What the wealthy are driving

Some wealthy people flaunt their status with shows of conspicuous consumption, while others prefer to stay low-key. These preferences extend to their major purchases, from the type of houses they buy, the type of clothes that they wear and type of cars that they drive.

TrueCar.com, an automotive information website headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., conducted a study of the most popular vehicles in the most affluent zip codes, as determined by the I.R.S. These included some of the usual places that one might expect, such as Lower Manhattan, Greenwich, Conn. and Palm Beach, Fla., but also included some unexpected locations, such as Teton Village, Wyo. and Oklahoma City.

The top 10 cars include luxury makes like BMW and Mercedes-Benz as one might expect, but there were other, more economical brands that defy the preconceived notions that people may have about high-net-worth car owners. Of the top 10 cars on the list, only two had a manufacturers’ suggested retail price over $50,000.

“The data demonstrate that wealthy consumers of today make value a top priority, as half the vehicles purchased are from mainstream brands, including Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen, that offer the best in vehicle amenities and comfort that near those of some luxury models," TrueCar.com senior analyst Kristen Andersson said in a press statement.

Read ahead to see the top 10 cars that the wealthy are driving.

10. Honda CR-V

While the 10274 zip code is home to some of the wealthiest people in Manhattan, there are still plenty of working class and middle class people living there too. These people rub elbows with the bankers and hedge-fund managers and share the road with them as well.

Although more expensive at $29,575 than the Honda Accord, the Honda CR-V is still a popular choice in the 10274 zip code. The midsize SUV is one of the most popular vehicles in that part of Manhattan.

9. Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry has been Americans’ reasonably-priced midsize car of choice for 30 years. The bestselling automobile is one of the most popular vehicles in the 60604 zip code in Downtown Chicago.

According to TrueCar.com, none of the top five vehicles purchased in Downtown Chicago were luxury brands. In addition to the $25,535 Camry, the top five was rounded out by Volkswagen, Honda and Jeep.

8. BMW X5

It’s not surprising to find a BMW or two on a list of cars owned by the wealthy. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $58,595, the X5 luxury SUV is the most expensive vehicle on this list, which is interesting considering that the residents of these zip codes could easily afford more expensive cars.

According to TrueCar.com, the X5 is popular with residents of Palm Beach, Fla., Fisher Island, Fla. and Greenwich, Conn. It’s most popular among residents of the 10274 zip code in Lower Manhattan, where the average income is $5,711,000.

7. Honda Accord

The residents of Manhattan’s 10274 zip code have some of the highest incomes in the U.S. That doesn’t mean that every one of them wants to drive a Beemer.

Many residents of this area are perfectly happy to drive moderately-priced midsize cars, such as the $23,070 Honda Accord. It was one of the most popular cars in this zip code, according to TrueCar.com.


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