Some cars depreciate because of the introduction of a new model, while others depreciate because too many of them are on the market. While it’s true that every new car depreciates as soon as it leaves the dealership, some become instant used-car bargains. This may not be great for the seller, but for the used-car buyer it provides an opportunity to find a great car at an affordable price.
In a new study by iSeeCars.com, an authority on the used-car market, the site found 10 1-year-old models that offer the most value for used-car shoppers. The iSeeCars.com researchers analyzed 15.7 million cars offered for sale from January, 1 2014, through December 15, 2014, and compared their asking prices to that of the 2014 or 2015 model (depending on the most recent model sold).
The result is a diverse list of nearly-new cars that offer the most in consumer savings. From budget sedans to European sportscars, here are iSeeCars.com’s 10 best cars to buy used over new (in no particular order).
1. Hyundai Genesis
The Genesis is Hyundai’s attempt to move several segments upmarket, and so far, the company has had considerable success. The first-generation Genesis combined the style and luxury of the full-size Lexus and Mercedes-Benz sedans for nearly half the price. The introduction of the all-new 2015 model last year caused the price of 2013 models to plummet an astonishing 38.2%, creating a huge used-car bargain in the process. The epitome of high luxury on a budget, savvy buyers were able to pick up a late-model Genesis for an average of $16,600 less than a new one.
2. Smart ForTwo
One of the most polarizing cars on the road today, the Smart ForTwo is a city-size microcar prized by buyers who love its quirky looks, good gas mileage, and easy maneuverability. While the Smart model line tops out at an affordable $17,930, used-car shoppers could pick up a year-old model for 36.9% less than a brand new one, a savings of $6,900.
3. Cadillac CTS
The second-generation Cadillac CTS was an impressive sport sedan that could stand up to stiff competition from foreign sport sedans, and it was the first Caddy in years that wasn’t wasn’t just “good … for a Cadillac.” When the third-generation Cadillac CTS debuted in 2014, it looked gorgeous with its razor-sharp styling — and it made the outgoing model a used-car bargain. Smart buyers could drive away in a late-model CTS for 36.9% less than the new model, saving a cool $20,000 in the process.
4. Chevrolet Impala
The ninth-generation Impala has replaced the Ford Crown Victoria as the ubiquitous police car, rental, and fleet vehicle in America. The reason? They’re simple, reliable sedans that can take a lot of punishment and last for years. Chevy moved the Impala decidedly upmarket with a new-for-2014 model, and that’s made the outgoing car a bargain, with gently-used models going for 33.5% less than the new model’s sticker price. For budget-minded buyers, opting for the late-model Impala over the new one saves $10,800.
5. GMC Yukon XL
When an all-new for 2015 GMC Yukon XL (GMC’s version of the Chevrolet Suburban) hit showrooms late last year, it made the outgoing model an instant value in the used-car market. After going relatively unchanged for seven years, the Yukon XL has a reputation for toughness and reliability that will last for years to come. A used one could be had for 32.8% less than a new one, saving buyers $21,100.
6. Volvo S80
Introduced in 1998, the S80 was Volvo’s attempt to finally break free of its stereotypical brick-shaped designs and create a thoroughly modern European sedan. The second-generation S80 (now entering its ninth model year) has Volvo’s strong reputation for safety, reliability, and value, and is a fantastic used-car bargain. Despite a mild refresh for 2014, the S80 has European good looks that haven’t changed much over time, and smart buyers could take home a 2013 model for 32.6% off a new car’s sticker price, saving $15,700.
7. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The 2014 model year was a big one for Mercedes, as the company introduced its all-new sixth-generation S-Class. Partially because of this, the value of the 2013 S-Class plummeted a full 32.4%. Despite it being a late-model car, the over-engineered S-Class is always a great used car buy, and buyers could pick up a well-cared-for 2013 S-Class for $37,600 cheaper than the 2014 car.
8. Lincoln MKS
Lincoln’s image may be floundering in the automotive world, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make good cars. Refreshed for 2013, the Ford Taurus-based MKS is a competent and well-appointed luxury sedan that may not have the cachet of a Mercedes or a Lexus but is an absolute bargain in the used-car market. Smart buyers could pick up a well-appointed 2013 MKS for 30.4% less than an identical-looking new one for a savings of $14,600.
9. Mini Cooper
Few cars offer as much practicality, value, and fun as the BMW-designed Mini Cooper. With an all-new for 2014 version at dealerships, the late-model Mini Cooper is a used-car gem. The new Mini may be redesigned and more refined, but the outgoing model is smaller and lighter, with a freer-revving engine and go-kart handling. For practical shoppers with a little performance in mind, they could save 23.9% by opting for a late-model Mini — and save $9,000.
10. Jaguar XK
The Jaguar XK may be one of the few used cars on the market with a strong case for “future classic” status. Over its seven-year run, The XK was hailed as a formidable and luxurious return to form for Jaguar. With the impending arrival of the new F-Type, Jaguar announced that 2014 was to be final year for the XK. The excitement for the F-Type quickly overshadowed the lame-duck XK, and a 2013 model could be had for 29.2% less than the final-year model for a savings of $28,100.
The iSeeCars.com results offer an interesting insider’s look into the auto market and is useful for car buyers. In discussing the results of the study, Phong Ly, the CEO of iSeeCars.com, said: “Understanding the difference in price between a new car and a slightly used model is a powerful tool for consumers in their decision-making process. It’s often possible to buy a car that is one model year old with low miles and get all the features available in the brand new model, so it makes good sense to seriously consider this option.”
No matter what you’re in the market for, this study shows that it pays to look at used cars.