Driving through Beverly Hills, you would think the Range Rover was the Volkswagen. The car leads the pack as the preferred armor of the Hollywood brigade, with comfortable leather seats and fluffy suspension that provide both sexy handling and tank-like intimidation. The car has even become a staple for celebrity moms like Courteney Cox and Halle Berry who like its stylish mix of safety and luxury. The Mercedes G-Class isn't far behind. The boxy German import that looks like an upturned shoebox with shiny chrome details attracts an artsy following.
Diane Keaton, often wearing one of her eccentric hats, can sometimes be seen driving along Wilshire Boulevard in her G-Class, as can younger style-makers like Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie and Hilary Duff. The German auto maker was rumored to be discontinuing the line, but that was greeted by such an uproar that the car isn't likely to go anywhere soon.
Recently it has been nearly impossible to miss Britney Spears' various adventures in her new SL 65 and less-conspicuous CLK, also sported by Lauren Conrad of The Hills. Spears loves the CLK so much she recently traded her all-black model in for an all-white one.
Not the natural choice for a mother of toddlers, the car seats four but is ideal for two passengers and has only one cupholder -- far too small for any Big Gulps.
Since the days of James Dean and his 1955 Spyder, Porsche has been a fixture in Hollywood. With the Panamera sedan coming in 2009 and Cayenne that even Jessica Alba can't resist, the car maker continues to be the favored toy of Hollywood heartthrobs.
Justin Timberlake is a devoted supporter and Keanu Reeves can barely part with his late '90s 911 in between rides on his vintage motorcycles. Talk-show host Ellen Degeneres makes it her preferred mode of transportation between houses in Beverly Hills and Montecito.
American cars don't seem to fare well in Tinseltown. Trendsetter Mary-Kate Olsen doesn't mind, barely rising above the wheel of her extended Cadillac DeVille -- DTS with vintage cellphone antenna on the back window. Having flared in popularity in the late '90s via Jennifer Lopez videos, Escalades have all but vanished from the town's swankier valets.
Upon his move to America, soccer-star David Beckham optioned for a Lincoln Navigator with monogrammed upholstery and custom black wheels. His wife, on the other hand, remained true to her British roots with a new Bentley Continental GTC with VB-emblazoned wheels and matching upholstery.
|David and Victoria Beckham |
in Their Lincoln Navigator
Paris Hilton has been known to switch between her Mercedes SLR with gull-wing doors and a custom Bentley Continental almost identical to Victoria Beckham's. (Posh had it first.) Rap-star Eve is not one for modesty, showing off her Maserati coupe and even singing about it in her latest rap single. Other rap stars are even more flamboyant with their buying power. 50-Cent didn't waste time spending his post-Vitamin Water Coca-Cola coinage on a Phantom Rolls Royce.
No longer just a land of supersized SUVs and luxury sedans, Hollywood is taking the lead in encouraging hybrid alternatives like the Toyota Prius.
The Prius is favored by young starlets -- Kirsten Dunst and Cameron Diaz were two of the first to make a fashion statement with their environmentally conscious rides. Some celebrities seem to switch-hit between their compact Prius and larger luxury vehicles.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire are both avid crusaders in the Greenhouse Gas War, but in-between romps in their Prius they can also be seen zooming Sunset Boulevard in BMW's flagship 750il.
Not to be outdone, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been testing the new BMW Hydrogen 7-Series that runs on hydrogen or gasoline and is not yet available to the general public. Hopefully the governor will be careful on those Pacific Palisades turns, as the car is still in trial mode. And Tom Hanks recently debuted a custom all-electric Scion offering zero emissions and rechargeable battery port.
—For more ways to save, spend, invest and borrow, visit MainStreet.com.