Best cars to buy new in 2020 instead of used models – study

Buying a new car should be fun.

And it’s often a good thing to do, especially if you want the latest features, design and technology – not to mention the new-vehicle smell that comes with it.

Until you start worrying about that initial hit you probably will take on depreciation.

But the best cars to buy new in 2020 show the smallest price differences – certainly lower than average for their segments – compared to year-old “gently used” versions of the same models, according to a recent study by iSeeCars.com, an automotive research and shopping website.

2020 Ford Ranger on road in woods
Credit: Ford via NewspressUSA
The Ford Ranger is the best truck to buy new in 2020, reports iSeeCars.com.

That means the new version, in fact, may be a better choice than buying the pre-owned model.

“While choosing a used car over a new car is typically associated with the greatest cost savings, sometimes the price difference isn’t that significant,” said Phong Ly of iSeeCars.com. “There are factors that can affect price differences beyond the overall popularity of the vehicle.”

“Instead of buying a car that’s already been driven for one year,” said the iSeeCars spokesman, “consumers can buy the new version of select vehicles with a purchase price of just a few thousand dollars more to avoid the uncertainties that come with purchasing a used vehicle.”

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Best used cars to buy in 2020 instead of new models

The list of cars that have the smallest change in price between their new and gently used versions is composed of a mix of vehicle types, said a report about the study, which analyzed more than six million cars sold from August 2019 through January 2020. The list of best cars to buy new instead of used includes pickup trucks, SUVs, hatchbacks, sports cars, a sedan and an electric vehicle.

“Earning the top spot is the Tesla Model 3, with a new version costing just 5.5 percent more than a one-year-old version,” said the report. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $48,650, a 2020 Model 3 costs just about $2,500 more than that “lightly used” version.

Still, non-luxury models dominate the website’s list of best cars to buy new in 2020 instead of used. Here are the top vehicles overall along with category and percentage price difference – the lower the better – between new and used models:

Top 20 new vs. used overall

(Smallest difference between new and used – average 25.2 percent)

  1. Tesla Model 3, sedan, 5.5 percent
  2. Ford Ranger, pickup, 11.4 percent
  3. Chevrolet Traverse, SUV, 11.7 percent
  4. Honda Civic, hatchback, 11.9 percent
  5. Honda Fit, hatchback, 12.5 percent
  6. Subaru Crosstrek, SUV, 13.1 percent
  7. Chevrolet Corvette, coupe, 13.6 percent
  8. Honda Accord, sedan, 13.7 percent
  9. Honda Ridgeline, pickup, 13.8 percent
  10. Dodge Charger, sedan, 13.9 percent
  11. Chevrolet Colorado, pickup, 14.5 percent
  12. Honda Odyssey, minivan, 14.6 percent
  13. Honda Civic, coupe, 15.7 percent
  14. Toyota RAV4 hybrid, SUV, 15.8 percent
  15. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, SUV, 16 percent
  16. Nissan Kicks, SUV, 16.4 percent
  17. Nissan Frontier, pickup, 16.5 percent
  18. Honda CR-V, SUV, 16.5 percent
  19. Toyota Tacoma, pickup, 16.9 percent
  20. Subaru WRX, sedan, 16.9 percent

Here are the top SUVs and minivans along with category and percentage price difference:

Top 10 new SUVs/minivans vs. used

(Smallest difference between new and used – average 21.9 percent)

  1. Chevrolet Traverse, SUV, 11.7 percent
  2. Subaru Crosstrek, SUV, 13.1 percent
  3. Honda Odyssey, minivan, 14.6 percent
  4. Toyota RAV4 hybrid, SUV, 15.8 percent
  5. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, SUV, 16 percent
  6. Nissan Kicks, SUV, 16.4 percent
  7. Honda CR-V, SUV, 16.5 percent
  8. Subaru Forester, SUV, 18 percent
  9. Chevrolet Tahoe, SUV, 18.4 percent
  10. Subaru Ascent, SUV, 18.6 percent

Here are the top cars along with category and percentage price difference:

Top 10 new cars vs. used

(Smallest difference between new and used – average not provided)

  1. Tesla Model 3, sedan, 5.5 percent
  2. Honda Civic, hatchback, 11.9 percent
  3. Honda Fit, hatchback, 12.5 percent
  4. Chevrolet Corvette, coupe, 13.6 percent
  5. Honda Accord, sedan, 13.7 percent
  6. Dodge Charger, sedan, 13.9 percent
  7. Honda Civic, coupe, 15.7 percent
  8. Subaru WRX, sedan, 16.9 percent
  9. Honda Civic, sedan, 18.4 percent
  10. Chevrolet Camaro, coupe, 18.6 percent

Here are the top pickup trucks along with the percentage price difference:

Top 10 new pickups vs. used

(Smallest difference between new and used – average 29.6 percent)

  1. Ford Ranger, 11.4 percent
  2. Honda Ridgeline, 13.8 percent
  3. Chevrolet Colorado, 14.5 percent
  4. Nissan Frontier, 16.5 percent
  5. Toyota Tacoma, 16.9 percent
  6. Toyota Tundra, 19.1 percent
  7. Ram 1500, 22.1 percent
  8. Ford F-150, 22.2 percent
  9. Nissan Titan, 22.3 percent
  10. GMC Canyon, 22.6 percent

“While buying used always amounts to cost savings compared to the new sticker price, some used models only offer minimal savings on the car payments [and] are often offset by warranty coverage and other incentives such as free roadside assistance,” explained Ly of iSeeCars.com.

“It’s important to understand that it is a good financial decision to purchase some models new, while there are some that should be purchased used,” Ly said.

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