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New Study Reveals 10 Best Cars to Buy Used Rather Than New

  • New study rates the best models to buy used instead of new
  • Study lists cars that lose the most value in their first year of ownership
  • Hyundai Genesis tops the list, along with other recently replaced models

A new study officially ranks the best cars to buy used rather than new. The study, carried out by, examined models that lose the most value in their first year of ownership. Those cars, which offer the most substantial discounts compared to a new model, lead the list of today’s best vehicles to buy used rather than new.

The top car to buy used is the Hyundai Genesis. Analysts say that the Genesis loses 38.2 percent of its value in the first year alone, suggesting that a 1-year-old Genesis offers significant savings over a new model. Much of the heavy depreciation is likely due to the Genesis’s old design, since the sedan was recently replaced with a dramatically improved version for the 2015 model year.

In fact, several of the vehicles on the list of the best cars to buy used are models that were recently replaced. They include the Cadillac CTS (second place), the Chevrolet Impala (fourth place), the GMC Yukon XL (fifth place), the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (seventh place) and the MINI Cooper (ninth place). This suggests that most cars take substantial depreciation hits right before they’re replaced with an all-new model. Of course, the all-new version of any given car will likely offer safety and technology improvements over the previous version. Still, if getting a car for the absolute lowest price is your goal, you might want to look at an older version of a new car.

The list doesn’t solely consist of recently replaced models, however. Tying the Cadillac CTS for second place is the smart fortwo, which loses nearly 37 percent of its value in the first year, making a lightly used fortwo a great value. The list also includes such aging models as the Volvo S80, Lincoln MKS and Jaguar XK.

This list is especially important for drivers interested in saving big money when buying a new vehicle. For example, choosing a 1-year-old Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which loses 32.4 percent of its value in the first year, can save shoppers more than $30,000 compared to buying a brand-new model.

However, Karl Brauer for Kelley Blue Book offers a word of caution if you’re planning to buy a model with faster-than-usual depreciation. Brauer says, “I normally wouldn’t recommend buying a car that rapidly loses value, but if a buyer is shopping slightly used vehicles, this can be a desirable trait. Of course, this assumes the buyer plans to keep the slightly used car for several years. It will continue to lose money faster than competitive models, meaning the savings made at purchase time will be given back if it’s sold too soon.”

What it means to you: If you want to save big money on your next car, consider a 1-year-old example of some of these models.


Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. Brauer brings up a good point about buyers planning to keep a slightly used car for several years if it’s one that depreciates quickly. Nice article!

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