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Ever dream about what kind of car you would buy if your funds had higher limits? When it comes to car buying, Most of us do. But according to a recent study, wealthy Americans actually drive some pretty low-radar mainstream models, not exactly a Lamborghini Huracán or Audi R8.

A green Audi R8 V10 Plus Coupe Spyder on display at an indoor auto show.
Audi R8 V10 Audi Sport Edition | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Wealthy Americans might have the funds to buy some pretty awesome vehicles. Statistics show that the rich do make more extreme auto purchases than the average buyer. However, the more exclusive models are often for the sake of collecting. In other words, the cars that the rich collect aren’t exactly daily drivers. 

What cars, trucks, and SUVs do wealthy people buy the most? 

A black 2021 Ford F-150 parked on a dirt hill at dusk
2021 Ford F-150 | Ford

According to Investopedia, those that make over $200,000 annually most commonly drive a Ford F-150 pickup truck. So while that kind of money could go toward something like an Audi R8 V10 Plus Coupe or a Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 SPyder. Sources like Robb Report cite these models as two of the best luxury models money can buy.

People in this earning bracket buy a lot of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler models. In addition, both the Honda Civic and Honda Pilot are common choices for the wealthy. Of these, the model with the highest starting price is the Honda Pilot with an MSRP of $39,060 according to Honda’s page for the 2022 Honda Pilot. 

A blue 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 kicking up sand
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 | Jeep

The 2021 Ford F-150 starts at $29,290 and the Jeep Wrangler starts at $28,900. However, these models can easily climb up into the $50,000 or $60,000 range. The highest trim Jeep Wrangler starts over $70,000 for example––the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392. So sure, maybe the wealthy drive some mainstream models but they are likely buying the more tricked-out versions than the rest of us. 

What about people that make even more money? 

a blue Tesla Model S driving at speed on the road
Tesla Model S | Tesla

According to a MatrixCX survey, Americans who make over $400,000 do actually favor luxury vehicles as a general rule. This earning bracket tends to buy models like the Lexus RX350 and Tesla Model S. While these models are both luxury vehicles that can get pricey, they are still a bit on the modest side of things––neither is a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari. 

When you move up to an annual income over $500,000, we see the Ford F-150 back on top as the most popular model. This demographic of rich Americans also prefer Land Rover models, the Lexus RX350 and the BMW X5. And are guessing they aren’t buying the base model of any of these.  

Why don’t wealthy Americans drive more extreme vehicles? 

A blue 2021 Honda Pilot parked at a lake.
2021 Honda Pilot | Honda

This really comes down to the fact that the stats are deceiving. There is virtually nothing mainstream about a Platinum trim Ford F-150 with all the bells and whistles. While the rich may buy some mainstream models, they are still buying the more expensive versions than the average person can afford. 

Additionally, wealthy Americans don’t daily drive each car in their collection. They may need an F-150 to pull their expensive campers, so the fancier models have to stay in the garage. Or perhaps the Audi R8 is reserved for date nights and the Honda Pilot is the family hauler. 

Either way, wealthy folks tend to buy more expensive versions of mainstream vehicles––even if they aren’t status symbol models like a Mercedes-Benz G-Class. That said, there is one major thing that rich people have in common with the rest of us. They buy a lot of Ford F-150 pickup trucks.