According to a study conducted earlier this year by car research site iSeeCars, the number one and number two fastest-depreciating cars on the market are the Cadillac CTS and ATS, respectively. Both cars lose just over half their value in only 3 years. That means you can get a current-generation CTS for an average of just $27,537, or under $20,000 if you’re okay with having a few extra miles on the clock.
That’s about the same price as a used Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Explorer of the same age. I don’t know about you, but between a Grand Cherokee, an Explorer and a CTS, I know which of those three I would want in my garage. I’ve preached before about how the CTS and ATS are fantastic used car values, but it isn’t just those two that are great buys.
It’s not available anymore, but I recently came across a screaming deal on a different American luxury sedan that made me wonder why everyone doesn’t buy one of these. It was a 2013 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost, which was the first year of the car’s final facelift before it was put out to pasture in 2016 in favor of the new Continental. You might think of it as little more than a rebadged Ford Taurus, and you wouldn’t be far off, but hear me out.
The asking price for this MKS in particular, which had right around 100,000 miles on it, was just under $11,000. For $11,000, you could get a full-size luxury sedan with all-wheel drive, 365 horsepower, massaging, heated and cooled leather seats, a ton of modern safety tech (like adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring), the SYNC infotainment system with navigation, a dual-pane sunroof and so much more. For $11,000! Now we’re talking used Hyundai Elantra money.
With the MKS having depreciated even deeper than the Taurus it’s based on, why would anyone buy a used Ford Taurus? A nicer car with more features can be had for less money. And that’s kind of the whole point of a used American luxury car.
Sure, it might not be as nice as the German cars, but it’s definitely more reliable and cheaper to live with, especially when it’s out of warranty. Not to mention how much nicer these cars are than a lot of other nonluxury cars at the same price point on the used market. As for used Japanese luxury cars, those generally have pretty strong reliability records, but they just don’t quite fall off a cliff of depreciation like the American cars do.
For a comfortable, affordable commuter or family car that’s a little more stylish than your average sedan, I strongly recommend a used American luxury car. Or, if you’re a gambler, go ahead and toss the dice on a used Mercedes-Benz or BMW with no warranty. At least the sticker price will be cheap!
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