather seats, nav systems and killer integrated info-tainment systems. You can buy that stuff on a Ford Fusion or Chrysler 300.

@Mustangman, what did the Germans ever do to you? :wink:

@LeoZ, are you shopping for a new car or a used car? If used, how old?

Personally, I like to do my own mechanical work when I can, but I’d rather have something reliable that doesn’t need fixed than something that is easy to fix but needs to be fixed more often.

Believe it or not, the Hyundai Genesis qualifies as a a luxury car. There are also several Acura models to choose from. Since Acura is owned by Honda, you might be able to find something as reliable as my Hondas have been for me.

LeoZ – You asked about maintenance not repair. With most cars in the last 10 years all you need to concern yourself with is oil changes, filters (oil and air) proper tire pressure and keeping the car clean and waxed. That should apply to almost all vehicles. If you mean repair, their are no cheap repairs to any luxury brand ( BMW-Volvo-Mercedes-Audi and others). My neighbor let a place do some work on his BMW and they failed to turn off something before putting it on the lift and he had to tow it to the dealer for a $450.00 reprogram.

"all you need to concern yourself with is oil changes, filters (oil and air) proper tire pressure and keeping the car clean and waxed"

Are you telling us that you don’t change your spark plugs, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant at least as often as the mfr specifies?


A Caddy Allante can be had cheap…These are 2-seat roadsters front wheel drive with V8 power. The '93 models have Northstar V8 power…But maintaining and repairing them may push your DIY mechanical and electronic skills to it’s limit or past it’s limit…And, trust me, nobody else will work on them except you…

@Caddyman I loved the Allante. Basically a shortened Eldorado or Riviera platform. Elegant looks, nice top. Many came to Florida to die just like the Caddy XLR (Caddy -Corvette). I haven’t seen one here yet.

@Whitey, I love German cars, but parts are 5x or more over a domestic or Japanese brand. And while the OP did say he wanted to work on it himself, he didn’t say he was a rich Rocket Scientist! @LeoZ, if you are both of those… I apologize, go ahead and buy a German luxury brand. :wink:

Oh, I agree … about German cars.

@Mustangman: “Stay away from the Germans…”

Get it?

used German luxury cars are money pits

used British luxury cars are bottomless money pits

used British luxury SUVs might qualify as black holes . . .

The Allante’s history is amazing…GM took an Eldorado and cut 18" out of the belly pan, eliminating the back seat…Then they flew the platforms to Italy in 747 air-freighters and had PininFarina install an aluminum roadster body…Then flew them back to an assembly plant in N.J. for final assembly. When they came out, 1987, they had a sticker price of $55,000, which included a removable aluminum hard top…They had ABS brakes, a 100% LED electronic dash and a driver information display…These things were unknown in 1987…They had an all aluminum push-rod V8…In 1993, the last year, they got the Northstar engine and the Eldo interior and softer suspension…They somehow were able to make and sell about 3000 units a year. They lost money on every one they sold…The '87 to '92 ABS systems were prone to failure (it was a Bosch prototype system) which resulted in complete brake failure and multiple lawsuits…This, and the fact that the soft top was NOT powered, doomed the car, not to mention the ridiculous 747 flights to Italy…

Good point by VOLVO V70.
I mean maintain and repair by myself. 5-7 year old car with ~100K, so i can keep it for 5-7 years more without braking the bank… and/or braking my hands…

All luxury cars are more expensive to repair than other cars because they have more equipment on them. A loaded Camry does not have nearly as much equipment as a loaded ES350. Between 100,000 and 200,000 miles a lot more things are likely to need replacement than under 100,000 miles no matter who built it. An owner that neglects his car can turn a highly reliable one into.a bucket of problems. You will need to be careful about what car you buy for that reason alone. You should pay someone $100 or so to do a prepurchase inspection on a car that you inspected and found worthy of the expense. I’m not trying to stop you from buying a 7 year old luxury car, but take your time and buy the right one.

@Whitey Ja, ich verstehe, jetzt, Bitte!

@Caddyman‌ A few years ago one of my regular customers (with absolutely no mechanical or electrical ability or inclination) made an appointment for a used car pre-purchase inspection. He showed up in an Allante. I told him “Don’t buy this car, paying me to work on it will bankrupt you.” He returned a few days later with a Lincoln.

Those Bosch brake systems were a nightmare. I recall something like a $20 relay causing loss of all brakes.

My 86 Riviera had LED dash and a touch screen information center and it was only $22,000. Plus stainless exhaust and galvanized body panels.

I have had a friend who has had good luck with Infiniti SUV’s. Most of the parts were Nissan. Not sure if that is still true.

I am also not sure what the draw for luxury cars are. I guess the Europeans are more fun to drive. For the rest, if you get the highest trim of the economy brand, you have the same amenities at cost much less.

Lemme add to @Caddyman 's Allante info… In the 3rd year, '89, the cars had speed adjustable struts that got firmer as the car went faster or turned a corner. Along with a Northstar V8, the last cars had an electronic suspension that switched as fast as 15 milliseconds from soft to firm or from firm to soft as commanded by an ECU measuring the road every millisecond for that softer ride. The car was originally going to be priced at $35,000 until the final management ride and Roger Smith insisted it be raised to $55K. Cadillac lost money because they couldn’t sell enough at $55K to cover the engineering, tooling and those 747’s. Not sure they’d broken even if they’d sold 30,000 a year! It was a “halo car” for Cadillac.