Summary:

  • Used car prices in March increased an average of 30.4%, or $8,032 year-over-year, which is down from a 35.0% increase in February.
  • The vehicles with the largest price increases are mainly economy and fuel-efficient cars, while the vehicles with the smallest price changes are luxury SUVs and sports cars.  
  • Hybrid used car prices are up 40.5% and electric used car prices are up 36.3% amid a surge in gas prices.
Used car prices are up 30.4 percent over last year as the microchip shortage continues to impact the automotive industry, according to iSeeCars.com’s latest analysis of 1.8 million used car sales in March. This is down from a 35.0 percent increase in February.

“After coming down for the second consecutive month, used car prices remain elevated due to lingering supply constraints, and could rise again due to geopolitical factors as Russia is a key supplier of materials used to make car parts and microchips,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “We are also seeing a significant increase in demand for used hybrid and electric vehicles as a result of high gas prices, with the cost of hybrids increasing by 40.5 percent and electric cars increasing by 36.3 percent compared to last year.” 

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 still more expensive than last year, 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 1.4 to 2.1 times the average vehicle’s price increase and are primarily small, relatively affordable cars and alternative-fuel vehicles. “Small cars have become the only affordable used car option for a growing segment of the population, and their price increases reflect the high demand these otherwise low-demand vehicles have experienced in recent years,” said Brauer. 
Top 10 Cars with the Greatest Price Increases (YoY) - iSeeCars March 2022 Study
Rank Used Vehicle Average Used Car Price (March 2022) $ Price Change from March 2021  % Price Change from March 2021 
1 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid $25,620 $9,991 63.9%
2 Kia Rio $17,970 $5,942 49.4%
3 Nissan LEAF $25,123 $8,288 49.2%
4 Chevrolet Spark $17,039 $5,526 48.0%
5 Mercedes-Benz G-Class $220,846 $71,586 48.0%
6 Toyota Prius $26,606 $8,269 45.1%
7 Kia Forte $20,010 $6,193 44.8%
8 Kia Soul $20,169 $6,107 43.4%
9 Tesla Model S $75,475 $22,612 42.8%
10 Mitsubishi Mirage $14,838 $4,431 42.6%
Average Across All Cars $34,429 $8,032 30.4%
The vehicle with the largest price increase is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which had a price increase of 63.9 percent over March 2021. It’s joined by an additional hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius, which saw a 45.2 percent price increase. “Hybrid vehicles are in high demand due to soaring gas prices, with the hybrid category as a whole increasing in price by 40.5 percent,” said Brauer. “Affordable transportation has seen a surge in demand in the wake of heightened used car prices, and these hybrid cars are less expensive than the average used car.”

Five small gasoline cars make the list including the Kia Rio subcompact car, the Chevrolet Spark subcompact car, the Kia Forte compact car, the Kia Soul subcompact wagon, and the Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact car. “The Kia Rio, Chevrolet Spark, and Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact cars are among the lowest-cost vehicles 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, priced at $20,000 and below, are attainable for new drivers and those looking for affordable transportation, even after their large increase in price over the past year.”

Two electric cars make the list, including the Nissan LEAF and the Tesla Model S. “The Nissan LEAF’s price increase is likely due to the surge in gas prices as well as the heightened desirability for the redesigned 2018 model, which benefited from increased range and is now coming off lease to enter the used car market,” said Brauer. “Meanwhile, demand for used versions of the Model S waned in recent months as consumers embraced the more affordable Model 3 and the Model X SUV. But with the recent upgrades to the Model S, plus the new ‘Plaid’ model and higher fuel prices, demand has increased for the Model S.”

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class rounds out the list. “The wait time for a new version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is over a year, so buyers who want this opulent off-roader are turning to the used car marketplace,” said Brauer.

