But iSeeCars.com has now released study which explores the other side of the coin: Which vehicles are best to buy used over new? The new study shows that the Ford Expedition leads in the used-over-new category.
The automotive research firm and car search engine company notes that buyers will pay 23.2 percent less on an average one-year-old used car than on its new version. But buyers can see more substantial savings on some models. Price differences can be as high as 38.5 percent, or $24,690, between their new and lightly used versions.
Phong Ly, iSeeCars.com chief executive officer, said in a news release that purchasing a new car can provide the buyer with peace of mind. But if the buyer waits a year and purchases a lightly used version of the same vehicle, that can mean big savings.
“Consumers who buy a lightly used car can still take advantage of the remaining manufacturer warranties and can have the car inspected by an independent mechanic prior to purchasing to ease any uncertainties about the vehicle’s condition and driving history,” Ly said in a news release.
A mix of vehicles, including six cars, three SUVs and one minivan, are among the list of vehicles that show the greatest change in price between their gently used and new versions.
The Ford Expedition full-size SUV leads the used-over new pack with a 38.5 percent, or $24,690 price difference between its new and gently used version.
“The Ford Expedition has the highest starting price in its class, even costing more than some of its comparable luxury versions,” Ly said. “In order for it to appeal to used-car buyers, its price has to come down significantly.”
The Kia Sedona minivan ranks second with a 37.8-percent difference between its new and lightly used versions.
“The Kia Sedona ranks below its competitors in terms of family-friendly features such as cargo space, entertainment and safety technology, so it may be less desirable on the used car market,” Ly said.
Infiniti made a good showing, with QX80 full size SUV ranking fourth and the Q50 compact car placing sixth.
“The QX80’s high average starting price of $75,000 coupled with being one of the lower-rated vehicles in its class contributes to its large price reduction,” Ly said. “Similarly, the Q50 does not stack up against its competition in the luxury small sedan class, lowering its demand in the used-car marketplace.”
Demand for passenger cars is decreasing, Ly said, noting the recent discontinuation of many sedans such as the Impala and the Fusion Hybrid. He noted that five non-luxury passenger cars make the best-to-buy-used-over-new list. They include the Chevrolet Impala at No. 3, the fifth-ranked Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Nissan Altima at No. 7, the ninth-ranked Kia Optima, and the Hyundai Accent at No. 10.
The eighth-ranked Hyundai Santa Fe Sport midsize SUV, which is the five-seater version of the seven-seat Santa Fe, also made the list. Ly noted that the Santa Fe Sport is not faring well against competition in its vehicle class, and that has led to a major reduction in its starting price that is already on the low side for that segment.
iSeeCars.com compared the prices of more than 7 million new and lightly used cars sold from August 2018 to January 2019. It identified the top 10 used cars with the greatest price differences from the new versions of the same vehicle.
“While purchasing a new car offers peace of mind, waiting a year and purchasing the same vehicle lightly used can amount to significant savings,” said Phong Ly, iSeeCars.com CEO. “Consumers who buy a lightly used car can still take advantage of the remaining manufacturer warranties and can have the car inspected by an independent mechanic prior to purchasing to ease any uncertainties about the vehicle’s condition and driving history.”
Here is a rundown of the list by vehicle category.
iSeeCars determine the top 10 SUVs with the largest price differences between their new and slightly used models.
Seven SUVs in varied sizes—three compact, two midsize and two full-size—join the three SUVs on the overall list.
The fourth-ranked Kia Sportage, the sixth-ranked Nissan Rogue and the tenth-ranked Mitsubishi Outlander are the three compact SUVs. Ly said the Kia Sportage is near the head of its class in ratings, but it trails its rivals for cargo space and handling.
Because the Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander are on the lower end of rankings in this competitive segment, that explains why the used versions are priced to sell, Ly said.
The Nissan Pathfinder at No. 8 and the ninth-ranked Kia Sorento are the mid-sized SUVs on the list.
