Safety First: Finally Bought A Family Car And It’s Not A Minivan

My new mid-life crisis car: a Range Rover Sport HSE

After deep deliberation, I decided to pass on buying the $550,000 Mercedes G650 Maybach. It just felt like too much to spend on a family car when I could invest the money and earn $20,000 a year in passive income forever! Instead, I bought a family car for safety first.

What type of family car did I buy? I bought a late model 2015 Range Rover Sport V6 HSE with 11,200 miles in Santorini black with black leather interior.

It's in perfect condition with a warranty until July 2019. The original sticker was $76,000 before tax or roughly $83,000 out the door. Such good value compared to the G650 Maybach right?

Safety First: Family Car

Small cars like my Honda Fit are absolutely wonderful in the city. Parking is a breeze. Gas mileage is awesome. And they're inexpensive. Unfortunately, I've noticed a surge of big cars dominating the roads, bullying smaller cars like mine.

I've never been cut off, tailgated, and snaked at a four-way intersection so much as I have with my Fit. It was when I saw a car plow into another car on a quiet neighborhood street that I decided to make the switch. Distracted driving due to cell phone use is on the rise.

I've been eyeing this all-wheel drive vehicle for three years ever since Land Rover finally updated its previous Range Rover Sport model that lasted from 2005 – 2013.

I used to drive Moose, a 2000 Land Rover Discover II from 2005 – 2012 before finally giving him up after not wanting to fix the warning lights on his dashboard for $1,000. He never would have passed the smog check and he was only worth $3,500 in the end.

Waiting until the second or third year of a new model is always a good idea so the manufacturer can get as many of the kinks out as possible. Further, buying a two or three-year-old vehicle skips the largest part of the depreciation hit while still having a warranty.

Car Depreciation Chart For Cars Average

How The Transaction Went Down

I was searching on Craigslist one evening for a family car when I stumbled upon an ad by Audi Marin for $64,770. I bookmarked the ad and continued scrolling when I found another ad five spots down for the same vehicle by a private party for $61,000!

When I contacted the private party to ask if it was still available, he said he sold it while he was away on business. I asked him whether his car was the one on Audi Marin's listing, and he said yes. Then he told me he hadn't yet got a check from Audi Marin and was headed over there to get his car back due to so much demand from his Craigslist ad.

He told me the next person who gives him $60,000 gets the car.

Family car - range rover sport
The Audi Marin ad I stumbled across for $64,770 after they did the full 200 point inspection and fluid change

Sensing an opportunity, I told him I'd meet him the very next day near his house. I took the car for a test drive and inspected everything. This was even though it already went through a 200-point inspection by Audi Marin before they could purchase it. Audi Marin also changed the oil and oil filter as well. Double score.

Negotiating The Family Car

When it came time to seal the deal I told the seller I'd pay $58,000 cash. The condition was only if he could sell the car to me that moment. We could go over to my bank and I'd cut him a cashier's check.

He hesitated for a little before I told him, “Seize the moment. I'll be the smoothest private party transaction you'll ever encounter. Your wife already bought her new Audi Q7, so it's time to simplify life with only three cars!

He agreed, and we wrapped up the transaction in 35 minutes at a Citibank branch. I then dropped him off at a steakhouse along the way to SF. He was meeting his wife for dinner there. It feels great to pay $6,770 (10.5%) less than the dealer's asking price. I also paid $18,000 (24%) less than new with so few miles and two more years left on the warranty.

Although I had been eyeing the new Range Rover Sport for over two years, I'm never one to buy anything on the spot. But because the seller showed up on time, was a fellow entrepreneur, and was friendly to talk to, I felt I could trust him. He wasn't hurting for money either since he had the title in hand. All he wanted was a smooth transaction, which is exactly what I wanted too.

In case you're wondering, the seller's other two family cars are a $120,000 Tesla Model X and a $40,000 Ford F150 he uses for his business. He's in the food production business.

Moose II, a 2015 Range Rover Sport overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco - family car

Didn't Buy The Family Car For Me

Do you know how you sometimes buy a gift for your significant other, but it's really a gift for you too? Well I've decided that Moose II is really a gift for my son via my business. He just doesn't know it yet! It's a great way to feel better about spending so much money, despite being $492,000 cheaper than the G650 Maybach,

I would never forgive myself if something were to happen to my family in an accident just because I wanted to save money. The Honda Fit's doors are too thin. Further, the crumple zones are too shallow for me to feel safe with a baby on board after researching the safest cars to survive a crash. It doesn't matter if I'm the best driver on the planet. All it takes is one reckless driver to ruin our lives.

Baby Seat

It's funny how everything changes once you have children. The idea of getting a sports car has gone completely out the window. If you want one, get one before having kids. Safety is now my #1 priority, followed by comfort, and then performance.

There's a chance I might hold onto Moose II for 16 years and pass it onto my son. By 2033, Moose II will only have ~75,000 miles since I only average about 4,000 miles a year. But I'm hoping by then, there won't be a need for any of us to drive ever again thanks to self-driving cars and better public transportation. The last thing I want is a teenager driving behind the wheel!

If you can afford a nicer family car based on my 1/10th rule for car buying or my net worth rule for car buying if you're older, it's worth ponying up for a safer vehicle. Why risk it?

Plans For A New Safer Car

Our goal as parents is to live as long as possible to ensure our kids become independent adults. We should own safe cars to minimize the chances of getting seriously injured in a crash. Today, I've owned my Range Rover Sport for six years now. Given my ideal length of time to own a car is 10 years, I still have four years to go.

Somewhere around 2026, I plan to buy a new electric vehicle. There should be a lot of safety improvements over a 10-year time frame. Further, electric vehicles tend to be safer given there is no motor in the front. My hope is that self-driving technology will also improve by then as well.

I'm eyeing the VW ID.Buzz as my next car. But in the meantime, I'll continue enjoying my Ranger Rover Sport!

Check for better auto insurance

Auto insurance is the second biggest expense to owning your car. AllState is one of the leading online market place to help you find the most affordable and reliable auto insurance.

It is very important that everyone gets at least basic liability car insurance. You can total your car and be fine. But if you total someone else’s car and injure them, they can go after you for ALL your assets and wipe you out.

Readers, how much do you think about safety when it comes to purchasing or driving a family car? Why pay full price and maximum tax at the dealer when you can save purchasing from a private party? Oh yeah, feel free to judge me on my car purchase. It's fun!

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Related: Is Owning Two Cars Worth It?

About The Author

127 thoughts on “Safety First: Finally Bought A Family Car And It’s Not A Minivan”

  1. A different perspective

    That Mercedes was…$550K? SERIOUSLY??? I wouldn’t spend the money on that car even if I had all the money of the Universe.

  2. Just for fun, I wanted to mention that I just bought a Range Rover Sport HSE this weekend. Mine is white instead of black only has the 20″ inch wheels though. I remember reading this article a few years ago, and it always stuck in my head. Though i’m not typically an SUV guy, I’ve always loved the look of them and as you mentioned they have a very solid/safe feel. Coming from several BMWs, the tech is a bit painful and the ride is a bit choppy but otherwise enjoying so far. Really makes you feel good driving it with the high quality leather, clean design and high up driving position. Our 5 year old absolutely loves it and was beaming when he learned it was our new car (i surprised him). He’s actually excited to go places in the car now just cause he loves riding it (in the past he’d throw a fit about getting in the car). He said “this is the nicest car I’ve ever been in” and that he wants to “keep it forever”. The look on his face when I showed him the air suspension was also priceless. LR should probably put him a commercial – lol. Now he’s asking me all about how it works. Anyway, just thought i’d share.

