Top 15 cars under $15,000 that will make you look rich


1. Mazda CX-7

The CX-7 might be the most responsive vehicle on this list from a performance standpoint.

The Mazda CX-7 features ultra-sleek styling on the outside, interior amenities that include Bluetooth connectivity and a 2.3L engine under the hood.

The highlight of the CX-7 is its quick-shift 6-speed automatic that makes it not only fast, but responsive and fun to drive.

On sale since the spring of 2006, the CX-7 has a turbocharged inline-4 engine. The car has a great look, but sales have been low because the car is between a sedan and a compact car. It has been unable to be successful in either category.

The CX-7’s last year of production was 2012. With poor fuel economy, the CX-7 is just not practical enough for those that love Mazdas. It’s a great looking car, and has a sporty look. The CX-7 was made available used once the 2012 models were all sold.

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The Mazda CX-7 is a great car to commute to work, because it has plenty of space for other adult passengers. It does fairly well on gas, because it isn’t quite an SUV.

  • Lloyd Hargett

    What happened to cars with style? Every one of these little boxes is a jumble of dissonant angles and random bulges. They all look like they were designed by the same person. I’ll keep my old cars, thanks. Who cares whether I look rich or not?

  • Hankthetank

    First of all the last car isn’t even a a G35, it’s a concept car that will never reach production looking like that.

    Second of all in what universe will buying a car that costs less than 20,000 bucks new, used, for slightly cheaper make you look rich?

    If you wanna do that, move to LA and lease a Prius with leather and pretend you care about the environment and that you are related to a famous person.

    Then of course we can get into the whole problem of wanting to be something you are not, for shame!

    However if you really want to look like a baller on a budget, these are the cars you want to buy, (take it from a real car guy, who accidentally got here while clicking around on The Chive)

    1. 2001 to 2006 Jaguar XK8 – It looks like an Aston Martin to the untrained eye and can be had for less than $7,000 Bucks, be prepared to keep a little on the side for unexpected repairs

    2. 2007 to 2009 Jaguar XK – Also looks like an Aston Martin and for a good reason – it designed by the same man who designs Aston Martins – Ian Callum. And the 2007 Jaguar XK is basically the SAME body style and interior as the 2014 XK, try to top that for the price! I’ve seen one for under $20,000 with 99,000 miles on it. Now that is a good way to look rich! Again save some loot for unexpected repairs.

    3. 2004 – 2008 Porsche Cayenne – Decent car, even though it’s a little slow. But you get big time baller looks, and you can get them all day for less than $15,000

    4. 2004 – 2008 Mazda Rx-8 – Most people have no idea what this car is when they see it. Sort of looks like a baby Maserati Gran Turismo, and the interior is one of the best layouts on the planet. They are a blast to drive and can be had for around $7,000 because people are scared of rotary engines, but they are very reliable if you take of them and Mazda offers a 100,000 mile transferable powertrain warranty standard with the car very few people know about.

    5. Any slightly used Jag, BMW, Mercedes, or Range Rover – they all depreciate as much as Miley likes to twerk.

    Chive on and ball hard my friends

    • Kenneth Edward Polley

      I was going to post and then I saw your post and couldn’t have said it better. The only thing I would add is the Porsche Boxster, just saw one yesterday a 2007 with 25k miles on it for 9K and some change (salvage title, but was already restored to perfection)!!

      • Jungle Jim Miller

        Porsche Boxster = ‘mo, not rich…just sayin’

      • teridavisnewman

        You can’t finance a car with a salvage title, no banks will loan money on them.

        • likeyourcar

          Not true !!! I have banks that finance salvage titled vehicles at conventional rates for A+ credit

    • Auto Guy

      You’re right. And the G35 is definitely a concept car — does not even have rear view mirrors!

    • xk8lovin

      i have a black xk8 convertible and people assume I’m spoiled and rich and i do feel special in it, little do they know i got it for 9g’s! but i would stay away because that car WILL break down on you, they were built incorrectly and every one will face the timing chain break, bearings, and transmission, 9 thousand in repairs and still needs stuff. get 03 or newer :)

      • William Gamble

        i have 2005 jag x-type looks like new, paid 7900 for it.

      • g

        thanks for the advise

    • JT

      All image and looks in this country, no substance at all. Loud mouth and an attitude, at the end don’t have two nickels to rub together and still trying to look rich. I have come across plenty of people like that in my life.

