Top 10 Recent Model Used Car Deals

Consumer Reports has put together a list of the quickest depreciating new cars so that you bargain hunters can snatch up a lightly used car for a good price. In case you weren’t aware, new cars take a big hit in depreciation in the first few years of ownership — a smart buyer lets someone else pay that “new car” tax.

If you’re in the market for a car, a used car may be a good choice. With a used car, you allow the original owner to take the initial depreciation hit, as new cars lose much more value in the first and second years than those that follow. By focusing on a recent model, you can find reliable used cars that are safe, fuel efficient, and yet still affordable.

Top 10 Recent Model Used Car Deals:

  • 2006 Lincoln Town Car Executive Sdn Auto RWD 8 Cyl 4doors, 40k miles
    Used Price: $14,275 Depreciation: 66%

  • 2007 Lincoln Town Car Executive Sdn Auto RWD 8 Cyl 4doors, 33k miles
    Used Price: $16,250 Depreciation: 62%

  • 2006 Volvo S60 Base Sdn Auto FWD 5 Cyl Turbo light pressure 4doors, 40k miles
    Used Price: $13,975 Depreciation: 54%

  • 2006 Toyota Sequoia Ltd Utility Auto RWD 8 Cyl 4doors , 40k miles
    Used Price: $19,975 Depreciation: 52%

  • 2006 Acura RL Sdn w/Nav Auto AWD 6 Cyl 4doors, 40k miles
    Used Price: $23,550 Depreciation: 52%

  • 2006 Nissan Murano S Utility Auto FWD 6 Cyl 4doors, 40k miles
    Used Price:$13,325 Depreciation: 52%

  • 2006 Honda Pilot LX Utility Auto FWD 6 Cyl 4doors , 40k miles
    Used Price: $13,050 Depreciation: 52%

  • 2006 Infiniti M45 Base Sdn Auto RWD 8 Cyl 4doors, 40k miles
    Used Price: $23,075 Depreciation: 51%

  • 2006 Mitsubishi Outlander LS Utility Auto FWD 4 Cyl 4doors, 56k miles
    Used Price: $9,900 Depreciation:51%

  • 2006 Lexus LS 430 Sdn Auto RWD 8 Cyl 4doors, 40k miles
    Used Price: $27,875 Depreciation: 51%

See even more cars at Consumer Reports .

Best used car deals-2006-2007 models [CR]

Comments

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  1. humphrmi says:

    Don’t cars depreciate quickly because of known reliability issues and high maintenance costs?

    • supercereal says:

      @humphrmi: That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read the headline. Now that I look at the list, though, they don’t seem like horrible choices at all.

      • humphrmi says:

        @supercereal: Except for the Mitsubishi and Lincolns, you’re probably right. But I’d still like to see a comparison of overall value or long-term maintenance to high depreciation.

    • David Brodbeck says:

      @humphrmi: Not always. Sometimes they’re models that just aren’t popular for styling reasons, or because there’s a glut of that type of vehicle on the market.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @humphrmi: Often rapid depreciation is a result of either heavy incentives, to try to sell an unpopular model, or perceived reliability. Also, luxury cars do tend to depreciate most, both in dollar terms and as a percentage of their original MSRP. Just go out and find a 90’s 7-series BMW – they often cost between 5 and 10% of their original price (although, in this case, it IS because of reliability and cost of repairs). The only non-luxury cars on this list appear to be the Murano, Pilot and Outlander.

      • Xerloq says:

        @nataku83: Depreciation is a function of resale value, which is almost entirely based in perception.

        The sweet-spot of used car buying is finding the most reliable, fastest depreciating model. Faster depreciation means you can find a late-model (usually low millage) car for less. Consumerreports.org has some great tables. So does JDPowers.

        My financial adviser actually does an annual study (unpublished, unfortunately) to find the sweet-spot each year.

      • madanthony says:

        @nataku83:

        Heavy incentives is a big part of it, which is why I’ve always found the depreciation stats a little misleading. American car makers especially price their cars high then offer tons of incentives. My Ranger had a $3000 rebate on it when I bought it – on a vehicle with a 24k sticker. That’s a 12% hit while still new – and that’s before haggling.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @humphrmi:

      The main issue with Town Cars has historically been the suspension. The air ride breaks, and it is expensive to fix. It is, however, cheap to replace it with the standard hydraulic suspension from the Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria.

