In many ways, the choice between buying a used car and a brand-new model has never been clearer. If you wait out a new vehicle one year, you might be able to save 30% off the purchase price, studies have shown. That’s a small compromise to make for such a large discount.
Consumers who can deal with a vehicle that’s two or three years old see even bigger price drops. In fact, a June 2018 study by iSeeCars.com showed over 45% depreciation for many popular cars and SUVs after 24-36 months in an owner’s hands. Going by dollar amounts, it means knocking $35,000 off a Mercedes sedan.
iSeeCars data showed utility models depreciating quickly as well. For anyone planning to buy used, these vehicles represent an excellent deal. For new car buyers, they’re the ones to avoid if you you plan on selling after a few years.
Here are 10 SUVs that lost nearly half their value by the second or third year in an owner’s hands.
10. Chevrolet Traverse
- Depreciation over 3 years: 41.7%
A new Chevy Traverse ran buyers upwards of $40,000 when they picked one up in 2015. Three years later, they were getting back less than $23,000, a drop of 42% from the original purchase price.
If you were leaning toward a three-year lease for this model, that would be the best value. Otherwise, bargain hunters can swoop in at the end of a three-year term for a Traverse in good condition.
Next: Buying this popular luxury SUV used can save buyers $20K.
9. Acura MDX
- Depreciation over 3 years: 42.2%
There have been three different versions of the Acura MDX since 2013, and the model that exited in 2015 didn’t spend all that long in its owner’s hands. By spring 2018, the original price ($50,700) had fallen below $31,000.
That’s good for more than 42% off the original price, and way below the $60,000 a loaded 2018 model will run you.
Next: This premium SUV sells for well below $20K — even for a 2016 model.
8. Buick Encore
- Depreciation over 3 years: 42.8%
The 2018 Buick Encore is only the sixth model in the subcompact SUV’s history, and consumers can find at least 40% off the price of models as recent as 2016. That means you can get a car that retailed for about $27,000 for closer to $17,000.
For a two-year-old crossover with upscale Buick touches, you can do much worse on the used vehicle market.
Next: Consumers can choose from two different versions of this versatile SUV.
7. Kia Sorento
- Depreciation over 3 years: 42.9%
According to iSeeCars.com, the number of U.S. auto leases rose 91% from 2013-17, and the shift can clearly be felt on the used market. For example, with so many Sorentos coming off leases, they sell for more than 40% off their original price ($30,800) a few years later.
In fact, buyers can pick up the redesigned 2016 Sorento for as little as $17,000.
Next: This SUV’s shift to the midsize class may have spurred depreciation.
6. GMC Acadia
- Depreciation over 3 years: 43.1%
While 40% depreciation for three-year-old models now appears common, iSeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly noted the difference with this GMC model.
“The lone full-size crossover model, the GMC Acadia, underwent a redesign in 2017 to become a midsize crossover, and this change likely contributed to the price drop on its older model,” Ly said.
That change in design left even 2016 models selling for less than $20,000, or about half its original price.
Next: This German luxury brand’s vehicles depreciate faster than any other model in America.
5. BMW X5
- Depreciation over 3 years: 44.1%
Whenever the iSeeCars.com data team runs the numbers on used car sales, BMW vehicles usually rank in the top 10 for depreciation. In the June 2018 study, BMW 5 Series sedans outpaced every other vehicle by losing almost 53% of value in three years.
As for the brand’s SUV, the BMW X5 landed in fifth place at 44% depreciation after three years. Savvy used vehicle consumers can actually snatch a 2016 model for under $37,000, meaning 50% depreciation is also normal for a two-year-old X5.
Next: In its fourth year on the market, consumers get the best deals on this Lincoln crossover by buying used.
4. Lincoln MKC
- Depreciation over 3 years: 44.3%
With sales down 15% through May 2018, the Lincoln MKC crossover has had better years. However, it makes sense that buyers would be checking on lightly used models (if that’s what they’ve been doing).
The ’15 and ’16 MKC have been selling for as low as $22,000, which is less than half the average purchase price of a few years back.
Next: One of three utility models that depreciate at least 46% in 3 years.
3. Mercedes-Benz M-Class
- Depreciation over 3 years: 46.2%
Mercedes-Benz models always join BMW among the fastest depreciating vehicles on the U.S. market. In the utility segment, Mercedes M-Class crossovers had their last hurrah in the 2015 model year.
Afterward, they became GLE-Class models, and the final edition sells for close to half ($34,628) what its original buyers paid a few years ago.
Next: This Buick had the most American content of any car in 2015 — and lost nearly half its value since then.
2. Buick Enclave
- Depreciation over 3 years: 46.8%
In the 2015 Made in America Auto Index, Buick Enclave registered the most U.S. content of any vehicle on the market. Since then, the crossover’s lost about half its value to depreciation.
For folks who like their cars American-built and know a good deal when they see it, an Encore from 2015-16 should fit the bill. With nearly 47% depreciation, Enclave’s original $45,000 price tag seems light years away. Today’s prices are closer to $25,000.
Next: The fastest-depreciating SUV in America is a Cadillac.
1. Cadillac SRX
- Depreciation over 3 years: 47.2%
While the iSeeCars.com study showed Cadillac SRX depreciating 47% over three years, further research shows an even more pronounced price drop in models from 2015-16.
Even a two-year-old SRX could be had for under $22,000 in 2018, marking more than 50% off the price from a few years ago. Before you buy a new Cadillac crossover, take a peek at the used market — you might see an offer you can’t refuse.
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