Buying a used vehicle comes with many financial advantages, and one of the most significant is bypassing the depreciation that plagues new cars. On average, the value of a new vehicle drops 20% in the first year of ownership. Depreciation isn't the same across all vehicles, however, and the cars which depreciate the most also make the best deals a few years (and miles) down the road. iseecars.com compiles a list of bargain vehicles based on depreciation, and we show you the top 5 used car bargains under $20,000.
1. Lincoln MKZ
Going back a few years to buy the 2016 Lincoln MKZ is a smart move. Buying a brand new 2019 Lincoln MKZ means you'll be looking at a starting MSRP of $35,995 but a 2016 MKZ's average price is just $19,855. The depreciation rate for this luxury sedan is 55.6% over the course of 3 years. The 2016 MKZ gets excellent fuel efficiency, a comfortable cabin with plenty of space, and top safety ratings. The two gas engines offered include a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 for 240 horsepower and a 3.7-liter V6 for 300 horsepower. The 2016 MKZ can be found in front-wheel drive or AWD.
2. Kia Cadenza
The Kia Cadenza is another large sedan that is a smart buy if you choose to go the used route. Unlike the price of a new Cadenza, which starts at $33,100, the average 3-year-old price of this vehicle is $19,508. The average depreciation of 50.2% makes it a very affordable used car option. Other perks to buying a 2016 Cadenza include good reliability ratings, a powerful engine, a premium interior, and easy-to-use infotainment. A V6 engine that's good for 293 horsepower gives you quick acceleration at highway speeds. The Cadenza also offers a smooth and composed driving experience.
3. Ford Fusion Hybrid
Hybrids depreciate faster than gas models, and the Ford Fusion Hybrid is no exception. Falling third on the list of best bargains, a three-year-old Fusion Hybrid has an average price of $14,844 after depreciation of 49.7%. 2019 is the last production year for the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and a brand new 2019 will run you $27,555 as a starting MSRP. Thanks to its standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with a powerful electric motor for 188 combined horsepower, the 2016 Ford Fusion offers excellent fuel efficiency with 44 city/41 mpg highway.
4. Chevrolet Impala
The full-size Chevy Impala is a great deal at an average price of $17,745 for a three-year-old used model. At 49.4% depreciation, a 2016 Impala is a much better value than a new one for $28,020 starting MSRP. The 2016 model year gets Apple CarPlay and wireless charging. Other benefits include a spacious interior, roomy trunk, and a comfortable ride. There are three engine options for the Impala including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder for 196 horsepower, a 3.6-liter V6 for 305 horsepower, and a 3.6-liter V6 for 260 horsepower. Fuel economy is excellent for the class at 22/31 (city/highway) mpg for the four-cylinder and 18/30 (city/highway) mpg for the V6.
5. Kia Optima Hybrid
The price of a 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid slides in well below the $20K mark. Unlike a new 2019 Kia Optima Hybrid with a starting MSRP of $28,090, you'll be able to find 2016 models with an average price of $16,381 thanks to a 49.2% depreciation rate. A used 2016 Optima Hybrid sedan offers drivers a well-designed interior, 5/5 safety ratings, and solid performance from its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor good for 199 horsepower. Its cabin sports comfortable front seats and plenty of legroom for the driver and front passenger. Technology is this vehicle's strong suit with standard Bluetooth and satellite radio. Optional features include navigation, a rearview camera, and a user-friendly 8-inch infotainment touchscreen.
You may wonder why some cars depreciate more than others. A car's value is affected by the vehicle's segment, engine, and whether it is a luxury or mass-market car. Hybrids, for example, have a higher starting price than gas models, and there's not as much demand for these vehicles so their value drops. When it comes to car segments, due to the popularity of SUVs, passenger cars depreciate faster. Finally, luxury vehicles tend to hold their values better than mass-market. Regardless of which one of the top 5 you choose, you'll be sure to get a seriously good buy.