      It’s a car that hasn’t fundamentally changed since about 1992, though, so apart from any issues that might arise with any recent electronic gadgets (nav, “sync” whatever) they’ve added, that should be about it.

      Oh and city mileage is going to suck, but it won’t do too badly on the highway.

      • scoosdad says:

        @TechnoDestructo: Ah, the air ride in a Lincoln Town Car. Was the inspiration for the classic SNL commercial parody, “Royal Deluxe II”:

        [www.hulu.com]

        “A beautiful baby… and a beautiful car!”

        (Sorry, probably will only work for US readers.)

      • MrEvil says:

        @TechnoDestructo: The Town Car doesn’t have Sync or an option for in-dash Navigation. So there’s really nothing special in the Town Car to break.

        You’re right though, the Air-spring system for the rear axle is prone to failure. Changing the Town Car to regular coil springs costs less than repairing the air-ride.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @humphrmi: The first reason for depreciation I thought of when I saw this list was MPG.

  2. Lynn12 says:

    Still to much to pay for a car that looses most of it’s value while you’re still paying on it.

    I’d much rather keep my car with no payments, that runs perfectly fine.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Lynn12: well, that’s actually the idea of buying a car that’s “slightly used”. generally, a vehicle loses most of its value within the first 2-3 years & then the value starts to level out.

      it’s great not to have a car payment – i currently don’t have one. problem is, as my uncle says, “you never really get out of a car payment”. i recently had to replace a stabilizer bar ($300+), then the clutch ($900). i have something funky going on in the engine that i haven’t been able to pinpoint yet, so who knows what that’s going to cost. need a new flex-pipe (that’ll be $200-300 easy)…

      don’t know if i’ll be buying used when i finally have to break it off with “lara” – that new genesis coupe looks pretty badass.

  3. jimconsumer says:

    Depreciation? Hummer. I’ve always wanted an H2. Never wanted to pay for one, until gas spiked last summer and everybody dumped ‘em for cheap. I picked up a fully loaded H2 (Lux package) with 15k miles for $23k. Someone paid in excess of fifty grand for this baby…

    • downwithmonstercable says:

      @jimconsumer: People are dumping their Hummers, Escalades, Tahoes, etc left and right… haven’t looked at H2’s but I was curious what Escalades went for. Newer style ones were as low as $18,000, average was around $22,000. I couldn’t believe it. Then you look at regular 4 door sedans and they’ve barely depreciated 25% after 4-5 years…

      • jimconsumer says:

        @downwithmonstercable: Yup, all of the big SUVs were dumped for cheap, but the deals seem to be drying up as gas stays low and last year’s panic subsides. I traded in a paid for SUV that got ~17mpg. I now have a kick ass H2 that gets ~12mpg. The extra ~$50 a month in gas is negligible for me and I practically stole the Hummer for that price.

    • bobloblawsblog says:

      @jimconsumer: you know what they say about men with small hands… they drive hummers….

      • jimconsumer says:

        @bobloblawsblog: I drove a 70mpg Honda Insight for 2 years. Does that make my “hands” huge, then?

        I’ve no idea why people continue to make such immature, ridiculous jokes in this day and age. They’re made about all manner of fancy, flashy vehicles. I can only presume the people making them are simply unhappy driving their Ford Tauruses and lash out with, “Oh, he has a small penis.”

        What I want to know is, what kind of half-assed man is content to drive a boring, ho-hum cookie cutter? Do their wives keep their balls in a little necklace around her neck? “Oh no you don’t. Sexy cars aren’t for married people. You’re going to drive this piece of shit right here, you’re leaving the car seats in the back seat 24/7 and you’ll like it, Mister.”

        See, I can make ridiculous, immature jokes about your stupid car, too. Fact is, I love my truck, and since I’m driving it and paying for the fuel, my opinion is the only one that matters. Funny thing, though, I get dozens of positive comments for every negative one. You Hummer hating greenies really are a lonely, insignificant minority.