      • Zattz

        Welcome to America…

    • Theo Stevenson

      I like ..good job!!

    • jonnyvetter

      @Hank: Great reply. I did this same search a couple of years ago because I live in the OC, and like LA, it’s all about image. But in my case I didn’t care all that much about image. I just wanted something fast. Along the way I found a boat load of used BMW 750IL’s, and Yeah, Cayenne’s. But I didn’t realize I could get into a Corvette C6 for under 19k! Yeah I knew they’ve got that middle America old man stigma but I didn’t care. Especially here where it’s all about BMW and MBZ with the occasional Ferrari and Lambo thrown in. But damn, this Vette I picked up with less than 70k miles and black rims is FUN! And despite the stigma, I get a LOT of looks from girls (and old men).

    • Roy

      Umm, sorry, but that is a G35, not a concept car.

      The article does have several errors regarding the G35. Infiniti stopped making the G35 Coupe in 2007, but made the Sedan for another year. And after that, they simply renamed it to G37 to reflect the increase in engine displacement (3.5L to 3.7L), but beyond that they are identical.

    • Carlton Walker

      That G35 does exist ive seen plenty of them on the streets. just look up 35 sedan not coupe.

    • Matt

      Infiniti didn’t stop making the G35 because it didn’t do well… They still make it as a G37… The only difference being a 3.7 L engine instead of a 3.5.

      Try to do a little research instead of just talking out your ass.

    • Eric

      You can get “Bentley” grills and emblems to put on your Dodge. $120 for the grill, and $1,500 for the Dodge. You could look just as “Rich” for under 2 grand.

    • Zattz

      Car guy ha.? #10 is a G35. The same exact car sits across the street from my house every day. I can see it as I write…

  • Francine Stover


    • papa11

      It definitely is a great looking care.

    • DENNY

      had an 83 Monte Carlo SS. It would still look good toady. ( Yes, 83. They made 1007 of them to qualify them for NASCAR)

    • Bill H

      For less than $10K, I bought and completely restored a very rare 1966 Corvair Monza Sport Sedan with factory air that blows ice cold. Looks like a miniature Impala, handles like a Corvette, and can be fixed a cheaply as an old Volkswagen. I get lots of smiles and thumbs up. Who could ask for anything more?

    • RickMeister

      …best car Chevy made? …um low bar.

  • Jason

    I would imagine improved aerodynamics is playing some role considering the incredible gas mileage many compact cars now achieve. Who needs expensive hybrids when lighter materials, more efficient transmissions and perfectly-simulated (if someone angular) chassis designs lead to huge gains at the pump? That being said, I do find my 2013 Focus more visually appealing than the 2002 model it replaced…

    • Interesting

      What huge gains? My ’87 POS Escort got 34mpg minimum and had more get up and go and room than these things.

  • Harry

    Caddy is making some of the best wheels out there but they need to pay attention to quality control and what the critics say in order to capture more bucks.

    • RickMeister

      …see what “Top Gear” car test guys say about CTS et al. Basically, junk on wheels./

  • ericd442

    So you want to look rich while not being rich? I like the Mercedes-Benz W140 chassis (S-Class) sedan. They’re fairly inexpensive right now, particularly the S320, S420 and S500 models.

    • Snaproll

      Couple years ago I bought a 2004 S430 with AMG sport package. The most comfortable ride I have ever owned. New over 100K. My cost $14,500. I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. Sell the old one and buy another every five years. Very little depreciation.

  • Curious2Know

    If you need to rely on a cheap car to make you look rich then you obviously aren’t rich so why try to be something you aren’t. Being rich these days is akin to having a small penis or some other physical andor mental failure.

    • vr13

      Very good point.

  • BO_stinks

    I really don’t care what others think, I drive a car because I like it.

  • Mark Gilbert

    Id take a Lexus SC300 or SC400 from say 1994-98 over any of these cars other than maybe the IS300 from again Lexus… and I am sure I can find a pretty nice one under say $6-9,000 and I personally think they are a couple of the best looking so called rich look that there is for the money

    • crabberdawg

      ^Agree, The mid-90s the Lexus SC300/400 was (and still is) a beautiful car.

      • teridavisnewman

        I’m thinking of moving to Lexus for my next car but I’m a Lincoln snob and still have my tagline: “Lexus: The Toyota of Luxury Vehicles.” in my head about them. My dad loves his though–I’ll probably inherit it since at 83 he’s not going to drive it to death.

