The cost of new cars was brought home when I went deaf in my left ear. It was only impacted wax, but it took three visits and a $470 doctor’s bill to fix it. Doc said he just bought a new ’03 Mercedes-Benz SL. That’s $85,000, so I understood why I was paying $470 for cleaning an ear. Then I drove the new Mercedes E-Class, which is very good, but the price runs $50,000 for a nicely equipped 6-cyl. to $60,000 for the V-8. It’s not just Mercedes. I’ve seen a $30,000 Toyota Camry, a ...

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