When it comes to buying a car, there may be fewer deals, but there’s still plenty of value to be had.
Therefore, cost-conscious car buyers are increasingly looking for used vehicles in good condition.
To make sure you’re getting what you pay for, check for excessive wear beyond the listed mileage, request a vehicle history report and take the car to a garage for an inspection, advised Ivan Drury, Director of Insights at Car-Shopping – Comparison website Edmunds.
A certified used car, which usually comes from a lease, often comes with warranty coverage, which greatly reduces the worries that can also arise when buying a used car.
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Buying a used car has typically been seen as a smart way to save by avoiding the high depreciation costs that come with new cars.
However, a limited supply of new cars and trucks due to the ongoing chip shortage has caused demand for used cars to skyrocket, which has pushed prices up sharply and reduced the value of used car purchases.
Now, used cars are one of the few categories with prices finally lower than they were a year ago, according to the latest inflation rate.
Still, they remain 33% higher than normal depreciation, according to Pat Ryan, founder and CEO of CoPilot, a car buying app.
This is how you get the best used car for the money
Cars are displayed for sale at a car dealership in Carlsbad, California.
Mike Blake | Reuters
When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, a recent iSeeCars study analyzed more than 2 million cars to see which used models have the lowest price and offer the longest remaining lifespan.
The average price of 10-year-old cars and trucks in the top 20 is just $12,814, with more than 100,000 miles remaining — or more than 46% of their lifespan — according to the report.
“Don’t be afraid of the 100,000-mile mark on your odometer,” Drury said. “100,000 isn’t the mileage limit it used to be,” he added. “Vehicle durability has improved dramatically over the last decade.”
In first place, a 10-year-old Chevrolet Impala costs about $9,700 with an average remaining lifespan of almost 120,000 miles.
The Toyota Prius is the next best deal, with up to 130,000 miles of drivability for less than $14,000 — in addition to significantly lower fuel costs.
Other top competitors – like the Kia Sedona, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Ridgeline and Ford Fusion – were a range of sedans, SUVs, minivans and a pickup truck.
Among 5-year-old cars and trucks, the Honda Fit topped the list, costing an average of $18,486 with over 150,000 miles remaining – or almost 75% of its total lifespan, followed by the Civic and Prius.
A total of five Toyotas made the top 10 list of best 5-year-old used cars for the money, including the Camry, Corolla and Avalon.
The report looked at 10-year-old models priced between $9,000 and $19,000 with an average remaining life of more than 100,000 miles, and 5-year-old models priced between $18,000 and $26,000 with an average remaining life of more than 150,000 miles.
Anyone in the market for any of these used cars should “be ready to move fast,” Drury said. “Many of these vehicles won’t make it more than a few weekends before they go on sale.”
A $12,000 10-year-old car lasts an average of just 27 days on the property, according to Edmunds data.
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