Car shoppers looking for a great deal on a used, late-model vehicle will find plenty of choices today as more vehicles have been coming off lease, according to a recent iSeeCars study.
That means that if you shop wisely, you can score a huge bargain — perhaps beating the price of a new car by 50% or more.
The best way to snag a great deal is to shop for cars that might not win any popularity contests, says Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars:
“Three years is a popular age for used car buyers because the cars have taken a major depreciation hit, but likely have many of the latest modern safety and technology features. Some of these bargains provide good opportunities for car shoppers as reliable vehicles that are discounted because they simply aren’t as popular in their vehicle segments.”
For the study, iSeeCars.com looked at millions of car sales from recent years and winnowed its list of depreciating models to those that had the greatest loss in value after three years. Typically, that is the age at which leased cars enter the used car market.
All of the top 10 vehicles on the iSeeCars list depreciated more than 1.3 times the 39.1% average three-year depreciation for all vehicles. The cars that made the list are:
- Audi A6: The value of a 3-year-old model depreciates by 55.8% (to an average price of $27,890)
- Ford Fusion Hybrid: 54.9% ($13,565)
- BMW 3 Series: 53.4% ($22,718)
- Volvo S60: 53.2% ($19,702)
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class: 52.7% ($31,454)
- Lincoln MKZ: 51.8% ($21,517)
- Infiniti Q50: 51.8% ($23,140)
- BMW 4 Series: 51.7% ($26,998)
- Infiniti QX60: 51.0% ($25,967)
- Audi A4: 51.0% ($22,413)
How to shop for a great car
First off, let’s start with an iron-clad rule of good money management: You should never buy a new car. We include vehicles in “You Should Never Buy These 12 Things New.”
From the moment you drive a new car off the dealer lot and to your home, its value starts dropping quickly. In fact, a new vehicle’s value typically suffers its biggest decline during the first year of ownership.
So, buying a car that is just a few years old — like an off-lease model — is almost always a better bet. That way, somebody else suffers the car’s biggest period of depreciation.
Then, you can buy that same vehicle, getting a set of wheels that is practically as good as new at a tremendous discount off the original sticker price.
Before you head to the dealer to look for that gently used vehicle, make sure to check out our story “5 Steps You Must Take Before Buying a Used Car.” It will give you some pointers for finding the right car at the best price.
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