    • howman says:

      @jimconsumer: I’ve been itching for an H1 for a while now. Figure this one out, divide the cost of the vehicle by the cost on the environment to manufacture it byt the number of years that car will last and the amount of energy overall needed to completely recycle it. Now try to tell me that a $25000 Honda that will only last 8~10 yrs has thirty different types of plastic in it and is a bitch to recycle is less expensive on me and the planet than a H1 that cost $60000 has one plastic and one metal will last 30 yrs and can be recycled by a monkey with a screwdriver.

  4. supercereal says:

    I don’t get why people place so much emphasis on depreciation. Virtually everything you own depreciates in value after you’ve purchased it.

    I recently bought a new car because the price was worth it to me. I don’t plan on selling it for at least 10 years, if at all. Remind me why depreciation matters in this case, please.

    /Not saying lightly used cars aren’t a great deal. Just seems presumptions to call new car buyers “not smart.”

    • jimconsumer says:

      @supercereal: It matters because you could have bought a 1 year old version of the car, with ~12k miles give or take, and saved yourself thousands of dollars. Or buy a 3 year old, 40k mile version and saved 40-50% of the cost. Most vehicles these days will do 140k miles easy with minimal repair costs. You paid a large premium to get that new car experience. Is that OK? Hey, it’s your money, only you can answer that. It’s not for me nor anybody else to judge.

      Caveat: There are a select few vehicles where this doesn’t count. When I looked at a Prius for my wife last summer, brand new ones were in many cases CHEAPER by a few hundred bucks than equivalent used ones! Same for VW TDIs, especially Jettas. With gas prices back to normal this may no longer be the case, but it was an interesting curiosity. If we would have bought the Prius in that market, we would have bought a brand new one as well.

      • David Brodbeck says:

        @jimconsumer: You often see that for models where there’s a waiting list. Back when the Prius was new, if you ordered a new one you’d be waiting for months. That drove up the price of used ones because you could drive them home right away.

      • supercereal says:

        @jimconsumer: Fair enough. Mine wasn’t a Prius, but it was a small sedan during the whole “insane gas prices” period. There were only a couple that were available used, and they were all about 4 years old. It seemed like nobody was trading them in.

        Still, those 3 year old models weren’t nearly 40-50% percent of the new cost. They were more like $15-16K…I paid $19K new. Plus, I never could have gotten a zero percent loan on a used car. I think some cars are just better deals new, and I always liked this article on the topic.

        Side note: I don’t get why people love Jettas. EVERYONE I know who owned one at some point (5 people off the top of my head) couldn’t wait to get rid of the thing because they caused so much trouble. Some were even new ones!

        • jimconsumer says:

          @supercereal: I have no argument with your choice. I would have made the same choice. I wouldn’t buy a 3 year old car for $16k when I could get the brand new version for only $3k more – and if you’re financing, the 0% interest makes up the difference. You took advantage of a great manufacturer incentives program and I wouldn’t fault you for it at all. (and even if I would, who cares, I’m just some random guy on the Internet ;) ).

          Jettas: I know several folks who have them and love them. However, with the new CAFE standards, fuel economy has plummeted. The Prius is a better car, IMHO. (If you see my comments above, I’m not a greenie Prius lover. I drive an H2. But I can’t fault the Prius, I test drove one, they are nice cars with a lot of cool built in toys and great fuel economy, and they’re fairly inexpensive, too. I still might buy one for the wife one of these days as she also likes them.)

      • Yossarian says:

        @jimconsumer: You have any examples of a decent model car you can buy for 40-50% off after three years and 40K miles?

        I’ve considered buying used for work cars but the drive-off price difference between a new, warrantied car and anything less than five years old didn’t make sense to me.

        • jimconsumer says:

          @Yossarian: Any fleet car, for one. Pontiac Grand Am, Grand Prix, Chevy Malibu, etc. These drop their value fast. Most SUVs, too. I paid $35k for a brand new, loaded, limited edition Montero Sport in 2000. A year later it was worth $19k. That’s when I swore off buying new. I bought my H2 in November for $23k, only 15k miles on the clock and well under half of retail.

  5. yagisencho says:

    I bought my current vehicle nearly seven years ago and am just nearing 40k miles. While I’ve treated it well and the miles are relatively low, the engine and transmission have had plenty of time to age. I wouldn’t personally buy my car used without some serious engine work.

