Best deals for off-lease used cars under $15,000

These cars are only three years old, but only one is a crossover.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
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The standard Ford Fusion is one of many potential deals.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

New vehicle prices continue to climb. That's a fact. And amid an iffy economy while the coronavirus pandemic continues, a new car purchase likely isn't a high priority. A used car? That's quickly become a far more popular choice among Americans.

Off-lease used cars are typically a very compelling option since leases are restricted to mileage limitations, and generally, they're taken care of. It also means the cars are still rather new. In some cases, the automaker may not have made any changes to the particular model.

So for you car shoppers on a budget, we have the latest study from iSeeCars that looks at the best deals on off-lease used cars under $15,000. There's lots of data for cars here, but we'll highlight the bargains this time around, even if there are utterly massive savings on cars like the Audi A6, BMW 3 Series and others.

Topping the chart for the best deal on a three-year-old vehicle is the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Part of its first-place finish is its utterly shocking depreciation of 54.9% in the past three years. However, it makes the sedan a fuel-sipping steal at just $13,565 on average. The standard Ford Fusion sits behind it in second place, with an average price of $14,663. The fact Ford discontinued this car likely helps create the low prices, too.

Nab a bargain with these off-lease used car deals

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Three different sedans round out the top five models: the Volkswagen Passat with an average price of $14,447, the Kia Optima ($14,613) and Nissan Altima ($13,718). Keep in mind as you read this, these cars are 2017 or 2018 model years, depending on when the cars originally shipped out. Again, there will be a lot of modern amenities packed into the cars along with massive savings. For example, the three-year-old Passat would cost almost $11,000 more if you walked in asking for a 2020 model.

Landing in the sixth spot is the Hyundai Sonata, which costs on average just $14,869, thanks to a 42% depreciation factor. Behind it sits the list's only crossover, the Chevrolet Trax, with an average cost of $14,793 Two compact cars finish toward the bottom, the Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Sentra at $12,369 and $11,859, respectively, before the Kia Soul rounds things out in the tenth spot. It costs an average of $13,336 for a three-year-old model.

If you're wondering how vehicles are ranked, it all comes down to depreciation, which you can see in detail in the chart below. The study showed similarly priced cars sustained an average depreciation rate of 39.4%, which makes some of these cars far less valuable.

Best off-lease used car deals

Rank CarAvg. 3-Year-Old Used Price3-Year Depreciation$ Savings Over New Car Price
1 Ford Fusion Hybrid$13,56554.90%$16,480
2 Ford Fusion$14,66344.70%$11,834
3 Volkswagen Passat$14,47843.20%$10,996
4 Kia Optima$14,61342.70%$10,907
5 Nissan Altima$13,78142.50%$10,148
6 Hyundai Sonata$14,86942%$10,785
7 Chevy Trax$14,79338.50%$9,253
8 Hyundai Elantra$12,36938.30%$7,666
9 Nissan Senta$11,85938%$7,271
10 Kia Soul$13,33637.40%$7,969

Knowing these cars are only three years old, they likely haven't reached the bottom of their depreciation curve. That won't make them great for resale in the near future, but it does help create stellar bargains in the here and now.