The economy shows no sign of picking up anytime soon. Still, life goes on. Bills need to be paid, groceries need to be purchased. and worn out but necessary possessions need to be replaced. Sometimes the replacement has little impact on the wallet, but then there are purchases that can’t be put off — whether you can afford them or not.
For many, a car is such a necessity. Cars don’t take the economy into consideration when they break down, or when they’re so worn out there’s little choice but to replace them. For cash-strapped motorists, making a replacement car affordable often means buying previously owned cars. Generally, used cars cost less than new ones.
There are, however, some cases where buying a late-model used car will cost more than a new one fresh off the lot. After all, new car dealers have to unload inventory somehow, and a little competitive pricing never hurts.
The automotive information website Edmunds.com compared the True Market Value® of new cars with their one-year-old used and certified pre-owned counterparts. True Market Value® is a pricing system based on what a car sells for in a particular U.S. region based on actual sales, not asking price. Based on those figures, and assuming a five-year loan term, CNBC.com determined which cars are less expensive to buy new.
What cars are cheaper to buy new than used? Click ahead and find out.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 13 October 2011
Typical Monthly Payment New: $374
Typical Monthly Payment Certified Pre-Owned: $378
Total Savings Over Term: $240
The Mazda CX-7 may not be the most practical car on the road but it looks good and offers the driver an exciting ride. It also has generous passenger and cargo space. The downside is the fuel economy, which at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway is the worst in its class. Better, perhaps, to focus on its braking and handling, both of which live up to Mazda’s solid reputation.
The typical monthly payment for a certified pre-owned model is $378, as opposed to $374 for a new one. This brings the total savings on a new model to $240.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $321
Typical Monthly Payment Used: $326
Total Savings Over Term: $300
The Dodge Dakota is a pickup truck for people who actually need a pickup truck. If your most strenuous transportation duty involves bringing groceries home, then the Dakota is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you’re hauling construction equipment, lumber or heavy machinery, this midsized pickup is ideal.
The typical monthly payment on the truck is $321 new and $326 used. This discrepancy of five dollars a month won’t even buy two gallons of gas, but in five years it will add up to a savings of $300 for new truck buyers.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $306
Typical Monthly Payment Certified Pre-Owned: $311
Total Savings Over Term: $300
The Mazda 3 has seen some changes, the least popular of which is the change to its “face.” The front of the car now seems to be smiling, a change to its look that qualifies as a true “What Were They Thinking?” moment upon its introduction. What didn’t change about the car is how it drives, and on that score it receives enthusiastic reviews.
The car is reasonably priced, which is reflected in its typical monthly payment of $311 for a certified pre-owned model and $306 for a new model. Buying the car new saves $300 over a 60-month payment period.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $464
Typical Monthly Payment Used: $470
Total Savings Over Term: $360
The Mitsubishi Outlander has received a few minor upgrades — emphasis on “minor.” It has a better fuel economy compared to previous models, but not by much. Improvements to its navigation and voice-activation systems are also trifling, but ultimately the vehicle remains a reasonable purchase for those looking for a crossover vehicle.
The Outlander’s typical monthly payment of $470 for a used model is six dollars higher than the $464 payment for a new one. People who buy one used will pay $360 more over a 60-month payment period than those who buy new.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $833
Typical Monthly Payment Certified Pre-Owned: $841
Total Savings Over Term: $480
The 2011 Acura ZDX is the same animal it’s been since its 2009 debut. Its curved look is unique for a crossover SUV, and if it's luxury you’re after the crossover boasts a hand-stitched leather interior. On the downside, its 1,500-pound tow rating is weak and its sloping roofline makes the back seat area a claustrophobic challenge.
Drivers can buy the attractive ZDX new for $833 a month, or purchase a certified pre-owned model for $841 a month. Used-car buyers will pay $480 more than new car buyers once the five-year payment plan ends.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $578
Typical Monthly Payment Used: $586
Total Savings Over Term: $480
The Volkswagen Eos is a compact four-passenger convertible. The car has a retractable hardtop, which has weathertight insulation.
The typical monthly payment for a new Eos is $578, compared with $586 a month for a used model. Buyers of a new Eos can expect to save $480 when the five-year term is over.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $536
Typical Monthly Payment Used: $546
Total Savings Over Term: $600
The GMC Savana has new features for 2011 such as satellite radio and a heavy-duty locking rear differential. For the most part, however, it remains the same reliable vehicle it has been for years. The Savana can seat 15 people, which has made it the van of choice for airport shuttle services, and its ubiquity in ambulance fleets the world over also attests to its reliability.
A new model has a typical monthly payment of $536, while a used one will have a monthly payment of $546. The difference brings the total savings to $600 for a person who buys one new.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $725
Typical Monthly Payment Used: $738
Total Savings Over Term: $780
The BMW Z4 is known for its luxury and comfort, but the 2011 model has emphasized these qualities more than its predecessors. This year’s model is roomier and it absorbs bumps in the road with ease.
The typical monthly payment for this BMW is $725, whether it’s new or certified pre-owned. Either option will yield better savings than buying it used, which will result in $738 monthly payments, or $780 extra after five years.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $775
Typical Monthly Payment Used: $789
Total Savings Over Term: $840
The Chevrolet Avalanche’s design is a combination pickup truck and SUV. Its generous dimensions are both its greatest selling point and its biggest drawback. Its comfortable interior can be modified into a roomy cargo area, but it’s difficult to maneuver in small spaces, making parallel parking a potential nightmare.
The typical monthly payment for a new Avalanche is $775. A used version will cost $789 per month. Over a 60-month loan term, new Avalanche buyers will have saved $840 over those who bought the vehicles used.
Typical Monthly Payment New: $439
Typical Monthly Payment Used: $455
Total Savings Over Term: $960
The 2011 GMC Canyon has new bells and whistles, including Bluetooth connectivity and redesigned headrests. These new features were not enough to persuade Edmunds.com to give it its seal of approval, and the Canyon's off-road package and considerable hauling power didn’t do the job either. Edmunds docked the Canyon a significant number of points for shoddy manufacturing materials, low fuel economy and lethargic engine performance.
Motorists looking to buy it anyway will save a significant chunk of change if they buy it new and pay $439 a month, as opposed to $455 per month for a used model. New Canyon buyers will end up saving $960 in the course of the five-year loan period.