It’s no secret that used cars are better deals. Depreciation eats into the value of a car, making it easy to go underwater on loan — especially if you opt for a luxury vehicle. In fact, the average car costs 17 percent less after a year, according to data from iSeeCars.com.
New cars are also becoming much more expensive due to inflation and restrictions on critical parts. Since 2020 there is a shortage of semiconductors, which are the main power source for modern cars. Used cars don’t have this shortage, making them a solid investment if you still want the most up-to-date features without the current MSRP on most vehicles.
These nine models were the most depreciated, but many still carry a hefty price tag for their luxury status and features.
1. BMW 5 Series
- 36.4 percent average depreciation after one year
The BMW 5 Series has a base 2022 model with a suggested retail price of $54,200, and the price tag is only going up. In comparison, Edmunds, CarFax and Kelley Blue Book all have a variety of 2019 models for $30,000 to $60,000.
Recent model years have similar safety features, including blind spot warnings and collision warnings. Specific features depend on the model you find. In general, expect to save around $20,000 for similar features when you opt for a used 5 Series.
2. Hyundai Sonata
- 36.1 percent average depreciation after one year
The Hyundai Sonata is one of the best used cars to buy if you want to take advantage of high depreciation. However, it is not a luxury car. So while it has an average depreciation of 36 percent after the first year, there isn’t much difference in price between a new 2022 trim and a used model.
Still, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the savings. Recent model years of the Sonata have similar features compared to 2022 models.
3. Infiniti Q50
- 34.9 percent average depreciation after one year
The 2022 Q50 Luxe – the most basic equipment offered by Infiniti – has some nice standard features, including lane departure warnings and decent fuel economy for a luxury sedan. Most importantly, similar used trims are about $16,000 less than their new counterparts.
Used models are also relatively cheaper than the Q60, which also made the list. Because the average depreciation is so high, this is not shocking. But it does mean that you may be able to find more features for less money on comparable Infiniti brands.
4. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
- 31.6 percent average depreciation after one year
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is one of only two SUVs on the best used car list. Even the 2022 versions of this model have a relatively low price tag compared to other SUVs. Because of this, your actual savings will not be as high as with some of the luxury sedans. Still, a depreciation of more than 30 percent after the first year is nothing to scoff at.
Base equipment comes standard with Lane Departure Warnings and Hill Assist on the 2022 model – these aren’t necessarily standard on older models. You may be able to find them, but as with all used cars, the selection of features largely depends on the stock available.
5. Ford Mustang
- 31 percent average depreciation after one year
The Ford Mustang is available in a wide variety of finishes – meaning a wide range of entry-level retail prices and features. As a result, the depreciation after the first year is high on average. However, you have a huge choice of finishes and features on the second-hand market. This can drive up the price, meaning you can save more on a new car if you’re not attached to a specific look or feel.
If you have a specific piece of equipment in mind, it’s best to browse the used car inventories that carry it. The exact features you’re looking for may or may not be standard on previous model years, so it’s worth spending time in the research phase when looking for a used Mustang with good savings.
6. Mercedes-Benz GLA
- 30.9 percent average depreciation after one year
Although the Mercedes-Benz GLA has a relatively high depreciation level, it may not be the easiest car to buy used if you want to save significantly. Based on used models listed on trusted websites such as Edmunds and KBB, the actual savings on a new GLA may be as little as a few thousand, compared to the reported average savings of about $13,000.
Like all vehicles, this largely depends on the features available with the used car. The base equipment for the 2022 model comes with a wide list of standard safety features, such as brake assist. Older model years may have kept these optional, so make sure your used car has the features you need.
7. Infiniti Q60
- 30.9 percent average depreciation after one year
The base model for the Infiniti Q60 has a suggested retail price of $41,750. The standard features are of course luxurious and include a number of connectivity features. But unlike many current 2022 vehicles, the base Q60 has no blind spot or lane departure warnings. These are available in more expensive models, but you will likely find a used car with these features for less.
Like other luxury vehicles, the Q60’s used finishes vary widely in price. Depending on the features and equipment you want, you may end up paying more than a 2022 model with basic equipment. However, for vehicles with similar features, you can save nearly $17,000 on average.
8. Nissan Sentra
- 30.2 percent average depreciation after one year
The base 2022 Nissan Sentra has a suggested retail price of $19,610. But due to the wide range of optional features, it’s not hard to find used models that cost more than its standard new counterpart. Like the other non-luxury brands on the list, the Nissan Sentra sees a decent depreciation after its first year — but you should only save about $6,000 off the MSRP between cars with similar features.
Blind spot warning, rearview monitors and Bluetooth are all standard on the 2022 model. Not all of these were standard on previous models, so you’ll need to carefully browse your used car inventory to find a car with your favorite features.
9. BMW 3 Series
- 29.7 percent average depreciation after one year
The core model 330i and 330i xDrive sedans have a MSRP of $41,450 and $43,450, respectively. But while they’re cheaper to start with than their 5 Series cousins, you’ll generally save less when you opt for used — the average savings is just over $15,000 after amortization.
Still, that’s not a bad discount for a well-known luxury vehicle. Newer used models have many of the same features as the current 2022 version, although exact specs are subject to availability. In general, expect a lot of horsepower and standard safety and controls that come with most recent models.
Financing a used car versus a new car
There are not many differences between financing a new versus used car. Most banks and dealers offer financing for both — with some limitations — and you may be able to take advantage of manufacturer financing for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles.
- A lender will have mileage restrictions for financing used cars. Usually the limit is 100,000 miles, but there are also those that fund vehicles with up to 150,000 miles.
- Lenders will also limit financing to certain model years† It can be difficult to get financing for a car older than 10 years, even if it doesn’t have a big number on the odometer.
- Special offers from the manufacturer are also reserved for new cars, although there may be some on a CPO vehicle.
Other than these, the process for financing a new vs. used car is largely the same. You need excellent credit, a strong income and limited debt to qualify for the lowest rates†
it comes down to
Used cars, especially luxury vehicles, are a much better deal than buying new ones. You can still take advantage of modern features and design without the high price tag. Almost every manufacturer also offers CPO vehicles with extra guarantees, which means extra protection for your car. And with financing from outside the dealership, you can get a low interest rate on an already cheaper car.