        • Dave

          So does that make the Lincoln the Fairlane of Luxury Vehicles?

        • Eric

          Anyone remember the “Japanese Cadillac” bumper stickers that people put on Corollas and Civics back in the 80’s? It would be hysterical on a Lexus.

  • Larry Hatch

    These cars are not going to fool anyone. Spend $15-25K on a used luxury brand that looks very close to the current model. People won’t know if you spend $42K or $21K. For $300-400 a month one can get an elite used car for the price of a new Japanese or Korean POC, I have a friend who spends $400 a month for a used Mercedes CLS…looks like a $1000 month car owned by a pro athlete.

    • teridavisnewman

      I bought a Town Car with 31K miles on it, it was like new for 12K. It is the top of the line trim (with a sunroof!) and it has carried me all over the USA for the last 18 months and 90K miles with NO problems. When it’s worn out I’ll find another cream puff–and this car is IDENTICAL to a 2011 and the exterior and interior are perfect. I love this car and I will get at least another 140K miles out of it. People think it’s brand new LOL I just laugh. It gets 28 mpg on the highway which is 5 mpg better than that POS Solstice I bought brand new for 40K–my ass is still raw from that deal.


    There is absolutely no car built today that can give me the satisfying ride as my 1956 Chevy two door hardtop. Completely rebuilt on a Corvette 2004 frame, 350 w/475 HP and I mean all the extras. It cost more money than a car built for easy parking. And it turns heads of all ages driving every kind of car. GM would be wise to modernize these cars and put them on the market. There has never been a time in history that can match the excitement of cars during the fifties. No Brag Just Fact.

    • Jackie Jay

      Not fact, just your opinion. An 09+ CTS-v is just as exciting as your 56. Don’t get me wrong, shoebox Chevy’s are awesome, but style doesn’t beat performance. FI and Magnetic suspension with 305s on all four corners. Not to mention a used, NICE, V costs 35-40k. I’m you have much more than that in you’re 56. Again not bashing by any means just sharing MY opinion

  • Kevin

    S2000, BMW 545, fx35, rx330, BMW x5, g35 coupe, Porsche boxer, lx470 …

  • Marvin Harrison

    I’ll stick with my black 2008 Mustang Premium with polished wheels. Looks great, great car, probably worth around 9 grand but I wouldn’t sell it.

    • 1zb1

      I have the same attitude towards my 2005 Pontiac GTO. Is it the nicest car or worth much today? Nope, but it is also a great car that is fun to drive.

  • scootpeep

    I still like a good simple powerful pickup truck if I have to take it off road. Ford Raptor.
    The 2014 Corvette got nitpickingly criticized for its shift transmission…by one stubborn ass opinionated auto critic..after he drove it. What I am saying is, if you have the money, fine, buy your dream car, you only live once. If you do not, be practical and economic and buy a car that is low maintenance and will get you from point A to B. You get what you pay for and what you put into your ride.

  • DiscoHarvey

    They should probably pull the recommendation for the CX-7. It’s a great car with a terrible engine… Fails spectacularly just after the warranty has expired. Very unusual for Mazda who normally produces great machines.

    • Eric

      Rich people van afford new engines.

  • Jeff Morse

    I have a 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS Sportback. There are so few on the road I had people walk up to me in parking lots to ask what it was. Get admiring looks and comments on it all the time. That would have never happened with a Civic or Corolla – I would have just been one of the invisible masses.

    • dexdan

      I love them. They look like my 2002 9-3, which I adore.

  • Ian Pasio

    Lol! Where on God’s green earth, is a Kia Soul, Ford Fiesta, or any of the others on this list, going to make you look, “Rich?”
    Get a used 911, Corvette, Mercedes E class, something, but not any of these.
    Stupid article, to appealing to the vain. Just be who you are, and drive your car because you like it. Forget what anyone thinks!

  • Joy Long

    I own an IS300, I bought the car for 15K with 30k miles used at a lexus dealer about 3 years ago, its now paid off. Love this car, its amazing, but its even harder to find one that is manual.

