If you drive a car—and have a need to fuel one up regularly—you’re among the people most affected by the swiftly rising inflation around the country. Indeed, the costs of buying and operating a vehicle have soared more than many other categories of everyday living.
A new study of used car prices powerfully demonstrates how the historic market conditions are affecting the automotive sector. According to the latest study by car search engine iSeeCars.com, many gently used cars are actually now more expensive to buy than their new versions (if you can find one).
The platform analyzed asking prices from more than 1.5 million new and used cars sold in April 2022. It found the average one- to five-year-old used car costs just one percent less than its new version.
This actually represents a slight improvement in the market for would-be used car buyers in 2022. But it also shows just how tough it still is out there. “Used car prices have improved since January, when the average used car was actually more expensive than its new version,” noted, Karl Brauer, iSeeCars’ executive analyst, in a news release. “The average lightly used car is currently just one percent or $454 less than its new version, and when you compare that to prices before the microchip shortage when the average lightly used car cost 17 percent less, you see that used car prices are still well above normal.”
This data represents a major departure from normal market conditions, when merely driving a new car off the lot is known to depreciate its value substantially. “Used cars are not seeing the dramatic drop in prices they have historically due to the unique market conditions we’re experiencing related to new car shortages,” Brauer explained. “Used car shoppers can still save money buying a lightly used car instead of a new car, but the savings are 25 to 30 percent lower than what we saw pre-pandemic.”
Scroll through to learn the top 10 lightly used cars that are more expensive than new, according to the data.
“The Toyota Tacoma continues to dominate the midsize pickup truck market as used versions command a premium amid inventory constraints,” Brauer said in the report. Lightly used versions on average go for 9.3 percent or $3,305 more than new.
“The surge in used car prices have made economical cars like these the only affordable options for many consumers,” Brauer explained. “It’s likely buyers see their used car price tags of under $20,000 and don’t comparison shop against new prices for the same models, which cost about $2,000 less—assuming you can find one on a dealer lot.”
These vehicles are in high demand compared with scares supply. Expect lightly used versions to cost about 10 percent, or $7,233, more than their new counterparts.
Lightly used versions of the Accent sell for approximately 10.3 percent or $1,886 more than their new versions.
Despite soaring gas prices, the average cost of a lightly used Suburban is about 11.2 percent, or $7,881, more than a new version of the large vehicle.
“The in-demand Taycan commands a six-month waiting list for its new versions, and with an average used car price of $138,714, well-heeled buyers are willing to pay more than they would for a new version,” Brauer said.
The average cost of a lightly used Rav4 Hybrid is about 13.5 percent or $5,002 more than a new version.
“The Chevrolet Trailblazer has been in high demand since its debut, and had a 65.6 percent decrease in new car sales in the first quarter of 2022 due to supply constraints,” Brauer said in the report.
Lightly used versions of the Chevrolet Corvette cost on average 16.4 percent more than the new version. “The mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most highly anticipated American sports cars ever made, and demand for the car has exceeded supply since its launch for the 2020 model year,” said Brauer. “Dealers have a backlog of orders for the 2022 model, and long waitlists have formed for the high-performance Z06 version coming for the 2023 model year, elevating demand for lightly used versions.”
The lightly used vehicle with the largest price difference over its new version is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, with an average 21.5 percent more—equivalent to a whopping $40,958. “The Mercedes-Benz G-Class opulent off-roader is a status symbol that had record sales numbers in 2021,” Brauer said. “Its success led to a shortage of new versions, with wait times exceeding a year, forcing dealers to halt orders in January and leading well-funded buyers to the used car marketplace.”
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