The used cars selling best amid the coronavirus pandemic

Americans have turned to used cars amid the pandemic, and they're scooping up Honda, Volkswagen and Toyota models among others.

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
2019 Honda HR-V
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2019 Honda HR-V

The HR-V has been a used sales darling.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Americans have a tendency to keep the wallet closed tighter amid economic uncertainty, and it shows amid the coronavirus pandemic. Data already illustrates used cars sales climbing as buyers shun larger car payments and score a lot of off-lease vehicles with lower price tags.

So, which used cars are actually selling best amid the pandemic? iSeeCars analyzed 3.6 million used car sales in April and May to pinpoint what Americans are buying. At the top of the chart is the Honda HR-V.

Honda's small crossover saw used sales climb 53% year-over-year, and from April to May, sales jumped 89%. The study noted the HR-V has continuously grown in popularity in the US since its introduction, and the model actually racked up its best sales figures last year. With more of them on the used market, shoppers are taking notice.

The Cadillac XT5 sits in second place, which might seem odd, but again, it comes back to those off-lease models. With so many returning to dealers with low mileage and numerous amenities, prices look good. Used sales of the luxury crossover are up 40% YoY and 46% MoM.

The most popular used cars sold amid the coronavirus pandemic

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For those interested in the unloved sedan segment, the Volkswagen Passat is the only one to make the list. It's actually at number three, which is rather surprising, though the data suggests deep discounts remain as dealers try to offload them. As a used car, Passat sales grew 30% from last year and a whopping 71% in May. The number four spot goes to the Chevrolet Trax with 24% growth over last year and a 60% sales increase last month. A slightly larger crossover, the Jeep Compass, lands in fifth with an 18% increase from last year and 42% increase in May.

The latter portion of the list is filled with SUVs and trucks , to no one's surprise. The Nissan Rogue Sport comes next with a 15% increase YoY and 45% jump MoM, followed by the Mercedes-Benz GLC. While sales grew 14% compared to last year, used models skyrocketed 95% from April to May.

Two trucks sit in eighth and ninth place: the Toyota Tacoma and Ford F-150. Used sales rose 13% for the Tacoma YoY and jumped 54% in May, while used F-150 sales climbed 12% from last year and 49% in May. Americans love their trucks. Rounding out the top 10 is the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which enjoyed a 12% sales increase compared to last year, and a 67% increase from April to May.

Used car sales in May, Top Models

Rank Model% Change from Last Year% Change from April to May
1 Honda HR-V53%89%
2 Cadillac XT538%46%
3 Volkswagen Passat29%71%
4 Chevy Trax24%59%
5 Jeep Compass18%42%
6 Nissan Rogue Sport15%45%
7 Mercedes-Benz GLC14%95%
8 Toyota Tacoma13%54%
9 Ford F-15012%49%
10 Jeep Grand Cherokee12%67%

While used car sales are down overall year-over-year, sales are up 105.5% from April to May, which isn't a surprise as local governments ease stay-at-home orders and permit more businesses to open. What is interesting is when the data breaks down by body style. There, the only body style that enjoys a YoY increase is trucks.

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