New vs used cars: When new is better

Don't Waste Your Money

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — You probably remember your dad telling you to always buy a used car because they are so much cheaper than used.

But in this topsy turvy pandemic year, that’s not always the case anymore.

Karl Brauer of the automotive website ISeeCars.com says that’s not the case in 2021.

“We’ve all heard this, hey you lose 20 to 30 percent of the car’s value when you drive it off the lot,” Brauer said.

But with used car prices at all-time highs, Brauer says some used cars are so expensive, that the new version can be a better deal.

“With some vehicles,” he said, “right now the market is such that you are pretty much better buying the new car.”

He cites Tesla as an example, where a used version with 10,000 miles on it is valued just 1% less than a shiny, brand new Tesla.

“If it’s 2 percent cheaper to buy a one-year-old one, why not just buy a brand new one,” Brauer said.

Where new can be the better deal

Among the vehicles, the ISeeCars.com study found, where new can be a smarter deal are the:

  • Tesla Model 3
  • Jeep Wrangler/Gladiator
  • Kia Telluride
  • Ford Ranger
  • Toyota Tacoma pickup
  • Toyota 4 Runner
  • Nissan Frontier pickup

In many of those cases (note that all are pickups and SUVs) you may be able to get a brand new vehicle for just $2,800 more than a one-year-old version.

You also get the full bumper-to-bumper warranty, and no spilled french fries under the seats.

The website analyzed more than two million car sales over the past year to come up with their findings.

When used is a better deal

But before you get too excited, the survey found this is not always the case.

It turns out that some cars still drop sharply in value the day you drive them of the lot, just like they did for Dad years ago.

ISeeCars says many luxury cars still drop 20 to 30 percent after a year.

So it suggests you buy a lightly used version if you want a:

  • Cadillac XTS or CTS
  • Mercedes E Class
  • Lincoln MKZ.

Of course, we are talking about vehicles in the $20,000 to $40,000 range (or more) here.  If your budget for a car is only $10,000 you will obviously have to buy used.

So while used cars will almost always be cheaper, if there’s not much difference, new could be a better deal, especially because it will come with a longer manufacturer’s warranty.

That way you don’t waste your money.


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