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- New cars lose 10% of their value within the first month of ownership and 20% within the first year.
- That’s bad news if you’re buying a new car, but great news if you’re buying a used one.
- Here are seven of the best used cars you can buy.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There’s an old adage that a new car loses 10% of its value the moment its first owner drives it off the lot.
In fact, according to CARFAX research, that 10% depreciation occurs over the first month after the sale. And over the course of its first year, a new car will lose about 20% of its overall value.
This rapid devaluation is bad news for new car owners, but welcome news to the used car buyer.
So what are the best used cars to buy? According to Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor for Kelley Blue Book, the four-door sedan is always the best bet.
“There is a current crop of good, solid compact cars that have high feature sets and good fuel economy,” he said, adding that car buyers should look “particularly (at) those from Asian brands.”
And no matter what used car you end up considering, DeLorenzo says: “Get a vehicle history. Check safercar.gov for recalls.”
Read on to see seven of the best used cars you can buy.
The average American drives 13,474 miles per year, so as Hyundai offers a five-year, 60,000 mile warranty, it’s safe to assume most of these affordable, reliable sedans will still be covered for two years and many miles to come.
Says Matt DeLorenzo of Kelley Blue Book: “If you want the utility of a sport/utility, look at hatchbacks.”
Hatchbacks are less expensive than compact SUVs to begin with, and as they are in less demand than crossover SUVs, they are a better deal for the buyer. A brand new Kia Rio has a base price of just $15,390; 2016 models now cost about a third less than that.
The Toyota Corolla has been for years and remains one of the best selling cars in the country. Affordable, with a base MSRP of $19,620 for a 2019 model, and reliable, Corolla make great used cars thanks to the relative low price of a pre-owned vehicle and thanks to the fact that they require so little maintenance, costing owners less than just about any other car out there for service and repairs.
DeLorenzo said that a warranty from VW “has six years (and) 72,000 miles,” making these great used cars in terms of extended coverage. A new Volkswagen Jetta costs $18,745 today, while a 2016 Jetta can be had for less than $12,000. And US News gave the 2016 Jetta a nine out of 10 score for Total Cost of Ownership.
- Subaru Media
The capable, compact Crosstrek underwent a redesign in 2018, which makes earlier models even more affordable than they would have been. A brand new Crosstrek has a base MSRP of $21,895, while according to Kelley Blue Book, 2016 year option has a fair purchase price of $16,662.
If you want a pre-owned car that’s quite affordable now and you’re not worried about re-re-sale price later, consider what DeLorenzo calls a “trendy, odd-ball vehicle” like the Nissan Cube or the Kia Soul.
As long as you plan “to hang onto it for a long time, they’re cheap but don’t have much in retained value,” he said. A three-year-old Kia Soul can be had for well under $12,000.
Ford Focus Electric
A 2016 Ford Focus Electric can be found for between $13,000 and $14,000 if you shop a bit.
And as DeLorenzo explains, “If you’re an urban dweller and have access to a garage with a plug, you might also check out a used EV. The prices are really low, and while many of them have less than 100-mile ranges, if you just need a town car, it’s a perfect option.”