The Cars Most Likely to Send You to the Poorhouse

Can a car make you go broke? It depends on which way you look at it. Certainly, no one forces anyone to buy a flashy sports car from a luxury brand. If you’re extending yourself to make a vehicle purchase, you’re opening yourself up to trouble.

However, most of the trouble comes from the car itself. If you could be certain how much it will cost to maintain a vehicle over time, at least you’d know what’s coming. But that’s rarely the case. Expensive cars that happen to be unreliable put you in an awkward position.

In fact, data from YourMechanic showed vehicles made by BMW — the ultimate aspirational brand — cost the most to maintain over 10 years. With luxury brands expanding their lineups, the next decade may feature a new brand known for sinking consumers with maintenance costs that match high sticker prices.

To avoid that fate, steer clear of the vehicles known for poor reliability and steep upfront costs. Here are the cars most likely to send people to the poorhouse in the coming years.

1. Maserati Ghibli

2017 Maserati Ghibli
2017 Maserati Ghibli | Maserati

If you hope to enter an exclusive auto club, a new Maserati Ghibli would seem to do the trick. At $73,050, the Ghibli is the entry-level model in the brand’s elite lineup. Yet you probably aren’t making a good bet by stretching your finances to pay for one. Consumer Reports ranks this car 20th out of 20 midsize sedans on the luxury market in 2018. Combined with an awful reliability rating, expect to pay through the nose for a Ghibli.

2. Range Rover Sport

Shot of red 2018 Range Rover Sport in desert setting
2018 Range Rover Sport | Land Rover

The Land Rover brand’s four-year/50,000-mile warranty does not inspire a great deal of confidence in buyers. Glancing at the predicted reliability for models like the 2018 Range Rover Sport ($68,750), you get an idea why. If you go with any model containing “Discovery,” “Sport,” “Rover,” or all three, there’s a good chance it appeared on the list of most unreliable SUVs. If this is your dream car, we suggest negotiating the shortest lease you can.

3. Mercedes-Benz GLS

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS | Mercedes-Benz

In the YourMechanic study of long-term maintenance costs, Mercedes-Benz came in second after BMW with an average cost of $12,900 over 10 years. But who keeps a Mercedes that long, right? Maybe that’s the idea these days, and it’s definitely a risk you run with the GLS seven-seat SUV that debuted in 2017. Consumer Reports predicted the worst for 2018 models, and with an average price over $80,000, it’s a vehicle that could send you to the poorhouse.

4. Cadillac Escalade

2018 Cadillac Escalade
2018 Cadillac Escalade | General Motors

You might think of Escalade as a glorified Suburban, but that isn’t how Cadillac prices its big SUV. The base model starts at $73,400, with the ESV trim running well over $90,000. Naturally, the Escalade guzzles enough gas to run maintenance costs into the stratosphere, but it’s also among the least reliable cars you can buy. Add it up and you have a good shot this vehicle will become a money pit after a few years.

5. Porsche Cayenne

2017 Porsche Cayenne
2017 Porsche Cayenne | Porsche

If you have to stretch your finances to afford a Porsche, you’re probably making a mistake. Though the brand sits near the middle of the pack in reliability, even basic service and repairs will cost you plenty. Then there are models like the 2018 Cayenne, which come out of the factory with a red-alert warning for poor reliability. Considering this model can cost as much as $160,000, it’s a recipe for going broke. Get a Boxster (or two) instead.

6. Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X | Tesla

How could the market’s least reliable vehicle also be one of its most expensive? Call it “The Tesla Conundrum.” Consumers who want a powerful EV crossover have no other option. According to Tesla employees who spoke with CNBC, “more than 90%” of the Model X SUVs from the factory have defects. The process begins with a payment of about $100,000 and takes off from there. This one’s not for the practical consumer.

7. Volvo XC90

Front view of 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid
Volvo XC90 T8 | Volvo

Reviewers love the luxurious interior and overall design of the Volvo XC90 but disparage the SUV’s powertrain and fuel economy. Meanwhile, buyers have reported trouble with the in-car electronics, brake system, and body integrity (fit and finish). At a starting price between $50,000 and $100,000, practical buyers should avoid this model at all costs. According to YourMechanic, Volvo is one of the most expensive brands to maintain.

8. Maserati Levante

2017 Maserati Levante
2017 Maserati Levante | Maserati

For 2018, the Levante joins the Ghibli as the only Maserati models below $100,000. While that might tempt buyers on the low end of the market, no one can say how much this all-new model will cost in the long run. Given the terrible predicted reliability score from Consumer Reports, we’d say it’s a gamble any cost-conscious buyer should not take. You might find yourself pouring piles of cash into Levante once its 50,000-mile warranty expires.

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