Car shoppers looking for a great deal on a used, late-model vehicle will find plenty of choices today as more vehicles come off lease, according to a recent iSeeCars.com study.
In fact, the number of off-lease vehicles has reached a record high, according to the car search engine. That means that if you shop wisely, you can score a huge bargain — perhaps beating the price of a new car by 50% or more.
The best way to snag a great deal is to shop for cars that might not win any popularity contests, says Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com:
“The rising popularity of auto leases in recent years has led to an influx of cars coming off lease that are deeply discounted and provide bargains for used car shoppers. Some of these bargains present good opportunities for consumers as reliable vehicles that are discounted because they simply aren’t as popular in their segments.”
For the study, iSeeCars.com looked at more than 4.8 million car sales from recent years and winnowed its list of depreciating models to those that had the greatest loss in value after three years. Typically, that is when leased cars enter the used car market.
All of the top 10 vehicles on the iSeeCars.com list depreciated more than 1.4 times the 38.2% average for all vehicles. Cars that made the list are:
- Acura RLX: The value of a 3-year-old model depreciates by 55.8% (to an average cost of $28,259)
- Lincoln MKZ: 55.6% ($19,855)
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class: 55.4% ($31,051)
- Jaguar XF: 54.8% ($30,268)
- Cadillac XTS: 54.5% ($26,306)
- Lincoln MKZ Hybrid: 54.5% ($20,034)
- Kia K900: 54.4% ($26,522)
- BMW 5 Series: 53.8% ($30,203)
- Cadillac CTS: 53.8% ($26,785)
- Audi A6: 53.3% ($29,941)
How to shop for a great car
First off, let’s start with an iron-clad rule of good money management: You should never buy a new car. Vehicles are item No. 1 in “You Should Never Buy These 10 Things New.”
From the moment you drive a new car off the dealer lot and to your home, its value starts dropping quickly. In fact, a new vehicle’s value typically suffers its biggest decline during the first year of ownership.
So, buying a car that is just a few years old — like an off-lease model — is almost always a better bet. That way, somebody else suffers the car’s biggest period of depreciation. Then, you can buy that same vehicle, getting a set of wheels that is practically as good as new at a tremendous discount off the original sticker price.
Before you head to the dealer to look for that gently used vehicle, make sure to check out our story “5 Steps You Must Take Before Buying a Used Car.” It will give you some pointers for finding the right car at the best price.
What has your experience been with used cars? Share with us below or over on our Facebook page.