Though it doesn’t have the allure of driving a brand-new vehicle off of a dealer’s showroom floor, purchasing a used car or truck is almost always the better deal. One could make a case for a brand-new ride being more intrinsically desirable, or the only way to obtain the hottest new features, but they’re costly at an average transaction price that’s over $36,000. What’s more, the average new vehicle will lose as much as a third of its original value after the first year on the road, and at least half of its MSRP after three years.
That makes the average $36,000 new car a $24,000 one-year-old used model, and renders the typical three-year old vehicle worth $18,000 or less after three years. Saving around $12,000 to obtain a model that most likely has less than 15,000 miles on the odometer can prove to be a difficult deal to beat.
However, there are instances where factory-fresh vehicles can be as good a deal – perhaps even better, depending on the circumstances – as their one-year-old pre-owned counterparts. That’s according to a study of new and used-car transactions monitored by the automotive data and research company iSeeCars.com.The website identifies nine 2018 models that basically hold onto their resale values so tenaciously, there’s no significant financial advantage to choosing a year-old version. The top example here is the iconic Jeep Wrangler, which will cost a buyer just $3,199 more for a shiny new version than he or she would pay for the average one-year-old model. That’s a mere 8.9% in first-year depreciation.
“Instead of buying a car that’s been driven for one year, consumers can buy the new version for just a few thousand dollars more and take advantage of the latest and greatest technological and safety features,” says iSeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly. “When spread out over the length of a car loan at an average of 5.5 years, the slightly increased monthly payments can be offset by the added warranty and dealer incentives.”
As an example, the compact Jeep Renegade crossover SUV starts at $18,445 and is predicted to lose just 14.1% of its original sticker price after one year; that amount, however, is virtually offset by a $3,000 cash-back rebate being offered on the Renegade this month.