    1. Ah, to make your child feel excited and proud to be in your car is pretty valuable. I was always embarrassed when my dad drove a 1976 Datsun with no paint and hub caps in 1990.

      Have fun!

  3. I may be late but the story might be amusing… Back in 2015 our rides were Mazda Protege 1999 and Mitsu Outlander 2004. Both had VINs starting from J, our ultimate requirement, as we value reliability and freedom from hassle (you know, never afraid of leaving a car open in a so-so neighborhood, not caring when your kids get in with their feet in the sand at a beach and so on). Our income has never been past 100K and we spend a lot for 2 kids activities. Very frugal for ourselves. Now, in 2015 my husband was driving a lot for teaching in 4 colleges. My Dad wanted us to change Mazda for safety reasons. We thought of Prius or my love – Mazda. I HATE SUVs, no fun, I hate high seats, so all opposite to a regular mom. As Dad said he will pay half, we ended up buying a new Prius. On december 31, 10pm. The dealership needed to sell one more Prius to get a nice total bonus from Toyota. They hated us right away as we were reluctant buyers and as one rep put it: “your faces tell us that you are not gonna take any credit, you’ll pay all cash right away”. True! The Prius we wanted to test drive did not start, and I suddenly spotted a Prius 3, so handsome in red with a black glass top. I told them, I will buy it for 23000 total and period. I don’t care what will the car price be or dealership fees, only the total. And that happened. They wrote down it as 20500K car, with a MSRP of 28K. Finally, we refused to pay $700 for satellite anti-tefth system… Ended up being a right decision, as it was already in the car but you have to pay for it only once (dealer had)! When somebody tells me I’m giving you such a great deal right now and you can’t decide tomorrow, I have a unique sense for bullshit :) Overall, I think it was good deal for the last year generation car, with VIN # starting from J, with very nice rooftop and solar batteries and tinting (an option) from Palm Beach Toyota. Thanks, Olga

  4. It’s a great car but it will not last more than 10 years not because it will actually not run but because of the britishness of those trucks. I have one that is 11 years old the thing runs like a tank and never had any problems but now the weirdest things break and only dealers or specialty mechanics will look at the truck and simple repairs and maintenance start to get ridiculous and the air suspension starts to leak which winds up being a 4-5k repair, mine just started and I’m either dumping the car or converting to coils for around 2k, depends on the deal I can make. I can one up you though because I bought when gas prices were $5 a gallon got 59% off the original sticker for a 22 month old car with 20k miles on it so it owes me nothing at this point(years 1-8 had no repairs, only tires and brakes). But make no mistake this car is a luxury they cost a ton to own, they eat tires and brakes (which for these cars aren’t cheap 2k if you use an independent mechanic for brakes and buy tires at the tire rack, dealers charge between 3500-4k and every 25k miles they’ll tell you need new tires and at least one axle of brakes, pads and rotors always. The new rovers have a lot of technology in them and it can get wonky when they get old, the good news is for 10 or so years they are super reliable compared to old rovers but once they age the expense to repair makes them functionally obsolete. Just to give an example with mine I recently needed to replace the front upper and lower front control arms, sway bars, inner and outer tie rods, both front wheel bearings, brake hoses, a caliper, the shifter cable, a steering column piece, the parking brake shoes, the 100k mile service, and the tailgate actuator and cable the dealer pricing for those repairs was ~10k, my neighborhood mechanic did the suspension bits and wheel bearings for $2500, LR dealer was $1400 on the shifter cable and steering column, $1300 on the parking brake and $1800 on the 100k mile service. All in all a lot of money to sink into an 11 year old car and the dealer already is preparing me for the air shocks needing replacement and unfortunately the stuff I had the dealer do were all things local mechanics were unwilling to touch or didn’t have the tools to do. I replaced the tailgate actuator and it required removing panels in the trunk because the trunk was stuck closed, a miserable job and $200 plus dollars in parts from the dealer.

    1. Cool. What year and model do you actually have and how many miles did it have on it when you bought it? I had my LanRover discovery two for almost 10 years and it ran great but the electrical gremlins started.

      So far, the range rover sport has been very dependable. I’ve had it for one year and four months now. I think so long as you spend 1/10 of your gross income on a car, the maintenance, wheels, and brakes aren’t very painful at all.

  5. scott thomas

    Sam, have you (or any readers) used Roadster? They’re a car buying service in California, interested to hear anyone’s experience. Thanks.

  6. scott thomas

    Thanks for sharing your car purchase process. So how do you sell your cars?

    Do you sell on craigslist, trade into dealerships, etc? Trading into the dealership is the easiest, but a total ripoff, whereas selling on craigslist can be a hassle, as well as potentially dangerous … glad you had a good experience with your purchase.

    Appreciate anyone’s thoughts!

    1. I’ve always sold via Craigslist. Look up KBB value, and the clearing price is generally around a 10% discount to KBB. But of course, when you are buying private party, you’ve got plenty of opportunity to negotiate aggressively. Using cash and being an immediate same day buyer helps a lot.

      The Range Rover Sport has treated my family well so far, and we don’t miss the Honda Fit at all. I cannot drive a smaller car transporting our baby. It just feels too dangerous.

  7. Great post, Sam!

    I too understand the allure of a Range Rover. I used to drive an ’04 RR, but I sold it back to the lady whom I bought it from (for the same price!). I decided to take your advice and get a much cheaper ride. A 2000 Toyota Camry for $1k.

    I definitely understand what you mean by people being unaware of small cars, though. The RR I had was red and I never felt worried about being hit by an unaware driver. But in the Toyota it happens at least 3 times a week. The big trucks pull in front and slam on their breaks all the time, not to ruffle my feathers or anything, but simply because they think there’s a gap there when it’s ME that’s there.


  8. Sam, smart plan.

    Your child seat should be in the center of the rear; if statistically much safer. (From the photo, NC appears to be on the side.)

    Hope this helps, and enjoy parenting!

  9. Congrats! I’m a similar age and also have a young son (just turned 3). We live in a city, and llike you , only drive about 4-6k a year. Currently, we have a 2008 BMW x3. It’s the perfect size for us, drives well and hasn’t had too many issues. But having gotten a letter about the airbag recall, and also seeing how my son’s legs easily touch the back of the front passenger seat, I’m beginning to think about getting a newer/larger car.

    I’m actually not a big SUV fan and ideally would like a sport sedan or hatch. An Audi S7 would be great in my book (beautiful to look at, great interior, hatchback practicality, V8 sound and power!). But my wife feels differently.

    On the SUV front, I’ll admit that both the Jaguar F-pace and Porsche Macan look pretty good to me. BUt the Macan is smaller than my current X3 and my wife doesn’t like the way either look (go figure). But…she loves the Range Rover Sport.

    I kind of understand – the RRS does look good. And there are a ton of them in my area so I see them every day in every color. But given that I’m not as smitten, everytime I look at the specs, I find other SUVs with more favorable dimensions/performance/interior space/tech/price/safety (The F-pace for example). I could care less about the off-road capabilities (which is another Range ROver differentiator).

    So help convince me…what’s so great about the Range ROver Sport? Clearly there’s something because dealers are still selling new ones for over sticker! Is it at all fun or engaging to drive?

  10. Sam,

    Long time reader, first time asking a questiion: does the 5% rule of net worth applies to only saving such as taxable and deferred tax accounts? Or do you consider including your homes escpecially when they are paid off into your net worth formula?