    So while I agree that it’s better to buy a recent model used vehicle when you can save 50% compared to the new price, some additional out-of-pocket expenses are likely and should be included in the calculation.

    • Anonymous says:

      @yagisencho: Never changed the oil, eh? Cannot imagine a 2001 or 2002 model car with 40K on the engine needing “serious engine work” unless you totally abused your vehicle.

  6. c_c says:

    I’ve been looking at compacts… corolla, mazda3, etc., and it seems like its a better deal sometimes to buy new with the cashback & financing deals, not to mention warranty, vs. buying a one or two year old that are usually only a few thousand less at most.

    • TPS Reporter says:

      @cc82: We bought an 08 Corolla in Aug 2007. The dealer we used was a “no haggle” dealer, so sticker was $16700. Dealer had it for $15600, no haggle price and there was a $500 rebate. So we got it for $15100. Brand new. There was an 07 Corolla on the lot with like 22K miles on it, same trim except this one had a sunroof. They wanted $14900. The extra 22k miles and less time for any warranty wasn’t worth the sunroof. Plus with the new one we got free oil changes for 2 years, free batteries for life and some other perks that might be handy. Plus with the new vehicle better interest rates.

  7. Silversmok3 says:

    Only one drawback-repair costs.

    Especially for the luxury cars,its not uncommon to get a used luxury car for a song compared to new,BUT be prepared to fork some serious $$ in repair parts.

    Example-BMW X5, dirt cheap after 100K compared to new, costs $350 to replace a tailight bulb. A TAILIGHT.

    I can imagine the cost for a new tie rod,water pump,alternator + labor on every car on that list (except the mitsu,maybe)will quickly try any bargin-hunters patience.

    • Bailen says:

      @Silversmok3: A lot of dealers don’t like doing minor work like bulb replacements or tire swaps and will charge out the ass for them.

      On my VW, I was once quoted $120 to replace a break light. Of course I said no, opened the trunk, open the panel to the lamp housing and swapped out the bulb for the spare that comes with the car (conveniently mounted right below the active bulb, and only $4 for two should you have to buy some.), the whole procedure took me less than 3 minutes and required no tools at all (all snap clips and little locking handles).

      So $120 for that might make you think if something really bad went it will cost a fortune to fix, but when my clutch died it was roughly $950 to replace almost the entire clutch assembly. Sometimes repair costs are really not in sync, you really have to know whats most likely going to go wrong on your model and what the average cost is to fix that particular problem.

      • endless says:

        @Bailen:

        if they charged 25$ for a break light, they would be doing it all day and not doing actual repairs.

        its like surgeon putting on bandaids…. they dont want to.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Silversmok3: actually, that’s why i’m surprised to see the infiniti, acura & lexus on this list. all 3 are are incredibly reliable (shall we consider them luxury-class?) autos & many of the parts are interchangeable with their nissan, honda & toyota sisters.

      & check out the volvo – i see people driving around with 30-year old models all the time. of course, that is the base model, which is probably near-impossible to find.

    • MrEvil says:

      @Silversmok3: The Lincoln Town Car is the exception to that rule. Aside from cosmetic bits nearly all the mechanical parts are identical to those used on the Crown Victoria. If you need parts for that Town Car, don’t go to the Lincoln dealer, go to the Ford Dealer and ask for Crown Vic parts.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bought a decade-old Miata for my commute. Paid a little too much, but it’s tremendous fun to drive. Does Consumer Reports include Fun To Drive in the calculation? I thought not. There are intangibles that need to be considered, don’t you think? I’m gonna make up a new selection criterion called “quality of life.” Anybody with me?

  9. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Nice price on the Sequoia and the M45…going to have to keep that in mind when my current car dies…

  10. endless says:

    Look at how much W220 S55 benz’s cost.

    those things fell through the floor.

    out dated body style + new body style (minus snob points which is huge for these cars) = catastrophic price drops.

  11. lastingsmilledge says:

    are those lincolns at the top because of fleet sales? or maybe because ford intended to stop producing the town car about 3 years ago, but has since recanted.

    i’m surprised that the grand cherokee isn’t on the list.

