If you are on the market for a used or pre-owned sports utility vehicle, leverage any of the 5 fast depreciating SUVs detailed below to score big savings.
Tip: If you want to see a car that depreciates quickly, look at one-year-old luxury sedans. Research from iSeeCars.com showed models like Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class losing 35% of their value after a single year in an owner’s hands.
Overall, SUVs do a better job at holding their value over such a time period. In fact, the sales data showed utility vehicles losing 35% of their value after three years (as opposed to one).
Yet premium crossovers, which often hit the road with a two- or three-year lease, tend to depreciate faster than, say, a Ford Expedition (a model based on the F-150 platform). Here are the five SUVs that showed the most drastic drop in value after three years in an owner’s hands.
5. BMW X5
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- Depreciation after 3 years: 44.1%
A brand-new BMW X5 cost buyers close to $70,000 on average once they added options to the base model. Three years later, 44% of that value disappeared when they sold them back on the used market in 2018.
That returned a resale price of $39,000, iSeeCars research showed. For bargain hunters, that is an easy path to acquiring a BMW crossover.
However, the BMW X5 has had a rough go of it in the last few years, with numerous public reliability concerns, complaints and recalls, making it difficult for even the most steadfast of BMW fans to get behind. If you’re going to “get behind” the wheel of a used X5, stick to the earlier years before all the trouble started.
4. Lincoln MKC
- Depreciation after 3 years: 44.3%
In 2015, Lincoln introduced the MKC crossover based on the Ford Escape, and early buyers spent an average of $40,000 for the new model. Three years later, MKC was selling for 44.3% less on the secondhand market.
That’s the equivalent of over $15,000 less for buyers who didn’t mind buying used. With the 2019 MKC sporting the sharp new Lincoln grille, expect prior editions to take the same depreciation hit.
In 2019, the MKC got a sleek redesign and a new name: the Corsair. In 2021 the Lincoln Corsair made US News & World Reports “22 Best Cars From American Brands for 2021” list.
3. Mercedes-Benz M-Class
- Depreciation after 3 years: 46.2%
Mercedes-Benz models typically join BMW as one of the SUVs that lose their value fastest on the U.S. market. In the SUV segment, there is no longer a Mercedes-Benz M-Class. After the 2015 model year, the luxury automaker began calling redesigned models the G-Class. For those who bought the final editions, their value has dropped significantly over three years.
Inh fact, by early 2018, the last M-Class crossovers were selling for 46% less than buyers originally paid. As of July, used car buyers could find models priced as low as $30,000.
2. Buick Enclave
- Depreciation after 3 years: 46.8%
By now, you probably noticed that the vehicles on this list were crossovers (as opposed to truck-based SUVs). Models like the GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia, and Expedition tend to hold resale value much better than unibody vehicles.
In the case of Buick Enclave from the 2015-16 model years, this crossover lost close to half (46.8%) of its value by the time owners went to sell in 2018. Again, that value loss doubles as an opportunity for consumers looking for a premium utility vehicle on the cheap.
1. Cadillac SRX
- Depreciation after 3 years: 47.2%
The 2016 Cadillac SRX also bowed out of the market after the 2016 model year. In its place came the XT5, which got pricier for the 2019 model year. However, the 2021 XT5 was the only Cadillac that year to get endorsed by Consumer Reports with the coveted “Recommended” Badge.
As for buying a used Cadillac SRX? While the iSeeCars.com study showed Cadillac SRX depreciating 47% over three years, further research shows an even more pronounced price drop in models from 2015-16.
Even a two-year-old SRX could be had for under $22,000 in 2018, marking more than 50% off the price from a few years ago. Before you buy a new Cadillac crossover, consider buying a pre-owned vehicle. The odds may be more in your favor.
In many ways the choice between buying used or buying a new SUV model has never been clearer. If you wait out a new vehicle one year, studies show you can save up to 30% off the original purchase price.
Indeed, in general, compact and midsize luxury crossovers tend to see the most value drain after a few years in an owner’s hands. For the value-conscious buyer, the used SUV market is the place to go.