• Used car prices in August increased an average 26.2%, or $6,454, over the past 12 months, which is down from a 31.6 percent increase in July.
  • The vehicles with the highest price increases are a mix of economy cars and impractical cars.
  • Cars with the smallest price bumps are mainly luxury SUVs.
Used car prices came down slightly in August from July, but they are still significantly higher than they were a year ago as the microchip shortage continues to impact the new and used car marketplace.

According to iSeeCars.com’s latest analysis of over 1.9 million used car sales in August, used car prices increased 26.2 percent, or $6,454, compared to the same period the previous year. This comes after a 31.6 percent increase in July and a 32.7 percent year-over-year increase in June.

“Used car prices have been coming down slightly since they peaked in June, but they are still significantly higher than they were last year, with the average used vehicle priced over $6,000 above where it was last August,” said Brauer. “As the microchip shortage-related plant shutdowns continue, and with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida expected to further elevate prices, there appears to be no relief in sight for used car shoppers.” 

Although the average used car has significantly increased in price, iSeeCars’s analysis also found some vehicles have lower-than-average increases, making them smarter buys for consumers in the market for a used car. “While these used models are more expensive than they were a year ago, they haven’t been as drastically impacted by price hikes,” said Brauer.

Top 10 Used Cars With the Greatest Price Increases 

The top ten vehicles with the greatest price increases have price changes from 1.2 to 1.9 times the average vehicle’s price increase and are primarily a mix of affordable cars and luxury cars. “Small cars have become the only affordable used cars for a larger segment of the population amid the current used car price hikes, and their price increases reflect the high demand for these otherwise lower-demand vehicles,” said Brauer. “Conversely, buyers looking for less practical cars like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class or a sports car aren’t as price-conscious and are willing to pay a premium for these vehicles, especially if they are in short supply in the new car marketplace.”
Top 10 Cars with the Greatest Price Increases - iSeeCars August 2021 Study
Rank Used Vehicle Average Used Car Price (August 2021) $ Price Change from August 2020  % Price Change from August 2020 
1 Mitsubishi Mirage $13,398 $4,457 49.9%
2 Nissan LEAF $19,990 $6,370 46.8%
3 Chevrolet Spark $14,456 $4,467 44.7%
4 Mercedes-Benz G-Class $160,465 $45,992 40.2%
5 MINI Hardtop 2 Door $23,402 $6,044 34.8%
6 Lincoln Navigator $64,413 $16,532 34.5%
7 Kia Forte $16,770 $4,125 32.6%
8 Lincoln Navigator L $66,934 $16,325 32.3%
9 Chevrolet Camaro $35,635 $8,431 31.0%
10 Kia Soul $16,940 $3,973 30.6%
Average Across All Cars $30,766 $6,454 26.2%
The vehicle with the greatest price increase is the Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact car, which saw a price increase of 49.9 percent over August 2020. It’s joined by four other small, gasoline cars, the subcompact Chevrolet Spark, the subcompact MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the compact Kia Forte, and the Kia Soul subcompact SUV. “The Chevrolet Spark and the Mitsubishi Mirage are the two lowest-cost cars on the market, while the Kia Forte and Kia Soul are among the lowest-priced options in their respective vehicle classes,” said Brauer. “These vehicles, along with the MINI Hardtop that appeals to practical buyers who want something more refined, are attainable for new drivers and those looking for cheap transportation, even with the big bump in prices over the past year.”

The vehicle with the second-largest price increase is the Nissan LEAF, which has risen in price by 44.7 percent since August 2020. “While used car prices for all electric vehicles have increased in recent months, the dramatic increase for used Nissan LEAF prices could be attributed to the 2018 model, which featured a significant bump in EV range, performance improvements, and an exterior facelift, and which only just entered the market this year in substantial numbers,” said Brauer. 

Ranked fourth is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which increased by 40.2 percent or $45,992. “The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is an opulent off-roader and a status symbol that has soared in popularity, with 2020 its best sales year to date,” said Brauer. “Its demand has outpaced supply in recent months, leading buyers to the used car marketplace where they are willing to pay a premium, especially for the range topping G550 4X4² that was only available on 2017 and 2018 models.”

Two similar American large SUVs make the list, including the sixth-ranked Lincoln Navigator and the eighth-ranked Lincoln Navigator L, which is the Navigator’s longer wheelbase variant. “The Lincoln Navigator was fully redesigned in 2018, which was its first full redesign in over a decade,” said Brauer. “With these redesigned models coming off-lease for the first time in 2021, and as the luxury full-size SUV market has boomed, buyers may be willing to pay more for these in-demand vehicles than they were for older versions.” 

The Chevrolet Camaro classic sports car rounds out the list in the ninth position. “Sports cars surged in popularity during the pandemic as drivers sought fun cars to combat boredom, and because they aren’t practical purchases, the consumers seeking these vehicles are likely more willing to pay a premium for them in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. “New versions of the Camaro were in short supply at dealerships as a result of microchip-related shutdowns, which further increased demand for used versions.”

