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Some of the most popular cars in America have become some of the least affordable vehicles on the market today. With the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the price of used cars has risen quite a bit, though some more than others. Let’s look at the top three unaffordable vehicles, according to a report done by iSeeCars, and see just how much higher the models have become. 

What does the iSeeCars report mean?

It’s not easy buying a car when there are supply chain issues, and it isn’t getting much better. While used car prices climb, household income levels haven’t, so some vehicles are beyond affordable for many people. To determine which used cars are the least affordable today, iSeeCars collected data showing median household income and compared it to idealized family earnings for buying a vehicle. 

The site takes the idealized family income and gives it a value of 100 to represent household earnings that meet the idealized figure. Analyzing car sales, especially financial loans, to fund the purchase gives them the determination of where earnings sit with families for each vehicle on the list. 

When the calculations are below the baseline income number, income for the household is below where it should be to afford the car. When it’s above the idealized figure, that means the family can afford the vehicle. The list iSeeCars came up with shows which used cars are the least affordable and how much the price has increased from August 2019 to August 2022.

What are the least affordable used cars today?

A 2006 Toyota Avalon Limited, named one of the least affordable used cars
2006 Toyota Avalon Limited | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

On the list compiled by iSeeCars, the top three least affordable vehicles are the Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Traverse, and the Volvo S60. The Toyota Avalon offers brand reliability, but it’s the most expensive to get today. It sits at 37.6% above the baseline affordability level, with an increase in the price of $13,181 over the last three years. Buying one used on the market nowadays would cost about $35,137. 

The second least affordable model is the Chevy Traverse, which has increased by $12,416 in the same three-year period. With it being a pretty popular SUV, you’d think there would be tons sitting on the used car lots, but since new car supplies are down, used models are going fast. It sits above the affordability level by 36.1% now and runs approximately $34,751 on the used market if you can find a decent one. 

The Volvo S60 is the third least affordable vehicle you can buy on the used market today. The compact luxury sedan is a great option to buy, but unfortunately, it’s not as cheap as we’d like it to be. It sits at 35.5% above the baseline affordability level with a price tag of $34,615, which is a $14,708 jump from three years ago. 

Affordable used vehicle alternatives to consider

A couple of models come to mind if you’re looking for an affordable alternative to the Toyota Avalon. First is the Chrysler 300 sedan, which is only 6.2% above the affordability level. As of August 2022, you can get one for approximately $27,404. If you want to stick with the Toyota brand, you could also choose the Camry, despite it being a slightly smaller vehicle. It’s only 7.3% above the affordability level, and you can buy it used for around $27,404.

The Chevy Traverse is a midsize 3-row SUV, so the best alternative is the Volkswagen Tiguan with the third-seat configuration. VW’s offering is only 6.6% above the affordability level, and you can get it used for around $27,238, which is only a few thousand less than the starting price of a new model. The Nissan Pathfinder is another option if you want to spend a little more money. It sits at 11% above a reasonable level for consumers, and you can find it for $28,358. 

The Volvo S60 is a compact luxury sedan, so there are a couple of models that would provide an affordable alternative to it. The best one is the Acura ILX, which is only 8.3% above the affordability level and comes used for $27,655. 

If you don’t mind going a little bigger in size and price, you could choose the midsized Honda Accord, which sits 12.9% above the household affordability level. Getting one of these used would cost around $28,847.

The Toyota Avalon, Chevy Traverse, and Volvo S60 are great vehicles to buy, but not right now, while the prices are pretty high. Luckily, you can find a few alternatives that come close to your original choice but with a more affordable price tag. 


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