1 ‘Key Drawback’ to Buying a New SUV According to Consumer Reports

With any vehicle, the first decision in choosing the right SUV is whether the pick will be a new or used model. While the question may be subjective depending upon the potential owner, there are still truths with either choice. New and used picks can have pros and cons, but there are a few essential factors to consider when purchasing an SUV, according to Consumer Reports.

Should you buy a new motor vehicle?

Car shopping inside a Proton X70 at the Rahman Brothers Automotive Bhd. dealership in Shah Alam, Malaysia
Shopping for an SUV at a dealership | Samsul Said/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Purchasing a brand-new SUV has the benefits of the latest and greatest collision-avoidance equipment, safety improvements, and up-to-date infotainment tech. Critically, they also come with a precious bumper-to-bumper factory warranty. When looking for a new SUV, manufacturers will provide all the information you need to make your purchase possible. Dealership personnel can tell you precisely what the vehicle can do. Moreover, they can even give shoppers a chance to drive it and keep it for a few days while they decide.

Even if shoppers cannot find the exact spec they want on the dealer lot, most manufacturers allow various customization opportunities. Potential buyers can have their choice of color, upholstery, wheels, drivetrain configuration, and safety equipment, among many others. Furthermore, financing rates are typically lower than for a used vehicle.

The cons of buying a new SUV

Sometimes, buying the first year of a model redesign or a new model altogether can cause problems. While rare, there could be manufacturing issues that remain uncovered until purchase. However, they are typically resolved through official recalls.

The obvious disadvantage to buying a brand-new SUV is cost—new vehicles are expensive. While mainstream subcompact SUVs start in the $20,000 range, their luxury complements can command over $50,000. Even if a new SUV is reasonably priced, the expenses don’t stop there. Since SUVs are generally pricier than smaller cars, they require more costly insurance.

The pros of buying a used SUV

A used SUV may be a better option if the above cons outweigh the pros. Buying a used SUV can save money upfront. Consumer Reports (CR) also says the used-car market is about three times the size of the new-car market. Therefore, shoppers are spoiled with choices.

SUVs with a good bill of health and are appropriately maintained can see more than 200,000 miles on the clock. Since used SUVs have had time to be tested like various customer reporting outlets like CR, they will know where faults may lie.

The cons of buying a used SUV

Shoppers should avoid SUVs that have been modified. While OEM parts fitted by a dealership mechanic should carry some type of warranty, independent mechanics complete most mods with aftermarket parts. Improper equipment and installation can cause accelerated wear and tear, leading to expensive repairs.

Another major disadvantage used SUVs have to new models is that many are bought ‘as-is.’ These vehicles don’t include a warranty from the dealership or private party, and buyers must accept any issues that exist or develop. Therefore, if a mechanical or cosmetic problem emerges, the party that sold it isn’t obligated to fix it.

What is the 1 key drawback to buying a new SUV?

Buying a new SUV may seem like the better bet, given the peace of mind potential buyers can have. However, an expensive elephant in the room hasn’t been mentioned. It can cost owners thousands of dollars in a short amount of time and induce considerable headaches with depreciation.

Consumer Reports asserts that the critical drawback to buying a new SUV is how fast it depreciates. Many vehicles have been known to shed a third of their value in the first two to three years of ownership. Nevertheless, depreciation can vary depending on several factors. Market competition, fuel prices, new model introductions, recalls, emission regulations, and other aspects can change the rate of value loss.

How to approach buying a new vehicle

Financing a new vehicle with a small down payment can easily place buyers “upside down” on their loans. Owing more than a car is worth is a quick way to lose money before its eventual sale.

Another factor is deciding if the SUV will be sold within the first few years of ownership. If that’s the case, choosing an unoffensive color like silver, black, or white will mitigate depreciation more than orange, red, or green. Choosing an SUV with top-notch reliability scores will also battle against value loss for those who look to buy new.

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