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KBB Report: Fair Purchase Price Data Shows Vehicle Segments Worth Buying Used

February 19, 2013

According to Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price data, a compact car might be worth buying new.

The Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price is the retail price people typically pay a dealer for a new car, based on actual new-car transactions and adjusted regularly as market conditions change. See a full table at the end of this article.

Compact Cars

For compact cars, since one can be purchased for as little as $339 per month with a 5-year loan, this is only $30 per month more expensive than a comparable 1-year-old used variant, according to Kelley Blue Book.

"Used compacts have been in high demand with fuel prices nearly $3.42 per gallon nationally, and values have held strong as a result," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book. "A consumer looking to save at least $100 or more per month on a used car would need to consider a model-year 2009 or older, which likely would have 50,000 miles or more on the odometer. While the difference between new and used pricing is relatively low for the segment, there are several models that offer nearly identical pricing whether new or slightly used."

For example, buying a 1-year-old used Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will only save consumers about $20 per month. On the other hand, purchasing a gently used Hyundai Elantra or Ford Focus can save closer to $50 per month on either of those vehicles by opting for a used 2012 model-year vehicle, rather than a brand-new model. 

Compact Crossovers

Similar to compact cars, brand-new compact crossovers are available for only a modest premium over a comparable used model. Shoppers interested in an all-new small crossover can expect to pay only $40 more per month than a comparable used model-year 2012.

Buyers interested in the Toyota RAV4 or Chevrolet Equinox will find just a $20 gap between new- and used-vehicle payments, while a brand-new Ford Escape commands a more sizable $60 per month premium from the slightly used variant.

Used Midsize Sedans

Shoppers interested in a midsize sedan will find considerable savings by opting for a 1- or 2-year-old used model rather than purchasing new. 

On average, consumers can expect to save nearly $100 per month by opting for a used model-year 2012 instead of a brand-new 2012 or 2013 vehicle. 

"The gap between new and used pricing likely is driven by the extensive redesigns introduced for most of the best-selling midsize models for 2013," Gutierrez said. "The Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion all were redesigned for model-year 2013, and thus are generating a premium relative to their used previous-generation counterparts." 

An all-new 2013 Nissan Altima or Honda Accord will cost nearly $100 more per month than a used 2012, while a Toyota Camry, which was redesigned for the 2012 model year, only maintains a $50 price premium.

Average Retail Pricing by Segment (New vs. Used)

 2013* (New)2012 (Used)2011 (Used)2010 (Used)2009 (Used)2008 (Used)
Compact Car$18,889$16,465$15,258$13,621$12,145$10,809
Compact Crossover$25,595$22,658$21,005$18,894$16,481$14,138
Midsize Car$23,955$18,279$16,814$15,483$13,852$12,486

Five-Year Payment

 2013* (New)2012 (Used)2011 (Used)2010 (Used)2009 (Used)2008 (Used)
Compact Car$339$303$281$251$224$199
Compact Crossover$460$417$387$348$304$260
Midsize Car$430$337$310$285$255$230
*Based on Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price (FPP), which is the price people typically pay a dealer for a new car, based on actual new-car transactions and adjusted regularly as market conditions change.

Related news: Kelley Blue Book Releases 5-Year Cost to Own Award Winners for 2013

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