Shopping for a used car may save buyers $14,000 on average, study says

With so much technology and content packed into new cars, used cars are hardly a penalty box.

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
Enlarge Image

Buyers could scoop up something like this with a great deal compared to a 2020 model year.


New cars can be tantalizing knowing you, and only you, will be the first owner, but it's hard to discount the price gap emerging in the used-car market.

According to a new study from Edmunds, car shoppers can save $14,443 on average when comparing a new car versus its three-year old counterpart. In most cases, that still awards buyers a nearly identical car, perhaps without the latest styling tweaks and most up-to-date technology, but it's hard to look past those kinds of savings.

The study showed the price gap is the largest on record compared to past data, which is likely due to new-car buyers stuffing their vehicles with plenty of options. The study showed ten years ago, the average price of a new car was $6,500 above the base price of the vehicle. Today, it's $10,042 higher, thanks to optional features and more technology.

Those shopping the used-car market will also benefit from thousands of cars coming in from lease periods in the months to come. A 2016 model, coming back to the dealer after a 36-month lease, likely boasts a lot of the technology buyers want without the massive price hike on a new car.

The moral of the story: used car buyers aren't paying the premium for the optional features. Hence, the massive savings on the used car market. In fact, buyers might save 50% on similar features and optional equipment on a five-year-old used car, rather than purchasing a brand-new equivalent car.

Best new and used cars for teens in 2019, according to US News & World Report

See all photos
Watch this: When you should buy a new car instead of repairing yours