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(iSeeCars) – Due to new-car supply constraints the average slightly used model now costs more than its new model counterpart

  • The average lightly-used car is 1.3 percent more expensive than its new version
  • Mercedes-Benz G-Class as a used vehicle is the most expensive over its new version
  • The list of vehicles that are more expensive used than new is a mix of two extremes: gas-guzzling expensive SUVs and economical small cars
  • Nissan is the most represented automaker for lightly-used cars that provide the greatest savings over their new versions

Used car prices are at record highs in the wake of the microchip shortage. According to the latest study by car search engine, the average one-year-old lightly-used car costs 1.3 percent more than its new version. However, some lightly-used vehicles have price increases far greater than this average. analyzed asking prices from over 1.5 million new and used cars sold from January 1, 2022 to January 31, 2022. It identified the top 15 lightly-used cars that have the highest price increases compared to their new versions, as well as the new cars that are more expensive than their used versions. 

“While choosing a lightly-used car has traditionally been a cost-saving measure for car shoppers, that is no longer true in today’s market as the effects of plant shutdowns and resulting pent-up demand continue,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “The used vehicles that are commanding the highest increases over their new versions include a mix of two extremes: expensive gas-guzzling SUVs and more economical small cars and hybrids, which shows that even practical and budget-minded consumers are being forced to spend more for their vehicles.”

Best Cars to Buy New: Used Cars with The Highest Increases Over New Versions 

iSeeCars has identified 15 cars with used car prices that are more expensive than their new car prices. The list of cars that have the greatest increases are a mix of vehicle types led by SUVs and also include a wide range of price points. 

Top 15 Used Cars More Expensive than New – iSeeCars
Rank (By Percentage)Model% Used Price More than New$ Used Price More than New
1Mercedes-Benz G-Class35.6%$62,705
2Chevrolet Corvette20.2%$16,645
3Tesla Model 3*17.8%$8,300
4Ford Bronco Sport16.4%$5,766
5Chevrolet Trailblazer15.6%$4,270
6Toyota RAV4 Hybrid14.8%$5,298
7Chevrolet Suburban12.9%$9,106
8Toyota Tacoma12.2%$4,530
9Toyota C-HR12.2%$3,230
10Kia Telluride12.1%$5,552
11Kia Rio11.7%$2,090
12Subaru Crosstrek11.7%$3,524
13GMC Yukon11.3%$8,258
14Toyota Sienna11.2%$5,074
15Hyundai Accent11.2%$2,010
Overall Average1.3%$553

* Tesla Model 3 average new car price estimated by applying used car trim distribution to pre-rebate new car MSRP as of March 2021.

The lightly-used vehicle that has the biggest price increase over its new version is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, with an average 35.6 percent increase amounting to $62,705. “The Mercedes-Benz G-Class opulent off-roader is a status symbol that had record sales numbers in 2021,” said Brauer. “Its success led to a shortage of new versions, forcing dealers to halt orders in January and leading well-funded buyers to the used car marketplace.”

The Chevrolet Corvette ranks second, with lightly-used versions costing an average of 20.2 percent more than its new versions. “The mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most highly-anticipated American sports cars ever made, and demand for the car has exceeded supply since its launch for the 2020 model year,” said Brauer. “Dealers have a backlog of orders for the 2022 model, and long waitlists have formed for the high-performance Z06 version coming for the 2023 model year, elevating demand for lightly-used versions.”

The Tesla Model 3 ranks third with a one-year-old lightly used version costing an average of 17.8 percent more than a new version. “Deliveries for new base versions of the Model 3 aren’t expected until June of 2022, heightening the already high demand for used examples, which are in relatively short supply.”

Two new for 2021 small SUVs earn the next two spots: the fourth-ranked Ford Bronco Sport and the fifth-ranked Chevrolet Trailblazer. “The Ford Bronco Sport debuted in 2021 and dealers have struggled to keep up with demand that was exacerbated by multiple production setbacks,” said Brauer. “Similarly, the Chevrolet Trailblazer has been in high demand since its debut and is one of GM’s best-selling crossovers, confirming that shoppers unwilling to wait are ready to pay a premium for a used one.”

Two additional small SUVs make the list, the ninth-ranked Toyota C-HR and the twelfth-ranked Subaru Crosstrek. “Both Toyota and Subaru have experienced sale declines in recent months as a result of tight new car inventory and pent-up demand,” said Brauer. “Even with used car price increases, the Toyota C-HR and Subaru Crosstrek are relatively affordable and reliable SUVs with average used car prices of $29,739 and $33,744.”

Three additional Toyotas join the C-HR on the list including the sixth-ranked Toyota RAV4 Hybrid compact SUV, the eighth-ranked Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck, and the fourteenth-ranked Toyota Sienna minivan.  “The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid had trouble keeping up with demand even before the pandemic due to problems with the battery supply chain, so buyers are willing to pay a premium for used versions, which are hard to find on the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. “The fully-redesigned for 2021 Sienna minivan, with a new hybrid powertrain, had a successful debut and is currently the top-selling minivan, while the Tacoma continues to dominate the midsize pickup truck market as used versions command a premium amid inventory constraints.”

Two full-size SUVs from General Motors make the list: the seventh-ranked Chevrolet Suburban and the thirteenth-ranked GMC Yukon. “Demand for full-size SUVs continues to grow as both of these vehicles saw major jumps in new car sale volume in 2021 over 2020,” said Brauer. “Due to low inventory of these popular models, buyers are willing to pay extra for lightly-used ones, especially given that 2022 versions lost features like heated steering wheels amid the chip shortage.” 

The Kia Telluride ranks tenth. “The Kia Telluride has been a red-hot seller since its debut in the spring of 2019, and dealers have been charging over MSRP because it’s in such high demand,” said Brauer. “The price hikes have trickled down to the used car market, where used Tellurides aren’t yet abundant and buyers may be willing to spend whatever it takes for a used version because it’s likely the only one available.”

Two subcompact cars round out the list: the eleventh-ranked Kia Rio and the fifteenth-ranked Hyundai Accent. “These vehicles are among the most affordable cars on the market, and the surge in used car prices have made economical cars like these the only affordable options for many consumers,” said Brauer. “It’s likely buyers see their used car price tags of under $20,000 and don’t comparison shop against new prices for the same models, which cost about $2,000 less – assuming you can find one on a dealer lot.”

To see a list of the lightly used cars that offer the greatest savings over their new versions, click here.

When deciding between a new and a lightly-used version of the same vehicle, there are important things to consider. “While buying lightly-used typically provides upfront cost savings compared to buying new, this is no longer the norm in today’s market,” said Brauer. “Shoppers looking for lightly-used cars should always compare the prices to new cars, and buyers who are unable to find the new car they are looking should avoid models with the highest price increases if they decide to go used instead.

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Methodology analyzed over 1.5 million cars sold between January 1, 2022 and January 31, 2022.  New cars included in the analysis were from model years 2021 and 2022, while lightly-used cars were defined as used vehicles from model years 2020 and 2021. Low-volume models were excluded from the analysis, as were cars with outlier mileages and models discontinued as of the 2021 model year. The average asking prices of the lightly-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 new average prices and ranked by this difference.

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