    Sang Tran

  11. What a nice ride. I was in Aspen, CO this past weekend and I think they’re actually giving them away because I must have seen 100s of them :). In any case, totally respect your thought process and things you took into account before pulling the trigger. Also, found phenomenal your negotiating skills to get a price below market value. Like some have mentioned we make decisions based on our own individual situations (income, debt, etc) and ultimately on happiness. In my own situation, it’s hard for me to justify a ride like yours (it would be ~20% of gross income). When our Rav4 was totaled (wife had car accident) we went for a CPO GMC Acadia and so far so good ($30K w/50% down). I’m of the opinion we should minimize putting money on depreciating assets like cars that’s why buying CPO is a better choice in my opinion. I would have asked you why not finance it?, but I’m guessing being able to pay for it cash gave you a competitive advantage when making the transaction (perhaps you prepared for this buy by putting this money aside)

  12. Congrats on the Rover. I love mine (Range Rover Supercharged), is great combination of size, speed, and comfort. I have owned a couple of them and have not had an issue with them. It may just be in my head, but I do sometimes feel like people have a predisposition towards me b/c of it. Rover owners are perceived to be arrogant jerks someone once told me. f the haters though….

  13. Welcome to parenthood, and a rather conflicting mindset in personal finance, when it comes to your children. Younger crowd talks about saving on latte, and parents just smirk. Once a parent, saving is no longer in your ONLY hands. Its what you value. And kids always win.

  14. Oslerscodes

    Well done on your new ride.

    We have a ‘Rover joining our fleet shortly too. Was seduced by the Velar and was able to get a First Edition allocation. Unfortunately a manufacturing issue with the wheels is delaying its deployment for a few months.

    Live in the city and it offered the right (theoretical at this stage) combination of space, park-ability, performance and style.

    Still think the Macan GTS is the best “drivers SUV” – but wasn’t large enough for what we were looking for. 2nd choice was an AMG E wagon.

  15. Sam congrats on your purchase. Subconsciously I’m sure you were thinking that this car may qualify for Uber Black. Wondering if you’ll decide to try it out?!

  16. Great article! I just upgraded from my 15 year old Nissan Frontier to a 2016 F-150. It took me three years to pull the trigger. Not because I couldn’t afford it, but because I couldn’t justify spending the money (especially since I drive less than 10k miles per year). Then I became a father. Every time I put my daughter in the front seat of my Nissan (had no rear seating), I felt an incredible amount of guilt and paranoia of being T-Boned. I finally decided it was time for something more sturdy. I still think it’s a LOT of money, but the peace of mind of having my daughter ride in a much safer vehicle squashes any bit of doubt I’ve had for buying such a lavish vehicle.

    1. Peace of mind is priceless. And of course, a larger vehicle is not a license to drive recklessly. I am now the most cautious driver whenever my son is on board. And I should be cautious when Im alone. Need to live for at least 18 years!

  17. The Side Gig Guru

    Glad to hear that you bought a car a couple of years old — very smart move financially if you look at the depreciation curve on something like a Range Rover!

    My next truck will be a luxury truck that’s a few years old rather than the brand new mid-range truck I have now. To me, it’s the ultimate family vehicle as it pays dividends when camping ;)

  18. I’ve been a consumer of the Land Rover product since 2002. My first LR car was the Discovery SE7 model. It had top of the line everything and was absolutely gorgeous. But then fast forward four years, and my husband decides to surprise me on Christmas Eve with a brand new RR Sport. Yep, red bow and all, just like those sappy car commercials on TV. So, even though it broke my heart, I bid farewell to the Disco and sent her on her way to the happy driveway of my daughter and her husband. Keeping her in the family definitely made the transition easier.

    My 2007 Sport, “Betsy,” is nearing her 11th birthday and has about 140k miles on her. While Betsy may be well past her leggings wearing days, she’s certainly loyal and still very reliable. But you know what, I want a new car anyway! Maybe that makes me the unreliable one. : /

    Enjoy your reliable Rover, Sam!

    1. Good to hear you’ve had your RR Sport for almost 11 years and love it!

      I do find it amusing when folks poke fun at the LR reliability, as if they were stuck in 1985. There has been so much improvement in quality and reliability since then, basically any car manufactured nowadays is reliable. So the auto magazines are splitting hairs been perhaps 95% reliable vers 95.2%, 95.5%, 96%, etc. They gotta stay in business after all.

      The auto world is too competitive to NOT make a reliable product. But when buying, I do try and throw every bad datapoint at them to get a good price.

      1. Hey, I can’t fault you for your negotiation strategy. I did the same thing with my most recent house purchase. I asked the sellers about the number of Airbnb rentals in the area and the negative effects the short-term rentals were having on the neighborhood. I didn’t bother to tell them that one of the main reasons I was buying the house was because I’d like to Airbnb it some day.

        What comes around, goes around, though. Someday when we’re ready to sell our possessions, we’ll be tap dancing as we answer the same questions. Karma. : )

  19. OlderAndWiser

    Congratulations on your purchase. One thing that concerns me with the trend towards bigger cars is that, while they may be safer for the vehicle’s occupants, the opposite may be true for pedestrians and bicyclists who share the road with those vehicles. The one time I was in an injury accident was when a car nailed me as I was walking across the road (in a cross walk, with a walk signal, after having looked both ways, but they hit me taking a left turn when I was in the far side of the cross walk). Thank goodness it was a compact car that hit me, and not a tank. I’m sure pedestrian and bicycle safety will be on the list of things to teach your son when he is older, as well as modeling safe driving behavior.

    1. It’s a worrying trend. If I had the power to make all cars bigger than my Honda Fit go away, I would. But, even if I could, I wouldn’t be able to do it quick enough (within 1 week) b/c my son has already been born.

      The funny thing was, I was OK to be riskier with my life driving a Honda Fit for the past three years, but I am NOT OK being riskier with my helpless baby’s life.

      As a small car owner, I found large cars to be obnoxious and annoying. Was bullied around the road, and most don’t go up to Lake Tahoe during the winter.

      But now, I don’t care what anybody thinks if I drive a larger vehicle. I care WAY MORE about the safety of my son. They’ve made it illegal in Hawaii to walk and look at your cell phone now. GOOD. They are creating more bike lanes and lighting for bicyclists. Excellent.

      But no matter how careful we are, it only takes someone else who is not careful to ruin our lives. I’m not willing to risk it.

      How about you?

  20. Serious question here for folks who have purchased SUV’s. Would a wagon/sportwagon be an option if they were available in the US? I’m a Audi guy and love there wagons but they stopped selling most of them in the US due to lack of demand (A4 allroad might still be an option). I would think a wagon would drive better and still have all the SUV features that one would need except maybe extreme people/cargo space (third row seats/taller vehicle) Most of the SUV’s don’t go offroad so the ride height isn’t even necessary. Is it possible that driving a wagon is like driving the family truckster from the National Lampoons Vacation series?

