“If I ever get rich, I’m going to buy a sweet new car,” you’ve probably thought to yourself. Perhaps you have a specific model or make in mind — something only rich people can afford, such as a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Maybe you want something more practical, such as a Tesla, but only if you had the money to afford it, right? Well, you’d be surprised to find out how the other half lives.
In many cases, rich people make pretty much the same decisions the average Joe does. They, too, eat fast food. Rich people buy the same brands of cat litter. And when it comes to choosing a car, rich people often spring for the same model as average earners.
That’s right: Just because people make a lot of money doesn’t mean they’re looking to buy a luxury vehicle. Even Warren Buffett, one of the richest people on the planet, drives a Cadillac — a fairly thrifty option considering the amount of money he has.
So, what vehicles do rich people like to buy, if not super high-end sports or luxury vehicles? The list will surprise you — because it’s composed of mostly average-priced vehicles. There’s a lesson there, too. Just because you have a lot of money doesn’t mean you should spend it.
A new study by the consumer research firm MaritzCX looks at the cars purchased the most by people who earn more than $200,000 per year. That’s the definition, for our purposes, that we’ll give to “rich people.” Using the data from MaritzCX’s study, here are the top 12 models the rich favor. No. 5 can be had for under $20,000.
12. Audi Q5
If there’s a luxury brand that’s becoming more ubiquitous in the United States over the past decade, it has to be Audi. The German luxury brand’s vehicles are seemingly everywhere, and according to the data from MartizCX, the Q5 crossover SUV is a big hit with big earners. It’s pricey, but not too pricey — starting at just over $40,000. But you’ll need to shell out more for some bells and whistles.
11. Subaru Outback
Even the relatively wealthy like to get dirty from time to time. And when the rugged outdoors are calling, a Subaru is one of the brands that is most appealing. The Subaru Outback, the brand’s high-selling wagon, is popular even among the rich. It’s fairly inexpensive, too. Prices for the Outback (there are many models and variants) start at around $25,000.
10. Acura MDX
Another luxury SUV, the Acura MDX is similar to the Audi Q5 in a number of ways. In fact, they’re very close competitors. But according to MartizCX’s data, wealthy consumers prefer the MDX over the Q5. In 2016, 9,221 people who make more than $200,000 per year purchased an MDX, putting it within the top 10. Price for the MDX start at $44,500, making it one of the more affordable luxury SUV options.
9. Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer has been around for a long time. It’s not uncommon to see Explorers from different model years and generations in a single trip across town. And they remain popular to this day, even for consumers who might be tempted to buy a more expensive brand or model. More than 9,500 wealthy buyers opted for the Explorer in 2016, which has a starting price in the low $30,000 range.
8. BMW X5
Again, a luxury SUV makes the list. If you haven’t caught on, high-earners apparently love their luxury SUVs. Case in point: the BMW X5, which is one of several X models in the BMW lineup. The X5 has a starting price of around $55,000, so it’s not exactly cheap. But even at that price, wealthy consumers bought one more than the MDX or Q5. Per MaritzCX’s data, 11,150 rich people bought one in 2016.
7. Lexus RX350
Nope, we’re not done with luxury SUVs yet.
The Lexus RX350, a vehicle that is similar to the MDX, Q5, and X5, lands at the seventh spot. Like the others, it has a similar price point, albeit the starting plasrice is a bit lower at around $43,000. The numbers show this is indeed a crossover the rich favor over its competitors. MartizCX says more than 11,300 of these SUVs were sold to high-earners in 2016.
6. Honda Accord
It might be surprising to see a consumer car, such as the Honda Accord, on the list. But it makes sense. The more expensive or exclusive a car is, the fewer people who are going to buy it. That explains how the Accord lands at No. 6 on the list. It’s affordable, reliable, and performs. The standard Accord starts in the low $20,000s, and per MaritzCX’s numbers, the rich bought more than 11,400 of them in 2016.
5. Honda Civic
Not to be outdone by its brand-name brother, the Honda Civic lands in the top five on MartizCX’s list. According to the data, people earning more than $200,000 purchased more than 11,800 Civics in 2016. Like the Accord, the Civic is affordable and reliable, making it an attractive choice for consumers at any level. A brand new Civic will set you back around $19,000, but that’s for the bare-bones model.
4. Jeep Wrangler
Everybody wants a Jeep. Or everybody has at least thought about what it would be like to have a Jeep. And specifically they want a Jeep Wrangler — you know, the model that makes you think “that’s a Jeep.” Well, the wealthy are on board, too, and high-earners bought 12,370 Jeep Wranglers in 2016. There’s something alluring about the Wrangler that’s hard to put your finger on, but clearly it transcends economic lines. It starts at around $24,000.
3. Honda Pilot
We’re leaving luxury SUVs behind. Higher up the list are more economically viable SUVs, such as the Honda Pilot. It’s considerably cheaper than a luxury SUV, with prices starting at around $31,000. Of course, you don’t get as many fun toys, but it’s a Honda, so it’s reliable and affordable. According to the MaritzCX study, consumers earning more than $200,000 bought 13,460 Honda Pilots in 2016.
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Wrangler isn’t the only popular Jeep model among the upper crust. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, the brand’s flagship vehicle, is immensely fashionable among the over-$200,000 crowd. MartizCX’s study says high-earners bought almost 14,000 Grand Cherokees in 2016. Evidently, the trouble that Jeep ran into with its shifters (that killed a famous actor) weren’t enough to dissuade rich buyers.
1. Ford F-150
The most popular vehicle among the rich is the most popular vehicle among the population at large: It’s the Ford F-150 pickup. Ford sells an enormous amount of F-150 trucks every year. It’s been America’s best-selling vehicle for four decades. It has a starting price in the mid-$20,000s and has a variety of model options and variants. MaritzCX’s data show people earning more than $200,000 bought 21,449 F-150 pickups in 2016.