Year-Old Cars to Buy at Steep Discounts

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How much can you save by buying a car that is just one year old compared with a spanking new one? As usual, the answer begins with, “It depends … .” But the savings can be a lot more than you might think.

A year-old car can cost more than a third less than a new one, according to data from used car search site iSeeCars. There are several contributing factors to the lower price for a lightly used model: lower popularity compared with competitors, dependability issues or a redesign that substantially changes the look of the car. The data analysis showed an average price difference of 16.9% between a new car and year-old car that had been driven between about 11,000 and 16,000 miles.

Here is a look at the cars that sell for the biggest percentage discounts after being driven for one year. The comparison was made between 2013-2014 model year vehicles and those that are either 2014 or 2015 model year vehicles. Comparisons were made using average asking prices. iSeeCars used an unpublished average selling price for a new car to compute its value after one year. We have added an MSRP for the lowest priced, base versions for both 2014 and 2015 cars from data available at the Kelley Blue Book website.

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A year-old Hyundai Genesis posted an average difference of $16,600 compared with a new model, for a potential savings of 38.2%. The MSRP for a 2014 model is $36,120, and $38,950 for the 2015 model. The Genesis was redesigned for 2015.

The smart fortwo from Daimler carries an MSRP of $14,020 for both the 2014 and the 2015 models. According to iSeeCars, a year-old version costs 36.9% less, for a savings of $6,900.

A Cadillac CTS from General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has an MSRP of $40,420 for the 2014 model and $46,340 for the 2015. A one-year old model costs 36.9% less, a savings of $20,000, according to iSeeCars.

Chevrolet’s full-size Impala underwent a full-scale redesign for 2014. That version of the car carries an MSRP of $27,670. The 2015 model has an MSRP of $27,735. At an average discount of 33.5%, you could save $10,800 on a year-old model.

A Yukon XL SUV from GM carries an MSRP for the 2015 model of $50,030. A year-old model averages a discount of 32.8%, or $21,100.

The MSRP on a 2014 Volvo S80 3.2 is $40,815. For 2015 the company’s lowest priced version is the S80 T5, which carries an MSRP of $42,375. The average discount computed by iSeeCars is 32.6%, for a savings of $15,700.

The Mercedes Benz S-Class S550 for 2014 has an MSRP of $93,825, and the 2015 version’s MSRP is $95,325. At an average discount for a year-old model of 32.4%, you could save $37,600 for one of these. The analysts at iSeeCars noted that luxury cars often have higher depreciation rates than other cars, primarily because so many are leased when new and later hit the market in relatively large numbers.

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The 2014 Lincoln MKS from Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) carries an MSRP of $38,745, and there is no 2015 model available. The average discount on a year-old model is 30.4%, or $14,600.

A 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop from BMW has an MSRP of $20,745. No 2015 model is available. The average discount on a year-old MINI is 29.3%, for a savings of $9,000, according to iSeeCars.

Another luxury car, the Jaguar XK coupe, carries an MSRP of $79,895 for the 2014 version and $85,792 for the 2015 model. This is the last year for the series, which is being replaced by the new F-Type coupe, which carries a price tag of $66,233. A year-old XK coupe can be purchased for a discount of 29.2%, or $28,100.