    Just took a quick look to see who still makes wagons. I guess there are more than I thought (some are tiny and don’t compare to full size SUV’s)

    Mercedes E class wagon
    A4 allroad
    Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
    Volvo V60 series
    Buick Regal TourX
    VW Jetta/Golf
    BMW 3 series

    1. my daily driver is a 2006 Subaru Outback. it’s got only 25k miles since that drive is ~2 mi a day these days.

      it’s a great car. I plan on keeping it forever.

      the wife has a big MDX for all the reasons outlined in this article however.

      my toy is a 4 door jeep wrangler. the best car for the beach this time of year :)

    2. Recovering Engineer

      Ride height does help from a safety standpoint both in being seen and seeing the road around you but I don’t think that’s really why most people buy SUVs. I bought an SUV because I didn’t like any of the wagons I could get in my price range at the time but I think it’s an image thing for most people. When people think of a wagon they still picture something like this:

      I’ve always thought an E63 AMG Wagon would be a great blend of fun and practical family car. I’m just never able to talk myself into paying the price even for a used Mercedes so I went with a more practical and less fun Hyundai SUV.

  21. You should’ve tried to convince him to let go his model X! =) I’m not a big car buy but I’ve been enamored with the Tesla. I was going to buy a $110K model X but my wife vetoed me. But it’s a good thing, because I think I would’ve regretted it later. Solid choice though Sam, on the range rover.

  22. Congrats! Things change for sure when you have a kid. I drove an ancient Subaru wagon ($500) for a while and I would never put my kid in that car.
    Right on with the 1/10th rule. Might as well spend a little when you have money especially if it’s for safety.

  23. Ms. Conviviality

    I’m driving my dream car right now! It’s a Toyota Prius! It is the very first car I became the owner of at the ripe age of 28. Luckily, I had good public transportation prior to that. It’s too bad I didn’t know about the 1/10th rule back then but at least I got a 15% discount off of invoice price since my dad was a long time employee for Toyota. Also, due to my dad’s relationship with the company, I was able to sit in the Toyota manufacturing plant’s office and design my car from scratch. I selected the Barcelona red paint, beige seats, keyless entry (favorite feature!), back-up camera, and auxiliary port which was a cool feature that wasn’t mainstream at the time. Of course, the fuel savings is included as it is what initially got me interested in the car. It took four months to build but I’m still loving the car after 136,000 miles and not a single thing has needed to be repaired beyond the usual maintenance items. Hopefully, if my Prius can last long enough, my next car will be a fully electric charge car. However, if there’s kids in the picture then I think I would have to go with an SUV for the safety features.

  24. Love this post!! I wrote a post about this very same thing justifying my purchase of a 2014 Mercedes Benz ML350 last year!

    I contemplated a brand new car, but realized the value of a slightly used car that will last me longer ended up being the better choice for me. I do not have kids yet, but we are hoping to in the next 2 years or so, which is why the safety features were important to me. I have lane assistance, blind spot monitoring, adaptive high beam assistance, pre-safe (accident prevention warning), a back up camera (something I didn’t have in my prior vehicle) to name a few. I’m sure I’m forgetting some even.

    In addition to all these great safety features, I cannot speak highly enough about the customer service provided by MB and the comfort of the vehicle, which was big for me because of my commute to work. No regrets here!

  25. Apathy Ends

    2014 Honda CRV that we bought new (23k) and a 2002 Accord. We went over the 1/10th rule when we bought the CRV (before we were fully on the FiRE path)

    No judgement from me, once you are FI and have extra cash, paying for quality, safety and a little luxury is ok in my book.

    We checked out our CRV after we found out we were having a child, does pretty good on the safety scale

  26. Sam, you never gave the minivan a chance! Sliding doors are insanely convenient in a crowded parking lot. We bought ours from a car rental place – they do a full check, give you the car to test drive for three days, and cost 10-20% less than the dealer.

    I’m absolutely with you on the safety issue. I live in the north, and only recently have we finally gotten snow tires. What a night and day difference. Would have never felt the need if it was just the wife and me. Think about getting stuck though with the little ones in tow.

    1. Haha, I couldn’t do it. Also a minivan is too big for San Francisco.

      The upcoming VW electric Eurowagon on the other hand looks sweet!

      I may change my mind if I have two kids. But probably will just get a car with third row seating.

      1. No, don’t do it. Late 2015, we had a mini fender bender in our Honda Odyssey 2007 with a Ford Explorer. DH stopped too late in traffic going abt 5 mph, Ford crumpled the front of our van, while they left with a scratch to the bumper and didn’t even file.

        Now, this was the only accident in the 10 years we have owned it but it was enough to put us off buying anything but a higher sitting, large vehicle, so if we ever were in another accident we wouldn’t get demolished by an SUV.

        Right before that, we had a kid blow a stop light and total our 2000 Nissan Maxima. My husband walked away with a bruised thigh and we are ever so thankful. We had zero car pmts for years since we had both paid off years before.

        We have 5 growing children. We promptly went out and bought a 2016 Honda Pilot. We pay roughly just over 5.5% of our annual gross for this car.

        Hoping to trade in our Odyssey for a gently used 2017 Escalade ESV or Suburban in late 2018/early 2019. It will be used for mainly in town driving the kids to and fro and occasional road trips with the family, dog, and camping gear.

        1. Glad you guys are safe! That’s really the ONLY thing that matters as parents. Yes, it’s nice to drive a nice car with creature comforts, but I’d trade EVERYTHING just to have the safest car to drive my kids around that I could afford.

          1. Thank you! All this to say, our frugality took a hit after having those 2 car accidents occur back to back.

            Hubby now wants one of those “road tanks”!

  27. Congrats! It looks awesome. I think you definitely put a lot of thought into your purchase and achieved the best of both worlds, a good deal and something your going to enjoy. I think most any vehicle thats maintained will last a very long time too. I recently purchased a pick up truck, and I can tell you that they dont depreciate quiet as fast as the average car in my neck of the woods. Maybe that will change if gas goes up though.

  28. A college grad

    I just graduated college in April this year. After working my *** off for 4 years I now work two dream jobs (full time software engineer + part time manufacturing engineer). I have ~70k student debt, but paying off 4-5k a month.

    For the past 8 years my morning routine has included gazing in wonder at diesel pickup trucks (fully aware that I can’t have one). Yes, I’m one of those…. Anyway, today I actually decided to see one in person and made the mistake of “just looking”. Really fell in love with a 2015 Top of the line model I could probably get out the door for 44k.

    I am really torn right now. On one hand, these next five years are ripe for investment opportunity and starting a business (probably rental property). But on the other hand, I do feel its important to reward yourself to prevent burnout and enjoy life. Its not a question of being able to afford the truck, rather how much investment I am willing to sacrifice…. Life was so much simpler in high school…

    1. I would figure out a way to make over $400,000 a year first before buying the truck.

      I know so many people who decided to splurge right out of college over the past nine years and basically missed out on 200% gains. Now they are miserable at their jobs because they no longer find it a novelty. They want to have options, but they don’t have as much cash or investments throwing off income as they like. But at least they own a nine year old car that has lost over 70% of its value.

      See if you can rent a truck for a week or a month to get it out of your system. Or aim for a cheaper vehicle. There are plenty of $8000-$10,000 vehicles available for purchase today.

      Make no mistake, this Range Rover purchase is about $25,000-$30,000 more than I would spend on myself. But with a baby and the need to survive until he is 18, I felt it prudent to tank up.

      1. A college grad

        Congrats on the new Range Rover by the way. After all, you’ve earned it. The logical side of my brain has regained control and I have decided to put off the purchase for at least a few months. I will also look to spend no more than 35k. That being said, regarding safety, there is nothing better than an F350 Turbo diesel. At 7300 Ibs, you win the momentum category every time.