  • RyYYZ

    The Murano’s a good pick, I think. It may not be the prettiest CUV, but it is pretty classy looking, inside and out. It rides and handles pretty well, and has a good powertrain. The best thing is, since it’s been largely unchanged since 2009 and will probably be either replaced by a new version, or dropped from the lineup altogether, you can get them used for pretty cheap. I just picked up a 2011 with ~75,000 km on it for ~$22,000, for a car that sold new 3 or 4 years ago for ~CDN$38,000. I’m really happy with it so far. Not the best gas mileage, but at least it returns about what the EPA estimates state, unlike a lot of newer models with turbo engines that never seem to get near their EPA ratings in the real world.

  • RyYYZ

    2008-2012 Ford Escapes? Pretty utilitarian and not very upscale. I don’t believe any of the interesting engine options (or good looks, arguably) were introduced until the 2013 model year.

  • Cowboy

    Although they no longer call it a G35 they still make the car with a new name and it is called the Q50. The car that replaced the G35 was called the G37 ( late 2008) and a smaller displacement model called the G25, added in 2009. So they never discontinued the model (No one interested?) they just updated the models and changed the names as the displacement went from 3.5 litres to 3.7 litres along with refreshed sheet metal. All the Infiniti models with now start with the letter Q.
    Same with the Z car. The Z370 came out in 2008 with more refined looks and a shorter wheelbase and body. It along with the G37 coupe are still sold today.

  • Lou

    I have a 94 Nissan 300ZX convertible with 66K miles on it. I don’t drive it every day and never in winter but it is drop dead gorgeous and runs like a scalded cat. Nissan brought in a few convertibles but millions of coupes so it also has lots of used parts. Think about that before you buy one of these and make sure you know the mechanic who will work on your baby.

  • Damian

    Purchased a 03′ Black MB G500 with 106k miles for 25K after loving the design since I was a kid. New ones in the 120K range and mine will not depreciate any more than it already has, albeit the repairs are super expensive, mine is clean. Last night I was walking back to my BEAST and some kid on a skate board says to his friend “Check out that Gwag! So baller!!!” Had to laugh.. WIN! Work hard, don’t listen to haters, and get what you want!!!

  • bigyaz

    Kia Soul??? An noisy, ugly box that NOBODY think makes you look rich, including those who drive it.

    • The_Nick_Falzone

      That was probably the biggest joke on this list.

      • The_Fick_Nalzone

        Really? I personally don’t think any Kia or Hyundai looks good, nor do they give off a rich persona. Mainly because of the fact that they are a Kia, a sub-par car company under the control of Hyundai. The only reason I would see someone buying a Hyundai or Kia is because they’re cheap and the owner ersonally thinks they look good. Other wise no one buys a Hyundai for reliability, cost of ownership, or anything of that sort lol. Unreliable and expensive parts to fix up.

  • Joel

    First of all the G35 was very popular car in coupe and sedan for Infiniti. It hasnt went out of production as it carries on in the form of the Q50.

  • Car_Guy1

    The 2nd generation Escape (2008-2012) did not have an Ecoboost option, it was available in I4 or V6 engines. In 2009 both engines were upgraded with the V6 producing 240hp. They could be optioned-up to rival anything on the market. I’ve had two, both were are/were great cars. The 240hp V6 is borderline fast for a compact crossover, with AWD they’re great in snow and most off-road situations, they are NOT rock-crawlers. Used they’re a bargain compared to anything else in their segment.

    If I could find a CTS-V for $15K, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

  • Wrinkly cankles

    For $13K you can have a Volvo XC 90, a Range Rover, an Audi A3 or A4 or A6, or any nice 3 series BMW. These cars will make you look rich, not these econoboxes in the article.

  • charles

    Why are all of you screwing around so much? For this money you can easily find a Rolls-Royce, like an older Silver Shadow. You show up in a RR, regardless of year, who is going to think you are poor? The best way to utilize such a car is to just keep it for those certain moments when you need a home run–which you will duly get.

  • j boy

    i want to be rich and i love what i see here

  • Stevechang64

    I had the Mazda CX7 and while it was weak in power it was beautiful inside and out and certainly felt like a luxury car

  • Vasya Bricklyn

    I was genuinely amused by the choice of vehicles ere until I ran into the Kia Soul. I could care less about cars, but I wouldn’t be caught dead even being seen in one of these.

  • hunger

    Look at me! I’m driving a Ford Fiesta!

  • Tim Spriggs

    Nissan always made the FX series of crossovers, concurrenty with the Murano. Nissan makes Infinitis.

  • joe

    a ford focus is never going to make you look rich

  • Dave

    Ha, delusional?