Top 10 Used Cars With the Smallest Price Changes 

The top ten vehicles with the smallest price differences have increased 1.8 to 3.2 times less than the average vehicle and are mainly luxury SUVs. 
Top 10 Cars with the Smallest Price Increases (YoY) - iSeeCars August 2021 Study
Rank Used Vehicle Average Used Car Price (August 2021) $ Price Change from August 2020  % Price Change from August 2020 
1 Mercedes-Benz GLC $38,123 $2,832 8.0%
2 Audi SQ5 $45,652 $3,821 9.1%
3 Volvo XC90 $41,953 $3,557 9.3%
4 Lexus IS 300 $31,987 $2,924 10.1%
5 Audi Q5 $34,376 $3,866 12.7%
6 Audi Q7 $44,350 $5,079 12.9%
7 Porsche Macan $51,792 $5,950 13.0%
8 INFINITI QX80 $48,404 $5,645 13.2%
9 Audi Q3 $28,696 $3,434 13.6%
10 Nissan Maxima $25,028 $3,068 14.0%
Average Across All Cars $30,766 $6,454 26.2%
The list is dominated by eight luxury SUVs across all sizes, including the first-ranked compact Mercedes-Benz GLC, the second-ranked compact Audi SQ5, the third-ranked midsize Volvo XC90, the fifth-ranked compact Audi Q5, the sixth-ranked midsize Audi Q7, the seventh-ranked Porsche Macan, the eighth-ranked full-size INFINITI QX80, and the ninth-ranked subcompact Audi Q3. 

“The Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Porsche Macan, and the Audi Q-Series vehicles are among the highest-rated vehicles in their classes, but they are also among the most expensive, which could explain why their price increases are lower than competitive models,” said Brauer. “The Volvo XC90 and the INFINITI QX80 are also quality vehicles with advanced technology, but their aging designs prevent them from standing out in their respective segments.” 

The Lexus IS 300 small luxury sedan also makes the list. “The Lexus IS 300 was refreshed for 2021 to include exterior styling and technology updates, which could help explain why used versions aren’t as desirable,” said Brauer.

Rounding out the list is the Nissan Maxima large sedan. “While the Nissan Maxima is a highly-rated vehicle, the large sedan segment is declining in popularity, and those willing to pay for a pricey sedan are more likely to opt for a luxury vehicle,” said Brauer.

“The current state of the used car market presents a selling or trade-in opportunity for consumers who may have one of the vehicles with the greatest price hikes,” said Brauer. “While consumers were previously advised to wait to purchase a used car if they were able to do so, the microchip shortage is expected to persist for at least a year longer than originally anticipated. The only way to avoid severe price hikes for the foreseeable future is to purchase a used vehicle that isn’t in very high demand.”

Used Car Price Increases by City

iSeeCars looked at the top 50 most populous metro areas to see which metro areas had the smallest and largest increase in used car prices in August 2021 compared to August 2020.
Average Used Car Price Increase in August by City
Rank City % Price Change from August 2020 $ Price Change from August 2020 
1 Fresno-Visalia, CA 36.9% $7,524
2 Salt Lake City, UT 34.4% $7,832
3 Oklahoma City, OK 33.4% $8,061
4 Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA 31.6% $6,793
5 Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL 31.4% $6,587
6 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL 30.5% $6,607
7 Houston, TX 29.8% $7,391
8 Jacksonville, FL 29.7% $6,575
9 Atlanta, GA 29.5% $7,164
10 Hartford & New Haven, CT 29.4% $6,383
11 Austin, TX 29.3% $6,885
12 Las Vegas, NV 29.1% $6,466
13 Cincinnati, OH 28.8% $6,289
14 St. Louis, MO 28.8% $6,938
15 Charlotte, NC 28.8% $6,765
16 Memphis, TN 28.5% $6,404
17 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM 27.8% $6,859
18 Birmingham, AL 27.7% $6,599
19 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC 27.6% $6,534
20 Milwaukee, WI 27.5% $6,454
21 Kansas City, MO 27.1% $6,471
22 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN 26.9% $6,567
23 Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH 26.9% $5,791
24 Portland, OR 26.5% $6,484
25 Detroit, MI 26.4% $6,226
26 San Diego, CA 26.3% $5,953
27 San Antonio, TX 26.3% $6,387
28 Columbus, OH 26.2% $5,736
Overall Average 26.2% $6,454
29 Greensboro-Winston Salem, NC 25.9% $6,175
30 Chicago, IL 25.7% $6,347
31 Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD) 25.0% $5,933
32 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA 24.9% $6,002
33 Los Angeles, CA 24.8% $6,124
34 Indianapolis, IN 24.8% $5,805
35 Boston, MA-Manchester, NH 24.7% $6,028
36 Pittsburgh, PA 24.7% $5,656
37 Phoenix, AZ 24.6% $5,749
38 Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, MI 24.5% $5,961
39 Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, PA 24.2% $5,674
40 Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL 24.0% $5,528
41 Denver, CO 24.0% $6,008
42 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL 23.5% $5,357
43 Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA 23.1% $5,633
44 Baltimore, MD 23.1% $5,330
45 Greenville-Spartanburg, SC 22.9% $5,598
46 Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX 22.4% $5,788
47 Seattle-Tacoma, WA 21.6% $5,565
48 Philadelphia, PA 21.0% $4,980
49 Nashville, TN 20.9% $5,142
50 New York, NY 19.8% $4,895
New York had the smallest price increase at 19.8 percent, while Fresno-Visalia had the greatest used car price increase at 36.9 percent.

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 1.9 million 1-5 year old used car sales in August 2020 and 2021. The average listing prices of each car model were compared between the two time periods, and the differences were expressed as both a percentage difference from the 2020 price as well as a dollar difference. Heavy-duty vehicles, low-volume vehicles, vehicles discontinued as of the 2021 model year, and vehicles with fewer than 4 of the 5 model years for each period were excluded from further analysis.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars free VIN check reports and Best Cars rankings. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $303 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.