These last few years have wreaked havoc on used cars industrywide. Inflation, supply chain issues, microchip shortages, and prolonged effects of the pandemic shutdowns have all contributed to rising prices for used models. And in each U.S. state, there is one particular used model that is the most expensive.
Here’s a closer look at Georgia, where the least affordable used car to buy is the Toyota Prius. See just how much more expensive it is to buy than other models and why you might avoid buying one if you’re a Georgia resident.
How to determine affordability
You might assume that used car price affordability is subjectable, based on what individual households might deem reasonable or affordable. However, in a recent iSeeCars study, the team applied a precise methodology to discover which used cars were the least affordable.
The online automotive resource primarily functions as a vehicle search engine, helping to apply data and metrics to help consumers find the best deals and avoid the biggest pitfalls.
In a lookback period from April 2019 to August 2022, a Car Affordability Index was calculated using the median ratios of the average household income and three-year-old car prices. Rooted in metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Bankrate.com, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this project outlines which used cars ranked most expensive.
The finalized calculations rank various used car models based on pricing compared to average incomes, loan interest rates, and assumed car payments. The ideal affordability conclusion is that those vehicles that fall below 10% of a household’s income are the most affordable to purchase. And the Toyota Prius is nowhere near this ideal affordability benchmark.
The Toyota Prius used to be affordable
In a chart categorized by state, Georgia’s least affordable used car to buy is the Toyota Prius. The Prius’ percentage above the used car affordability threshold is a whopping 36.4%. If you wanted to buy a used Prius in 2019, it would have cost you roughly $13,836.
Trying to buy that three-year-old Toyota Prius in August of 2022 could have set you back $33,254. When the average used car price increases translate to a 26.7% reduction in affordability, it’s clear that the Toyota Prius is the least affordable of all.
Exploring the used car market online, you’ll see just how pricey buying a used Toyota Prius can be these days, regardless of your market. TrueCar has more than 2,700 models available nationwide, including Toyota Prius Two and Toyota Prius L models. Those price ranges are up to $39,980.
The Toyota Prius is the least affordable in other states, too
You might be wiping your brow; feeling thankful you’re not trying to buy a used Toyota Prius in Georgia. But according to this affordability study, the Prius is the least affordable to buy in other states, too.
Nevada residents need to beware, too. Buying a Prius there in 2019 would have cost $11,038. However, buying one of these hybrids in 2022 will cost you $31,425. That’s 29.4% above the used car affordability threshold.
Some of the other models that repeatedly appear on this used car affordability chart include the Honda Accord, which is the least affordable to buy in South Carolina, South Dakota, Indiana, and Tennessee. The Ford Mustang is the least affordable to buy in New York and Minnesota. And the Volkswagen Tiguan is the least affordable to buy in Kentucky and Louisiana.
So, as you price shop for affordable used cars, be mindful of this list. It’s based on analytics and reflective of geographic income levels and the effects of inflation on the used car market. If you’re buying in Georgia, you might want to rethink a Toyota Prius, too, since it’s listed as the least affordable to buy there.