Is a Used Car Really the Best Choice?Heather Sokol
There’s just something about a new car — the new car smell, the clean floor mats, the unblemished seats. Of course, conventional wisdom tells us the amazing new car smell depreciates faster than you can say “used car.” But, is a used car really a better value?
The last vehicle we purchased was my minivan when our third child was due. There was just no way to comfortably fit 3 booster/carseats across the back of our sedan. So, we spent the first two trimesters researching vans — new and used. They say a new car depreciates 25% as soon as you drive it off the lot. The used cars we looked at? Were about 25% less than the new car I loved.
With high resale values on a used vehicle and a zero percent interest rate on a new vehicle, it just didn’t make sense to miss out on all the benefits of buying a new car. We got incentives from their model year clearance event. We got extra upgrades thrown in by the dealer. And, we got a warranty that lasted longer than it took to pay off the car.
Six years later, my new car doesn’t look so new anymore. But, it’s paid off. It’s reliable. And, it’s all mine. When Serenity finally dies (yes, I name my cars), I’ll probably be looking at another new vehicle.