  29. If you’ve worked hard to earn it, you should be allowed to spend it how you like, including on a $60k bling-mobile… you only live once! But it’s hard to be convincing this is a frugal buy, or “stealth wealth”. :-)

    With a 4,000/year mileage the TCO for this car is going to be more than $1 a mile, even if you keep it for 20 years – and, having owned a 20 year old Land Rover, I can tell you it’s not going to last that long…

    1. Coolio. What car do you own now and how much does it cost as a percentage of your gross income and net worth?

      After 10 years of owning my 2000 Land Rover Discovery 2 with minimal maintenance issues, i’m hoping this 2015 model will be even more reliable. I didn’t even have a warranty with my other Land Rover.

      $1 a mile sounds really cheap actually. It costs two dollars to four dollars a mile to go anywhere here in San Francisco. Can’t believe what a frugal purchase this is.

      1. I have a 2011 Yaris – it costs me more than I recalled to run, as I just checked – about US$0.40 per mile last year, including depreciation. That’s in a country where gas is north of $5/US gallon. So the Range Rover will be quite a lot more, especially if you do low mileage so there’s less miles to amortize the fixed costs over (insurance, tax, depreciation, etc).

        You’ve earned it though, so enjoy. One day I’ll get a Boxster. But I don’t think I will ever be able to convince myself it’s a frugal choice. :-)

  30. I’m a huge car guy (grew up driving on the Autobahn in Germany), but my thinking has kind of come full circle on SUVs.

    I currently drive a 2002 BMW 3 series that I bought new in 2001. It is going on 170k miles, and is the only car I have owned as an adult.

    My wife has had several, and currently drives a 2011 Audi Q5. Over the years, we’ve test driven, rented, borrowed, or had as loaners a ton of vehicles, ranging from the RR Sport, to pretty much every current model Porsche (I love Porsches!), a couple MB models, most everything Audi makes (except the R8), most everything BMW has made over the past 20 years (except for the Z8), Corvettes, Lincoln Navigator, Jeep GK, Chrysler 300c Hemi, etc.

    I enjoy driving coupes, but they are not practical with a family, even as a second car. I’ve put children in and out of car seats in the back of a 2 door more times than I can count (my 3 series is a coupe). I absolutely love the Porsche Cayman, and would probably own one by now otherwise.

    I really enjoy sports sedans, and the 5 series BMWs, Porsche Panamera, or S4/S6 are a bit of a sweet spot.

    When we got our Q5, I found it to be the best ride of any crossover, including the X3/X5. Since then, Porsche has come out with the Macan (built on the Q5 platform), and if I was shopping for a similar vehicle, I’d probably buy the Macan S.

    All that said, with two kids, we really need the extra room of a larger SUV. I thought something like a RR sport / Porsche Cayenne / X5 / Q7 / MDX would fit the bill, but I found that once you got to a vehicle that large, they lost the driving characteristics I valued.

    You can only do so much with a heavier vehicle and a high center of gravity. We had a Q7 for two weeks while our Q5 was in the shop, and the extra 500 pounds made a world of difference. It was a totally different ride. The RR sport can be up to 200lbs heavier than the Q7 (depending on options), and up to as much as 1000lbs heavier than the Q5. The BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne are comparable to the RR. I loved driving everything Porsche makes except the Cayenne, which felt sluggish even on a track in the GTS model (I didn’t drive the turbo).

    Now that we’ve pretty much decided we need a full size SUV to lug around all our crap, relatives, friends, neighbors, etc, I’m back to looking at Highlanders and Pilots. I plan to check out the VW Atlas, too. If I’m going to have a big tank, I may as well save some money, plus the Highlander and Pilot weigh more like a Q5 (i.e.. 500-1000 pounds lighter than the luxury SUVs) which helps with fuel efficiency, handling, and acceleration. Heck, the 0-60 times on a Honda Pilot elite is only 3/10ths of a second slower than the 2015 RR Sport HSE.

    For me at least, it’s the Mrs. that will be daily driving it, and I’ll eventually get a sports sedan where I don’t have to sacrifice performance. Don’t get me wrong, the RR is a great ride, and looks beautiful inside and out, it just compromised too much on performance to justify the price tag for me.

    1. Sounds good to me. You should look into the Range Rover Velar coming out in September 2017. It competes w/ the Q5. I was thinking of the Q5, but the back seat is too small, and we wanted larger for more protection.

      I love the way the RR Sport drives. I’m a cruiser anyway. No SUV compares to a sports car, so I don’t bother to compare. I want my Range Rover to get me to Tahoe in the snow and ride well day to day and that’s it.

      1. Interesting, I wasn’t aware of the Velar. Looks gorgeous, but if I’m going to pay that much, I think I’d opt for the Sport. Also, while I liked the look, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Epoque’s sight lines (plus it was too small), and I wonder if the Velar will suffer from the same problem (the Chrysler 300 has the same issue. Tiny windows look cool, but aren’t very practical).

        Interesting that you found the back seat of the Q5 too small, as we’re pretty happy with it. I looked it up, and the Q5 actually has almost an inch more rear leg room (37.8″ to 37″), slightly more rear headroom (39.3″ vs 39.1″), but gives up a lot in width / shoulder room (56.5″ vs 59.5″ for the RR). The RR had just less than an extra cubic foot of cargo space (27.7′ vs 26.8′), but I agree that the car felt larger.

        I’ll also add that the RR is a much better looking SUV, IMO. We got the optional 19″ wheels and the S Line package on our Q5, and it still looks a little bland.

        It sounds like you’re a big LR fan, and people that drive them tend to love them. Enjoy!

        1. Yeah, wheels make a big difference. I would’ve got the 20 or 21 inch wheels for the Q5. The Range Rover right now has 22 inch wheels and they look really sweet in person. But they aren’t going to do as good as 18 inch wheels in the snow due to the lower profile. But 90% of my driving is on the pavement, and the remaining 10% isn’t going to be in a snowstorm, I hope.

          I was actually waiting for the new Audi Q5, but a baby waits for no one :-)

          The new RR Velar looks so sweet and I can’t wait to test drive it next month. It’s a better size for us in the city. We shall see about visibility. I like for like model Velar is also cheaper than the Range Rover Sport. $68K vs $76K for example for an HSE trim.

      2. “No SUV compares to a sports car, so I don’t bother to compare.”

        The Jaguar F-Pace has been challenging this and winning awards accordingly

  31. Its about damn time!! Congrats!

    Curious if the RR satisfied your mid life car crisis or just satisfied it enough?

    Thanks, Bill

    1. Haha, thanks. I’ve only been planning for three years, and also working towards my 1/10th rule to eliminate all guilt.

      Funny enough, I have not felt any sense of midlife crisis, probably because I had my son before my 40th birthday and I’ve been way too mesmerized, exhausted, worried, and excited to think thing else.

      Also, the gray hairs that I was expecting by 40 are still not here yet. So from a vanity perspective, I don’t feel older or look older. But if I started losing my hair, gaining 20 pounds, and going gray all over, I think the midlife crisis would definitely come.

      With this car, at least 50% of the reason is for safety. Of rhino, he is an awesome car and I’m sad to see him go. I actually wish all cars were compact in size so I never would have to return him!

  32. Nice purchase! I’m a huge car fan myself, and I’ve been eyeing the RR Sport for a while once my wife and I have kids. Just last week, my wife’s Tacoma had a broken sensor that’s obscenely expensive to fix ($3,000 in labor for a $26 part…), so I decided to hold off on the repair for a little bit to hopefully find a cheaper mechanic, or maybe work up the nerve to pull the engine and do the repair myself.

