It’s not hard to see the appeal in a new car: low to no miles, undamaged and unworn parts, and of course, the purest version of that new-car smell. But as any bargain-minded car shopper is sure to tell you, there are far better deals to be found on the used car market. Depreciation slices a good chunk off any car’s value the moment it leave the dealership, and the car’s worth just keeps sliding from there, in an inevitable downward slope that, sooner or later, winds up with the vehicle valued at little more than the market price of the raw materials that can be sucked out of it.
But ruffling through the used car market to separate the clunkers from the charmers can be grueling. (Trust us: We just did it for our Best Used Off-Roaders for Less Than $10,000 piece.) Any information that can help sift the wheat from the chaff is helpful — and the more it can winnow down the massive selection of pre-owned vehicles out there, the better.
Luckily for us, the team at iSeeCars.com has put together a list of some of the best bargains to be found in the lightly-used car market. For these purposes, they looked at vehicles that are three years old (i.e. coming off a common-length lease term). While the average car lost 38.2 percent of its value in that time, many cars lost far, far more — which makes them great buys in the used car market. And again, given the used car market’s particular focus on value, they further broke down their list to pull out the three-year-old cars you can buy for less than $20,000 today that have seen the steeped depreciation in those 36 months since they first left the lot. In other words: These 10 vehicles are the best buys in used cars you can find today for less than $20,000.
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $19,855
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $19,508
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $14,844
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $17,745
Kia Optima Hybrid
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $16,381
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $13,403
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $17,587
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $16,235
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $11,469
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Average Three-Year-Old Price: $16,303