  12. buckfutt says:

    I got an ’07 Accord EX (sticker price around $28K) with 11,000 miles on it for $14,500 right before Christmas. It’ll run forever, too.

  13. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    Wow, this doesn’t really help my hunt for a car I can AFFORD at all…but I guess this is for people who COULD buy a new car (i.e. spend 15K) but are choosing not to.

    I’d like to see an article with deals for people whose poor beat-up 200K family cars are dying and need to find a safe reliable deal for under $3k!

    • David Schripsema says:

      @Mary Marsala with Fries:

      1995 Acura Integra. They’re selling for right around 3k – if you can find one for sale. They run for-freaking-ever. Just managed to find one myself after our last sub-3k car shat itself on us.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Mary Marsala with Fries: ditto the above comment. really anything honda/toyota mid-90’s you should be able to get in the $3k range.

      i had a 93 honda accord that ran to 250,000 miles (& would still be on the road today if i hadn’t totaled it). paid under $3k when i bought it w/ 125,000 miles.

      i also had an ’89 toyota camry with ~400,000 miles on it (bondo-special…rescued it from a friend that was going to junk it) – a dealer actually accepted that on trade-in (though in hindsight, i wish i had kept running it). paid $50 for that & dumped ~$1k in work on it.

      i also had an ’85 toyota corolla that i bought for $400 & didn’t put anything other than an oil change into it until the right-front brake housing crapped out & i opted not to repair it for ~$1k (again, wish i had made a different decision there).

      one HUGE piece of advice if you go honda/acura – they have an interference engine. what this means is that if the timing belt breaks, the balance shaft will most likely chew the engine apart (rending your vehicle useless).

      so, make sure the seller can document the last time they replaced the timing belt (normally, it needs to be done every 100,000 miles). if the belt hasn’t been replaced in the last 40,000 miles, be prepared to invest money to have it done (it usually costs between $600-$1000). most mechanics will put a sticker somewhere near the belt that tells the mileage of the vehicle when it was last replaced.

      just be prepared to make repairs – when you’re purchasing an older vehicle, things are bound to start needing to be replaced & you’ll find that some repairs are more expensive b/c they’re parts that don’t normally go during the regular lifespan of a vehicle. it would be wise to budget money specifically for this ($1,000-$1,500/yr should cover you).

      & finally, sorry this is so long. ;)

      • mac-phisto says:

        @mac-phisto: sorry – forgot one thing. PAY A MECHANIC TO INSPECT THE VEHICLE BEFORE YOU BUY IT! you can usually get one to do it for <$100. it is worth every penny.

    • rkaufman says:

      @Mary Marsala with Fries: My 2001 Saturn SL2 cost about $3k last year…it’s a good car, as long as you take care of it.

  14. TheSurlyOne says:

    Interesting- Six are luxury cars (‘near luxury’ might be the better term for the Volvo S60) and the other Four are SUVs! The era of conspicuous consumption, whether gas guzzler or extravagant luxury, is over…at least for the foreseeable future!

    Now would be a great time to buy that Infiniti M35/M45 I’ve always wanted, though!

  15. Cardiff_Giant says:

    Surprising that a Pilot would depreciate so much.

    Now I want a Town Car.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I picked up an 2004 Acura TSX in December for $13k. It came with a 7 year/100k mile warranty (the balance of so im covered till 2011 and till the car hits 100k miles). It’s a luxury car with inexpensive mainentance and is reliable as hell (It is a Honda after all). I don’t think the luxo cars on that list are on there due to unreliability, Infiniti’s, Lexus’ and Acura’s are statistically most reliable Luxury Cars on the road.

  17. Greg Oryschak says:

    40k miles is pretty much a new car. I’m guessing he beat it to hell and did zero maintenance.

  18. am84 says:

    I very recently purchased an ’06 VW for about 50% of what the new price would have been, and it came with an additional 40,000 miles of warranty because of VW’s certified “pre-loved” program. While most used cars don’t often come with a warranty, this was a major selling point for me. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking to get a gently used car.

  19. blue_streak says:

    That’s a nifty list, but none of those cars are ones I’d drive. I’d have to see the top 25 to get to something I’d consider, I guess.