Used Car Price Increases By Bodytype and Fuel Type

iSeeCars further analyzed used car prices by looking at the price increases in March 2022 compared to March 2021 by body style and fuel type.
Average Price Increase By Bodytype - iSeeCars Study
Bodytype Average Used Car Price (March 2022) $ Price Change from March 2021  % Price Change from March 2021 
Hatchback $25,379 $7,024 38.3%
Wagon $21,422 $5,922 38.2%
Sedan $27,931 $7,507 36.8%
Convertible $51,791 $13,152 34.0%
Minivan $34,767 $8,717 33.5%
SUV $35,159 $8,359 31.2%
Average for All Bodytypes $34,429 $8,032 30.4%
Coupe $36,578 $10,868 29.7%
Pickup Truck $41,561 $6,715 19.3%
The three bodytypes that have the largest price increases are hatchbacks, wagons, and sedans respectively. “Hatchbacks, wagons, and sedans have the lowest average prices among all bodytypes, which further illustrates the heightened demand for affordable transportation,” said Brauer. “Additionally, coupes and trucks were the first segments to see big price increases more than a year ago, so their increase over the past 12 months is smaller relative to other body types.
Average Price Increase By Fuel Type - iSeeCars Study
Fuel Type Average Used Car Price (March 2022) $ Price Change from March 2021  % Price Change from March 2021 
Hybrid $33,252 $9,582 40.5%
Electric $52,514 $13,984 36.3%
Average for All Fuel Types $34,429 $8,032 30.4%
Non-hybrid/electric $34,192 $7,807 29.6%
Hybrid and electric vehicles had used car price increases well above the average for all fuel types. “The rapid increase in gas prices over the past few months has led to a surge in demand for hybrid and electric vehicles,” said Brauer.  

Top 10 Used Cars With the Smallest Price Changes 

The top ten vehicles with the smallest price differences have increased 1.8 to 3.4 times less than the average vehicle and are mainly luxury and sports cars. 
Top 10 Cars with the Smallest Price Increases (YoY) - iSeeCars March 2022 Study
Rank Used Vehicle Average Used Car Price (March 2022) $ Price Change from March 2021  % Price Change from March 2021 
1 Maserati Levante $59,975 $4,945 9.0%
2 Nissan Titan XD $41,382 $4,626 12.6%
3 Chevrolet Camaro $33,414 $4,012 13.6%
4 Jaguar F-Pace $45,390 $5,555 13.9%
5 Land Rover Discovery $51,581 $6,395 14.2%
6 Porsche Macan $57,305 $7,140 14.2%
7 Honda Ridgeline $36,079 $4,523 14.3%
8 Nissan Titan $38,715 $5,101 15.2%
9 Mazda MX-5 Miata rf $31,066 $4,262 15.9%
10 Ford Mustang $31,694 $4,587 16.9%
Average Across All Cars $34,429 $8,032 30.4%
The list includes four luxury crossover SUVs, including the first-ranked Maserati Levante, the fourth-ranked Jaguar F-Pace, the fifth-ranked Land Rover Discovery, and the six-ranked Porsche Macan. “These luxury SUVs are among the most expensive vehicles in their class, which could explain why their price increases are lower than competitive models,” said Brauer. 

Three pickup trucks make the list including the second-ranked Nissan Titan XD, the seventh-ranked Honda Ridgeline, and the eighth-ranked Nissan Titan. “The Nissan Titan and its XD heavy-duty-ish model are the slowest-selling trucks in the full-size segment, and the Honda Ridgeline is among the slowest-selling in the compact segment, reflecting low demand in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. 

Three sports cars round out the list including the Chevrolet Camaro, the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, and the Ford Mustang. “Sports cars were among the vehicle segments that saw the earliest price increases during the pandemic, so their year-over-year price increases aren’t as dramatic as other vehicle segments because prices were already high in March 2021.”

