If your wishlist has always included a Mercedes-Benz, you’re in luck. You can actually get a used model for less than $20,000. Wondering how luxury cars that sell for nearly $100,000 new can be so cheap? It’s not a scam.
Luxury cars tend to depreciate in value much faster than non-luxury brands, U.S. News explains. Their value doesn’t decrease because of diminished luxury, though. Rather, other factors — such as exorbitant maintenance costs, fewer qualified mechanics, and scarcity of replacement parts — greatly increase the cost of ownership.
The average savvy car buyer usually steers clear of such confoundedness. Other than that, most luxury-car owners take good care of their pricey vehicles. A few drive them only on weekends and use an economical car for everyday driving. In other words, a luxury vehicle is likely to be in better shape than the average pre-owned minivan.
Here are the best pre-owned Mercedes-Benz cars under $20,000.
A used 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class generally costs between $13,189 and $19,399. U.S. News gave it an overall score of 8.9 out of 10. Depending on the model, the 2009 S-Class had an MSRP of $88,000 (S550) to $190,000 (loaded S65 AMG) when brand-new. In the mid-range, the S550 4MATIC started at $91,000. Today you can find superb 2008 and 2009 S65 AMGs for as low as $26,000 on sites such as J.D. Power. Even though there are some exceptional models out there for as high as $50,000, most AMGs don’t exceed $30,000.
The S-Class features a 382-hp V8 engine with an optional 604-hp twin-turbocharged V12, the most powerful engine in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup at the time. No matter what engine you prefer, the S-Class is renowned for its super-smooth ride.
With 42.3 inches of legroom in the rear cabin, it offers the most space of any sedan in its class. Upscale features include a Harman Kardon audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, premium leather upholstery, and 14-way power-adjustable front seats.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class averages between $8,495 and $13,533. U.S. News gave it an overall score of 8.9 out of 10. The CLS-Class revolutionized the sedan body styling by being the first to incorporate a coupe-like design. Even today, its unique design is still impressive.
Unlike the S-Class, it has less interior space, less legroom for rear passengers, and a shorter trunk. However, the smaller profile and powerful engines make this four-door coupe feel more like a muscle car.
Its impressive performance is enhanced with an adjustable air suspension. In 2008, a new base-model Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class fetched around $68,000, according to Kelley Blue Book.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class averages $11,519 to $19,807. U.S. News gave it an overall score of 9 out of 10. With the comfort and room it provides, it’s hard to imagine the CL-Class is designed to be a sports car. However, this elegant coupe has four engines available that back it up: two V8s and two V12s. The least powerful is a 382-hp V8, and the most powerful is a 604-hp V12. The CL-Class also offers Sport Mode, which lowers the car nearly half an inch.
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class costs between $6,631 and $9,291. Scoring 9.5 out of 10, it earned U.S. News’ highest rating among used Mercedes. Though it’s the least powerful on this list, the E-Class still offers an optional 507-hp V8 engine and a V6 turbodiesel. It also comes with a choice of transmission: an all-wheel-drive five-speed automatic or a seven-speed automatic. This well-rounded car blends performance with elegance. Its relatively low price, upscale materials, and high-tech safety features garnered it such a high score.
A notable mention
The 2009 Hyundai Genesis also appears on U.S. News’ “Best Used Luxury Cars Under $20,000” list. In fact, it received the top score of 9.6. Not only did it earn the highest rating, but the 2009 model is also one of only two vehicles on the list without its own luxury division. (For example, Cadillac is the luxury division of GMC, and Acura is Honda’s luxury division.) The Chevrolet Corvette is the decades-long incumbent, yet the new kid on the block outperformed it. That’s worthy of a notable mention.