Highlights: 

  • Today’s late-model used car shoppers have to buy cars more than twice as old as what the same money bought them in 2019
  • $23,000 Bought a 3-year-old used car in 2019, but today $23,000 won’t even buy a 6-year-old car 
  • In 2019 $14,500 to $16,500 bought a 3-year-old Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, but today those models would have to be 8 years old to land in the same price range
  • Limited production of new cars in 2020-2022 is reflected in the scarce availability of 1- to 3-year-old used cars

A combination of restricted used car supply and inflation has forced buyers into much older used cars over the past 4 years. Buyers with a $23,000 budget could purchase a 3-year-old car in 2019, but that same amount is not enough for an average 6-year-old used car today. The reduced production of new cars in 2020, 2021, and 2022 is now reflected in limited used car availability and dramatically higher prices.

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 21 million used cars sold in 2019 and 2023 and found that the average age of used cars sold increased from 4.8 years to 6.1 years, while the average price across all ages increased 33 percent, from $20,398 to $27,133.

“Plant shutdowns and limited new car production during the pandemic is still playing havoc with the used car market,” said iSeeCars’ Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “With 28 percent fewer 1- to 3-year-old used cars today compared to 2019, today’s buyers have to shop 6-year-old – or older – cars to find a comparably priced vehicle.” 

Limited new car production during pandemic means limited used cars today

Looking at used car market share reflects the lack of new car production due to supply chain issues between 2020 and 2022.

“The impact of restricted new car production during the pandemic has come home to roost in the used car market,” said Brauer. “With 1- to 3-year-old used car supply down between 20 and 45 percent, buyers that previously shopped for late model year used cars now have to spend much more or consider much older vehicles.”  

Age of Cars and Change in Market Share: 2019 to 2023 – iSeeCars Study
Age of Cars (Years) % Share 2019 % Share 2023 % Change in Share, 2019-2023
1 13.5% 7.3% -45.8%
2 14.4% 11.6% -19.5%
3 21.1% 15.5% -26.7%
4 12.6% 11.7% -7.0%
5 7.6% 8.5% 11.7%
6 6.5% 7.8% 19.2%
7 5.0% 6.8% 36.1%
8 4.0% 6.3% 58.1%
9 2.9% 5.2% 80.2%
10 2.0% 4.4% 123.7%
11+ 10.4% 14.9% 43.0%

The money that bought a 3-year-old car in 2019 can’t buy a 6-year-old car in 2023

Restricted new car production during the pandemic has impacted the entire used car market. One-year-old used cars have had the highest price increase of 67 percent from 2019 compared to 2023. While the most dramatic price increases have occurred for 1- to 7-year-old vehicles, prices of all car ages are up an average of 33 percent across the used car market.
Change in Average Price of Used Cars by Age: 2019 to 2023 – iSeeCars Study
Age of Cars (Years) Average Price 2019 Average Price 2023 % Change in Average Price, 2019-2023
1 $27,793 $46,403 67.0%
2 $23,886 $37,675 57.7%
3 $23,048 $32,493 41.0%
4 $21,376 $30,648 43.4%
5 $18,258 $27,506 50.7%
6 $15,777 $24,210 53.4%
7 $14,251 $21,615 51.7%
8 $13,395 $19,476 45.4%
9 $11,880 $16,915 42.4%
10 $10,728 $14,898 38.9%
11+ $8,797 $11,615 32.0%
Overall Average $20,398 $27,133 33.0%

Today’s used car budget buys much older used cars compared to 2019

iSeeCars analyzed the prices of 3-year-old models in 2019 and compared them to what that same amount of money would buy in 2023. The 48 models listed below have to be more than twice as old in 2023 to cost roughly the same as (within $1,000 of) their 2019 prices. 
Used Car Budget and Age Comparison: 2019 vs 2023  – iSeeCars Study
Model Average 3-Year-Old Price in 2019 Age of Car With Closest Average Price in 2023 Average Price (for "Age of Car") in 2023 
Chevrolet Spark $9,878 9 years old $9,692
Nissan Versa $10,095 8 years old $10,148
Nissan Versa Note $10,435 8 years old $10,387
Chevrolet Sonic $10,659 8 years old $10,552
Hyundai Accent $10,464 8 years old $10,609
Fiat 500 $11,766 8 years old $11,320
Kia Forte $12,031 8 years old $11,525
Hyundai Elantra $12,222 8 years old $11,925
Honda Fit $14,575 8 years old $14,464
Mazda MAZDA3 $14,497 8 years old $14,530
Volkswagen Golf $14,876 8 years old $14,758
Toyota Corolla $14,373 8 years old $14,788
Honda Civic $16,351 8 years old $15,460
Toyota Camry $16,570 8 years old $16,194
Ford Mustang $23,584 8 years old $23,755
Chevrolet Corvette $53,527 8 years old $52,759
Dodge Dart $12,086 7 years old $11,687
Ford Fiesta $11,124 7 years old $11,781
Chevrolet Cruze Limited $12,352 7 years old $11,871
Nissan Sentra $12,642 7 years old $12,124
Hyundai Elantra GT $12,965 7 years old $12,949
Ford Focus $12,789 7 years old $12,990
Chevrolet Malibu Limited $13,740 7 years old $13,170
Kia Soul $13,323 7 years old $13,317
Volkswagen Jetta $13,494 7 years old $13,722
Fiat 500X $14,476 7 years old $13,895
Ford Fusion $14,765 7 years old $13,975
Hyundai Veloster $13,318 7 years old $14,022
Volkswagen Passat $14,684 7 years old $14,406
Chrysler 200 $14,096 7 years old $14,670
Volkswagen Tiguan $16,298 7 years old $15,437
Subaru Impreza $16,642 7 years old $15,995
Mazda MAZDA6 $16,385 7 years old $16,149
Jeep Renegade $17,388 7 years old $16,977
Acura ILX $17,765 7 years old $17,440
Mazda CX-3 $17,703 7 years old $17,736
Honda HR-V $18,022 7 years old $17,820
Honda Accord $18,038 7 years old $18,580
Volkswagen Golf GTI $19,757 7 years old $18,970
Toyota Prius $19,903 7 years old $20,101
Honda CR-V $20,411 7 years old $20,142
Nissan Frontier $20,413 7 years old $20,361
Toyota RAV4 $20,782 7 years old $20,400
Jeep Wrangler $26,003 7 years old $25,653
GMC Canyon $26,554 7 years old $25,690
Toyota Tacoma $28,530 7 years old $28,980
Dodge Challenger $29,529 7 years old $29,650
Overall Average $23,048 6 years old $24,210
“The 2019 budget that purchased 3-year-old versions of these cars now buys a 7- to 9-year-old version of that same model,” said Brauer. “Given that the average car is driven between 10,000 and 15,000 miles a year, these cars are not only more than twice as old, but have between 40,000 and 100,000-plus more miles – for the same money.”

 

Methodology

iSeeCars analyzed over 21 million used cars sold between January and August of 2019 and 2023. The share of cars from each model year, as well as their prices, were aggregated to determine the change in share and price by age across the two periods. The average price of 3-year-old cars in 2019 was also compared to prices from all ages in 2023 to determine the price with the smallest absolute difference from the 3-year-old 2019 price. Similar data was then obtained and aggregated at the model level, excluding heavy-duty vehicles and low-production models.

 

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com 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 $410 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.