    In the meantime, we took out a lease on a Fiat 500e (plug in electric). This lease deal was amazing because of the tax rebates that go with it, so my wife can drive it until we fix her truck, and then I’ll sell my car and commute in the Fiat for the next few years. The lease will be cheaper than a 7%ish return on the $12,000 that I can sell my current car for, so it’s an easy financial decision. And that’s not even considering any depreciation on my car, or repairs that will probably come up.

  33. Working Optional

    Thank you for not buying a minivan! Nothing against them, but not for me.

    Love the feel and the look of a Land Rover. Not too keen on the reliability aspect or the cost to maintain but you already have a good handle on that (experience w/ Moose I, within warranty period etc). Congratulations!

  34. Cool ride, and got a really good price on the RR sport considering its only 11K miles for a 2015 model.
    You and me both for self driving cars. My son is around the same age as yours and hopefully their is no need for him to drive at that time, just let the car handle all the driving

  35. Interesting to read about your decision here, congrats for the new car!

    Your 10% rule and previous articles about cars made me think a lot. I bought a used 2012 Audi A4 1.5 year ago and absolutely love it. The AWD is great for the canadian winter too (I live in Montreal).

    But… as much as I love the car, I can hardly justify paying over 400$ / month (that’s only the car payments, need to add up all other expenses like insurances and premium fuel). Especially considering I drive it maximum 4-5 times per month. As much gut-wrenching as it is, I’m considering selling my beloved car and buying a much cheaper one. Winters in Montreal completely destroy cars (huge potholes and tons of salt). Usually people with nice cars here have a winter beater and a nice summer car.

    My parents might sell their 2005 Mazda3. Driven by my mom, only has about 12 000 miles, she always took good care of it. Only downfall is it’s rusty in places. Not a huge concern to me. But would be a great opportunity money-wise.

    I’m crying a little bit inside when I think of selling the car but there is just too much money to be saved (probably 15-20k CAD) to pass up on this offer. I’m still young and can wait later in life to buy a nicer car. Your post gives me such hopes :)

    Enjoy the new car, I hope they sprayed it with the new car smell!

  36. My first car was a 14 year old Corolla that I got for free and almost drove it to the ground for four great years. I love driving that car and never felt bad when people scratched or bumped my car.

    I got the brand new 2006 Mazda 3 and liked the new car smell for a while. However when some idiot vandalized it by scratching it with a key and another hit and run in a parking lot, I started to hate driving new cars.

    Now, a car is just a vehicle that gets me from point A to point B. I have never put a high priority in a car’s safety feature, but after read this post, I am starting to think about it a little bit more.

  37. Nice negotiation.

    We got a Toyota Fortuner (4X4 diesel) last year as a four lease as one of the perks in my job- company provided car and driver.

    My wife has a 2006 Honda City (like a Fit). Having a truck is much easier with children, especially with the car seat and other stuff that can easily be put in the back with room to spare.


  38. Congrats on the Range Rover Sport V6 HSE! It is a nice ride. The thought of you putting down the cash for a Mercedes G650 Maybach did make me smile. If you find one around try to get a test drive!
    I can’t seem to park a big car or SUV in the city. If I don’t touch something with the car someone else touches me.
    i have never worried that much about safety. For most of my life I was worth more money dead than alive. My wife did want me around for the kids I think. But now that I am a grandDad I have tried to settle down. I bought a corvette convertible in 2000 and have not really wanted a new car since. It actually gets good gas millage and is easy to park. All the accidents I have had were when I was sitting still. People back into it because the can’t see very well in their SUVs.
    Enjoy the car and try to take it out for a few drives on the coast.

  39. The wife and I bought a 2012 Range Rover HSE LUX last year.. It had about 50,000 miles on it with a warranty for another year or two and got in at $38,000 (before tax, title, etc.). So far it’s the best car I have ever owned. Gas mileage isn’t great but we feel safe on the road and it’s extremely comfortable with plenty of room. The only issue we’ve had thus far is the air bag suspension. We had the two front ones go out and the cost was around $2,000 and the warranty didn’t cover it (chalked it up to usual wear and tear). Since I hadn’t owned it very long the dealer I bought it from paid for 50% of it.

    You may look for a local dealer and see if they have any tracks or areas for you to test it out on. Our dealer has two events a year (summer and winter) where they invite owners to bring out their vehicles and drive on hills, in mud, etc. to learn about the suspension and how to drive on rough terrain and learn about the vehicle.


  40. Enjoy it! I drive a 2017 Mercedes GLE 350d, my fourth one (used to be the ML series). Also on the safest vehicles list (and also on a shorter list of the only vehicles in the US to never have had a fatal accident.

    You have earned it, the naysayers can suck it!

  41. Congrats Sam! I know you’ve been eyeballing that RRS for years. Hope its everything you dreamed. What happened to Rhino? Are you buying out the lease or returning to the dealer?

    1. 95% chance I will return him to the dealer on September 7, 2017. Rhino is awesome for super stealth wealth (also has tinted windows). But we don’t need two cars. Important to simply life, not pay double insurance and maintenance, have only one car key on my key chain, and so forth.

      I can buy him out for $12,600, but I feel it’ll be a waste of money. Time to move on I say! I got my own life to worry about as well when driving.

  42. Congrats but I hope you aren’t planning to keep the Land Rover long term; they have some of the worst reliability ratings (near the bottom of the list with Jeep & Fiat per 2017 Consumer Reports: and a friend who owns an exotic car repair shop can vouch for that.

    1. Thanks for your well wishes and positive note about my car’s reliability. Hopefully i can hold it for 16 -18 years until my son is old enough to drive.

      What car do you drive? Have you owned Land Rover as well? I didn’t experience any major maintenance issues for the 10 years that I own my previous one, and technology and reliability has improved a lot since then.

      I’m not sure if people are aware, but car reliability has significantly improved since the 1980s. And with a warranty, everything is covered anyway.

  43. You bought my dream car! Maybe one day I’ll pay up.

    For now the 4 Runner is the family cruiser. Safety is important. Dependability is also important. The last thing I want is a call from the wife broken down on the side of the highway with two kids in the back.

  44. Nice car! You can clearly afford it so no issue with the price. Personally I’m a big fan of Japanese cars / SUVs. Did you test drive a bunch of other cars before you bought this one?

  45. I’m having a hard time understanding how anyone drives only 4,000/year. I am on track to surpass 20,000 in 12 months, and my wife’s car is the same. I don’t feel that 20,000 is excessive.

    1. If you live in a big city with public transportation or ubiquitous ride sharing, and you don’t have an office to commute to, it’s pretty easy to only drive 4,000
      miles a year.

      Do you really drive 20,000 miles living in a big city as well? Or are you making the assumption that I live the same way you do? I make the assumption that everybody’s driving needs, financial situation, and stage in life is different.

      What do you drive and what does it cost as a percentage of your annual gross income?

      1. We live in a suburb, and drive into the city on a daily basis. Yes, both myself and my wife put over 20,000/year. Jobs are part of this, but so are other things we consider non negotiable, such as church and children’s preschool.

        We could reduce our annual mileage I’m sure, but not through ride sharing. It would require reduced weekend getaways or vacations. We have family in another state, and we are frequently coming and going there as well.

        I have a Chevrolet truck and it costs roughly 30% of my income. Mistake? Perhaps. On one hand it would be great to live down the street from work, and drive an old beater around everywhere. That’s not reality, however. Like you, I have a family that I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting in a small vehicle. Due to the amount and distance of our travel, I upgrade our vehicles whenever they prove to no longer be dependable for long trips. The truck we use for family outdoor hobbies that we have always done. These include fishing, camping, hunting trips, etc. Finally, my wife has to drive a vehicle that we both feel is safe and dependable with our two kids inside. I travel often, and worrying about these things when I am not home is stressful. There are no $10,000 vehicles in my mind that would fit the bill of: safety, dependable for long distance, and large enough for family.

