Used car sales have skyrocketed in recent years, not only because they could prove to be excellent value, but also because of pent-up demand after the lockdown, as well as a global chip shortage that has disrupted the new vehicle market.
This surge in demand is good news for car dealers, but which vehicles are flying out of forecourts the fastest? And which used vehicles retain their value best?
To find out, we analyzed the current state of the used car market in the US. And if you buy a used car yourself, make sure you don’t forget to arrange your car car insurance before driving him away.
The Most Demanded Used Cars in the US
First, we analyzed Google search data over the past year to see which vehicles were receiving the most searches from people looking to buy used models.
1. Jeep Wrangler – 760,940 annual searches
The Jeep is one of the most iconic vehicles of modern times, and its robust four-wheel drive system has kept the Wrangler model standing since 1986.1
Descended directly from the World War II Jeep,1 the Wrangler is an obvious choice if you’re going off-road, but it’s also at home in the city.
Searches for used Jeep Wranglers in the past 12 months were higher than for any other vehicle in the US, with just over three quarters of a million searches.
2. Toyota Tacoma – 509,490 Annual Searches
In second place is the Toyota Tacoma, with just over half a million searches for used models in the past 12 months.
The Tacoma was Toyota’s first pickup when it came on the market in 1995 and has been hugely popular ever since.2 winning Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year in 2005.3
While that initial Tacoma was a compact pickup, later models have seen the size of the vehicle increase to the mid-sized pickup we know today.
3. Tesla Model 3 – 490,360 Annual Searches
The popularity of electric vehicles is really starting to pick up in the United States and as such a healthy market of used EVs has emerged.
The Tesla Model 3 is one of the most popular electric cars in the US and the same goes for the used market, with just under 500,000 searches to buy used in the past year. In addition to its performance and impressive regular software updates, the Tesla Model 3 is one of the more affordable Tesla models, further increasing its popularity with consumers.
The used cars that lose their value the fastest
Depreciation is something very important to consider when buying a car. It can also be a good indication of where to get the best deals when buying used vehicles, and shows which vehicles will drop to a more affordable price the fastest.
Looking at the 50 most popular used cars from the section above, here’s which ones lose the most value within three years of being bought new.
1. Nissan LEAF – 49%
Electric vehicles are of course still a relatively new phenomenon, and the uncertainty surrounding new technologies means they can quickly become obsolete as better models are introduced.
This could explain why the Nissan LEAF is the vehicle that loses most of its value after three years, almost 50%.
The LEAF is one of the best-selling EVs of all time and with bigger batteries the range has grown from 117km to 364km, with older models quickly improving.4
2. Range Rover – 44%
The Land Rover Range Rover is an instantly recognizable 4×4 that has stood the test of time, launched in 1970 and now in its fifth generation.5
It is also one of the vehicles on this list whose value falls the most within three years, at 44%, although it is also one of the vehicles with the highest starting prices, starting at over US$100,000.
The Range Rover family has since expanded to include other popular models such as the Range Rover Sport, Evoque and Velar.
3. Nissan Altima – 42%
Another Nissan model is in third place, with the Nissan Altima having an estimated depreciation of 42% over three years.
The Altima is a mid-sized car that came on the market in 1992 and is one of the best-selling models of the brand.6
Buying a used Altima may prove to be a more cost-effective option than any of its competitors such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Most Popular Used Cars
We found the number of Google searches between April 2021 and March 2022 in the US for used models of more than a thousand vehicles, using Google Ads Keyword Planner†
Per vehicle, the number of annual searches for the following two terms was found before they were combined:
- Used [model]
- Second-hand [model]
Using the 50 most populous used models from the section above, CarEdge’s Car Depreciation Calculator was then used to find out how much the average value of each of them drops in the first three years after they were bought new, assuming an annual mileage of 12,000 miles (19,312 km).