Top 10 Best Cars to Buy New Instead of Used
Modern advice suggests buying a slightly used car is a better than new. But that isn’t always the case, as these cars prove.
The argument tends to revolve around depreciation. New cars shed value as soon as they roll off the lot—but in today’s used-car-hungry market, the amount can be negligible on year-old examples, according to the latest study from iSeeCars.
iSeeCars analyzed the price of over 2.6 million used and new cars sold between August 2020 to March 2021. The company found that, on average, 12-month-old cars lost 17 percent of their value. The top 10 chop that down to under 9 percent. With the gap being so small, it can be beneficial for buyers to go new, “especially for consumers taking advantage of the lower finance rates that typically come with new cars,” says Karl Brauer, iSeeCars executive analyst.
Pickup trucks dominate the list, with an EV, hybrid, and compact hatchback peppered in. If you’re in the market for any of these vehicles, buying new could be the better choice:
10. Honda Civic Hatchback
The evergreen Honda Civic kicks off the list, specifically in hatchback form. iSeeCars found the average year-old model went for just 8.9-percent less than a brand new Civic. In the Honda’s case, that’s a difference of $2,309 on average. New or used, Civic Hatchback buyers get a spacious interior with room for five, a well-balanced ride, and a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.SEE ALSO: 2020 Honda Civic Type R Review: An Open Letter
With the 11th-generation Civic right around the corner—including a hatchback shape again—used prices could tumble, making America’s favorite compact car a second-hand bargain once again.
09. Chevrolet Colorado
The Chevrolet Colorado is the first of many pickup trucks to make this list. In the mid-size market, the Colorado and its GMC Canyon twin are the versatile options, featuring multiple engine, drivetrain, and body style options, including a diesel model.SEE ALSO: Chevrolet Colorado vs Ford Ranger: Which Truck Is Right For You?
According to the study, Colorado shoppers can expect to pay around 8.8 percent less for a lightly-used truck.
08. Toyota Tundra
If you’re looking for something a little bigger, Toyota’s full-size Tundra is next on the list. Even if it’s the oldest truck in the segment—it debuted back in 2007—demand for Toyota’s big boy keeps used prices up, with the average discount being just 8.3 percent over new.SEE ALSO: 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Review
Toyota has simplified the Tundra lineup over the last decade, with all models now featuring the familiar 5.7-liter V8 engine.
07. GMC Sierra 1500
We’re staying in Truck Town with the next entry, the GMC Sierra. Curiously this GM model holds its value better than the equivalent Chevrolet Silverado, with an 8.2-percent change versus 11.2-percent.SEE ALSO: 2019 GMC Sierra AT4 Review: Is This a Real Off-Road Truck?
The Sierra was last redesigned for 2019. It features no less than five engine options, ranging from a turbocharged four-cylinder through to a 6.2-liter V8.
06. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
America’s best-selling crossover is also one of the strongest in fighting depreciation. Well, in hybrid form anyway: strong demand for the battery-assisted Toyota RAV4 means a year-old model is just 7.8-percent cheaper, on average.SEE ALSO: 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review: The Dependable One
We get it: the RAV4 Hybrid is our pick of the current lineup, offering a smoother ride than its noisier gas-only siblings, and incredible savings at the pump. Those who want even more EV power should check out the new-for-2021 RAV4 Prime.
05. Jeep Gladiator
The Gladiator looks like a Wrangler with a bed because, basically, that’s exactly what it is. That extends to the drivetrain options too, with a turbo four-pot, venerable V6, and torquey diesel. You won’t find a 4xe or 392 V8 option here though—at least, not yet.
04. Ford Ranger
Mid-size trucks account for 60 percent of the top half of this list, a testament to their increased demand. The Ford Ranger matches the Gladiator’s 7.1-percent price difference, though that translates to an average of $2,416 savings instead of the Jeep’s $3,373.SEE ALSO: 2020 Ford Ranger FX4 Review
Compared to both the Gladiator and Colorado, the Ranger lineup is a much simpler one. Just one engine option exists, a 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbo.
03. Kia Telluride
Kia hit the ground running with the Telluride, and nearly two years after it debuted, demand remains high for this excellent three-row crossover. The cost difference between a used and new Telluride is just 5.7 percent, with transactions coming in $2,456 cheaper for the former.SEE ALSO: Hyundai Palisade vs Kia Telluride Comparison
With acres of space, a strong 3.8-liter V6, and looks that set it apart from a crowded segment, the Telluride remains one of our top picks for mid-size crossover shoppers.
02. Toyota Tacoma
Both of Toyota’s pickups make the list, but it’s the Tacoma that finishes higher. Anybody who has tried buying a slightly used Taco can tell you about the sky-high pricing, and the iSeeCars study bears that out.SEE ALSO: 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Review
According to the company, 12-month-old Tacomas are just 4.2 percent cheaper than their new-car-smell counterparts. Is a $1,557 average cost difference worth it to you?
01. Tesla Model 3
For many, Tesla is synonymous with EVs, and the push for the latter has a direct impact on the demand for the former. There are other factors too: Brauer points out that the Model 3 saw a $2,000 price cut last year, which closed the gap between it and used models. How small is the gap? Just 2.1 percent, or less than $1,000 on average.SEE ALSO: Chevrolet Trailblazer is Fastest-Selling New Car on the Market; Tesla Model 3 Tops Used List
That chart-topping figure does come with an asterisk, however. As Tesla doesn’t release trim-specific sales figures, iSeeCars estimated the new-car trim distribution based on its used car data. Still, if you’re one of the many folks itching to get into a Model 3, you’d be well-served opting for a a new one.
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