Money expert Clark Howard has always recommended that you buy a slightly used car — two or three years old — to get the most for your money.
But which almost-new cars are the best bargains right now? iSeeCars.com is out with a new list!
iSeeCars, a car search engine website, says the average vehicle will depreciate 35% after three years, which is why Clark likes the idea of buying a used car instead of a new one.
However, some cars depreciate at an even higher rate, presenting buyers with an opportunity for big savings.
“The rising popularity of auto leases in recent years has led to an influx of cars coming off lease, creating the opportunity for consumers to find bargains on late-model vehicles,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “Consumers who take advantage of these best bargains can purchase a three-year-old car for half the price of what it would cost to buy the same car new.”
For this study, iSeeCars.com analyzed more than 4.1 million car sales and identified models with the greatest loss in value after three years — the time when most leased cars enter the used car market.
iSeeCars: 10 best bargains on almost-new vehicles
|Rank||Car||Avg. 3-Year-Old Used Price||% Depreciation||Depreciation Compared to Average|
|1||BMW 5 Series||$30,846||52.6%||1.5 x|
|2||Volkswagen Passat||$14,906||50.7%||1.4 x|
|3||Mercedes-Benz E-Class||$34,010||49.9%||1.4 x|
|4||BMW 3 Series||$24,024||49.8%||1.4 x|
|5||Ford Taurus||$18,098||49.7%||1.4 x|
|6||Chrysler 200||$14,011||48.4%||1.4 x|
|7||Volkswagen Jetta||$13,157||48.1%||1.4 x|
|8||Audi A3||$21,120||47.9%||1.4 x|
|9||Cadillac SRX||$26,291||47.2%||1.3 x|
|10||Buick Enclave||$26,620||46.8%||1.3 x|
|Average for All Vehicles||35.0%||1.0 x|
The BMW 5 Series luxury vehicle earned the top spot on the list. It depreciated 52.6% and 1.5 times more than average. iSeeCars.com says there’s a reason so many luxury models made the list.
“Luxury brands are known for depreciating at a higher rate because they are often leased to keep monthly payments down, which lowers the demand for these vehicles in the used car market,” said Ly. “While some luxury models tend to quickly lose a lot of their value, they still don’t drop in price enough to attract used car buyers who may be reluctant to pay the premium for high-end trims and technological features.”
Overall, the list features vehicles across a wide range of price points. Two Volkswagen models, the Passat and Jetta, have average prices under $15,000 after three years.
All of the cars have a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rating of five out of five, with the exception of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which earned four stars.
Of course, this list should only be a starting point for your car research. Clark suggests that you consider a short-term subscription to Consumer Reports to read its reviews and ratings.