Tips, Tricks & Trends

Cars/SUVs/Pickups To Buy New Or Used After 1 Year

Ever notice how some cars just don’t seem to go down much in price, while others seem like a steal just two or three years after they’re new? Now there’s data compiled by iseecars that break it down. Here are the best cars and trucks to buy new-because they don’t depreciate very much. Then there’s the list for worst cars and trucks to purchase new. These are the vehicles that depreciate so much after one year it’s amazing they sell at all. Let’s look at the cars, pickups, and SUVs to buy either used or new after one year based on their depreciation.

Best vehicles to buy new

American flags fly near GM Chevrolet pickup trucks displayed for sale at a car dealership
American flags fly near GM Chevrolet pickup trucks displayed for sale at a car dealership | Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The top three vehicles that depreciate the least amount in their first year are the Tesla Model 3, dropping only 5.5%; Ford Ranger, dropping 11.4%; and the Chevy Traverse coming in just behind the Ranger at 11.7% loss after one year. 

In the case of Tesla, it only drops $2,500 in its first year. That is pretty amazing. The Traverse is the best SUV to purchase new. It was all-new in 2018 so part of the value retention is because there were no big changes these last couple of years.

Best SUVs to purchase new

For the best SUVs to purchase new you’ve seen the leader with the Traverse. Second goes to the Subaru Crosstrek dropping 13.1%, and for third place is the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid at 15.8%. The Rav4 is the only hybrid on the Buy New list. 

Best pickups to buy new

Chevrolet Silverado trucks are displayed at a car dealership
Chevrolet Silverado trucks are displayed at a car dealership | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rankings for the pickup truck category start with the Ford Ranger as we’ve already seen. In second comes the Honda Ridgeline dropping 13.8%, with the third-best in retaining value its first year is the Chevy Colorado dropping 14.5%. The Ridgeline is a surprise because it gets a bad rap for being unibody. Because it’s the best-selling pickup we’ll mention the F-150 came in eighth.

Best sports cars to buy new

Because it’s the last of the true American sports cars the Corvette will always retain its value,  and it’s the least-depreciating sports car at 13.6%. That represents a bit more than $8,000 in its first year. Next is the Dodge Charger at 13.9%. This is a bit surprising because it has been soldiering along since 2004 with only minor changes so there are a lot of used versions around. The Subaru WRX it’s third at 16.9%. That means you’ll lose about $4,900 in value the first year. 

With the 370Z probably making its last appearance in 2020 and the fact it sells so small an amount of cars it comes in at number five dropping 26.7% which is equivalent to $7,800.

Best cars to buy used

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The amount some of these vehicles drop in the first year is startling. For the first two or three cars, it almost means unless you’re putting on lots of miles that the first year so you can enjoy the newness you should stay away from these models. There are similar cars that provide the same levels of performance, luxury and/or prestige that depreciate far less. 

Leading this list is the 7 series BMW. This flagship sedan drops 43% in its first year. That amount represents $47,447. It’s a staggering amount of depreciation. An S-Class Mercedes sedan or Audi A8 would be a similar car without a huge drop after one year. Next up is the Audi A6. It loses 41% of its value in the first year which means $26,199. We would suggest a C-Class Mercedes or 4 series BMW, both providing the same qualities the Audi does with less loss of value. The Jaguar XE loses 40.9% of its value its first year coming in at number three. Unfortunately, Jaguar has a reputation for high repair costs which may partially explain it being on the list. The only convertible on the list is the Camaro which drops 37.8% losing $16,829 in its first year.

SUVs to buy used

For SUVs, the BMW X6 leads the list to buy used. It drops 37.7% its first year which amounts to $31,655. It has less cargo and passenger room as similar luxury SUVs while some question the styling. The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque was redesigned in 2020. That is one reason for the 2019 drop but the other is the marginal fuel economy and reliability reports in forums. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is third losing 33.9% of its value. Alfas have it rough because they aren’t well known and don’t have much of a track record for value. The good news is that the value drop represents a tad over $16,000 loss which isn’t terrible in the small luxury SUV segment.

Pickup trucks to buy used

Ford pickup trucks at dealership
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In the pickup truck segment, the best three trucks to buy used are the GMC Sierra 1500, Ram 1500, and Nissan Titan XD. Because the GMC and Ram pickups tend to be optioned out they are more expensive so they tend to drop in price more in the first year of ownership. The Titan has a limited amount of options so its appeal is also limited.