A new car loses 10% of its worth the instant its first owner drives it off the lot, according to an old proverb. In reality, 10% of the vehicle's depreciation actually happens during the first month of the sale, according to CARFAX data. A new car will also lose 20% of its overall value within the first year of ownership. For new car owners, this quick depreciation is bad news, but for used car buyers, it's good news. What are the top used automobiles to purchase, then? The four-door sedan is always the best option, according to Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor for Kelley Blue Book.
Car buyers should "particularly (at) those from Asian brands," he said, adding that there is a current crop of good, solid compact cars with high feature sets and good fuel economy. No matter what used car you end up considering, DeLorenzo advises: "Get a vehicle history. Check safercar.gov for recalls."
The standard MSRP for a new Hyundai Sonata is $22,500. A three-year-old Sonata that costs approximately $10,000 less than that is rather simple to find. Given that the typical American travels 13,474 miles annually and that Hyundai provides a five-year, 60,000-mile guarantee, it is reasonable to predict that the majority of these inexpensive, dependable sedans will continue to be covered for two years and many more miles.
Hatchbacks are less expensive than small SUVs to begin with and because they are less popular than crossover SUVs, they represent a better value for the consumer, according to Matt DeLorenzo of Kelley Blue Book. The basic price of a brand-new Kia Rio is only $15,390; 2016 vehicles are now nearly a third less expensive than that.
One of the most popular vehicles in the nation and has been for many years is the Toyota Corolla. The Corolla makes a fantastic used car because it is affordable, with a base MSRP of $19,620 for a 2019 model, and dependable. It also makes a wonderful used car because of how little maintenance it needs and how little it costs the owner compared to just about any other car out there.
According to DeLorenzo, a VW warranty "has six years (and) 72,000 miles," which makes these used cars excellent in terms of prolonged coverage. A 2016 Volkswagen Jetta is available for less than $12,000, but a brand-new Volkswagen Jetta costs $18,745. The 2016 Jetta received a score of nine out of ten from US News for its total cost of ownership.
2018 saw a makeover of the capable, little Crosstrek, which makes older models even more cost-effective than they would have been. A 2016 year option Crosstrek has a fair purchase price of $16,662, whereas a brand-new Crosstrek has a basic MSRP of $21,895.
Consider a "trendy, odd-ball vehicle" like the Nissan Cube or the Kia Soul if you want a used car that is fairly reasonable today and aren't concerned about resale price tomorrow. They are inexpensive but don't have much retained value, he said, so long as you intend "to hang onto it for a long time." A three-year-old Kia Soul is available for considerably less than $12,000.
Ford Focus Electric
If you look around a little, you can find a 2016 Ford Focus Electric for between $13,000 and $14,000. Moreover, according to DeLorenzo, "If you're an urban inhabitant and have access to a garage with a plug, you might also check for a used EV. The costs are incredibly low, and while many of them have less than 100-mile ranges, if you just need a town car, it's a fantastic alternative."