These cars lose most of their value after three years.
Let’s face it — owning a new car is an expensive venture. There’s the sheer sticker shock that you have to face on the lot, then there’s taxes, insurance and maintenance to think about. Farthest from most people’s minds is depreciation, which is the one number that can really wreak havoc on your recent automotive investment. According to iSeeCars.com, the average car loses 39.3 percent of its value over the first three years. However, there is an up side.
You’d probably think these cars are money pits if you bought them new. If you’re looking for a nearly-new car though, these high depreciators can spring up as true bargains. According to a recent comprehensive iSeeCars.com study, these cars lose their value at up to 50 percent faster than the average model. The research site “examined the list [of almost-new car depreciation] for cars currently priced under $20,000 to determine the most affordable bargains ideal for new drivers and graduates.”
Even if you’re not a new driver or graduate, some of the models on this list give you a lot of car for your money. Since they have already lost most of their value, they won’t break the bank to buy, either.
Here are the site’s top 10 used ‘bargains’ under $20,000:
10) Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
First up on the list is Hyundai’s first hybrid vehicle sold in the United States. While the first models were rounded with a funky-looking front end, the second-generation model was altogether more conservative.
Despite the styling change, the three-year value according to iSeeCars stands at $16,303 — representing 47.0 percent depreciation over three years. While that is fairly steep, it’s only 1.2 times higher than the average three-year depreciation of 39.3 percent.
9) Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 isn’t out-of-this-world expensive to begin with, although it is one of the pricier cars in its class to buy new. It’s not surprising to learn that 3-year-old models are changing hands at a cheaper price, then. Better yet, its small size, agility and straightforward approach mean this car is also a good pick for first-time drivers.
Its three-year value is $11,469, a 47.2 percent loss. Again, that’s 1.2 times the average depreciation rate. These may be cheap buys, but Fiat long-term reliability has been a question mark ever since the brand’s return to the U.S. with this model.
8) Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan is the brand’s best-selling model, and it just turned over into a new generation for the 2018 model year. We’re talking used, though, so that means looking at the first-generation model. Even then, it was one of the more expensive cars in its class. That doesn’t help when it comes to depreciation.
This compact crossover’s three-year value stands at $16,235, a 47.7 percent loss. That’s 1.2 times the average depreciation rate. It’s also the sole SUV on this list, so it boasts good practicality. The Tiguan has generally has pretty good reliability ratings.
7) Ford Taurus
Back in the day, the Ford Taurus was one of America’s best-selling cars, let alone one of the company’s most iconic nameplates. The world has moved on from full-size sedans, by and large, leaving the Taurus out in the cold. That’s more the case now than ever, since Ford recently stopped production in 2019.
The three-year value on a Ford Taurus is $17,587, a 48.7 percent drop over its new sticker price. That’s 1.2 times the average depreciation rate. Still, it’s good news if you want to pick up a used model. It’s a big car, not to mention an inoffensively styled one.
6) Fiat 500L
Yes, another Fiat makes it into the ‘best bargains’, otherwise known as the ‘highest depreciators’ category. The Fiat 500L much larger than its diminutive city car cousin, so it’s quite a bit more practical. That said, it’s certainly not the prettiest car in the world. We also can’t help but mention Fiat’s lower reliability ratings in recent years either, meaning this car could be dearer than others to keep on the road.
Still, you can’t sneeze at a $13,403 price tag, representing a 49.1 percent loss in value over three years. That’s 1.2 times the average depreciation rate. These cars haven’t held their value well, but finding one used to buy may prove challenging. Fiat sales have slipped these past few years, so not many bought a 500L new in the first place.
5) Kia Optima Hybrid
The Sonata Hybrid’s cousin, the Kia Optima Hybrid, also makes it into the top 10 bargains. This car is more aggressively styled than its Hyundai counterpart, but it also depreciates at a higher rate.
Over three years, the Kia Optima Hybrid will lose 49.2 percent of its value, according to the iSeeCars study. That works out to an approximate price of $16,381, which isn’t bad for a fuel efficient midsize sedan. Again, bear in mind these cars cost at least $29,310 to buy new.
4) Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet’s full-size Impala sedan is another car to get the ax from its creator. General Motors is culling its passenger car lineup, and there’s just no place in it for waning sedans. While that spells trouble for folks who bought them new, it does make them a steal on the used market.
A 3-year-old example should set you back about $17,745, according to the iSeeCars study. That represents just under half, or 49.4 percent, of its value gone in that period. That is 1.3 times the average depreciation rate. Think about it – a slightly used Impala, or a brand new Sonic? It may be worth making the larger, comfier choice.
3) Ford Fusion Hybrid
What is it with hybrid sedans making the list? They’re expensive to buy new, for a start. This particular model starts off about $5,000 more to buy new, but used values have not been kind to this car.
Over three years, the Ford Fusion Hybrid should run around $14,844. That’s a substantial 49.7 percent lost value, or 1.3 times the average depreciation rate. It offers a good amount of practicality, and the Fusion Hybrid offers up to 42 mpg combined, according to the EPA.
2) Kia Cadenza
So far as the midsize Kia Cadenza goes, it’s fine. Nothing spectacular, but it doesn’t have any vices either. Its handsomely styled, offers a fair bit of technology, and comes with Kia’s 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
At the end of a three-year period, the Kia Cadenza is worth about $19,508. That represents a 50.2 percent loss in value, or 1.3 times the average depreciation rate. As with the other sedans on this list, the Cadenza offers a reasonable amount of car for the money. After all, this car is about the same as a new mid-range Kia Rio. A new Cadenza will eventually make its way to the U.S. market, which may also impact used values.
1) Lincoln MKZ
Brand new, a 2016 Lincoln MKZ started at just over $36,000. However, if you buy one now, you’ll be spending much less than that. The MKZ still stands in the shadow of Lincoln’s crossovers, and its sales reflect waning customer interest in sedans. The company did recently give the MKZ a facelift, and is reportedly working on a replacement.
A 3-year-old, pre-facelift Lincoln MKZ will set you back about $19,855 according to the iSeeCars study. That represents a whopping 55.6 percent in lost value from the point the car was new. That is 1.4 times the average depreciation rate, making these cars a true bargain in the used market.
Which one of these used bargains would you consider? Let us know in the comments!