  46. Albert @ Mr. Smart Money

    NICE RIDE. I’m currently driving around a late model Toyota Prius, but plan on getting a late model luxury car if my finances permit it!

    Totally agree with what you said in the comments about a Toyota Highlander.
    Once you reach a certain point of wealth accumulation, there DEFINITELY needs to be a ‘treat yourself’ factor, or else you simply wont stay motivated to continue saving/earning.

    Congrats on the purchase. :)

  47. Kudos for treating yourself a little and also thinking about your family! I upgraded to a 3-row SUV (Honda Pilot) after having my first boy. Safety was one aspect, but also having kids tends to draw more family to my location and it’s nice for them to relax and not have to drive the streets of SF themselves/separately.

  48. I didn’t even know that a $500k car existed. I want to at least sit in it for once in my life to know what it feels like to be rich @_@

    I know what you mean about safety though. Before we had Baby FAF, Mr. FAF and I drove a beat-up $1.5k Toyota Corolla. Once we had the baby, my FIL insisted we buy a brand-new car, so we did and took out an auto loan. Buying a new car wasn’t something we super excited for considering the amount of cash that went out of out bank account. Oh well, parental pressure.

      1. Ahh I totally missed that post. Now I feel so smart *embarrassed* *sweating* *shocked* >_< Is there somewhere on your blog where I can hide? @_@

        We ended up buying an $18k silver Toyota Corolla. It's been running pretty well for the past 2.5 years with some minor maintenance. We've been thinking about buying a minivan after we have a 2nd baby and have our parents stay with us to take care of the kids. I think it will be another Toyota or whichever brand that can run efficiently at a low cost. Did I mention I'm a practical person? Yes, I did. :D

        1. Just to be clear, Ms. FAF, there are certainly cars that cost $500k, even cars that cost $2 million or more. But Sam was joking about buying one.

  49. I found the side story about the man and how you went through the process very interesting. Everything went so smoothly – and a steak house drop off to end it.

    I’ve always liked the look of an Audi TT but I heard they’re speed demons and I drive like a grandma. Safety is a big concern for Hubby and I both so we’ll probably settle on a used Volvo.

  50. Nice car Sam! I guess cash is always king!

    I have a 4Runner and I must say that I feel safer on the road. Like you said, it doesn’t matter if I’m the best driver or not, all it takes is one reckless idiot to ruin your life.

    I always wonder how dare some people drive those tiny Mercedes smart cars in Texas. All it takes is a little bump from one of the million trucks in Texas to make the smart car “fly”.

  51. Nice car! Very sleek. The Range Rover is a sleek manly family man car :) I have a Honda Fit too, did you end up getting rid of yours? I was also wary of using my Honda Fit as a family car as well for same reasons as you…those seats that fold up in the back- they don’t even look like it can hold a car seat. That being said I haven’t tried putting the car seat in there. We ended up getting another car, a used Mazda CX-5. We were interested in the Infiniti q50 (is that the model? That used to be EX 35? I forget) but the trunk space was so small you could barely fit a stroller. So far happy with the Mazda!

  52. Sam,
    Awesome choice! I would pick the same car if I had a child. Can you explain why you would purchase a car vs lease a car if you are self employed?
    Speaking to my account, she told me when I bought my car I could only write off miles, repairs, nothing else, but if I leased a car I could write off the entire amount.

  53. The Professor

    Been thinking about a new car for a while. My current ride is a 2000 Lexus RX300, It’s 17 years old and has 135k miles on it. I’m kind of challenging myself to see if I can keep it for 20 years. The advantage is that I really know this car inside and out and the Lexus forums have saved me $$$ on repairs.

  54. Congrats on the SUV! I had a feeling you’d get something like this from reading your past posts :-)
    It looks fantastic and I hope it lasts until 2033. Buying slightly and gently used no matter what type of vehicle is definitely the way to go. I’ve bought new in the past when I wasn’t as wise, but hey glad I made those mistakes early and learned from them.

  55. Sam, can you walk me through the math of buying a new Land Rover and using the 6k lb tax write-off vs buying used with depreciation savings?

  56. Miguel @ The Rich Miser

    Jealous! This absolutely looks like a cool, fun SUV. My only qualm with Land Rovers is that Consumer Reports does not generally rate them highly for reliability. In any case, the car looks awesome!

  57. insourcelife

    Actually, I found the answer in your Safest Cars post. A lot of people suggested a Subaru as an option and your reply was it “won’t fit the mid-life crisis criteria”. If that’s the criteria – and not the safety – than yes an Outback or a Highlander lose out quick!

    As far as the Stealth Wealth goes – I thought it meant a car that’s “cheap” compared to what most people would buy if they had your wealth. A car that wouldn’t make people assume you have a ton of money i.e. your Fit vs a Range Rover. I didn’t realize you equate black tinted windows all around as the ultimate stealth. If that’s the case you can practice stealth wealth in a Lambo with a $200 tint job :)

    1. Bingo!

      What car do you drive and what did you pay for it as a percentage of your gross income or net worth? Do you have kids and think about the safety aspect of a vehicle?

      1. We have 2 cars that we bought used: 09 MINI Cooper (70,000 miles) and 03 Mercedes-Benz C320 (145,000 miles). They are worth around $8,000 combined so I don’t worry about % of gross income or % of net worth calculations.

        We do have one kid and safety is obviously important. The best thing you can do for safety is to minimize driving with kids to begin with. Benz is our family car and it’s built like a tank. MINI is my commuter and it is a perfect car for that and all the errands… love it!

        1. Dang, you got TWO luxury German cars? Now that is high rolling. I can’t afford the insurance and maintenance that grows with two.

          Stay safe in those small cars. I drive about 4,000 miles a year, and maybe 500 miles will be with family.

          1. Ha, German cars are as cheap as Toyota’s and Honda’s if you DIY! Insurance is only $400 per year to cover both vehicles. I’d love to downsize to just one car but it’s not in the cards just yet due to commuting and the lack of public transport here.

            1. Oh and here is a fun fact: the original owner paid $2.23 per mile to drive the Range Rover before you bought it… That’s NOT including gas, maintenance, insurance and registration. Insane, but sounds like he can afford it.

  58. Nice car. I am more of a toyota highlander kind of person because its reliable and nice still (dont range rovers have lots of problems)? I guess in San Fran though a range rover is a typical daily driver car there :)

    1. Cool. Whatever floats your boat I say. I had my 2000 Land Rover Discovery II for 10 years and it had minimal problems until the very end. I could have fixed it all for about $1,000, but the car was only worth about $3,500 so I traded it in.

      The belief Land Rovers have lots of problems is one of the key haggling points I use to try and get a better deal. I’ve owned 10 cars now and the LR didn’t stick out at all. A MB did. But all cars built after 2000 are fine.

      What percentage of your gross income or net worth was your highlander purchase?

      1. Good to know land Rover no issues, I always loved the look of them. Our last cars were European and the problems/costs to repair were ridiculous so i said never again. I am also not a car person so even though I could afford something nicer I just don’t care. I think if people get enjoyment from nice car then more power to them though.