  • Robert A

    Ford Fusion should be on this list.It handles like a 3 series BMW. The 2012 is a great car, 2013-14 are gorgeous but above this price list category. I have the SE model 2012 with 2.5 4cyl .It has desent power. Gets 27 MPG in city 37 on the Hwy. Floats down the Highway at 80 MPH like it’s nothing, and yields nearly 500 miles per tank on a road trip at 50.00 a fill up.

  • Average Car guy

    This might just be the Worst article on autos I’ve read.

    Not sure if it’s the;

    9 year old Cadillac, who cars if it’s the V series, if you have a lot of money you buy a new one (or a couple years old)

    Ford Focus (never really thought of this one as a Luxury or sports car, ok, the ST, a hot Hatch, very quick, great handling, but alas, not something that screams, I’M RICH!)

    Ford Fiesta (Some how buying an entry level subcompact that’s under 15K new, doesn’t strike me as something to demonstrate how much money I have)

    9 year old compact Lexus (how many generations old??)

    Mazda CX-7 (I like them, I’ve considered buying one) but, where they say in one paragraph, “with poor fuel economy” to the last sentence, “gets decent gas mileage”, make up your mind.

    A Lancer?? Even the current model is years behind the competition.

    Kia Soul. Kia Soul???? Seriously?? the Kia Soul will make you look rich????
    True, a lot of people who are wealthy are careful with their money, one of the ways to build wealth, but these cars to make you look rich??
    Kia Soul (not knocking these but this is one of the last cars I think about when I think, gee, they must have a lot of money, “they bought a Soul” Wow!
    Guys you’ve even topped Yahoo now for an article by someone who has no clue about the subject they’re talking about.

  • Darrell Darrell

    id rather spend that money on litecoin mining hardware!

  • ShakingMyHead

    Focus? Lancer? When these are 2 of the first 3 cars that are supposed to make you look rich, it’s time to skip the rest of the article! Are you kidding me?!

  • Benicio

    I’m sorry but asides for the cadillac…. Non! I repeat Non!! of those cars will make you look affluent…
    ….Even in Rural Mississippi (no disrespect )

  • YABD

    Buy a corolla just out of lease and will cost you less than 15,000 dollars with 36000 miles and with just 3 years old.

  • Really Michael Vick?

    Yes, drive a ford focus because it will make you look rich. You’re kidding me right?

  • evilahole2

    nothing says rich like used cars, korean brands, and base model domestics lol

  • PPSA

    Absurd. None of these cars will make anyone look rich.

  • Zattz

    Every one of those cars Hank posted are the most problematic cars on the road. People don’t look rich in them, they look stupid, cause everyone knows how much those owners are getting nickel and dimed every month to keep them on the road…

  • BusyBee

    A Ford Fiesta and a Kia Soul make you look rich? Get outta here…

  • Yow Momma

    How the hell does a tricking focus make you look rich???

  • kindness

    Used models?

  • theotherRJH

    What? The only car that might make you look rich is that Nissan Z car. Everything else is a welfare-mobile in 5 years. The Cadillac in 3.

  • Michael Difani

    A new ’14 Chevy Spark LS for $11, 000 w/ manual trans, A/C, power windows/locks, am/fm stereo, alloys, rear spoiler and more is a good deal but it won’t make me look rich. MSRP is $13,000 at a dealer here in inland s. Calif. 2 dr. hatchback, 84 hp.

  • arnold

    cts-v might be the only car on this list that is worth talking about …. if driving a ford what ever that thing was makes you look rich then i must be a billionaire driving a subaru wrx sti sad thing my car 2005 with 110k on it still retails for over 15k

  • blackfin66

    No doubt that new cars, even the “cheap” ones, have a lot more features than they used to and buying a more expensive car used is an old trick to get a good car for less. That said, whoever wrote this article has a very different concept of “rich” from mine!

  • The_Nick_Falzone

    Was this article supposed to be humorous? NONE of these cars with the exception of maybe the Cadillac will make you look rich. Especially not some P.O.S. Kia.

  • Max Rogers

    I think the author person just picked 12 random cheap cars he saw online, copied and pasted some facts from the manufacture’s brochure, and called it good. Who else would describe a KIA Soul as driving like a dream? Unless he was talking about a nightmare. What a joke. Don’t write a car article unless you know something about them.

  • derp

    The title should be changed to “12 cars under $15,000”.