New car or used? Sometimes buying new can be smarter

You probably remember your dad telling you to always buy a used car, because they are so much cheaper than new.

That’s not always the case anymore in this topsy-turvy pandemic year.

“We’ve all heard this: ‘Hey, you lose 20-30% of the car’s value when you drive it off the lot,'”said Karl Brauer of the automotive website

But with used car prices at all-time highs, Brauer said, some used cars are so expensive that the new version can be a better deal.

“With some vehicles, right now the market is such that you are pretty much better buying the new car,” he said.

He cites Tesla as an example. A used version with 10,000 miles on it is valued just 1% less than its brand-new counterparts.

“If it’s 2% cheaper to buy a one-year-old one, why not just just buy a brand new one?” he said.

Where new can be the better deal

According to an study, vehicles where new can be a smarter deal include:

In many of those cases (note that all are pickups and SUV’s), you may be able to get a brand new vehicle for just $2,800 more than a year-old version.

You also get the full bumper-to-bumper warranty and no spilled french fries under the seats.

The website analyzed more than 2 million car sales over the past year to come up with their findings.

When used is a better deal

But before you get too excited, the survey found this is not always the case.

It turns out that some cars still drop sharply in value the day you drive them off the lot, just as they did for Dad years ago.

ISeeCars says many luxury cars still drop 20-30% after a year.

So it suggests you buy a lightly used version if you want a:

Of course, we are talking about vehicles in the $20,000 to $40,000 range (or more) here. If your budget for a car is only $10,000, you will obviously have to buy used.

Although used cars will almost always be cheaper, if there’s not much difference, new could be a better deal, especially because it will come with a longer manufacturer’s warranty.

That way, you don’t waste your money.


Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).

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Katherine E. Ackerman

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