        It’s funny though after thinking about this post I also think I have some programmed thinking that I don’t want my kids growing up thinking fancy cars are the norm. …I tell my wife a lot of my tenants have fancier cars than I do…lol

        Love your interesting posts.

        1. Yeah, if Land Rover is had a lot of issues, it wouldn’t be in business. Everything so cutthroat now. But the reputation from 30 years ago remains which is pretty cool.

          My Honda fit had to be recalled two times and the starter didn’t work for three times. It has had more problems than my European automobiles in the past.

          In 16 or 17 years, if we hold the car long enough, The car won’t be considered fancy anymore for him to drive :-)

          1. Sorry to cut in here, i was driving a nice 1980 240D for 6 years to work (average 400 miles x week) i was done with a dead battery and bad alternator, could of put 1000 bucks to fix issues, went ahead and purchase a 2011 Honda Accord, for a 7 year car with no recalls and with only 50K miles, sad part i am doing Uber for the moment, to get by the payments… not that bad, i was spending 200US x month in public transportation and the commute was horrible 2 1/2 to work and 3hrs back home.. driving is just 2 hrs in total. having fun doing the uber part, might has well do it till the end of the year.. also thanks for the blog, i am trying to make my own. i love LR i had a 1993 LWB, range rover, amazing car. my mistake selling it for 2 grand, those babies are so expensive now, that its hard to find in good shape…

    2. We drove the Highlander, Pilot, X5, Q7 and GLE350 when looking to replace out 2009 Pilot. The Highlander felt too much like a truck, the X5 was too small, the Q7 too big. We liked the Pilot, and could get it fully loaded for less then $40K. In the end, we found a 2016 GLE400 (biturbo) and saved like $20K off the sticker by buying used. My wife’s happy.

  59. Mrs. Adventure Rich

    Safety was definitely a priority when we purchased our cars last year, but for us, the factors were a little different. We have a now 2 year old son so we needed a safe car both for us (we want to grow old!) and him. We moved to northern MI from southern CA last year, so snow-worthy cars were a must. We settled on a used 08 Subaru Outback and a used 04 Subaru Forester. Both are rockstars when the weather turns dicey and we wake up to 8-18 inches of snow! We also invest in snow tires for the winter for added traction/security.

    Congrats on finding the great deal! I hope you enjoy the new car :)

  60. insourcelife

    What a pimping ride – congratulations! I’m sure you looked at cheaper options that are generally considered more reliable and just as safe or even safer (per your Safest Cars post), like a Toyota Highlander… Wondering why you didn’t go that route. How much of this decision was about luxury/prestige/desire rather than safety? Which is a better vehicle for Stealth Wealth – a Range Rover or a Toyota Highlander?

    1. Personal preference really. I think it’s because life feels too short to drive a Toyota Highlander. Good vehicle, but I would have felt depressed every day driving a Highlander. But for others, I’m sure they’d feel thrilled.

      With black tinted windows all around, it’s ultimate stealth. I wanted to find a combo between safety, stealth, and fun for the next 5 – 10 years. I’m sure I’ll be judged for driving Moose II, just like I’ll be judged for driving my Honda fit. But That’s part of the fun of it!

      How about you?

      1. interesting you mention stealth – over here, Landrovers are high hijack risk so they actually make people more of a target.. strange world we live in.

        1. Very interesting! Where do you live?

          In big cities, if you have a black car with black tinted out windows, there is a lot of intimidation there will be someone inside with a shotgun. Therefore, people tend to not want to mess with it as much as a Honda Civic etc. See the most stolen vehicles stats.

          I’ve definitely noticed a difference in car is keeping a safe distance and not cutting me off now versus when I had Honda fit. What car do you drive for Stealth?

          1. I’m in Johannesburg, South Africa. A lot of high-end vehicles have high hijack risk, mostly high-end vehicles, mercedes, BMW, Landrover, Audi. I think many are sold to syndicates where they end up in Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia.

            On the mid-market side Toyota’s are a bit of a risk too, particularly Toyota Quantums/panel vans, or Toyota Fortuners since they can be stripped for parts. On the lower end, Volkswagen Polos are a risk since they’re inconspicous and so many of them.

            Lower risk seems to be cars that are not seen as luxury brands, such as Hyundai, Honda, Nissan, Ford, but unfortunately most cars are an aspirational item and make you a target in such an unequal society as ours. I personally drive a mid-size Honda sedan – the brand had one of the lowest theft risks when I checked with the broker prior to purchasing.

            But I fully agree with your logic regarding feeling safer in a large vehicle, unfortunately because everyone buys a larger car, the impact point during an accident means you get crushed by the larger vehicle, so you end up needing to buy a bigger vehicle too.

            1. Yeah, the wealth inequality in certain parts of the world makes you a much, much bigger target. In SF, a $100,000 – $150,000 Tesla is no big deal. They are everywhere. So a $58,000 vehicle isn’t that big of a deal here. Important to know your environment.

              If I was driving in Manila, Johannesburg, New Delhi, etc… I would drive a bicycle or take public transportation.

            2. Lol… Sam, I grew up in New Delhi and go back there regularly as I have family there still. You have cars of all kinds, shapes and sizes there and people are okay and safe driving a BMW X5 or a Fortuner or a Honda Fit/Jazz. And no, I’m sure you wouldn’t take a bicycle or public transportation. When it’s 43*C outside and humidity of 90%+, you’re **** well not going to bicycle or take public trans!

            3. A fellow Joburger! :)

              So true what you say about hijacking risk over here. Trying to find the right car is seriously tough. I agree with your Honda purchase. I’ve also been eye-balling Volvo and mid-range VW’s like Jetta / Passat.

              Sam – you think you’d bicycle everywhere if you lived here. But come have a look at how our minibus taxi drivers operate – with their blatant disregard for rules of the road – and you’d think twice about that ;)

              Thankfully we have a thriving Uber market with ample supply, so there’s always that.

          2. Of course you could look at it from the other side and police may be more suspect of your black tinted windows, could think you’re hiding a shotgun, because now they can’t see into your vehicle, and you yourself end up getting shot.

            1. Exactly. It’s all about how you look at the world Ryan. Choose to be optimistic and happy or pessimistic and sad.

              The good thing about police in SF is that they usually aren’t the ones who try and carjack vehicles or open fire without any reason. Have you been assaulted by the police before or been in a shootout?

              What car do you drive and what percentage of your income or net worth is it?


            2. Thankfully I have not been in a situation with police, other than for one speeding ticket.

              I bought new jeep grand cherokee 2017, financed $30k at 0.9% which is less than 5% of my networth. It’s my only debt other than mortgage.

              I bought it for similar reasons you bought your rover. Although I’m not rolling in your kind of money. Also kept my tint within the legal limit. Mainly for temperature reduction.

  61. So we finally took the plunge and bought a mini-van last December. I have always been against it, but I have loved it since we bought it. We went the non-traditional route and watched Craigslist too. We test drove the models we were looking at and figured out exactly what we wanted so we could jump when the vehicle popped up. A guy who bought the trade-in cars from dealers and resold to other people, he was our guy. We got our van, 2008 Honda Odyssey, for $7000, traded in our 99 pathfinder for $2000. So ended up only paying $5000 out of pocket. That felt good. (Not quite up to your car level, but that’s a future goal:) )
    We chose the Odyssey for the safety ratings and because that’s what so many other families recommended for 3+ kids.
    If I could buy whatever, I’d be driving a nice jeep or something along those lines. I’m all about the SUV’s. Of any sort basically. :) And we will definitely still go private party and make sure to get a great deal!

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