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Saturday, December 3, 2022

What would you rather get, a fully equipped mainstream or a bare-bones luxury car?

It seems that dealers can’t keep cars on their lots for long before they’re snapped up, even with all the pressure on the automotive market and consumers’ pockets. Sometimes, prices at different segments overlap, which inspired our new question of the day: would you rather have a fully-equipped vehicle from a mainstream brand or one from a luxury brand that’s basically as bare-bones as it can get?

Granted, it’s not like bare-bones luxury vehicles are anything to sneer at. For instance, the base Land Rover Defender is an excellent SUV. Starting at $53,500, it offers exceptional off-road capability, solid technology, and 296 horsepower (220 kW). Of course, it’s also missing a great deal of the features that more expensive trims provide.

On the other hand, for that same $53,500, you could have a Ford Bronco Everglades. It’s not the Raptor, but it still comes with the Sasquatch package including Bilstein Position-Sensitive dampers, a WARN winch kit, 35-inch tires, electronically locking front and rear axles, and a factory-installed snorkel system. That’s to say nothing of what one could add to a base Bronco which starts at $30,800.

Many people might be swayed away from a mainstream brand simply because of its brand presence. Kia Stinger, for instance, is objectively an excellent vehicle to drive. It steers, accelerates, and brakes like a car that would typically have a German premium brand badge on the hood. Despite that, it’s been slow to catch on and its future is uncertain.

At its most expensive it’ll cost just north of $55,000, or about the same as a bare-bones Audi A6. Of course, the Audi will be down on power by about 100 ponies and it won’t have the same package of optional extras that the Stinger does. Would that be a worthwhile tradeoff to have four rings on your grille?

We have a number of other excellent examples below, so let us know what you think. What’s more important? Having a fully-loaded vehicle, or one from a premium manufacturer?

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