These Nine New Cars Have the Lowest Additional Cost Over Slightly Used Models

For those torn between purchasing a new or lightly used vehicle, the latest study by found that certain cars can be purchased new for as little as $2,885 over the price of the previous year’s lightly-used version. analyzed over 6 million new and used cars sold from August 1, 2017 to January 24, 2018, comparing the prices of new cars to one-year-old cars. It identified nine new cars that cost up to just 15 percent more than the gently-used version. When compared with the overall average of 26.8 percent, these cars may provide better value when purchased new.

Top Cars to Buy New Over Used

Rank (By Percentage) Model % Difference New Over Used $ Difference New Over Used
1 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 8.9% $3,199
2 Toyota Tacoma 10.4% $3,320
3 Toyota 4Runner 12.7% $4,605
4 Nissan Frontier 13.3% $3,180
5 Honda Pilot 13.7% $4,858
6 Chevrolet Colorado 13.7% $4,154
7 Honda HR-V 13.8% $2,885
8 Jeep Renegade 14.1% $2,897
9 Subaru WRX 14.2% $4,115
Overall Average 26.8% $7,654

“It’s widely understood that new cars tend to lose a large portion of their value shortly after they’re driven off the lot, but these cars retain more of their value over the first year,” said CEO Phong Ly. “Instead of buying a car that’s been driven for one year, consumers can buy the new version for just a few thousand dollars more and take advantage of the latest and greatest technological and safety features. When spread out over the length of a car loan at an average of 5.5 years, the slightly increased monthly payments can be offset by the added warranty and dealer incentives.”

The nine cars that have the smallest changes in price are popular models and are almost exclusively pickup trucks and SUVs. The notable exception is the Subaru WRX sports car. “The WRX is a high-demand vehicle and it had a starring role in the 2017 box office hit ‘Baby Driver’, adding to its appeal,” noted Ly.

The top spot went to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, while a second Jeep model, the Renegade placed eighth on the list. “Jeeps are known for retaining their value due to their durability and performance across all terrains,” said Ly. “Strong brand reputation is another key factor to aid in value retention, so it is no surprise that Toyota and Honda each have multiple vehicles on the list.”

“This list reflects the current marketplace as demand for SUVs and pickup trucks are at record highs while demand for passenger cars is steadily declining,” said Ly, adding, “The rising popularity of these car types could be attributed to steady gas prices.”

Cars to Buy Used also examined the cars with the greatest price difference between new and their one-year-old used counterparts. Eight had a price difference of at least 30 percent of the new car price. In contrast to the list of Cars to Buy New, most of these are luxury sedans.

Top Cars to Buy Used Over New

Rank (By Percentage) Model % Difference Used Over New  $ Difference Used Over New
1 Cadillac XTS -38.7% -$20,965
2 Jeep Compass -34.8% -$9,652
3 Mercedes-Benz E-Class -34.5% -$22,919
4 Lincoln MKZ -33.7% -$14,328
5 Cadillac CTS -33.4% -$18,170
6 INFINITI Q50 -32.2% -$14,654
7 Toyota Camry -30.7% -$8,213
8 Kia Sedona -30.0% -$9,682
Overall Average -21.1% -$7,654

“While the peace-of-mind associated with a new car may be worth a few thousand dollars to a consumer, it may not be worth tens of thousands of dollars, as is the case with these cars,” said Ly.

Luxury vehicles dominate this list, with sedans by Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, and INFINITI. The top vehicle on the list, the Cadillac XTS, costs over $20,000 less when bought used. “Many luxury cars are leased by individuals or companies for fleet or management use and replaced with newer models, and this turnaround increases the number of used cars in the marketplace, causing a larger drop in price,” noted Ly.

The non-luxury cars on the list are the Jeep Compass, Toyota Camry, and Kia Sedona. “Although Jeeps tend to hold their value well, the Compass received widespread criticism for its performance and its lack of off-roading capabilities characteristic of the Jeep brand, which could partly explain why they’re cheaper to buy lightly used,” said Ly, further adding, “Sales of the Compass and the Sedona were also higher in the last couple of years, so if consumers are dissatisfied with these cars, there may be a larger supply of them on the used car market, driving down used prices.”

“The Camry’s inclusion on this list can be attributed to the 2018 redesign, which updated the powertrain, improved the handling, and added new exterior styling, on top of new safety features. The improvements come at a premium, so when compared with new models one-year-old Camrys are much cheaper,” explained Ly.

“Whether consumers buy a brand new car or a lightly-used version of the same model depends on how much the new technology, complete lack of wear-and-tear, and the new car smell are worth to them,” said Ly. “For some models, these features cost only a few thousand more, while for others they cost tens of thousands more. Consumers should keep these comparisons in mind as they decide whether to buy new or buy used.”

Methodology analyzed over 6 million cars sold between August 1, 2017 and January 24, 2018.  New cars included in the analysis were from model years 2017 and 2018.  Lightly or 1-year-old used cars were defined as vehicles from the 2016-2017 model years with mileage within 20 percent of 13,476, the average annual miles traveled in the U.S., according to the Department of Transportation. Models with fewer than 500 new and 500 used cars sold and models without a 2018 model year car in production were excluded from the analysis.  The average asking prices of the 1-year-old used cars were compared to those of new cars from the same model. The difference in price for each car was expressed as a percentage of the used and new model average prices.

About is a data-driven car search and research company that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, including the iSeeCars VIN Check report and Best Cars Rankings. iSeeCars has saved users over $418 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.