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 pre-owned car prices in March 2022 compared to March 2021.
Average Used Car Price Increase in March by City
Rank City % Price Change from March 2021 $ Price Change from March 2021
1 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA 36.9% $9,395
2 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL 35.9% $9,104
3 New York, NY 35.2% $9,134
4 Seattle-Tacoma, WA 34.9% $9,365
5 Hartford & New Haven, CT 34.0% $7,909
6 New Orleans, LA 33.9% $8,066
7 Los Angeles, CA 33.7% $8,789
8 Columbus, OH 33.7% $7,616
9 Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, PA 32.8% $7,937
10 Chicago, IL 32.3% $8,397
11 Austin, TX 32.1% $8,404
12 Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA 31.9% $7,491
13 Phoenix, AZ 31.7% $8,088
14 Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL 31.6% $7,713
15 Las Vegas, NV 31.4% $7,494
16 Kansas City, MO 31.4% $8,107
17 Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD) 31.3% $7,773
18 Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL 31.3% $7,363
19 Atlanta, GA 30.9% $8,298
20 Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, MI 30.9% $7,795
21 Boston, MA-Manchester, NH 30.8% $7,871
22 Milwaukee, WI 30.8% $7,483
23 Denver, CO 30.6% $8,361
24 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN 30.6% $8,000
25 Cincinnati, OH 30.5% $7,202
26 Indianapolis, IN 30.5% $7,484
27 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL 30.5% $7,268
28 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC 30.3% $7,536
29 Greenville-Spartanburg, SC 30.2% $7,796
30 Jacksonville, FL 29.9% $7,230
31 Pittsburgh, PA 29.9% $7,290
32 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM 29.7% $7,958
33 Portland, OR 29.3% $7,602
34 Charlotte, NC 29.2% $7,337
35 San Diego, CA 29.1% $6,959
36 Baltimore, MD 28.9% $6,718
37 Houston, TX 28.7% $7,603
38 Philadelphia, PA 28.6% $7,147
39 Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH 28.0% $6,442
40 Birmingham, AL 27.9% $7,198
41 Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA 27.8% $7,128
42 Detroit, MI 27.2% $6,684
43 Salt Lake City, UT 26.9% $6,965
44 St. Louis, MO 26.8% $6,964
45 Louisville, KY 26.0% $6,646
46 Oklahoma City, OK 25.9% $6,758
47 Nashville, TN 25.3% $6,499
48 Greensboro-Winston Salem, NC 24.0% $6,078
49 Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX 21.2% $5,751
50 San Antonio, TX 10.9% $2,763
San Antonio had the smallest price increase at 10.9 percent, while San Francisco had the greatest used car price increase at 36.9 percent.

Why Are Used Cars So Expensive? Chip Shortage Explained

The prices of used cars are at record highs because demand is exceeding supply. Microchip suppliers paused production in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect workers, and the economic slowdown caused automakers to order fewer computer chips while demand for personal electronic devices increased. As demand for new vehicles recovered, microchip factories became overwhelmed. Automakers were forced to stop new vehicle production due to a supply chain shortage of microchips and semiconductors. As a result of the production disruptions, more car buyers bought used cars due to a scarcity of new cars. There was also increased demand for used cars when many consumers moved away from cities and required personal vehicles as people abandoned public transportation during the pandemic. This heightened demand was coupled with reduced supply at dealerships as less people were trading in their old cars, which led to a shortage of used cars. The resulting shortage has caused record high prices for used cars. 

And it’s not just used cars that are experiencing price hikes. New car prices have risen too, with the average brand new car transacting above sticker price. Car companies have also slashed incentives due to the shortage of new cars, which has elevated the average price paid for new cars and caused buyers to pay over MSRP. Moreover, the Russia/Ukraine conflict is expected to further elevate new vehicle prices as Russia is a key supplier of nickel, palladium, and aluminum, all of which are required for vehicle production.

“While consumers were previously advised to wait to purchase a used car if they were able to do so, new geopolitical factors are expected to exacerbate and prolong the present used car price increases,” said Brauer. “The best way for American consumers to avoid significantly higher prices while car shopping for the foreseeable future is to either maintain their current vehicle or purchase a used vehicle that isn’t in high demand, and to be as flexible as possible with factors such as color and trim.”

More from iSeeCars.com:

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 1.8 million 1-5 year old used car sales in March 2021 and 2022. 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 2021 price as well as a dollar difference. Heavy-duty vehicles, low-volume vehicles, vehicles discontinued as of the 2022 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 $332 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.