“Like the Nissan Rogue, the Pathfinder is on the lower end of rankings for its class,” said Ly. “Similarly, the Kia Sorento has the same cargo space issues as the Sportage, making it a less-than-ideal option for a family vehicle that requires significant cargo space.”
The full-size Nissan Armada at No. 5 and the GMC Yukon XL at No. 7 round out the SUV list.
“The Nissan Armada is the non-luxury version of the second-ranked Infiniti QX80 and achieves rankings on the lower end of its class,” Ly said. “The GMC Yukon also achieves low rankings, resulting in both having significant cost reductions off the expensive starting prices characteristic of full-size SUVs.”
In an analysis of the price differences between new and one-year-old light-duty pickup trucks, the three pickup trucks with the biggest price difference are the Ram Pickup 1500 at No. 1, followed by the GMC Sierra 1500 and the Nissan Titan.
“These three pickups are all full-size,” Ly said. “Just like full-size SUVs, they require a larger reduction from their higher starting price to attract used car buyers.”
The study examined the top 10 luxury vehicles with the largest price differences between their new and slightly used models when compared to the 16.6 percent average for the luxury segment.
“Luxury vehicles are often leased due to their high starting prices, so dealers have to significantly reduce the prices to attract used car buyers,” said Ly.
Additional SUVs not appearing on the overall or SUV lists include the Audi Q5 compact at No. 7 and the 10th-ranked Cadillac XT5 midsize.
“The Audi Q5 is among the priciest vehicles in its class, which could contribute to its steep reduction,” Ly said. “Conversely, the Cadillac XT5 has one of the lowest base prices in its class, but does not stand out among other vehicles in its competitive class.”
The third-ranked Audi A4 compact car, the BMW 4 Series compact car, the eighth-ranked Mercedes-Benz C-Class compact car, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class midsize car were additional cars making the list.
“The high starting price of these vehicles coupled with the lower demand for passenger cars in favor of SUVs leads to significant price decreases,” said Ly.
Hybrid & Electric
Determining the hybrid and electric vehicles with the largest price differences between their new and used models, iSeeCars noted that five vehicles have a price difference larger than the overall 28.1 percentage for the segment.
The eco-friendly vehicle with the greatest price decrease after a year is the Nissan LEAF, the only fully electric car on the list, which has a 40-percent cost difference between its new and lightly used models,” Ly said. “Although the LEAF is the among the more popular electric vehicles in the country, EV adoption is not widespread, so there is not a high demand for used versions of these vehicles."
Two Ford Fusions on the list include the Ford Fusion Hybrid at No. 2 and the fourth-ranked Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
“Both these cars were recently discontinued, which shows that they are not in high demand,” said Ly.
The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid comes in at No. 3, and its non-plug-in variant, the Kia Optima Hybrid, ranks fifth.
“The Kia Optima hybrids lag behind other hybrids in terms of fuel economy, which coupled with the low demand for midsize sedans likely contributes to their steep price drop,” noted Ly.
iSeeCars examined the list to determine the sports cars with the biggest price differences between new and lightly used models.
The sports car with the largest price difference between new and lightly used as a percentage of its total cost is the FIAT 124 Spider. That car has a 25.5 percent cost reduction, or $7,678 off its average starting price of $30,062.
“FIATs are generally less popular than other brands, so it's no surprise that it's on the top of this list,” Ly said.
Best Cars to Buy Used by City
iSeeCars also looked at the top 100 metropolitan areas and found the top 20 cities with the largest price differences between new and lightly used vehicles.
The company also determined the best car to buy used in the top 20 largest cities by finding the lightly used models with the highest price difference compared to their new version.
The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is the model with the largest relative price difference across the most cities, four.
“While buying used always amounts to cost savings when compared with the new price, some used models only offer minimal savings that are often offset by warranties and other incentives,” said Ly. “It’s important to understand that it is a good financial decision to purchase some models new, while there are some that should be purchased used.”
More details on the study can be found here.