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If you’re old enough, you remember a time when you could buy a reliable used car for just a couple thousand dollars. Those days have been long gone, though. With the recent impacts of the pandemic, the supply chain hiccups, and the economy, used car prices are at an all-time high nationwide.

You might wonder if used car prices are high everywhere or if there are pricing nuances by state or model. You’d be correct to assume that some regions of the country will be more expensive than others, as are particular makes and models. In fact, one study sifted through the data and shared how each state has one vehicle that’s the “least affordable” to buy. If you want a Jeep Cherokee and live in Alaska, you should be prepared to be a pretty penny in today’s market.

How this study defines ‘affordability’

A Jeep Cherokee on rocks pictured at the Fiat Chrysler Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois
A Jeep Cherokee perched on rocks | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Affordability, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, right? Actually, when it comes to used car affordability, there’s some data and science behind defining “affordable.” When iSeeCars began sifting through the pricing metrics and analytics, the site carefully applied benchmarks rooted in affordability data. 

First, the team looked at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There, they studied earnings reports for the average worker and drew estimates compared to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The judges reviewed household income and idealized car payments, and determined that values below 100 would mean the home earns less than an average car payment. This data was used to determine the least affordable guidelines for ranking used cars.

The least affordable vehicle in Alaska

If you’re an Alaska resident or plan to do some car shopping there, prepare for some sticker shock with a used Jeep Cherokee. Based on the iSeeCars report, buying a three-year-old model in August 2022 would set you back $29,563. That’s a 3.7% margin above the affordability threshold. It translates to a $7,918 difference from buying the same vehicle in 2019.

Now, if you live in Alaska, buying a beefy, capable Jeep, no matter the cost, can be worth its weight in gold. Some will argue that of all the vehicles on the used car market, Jeep always ranks as one of the best for retaining value. However, this report might persuade you to look elsewhere to buy that Jeep Cherokee since it’s the least affordable to buy in Alaska.

Other states where Jeep models are the least affordable

If you’re thinking, whew, good thing I don’t live in Alaska, don’t get too excited yet. If you have your eye on a few Jeep models and live in these states, prepare for high prices. The iSeeCars report shared that the Jeep Compass is among some of the least affordable rides. More specifically, if you live in Arkansas, Mississippi, or West Virginia, buying a used Compass will cost you. 

A used Jeep Compass costs $25,256 in Arkansas, $26,106 in Mississippi, and $25,381 in West Virginia. Those percentages above the affordability threshold are 36.4%, 46.3%, and 35.2%, respectively. Additionally, for those who plan to buy a used Jeep Wrangler in Virginia, prepare for a $39,671 price tag, a $14,990 difference from 2019 pricing.

While the Jeep Cherokee, Compass, and Wrangler fall among the contenders in the least affordable categories, they’re not the least affordable of all. Based on these metrics, the vehicle showing up the most among various states, with the biggest drop in affordability, is the Honda Accord. And the lone vehicle that is the worst offender of them all is the Nissan Leaf in Florida, with a 55.5% above the affordability threshold. It may not be helpful, though, to those who live in Alaska and are adamant about buying a used Jeep.

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